How Do WWE Stars Make Money?

Have you ever wondered how your favorite WWE stars make their living? The answer can be complicated, because many of the biggest stars receive benefits above and beyond their salaries, and because the salaries vary

Darren Young & Nick

Darren Young & Nick (Photo credit: Climbing Kilimanjaro)

greatly between the true “star” wrestlers and less famous WWE competitors. Here is a look at how WWE wrestlers are paid:

Base Salaries
All WWE wrestlers are signed to a contract and paid a base salary. The contracts generally range from 1 to 5 years and the salaries vary widely. The biggest WWE names can make over a million per year, while the average WWE wrestler is more likely to make something just north of $100,000. The highest paid wrestler is Triple H, who draws a base salary of about $2,000,000 per year. Other superstars, like John Cena and Shawn Michaels, make about $1,000,000. Most other wrestlers hover closer to the $100,000 average, which sounds like a lot, but must take into account the fact that wrestling careers can be relatively short and physically demanding.

Licensing Deals
The gap between WWE’s stars and run of the mill wrestlers is even wider than the salary differences suggest. That’s because the stars’ contracts include benefits that pay off big time. Many of WWE’s biggest stars receive licensing deals to use their likeness in advertisements and WWE promotions. This can become a major source of income for top wrestlers like Triple H and John Cena.

PPV Bonuses
Additionally, wrestlers who participate in Pay Per View matches often receive bonuses on top of their base salaries. This again can be a major income boost for wrestlers whose matches are in high demand. In especially high profile PPV matches, this bonus can be as much as six figures.

The WWE also covers 100% of the costs of all in-ring injuries sustained by its wrestlers.

So in short, WWE wrestlers can expect to make at least $100,000 in any given year, with most receiving more once PPV bonuses, licensing deals, and other perks are taken into account. There is, however, a very significant gap in pay between top and average wrestlers. Most average wrestlers draw salaries very close to $100,000. Top wrestlers take in as much as $2,000,000.

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I have a lot of friends and family in different financial stages in their lives.   Some are deeper in debt than I am, others are just starting to dig their own pit, still others have paid off every cent of debt they’ve ever used.    That’s okay;  as they say, it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

Out of all of those, the only ones who irritate me are the spendthrift whiners.  These are the people who spend 28 days a month struggling to make ends meet and complaining about how hard their lives are.   They make snide comments about how easy other people have it, and act like they are being cheated out of their birthright whenever anybody does anything fun that they can’t do because they are too broke.

The other two days—or sometimes three—of the month, are payday.  These are the days the the spendthrift whiners try to make themselves feel rich for 24 hours, while wondering why you aren’t willing to hit the fancy restaurants and expensive vacations with them. This is the day they will buy a dozen moves, or a new home theater system, or a big screen TV.  It’s the day they will drop a non-refundable deposit on an exotic vacation, or shop for a new car. Before they know what’s happening, the money is gone and they are broke again until next payday, condemned to whining about their horrible situation, while their spendthrift-whiner friends and neighbors complain about the injustice of having to go without luxuries while our hypothetical spendthrift whiners have a  big screen TV and an exotic vacation to Dubuque booked.

These people give no thought to the future.  Their life savings consist of depreciating electronics and a fancy scrapbook.  What do they do when life catches them by surprise?  They come begging for a loan, or charge the emergency to a credit card while complaining about the cost of interest.  Ultimately, everyone who plans ahead and sets some money aside is obviously trying to rip them off, because nobody can actually do well for themselves without being crooked.

They are absolutely convinced that life is too hard to succeed, and they refuse to examine their own behavior to find the cause of their problems.

Until payday.

What’s your biggest financial pet peeve?

This was originally a guest post  written for a blog swap run by the Yakezie personal finance blog network to answer the question “What is your biggest financial pet peeve?“  It ran on Faith and Finance.


Resisting Temptation

This guest post was written as a guest post (by me!) in 2010.

There I was, minding my own business, when suddenly, Sumdood came out came out of nowhere and forced me to buy a new flat-panel TV, a time share in St. Thomas, and join one of those overpriced underwear-of-the-month clubs.   Talk about a bad day, rivaled only by the day the odd, lacy package gets delivered on the first of the month.

No, really, as I go about my business each day, the temptation to spend my money can be almost irresistible.  Yet somehow, I manage.  Is it because I have superhuman willpower? I don’t.  Is it because I’m chased by a leather-clad, sjambok-wielding pixie who chastises me for every unbudgeted purchase?  That’s not it either, but it makes for a fun picture.

What’s my secret?

I follow a principle I like to call “Don’t buy that!” Don’t buy that! is a simple plan that is surprisingly hard to implement, mostly because following the plan means delaying gratification for a while.  Delayed gratification is never as much fun as instantly indulging every whim.

I can hear your shouts of protest.  If it’s so hard, how can I expect you to do it?  Easy.  Just follow the rules. There are a few things you can do to make Don’t buy that! a realistic plan of action for you.

1.  Find a slap-me-upside-the-head buddy. I use my wife.  It works for me and she tends to enjoy it.  If I’m in a store and I get tempted to buy something awesome, I call her for a reality check.  Sometimes, it’s as straight-forward as my calling her and saying “Honey, tell me ‘no’.”  Other times, she actually has to talk me down using–horror of horrors–logic and reasoning.   Usually, she just invokes rule #2.

2.  If you have to check if you can afford it, you can’t. If I’m not immediately sure that we have the money to buy something, it is far too big of a purchase to buy on an impulse.   Big purchases need to be planned.  “Honey, I found this great TV on sale!”  “Can we afford it?”  “I don’t know, let me che…crap.  Nevermind.”

3.  You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything. We could afford a fancy vacation in Paris every year, but not if we also pay for extended super-cable, Netflix, dinner out every night, and a new car every three years.   Expenses need to be prioritized.

4.  The little things can ruin you. There’s a story about a nail missing from a horse’s shoe, which lamed the horse, which made the knight miss a battle, which was lost, which led to the loss of the war, which led to the loss of the kingdom.   For want of a single nail, a nation fell.  If I buy a new book or movie every week, will I end up short on my mortgage payment?  It’s far easier to pick up some of the little things after the necessities are met than it is to try to pay the mortgage after squandering your paycheck on lottery tickets and Mad Dog.  Handle your needs before you worry about your wants.  Sometimes, that means putting off the things you want, but having the things you need makes it worthwhile.

5.  Remember the past. When I bought a bunch of movies a few months ago, I was happy.   New movies go great the the movie screen and projector in my living room.  Want to take a guess at how many of those movies I’ve taken the time to watch?  I certainly enjoyed the act of buying the movies and the anticipation of watching them far more than I’ve enjoyed seeing them site on the shelf, unopened.  What a waste.   It happens regularly. Often, we get far more enjoyment out of the idea of doing something that the actual doing.  If I can remember that the anticipation is better than the act, before I buy whatever is tempting me, I can usually avoid buying it.

These 5 rules have helped me to follow my master plan of Don’t buy that! That plan is the single most useful thing I have ever used to save money.

What’s your best tip to save money?


How to Prioritize Your Spending

Jewel-Osco - monster shopping cart truck

Image via Wikipedia

Don’t buy that.

At least take a few moments to decide if it’s really worth buying.

Too often, people go on auto-pilot and buy whatever catches their attention for a few moments.  The end-caps at the store?  Oh, boy, that’s impossible to resist.  Everybody needs a 1000 pack of ShamWow’s, right?   Who could live without a extra pair of kevlar boxer shorts?

Before you put the new tchotke in your cart, ask yourself some questions to see if it’s worth getting.

1. Is it a need or a want? Is this something you could live without?   Some things are necessary.  Soap, shampoo, and food are essentials.  You have to buy those.  Other things, like movies, most of the clothes people buy, or electronic gadgets are almost always optional.   If you don’t need it, it may be a good idea to leave it in the store.

2. Does it serve a purpose?  I bought a vase once that I thought was pretty and could hold candy or something, but it’s done nothing but collect dust in the meantime.  It’s purpose is nothing more than hiding part of a flat surface.   Useless.

3. Will you actually use it? A few years ago, my wife an cleaned out her mother’s house.   She’s a hoarder.   We found at least 50 shopping bags full of clothes with the tags still attached.   I know, you’re thinking that you’d never do that, because you’re not a hoarder, but people do it all the time.  Have you ever bought a book that you haven’t gotten around to reading, or a movie that went on the shelf, still wrapped in plastic?   Do you own a treadmill that’s only being used to hang clothes, or a home liposuction machine that is not being used to make soap?

3. Is it a fad? Beanie babies, iPads, BetaMax, and bike helmets.  All garbage that takes the world by storm for a few years then fades, leaving the distributors rich and the customers embarrassed.

4. Is it something you’re considering just to keep up with the Joneses? If you’re only buying it to compete with your neighbors, don’t buy it.  You don’t need a Lexus, a Rolex, or that replacement kidney.  Just put it back on the shelf and go home with your money.  Chances are, your neighbors are only buying stuff so they can compete with you.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Break it.

5. Do you really, really want it? Sometimes, no matter how worthless something might be, whether it’s a fad, or a dust-collecting knick-knack, or an outfit you’ll never wear, you just want it more than you want your next breath of air.  That’s ok.  A bit disturbing, but ok.  If you are meeting all of your other needs, it’s fine to indulge yourself on occasion.

How do you prioritize spending if you’re thinking about buying something questionable?

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