Who do you think the highest paid WWE wrestlers is? Pro-wrestling is not an easy business by any chance. Superstars put their bodies on the line everytime they step into the ring. Owing to this uncertainty, WWE wages its performers handsomely, and this is the reason its wrestlers have become famous as the highest paid wrestlers all over the world.
Superstars are paid not only for the matches they fight but also from films and endorsement deals they sign outside of the company. Most wrestlers get a base salary along with a 25 percent of merchandise licensing fees, five percent of direct sale profits, and a share of revenues from each WWE event.
The earnings are estimates for the 2017 calendar year and use data compiled from “WWE’s public filings, booking contracts and pay documents as well as interviews with industry insiders.” WWE says that its average wrestler rakes in around $500,000/year, but the following ten performers are the top moneymakers of the last year.
Highest paid WWE wrestlers of 2018
10. Kevin Owens
Earnings: $2 million
Achievements in 2017: Universal Champion (Until March)
The latest inductee on the list, Kevin Owens came in at No.10 position with estimated earnings of $2 million in 2017.
The money doesn’t come as a surprise considering the feuds Owens had last year, a good part of which involved a high-profile rivalry with the McMahons.
KO is one of the most prized possessions of WWE, and with age to his side, the company might be looking to set him up as a more dominating heel in the future.
9. Dean Ambrose
Earnings: $2.2 million
Achievements in 2017: Intercontinental Champion (Till June), RAW Tag-Team Champions (August-November)
Former WWE Champion Dean Ambrose took in around $2.2 million and came in at #9 position.
Currently sidelined due to a triceps injury, Ambrose had a pretty solid 2017 with him claiming a Triple Crown and Grand Slam championship last summer after defeating Cesaro and Sheamus with Seth Rollins at SummerSlam and winning the Tag-team Titles.
The Lunatic Fringe is one of the top fan-favourite performers on the roster, and his return in 2018 is sure to receive huge pops from the crowd.
A potential SHIELD reunion may be on the cards, and for Ambrose, the storyline possibilities are endless.
8. The Undertaker
Earnings: $2.5 million
Arguably the most famous name in the history of pro-wrestling, The Undertaker stood at No. 8 position with estimated earnings of $2.5 million.
Even at 53, Taker is still going strong with only a few appearances fetching him a cheque of this magnitude.
The star power of The Deadman is so high that a single appearance entitles him to a million-dollar figure.
2018 may even be a bigger year for Taker as after squashing John Cena at WrestleMania, his next endeavour includes a casket match with Rusev at The Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia.
With multiple matches ahead, it is safe to say that The Undertaker is set to make far more money than last year.
7. Seth Rollins
Earnings: $2.7 million
Achievements in 2017: Beat Triple H at WrestleMania 33, RAW Tag-Team Champions (August-November, December-January 2018)
With $2.7 million earnings to his name, Seth “Freaking” Rollins enters the list at No. 7 position. After returning from a knee injury and facing Triple H at WrestleMania last year, Rollins has not looked back and became the most consistent performer of 2017.
One of the most loved wrestlers by the WWE fans, Rollins created history in February this year by wrestling for one hour and five minutes, the longest performance in RAW history, and defeating both Roman Reigns and Cena back to back.
After winning the Intercontinental Title and becoming a Grand Slam Champion at WrestleMania 34, things only seem uphill for The KingSlayer, and his earnings only look to get bigger.
6. Randy Orton
Earnings: $2.9 million
Achievements in 2017: WWE Champion (April-May)
Randy Orton earned $2.9 million which puts him at No. 6 position. The 2017 Royal Rumble winner tied for the most pay-per-view appearances last year with 11.
After winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 33, Orton was poised to become the face of SmackDown but had an abrupt end as champion only a month later.
The Apex Predator currently wrestles as an upper mid-carder and recently completed his Grand Slam after winning the US Title at Fastlane.
2018 may be a turning point for Orton as his present babyface stint has become stale and unappealing.
WWE should turn him heel again preferably with the popular gimmick of The Legend Killer. Orton had the best run as a villain, and with an abundance of young talent around, a heel Orton would be best for business.
5. Triple H
Earnings: $3.2 million
Achievements in 2017: Mens 5-on-5 Survivor Series 2017 Winning Team (Monday Night Raw)
Triple H completes the top five with $3.2 million earnings in 2017. The wrestler, who performs double duty as the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for WWE, earned $1.7 million from salary, non-equity incentives and vesting company stock in addition to $1.5 million from his wrestling contract.
One of the biggest names in WWE history, HHH has always tried to put young talent over him.
Be it WrestleMania 32 or 33, WWE has always relied on The 14-time World Champion to have the new breed of performers outshine him at a big stage.
Triple H yet again put over Kurt Angle and the debutant Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 34. As the producer of NXT, he has been instrumental in signing the biggest independent talents to WWE, and the fans love him for the same.
4. AJ Styles
Earnings: $3.5 million
Achievements in 2017: United States Champion (July – October), WWE Champion (November – Present)
Clocking more appearances than any other wrestler last year, the current WWE Champion AJ Styles comes in at No. 4 with $3.5 million earnings in 2017.
Styles had a busy 2017 with two United States and WWE Championship reigns each to his name. Styles created history in Manchester last year when he became the first wrestler to win the WWE title outside of North America.
After selling out shows in independent promotions worldwide, Styles’ run in WWE has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Just two years in the company, he has defeated the who’s who of the business and is one of the top merchandise sellers in WWE today.
There’s no stopping to Styles in 2018 as he successfully defended his title against Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 34.
He has been the face of SmackDown Live for around two years and is arguably the most technically skilled performer in WWE today.
3. Roman Reigns
Earnings: $4.3 million
Achievements in 2017: Defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, Intercontinental Champion (November – January 2018)
Reigns with $4.3 million earnings in 2017 comes in at the No.3 spot. Like Styles, Reigns is also one of the top merchandise sellers in WWE today. Already a Grand Slam Champion in less than six years in the company, Reigns has main-evented countless PPVs and is a multi-time WWE Champion.
From beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 and Cena at No Mercy to having outstanding feuds with Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, and Brock Lesnar, Reigns featured in more WWE events than anyone else.
WWE is adamant about setting up The Big Dog as the face of the company. No wrestler had a better 2017 than Reigns.
If the above statement is anything to go by, 2018 may even turn out to be even bigger for him.
The Big Dog has had strong fan support outside of the United States, and with him scheduled to face Lesnar for the Universal Championship in Saudi Arabia, we may see a new champion at The Greatest Royal Rumble event.
2. Brock Lesnar
Earnings: $6.5 million
Achievements in 2017: Universal Champion (April 2017 – Present)
Lesnar, who held the number one spot last year, fell to #2 place with $6.5 million in earnings in 2017.
The Beast Incarnate has been the Universal Champion since April last year when he defeated Goldberg in a highly anticipated match at WrestleMania 33.
Since then, he has had an undefeated streak which nobody from Reigns to Strowman could break.
Despite making only a few appearances in the year, the star power of Lesnar is immense, and this is the only reason for his huge paycheck.
His matches with Strowman, Joe and Styles were highly appreciated, and his dominant run as a monstrous heel is second to none.
Lesnar has reportedly re-signed a new deal with WWE which only goes to show how attractive and demanding his name is.
With Bobby Lashley making his return to WWE a few weeks ago, the WWE Universe is eagerly waiting for a feud between the two powerhouses.
There’s no doubt that Lesnar and Lashley would steal the show at any PPV or arena if a match between them takes place.
1. John Cena
Earnings: $10 million
Achievements in 2017: WWE Championship (January – February)
Rising one spot from last year, Cena’s earnings for 2017 was $10 million which ranks him at the top position.
Cena has been with the WWE since 2000 and is one of the company’s most popular faces in history.
The Cenation Leader has been the highest merchandise seller for many years, and even after not being a regular performer currently, his popularity among wrestling fans has not dropped a bit.
2017 has not been the best year for Cena with him losing a high-profile match to Reigns at No Mercy, and the torch officially getting passed from one babyface superstar to another.
After getting squashed by The Undertaker at WrestleMania 34, Cena has decided to work a much lighter wrestling schedule and has made a transition to Hollywood.
But it is sure that whenever Cena steps into the ring, thousands of fans rally behind him, and The Cenation Leader becomes an instant crowd attraction.