WCW Salaries from Late 90s Released
Fox Sports – A DATABASE of salaries paid to World Championship Wrestling stars from 1996 to 2000 – compiled from data released by Turner as a result of a discrimination lawsuit – recently resurfaced on the Internet, and the numbers are astounding.
WCW tried to make a splash in the business by luring away many of WWE’s (ageing) top stars with huge contracts – but it wasn’t just the guys carrying belts who earned preposterous amounts of money at the time.
Here are five things we found from studying the database (you can check it out here), which was put together by David Bixenspan and Chris Harrington.
1. HULK HOGAN MADE A LOT OF MONEY
This isn’t exactly a surprise, as Hogan was the leader of the NWO and the biggest star in the company, but his total of $13,171,042 million according to the records was $5 million more than anyone else on the roster, and nearly seven times the amount of Ric Flair.
2. MASTER P EARNED $290,000 IN 1999
The No Limit Soldiers were an extension of rapper Master P’s record label and feuded with Curt Hennig’s West Texas Rednecks (who had a theme called “Rap is Crap”). The stunt was a gigantic failure, but Master P got paid.
3. DENNIS RODMAN WAS THE 15TH RICHEST MAN IN WCW
The Bulls legend joined the NWO and faced the team of Karl Malone and Diamond Dallas Paige at Bash at the Beach in 1998. Rodman’s 1999 WCW salary of $1,174,814 was higher than his salary in five of his 11 NBA seasons.
4. SCOTT STEINER ($2.37M) EARNED AS MUCH AS EDDIE GUERRERO & REY MYSTERIO COMBINED ($2.4M)
Both Guerrero and Mysterio would go on to achieve great things in WWE, but their WCW work was superb.
5. CHRIS JERICHO WAS CRIMINALLY UNDERPAID
Jericho had an average salary of $142k from 1996 to 1999. Guys who earned more than Chris Jericho in WCW: Tank Abbott, Disco Inferno, Barbarian.
You can probably spend hours scrolling through the entire list. Unsurprisingly, WCW began losing massive amounts of money as the WWE pulled away in the Monday Night Wars, and Vince McMahon eventually bought the entire promotion for just $3 million.
Other details of Hogan’s mega-deal had emerged earlier. He signed with WCW in 1994 and signed a new deal in 1998, which included a $2 million signing bonus; 15 per cent of pay-per-view sales for each event he wrestled in, with a minimum guaranteed $675,000; 25 per cent of gross ticket sales when wrestling in WCW Nitro, WCW Thunder or an untelevised WCW house show, with a minimum guaranteed $25,000; $20,000 per month just to wear NWO t-shirts on TV and in photo shoots; rights to use his name an image to promote “pasta, pasta restaurants, sandwiches [and] sun tan oil.”
OVERALL WCW PAY TOP 20, 1996 TO MID-2000 (PLUS BEST ANNUAL SALARY)
1. Hulk Hogan $13,171,042 ($4,610,062 – 1999)
2. Bill Goldberg $8,899,460 ($5,191,132 – 1999)
3. Bret Hart $6,754,074 ($2,694,857 – 1998)
4. Randy Savage $6,102,133 ($1,927,932 – 1997)
5. Sting $6,045,809 ($1,969,089 – 2000)
6. Kevin Nash $5,960,868 ($1,864,062 – 2000)
7. Lex Luger $4,753,880 ($1,380,139 – 2000)
8. Scott Hall $4,178,446 ($1,423,194 – 1998)
9. Diamond Dallas Page $3,274,710 ($1,422,028 – 2000)
10. Roddy Piper $2,690,428 ($718,196 – 1999)
11. Scott Steiner $2,371,285 ($853,271 – 2000)
12. Booker T $2,040,285 ($743,747 – 2000)
13. Ric Flair $1,954,313 ($780,259 – 1998)
14. Konnan $1,724,489 ($510,055 – 1999)
15. Dennis Rodman $1,674,814 ($1,174,814 – 1999)
16. Rick Steiner $1,621,087 ($621,263 – 2000)
17. Stevie Ray $1,608,427 ($641,665 – 1999)
18. Sid Vicious $1,525,990 ($892,459 – 2000)
19. Buff Bagwell $$1,381,589 ($407,167 – 2000)
20. Curt Hennig $1,343,802 ($485,595 – 1999)
Holy crap! We knew WCW was stupid but this is just crazy. I mean, Dennis Rodman was 15th on this list? For how many appearances? Good God were they foolish. There are nine guys who made more in this time period than Vince McMahon paid for the whole organization. More astonishing is the fact that Ric Flair was only 13th on this list. While not the only public evidence, this list is a pretty good indicator why this company crashed and burned.