In addition to the aforementioned JTG/WWE management story, we can exclusively report that numerous other talents in WWE are becoming increasingly frustrated with the balance between what they are paid, what they should be paid, and everything that goes into being a WWE Superstar on the road. Specifically mid-card WWE stars don't like the fact that they are forced to pay for their own travel expenses, all-the-while the pay offs they receive for the live events they are traveling to continues to dwindle. Issues such as health care not being covered by the company, travel expenses being put on the talent, etc. continue to result in morale amongst the wrestlers dropping at a rapid level. As we exclusively noted in our previous post, we have confirmed that Zack Ryder, Santino Marella, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks and MANY others including WWE Divas are very upset with the company right now.
As noted, during WWE's recent tour of Brazil, mid-card wrestlers who used to get $2,000-$4,000 for live events saw a huge decrease as they only received $500 for their work on the other side of the country. After receiving such a small pay off, the talent went back on the road, where they are forced to pay for their own rental cars, hotels, food and other expenses. Talent deals with this as part of the life of a WWE Superstar on the road, but have to deal with ranking issues. They see producers/agents have their travel expenses taken care of while they ride private jets and limousine's to the arena. Stars higher up on the card, such as John Cena, CM Punk and The Big Show have their own personal buses owned by WWE to travel in. Meanwhile, the mid-card and lower-tier talent in the company have to rent cars out-of-pocket, while enduring financial issues stemming from decreasing pay offs by the company. We're told travel for all producers/agents and management (guys who don't even wrestle) is covered by the company while mid-card guys sit in economy/coach during their flights. Economy class, also called coach class, is the lowest travel class of seating in air travel, rail travel, etc. Many feel there is no excuse for this as WWE makes millions of dollars and these are the guys who are on the road 200+ days per year with little time off. They feel they deserve better considering they put their bodies through hell on a weekly basis in order to help the company succeed.
Top talent in the company still receive a substantially higher pay off from live events and merchandise. John Cena for example, earns somewhere north of 40 percent of his merchandise sales, while mid-card stars, who are still top-five/ten merchandise draws such as Zack Ryder, receive south of 10 percent of his merchandise sales. Santino Marella sells a lot of merchandise as well and also makes very little from sales. Ryder and Marella also aren't getting any income from their popular YouTube.com shows.
When WWE travels overseas, conditions for mid-card talent is even worse. When talent gets off the airplane in whatever country they are touring in at a given time, generally there are three buses waiting for the mid-carders that they all have to pack themselves into, unless they want to go into their pocket for a rental car. Many lately haven't been, for fear of spending the extra money to make travel more convenient only to find their pay off from the tour they're working considerably less than what they are accustomed to receiving. A good example of that, again, is the recent tour of Brazil where stars were expecting anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000, only to find out they were receiving $500 for their work. To say many were pissed off at this is an understatement.
The problem is increasing to the point that many in the company are talking more than ever about a union within WWE. Stay tuned to eWN as we will be publishing a lengthy piece on the union issue within WWE in the very near future.