Despite being staged, fake, and definitely over the top when it comes to the backstories professional wrestling is a very lucrative industry for those that manage to stay the course and make their way to the top. Those that manage to stay involved for a certain number of years, usually around a decade or more, tend to do very well as they become a common face around the industry whether it's on the independent circuit or in the big leagues, particularly in the WWE. Wrestlers can make massive paydays if they decide to stick around and be a part of the show in one form or another. Of course, some have split from the show and are still rocking a net worth that's quite impressive considering that their run with the company is over.
Here are the 20 richest wrestlers in the world as of 2017 (sorted by Net Worth).
Jeff Hardy - $12 million
Known as a daredevil and the WWE's ultimate risk-taker, Jeff Hardy is the guy that will do what most are simply too afraid to do. His epic matches with his brother Matt at his side against the Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian have made history with their innovative and high-risk maneuver. In fact, some wrestlers have said they're actually nervous to get in the ring with Hardy since they don't always know what kind of high-flying tactic he's going to use.
Eric Bischoff - $12.5 million
He's about as reviled as man can be in the world of sports entertainment. Since his time in WCW, when it was still around, he was the weasel behind the scenes that was out to get anyone that bothered to stand in his way. There wasn't a lot he wouldn't do to get his way, and he had epic clashes with everyone from Hollywood Hogan to Mr. McMahon in his time. While he wasn't a full time wrestler, Bischoff took his fair share of (well deserved) shots in the ring.
Dave Batista - $13 million
During his first run with the company Dave Batista was an absolute beast. When he came in as part of Evolution with Triple H, Randy Orton, and Ric Flair, he was the enforcer, the guy you looked to when you wanted to hurt someone. As time went on he went through a few different stages of character development, becoming the hero, then the heel, then the hero again before he finally bowed out after a match against John Cena. He had a short resurgence in the company but it didn't last long. Lately he's been doing his thing in the movie industry and has been showing that he's got more to offer than his in-ring skills.
Edge - $14 million
The Rated-R superstar is still a fan favorite despite being retired. As of now he helps out with new talent and makes special appearances at shows now and again to the delight of his fans. He was a living legend during his run with the company but unfortunately had to bow out when he injured his neck at some point in his career. He is however one of the youngest members of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Bret Hart - $14 million
The Execution of Excellence, Bret Hart was a guy that knew how to put on a show. He was a huge personality in the ring and is even now a huge personality on the sidelines. Despite the fact that his wrestling career is over he's been helping out with new talent and making his presence known in the company he helped out so much in his younger years. It's safe to say that there might still be a few hard feelings from the past, but overall he's let a lot of it go.
Goldberg - $14 million
Fear the spear. So Goldberg was hotter in WCW, at least he came back for a short while to the WWE. The last time he came to the WWE he was feuding with Triple H, but so little came of that debacle that fans really felt that the WWE had underutilized Goldberg in a very underhanded way. When they brought him back again he feuded with Kevin Owens and Brock Lesnar, destroying them both quickly before Brock finally put the spear to rest. He was a decent wrestler in his time, the operative term being was.
Jeff Jarrett - $15 million
Eventually Jeff Jarrett seemed to rub everyone the wrong way. It might have been his character or how he acted backstage, but one day it just became enough and he left. He went on to co-found Impact Wrestling, and then Global Force Wrestling. He's trying his best to compete with his former company, but at the moment his numbers just can't seem to match up. It's almost like his career in the WWE, sure and steady, but never quite able to hit the big time.
The Undertaker - $17 million
It's kind of surprising that The Undertaker isn't a little higher on the list, but considering that he only shows up once or twice a year any longer it's understandable. He's been in the WWE longer than most of the roster, and has seen and done things that many of the younger stars likely wouldn't do if their paycheck was doubled. That's what makes him the Deadman and the American Bada** though, he was always willing to take things to that extra level.
Shawn Michaels - $17 million
Mr. Wrestlemania was lauded as kind of a jerk in his heyday, but as he got older he mellowed out and became a nice guy. So nice in fact that he's still heavily involved in the company and likes to give advice and pointers to the new faces coming up in the business. The showstopper is the kind of guy you want to listen to just because he's been there and done it.
Mick Foley - $18 million
Have a nice day! Of all his incarnations Mick Foley as Mankind was probably the most revered. Crazy, reckless, always out to entertain the fans at the expense of his own body, he showed the generations following him just what dedication was. And for the generations before him, he was just a nightmare waiting to happen. Seriously, who thinks to dump a sackful of tacks on the mat and then get bodyslammed into them? It's been done since, but Foley made it popular in the most gruesome way possible.
Chris Jericho - $18 million
Don't ever, ever, EVER, forget that despite his somewhat lame gimmicks, Chris Jericho is in fact one of the best wrestlers on the roster as of now. He's getting up there in years and he's been with WWE for a while now, but he's still able to run and gun with the younger talent. It might pay to lose the list of Jericho routine after a while, but at least it gives him a way to keep trash-talking his fellow wrestlers.
Big Show - $20 million
This is the kind of guy you hope knows how to pull his punches, otherwise your entire face might take a sudden shift to one side if he's even a hair off. From what other wrestlers have said though Big Show is actually a very nice guy and has an awesome work ethic. Those big ham-handed punches you see him delivering in the ring? Yeah, just imagine if those were real. You wouldn't be waking up only seconds later to walk up the ramp.
Kurt Angle -$ 25 million
Former Olympian and current Raw general manager Kurt Angle has gone through a number of turns in the company. He even left WWE at one point to go to Impact Wrestling, but obviously had a change of heart and came back. All the fans know is that it's good to have him back, even as a GM. To tell the truth he's a lot more even-handed with his rewards and punishments so far than any other boss. Looking at you Stephanie.
Hulk Hogan - $25 million
This is a long and storied career that many people want to believe shows how the Hulkster shined on like a bright jewel for the company for so long. If that was the case however his sudden decision to make tracks for WCW must have been a bout of temporary, years-long insanity. Once he came back to the WWE he was all used up, faded, and not really worth much any longer except to the diehard fans that still cared about him. With the current scandal he's faced the WWE no longer wants anything to do with him and has cut ties. That certainly hasn't stopped his cash flow though.
Triple H - $40 million
Some would call Triple H power-hungry and opportunistic for getting in good with the boss's daughter before up and marrying her. In a way he's cemented his role in the company just by becoming a part of the McMahon family. He's always been the heel and never apologized for it, but behind the screen he's one of the hardest working individuals in the entire company.
Stephanie McMahon - $45 million
Just like her husband she is reviled, hated, and even jeered as she walks down the ramp. Thankfully the act she wears like a mask is just that, an act. If she was really this horrible it would wind up costing the company money hand over fist considering all the fundraisers and charities that the WWE is involved in. If she lost that kind of revenue it stands to reason that her brother Shane would have a much stronger case to take over the family business when, or if, their father finally retires.
Stone Cold Steve Austin - $50 million
Gimme a hell yeah! The Texas Rattlesnake has been stomping mudholes and walking them dry for so long that it's a wonder there was anyone left to compete with in his time. He's had some of the most epic feuds with The Rock, The Undertaker, and Shawn Michaels that they ought to have their own movie together by now. Having been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Austin is now and forever immortalized in the industry, just as it should be.
John Cena - $55 million
It kind of seems like his time might be coming to a close eventually. Ever since proposing to his girlfriend Nikki Bella, Cena has been making fewer and fewer appearances on the show. Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect is almost always down for a match when he needs to be, but lately it seems that he's slowing down, taking his time, and picking his spots not unlike a few of the older wrestlers on the roster. The last great feud he had was with The Rock in back to back Wrestlemania's, while everything but his 16th title reign has been kind of downplayed by the media and the locker room. His latest feud with the Miz was just plain silly considering that it was kind of one-sided. Cena didn't look like he paid much mind to the Miz during the ordeal.
The Rock - $220 million
Too many wrestlers that have tried to make the leap from the ring to the stage have fizzled out and been lost or forgotten as either a wrestler or an actor. It almost happened to The Rock after a dismal start as The Scorpion King. To be honest the movie got way too much hype and failed to deliver. But The Rock wasn't about to let things stop there, oh no. He showed what determination and a continual evolution of character could do as he came back to the big screen time and again, showing that he could adapt, overcome, and change himself in ways that the fans had never seen before. As of now he's one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, and is free to come and go within the WWE as he pleases. Now does sound good to you? The Rock says....IT DOESN"T MATTER! Oh yeah, just go with it.
Vince McMahon - $1 billion
Like this was much of a surprise. McMahon took something from his father that was already a good idea and made it a great one. Is he shrewd? Is he calculating? Does he demand a lot from his performers and cast? Oh yeah, without a doubt, but that's why he's the billion dollar man, because he has the plan and he knows how to execute it perfectly. Despite his on screen antics, Vince is quite intelligent and has more business savvy in his little finger than a lot of people do in their whole body.
Keep in mind out of all the wrestlers that have ever come along, these few are the ones that have attained the greatest success by being the best. Out of the thousands of athletes that have tried to make their mark, these few have accomplished the amazing feat of being the best in their industry. Kind of impressive really.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker