Every time Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson appears in a World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE) ring he pads his bank account for relatively little work.
Show up, raise an eyebrow, deliver his signature catchphrases, maybe throw a "People's Elbow," and the one-time wrestling champion, now major movie star, earns millions a year. World Wrestling Entertainment does not publish wrestler pay, but The Rock remains one of its biggest stars and merchandise sellers even though he only appears a few times a year.
Of course, working in a wrestling ring has not been Johnson's principle means of income for many years. The star has made the leap to movies in a way that no wrestler before him did. This isn't Hulk Hogan making schlock like Mr. Nanny or even "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's well-regarded performance in They Live, this is arguably the biggest action star in the world appearing in franchises films including Furious 7 and summer tentpoles such as the upcoming earthquake disaster pic San Andreas.
Though he appeared at WrestleMania and still cashes some hefty WWE checks (reported to be about $3.5 million a year) the bulk of Johnson's $52 million in 2014 earnings, according to Forbes, came from his movie paychecks.
How much does "The Rock" get paid?
Compared to making movies and television shows, being a pro wrestler doesn't pay that well. Even the top wrestlers make only a few million a year -- perhaps $5 million or $6 million for stars such as Johnson or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in a successful year. That's partly because the world has only one major wrestling promoter, WWE, which limits performers' leverage. Yes, there are secondary companies, and some players in Japan and Mexico, but they don't do enough business to compete with WWE for talent.
The movie business, however, has no restrictions, and Johnson has made nearly all the right moves. He carved out a high-paying niche by headlining family movies including Tooth Fairy and became part of surefire successes like the ongoing Fast & Furious saga.
That versatility and his varied box office hits have enabled the actor to command as much as $20 million for a starring role, according to The Richest. He doesn't get that for every part, but he reportedly was paid more to join the Fast & Furious franchise, according to GoBankingRates.com.
Johnson also has dabbled in television, producing a number of reality shows and the upcoming HBO series Ballers, in which he also appears. "The Rock's" TV projects have yet to include a hit, so they are not likely major contributors to his net worth
What is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's net worth?
Though estimates vary, sources ranging from OK! Magazine to CelebrityNetWorth.com peg Johnson's fortune at between $125 million and $150 million. That estimate seems a little high given that the star has gone through a divorce, but Johnson's split from Dany Garcia in 2008 was not a typical breakup. The two, who split custody of their child, remain in a business relationship and Garcia did not take any alimony, TMZ reported.
Instead, she remains Johnson's business partner, earning over $700,000 a year as his financial manager and sometimes producing partner. That deal, which is especially rare for high-profile divorces, leaves "The Rock" with most of his fortune intact, making the $125 million-$150 million estimate plausible.
Of course, Johnson has many years of prime earning power ahead and should add to his nest egg, assuming the public continues to smell what "The Rock" is cooking.
Daniel Kline owns shares of Apple and World Wrestling Entertainment,. He has never been mistaken for "The Rock." The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.