Most top competitors would agree that the pay is a major factor in their love for professional wrestling. However, they can also say that when commencing a pro wrestling career, the pay is going to be next to nothing, and it may be quite some time before they earn enough to make a living. Other than a small number of wrestlers, making a living working for one company is nearly impossible outside of WWE.
While thankfully, companies such as Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor have enough financial backing to sign exclusive contracts, many wrestlers spend years of their lives trying to get bookings every week, and they travel thousands of miles a year.
Soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer Teddy Long has explained many times how he clawed and scratched to earn even a single paycheck at the beginning of his journey. From being a roadie to taking wrestler’s robes and jackets during matches, Long has stated that he did not earn any money for the first six months working for a pro wrestling company. Thankfully, he was able to become a part of the ring crew, then a referee and the rest is history.
The Breaking Ground WWE Network special showed us the lives of competitors who spend most of their time in the WWE Performance Center waiting for that opportunity to gain a spot on a NXT live event card and eventually on the NXT weekly show on the network.
One of the things it also showed was certain competitors experiencing a financial increase by signing an NXT contract and then having the ability to buy new homes. Regarding the frequency of how often these NXT stars get paid, Gurvinder Sihra of the Bollywood Boyz recently posted on Facebook as a sign of gratitude for his paycheck (without the amount).
“It was exactly one year ago today we would receive an email which would change our lives/careers forever. A year later, it’s a blessing to see this in my mailbox once a week. Never take it for granted. Earn it.”
As expressed by Sihra, competitors in NXT and the WWE Performance Center get paid weekly from the WWE. This certainly is a great perk for being in the company, at least from the standpoint of NXT.
Cageside Seats reported in 2015 that the top-level NXT talent received six-figure downside guarantees in their contracts, based on information received from PWInsider.
“…over the course of this past summer, WWE upgraded a number of top NXT talents so that they are now making six figure downsides. So, at least the upper-tier of the NXT roster are already making a salary commensurate with their worth to the brand.”
However, this is not for every talent, as the budget for NXT has to be prioritized for trainers such as Matt Bloom, Norman Smiley, Robbie Brookside, Sara Del Ray, Terry Taylor, and Steve Keirn. In addition, fitness and nutrition experts, medical staff, and reimbursement for those who are continuing education.
For NXT competitors, the typical amount for an entry-level competitor is about $25,000, according to WrestleZone. From a weekly pay perspective, TSM Play reported in 2015 that names such as Aiden English, Enzo Amore, and Mojo Rawley made $5,000, names such as Colin Cassady, Kevin Owens, The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder), and Tyler Breeze made $8,000, Sami Zayn received $7,000, and Finn Balor received $9,000.
At the time, higher contracts belonged to Hideo Itami and Jason Jordan at $10,000, Rhyno ($35,000), and Samoa Joe ($30,000).
From these numbers, the pay does not seem very bad at all. However, the caveat is the amount of expenses that WWE talent have to cover for themselves. While everyone will not hit the payscale of John Cena or Brock Lesnar, continuing to build one’s craft and getting the fans behind the character is what ultimately raises the pay, and it is what every competitor should strive for.
[Featured Image By WWE]