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Wrestler Salaries - 1998-99 - Mostly WCW  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 07:24 pm
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tamalie
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I went back to old newsletters, mainly the Observer, to see what guys were making in the 1998-99 timeframe. There was very little regarding the WWF, somewhat surprisingly, especially given that the WWF's IPO occurred during this period. At any rate, here's what was found. Any incorrections are from the source material.


- Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Eddie Guerrero got new contracts around January of 1999, reported as three years for $1,350,000 ($400,000, $450,000, $500,000) apiece.

 

- Mikey Whipwreck and Hak (The Sandman) were initally reported as being in the $130,000 to $200,000 per year range. Hak's deal was later confirmed as $245,000 per year for three years, but WCW used a 90 day out cycle to release him in October 1999 when cost cutting was implemented and mass releases, including Whipwreck, and renegotiations of existing deals took place.

 

- Warrior wanted $2,500,000 per year in 1995 when WCW approached him. That money was considered outrageous and was a motivation for creating The Renegade gimmick with the guy getting a more reasonable $150,000 per year.

 

- Davey Boy Smith was making $400,000 per year when cut in April of 1999.

 

- Rick Rude, who had been working for the WWF and ECW without a contract, jumped to WCW in November of 1997 for $300,000 per year for three years from November 1997. He made $315,000 per year in his 1991-1994 stint.

 

- Goldberg was making $800,000 per year in the spring of 1999 as renegotiations occurred. I think he wound up getting something in the $3,000,000 or more per year range.

 

- Shane Douglas wanted $350,000 from the WWF but was told "no way". I'd forgotten they even talked given his bitter departure in late 1995. It wasn't made clear what WCW gave him.

 

- Scott Hall made $30,000 per week in mid 1999 which adds up to $1,600,000 per year, but WCW cut his pay by 50% during his lengthy spell on the shelf that year.

 

- WCW offered Chris Jericho between $425,000 and $500,000 to stay, but he turned them down figuring his WWF downside would be lower, but he'd make more with a push there that WCW wouldn't give him.

 

- It was written that Swoll got a one year deal for $400,000 in mid 1999. Fellow No Limit Soldiers Chase Tatum and Tank also got one year deals for undisclosed terms. All were said to have been eventually released.

 

- $900,000 for Karl Malone, $1,000,000 for Jay Leno, $2,250,000 for Dennis Rodman, $3,500,000 for Mike Tyson, and $200,000 per Nitro appearance for Master P. The Master P thing seems a lot crazier until you count up that he made maybe half a dozen appearances. Then his pay is still dumb, but more in line with the other celebrities.

 

- Jesse Ventura got $350,000 per year from WCW from 1992-1994.

 

- Lanny Poffo was getting $75,000 and wasn't even being used by WCW.

 

- KISS got $500,000 to play two songs on Nitro when The Demon debuted plus additional money for the wrestler's gimmick.

 

- WCW paid Raven $275,000 per year.

 

- Tazz wanted a $450,000 downside from the WWF, while it proposed $200,000. WCW offered more, but he went with the WWF after worrying about not getting pushed in WCW.

 

- Scott Norton got $800,000 per year before his deal either ran out in the fall of 1999 or he was flat out cut via a 90 day out cycle.

 

- Vampiro was getting $350,000 per year, but the contract had 90 day out cycles that WCW executed. WCW wanted him to take $175,000 in a new deal in October 1999, later increased to $200,000 per year with the chance to make money on outside merch, and a promise see about getting some extra money to him after the crisis ended.

 

- Wrath had $350,000 per year until November 1999 when a 90 day review cycle was used to renegotiate him downward.

 

- Stevie Ray got $750,000 per year until November 1999 when a 90 day review cycle was used to renegotiate him downward.

 

- Alicia Webb got $60,000 as of November 1999 to valet for The Maestro.

 

- DDP was getting $1,300,000 as of November of 1999 with two and a half years to go. Apparently with WCW approval, since it wanted to get salaries off the books, he used his contacts with Big Show and Big Bossman to see about WWF interest. The interest was there, but not at a guarantee for that kind of money, so he stayed put.

 

- Tank Abbott was getting $300,000 per year.

 

 

Here is the little I could find about WWF contracts.

 

- Jeff Jarrett made $428,000 in the WWF in 1998 on a $250,000 downside and topped his $350,000 downside in 1999 without an amount being mentioned. However, his WCW salary was not disclosed.

 

- Shawn Michaels, who didn't wrestle between late March of 1998 and late August of 2002, apparently got $780,000 from the WWF for at least part, if not all, of that timeframe.

 

 

And an All Japan tidbit.

 

- Vader was given a deal in mid 1999 calling for $14,950 per week while touring with that promotion and a guarantee that he could work every tour (sometimes certain foreign workers would be left off of tours). However, I'm pretty certain that money only called for the weeks when All Japan was touring. How many weeks would that have accounted for?

Last edited on Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 07:24 pm by tamalie

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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 07:32 pm
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srossi

 

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- Warrior wanted $2,500,000 per year in 1995 when WCW approached him. That money was considered outrageous and was a motivation for creating The Renegade gimmick with the guy getting a more reasonable $150,000 per year.

$150,000 for Renegade is reasonable?  The guy should've gotten $12/hr.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 07:40 pm
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tamalie
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Everything is relative.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 07:44 pm
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srossi

 

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tamalie wrote: Everything is relative.
Yeah, but really he was an unknown indy guy who likely was working a second job when WCW called.  Seriously, you could've gotten him for $50,000 and if he turned it down, 50 guys with similar physiques and experience levels would've lined up to take that opportunity just to be on TV. 



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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 08:17 pm
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Count Grog
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and we wonder why WCW went out of business. none of that is reasonable then or now, not when they didn't draw or sell PPVs at that point their hey day was mid 1990's when they were winning the Monday night wars



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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 08:19 pm
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tamalie
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I get your point, but figure that WCW assumed the Renegade gimmick would take off and they'd be getting off cheaply. Plus, if they gave somebody $50,000 for that spot, as soon as he got some TV time and a push, he'd be looking for the exit door in search of a WWF spot and then WCW would have egg on its face. It was smarter to slightly overpay so the guy had an income that betted matched the spot and there was peace in the valley. Of course, the gimmick wound up being a complete failure and Renegade was overpaid, but the principle made sense and WCW made far worse decisions before and afterward.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 10:47 pm
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kargol



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Six of the first nine names mentioned are now dead.

$800k for Scott Norton boggles the mind. The Master P and Kiss deals were done by someone with a very small brain.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 11:10 pm
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PeteF3

 

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Standard All-Japan schedule was 18-24 weeks a year, so Vader would be earning at least $269,100 from AJPW for a full year's work. Probably closer to 18 by the time he arrived, as business was off from its 1991-92 peak.

Last edited on Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 11:11 pm by PeteF3

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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 11:43 pm
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Super Snott



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I think most of the indy talent WCW was signing before they closed down were making somewhere around the $60,000 range while if you were in WWE developmental ( Memphis Power Pro, Heartland, and OVW ) you were making $1,000 a week, but once you joined the main roster, it went-up double.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 05:53 am
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Think WCW overpaid their *wrestlers*? Michael Buffer (the "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" guy) reportedly has a $25,000 appearance fee. He was on every Nitro and every pay-per-view, so that's 64 appearances a year totaling $1.6 million.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 05:58 am
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srossi

 

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BuddyPSHayes wrote: Think WCW overpaid their *wrestlers*? Michael Buffer (the "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" guy) reportedly has a $25,000 appearance fee. He was on every Nitro and every pay-per-view, so that's 64 appearances a year totaling $1.6 million.
For $1.6 million, I'd learn Dolgorsürengiin Serjbüdee's name.  Buffer couldn't even get Bret Hart's right.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2014 07:57 pm
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tamalie
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Here are some salary figures as of the first quarter of 2001. Any incorrect figures are from the source material, mainly the Observer, but also other newsletters of the day.

- A thirty day suspension of Buff Bagwell in late 2000 for hitting a crew member wound up costing him $45,000. That figure includes more than his base salary which was more in the $375,000 range, guaranteed, per year.

- Mark Madden got a raise $150,000 per year in 2000 after getting promoted to the Nitro announcing team

- As of early 2001, the Observer had the members of Jung Dragons and Three Count making $50,000 to $80,000 per year apiece. However, the manner in which the number was referenced makes it seem apocraphal as opposed to factual

- Vince Russo's deal in the fall of 1999 with WCW was for $500,000 per year. Ed Ferrara made the same or a bit less.

- Kevin Sullivan made $300,000 per year and, insanely due to all the cost cutting going on, it was allowed to roll over for another year in early 2001 even though he wasn't being used in creative or the ring.

- Super Crazy was supposedly offered $85,000 by the WWF. WCW supposedly offered him $750 per week plus $500 extra per appearance, the same as Christopher Daniels and Michael Modest signed for. The plan, at least for Super Crazy, was increase that to $85,000 per year after the Fusient deal closed and things stabilized.

- Crowbar was cut in early 2001 in a 90 day review cycle. He'd made $100,000 per year previously.

- Kevin Nash had a guaranteed deal for $1,625,000 ending in early 2002

- Sting was getting close to $2,000,000 per year guaranteed.

- Booker T was getting $750,000 per year guaranteed.

- Bill Goldberg was said to be making $2,000,000 per year with two and a half years to go. Goldberg was owed about $6,000,000 in all at the time WCW closed. I’ve also heard it was $2,200,000 and increasing each year to make a total greater than $6,000,000. It could be a false memory. I need to find the relevant newsletter, if it exists.

- When WCW closed, Ric Flair was getting a guaranteed $800,000 per year with two years to go

- Konnan had his contract reworked in a cost savings measure by WCW and that allowed him to still get paid while working outside dates Mexico and WWC (WCW had cut way back on shows by the fall of 2000). This enabled him to double dip after WCW closed when most with guaranteed deals could not.

- Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio Jr., and Chris Kanyon each made "in excess of $300,000 per year", guaranteed.

- Lance Storm and Mike Awesome each made $200,000 per year with 90 day review cycles.

- Legal action stemming from Owen Hart's death, revealed the following. Owen Hart got $30,000 in 1988 (four and a half months), $56,000 in 1989 (about six months), $311,000 in 1996 with a $250,000 downside, $285,000 in 1997 with a $250,000 downside, and $537,000 in 1998 with $400,000 downside. No other years were shown.

- Tajiri and Jerry Lynn each received $125,000 per year downsides for three years from the WWF after ECW collapsed.

- The WWF gave a $100,000 downside to Rhyno for three years with a company option for a fourth. Looking at what Tajiri and Lynn got, and Tajiri was initially pegged in reports at $100,000, it makes me think Rhyno may have received more.

When ECW filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it owed money to the following wrestlers, most of it uncollectible.

Rob Van Dam - $150,000
Tommy Dreamer - $100,000
Joey Styles - $50,480
Rhino - $50,000
Shane Douglas - $48,400
Francine - $47,275
Roadkill - $21,250
Don Callis - $12,000
Dawn Marie - $9,000
Tajiri - $5,000
Super Crazy - $5,000

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