Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 11:23 am
Ever since the WWE went mainstream, we’ve witnessed wrestlers sign some of the biggest wrestling deals in sports entertainment. From television deals to deals and endorsements, the WWE continues to generate a significant amount of revenue despite many businesses taking a hit due to the most recent developments.
While we cannot compare the average annual salary of a professional wrestler to that of NBA or MLB players, it’s still way higher.
Apart from the base salary, WWE wrestlers also receive PPV appearance fees and commissions from merch sales. With the recent introduction of AEW, we definitely expect the WWE to increase the annual salary of its wrestlers if it intends to continue keeping these wrestlers on contract.
Despite the stiff competition from AEW, WWE remains at the apex of professional wrestling, with many of its main event wrestlers earning wages that surpass the $1 million mark.
While wrestlers such as Brock Lesnar remain out of contract, we expect to see them back in the squared circle in the coming days once the WWE receives the green light to allow fans back into the stadiums.
While Brock Lesnar is a part-timer, his value for the company remains intact and this is one of the main reasons why many analysts expect Lesnar to receive a similar contract when he makes his return. That said, let us look at the ten highest-paid wrestlers in the WWE.
10. Sheamus: $1.5 Million
Unlike most wrestlers in the WWE, The Great White is a wrestler who transcended quickly through the ranks, rubbing shoulders with some of WWE’s biggest stars in just a few months after his official WWE debut.
Within his first four years with the company, Sheamus not only managed to win the WWE World Heavyweight title but also the United States title and WWE Championship as well; a feat that very few wrestlers have managed to accomplish.
From the get-go, it was quite clear that Sheamus possessed so much potential to not only become the face of the company but also of the greatest WWE wrestlers of all time. His 7-month reign as the World Heavyweight champion is a true testament to his dominance.
A hardworking wrestler, Sheamus’s impressive mic skills and ability to cut great promos saw him become one of the top talents in the company. In addition to his impressive wrestling skills, Sheamus is also a wrestler who has had very little to no behavioral or backstage issues.
All these things placed Sheamus in good books with the company, which often resulted in better bookings. For quite a long time, Sheamus remained the number 2 babyface in the company, just behind the more favored John Cena.
Although his career ultimately took a dive with the wrestler dropping to the tag team division, Sheamus still remains one of the most valuable wrestlers in the company to date.
Apart from his base salary of $1.5 million, Sheamus also receive plenty of perks and bonuses from PPV appearances and merch sales. The Bar and the Celtic Warrior T-shirts are just but some of the few merchandises that Sheamus receives commissions from.
9. Dolph Ziggler: $1.5 Million
One of the most hardworking wrestlers in the WWE, Dolph Ziggler is a wrestler whose sheer determination and hard work helped him get into the main event scene. For a bigger part of his career, Dolph Ziggler was trapped in the mid-card and tag team divisions.
Ziggler’s first stint with the company was not successful and thus the WWE sent him back to the developmental territories, OVW then FCW.
In 2008, Nemeth (Ziggler) made his re-debut on Monday Night Raw under a new gimmick, Dolph Ziggler. However, a few days later the WWE suspended Ziggler (30 days), for violating the company’s wellness program.
After serving his 30-day suspension, Ziggler came back and several months down the line won the Intercontinental Championship before winning the United States Championship in 2011.
While Dolph Ziggler managed to rise to the main event scene, the highlight of his wrestling career will always be characterized by untapped potential and missed opportunities.
While many people expected him to be a mainstay in WWE’s main event scene, Dolph Ziggler’s WWE career steered to the sidelines, which sort of explains his constant frustrations with the company’s management.
8. Kevin Owens: $2 Million
One of the best all-around performers in the WWE, Kevin Owens is equally as good on the commentary table as he is in the squared circle. If there is a wrestler who has mastered the art of hurling insults at the WWE Universe, commentary team, fellow wrestlers, and the Authority then it has to be KO.
Simply put, KO has the best one-liner in the WWE and it’s clear to see why he is on the top ten list of the highest-paid wrestlers.
Although the WWE mainly promotes KO as a babyface, there have been numerous occasions when he turned heel and it worked well. In many instances, KO was always an authority figure, and thus when he appointed himself as the man to take down Shane McMahon, it came as a surprise to many fans.
This was not only a moment of genius from the WWE creative team but also an angle that many pundits and analysts would not have predicted.
While KO always faced a risk of hurting his standings if he failed to take down Shane, it was still a challenge that he welcomed with open arms. Despite his massive weight, KO is a wrestler who is not afraid of taking death-defying stunts just to put the WWE Universe on its feet.
Apart from getting thrown through the platform, KO has also been on the receiving end of various WWE weapons including tables, kendo sticks, and steel chairs.
7. The Miz: $2.5 Million
Despite playing a corky, self-absorbed heel, The Miz is the 7th highest-paid wrestler in the WWE, with an annual salary of $2.5 million. These huge earnings can mostly be attributed to his veteran status in the company and the years of experience under his belt.
Looking beyond his gimmick, The Miz is clearly a highly talented wrestler, who mainly uses his swiftness to outsmart opponents.
The Miz made his official debut back in 2006, not as a wrestler but as a host. However, a few later, The Miz made his official in-ring debut against Tanaka. The Miz not only won the match but also went to win five consecutive matches in a span of three months.
After spending a few months on Smackdown, the WWE would draft the Miz to ECW, where he picked a new gimmick, dubbed the “Chick Magnet”.
The Miz would later be drafted to Raw and immediately threw himself into the Championship conversation by calling out the absent John Cena. From what we’ve witnessed over the years, many WWE fans tend to get tired when one wrestler simply proves to be too good for other wrestlers and this was the case with Cena.
Cena was not only dominating matches on Raw but was doing it day in day out.
The Miz vs Cena rivalry proved to be a breath of fresh air for many fans. While John Cena ultimately managed to not only beat The Miz but also have him banned from the WWE, the feud proved to the rest of the world, that The Miz definitely had what it takes to be the face of the company.
6. Becky Lynch: 3.1 Million
The Man has played a crucial contribution to the evolution of women’s wrestling. Her in-ring skills, ability to dominate matches, and storytelling capabilities have made her a household name and one of the most respected figures in the women’s division.
While Becky Lunch holds impressive wins against various superstars in the company, her most notable win would come at Wrestlemania 35 where she defeated Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair in a triple threat match.
This win meant that Becky Lynch was now the Raw and Smackdown Women’s champion. Although Becky Lynch holds some impressive wins in her career, everything has not always been smooth for her. For many years, Becky Lynch has always had a somewhat shaky relationship with the Authority.
Apart from being suspended by Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, Becky Lynch was yet again suspended by Vince McMahon, mainly because he did not like her attitude.
Despite everything that was thrown her way, Becky always rose through the rumbles to become one of the top figures in the women’s division.
5. AJ Styles: $3.6 Million
Unlike most wrestlers on this list who were lucky enough to get into WWE’s developmental program, AJ Styles had to first enter the Indie scene. Early in his career, AJ Styles took part in various wrestling promotions such as ROH and TNA.
Despite his massive talent and skills, Styles never got that big break that he truly deserved.
Nonetheless, it was his second return to NJPW that played a crucial role in his evolution as a wrestler. In his second year with the promotion, AJ Styles managed to capture the IWGP title making him the second non-Japanese wrestler to hold the title, after Brock Lesnar.
After spending three years with the company, AJ Styles ultimately left NJPW to sign with the WWE.
With the WWE, AJ Styles proved to be not only talented but also became a crucial figure in the company. Unlike most wrestlers in this list, AJ Styles is a wrestler who uses unorthodox ways to get wins. After spending only two years with the company, AJ Styles was able to lift the WWE Heavyweight Championship title and became a regular main eventer.
4. Seth Rollins: $4 Million
Like Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins is simply a different breed of babyface. The entry of The Shield into the main event scene marked a new era for the WWE, as all the four members took the company to new heights. The main event wrestler, Seth Rollins takes home an annual salary of $4 million and several other perks and bonuses like merch sales commissions and PPV appearances.
While many people might argue that his WWE career has been on a decline, Seth Rollins is still as valuable to the company as ever, giving 110 percent every single day.
At his peak, Seth Rollins was one hell of a wrestler who managed to beat Brock Lesnar on two separate occasions. Very few wrestlers on the WWE roaster have managed to accomplish that feat.
A grand slam champion, Seth Rollins has managed to win everything there is to win in the promotion. Although he was always presented as a babyface by the WWE, Seth ultimately turned heel after receiving criticism from the WWE Universe.
3. Randy Orton: $4.1 Million
One of the longest-serving members of the franchise, Keith Randy Orton is the third highest-paid wrestler in the WWE. Being a main event wrestler, Randy Orton receives a much higher base salary as well as several other additional bonuses such as PPV appearances and commissions from merch sales.
Although he is in his 40’s, Randy Orton is showing no signs that he intends to slow down any time soon.
Moreover, his overall appeal and brand value remain intact. A third general superstar, Randy Orton is the son of renowned wrestler, Bob Orton and the grandson of Bob Orton sr. Alongside John Cena, the two became the face and the backbone of the company during the Ruthless Aggression Era considering many of the familiar faces were now heading into retirement.
Considered to be the youngest ever World Champion (22 years), Randy Orton is a seasoned wrestler, who knows how to deliver outstanding matches.
His mic skills, ability to cut engaging promos, and athleticism saw him rise through the ranks to become a household name and one of the most valuable wrestlers for the company. As a heel, Orton possesses the ability to get underneath the skin of the viewer, something that very few wrestlers today are capable of.
Although it’s all kayfabe, Randy Orton simply knows how to make the WWE universe genuinely hate him.
2. Roman Reigns: $5 Million
Ever since Brock Lesnar took a hiatus from the company, Roman Reigns became the top dog of the company. With Paul Heyman on his corner, we’ve got to see a side of Roman Reigns that we never thought existed. There is hunger and thirst in his eyes to not only be the best but also totally dominate and annihilate his opponents.
From the look of things, his work rate has gone up and he is miles ahead of other superstars on WWE’s roaster.
Currently, Roman Reigns plays the crucial role of being the company’s key player and thus it’s obvious that he is and will continue to be one of the highest-paid wrestlers in the company in the coming months.
Roman Reigns made his official debut back in September 2010 after spending some time in the company’s developmental program.
As the leader of The Shield, the stable reigned havoc on the entire WWE roaster including the company’s leading stars at the time. While many fans did not agree with their tactics, The Shield was able to get their names into the company’s main event scene in no time.
Just like The Four horsewomen, The Shield proved to be a major success for WWE’s creative team as all the wrestlers went ahead to lift the company’s most significant title, the World Heavyweight Championship.
1. Brock Lesnar: $10 Million
While he is currently out of contract with the WWE, Brock Lesnar remains the highest-paid wrestler in the world with an annual salary of $10 million. With the company’s annual revenue taking a dip due to the impact of Coronavirus, many wrestlers had to take a cut.
From the look of things, Brock Lesnar will be back in the WWE once things cool down and the company begins to generate revenue via ticket sales.
For three consecutive years, the former MMA/UFC athlete has been the highest-paid male wrestler in the company due to his immense value and great negotiation skills. For many wrestling fans, Lesnar’s limited television and PPV appearances made little sense looking at his massive salary.
However, the WWE has continued to show that Lesnar plays a crucial role in the company and is one of its key players moving forward.
Although Lesnar is in his 40’s, he has shown no signs of slowing down and only had to take a brief hiatus from the company after the pandemic. Nonetheless, with everything that’s going on around the world, many wrestling analysts and insiders predict that we will get to see Lesnar soon.