“Hey Bro, wanna go in on a used Toyota Yaris with me?”
When somebody regularly entertains live audiences of thousands and appears on TV shows viewed by millions, you generally assume they’re making a pretty decent living. I mean, WWE calls all their wrestlers Superstars, so that must mean even the lower-card guys are raking it in, right? When we hear Scotty 2 Hotty has become a firefighter or Justin Credible is managing an Olive Garden we feel sorry for them, because they’re no longer living that WWE high life, but the reality is, those guys are probably pulling down significantly more in their unglamorous civilian jobs as they did as WWE prelim guys.
Former WWE SUPERSTAR Tyler Reks recently revealed just how tight it can be for guys at the bottom of the WWE ecosystem in an interview with Wrestling Inc…
“Pay was getting crappy when I left, and the guys I’ve talked to now say it’s beyond crappy. I hate to spill my salary on the internet, but when I left I got a bump to $100,000 a year. But a third of it goes to road expenses. The only thing they pay for is your flight. You pay for your own hotel, and car, and food. Could you imagine trying to eat out five times a day? As a body guy, you have to maintain your physique and that means eating five times a day. Spending all your money trying to maintain that? Good luck. Then Uncle Sam takes 20 to 30%. You guys do the math and see how much I walked away with, which was next to nothing. I was making more money fresh out of college as an engineer fresh out of college in an entry level position than being on TV.
That’s gotten worse from what I hear. They do a ton of tours, and some guys would be making $30,000-$40,000 in the day. I went to Europe and I think I brought home $5,000. Then there was one tour I flew overseas and did a ten day tour and made less than $2,000. I made less than $500 a show. The video games are getting worse – guys use to get paid up to $100,000 for being in the video game and now it’s much, much less.”
It should be noted that Reks was actually on the fortunate side when it came to his salary. According to a recently leaked salary list, a lot of lower card guys (think Darren Young or the former members of 3MB) make a mere $70 – 80,000 per year. Take away travel expenses and taxes and these guys aren’t bringing home much above $30,000 per year. Something seems a bit askew when these global entertainers aren’t making much more than bloggers like me who write about their antics.
Now, I’m sure a few of you are gearing up to drop comments about how you support your 10 kids with your night janitor jerb down at the chicken slaughtering plant, so Tyler Reks (who sucked anyways) shouldn’t be complaining about how much money he made, dagnabbit. Well, for one, most guys who make it to WWE bust their asses for years learning their craft – often for a long as it would take a person to earn their masters or doctorate. Second, wrestling is a hard, body-destroying business where you have a very limited window to make money. Hell, your average WWE Superstar is probably racking up more than 30 thousand dollars worth of future medical bills every year they work. Finally, wrestlers are real people with families and kids too, believe it or not.
So yeah, this has been your regular reminder of why you should never, ever get into the wrestling biz, kids. Or just stick to snarking about it in semi-anonymity — that’s an okay gig (cough).