AJ Styles is one of those athletes that no one ever questions his ability, dedication, or work ethic. When Styles says that Smackdown is “The house that AJ Styles built”, it is not just a great promo, it’s the truth.
AJ is the Smackdown World Champion because he is the best of the best. In 2017, Styles wrestled more matches than any other WWE superstar with a whopping 169 battles in the squared circle. Being the world champion, one would assume that Styles makes as much or close to what RAW Champion Brock Lesnar makes but that is not the case. Lesnar, by the way, is a part-time wrestler.
In 2017, Lesnar wrestled 13 matches, most of which were short ones. Lesnar has an extremely limited moves list and doesn’t even talk for himself because he has Paul Heyman as a mouthpiece.
In 2017, Lesnar did not tour, did not perform at every pay-per-view, rarely appeared on RAW and wrestled only 13 bouts, but still managed to rake in a whopping $12 million. AJ Styles toured, appeared on almost every episode of Smackdown, performed on pay-per-views and had 169 matches under his belt and made only $2.4 million.
Now, don’t get me wrong $2.4 million is a whole lot of money, but can anyone out there say that Lesnar is $8.6 million more valuable to the WWE than AJ Styles? The answer is no. Heck, Lesnar isn’t there 90% of the time.
Then you have John Cena, who has become a part-timer over the past few years. Cena’s contribution to the WWE over the past three years has been very limited yet he still raked in $9 million from the WWE in 2017.
The Undertaker made a brief appearance in the 2017 Royal Rumble and wrestled Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33 and he made $2 million. While the Undertaker makes millions Bray Wyatt makes $400,000 and the Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos only made $300,000. The pay of all three members of New Day put together doesn’t equal what the Undertaker made in 2017.
It certainly does not seem fair that full-time members of the roster bust their butts all year round to make pennies on the dollar compared to the companies part-timers. It is clear that it has come time for the WWE to re-evaluate the value it puts on those who make it the success it is daily.