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» WrestlingClassics.com Message Board » Professional Wrestling & General Discussion '99-June '07 » Highest paid wrestlers ever

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Author Topic: Highest paid wrestlers ever
elguapo1000%
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I just went through wikipedia website and when I typed Bruiser Brody it stated at one time Brody, in April '85 was the highest paid wrestler in the world at $14,000 a week due to a bidding war between New Japan and All Japan. That number is absolutley phenonominal.

Who could ever ever forget Bret Hart's contract. Vince McMahon even mentioned on Off The Record on TSN that his $3 million dollar contract was the highest in the history of the business. I know during the Monday Night Wars, the numbers got even highr than that one. Stone Cold during his peak was 5.5 million, Vince mentioned this on a TV program.

I'm pretty certain that Hogan was earning 1 million per year in '86 plus endorsements and merchandising sales so I'm wondering where Andre,Dusty,Flair,LOD,Savage all ranked during the mid 80's.

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Frank Koenen from MN
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I think The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and Kurt Angle got some pretty fat contracts.

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Lucky Starr
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INCLUDING merchandise sales and other endorsements, I'd guess it must be Austin or Hogan.

I can't speak for the 50s-60s because I don't really know what was the inflation rate then -vs- today.

Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers and Gorgeous George must be ranked high on the list also.

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The Mississippi Mauler mark II
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I am sure Inoki and Baba have to be up there as well.

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"The best fine producer in our tournament was a guy from Tennessee named Moondog Randy Colley. He'd spent a few years in the WWF as part of the Moondogs tag team and claimed to have invented the leather-clad face-painted gimmick of Demolition, which Vince then stole from him. I liked Demolition better when they were called the Road Warriors anyway.", Chris Jericho from A Lion's Tale

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Dave Meltzer
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Best years ever

Austin $13 million
Rock $10 million
Hogan $8 million (in WCW, best in WWF was $6 million)

Baba always took in most of his income as a promoter. Most I ever heard a Japanese pro wrestler earning was Ogawa at between $3.5 million and $4 million last year, but a lot of that was from fighting and merchandise. Then again, Austin, Rock & Hogan made a large percentage of their big years in merchandise as well.

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oldschool1974
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In WCW the three higest paid wrestlers during their prime and heyday would have to be Sting,Luger,and Goldberg.Not counting Flair because he was there way before it became WCW when it was still owned by The Crocketts and before that even when it was still being called Georgia Championship Wrestling.

But then again Luger was working Georgia when it was still Crockett owned along with Sting back in 87.But Flair goes back even further than them.

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Arn Anderson Fan
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quote:
Originally posted by oldschool1974:
In WCW the three higest paid wrestlers during their prime and heyday would have to be Sting,Luger,and Goldberg.Not counting Flair because he was there way before it became WCW when it was still owned by The Crocketts and before that even when it was still being called Georgia Championship Wrestling.

But then again Luger was working Georgia when it was still Crockett owned along with Sting back in 87.But Flair goes back even further than them.

Umm, call me crazy, but I don't think Luger, Flair (maybe technically as a travelling champion) or Sting were ever in Georgia Championship Wrestling, unless you consider the WCW days, but that wasn't under Crockett.

It trips me out Dave, that Hogan only made $8 Million in WCW in one year, didn't he get like 25% of each gate, plus merchandise, plus a base income? I would have thought that would have negated to much more than $8 Million.

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Dave Meltzer
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Hogan got 25% of the company's PPV gross (43% of the total gross) for every show that he appeared on. He didn't work every PPV.

He got $25,000 for every TV taping and 25% of every house show he worked.

He also had a favorable merchandise deal.

1998 would have been the company's best year so you could chart the buys and figure from there.

His percentages were far higher than Rock or Austin ever got, but their merchandise so far outsold his to the point it's not even in the same solar system.

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JumboShrimp from CA
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Back to the old-school guys, I seem to recall reading one time that Dory Funk Jr. was supposedly making upwards of $150 - $200,000 a year during his run as NWA Champion.

I think it was in the Guiness Book of World Records that Andre the Giant earned $400, 000 in 1974 or 75. I'd be willing to bet that Andre was making anywhere between $200,000 - $500, 000 during the period between 1974 - 1988

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Crimson Mask I
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Guinness is REALLY untrustworthy for wrestling stuff. They also had Lars Anderson as the highest paid wrestler at one point and Ed Lewis' career record as 6000-33.

So long from the Sunshine State!

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elguapo1000%
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Fascinating numbers. I really thought Hogan made more money than Austin because of the incredible nWo run they had during their peak. But I can see how Austin's t-shirt sales went through the roof.

Ogawa highest paid, that's awful, since he sucks in the ring, more power to him I guess.

What about for one night? Didn't Hogan and Andre have the record for the longest time due to the house at Mania III? I would imagine Rock/Austin at the AstroDome broke all exisiting records.

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Someguypassingby
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quote:
Originally posted by JumboShrimp:
Back to the old-school guys, I seem to recall reading one time that Dory Funk Jr. was supposedly making upwards of $150 - $200,000 a year during his run as NWA Champion.

Say Funk pulled down 200K in his first full year as Champ which would be 1970, in todays money that would be in the neighborhood of $1,000,000 in 2005.
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JumboShrimp from CA
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I'm pretty sure I got that figure on Funk's earnings from that book "Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George?" which I believe came out in 1973 or 1974. I never owned a copy, actually borrowed one from the Library several years back. It was an interesting read as it gave away a lot of inside info and had a lot of stats on various wrestlers. I don't remember who authored the book.
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Crimson Mask I
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Joe Jares, whose father was wrestler Frank Jares.
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Dave Meltzer
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I was told by people who would know, that Hogan and Andre got $750,000 apiece for their match. Hogan claims $1.7 million now.

Austin and Rock, I believe, got $1 million. The biggest payoffs for a single match would be Tyson ($3.5 million) and Rodman ($2.25 million I think. I've had the number before but don't remember but it's in that range). Ali really got $1.8 or $2.1 million for Inoki according to court documents when he filed the suit. Hogan probably made $2 million based on his 25% for the Sting match, so for a one night payoff, he beat Austin and Rock's best because of his contract .

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Matt Farmer from WA
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Jim Barnett would brag to all about how he handed out those $750,000 checks to both Hogan and Andre for their WM3 match.

Didn't Ultimate Warrior recieve a million dollar payoff for a PPV match?

As for Brody his $14,000 a week deal in Japan was great for Japan. But in the US Hogan was probably pulling in more than that per week. Maybe Flair had some weeks too. Some of Hogan's opponents were doing very well too. Paul Orndorff for his run with Hogan was said to have made over $20,000 in a weeks period.

Bruno Sammartino was paid $15,000 a week in Australia. Which from what I heard was a good paying territory for it's time.

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markfordibiase
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I recall seeing somewhere that Kevin and Kerry at the peak of WCCW were pulling in 150K a year, if true that would seem like pretty good money for a regional territory.
MFD

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Matt Farmer from WA
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I've heard higher than that!
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elguapo1000%
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Dave, do you know much Ali got for WrestleMania I as the 2nd referee?

Im Mexico I'm guessing Konnan has the record due to his run '93.

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phinney6
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Meltzer:
Best years ever

Austin $13 million
Rock $10 million
Hogan $8 million (in WCW, best in WWF was $6 million)

Baba always took in most of his income as a promoter. Most I ever heard a Japanese pro wrestler earning was Ogawa at between $3.5 million and $4 million last year, but a lot of that was from fighting and merchandise. Then again, Austin, Rock & Hogan made a large percentage of their big years in merchandise as well.

Was 1998 the year that Austin made 13 million? Since it was his break-out year in the wwf imo

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