Sometimes you just have to face facts: not all wrestlers are driven by passion. Some are unfortunately driven by money and fame. These types of wrestlers have not only managed to survive, but have also managed to have Hall of Fame-like careers. Kevin Nash, who we will discuss later in this article, is a prime example of this. Since day one Nash was all about making money (the guy literally took a job with creative despite having no experience). To make matters worse, Nash asked for half a million and somehow was granted this money. Kevin’s lack of experience was evident, he ultimately helped sink WCW’s ship. We'll have more on Kevin a little later in this article.
We will also take a look at some other iconic wrestlers that were money driven, like Bill Goldberg, Batista, Scott Hall and The Ultimate Warrior. We will also take a look at some Divas including Eva Marie and Torrie Wilson. Let’s now start off this list with the hottest commodity in sports and entertainment today, the conqueror himself Brock Lesnar. Enjoy!
10 Brock Lesnar
As great as Brock Lesnar truly is, let’s face the facts, the guy is money driven. Lesnar signed his first ever deal with the WWE admittedly because of money. Lesnar had never watched wrestling in his life and knew nothing about the business. Despite this factor, Lesnar was blown away by the $250,000 deal the WWE had offered him. Without any hesitation Lesnar accepted the deal and was assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling (WWE’s old developmental promotion).
His mindset later on in his career did not change. Lesnar announced on ESPN that he would be leaving the UFC permanently because of an offer from the WWE that he simply could not refuse. Brock was also given a part-time schedule to go along with his lucrative contract. Lesnar summed his career up perfectly during his interview on the Stone Cold Podcast: “I clock in and I clock out”.
A big knock regarding Batista’s career was the fact that he was extremely money hungry. Some believe Batista only got into the business for the cash and fame (which kind of makes sense considering he’s pursuing an acting career today). Batista has already appeared in four feature films including, The Man with the Iron Fists, Riddick, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spectre. He is also set to appear in the film Kickboxer which is scheduled to come out in 2016.
In his earlier days Batista was extremely unsure with what he wanted to pursue. Batista went from being a bouncer to a lifeguard to pursuing a career in bodybuilding. He later decided to give wrestling a shot. After trying out at WCW’s Power Plan, Batista was told he’d never make it in the business. After getting some extra training with Afa Anoa’i, Batista was signed by the WWE.
8 Torrie Wilson
Like Batista, wrestling pessimists believe that Torrie got into the business strictly for money and fame. Torrie admitted to never having watched wrestling as a child. Torrie’s initial plans were to become a full time fitness competitor. After winning some championships ,Wilson moved to LA in search of a possible acting career. After getting some jobs with her agent, Wilson began to attend WCW shows with her boyfriend. After hanging around backstage she was asked by Scott Steiner if she wanted to walk him to the ring. Kevin Nash later expressed interest in doing a storyline with her. Before Torrie knew it, she would make her debut as “Samantha”. Wilson was later picked up by the WWE, and she would go on to gain tremendous exposure after posing nude for Playboy. Torrie was later released in May of 2008 for not reporting back to the company after undergoing physical therapy.
7 Scott Hall
You have to give this guy some credit for being honest, as Hall was truthful when saying he left the WWE for money purposes and extra days off in the mid 90s. Hall claims Ted Turner gave him an offer he simply could not refuse. Hall also discussed the fact that if he would have stayed with the WWE, his entire career as his Razor gimmick would have worn off making him earn less money as opposed to reinventing himself with WCW, which made him a ton of money.
Hall said it best during a shoot interview which is one of the most classic quotes ever put out by a pro wrestler, Hall said: “It comes back to what Chief Jay Strongbow told us years ago, in this business you can make friends or you can make money. And I remember looking at Kev and X-Pac and going, I already got some friends, I’d like the money”.
6 Leg Luger
Many former superstars (like Ric Flair) were very critical of Luger’s work, claiming he just got in the business for money and fame. Luger broke into the business after playing a game of golf with former wrestler Bob Roop. Bob convinced Luger to get trained and pursue a career in pro wrestling. After getting trained by Hiro Matsuda, Luger made his debut with NWA.
He would later join the WWE and become the company’s premier star. Luger later shocked the wrestling world by joining WCW just days after he appeared on WWE television. Luger admits to handling the situation poorly and regrets the way he left the WWE without giving Vince any sort notification that he was in fact leaving. Oddly enough, Luger was not pursued by money. Bischoff gave Luger a low offer which he surprisingly accepted. Don’t feel too bad however, Luger would go on to make some big bucks later on with the company.
Following his match against Virgil at SummerSlam, Nailz received a paycheck worth approximately $8,000 or 9,000 for the short match (not too bad, right?). Well, apparently it simply wasn’t enough for the former wrestling star. Following the match, Wacholz stormed into McMahon’s office and requested more money. The situation then turned physical with Wacholz choking Vince, but thankfully employees ran into the room and separated Nailz apart from Vince. After his release from the company, Wacholz continued his pursuit to obtaining money from the WWE. Nailz filed a lawsuit on the WWE for allegedly being given steroids by the company on multiple occasions. He also filed a lawsuit from wrongful termination. The WWE later counterclaimed against Wacholz, and the suits were later dropped by both sides.
4 Eva Marie
It was said amongst the WWE Divas during an episode of Total Divas that Eva is only in the business for money and fame. Many believe that Eva is simply using the WWE as a platform to showcase herself off for future possibilities with other entertainment outlets.
Her in-ring work continues to struggle despite getting one on one help from former WWE wrestler Brian Kendrick. Eva Marie's match during an episode of NXT against Carmella will probably go down as pro wrestling’s worst match of the year. The match was unbearable to watch and filled with mistakes even though it was taped. I can only imagine what the poor NXT crowd experienced watching the match live. Crowds consistently get on her, and it seems like the WWE is trying to use this as leverage to putting her over as a top line heel. It remains to be seen what the future holds for Eva in the wrestling business.
3 The Ultimate Warrior
Despite his tremendous rise to fame, The Warrior was very money driven throughout his career. This attitude eventually ended his time with the WWE.
In 1991, things began to get sour after Warrior wrote McMahon a hand written letter demanding for more money. Warrior basically blackmailed Vince asking for $550,000, and had Vince not agreed to these terms, Warrior claimed he would not show up to SummerSlam. After agreeing to terms, Warrior was later suspended by the company for a breach in contract. After returning two more times, the Warrior would leave for good signing a lucrative contract with WCW. Thankfully, before his passing Warrior was able to patch things up with the WWE and Vince McMahon.
2 Kevin Nash
Perhaps the most money hungry wrestler of all time, Kevin Nash doesn’t shy away from the fact that he was driven by money throughout his pro wrestling career. Nash admitted that he broke into the wrestling business due to the paycheck being good. He also goes on to talk about how all his decisions were made in the wrestling business solely focusing on money and nothing else. This was especially apparent when Nash joined WCW’s creative team. Kevin took a lot of money despite having no clue how to be a booker. Nash pretty much killed WCW when they used his terrible idea, “the finger poke of doom”. This terrible idea caused millions of Nitro fans to turn the channel and never turn back to Nitro again. Nash willingly destroyed a company because of extra money in his pocket.
Nash’s work also suffered, as he was named Wrestling Observer’s worst wrestler of the year on multiple occasions in 1999 and 2000. Wrestling fans are very conflicted when it comes to the lasting legacy of Kevin Nash.
While rehabbing from his NFL injury, Goldberg was approached by Lex Luger and Sting. The two WCW wrestlers convinced Goldberg to pursue a career in the wrestling business. Goldberg was on the fence about it, and he was also not a fan of pro wrestling. Ultimately the possibility to make some money persuaded Goldberg to join the WCW’s Power Plant. After completing his time with the Power Plant, Goldberg became an instant star becoming one the company’s top faces. Despite his success in the ring Goldberg was very difficult to deal with backstage. Bischoff claimed Bill became impossible to deal with (Eric even referred to him as a “business monster”). Goldberg’s ego took over and he simply lost sight of what was right for the business, refusing to put any wrestlers over. Goldberg became focused on two things; money and power. His legacy today is still very debatable amongst wrestling fans.