Based on end-of-year 2015 numbers, the WWE had $658.8 million in revenue, $38.8 million in operating income, $409.1 million in total assets, and $209.3 million in total equity. Majority owner of WWE, Vince McMahon, was reported to have a $1.1 billion net worth back in April 2016, according to Forbes, which helps to prove the sheer size of the entertainment business known as WWE or World Wrestling Entertainment.
John Cena brings young cancer survivor into the ring and shares a special moment with the crowd after @WWE‘s Raw. https://t.co/ia5fNky5Ab
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 6, 2016
In order to build an empire like WWE, the talent is what’s going to keep fans coming back, and the very best are the ones who sustain longevity in the industry and make an absurd amount of money. In order to validate being on the road 12 months out of the year, the salary must be worth it to these athletes, and Heavy recently compiled a list of the highest-paid talent in the WWE.
- John Cena – $9.5 million: Cena is the most popular wrestler in WWE, and he’s always been one of the biggest ambassadors of the company. He’s committed his life to the WWE, which has led to headlining numerous pay-per-views, acting in multiple films in Hollywood, and obtaining a number of endorsement deals on his way to a $35 million net worth, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
- Brock Lesnar – $6 million: Lesnar has worked out a pretty sweet deal with WWE as he gets $6 million per year and only has to appear a few times a year at live shows. He’s even worked it out to be able to return to UFC for this Saturday’s UFC 200 in order to fight Mark Hunt. When you’re as popular as Brock Lesnar, you pretty much have WWE and McMahon wrapped around your finger.
- Triple H – $2.8 million: Although Triple H may only make $2.8 million per year as Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events & Creative for the WWE and the senior producer of NXT, he’s married to McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, and has a net worth of $25 million.
- Randy Orton – $2.7 million: Orton has been out of WWE action since October 2015 after suffering a pretty serious shoulder injury. According to reports, his return could come at any time, but the injury has brought his salary down from a reported $3 million per year. Orton’s net worth still stands at a reported $15.5 million, which is not bad for the 36-year-old.
- Seth Rollins – $2.4 million: Rollins recently returned from a knee injury and was instantly inserted into a large storyline with former Shield members Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. At WWE Battleground, there will be a triple-threat match for the WWE title featuring the three men.
- Roman Reigns – $2.1 million: The WWE has turned Reigns into the newest face of the company, which is what makes his recent 30-day suspension so disheartening. He was finally beginning to gain traction with fans who opposed WWE’s obsession with him, but now he will forfeit around $100,000 in revenue due to the suspension. Reigns is slated to return for the aforementioned triple-threat WWE title match at Battleground.
- The Undertaker – $2 million: Earlier this year, The Undertaker began to become a more regular figure on WWE’s Monday Night Raw, but that was only in preparation for his Wrestlemania 32 match against Shane McMahon. He likely won’t appear again until Wrestlemania 33, but The Undertaker will still rake in about $2 million this year.
- Big Show – $1.5 million: It seems as if Big Show’s career is winding down in the WWE despite his appearance this past Monday Night on Raw. Due to his history with the WWE, Big Show still will rake in over $1 million this year.
- Kane – $1.3 million: Kane has been with WWE since 1992 and has fulfilled multiple roles. He has two different personas known as Demon Kane and Corporate Kane. He’s certainly not as popular as he once was, but still pretty impressive that he’s around after 24 years.
- Dean Ambrose – $1.1 million: Ambrose is the current WWE champion, and as a result, it’s very likely he could bring in slightly more during 2016. He’s helped carry the WWE as the company has dealt with many injuries over the last year.
Obviously, Cena and Lesnar being at the top isn’t surprising, but Triple H only making $2.8 million is pretty surprising. It’s also shocking to see what type of contracts The Undertaker and Big Show still bring in despite having such little impact on the company on a day-to-day basis. It just goes to show what being a successful performer in the WWE can do for careers even in semi-retirement.
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