WWE WrestleMania: With Disappointment over Payoffs, Is Talent Not Paid Fairly?

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2012

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

One thing that is always of interest to wrestling fans is how well the wrestlers are paid and how that money is distributed. That has become a point of contention over the past week as WWE talent JTG went on a bit of a Twitter rant recently and made note of he and his "locker-room brothers" being "taken advantage of.

It wasn't initially known what JTG was referring to exactly, but according to Dave Meltzer's weekly, subscriber's-only Wrestling Observer Newsletter, under-card workers got paid less than expected after a tour through Central and South America, and they also were paid only $2,000 each for WrestleMania week.

That brings up the question of whether or not talent is being paid fairly in the WWE. Although it isn't really possible to get reliable figures, I have to believe that guys like John Cena, CM Punk and Randy Orton are doing quite well for themselves. Should they have to give up their huge chunk of the financial pie in order to help the low-card wrestlers, though?

It's certainly an interesting issue, but I tend to side with the WWE here. Low-card wrestlers should be paid fairly well since they put in a lot of work and effort, but as is the case with most jobs in this world, the employees (or private contractors in this case) that perform at the highest level and make the company the most money are the ones that get compensated best.

That is why the main eventers make much more than guys like JTG, who is essentially Superstars fodder at this point. The only thing I sympathize with JTG over is the fact that as private contractors, WWE superstars have to pay for their own transportation and boarding when they are on the road.

With that in mind, JTG's $2,000 paycheck may have seemed a tad chintzy to him during WrestleMania week, but he only had to wrestle during fan Axxess; that obviously beats working nine to five. Perhaps the WWE could have been a bit more generous, but it had to pay the part-time guys such as The Rock, The Undertaker and Triple H, all of whom were key when it came to WrestleMania's record-breaking pay-per-view sales.

JTG has to realize that he can't just sit around, maintain the status quo and expect his pay and exposure to go up. He needs to take a page out of Zack Ryder's book, as Ryder was in JTG's position a little over a year ago and looked like prime candidate to get cut from the roster. Ryder created a YouTube show, marketed himself and became a big fan favorite.

That may not seem like a great example now since Ryder has inexplicably been pushed back down the card after winning the United States Championship several months ago, but he made himself relevant and is now easily clear of the potential cut line, so JTG should take some notes and try something similar.

It's easy for JTG to whine and complain, but once he starts drawing like Cena or Punk, then he'll have a viable grievance. There isn't anything special about JTG as he currently stands, so he'll have to hustle and mold himself into something rather than hope and pray that the creative team will figure out something for him to do.

I don't have any inside information on the matter, but even if the writers are telling JTG that they're thinking up something for him, I doubt they are. They have a hard enough time maintaining a few main-event feuds and a clunky mid-card, so there is no chance that they could figure out a compelling angle for an enhancement talent.

JTG's rant did get him on RAW this week—he was squashed by Ryback—so I hope that leads to something positive for him. But that probably won't be the case. If JTG wants to make that money, money, yeah, yeah, then he needs to take matters into his own hands and be more assertive rather than complain about it.


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