John Cena is a WWE icon turned movie star but Cena’s story in the wrestling industry has much more humble beginnings.
John Cena has put a timeframe on the end of his WWE career as his full focus switches to his movie career and no doubt the riches that Hollywood has to offer. But the start of Cena’s journey had a lot less money on offer than what he might be able to earn now.
Speaking with Logan Paul on the Impaulsive podcast, John Cena discussed the humble beginnings of his wrestling career and revealed just how much his first contract was worth:
There was a moment where I knew there was a possible path, and that was when I got my first contract. I’m very vocal about this, because of the times, it was height of the WCW-WWF wars where everyone was under contract because they didn’t want you going to the other place. It was like the .com war. You have a .com? I’ll buy it. My first contract was for $12,500 a year. I quit my job. I still lived in Los Angeles. I had to operate pretty lean. I didn’t have to, I chose to.
In all the stories I tell, ‘I lived in my car,’ I did that by choice. I had a warm bed and roof over my head in Massachusetts. My dad is the most giving person to his sons, ‘You always have a home here, I’ll always take care of you.’ I wanted to do that. I chose to go through some hardships to be where I’m at. I quit because my philosophy was, ‘This is my job. I’m being paid, I’m a professional. This is my job.
John Cena Eventually Started Making Good Money In WWE
Fortunately for Cena, as he re-signed with WWE, his pay only went up as he progressed through OVW before finally making it onto WWE television:
I will find a way to make it work because someone has bet on me and if I don’t let them down, I can inch forward. I did that. My second contract was for like $25,000. Then, they moved me to Kentucky, and it became $50,000. They moved me to TV and it became $75,000. Then, I ended up signing a better deal and a better deal.
The contracts of Cena’s old rivals CM Punk and Brock Lesnar have been unearthed with details of their pay and conditions when they were part of UFC made public.