WWE is one of the most money-making endeavors out there, in both sports and traditional television entertainment combined. World Wrestling Entertainment has been around for decades, owned by savvy businessman Vince McMahon. The professional wrestling industry has been able to capitalize not just on the wrestlers’ skills, but perhaps has reached meteoric success because of, and not despite, the pageantry of it all.
The first professional wrestler in modern history was Josef Smejkal way back in 1913 (or, at least, that was the first time the industry began recording wrestlers’ revenues). The first Golden Age in Wrestling began several decades later with a new emphasis on gimmicks and looks, in addition to new wrestling moves – all of which eventually built a billion-dollar industry.
There have been many household names who’ve emerged from the WWE in its relatively short history, each with their own individual persona, bringing attention and money with their unique combination of sports and entertainment. What is perhaps one of the only things the pro-wrestlers on this list have in common is the amount of money they have made from a career in the WWE, along with independent appearances after their retirement from the league.