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Indy pay

How much do indy guys get paid? I've been to a handful of shows, and the tickets usually cost between 10 -20 dollars (US) . Even Chikara is only charging like 70 for ringside at King of Trios, which as far as I know is the biggest US indy show. 

So your typical VFW hall indy, lets say 500 guys (generous estimate in a lot of cases)  pay 15 bucks each to get in (again generous) and 10 bucks on beer. Xtreme Danger Warfare Wrestling then has to pay the VFW rental fee, ring crew (though it's often wrestlers) the ring itself, the athletic commission or whatever, and Honky Tonk Man.
How much can they possibly pay the guy that jobs to Honky Tonk? And then how much is the "world" champion getting? I shudder to think what the curtain jerkers make.  Sometimes I'll talk to these guys when business at their gimmick table is slow, and some of them drive HOURS to fall on concrete while hillbillies chant "faggot" at them. How is anyone, even the promoter, making money at these things? TNA has TV and their problems are well known. ROH is I guess owned by the TV syndicate so I guess there's that, and I know Chikara and I guess CZW and some of the NWAs have DVDs for sale but those DVDs aren't outselling Avengers unless I'm very mistaken.
I guess my question is just how can you and a buddy go see live wrestling, often times fairly well done, for less than it would cost to go see a movie without someone somewhere losing his shirt? Do the guys take low pay and hope they make it up with T-shirts and 8X10s? Because from what I see the only vendor making any money is the guy selling Daniel Bryan shirts and JAKKS WWE figures.

​Yeah, the indy guys I know generally take ridiculously low pay and as you say, hope to make it up with merch later.  I've heard of guys working for gas money or $20 sometimes, because really they're hoping for a shot at WWE.  Guys with name value like Honky can typically make a pretty good living, though, sometimes getting upwards of $1000 for an appearance.  That's why indy guys used to fall over themselves to work as jobbers on WWF TV in the 80s, because they'd make a guaranteed $500 per night and have exposure on TV that they could often translate into bigger indy payoffs.  Also, and I know this is a shock, not all wrestling promoters are on the up-and-up with gate receipts and payouts.  ​


  1. Plenty of dudes work for free just to get ring time in front of a crowd. I can't see most of these guys making more than 20-50 bucks other than the name indy guys.

  2. I barely pay attention to NXT (hell I barely pay attention to Raw these days) but I don't see what the endgame with them is.

    Given their size they can't push them as a monster team. Golddust is bigger than both of them and they'd be dwarfed by Show/Henry and the Wyatts, and whichever one is the big one isn't much bigger than Ryback and certainly less muscular.

    Even if you give them the best mouthpiece you can find, in 6 months they'll just be the new Rybaxel stuck in endless feuds with another team miles away from the titles. If the options are give them a try or cut them I say just cut bait and move on.

  3. Didn't you play EWR? It's all about getting as many sponsors as possible involved with your promotion. Also I assume the indy companies have to pay for road agents, otherwise their backstage area must be chaotic.

  4. Have them wrestle in a smaller ring, exclusively against minis and just hope nobody notices.

    "These guys are huge, Maggle!"

  5. This is why a lot of indie wrestlers in their 20s and 30s retire when it becomes clear they have no chance of getting signed by the WWE.

  6. "They're garbage in the ring, their mannerisms are embarrassingly
    self-serious, and they look like an HBO Real Sex episode of aging
    S&M fetishists."

    That sounds right down Vince's alley to me

  7. I look forward to the Raw skit where their S&M play goes too far as Viktor's dentures fall out and he can't say the safe word.

  8. I always figured these guys made like $10 or 20 a show, and that the ring crew was the wrestlers.

    And 500 people seems pretty high based on my YouTube indy exposure.

  9. I wouldn't call king of trios the biggest indy show.

    Not by a long shot

  10. I've always tried to figure out how people made money in the territory days. We're still talking 10 dollar tickets to shows that can be more than 1,000 on the average night.

  11. I think plenty of territory guys were making only enough to split gas and a motel room, and get stinking drunk every night too.


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