According to an in-depth report that serves as this week’s cover story for the April 9 Observer Newsletter, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has been working hard to get retired UFC Champion and former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar back into the WWE since the summer of 2010. Reports The Observer:
“Brock Lesnar had been in talks on-and-off with WWE dating back to at least the summer or fall of 2010, with both sides originally trying to put together a match with The Undertaker for last year’s WrestleMania, that when Dana White found out about it, he nixed. While both put on the happy face about it publicly and Lesnar tried to claim there was nothing to it, there were underlying negatives about it, most notably Lesnar feeling he was cost millions in easy money for doing one pro wrestling match. Since that time it was widely expected that Lesnar would eventually return to WWE as soon as his UFC career was over, but only in a very limited capacity.”
As for Brock’s newly minted WWE contract, the Observer states:
“Nobody could confirm that price for this deal, although it was said to be the highest annual guaranteed money contract ever given a WWE wrestler. Top WWE wrestlers were under the impression that nobody works on a guarantee of greater than $1 million per year (confirmed when the company released HHH’s talent contract which had a $1 million annual guarantee), even though top guys often top $2 million and someone like a John Cena does considerably more than that. WWE talent all have a contractual downside, which, as a general rule, is that they are paid with checks based on a percentage of revenue and their position on cards or house shows and PPV events.
The bigger the profit margin (not necessarily the grosses themselves, and as shown by some of the releases of late, even with identical grosses and expenses this year compared to last, payoffs last year to talent did decline so they were paying a lower percentage), the better the talent is paid. They also get quarterly royalty checks. Some wrestlers have deals where they get their downsides pro-rated, in a sense that if their downside is $1 million, then they get $19,230.70 every week and more if their earnings top that at various time periods.
Most get their weekly earnings based on house shows and PPV revenue, and quarterly merchandise checks, and if their total at the end of the year is lower than their downside, they will get paid the difference. Unless someone is injured for a long period of time, or someone who isn’t being used, the vast majority of performers will earn more than their downsides, with the biggest names earning considerably more.”
Lastly, The Observer questions whether or not Brock’s signing will wind up being a boon or a bust for WWE:
“Is he worth that kind of money? To justify it, he has to draw big on PPV, sell merchandise, or single handedly make wrestling cool again so, like happened with him and UFC, that he was able to elevate the entire industry. All of that seems possible this week, but none is certain.
If it doesn’t happen, frustration will set it on Vince’s side, as has happened in the past, feeling he got talked into a bad business deal. And the fact is, the more creative the writing, the greater the chance they have of screwing it up with the writing. If he works four PPV shows in the next year, to justify $5 million then he has to, on average, increase buys on those shows 66,000 each. Given what we’ve seen with Punk and Rock when they seemingly caught fire, I have no doubt he can do so for Mania next year if that was his first match. But that isn’t likely to be.”
You can check out the full in-depth report by subscribing to The Wrestling Observer.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, monday night raw, Raw, the undertaker, vince mcmahon, wrestlemania, WWE
Source: The Wrestling Observer