"I went broke and lost everything"- 5 WWE Superstars who have publicly revealed their financial struggles
Several WWE Superstars earn millions of dollars every year. Brock Lesnar, for example, reportedly has an annual salary of $12 million. Meanwhile, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns earns $5 million yearly.
Before becoming millionaires, however, several WWE Superstars had financial difficulties. While one multi-time world champion had to sleep in his car because he could not afford to get a place, another and his family got evicted from several houses for failing to pay rent.
Meanwhile, other superstars suffered from financial issues after leaving the company. One revealed that he went broke while trying to pursue another career after departing from the Stamford-based company.
Here are five WWE Superstars who have publicly revealed their financial struggles.
In 2000, Batista signed with WWE. Over the next decade, The Animal became one of the company's top superstars. The 53-year-old won six world championships, among several other titles.
However, Batista left the Stamford-based company to pursue an acting career in 2010. In a Q&A session at the Denver Pop Culture Con, The Animal revealed that he went broke after leaving WWE.
"I was very comfortable. I was making a very good living and I walked out. Then I starved for three years. I went broke and lost everything. I couldn't get a job. I said, 'I will never go back to wrestling until I prove what I set out to prove that I could make it as an actor,'" he said. (H/T: Express.co.uk)
Luckily for Batista, he made it in Hollywood. The Animal is currently a successful actor. The former World Heavyweight Champion starred in several famous movies and TV shows, including Army of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spectre.
#4. Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock)
Before joining WWE in 1996, Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) had a tough childhood, during which he and his family suffered financial problems. Over the past few years, The Great One has opened up several times about his financial struggles growing up.
In a social media post in November 2017, Johnson revealed that his family could not afford Thanksgiving dinner in 1987.
"As my mom pointed out earlier in the day, there was a time back in '87 when we couldn't even afford Thanksgiving dinner and was praying someone would invite us over their house to eat. We were in a tough spot back then, but we got through it. And here we are today. One big, extended, blended, slightly crazy, loving, grateful ohana," he said. (H/T: Yahoo! finance)
In another video he posted on Instagram in 2018, The Great One disclosed that he and his family were evicted from several houses after struggling to pay the rent.
"A lot of you guys know I grew up here in Hawaii with my family where we struggled, man, like a lot of you guys out there struggle to pay the rent, hustled, doing everything we could to get by. You know, this life here, this was never my dream. My dream was that I just didn't want to be evicted anymore. You know you're getting your a** kicked when your rent is due by the week. We had a weekly rent and we couldn't even afford that. Eventually we go kicked off the island, we got evicted," he said. (H/T: CNBC)
Johnson left WWE in 2004 to pursue an acting career. He is currently a Hollywood megastar and one of the highest-paid actors. The 50-year-old's net worth in 2022 is reportedly $800 million.
#3. Brock Lesnar
After excelling in college wrestling, Brock Lesnar joined WWE in 2000. The Beast Incarnate signed the highest rookie contract in the company's history, with a salary of $250,000.
At 21, Lesnar was happy to receive such an offer, which he revealed rescued him from poverty.
"When I got out of college, after I won my NCAA title, I didn't have a lot of options. There aren't a lot of options for an amateur wrestler. You can go to the Olympics or you can become a coach. The bottom line was Vince had $250,000 waiting for me, a contract on the table and I was 21 years old and didn't have a pot to pi** in. Come on! You make the decision!" Lesnar said. (H/T: Bleacher Report)
On his Grilling JR podcast, former WWE executive Jim Ross also revealed that Lesnar was tired of poverty when he signed his $250,000 contract.
"Brock was tired of being broke and I remember he got the biggest rookie contract to that point. I can’t imagine anybody getting more than the 200-250k that we paid Brock to start out with. So he got 250 grand because he was no miss guy," he said. (H/T: EssentiallySports)
#2. WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair
Over the past 51 years, Ric Flair has been married several times. Hence, the 73-year-old Nature Boy went through a few divorces, which left him financially struggling.
In his and Charlotte Flair's book "Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte," the Hall of Famer opened up about his financial issues.
"I got into financial trouble as a result of my costly divorce (from Beth), paying around $20,000 per month in alimony, investment opportunities not panning out, and maintaining a high-profile lifestyle," he wrote.
During an appearance on the Stone Cold Podcast in 2016, Flair revealed that he had to borrow money from Vince McMahon to get through that difficult time.
"When I've had financial woes, through my divorces, he's lent me money. But I've paid him back…One time, I was into him for $800,000. Eight hundred grand. He said, 'I wouldn't lend my kid this kind of money.' But I got my WrestleMania check [from WrestleMania XXIV]…I won't tell you what it was, but it was a lot. Biggest paycheck I ever got in my life, right? 'For Deposit Only.' I handed it right back to [Vince]," Flair said (H/T: Complex).
Flair recently returned to in-ring action after more than a decade of absence. The Nature Boy teamed up with his son-in-law Andrade El Idolo to defeat Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal at an independent event.
#1. John Cena
Before becoming the face of WWE and arguably the greatest superstar in the company's history, John Cena struggled to earn a living. He worked a few different jobs, including being a limousine driver and a fitness trainer.
In an interview with The Sun in 2021, Cena spoke about his financial difficulties after moving to Los Angeles earlier in his life. He disclosed that he could not afford to rent a house while working at a gym in Los Angeles. Hence, he slept in his car.
"I slept in my car for a while, which happened to be a very roomy 1991 Lincoln Town Car. I had my clothes in the trunk and I slept in the back seat. I'd wake up, use the locker rooms and the shower and repeat the process all over again. (...) Dad told me I would be home with my tail between my legs in two weeks. Sure enough, I went through my resources quickly and had to think on my feet. I didn't want to go home crying," Cena said.