Vince McMahon might be the chairman and face of the WWE, but he isn’t the highest paid member of the franchise. Despite owning almost 94 percent of the company’s shares, Forbes reports that Triple H — whose real name is Paul Levesque — pulled down more money than McMahon last year.
The King of Kings is gearing up for another showdown at WWE’s most popular event of the year, WrestleMania. The wrestler is under a max contract with a salary of $1 million a year. This is the usual cap for a top WWE star, but Triple H makes more than double his salary in bonuses and shares.
In 2016, Levesque made a little under $1.5 million in bonuses. This extra money came mainly from Triple H’s involvement in merchandise and live events. These bonuses bumped his take home to around $2.5 million.
Levesque also made a lot of money as the executive vice president of Talent, Live Events & Creative. He got paid a base salary of over $600,000 for the position, which is an increase of nearly 5 percent from 2015.
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Last year, Triple H received over $400,000 in extra incentives and 38,507 shares of the company’s stock. If sold today, the shares would pay out $800,000. In total, Levesque has over 66,000 shares in the company, totaling almost $1.4 million. McMahon, meanwhile, does not participate in the company’s stock program.
By the end of the year, Triple H pulled down a cool $3,993,417 while McMahon only made around $3.1 million. According to the Comeback, however, it isn’t surprising that Triple H made more than his boss.
Three executives of the company actually made more than Triple H and McMahon. Most of that money came in the form of stock options, but it helps explain why everyone is making more than the WWE owner. McMahon, now 71, has also been taking a step back from the company and leaving more of the day-to-day operations to Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon.
Not to mention Triple H’s growing influence on the sport. The wrestler has been very active behind the scenes in the past few years. While fans debate the quality of Raw and SmackDown, Triple H helped create and run NXT, WWE’s development league. He’s also had a hand in the U.K. Championship, the Cruiserweight Classic, and the WWE Network.
Although McMahon owns the WWE, he’s slowly passing the reigns to Triple H. This is interesting because Triple H once poked fun at corporate officers like McMahon. That changed, of course, after Triple H married McMahon’s daughter. Given the recent salary revelations, it probably won’t be long before Triple H takes over the show for good.
Meanwhile, Wrestle Zone reports that the company also released the salaries of other executives. Michelle D. Wilson, who works as the chief revenue and marketing officer, took home $4.3 million, while George A. Barrios, Chief Strategy & Financial Officer, earned around $4.3 million. Topping them all was executive producer Kevin Dunn, who pulled down a little over $4.6 million.
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As far as the rest of the McMahon family is concerned, Shane McMahon made $2.5 million and Stephanie was paid $2 million. Shane’s salary in 2016 was for royalties and performances while Stephanie was compensated as an employee and performer.
McMahon has not commented on his salary or the earnings of the other executives. Triple H just made his yearly return to the ring this week for a match against Seth Rollins. He is also expected to make an appearance in the ring for WrestleMania.
WrestleMania 33 is set to premiere on pay-per-view April 2.
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