Former-WWE United States Champion Ryback talked about the minutiae of how WWE pays its Superstars. Ryback talked about the difference between his WrestleMania 29 payout, and his WrestleMania 30 payout, and how WWE Superstar pay changed in the WWE Network Era.
According to Ryback, “pay went down drastically” when the Network debuted.
Transcription via Erich Pilcher at Wrestling INC.
“My first WrestleMania against Mark Henry I was paid $70-$74 thousand range, which by far was my highest payday for a single wrestling match,” Ryback said. “I just remember I was in the main event right off the bat and my paydays were, what I considered anyway, to be great. But, I had nothing to compare it to. The next year in the tag with RybAxel (first WrestleMania on the network) I believe I made $35 thousand, it was my lowest pay-per-view pay of the year and I was never told why.”
Ryback also talked about how current WWE superstars don’t have the leverage of a Brock Lesnar.
“The thing is a $30 t-shirt they are selling, you’re making a dollar or under a dollar a shirt, somewhere in that vicinity. Wrestlers, as independent contractors should be able to negotiate. WWE will say anyone can negotiate, I can tell you first hand that if you do that, you’re not going to make any money and you’re not going to be used. So, everybody signs the contract and just goes along with it because that is what everyone else has done.”
Finally, Ryback addressed the situation with Lars Sullivan, and his $100,000 fine for a history of racist & misogynistic forum posts.
“It is unfortunate for Lars, I’m not defending him at all. He probably shouldn’t even be there with everything going on mentally and how that place is, WWE that’s great you’re going to fine him, but that money best not be going back to the WWE. I would publicly like to see them pick a charity, maybe something in a mental health capacity, social media behavior, something that will benefit other people from him learning this lesson, rather than them just keeping this money. I do not know if they have made mention of that or not. But I would hope as a company, if you fine this talent, you sure as hell do something good with the money.”