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Ryback suggests egalitarian pay structure for wrestlers


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#1 Loss

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 07:25 PM

Seems like good fodder for discussion here.

 

http://thebigguyryba...26/feed-me-more

 

I'll quote the part that I think is relevant:

 

Wrestling is pre determined, we as performers know before we go out to that ring or perform a backstage scene who is winning and losing etc or have a general idea of what we are going to say. It blows my mind how in a sport which is pre determined from a company standpoint winners are paid so much more than the losers. Every single person who works for WWE from top to bottom is absolutely just as valuable as the next. The winners cannot win unless the losers go out there and agree to lose to them.

 

It blows my mind that in this day and age though we still adhere to this formula. Obviously things have always been this way, but does that make them right? Times have changed and our goal as humans should be to evolve and learn from our past and the past of others so we could make this world a better place. Why is it a guy who is told he is going to go out and lose and does everything he is told be paid not only less, but much less than said winner over a period of time. Every single performer for WWE sacrifices the same amount of time from home and their families and every single man or women goes out and does what they are told. Looking at this formula though losers turn into what fans like to call jobbers and their value decreases in the companies eyes and before you know it they get released. For what? For doing exactly as they are told!

 

Why not pay the talent equally? The winners have more MERCH as it is or are supposed to anyways so they get that extra perk, but why make the guy who is told to and agrees to lose earn less and sacrifice spots in big pay per view match ups etc. This is one of the major problems with wrestling and WWE today. Most guys take great satisfaction in helping making other talent, the bitching and the moaning we always hear about stems from the fact they know they are ultimately over time going to make less and live in fear of being released.

 

I'd like to set aside the issue of realistically implementing something like this and instead simply focus on the merits of the argument. Do you think he's right?



#2 WingedEagle

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 07:46 PM

He's right in certain countries.  Competition is kind of important. 



#3 Beast

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 08:24 PM

I don't know about all of it, but there is something to be said about guys who get over, but don't get pushed so they don't get higher wages.

 

I'm thinking specifically of wrestlers like Ryder or Sandow who connected with the crowd at various points, but the company decided they weren't what they wanted in top wrestlers. I'd assume their salaries are/were in the lower half of the roster.

 

He's also right that it "takes two to tango" and have an entertaining match, but I don't think automatically means everyone has to make the same. But a Heath Slater shouldn't be making a couple hundred thousand or more less than a Miz because of placement on the card. Frankly if the brand is the draw now, no one other than the biggest names should be getting 2 or 3x more than other midcarders.



#4 kaufman316

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 12:16 AM

To recap: with houses down and PPV increasingly irrelevant, it's mattering less and less how well you do if you're not chosen to receive a rocket push since it won't affect your paycheque or card placement - "the brand is the draw" and the Brass Ring is clearly mythical.  And of course, the downside payout for lower-carders is increasingly undervalued given the cost of travel, insurance, etc. remaining constant.

 

I think Ryback's arguement has some merit, but if wealth is wholly flattened out it may strip those who do overachieve of their desire to excel...then again, he might argue that most of the roster is at that point already.  By the same token, no other sports or entertainment industry (that I know of) pays all its workers equal wages, but the successful ones have paid enough to everyone to keep even the bottom-tier folks happy - I get the impression that this isn't happening for everyone in today's WWE.

 

Basically, I think a lot of it is that guys are being hosed on the Network residuals, or lack thereof - Punk brought this up before he left, and he's probably not the only one.  A flat fee structure for appearing on a Network video would be simple enough to pro-rate, and top guys would make more in their downside and in merch.  

 

Failing that...given WWE's television presence it would be simplest if the workers were made members of the Screen Actors Guild, as that would compensate some gaps inherent with their status as Independent Contractors (sic).



#5 anarchistxx

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 04:52 AM

Ryback's argument seems pretty misguided to me. Saying 'the people who lose matches get paid less' is very reductive, because the reason they are losing is that they are seen as lower card talent who are less important to the company/brand and therefore should be paid less. They aren't getting paid less because they are losing - in a sense they are losing because they are paid less.

 

WWE pay structure rewards those workers whom the management think are the most important to the company, the most valuable. It figures that those workers will be booked to win more often, to stay strong. I'm sure Ryback wasn't moaning about enhancement talent earning less than him when he was on top of the card going through jobbers every week.

 

Does John Cena get paid more because he wins a lot of matches? No. He gets paid more because the company values him as their top star.

 

Ryback might be right in that some people are getting paid more than they deserve and some people are getting paid less than they deserve. But it certainly isn't for the reasons he articulates, and it is also something that happens in every company in the world, because of all the variables than are involved.

 

Equal pay will not work because in wrestling the contributions are unequal. Wrestlers should be paid based on how much revenue they bring into the organisation.



#6 GOTNW

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 05:34 AM

 

But a Heath Slater shouldn't be making a couple hundred thousand or more less than a Miz because of placement on the card.

Why? Miz is a better worker than him, better promo than him and actually draws real heat in 2016. Miz should absolutely make more money than him. Only reason Slater still has a job is because he's supposedly safe and really good at bumping and jobbing.



#7 Beast

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 06:47 AM

 

 

But a Heath Slater shouldn't be making a couple hundred thousand or more less than a Miz because of placement on the card.

Why? Miz is a better worker than him, better promo than him and actually draws real heat in 2016. Miz should absolutely make more money than him. Only reason Slater still has a job is because he's supposedly safe and really good at bumping and jobbing.

 

 

Thus, Slater is important to the company. They've made him the mouthpiece of multiple factions that fulfill a specific role and make other wrestlers look good.

 

Slater has drawn fan reactions in all of his lower card gimmicks much like Sandow. But he's been slotted as a low card guy and will likely never get a chance to earn bigger money despite good at his job.

 

And Miz gets chance after chance to be at least at the IC level despite not being a business changer in the least. It's been ten years since he was called up and I couldn't use all my fingers to count how many memorable moments or matches he's had.

 

And I didn't say Slater shouldn't be paid less, I said it shouldn't be far less.

 

And he's just one example.

 

The big picture isn't "everyone should make the same", it's WWE underpays much of its roster through low salaries or at least by not picking up hotel and rental car costs. 



#8 GOTNW

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 06:52 AM

Slater has never gotten over to the extent Sandow has.  His reward for being good at the role he is good at is his employment. If Vince's opinion is that it's much harder to find stars than wrestlers who can bump around without hurting anyone, well, I'm not gonna argue with that.



#9 Beast

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 06:55 AM

Yeah, I'm not going to use Slater as my hill to die on since Sandow is a much better example.

 

I'm waiting to see if he does any post-release shoot interviews because that whole situation really bothers me. I totally forgot he was a Money In The Bank winner at one point.



#10 fakeplastictrees

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 10:03 AM

Would a pay tier system work for WWE workers? Would that make Ryback happy? A pay tier that would add 'benefits' to lower card workers that would allow for them to keep more of their check instead of it going to travel, hotel, food, etc.

 

In this fantasy pay tier system guys like Slater, Ryback, Ryder, Swagger, etc. will be paid something like (and I am totally pulling this out-of-my-ass) 100,000 flat. However, the company will take care of ALL TRAVEL arrangements, gym membership fees, and provide a monthly stipend for food and ring gear. In addition these guys will get a bigger percentage of sold merch and get a little bit more time off compared to the top guys. That MIGHT satisfy some people, but what happens when someone like Ryder is clearing 150,000K a year based off this system and still wants that JOHN CENA MONEY? This would require WWE to include some 'advancement system'.

 

The 'advancement system' would be set guidelines and marks a performer will NEED TO HIT before moving up to a different tier. This is problematic because unlike a traditional job, how is this actually measured? How would it be measured? One of my ideas is self-promotion outside of WWE. The best case example of this is someone like Zack Ryder. He was doing nothing, making no waves ,and then he decided to do a Youtube channel. The crowds across the world started to heavily respond to this guy who wasn't on the main show and in WWE cannon was doing absolutely dick. Due to this reaction, WWE was FORCED to do something with him. I can see this being 'dangerous' for a company like WWE who doesn't want people getting over on their own and/or getting TOO OVER and becoming bigger than the brand, but in an age where WWE loves to brag about how many Youtube views, Twitter followers, Facebook linkes, etc. the company has- shouldn't a wrestler be rewarded in some way if he/she is able to double his/her own Twitter followers within a 6 month time span?

 

Thinking a bit further, I am unable to come up with other metrics, because even the one I provided can be dubious with a wrestler getting desperate and deciding to pay a firm in Russia to jack up his/her Instagram followers. I do know that ring work should count for something, but should not be the end-all-be-all or even a large factor as agents lay out matches and what happens in between is usually the same spots done every night. Another problem with this system as I am thinking about it, is that it would essentially have a start and finish point. Meaning that if EVERYTHING on this imaginary list is satisfied then that means WWE would have to full-fill the end of its bargain and actually do what is listed in the final tier, which means someone like Health Slater could potentially (within 3 years) Headline WM, make a million dollars a year, have at least ONE WHC title reign that last 90 days, etc. and be barely over with the crowd. But then again that hasn't stopped WWE from pushing people both past (Michelle McCool) and present (Sheamus) to the top of the card despite getting zero reaction.

 

This really comes down to opportunity and wrestlers want to know what boxes need to be checked to get the Cena spot. All the passion, hard work, dedication, etc. means nothing is Vince doesn't want to push you. But then again, I guess that's really the same at other jobs, but WWE can get away with it because the landscape isn't as diverse and plentiful. If I am in the banking business and my boss won't give me a raise, I will just simply put out my resume and go to another company that will pay me what I want. The problem with pro wrestling is where does someone like Ryback go if he wants to make more money? A TNA that may or may not be in business come 2017? NJPW who is still working numbers for their dome shows? The Mexican companies that may or may not be having money issues depending on who you are talking to? What about the EL Rey show that already has 3 seasons in the can, but the whole idea is still up in the air as far as longevity is concerned?



#11 Cross Face Chicken Wing

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 12:34 PM

Unless WWE workers unionize and the union is actually competent (both pipe dreams), any type of a pay system that's more "fair" will never happen.

#12 goc

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 01:50 PM

I can see why Ryback is frustrated if his money is going down year by year. They brought him in and gave him a big push and then totally cut him off at the knees in that match with Punk when he could have been a big star for them. And now years later he's pretty much just another face on the roster despite being a much better overall talent than he was when they gave him the big push.

 

But his "solution" of equal pay isn't really a solution to that problem at all. The real solution would be to hire competent people for the creative team who would have known that they shouldn't have done given Ryback that title match at Hell in a Cell 2012 if they weren't going to put the title on him. 



#13 ...TG

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 03:44 PM

How would this "egalitarian pay structure" even work? Is Ryback suggesting that when Cena wrestled a just-up-from-NXT Neville on Raw, they should make an equal amount? This feels like posturing on Ryback's part - he wants more money but doesn't necessarily want to say it. Which I'm okay with! But from reading his post, it doesn't look like some sort of well-thought-out proposal to radically change the WWE pay structure. 

 

RE: unionization, I'm having a hard time seeing how things substantially change with a union. Film actors are unionized, but Robert Downey Jr. isn't making the same as the (relatively) unknown guy playing Spider-Man. The main benefits of unionization for WWE guys would be non-salary benefits like company-funded health insurance, retirement, and travel. 



#14 Loss

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 04:48 PM

Is there any proof that anyone in WWE makes a difference other than John Cena? Anyone at all?



#15 Floaker

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 05:10 PM

Here in the UK acting and stage hand rates are set by Equity, the actors union. Different types and level of performance have different rates. I don't see why wrestlers couldn't develop their own rates for different performance types and join Equity - they are entertainers after all...

https://www.equity.o...s/equity-rates/

#16 Jingus

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 05:29 PM

Is there any proof that anyone in WWE makes a difference other than John Cena? Anyone at all?

Does anyone even know what the specific numbers are for merchandise sales nowadays?  

 

The only public metric I can think of is to analyze quarter-hour ratings for people's segments on TV, which much be a ghastly soul-killingly tedious process to try and count all that bullshit in a quantifiable manner and weed out the insane number of outside variables which influence the numbers.  



#17 Cross Face Chicken Wing

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 05:53 PM

How would this "egalitarian pay structure" even work? Is Ryback suggesting that when Cena wrestled a just-up-from-NXT Neville on Raw, they should make an equal amount? This feels like posturing on Ryback's part - he wants more money but doesn't necessarily want to say it. Which I'm okay with! But from reading his post, it doesn't look like some sort of well-thought-out proposal to radically change the WWE pay structure. 
 
RE: unionization, I'm having a hard time seeing how things substantially change with a union. Film actors are unionized, but Robert Downey Jr. isn't making the same as the (relatively) unknown guy playing Spider-Man. The main benefits of unionization for WWE guys would be non-salary benefits like company-funded health insurance, retirement, and travel. 


I was thinking of a union more along the lines of the NFL, NBA or MLB. Something where a certain percentage of revenue goes to talent, healthcare and travel reimbursements can be negotiated and maybe even some type of system is set up to increase pay based on years of service or other criteria.

Again, pipe dream stuff. But you'd think since WWE is the only real game in town now, it'd be easier to organize a union compared to the territory or Monday Night Wars days.

#18 fakeplastictrees

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 10:46 PM

To answer Loss' question, no -- no one moves the needle but Cena. As much as they have paid Lesnar, its not happening with him and the McMahons self fullfilling prophecy of booking themselves in the normal highest rated segment points of the show doesn't count.



#19 Zenjo

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 05:25 PM

Commie bastard.



#20 Luchaundead

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 02:45 PM

Quick nit pick technically speaking because wrestlers in WWE are deemed, wrongly or rightly, independent contractors it would actually be a guild rather than a union. So what I would see easily working would be if a guild existed they would negotiate the benefits as in paid travel, expenses, and insurance.

 

For a more "fair" pay structure I could see nightly and program based pay splitting. The way it would work is pretty simple everyone in a match on a house show would get the same pay based on card placement and crowd draw then, any merch sales in the building for everyone involved in match is added together and divided equally. For long term feuds you do the same for merch sales that come from dot com, TV taping, and PPV/Special event live shows. It can get more complicated of course so you could easily point out instances where something would cause issues but those issues once again would be negotiated by the guild to be more fair to the group rather than the company preferred performers. 






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