“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That's what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they'll go through the pain no matter what happens.”
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Ultimate Warrior earned in excess of $2 million per year as a WWF headlinerin 1990-1991 (he specifically received a one-night payoff in excess of $650,000 for his match with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI, and a one-night payoff of $550,000 for his bout with Randy Savage at Wrestlemania VII). In order to lure him out of retirement in 1998, WCW had to pay Warrior $1 million upfront.
The Iron Sheik was reputedly offered $100,000 by AWA promoter Verne Gagne to double-cross and legitimately injure Hulk Hogan in thier WWF title match on January 23, 1984 at Madison Square Garden. To preserve his relationship with Vince Mcmahon jr. and Hogan, Sheik declined Gagne’s alleged offer.
Sid ‘Vicious’ Eudy was offered a three-year contract by WCW, worth $400,000 per annum, in early 1991. Eudy rejected the deal and signed a contract with the WWF.
Rick Steamboat turned down a $225,000-per-annum offer from WCW in summer of 1989 and left the company. A man of principle, ‘The Dragon’ felt he was worth closer to $300,000 per year and would not work for less then his asking price.
Leon ‘(Big Van) Vader’ White was one of the top 3 earners in pro wrestling in 1993. That year, he signed a four-year contract with WCW, worth $625,000 per annum, and an eight-match deal with Japan’s wroked shoot UWFI, which paid him a not inconsiderable $25,000 per match.
Lex Luger, another muscle-bound star of the 1980’s, earned $500,000 per year as WCW champion in 1991-Feb 1992. As c0-host of Vince Mcmahon’s short lived World Bodybuilding Federation bodystars programme, also in 1992, Luger earned $350,000 per year. As a wrestler Luger made more then $350,000 per year for most of his 1993-1994 run in the WWF – and earned in the $500,000-a-year range from WCW when he returned to the league on his first episode of Monday Nitro on September 4, 1995. Luger’s annual WCW salary rose to $750,000 a few years later and then leapt to somewhere in the region of 1.25 million by 2000.
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Oregon-based freelance photographer Michael S. Den Beste (aka “Nite4awk“) has created an absolutely wonderful series of photoshopped images that place the classic comic strip characters Calvin and Hobbes into real photographs.