On February 23rd, Stephanie McMahon tweeted the following: “Thank you @PattyArquette for having the courage to fight for #WomensRights on such a grand platform. #UseYourVoice.” This was accompanied by a photo of Arquette with text reading “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States Of America.” In response the next day, AJ Lee tweeted to Stephanie “Your female wrestlers have record selling merchandise & have starred in the highest rated segment of the show several times, and yet they receive a fraction of the wages & screen time of the majority of the male roster. #UseYourVoice.” Stephanie replied with “Thank you @WWEAJLee, I appreciate your opinion. #UseYourVoice.”
This exchange came at a time where #GiveDivasAChance was trending on Twitter, following a match between the Bella twins, Emma and Paige that lasted all of 17 seconds on Raw. While some speculate that this is a work, attempting to build a match between AJ and Stephanie for WrestleMania, there is no proof that is the case. This is likely nothing more than our former Divas champion having the balls to call out Steph on her hypocrisy. Despite Steph’s polite response, word is she was furious about AJ’s comments and felt totally blindsided by it. Backstage rumors say Vince McMahon ordered Stephanie to respond in the manner she did in order to kill controversy and reduce the online talk about this issue.
The #GiveDivasAChance movement was in direct response to the time issue, which is an easy enough fix if WWE wants to address it. No one wants (or needs) to see a ten minute match involving Eva Marie, Cameron, or Emma dancing around, but we could get one featuring Naomi, AJ, or another of the more athletic and experienced women on the roster. We also desperately need better promos involving the women. The godawful dinner date skit featuring Natalya and Naomi was almost as cringe-worthy as Summer Rae and Layla having cat litter and milk dumped on them. The Divas need to be treated as athletes that are capable of being more than a sex symbol or as comic relief. They need to address the fact that a “Better Than Divas” chant breaks out EVERY TIME the TNA Knockouts have a match, because those ladies are allowed to go for it. Why not do the same in the WWE? UFC markets Ronda Rousey as a bad ass; even if you’ve never seen her fight, you believe she can kick ass. Why not do the same for the Divas?
Nikki Bella recently spoke out at the Indianapolis Comic Con, stating, “If I was in NXT, I would not want to come up to the main roster because you get so much time down there. If you come to the live events, you’ll see we get a lot of time. When it comes to TV, we get so frustrated because it’s hard to tell a story in 3 minutes, especially when they want an entrance. We want time to wrestle. Especially after watching NXT Rival pay-per-view and seeing them go 20 minutes, it’s like a dream. It’s something we’d love and we’re trying so hard to get more time. There’s a three hour Raw and you can’t give more time to the Divas? But, hopefully in the future.” In a recent interview, Paige stated, “A lot of us could be better than the guys if we get the time. In NXT you do. I feel like a lot of people tune into NXT just to watch the women because they literally kick ass.”
In NXT, the women are reported to make more than the men, as so many of the male performers come from an indie background and are willing to accept a lower pay rate just to be part of the WWE in the hopes of being pushed to the main roster. Females make an average of over $50,000 annually while men make closer to $45,000, the official reason being the women need more pay for “their upkeep.” Raises were given when NXT moved to Orlando though, jumping to $52,000 annually, but starting salaries are said to be around $25,000 a year. On the main roster, the Divas are paid significantly less than the men, but they also are not generally as big of a draw as the male athletes. The Bellas and John Cena are both top merchandise sellers right now, but there is no way the women compare to the golden boy when it comes to merch, fan reaction, or draw. In that case, it does make sense to pay them less. AJ called for change and I hope it happens. A serious effort needs to be poured into the Divas division, which should lead to better storylines, more developed characters, more screen time, and then higher salaries and bonuses for the women who deserve it.
With a little help from Google, I was able to pull the following salaries for current and former WWE employees. Take a look for yourself and decide whether or not the pay rates are fair and balanced. Keep in mind these figures reflect the amount offered at the time the contract was signed and may not include bonuses, so certain numbers may seem off considering the new popularity or fall of certain stars. In my opinion, there are some glaring offenses in this list. Take a look and leave your own opinion in the comments below.
Jinder Mahal (prior to release) and Booker T – $72,000 annually, with Booker receiving first class travel, accommodations, and bonuses from his Legends contract.
Cameron, Hornswoggle, Summer Rae, El Torito, Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler – $90,000 to $110,000 annually, with Lawler receiving first class travel and accommodations.
TNA Comparison: Mickie James – $177,000 annually with merchandise bonus in 2013.
Rosa Mendes and Eva Marie – $230,000 and $240,000 annually.
Paige, Dean Ambrose, Diego (of Los Matadores) and Damien Sandow – $290,000 annually.
The Usos, Brodus Clay (prior to release) and Natalya – $300,000 annually.
Nikki and Brie Bella – $310,000 and $280,000 annually.
Adam Rose – $310,000 annually.
Bo Dallas, Mickie James (prior to leaving WWE) and AJ Lee- $320,000 annually.
TNA Comparison: AJ Styles – $350,000 annually in 2013, not including merchandise and bonuses.
Bray Wyatt, Heath Slater, and Curtis Axel – $400,000 annually.
Big E, R-Truth, Goldust, Luke Harper, and Lita (prior to retirement)- $420,000 annually.
Ryback and Zack Ryder – $550,000 annually, with Ryder receiving an additional 1.5% bonus on merchandise sales.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns – $800,000 and $780,000 annually.
Mark Henry – $877,000 annually, including first class travel expenses.
Kane and Dolph Ziggler- $900,000 annually, including first class travel and accommodation expenses (figure is an average; some reports have Kane over $1 million and Dolph as low as $500,000).
The Great Khali – before his release, $974,000 annually, travel and accommodations are not paid by WWE.
Rey Mysterio – $985,000 annually, including first class travel and additional 4% bonus on merchandise sales.
TNA Comparison: Kurt Angle – $1 million annually at last report, prior to Impact’s switch to pre-taped shows and Destination America.
Sheamus – $1.2 million annually, including first class travel.
Big Show and Alberto Del Rio (prior to release) – $1.5 million annually, including first class travel and a personal tour bus (for Show).
CM Punk – before his departure, $1.7 million annually, plus first class travel, personal tour bus, and additional 3.25% bonus on merchandise sales.
Triple H, Daniel Bryan and The Undertaker – $2 million annually, fluctuating upwards depending on the source, with Bryan receiving a winning bonus.
Randy Orton – $2.9 million annually, plus first class travel, personal tour bus, and additional 2.2% bonus on merchandise sales.
Brock Lesnar – $3.1 million annually, though some sources put him down to $2 million and some as high as $5 million.
John Cena – $3.5 million annually, first class travel with private jet access, paid accommodations, additional 6.25% bonus on merchandise sales.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker