Does it really pay to become a pro wrestler for the WWE? Well, in the case of these 15 former or current WWE stars, it certainly does. When it comes to contract terms, the WWE gives higher salaries in accordance to your longevity with the company. So for example, a wrestler like Mark Henry is making more than an upper card talent like Bray Wyatt. Why you ask? The answer is quite simple: term. Henry has been with the WWE since 1996, and is currently entering his 20th year employed with the company. Oh, how time flies!
Some of these other superstars on this list have managed to make some big net worths outside of the WWE, though for the most part, a major portion of these wrestlers got rich working for Vince McMahon. Let's now find out who these wrestlers are. Here is 15 former and current WWE stars that are richer than you think. Let us know which one of the entries was most shocking to you. Enjoy!
15 Jeff Hardy: $12 million
Believe it or not, Jeff holds one of the highest net worths amongst active WWE stars working outside of the company. Despite working out of the WWE, Hardy is still making a cool base of $400,000 per year with TNA Wrestling. Jeff’s net worth shouldn’t shock us though, as the former tag team champion spent 8 years total with the WWE, and in that time Hardy’s accomplishments were Hall of Fame worthy. His resume included 6 time Tag Team Champion, 4 time Intercontinental Champion and 2 time World Heavyweight Champion. Not to mention runs with the European and Hardcore Championships. Jeff certainly did it all during his run with the WWE.
14 Vickie Guerrero: $8 million
With a net worth of $8 million, Vickie decided it was time to say goodbye to the WWE universe in 2014. Guerrero instead, switched her focus on a more low-key type of job in the field of medical administration. In her 7 year run with the company, Vickie managed to stay very prominent in various storylines. Her career highlights include a relationship with former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Edge, and a run as the General Manager of SmackDown. It remains to be seen if Vickie will ever be inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame.
13 David Otunga: $10 million
This net worth may surprise many of you, but keep in mind that before becoming a pro wrestler Otunga successfully passed his bar exam, and after graduating the WWE star joined the Sidley Austin law firm. Following a couple of years as a lawyer, Otunga changed career paths trying to become an actor. He later branched out into pro wrestling and in November of 2008, David signed his first deal with the WWE. A year later, Otunga proposed to his wife, popular singer Jennifer Hudson. In 2009, the couple welcomed their first child, David Otunga Jr.
12 JBL: $9 million
It just feels like JBL’s been around forever. In 1995, the former WWE Champion made his debut under the name of Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. After several character changes Bradshaw finally found success as a Tag Team wrestler with the APA. In 2004, Layfiled’s career would take a major turn, pushing Bradshaw to upper card status with the company. JBL would eventually not only capture the WWE Championship, but hold onto the title for 280 days, the longest championship reign in a decade. JBL is still currently employed with the company as a commentator for Monday Night RAW. He is also a huge political activist appearing on CNBC and Fox News.
11 Jerry Lawler: $7 million
Speaking of wrestlers that have been with the company forever, at the age of 66, Jerry Lawler is still going strong working as a commentator for SmackDown. Lawler made his pro wrestling debut all the way back in 1970, absolutely remarkable to think that 46 years later Jerry is still going strong. It remains to be seen when Lawler will finally decide to hang them up for good.
Random note: outside of the ring, “The King” is a massive coke collector. His house is filled with coke memorabilia spanning from the early 1900s till today.
10 Alberto Del Rio: $6 million
According to rumors, Del Rio’s return to the company didn’t come cheap. Some rumors speculated that Alberto was given a guaranteed $1.45 million on his contract. Others speculate that Del Rio is scheduled to make $675,000 per year along with first class travelling rights (like Brock Lesnar). Alberto made some serious money with the company during his reign as World Heavyweight Champion between 2012 and 2013. According to the rumor mill, Del Rio made over a million during those two years. At the age of 38, the former World Champion is still performing and looking better than ever.
9 Rob Van Dam: $5 million
Rob Van Dam was must see TV in his prime; the 45 year old was voted PWI”s wrestler of the year in 2001. That very same year, Van Dam made his debut with the WWE as a part of the “invasion” storyline. After a successful run with the company and claiming the WWE and ECW Championships, RVD left the company. He would go onto work for TNA Wrestling. Rob also kept busy acting in various films and doing some voice acting as well. It's only a matter of time before this superstar is inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame.
8 Matt Hardy: $5 million
Going by the name of the “Iconic” Matt Hardy, the former WWE star continues to stay relevant at the age of 41. Hardy is the current TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Matt completely altered his gimmick becoming one of the most villainous characters in the company. Hardy is currently making a salary of $330,000 per year with TNA Wrestling. It remains to be seen if and when Matt and his brother Jeff, will make one final pit stop to the WWE before riding off into the sunset.
7 Mark Henry: $4.5 million
At the age of 44, and despite his lower card status with the company, Henry is still making some big bucks with the WWE (more than the likes of Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt if you can believe). Henry’s earnings continue to go up, last year in 2015 Henry was rumored to have made over $1 million. This is due to the fact that Mark has been with the company for 20 straight years now since making his debut in 1996. Henry was finally rewarded for his commitment with the company in 2011 after he defeated Randy Orton at Night of Champions. 2016 may finally be the year for Henry as an active wrestler with the company.
6 Kane: $7 million
Comparable to Mark Henry, Kane is enjoying a strong salary despite his minimal role on television. According to rumors, Kane brought in $1.1 million in 2015. Like other veteran wrestlers, Kane’s high salary comes because of his longevity with the company. The “demon” has been with the company since 1995, spanning over two decades. Kane’s gimmick went through a couple of changes over the last couple of years, going from the demon Kane to “corporate” Kane. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for the former World Heavyweight Champion.
5 Big Show: $20 million
Believe or not, Big Show ranks as the wrestler with the second highest net worth amongst active wrestlers. The former WWE champ is also expected to make another cool $1.2 million this year, one of the highest payrolls amongst the active roster. At the age of 44, Big Show is entering his 16th year with the company (many wrestling fans believe this will be the last we will be seeing of the 7 foot monster). If it is, Big Show can spend some time in his lovely Florida home valued at over a million dollars.
4 Andre the Giant: $10 million
Andre the Giant became one of the first ever pro wrestlers to enjoy mainstream popularity. Standing at 7’4 and weighing in at over 500 pounds, it was no secret as to why this mammoth was such an attraction. During his time with the WWE, Andre was also very active outside of the wrestling business appearing in over 15 TV shows and films. His legacy as a pro wrestler will never be forgotten.
3 Batista: $13 million
Batista was a late bloomer in the wrestling business. Early on in his career the animal was told by WCW trainers that he’d never make it in the wrestling business. Despite their criticisms, Batista continued to pursue a future in the WWE and at the age of 36, Dave captured his first ever World Heavyweight Championship. Following his title win, Batista would go onto claim the World Heavyweight Championship three more times along with two title runs with the WWE Championship. After departing in 2010, Dave would make some serious noise in the world of Hollywood staring in the film Guardians of the Galaxy. Batista received some tremendous feedback for his role in the film. He is currently working on the sequel. You can expect Dave’s net worth to only go up with these acting roles.
2 Trish Stratus: $6 million
Trish Stratus holds the highest net worth amongst competing WWE Divas at $6 million. The seven time WWE Women’s Champion became the face of the Divas Division for over a decade. Her success set the bar for what a Diva should be; great in the ring, with a marketable look. Today, the WWE is using this blueprint amongst their current Divas on the main roster and down in NXT. Trish may go down as the best Diva in WWE history.
1 Shane McMahon: $35 million
Still quite far from his dad’s $1.1 billion net worth, Shane has managed to make some good money outside of the WWE. As a matter of fact Shane is currently worth $10 million more than his sister Stephanie (net worth: $25 million). Quite admirable that Shane left a billion dollar company in the first place.
When Shane departed from the WWE in 2010, McMahon’s newest venture was a PPV service in China, something Shane believed was an untapped market. Shane became the CEO of You On Demand, the first VOD and PPV service in China. Shane earned himself a base salary of $300,000 per year. In 2013, Shane stepped down as the CEO but remained the Vice Chairman of the Board of You on Demand. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for Shane, whether it’s in or out of the WWE.