The WWE is one of the biggest companies in the world of sports right now, generating nearly $700 million in revenue last year. As such, some of their top performers are contracted the company with pretty impressive salaries, which they earn from episodes of Monday Night Raw, house shows, merchandising, and pay-per-view events.
The highest-grossing wrestlers in the company may surprise you, though. Some are obvious, as they are the athletes who appear on screen every week and who will have a match in just about every pay-per-view. Others, though, only appear a handful of times a year, yet they are so legendary and are such major draws that they make more in a few nights than the other superstars make all year.
As of July 2016, thanks to reporting from Forbes, Celebrity Net Worth, and more, here are the highest grossing wrestlers in the WWE.
1. John Cena – $9.5 Million
John Cena is arguably the most well-known face behind the WWE right now, and that translates into a pretty hefty salary. Forbes reports that Cena is taking home roughly $9.5 million per year.
In addition, Cena’s net worth is about $35 million, according to Celerity Net Worth. On top of his wrestling salary, Cena brings in some additional income via his acting career, starring in films like The Marine and Fred: The Movie and making cameos in comedies like Trainwreck and Sisters.
He’s been with the WWE since 2001, and Cena doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. He missed a few months of work early in 2016 due to a shoulder injury, but he still showed up at WrestleMania 32, where he teamed up with The Rock. His official return occurred in May, and he actually ended up coming back four months earlier than expected. Most recently, Cena is engaged in a feud with A.J. Styles and The Club.
2. Brock Lesnar – $6 Million
It might be surprising to see Brock Lesnar’s name so high on this list, as he only makes appearances in the WWE every few months. Despite that, he is being paid roughly $6 million a year, and Lesnar’s net worth is reportedly $16 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He is just that good.
After an eight year absence, Lesnar returned to the WWE in 2012, and although he only shows up every now and again, his matches are consistently some of the most significant of the year. At WrestleMania XXX, Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s undefeated streak in one of the biggest wrestling events of 2014, and he has headlined many pay-per-views since then.
Lesnar will be appearing at the upcoming Summerslam pay-per-view, where he will fight a mysterious opponent who has not yet been revealed.
3. Triple H – $2.8 Million
Triple H, after years of performing as a pro-wrestler for the WWE, now works for the company in a more behind-the-scenes capacity, serving as the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, & Creative for the WWE and the senior producer of NXT. He is pulling in about $2.8 million per year.
According to The Richest, Triple H’s net worth is $25 million.
Triple H’s most recent in-ring storyline took place earlier this year, when he was the winner of the 2016 Royal Rumble, defeating Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Triple H held the title for 70 days before it was reclaimed by Roman. WWE fans should expect Triple H to play a major role in the upcoming brand split, especially because many NXT stars will reportedly be joining the main roster. The WWE draft will take place live on SmackDown on July 19th.
4. Randy Orton – $2.7 Million
Randy Orton is currently on hiatus from the WWE due to injury, but he is expected to be returning soon. Orton reportedly makes about $2.7 million with the WWE, although Forbes notes that this is down from $3 million due to the time Orton has missed. Orton’s net worth is roughly $15.5 million.
During an October 2015 match in Chicago, Orton sustained a rather serious shoulder injury, which was exacerbated by the fact that this shoulder had already been injured years earlier. It sounds like his return is right around the corner, though, and he is reportedly going to the WWE Performance Center next week to begin training again. It’s rumored that he could be Brock Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponent, although nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
5. Seth Rollins – $2.4 Million
Coming in behind Orton is another performer who missed a significant amount of time in 2016 due to an unfortunate injury. Seth Rollins is said to rake in about $2.4 million per year with the WWE.
Rollins was forced to take time off from wrestling after he injured his knee during a show in Ireland in November 2015. He had to undergo surgery, and as a result, Rollins vacated his title and it was soon claimed by Roman Reigns. Rollins took back the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank, but his reign didn’t last long, as Dean Ambrose immediately cashed in and stole the belt for himself.
Rollins will be facing both Ambrose and Reigns at Battleground on July 24.