I posted a pretty long list of wrestling salaries and just how terrible they were for WWE/NXT. It was very popular so I’m back after digging around to drop some knowledge on just how strange salary determination was in the 80’s and 90’s. Check it out.
Steve Austin’s very first WCW contract in 1991, paid him $75,000 per year. After proving his value he signed one in 1994 for $275,000 per year. It is estimated that he earned over $5 miilion a year in 1998 and 1999. His wife at that time claimed he made ”as much as $12 million per year” from 1998-2001. Steve Austin would be the highest paid wrestler per year if that were true.
Vader earned $625,000 per year in 1993.
Lex Luger pulled in an astounding $500,000 per year as WCW champion in 1991-Feb 1992. Luger made more then $350,000 per year for most of his 1993-1994 run in the WWF. In WCW he commanded a $500,000-a-year range in 1995. His annual WCW rocketed to $750,000 a few years later and hit 1.25 million by 2000.
Big Show took in $1 million a year as a WWF/WWE wrestler. The downside guarantee was $950,000 a year.
Randy Savage earned approx $1 million a year back in 1989. That was an astonishing number unheard of at the time. He matched that ten years later in WCW.
Paul Heyman signed a five-year contract with the WWF/WWE in spring 2001. Which him a basic salary of $250,000 per year with an additional $60K when he was pulling double duty as a manager making a total of $310,000.
Chicago Bull’s star Dennis Rodman took in $1.5 million in 1997 to make several appearances.
Brock Lesnar pulled $250,000 per annum which was the largest developmental deal in company history. Lesnar walked away from a one million dollar deal in 2004 to go the NFL.
Mike Tyson got $3.5 million for his handful of appearances.
Mark Henry signed a ten year deal for $250,000-per-year. He would later regret locking in his salary at so little.
Buff’ Bagwell made upwards of $600,000 per year in WCW in the late 90’s.
Sting back 1992-1993, he was earning $750,000 per year as WCW’s top good guy. He ended up pulling in $1.25 million per year at the end of his run there. In 2005 TNA paid him $500K to compete,
Juventud Guererra made $200,000 per year in WCW.
HHH now earns nearly $2 million base salary as booker and wrestler. He also makes undisclosed amounts of income for other duties – probably burying up and coming wrestlers.
The Ultimate Warrior got $2 million per year in 1991 and received a one-night payoff of $650,000 for his match with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI, in 1998 WCW had to pay him $1 MIL for his salary.
Ric Flair got $700,000 a year as NWA world Champion in 1987-1988. Later in WCW he earned $730,000 per year. Near 2000 he took in $750,000.
WCW paid Jeff Jarrett $425,000 per year.
Booker T was paid a hefty $750K in WCW.
Roddy Piper in WCW got $1.1 million.
Kurt Angle had a $1 milliondownside guarantee in 2006 by WWE. In 2000 he earned $3 million a year.
Bam Bam Bigelow earned in the region of $500,000 as a WWF wrestler in 1995 (the year of his famous Wrestlemania XI match with Lawrence Taylor), $2,0000 per week in ECW from 1997-1998, and $450,000 per year in WCW from 1998-2001.
Trish Stratus got more than $400,000 per year at her peak in the WWE.
Joanie ‘Chyna’ Laurer made over the $1 million mark the year she posed for Playboy.
Kevin Nash booked his way to $1.625 million per year in WCW from 2000-2001. Nash made a downside of $700K in WWE when they signed him.
Vince Russo made $350,000 as booker in 1999.
Chris Benoit signed a $400,000 annual downside guarantee. Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn each recieved $250,000 per year when they jumped ship with Chris in 2000.
Bill Goldberg made $2 million per year in 2001.
Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley were earning $600 per match a piece for ECW in August 1999.
In WCW Bret Hart reportedly was gun shy at first in signing for $2.5 million per year.
Diamond Dallas Page was earning a staggering $1.25 million per year when WCW folded in 2001.
WWE offered Mike Goldberg a three-year contract, worth $500,000 a year, in October 2005 to become the lead announcer on Raw.