How much are WWE wrestlers paid? That’s a question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds lately. While the company does not release exact figures, we can estimate based on a variety of factors. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how much WWE wrestlers are paid and what factors affect their salary.
WWE is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: WWE), and as such, is required to disclose certain financial information. In addition, WWE has to report wrestler compensation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in its public filings.
According to WWE’s 2016 SEC filing, the company paid $197.9 million in total compensation to all wrestlers, managers, announcers and other on-air performers. This figure includes salary, benefits, royalties and “other compensation.” It does not include bonuses, which are paid out separately.
The 2016 figure represents a decrease from the $252.3 million that WWE paid out in 2015. The decrease is largely due to WWE cutting several wrestlers from its roster in 2016, as well as lower royalty payments to wrestlers due to the company moving away from selling DVDs and Blu-rays in favor of its new WWE Network streaming service.
WWE does not disclosure how much it pays individual wrestlers, but several former wrestlers have come forward in recent years with details of their salaries and compensation packages. Based on these reports, it appears that top wrestlers can earn millions of dollars per year while lower-card wrestlers make significantly less.
WWE’s Base Salary Structure
WWE contracts typically range from $100,000 to $1 million annually, although some wrestlers make more and some make less. The highest-paid WWE wrestler is Brock Lesnar, who earns $10 million per year. Most WWE wrestlers earn a salary of $500,000 or less.
Tier 1: Main Eventers
At the top of the WWE food chain are the wrestlers that main event WWE’s biggest shows. These men and women are the faces of the company and are typically its most popular Superstars. The base salary for a tier 1 Wrestler is $500,000 per year.
Tier 2: Upper Midcarders
These are the guys that are essentially one step below the top tier, and their big matches will usually be on the B-show. They will be used to put over new talent or help younger wrestlers get over with the audience. Midcard titles may also change hands between these wrestlers. These performers make up the upper midcard, and their salaries certainly reflect that. While they aren’t making main event money, they are still being paid quite handsomely for their time in the ring.
-Roman Reigns: $5 million
-Brock Lesnar: $5 million
-Randy Orton: $4.5 million
-Seth Rollins: $4 million
-Braun Strowman: $3.5 million
Tier 3: Midcarders
WWE’s base salary structure has three tiers. The first tier, which consists of the company’s top stars, earned a minimum of $500,000 in 2020. The second tier, made up of midcarders, earned a minimum of $250,000. The third and final tier, consisting of lower-card wrestlers and developmental talents, earned a minimum of $100,000.
While some wrestlers are paid more than the minimums due to factors such as experience or name value, all WWE superstars are guaranteed to earn at least the base salary for their particular tier. Base salaries do not include income from merchandise sales or other forms of revenue such as appearing on reality television shows.
Tier 4: Lower Midcarders/Jobbers
These are the guys that are always losing on TV. They might eke out the occasional victory on Main Event or Superstars, but they’re mostly there to make the upper midcarders and main eventers look good. They usually have a bit of personality and might be good in the ring, but they’re not pushed as potential stars. In 2014, these wrestlers made between $500,000 and $1 million.
Bonuses and Incentives
WWE wrestlers are often paid bonuses and incentives in addition to their base salary. These can be given for a variety of reasons, such as working a certain number of days, winning a match, or appearing on a certain number of episodes of a TV show. In some cases, wrestlers may also receive a percentage of the pay-per-view revenue generated by their match.
In addition to their basic salary, WWE wrestlers receive a bonus for every pay-per-view event they participate in. The size of the bonus is determined by the wrestler’s position on the card, with the main event wrestlers earning the largest bonuses. For example, in 2009, wrestlers in the main event earned a $250,000 bonus, while wrestlers lower down on the card earned $40,000. In addition to their pay-per-view bonuses, WWE also offers wrestlers bonuses for winning championships and appearing on its weekly television programs.
Merchandise Sales Bonuses
WWE offers wrestlers a flat rate per hour, as well as a bonus for merchandise sales. The percentage ranges from 1-5%, with the majority of wrestlers falling into the 3-5% range, according to a former WWE wrestler.
Main Event Bonuses
WWE pays their wrestlers a base salary as well as additional income from merchandise sales, live events, and media appearances. While the company does not publicly release salaries, it is clear that main event performers are paid significantly more than lower card talent.
In addition to their base salary, main event wrestlers receive “main event bonuses” for appearing on Raw, SmackDown, and pay-per-view events. These bonuses range from $5,000-$20,000 per appearance, with the most prominent stars earning the highest bonuses. For example, Brock Lesnar is rumored to have earned a $500,000 bonus for his appearance at WrestleMania 34.
While WWE doesn’t publicly release salary information, it is clear that main event performers are paid significantly more than lower card talent. In addition to their base salary, main event wrestlers receive “main event bonuses” for appearing on Raw, SmackDown, and pay-per-view events. These bonuses can range from $5,000-$20,000 per appearance, with the most prominent stars earning the highest bonuses. For example: Brock Lesnar is rumored to have earned a $500,000 bonus for his appearance at WrestleMania 34.
In summary, WWE wrestlers are paid a wage that is relative to their experience, status, and position within the company. Main event wrestlers tend to earn the highest wages, while lower-card wrestlers earn significantly less. However, all WWE wrestlers are able to supplement their income through merchandise sales, Wrestlemania bonuses, and other outside sources of revenue.
Keyword: How Much Are WWE Wrestlers Paid?