John Cena, Brock Lesnar Headline Forbes' Highest-Paid WWE Superstars

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 31, 2016

WWE 2K15 cover Superstar John Cena attends the WWE 2K15 SummerSlam Confidential Panel at Club Nokia, on Saturday, August 16, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision for 2K/AP Images)
Todd Williamson/Associated Press

As the wrestling world prepares to converge on Dallas for WrestleMania 32 on Sunday, the business of WWE is already a hot topic with the report that John Cena and Brock Lesnar are the company's two highest-paid Superstars. 

According to Forbes, Cena leads all WWE stars in pay with $9.5 million in earnings, followed by Lesnar at $6 million.   

The gap between Cena, Lesnar and everyone else is huge, which also speaks to the lack of star depth currently plaguing WWE.

Top 5 Highest-Paid WWE Superstars
RankWrestlerSalary
1John Cena$9.5 million
2Brock Lesnar$6 million
3Triple H$2.8 million
4Randy Orton$2.7 million
5Seth Rollins$2.4 million
Source: Forbes.com

Cena, who will miss this year's WrestleMania due to injury, remains the gold standard by which all WWE Superstars are measured, as Forbes noted:

Nobody comes close to catching the face that runs the place. Cena not only has the biggest base salary of any weekly performer, but he also blows away the competition when it comes to merchandise sales. Cena's earnings may soon be on the rise as he's begun to follow former colleague Dwayne “The Rock” John into a second act in Hollywood.

The last line about Hollywood is interesting since Cena's big sticking point with The Rock during their feud was his questioning Rock's passion for the business when he left 13 years ago. Some of that was manufactured to promote matches, but it's still fun to think about. 

Cena had a successful turn in movies last year. He was arguably the best part of Trainwreck and was solid in what was essentially a cameo in the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler comedy Sisters. There don't appear to be any plans for him to leave WWE soon, but at 38 years old, he may explore various options whenever his contract runs out.

Lesnar has one of the sweetest deals in sports or entertainment. He only wrestles at a handful of events each year, appears at a few more and gets paid seven figures to show up. 

Triple H comes in third with a salary of $2.8 million, though he has the added bonus of working behind the scenes as the executive vice president of talent. Forbes noted he made $1.1 million for his work as an executive, $1 million as a performer and $700,000 as a bonus.

One surprising name outside the top five is the Undertaker, who earns an estimated $2 million. He's basically become a once-a-year performer at WrestleMania, though he did increase his schedule in 2015 to appear at SummerSlam, Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series as part of his 25th anniversary in WWE. 

Even with Undertaker's very limited schedule, which might include fewer appearances per year than Lesnar, he's still raking in a lot of money. It's no wonder he continues to perform at the age of 51. 

The top 10 WWE earners all made over $1 million, so it's a good time to be in the wrestling business. WrestleMania has fans in a fervor anxiously awaiting the greatest spectacle in sports entertainment, which brings in a lot of money to help WWE keep paying its top talent what it deserves.  

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