Former WWE Superstar Jim Brunzell was recently a guest on the Pancakes and Powerslams Show hosted by Chris Featherstone, where he discussed his pay with WWE back in the 1980s.
According to the former AWA Tag Team Champion, he was paid between 95 to 110 thousand dollars per year. His pay range was roughly in the middle. Featherstone has noted that past guests informed him their pay on the lower end of the spectrum around that time was $100,000.
While the idea of $100,000 to $110,000 per year sounds fantastic for this time period, much of this was spent on travel, food, medical expenses, and lodging. Given WWE Superstars work such a hefty schedule, money would be used quickly.
Brunzell had the following to say:
“I averaged about 95 to about 110 [thousand]. But we were sort of in the middle… but the pay scale, you had no idea what you were making. Nobody knew. If you happened to be on the undercard with Hulk Hogan, it was gonna be a guaranteed sellout.”
Brunzell also noted that he believes Vince McMahon acquired a lot of talent from competitors such as the AWA and NWA to hurt the competition. He made several promises that he never kept- such as the promise Brunzell and his tag partner B. Brian Blair (known as The Killer Bees) would be WWE Tag Team Champions.
“Vince had a way, outside of huge people like Hulk [Hogan], he had his own idea on who he wanted to create, [and who] he wanted to make a superstar. And if you didn’t conform to exactly what he wanted to do, you just sort of fell by the wayside.
“I’ll give you an example of that. The Ultimate Warrior, Jim Hellwig, came in as a bodybuilder. I don’t think he made any dents wrestling anywhere, [but] Vince liked his persona, big bodybuilder, sort of reckless in the ring, and all of a sudden, he was the heir apparent. God rest his soul, but he was not very skilled and talented in the ring in terms of psychology, ring savvy, or anything.”
What is your reaction to the pay scale? Let us know your thoughts, opinions, and reactions in those comments below.
With H/T to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.