Professional wrestling has always been about being the top guy (or gal) in the company. With being the top person, you’ll see a plethora of opportunities come your way, and you’ll find yourself gaining the respect of your peers worldwide. You’ll also find your bank account getting much bigger, and no one would argue about a little more money for their physical sacrifices night after night. The WWE is obviously the biggest professional wrestling company in the world, so we’ve decided to take a look at 18 WWE Superstars that are making some big bucks for doing what they love.
#18 John Cena
John Cena has been the top guy in the WWE for over a decade now, and he’s not going away anytime soon. The Massachusetts native currently makes around $9.5 million a year from the WWE, and the athlete makes additional income from various film and TV appearances. You can catch him in Amy Schumer’s latest movie, Trainwreck.
#17 Brock Lesnar
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar is a part-time competitor in the WWE, but he’s getting the full-time pay with his $6 million per year contract. Five months after his WWE debut in 2002, the Minnesota native became the youngest WWE World Champion at the age of 25. A little-known fact about Lesner is he actually tried out to play in the NFL but declined an offer from the European league due to wanting to say in the states with his family.
#16 Seth Rollins
Former World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, became one of the top guys in the WWE with a fantastic run in 2015. In 2014, he started a wrestling school titled The Black and The Brave Wrestling Academy with his former tag team partner Marek Brave. We assume to make some walking around money to add to his yearly salary of $2.4 million.
#15 Triple H
Former World Heavyweight Champion and NXT founder Triple H has been focusing on his new role of Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, and Creative for the WWE. During his career, the future Hall of Famer won 14 World Championships and headlined Wrestlemania seven times. Mr. H does pretty well for himself, making $2.8 million a year.
#14 Randy Orton
Since his debut in 2002, “The Legend Killer” Randy Orton has become one of the most dominant wrestlers in the WWE. Aside from wrestling, then Tennessee native has been seen in the action films 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded and The Condemned 2. I don’t think many people saw those movies, but it doesn’t matter because Orton currently makes $2.7 million a year.
#13 Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns has been one of the most criticized wrestlers in recent years. His constant rise to the top as a babyface has led to many hostile crowds worldwide and a plethora of critics shaking their heads at the situation. Reigns should have stuck to playing football, but at least he is making good money at $2.1 million per year.
#12 The Undertaker
The Undertaker performs one night a year at Wrestlemania, but he still makes a massive paycheck for a 20-minute match. In 2015, the future Hall of Famer held a handful of matches with Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar, who broke his undefeated Wrestlemania streak in 2014. Even for fighting only once per year, The Undertaker is still making $2 million a year.
#11 The Big Show
The Big Show has been with the WWE since 1999 and has the distinction of being the only person to win the WWE, WCW, ECW, and World Heavyweight championships. A title well deserved. While he currently makes $1.5 million a year, the South Carolina native has stated that he will retire from professional wrestling in 2017. Seeing as he’s 44-years-old, that’s probably a good idea.
Whether he dons his mask or rocks the suit and tie, Kane has been a powerful force in the WWE since his memorable debut at the Badd Blood: In Your House PPV in 1997. Aside from wrestling, he had the lead role of Jacob Goodnight in the horror films “See No Evil” and “See No Evil 2.” Kane currently makes $1.3 million per year.
#9 Dean Ambrose
“The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose has been one of the most beloved guys in the WWE since his 2012 debut at the Survivor Series PPV with The Shield. In 2015, he starred in his first film 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown, which also stars “24” actor Roger Cross. Ambrose has done well for himself over his career, making $1.1 million a year.
Nearly six months after his WWE debut in 2009, Sheamus managed to capture his first World Championship against John Cena. Since that moment, the Irish wrestler has become one of the top guys in the company. In 2016, he starred as Rocksteady in the box office hit “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.” He makes $1.55 million a year.
#7 Mark Henry
“The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry made his debut in 1996, and the Texan has been one of the toughest competitors in the business. In 2011, he won his first World Heavyweight Championship and introduced his foes to the Hall of Pain. Henry is one big boy, which means he makes the big bucks. Henry currently makes $965,000 per year.
#6 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has been showing off his abilities in the WWE ring since 2005, and the Cleveland native has earned a plethora of belts, including the World Heavyweight Championship and the Intercontinental Championship. When he’s not wrestling, he’s doing stand-up comedy at clubs across the country. Apparently, he can’t get enough of the stage. Ziggler makes $900,000 a year.
#5 The Miz
In 2010, former reality TV star The Miz became the first Tough Enough competitor to win the WWE World Championship. The Cleveland native has been portraying the role of Jake Carter in “The Marine” film franchise, and he has been making television appearances on “Supernatural”, “Psych”, and “Sirens.” The athlete makes $870,000 per year.
Goldust has been one of the key factors of the popular Attitude Era of the WWE, and the Texan can still go as he nears the age of 50. In 2010, he released his autobiography titled Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness. He must have needed the extra cash after only making a measly $725,000 a year.
#3 Daniel Bryan
Retired professional wrestler, Daniel Bryan, ended his career as one of the most beloved wrestlers to ever step in the WWE ring. While he no longer competes, he still appears on WWE programming as Smackdown’s general manager and the announcer for the Cruiserweight Classic. Though retired, Bryan was able to bring in $700,000 per year.
#2 The Rock
The Rock is one of the biggest wrestlers to step out of the ring and into a vast acting career. He has become the highest paid actor with a $65 million payday in 2015. While he’s become a major movie star, he still shows up to the WWE ring every now and then. He makes $2.9 million per year from the WWE.
#1 Kofi Kingston
Since the formation of the highly popular tag team The New Day back in 2015, Kofi Kingston’s popularity has skyrocketed. At Wrestlemania 32, the team sold the most merch at the event, which means they managed to outsell top guys such as John Cena and Roman Reigns. Kofi currently makes $465,000 a year.
As you can clearly see from the list, many wrestlers make some serious cash for taking a plethora of body slams every night. Some of them, however, managed to make a little extra cash outside of the squared circle with television and movie appearances on their resume. How long until we get another wrestler explode out of the wrestling world like The Rock or John Cena? Only time will tell, but for now, a lot of these athletes are looking to be the best in the business so that they can earn their place in the WWE Hall of Fame one day.