Professional Wrestling is a career that has a very wide gap in the pay depending on the level of experience and the promotion in which you are working for. When you begin in the wrestling world and are wrestling matches for promotions, these promotions are likely going to be small and hence the pay for these events is very low and can range from £10 to £25 depending on venue, crowd capacity etc. This a vital step however on the way up the ladder as it is through these promotions that you perfect everything from in ring wrestling to the character that you portray.In ideal world after doing this for a year or two bigger independent promotions may begin to pick you up and start booking you on their shows and these are more highly paid jobs and as more book you or you sign an exclusive deal towards one of these seasoned indie to super indie promotions this could increase to around £5,000 per tapings/month or even match sometimes depending experience and promotion.
From this position higher people begin to recognise talent and this could lead to tryouts to WWE tryouts or more likely being offered a contract for an international wrestling promotion such as Impact Wrestling (F.K.A TNA Wrestling), Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro-Wrestling etc. In these promotions wrestlers are likely to earn a varying salary of between £25,000-£40,000and sometimes up to £1,000,000 depending on which of the three you’re working for and what part of the card you are on.The £1,000,000 earnings in these promotions is very rare but possible as the top star of NJPW,Kazuchika Okada, in 2015 earned $2.2 million(£1.6 million).These types of salaries in these businesses as previously mentioned are very uncommon and these types of salaries are usually reserved for the top stars in the highest grossing wrestling promotion in the world, the WWE. To reach these seven figure sums in the WWE a wrestler must first make its way through the performance center and developmental stage of the WWE. This developmental brand is known as NXT and is pretty much like TNA and ROH etc. however you have an official WWE contract and instead of earning between £25,000-£40,000 they earn between £50,000 and 150,000, with the average coming in at £80,000. When the call is made to move a wrestler to the top brands in Raw and Smackdown the salaries make a massive increase.
On the top brands their is 4 levels of workers:the jobbers(who come in to just to get destroyed in order to get another wrestler over); the lower mid card(people who will make the occasional appearance and usually lose to main eventers and higher mid carders but do still win matches occasionally); the high mid carders (these are the wrestlers who will fight for the lower championships such as the Intercontinental Championship and United States Championship); and finally their is the main eventers (these are the top stars in the WWE and are always around the WWE and Universal Championships but can drop to the lower title if needs be).A jobber on the main roster, such as Curt Hawkins, earns $200,000 (£150,000),the lower mid carders,such as Apollo Crews, earns $300,000(£230,000). The high mid-carders,such as Rusev, earn $800,000 (£610,000).The main eventer and top stars, such as Brock Lesnar or John Cena, earn around $10million (£7.6 million).
These salaries may seem as if they are very high wages however a massive portion of earning is lost through wrestling. This is because of the price to travel around the country to wrestle the matches that you are booked in. This alone can cost a wrestler thousands a year, which some do not earn enough to cover and hence plummet into debt in pursuit of their dream. On top of this the price of a place to stay adds to this expense and is a major reason that many wrestlers live in their cars when they have a show on that day. The price of buying a wrestling attire can become very expensive depending how detailed the attire is and the different elements to it.For example most wrestling tights begin at £80 for plain black ones and this price keeps rising heavily the more customised and complicated the design is, this can result in tights alone coming in at over £250.On top of this every wrestler needs knee pads to protect themselves and a good pair of these can range from around £25-£50 depending on quality and brand. A wrestler will most likely need footwear and these can vary as most footwear can be worn in a wrestling environment however if you were to wear traditional wrestling footwear in wrestling boots these can come in at over £50 for pre-made one colour boots but if custom boots were wanted then these can come in at over £150.
Away from shows a lot of work also has to go in to things such as a good diet, keeping in shape and wrestling training. A good and nutritious diet is very expensive to maintain due to the price of fresh foods compared to frozen foods.In addition to this a wrestler must work hard in the gym and gym memberships do not come in cheap as they can be over £100 per annum if using a reliable and high-end gym. Moreover to training in the gym, training in a wrestling academy is also very important, a good wrestling academy can come in at over £1000 per annum and wrestling training must be done for a year or two before actually having a match and continued afterwards to stay at your peak or to keep improving and hence can be very hard to maintain.