Backstage News: How Much Money Do The TNA Knockouts Earn?
By Ryan Clark | February 14, 2010
Though they may be big stars on television and draw relatively high ratings, that doesn't necessarily translate into big checks for the stars of TNA's Knockouts division.
In light of Awesome Kong's contractual dispute with TNA Wrestling, multiple sources have noted that the average pay for a female performer in the organization is between $200 to $400 per appearance. However, it's widely assumed that Christy Hemme and Lisa Marie Varon (a/k/a Tara) make more money due to their past ties with World Wrestling Entertainment with sources believing that Kong makes slightly more than $400 per shot, which is considered a "high end salary" in the No. 2 wrestling organization in the world.
It's interesting to note that a female performer who made the "high end salary" of $400, exclusively appeared on television, and appeared on every single television event held over the course of a calendar year would only garner $26,000 at most. Although, that number comes in before one figures in road expenses, wardrobe expenses and taxes. Regarding travel, TNA solely covers airfare, leaving talent to cover the rest including lodging. Also note, there is no downside guarantee, thus meaning talent only get paid when they are used.
With that being said, TNA holds live events most weeks and permits talent to seek independent bookings, thus allowing them to garner more money. Furthermore, television exposure greatly increases a wrestler's booking fee, most especially for talent previously not seen on national television.
Regarding Kong, WrestlingINC.com reports that she has asked for a raise on several occasions but company officials have apparently not honored her request despite her lofty standing on television. Kong reportedly blew up last spring when she found out that then newcomer Brutus Magnus was being paid more than her.
It was reported recently that Kong has regularly vented backstage about the company spending frivolously on newcomers. Since then, multiple sources have confirmed that she was very upset with Ric Flair's wife being treated to limousine service on the company's dime at a recent show. TNA never grants limo service to its female performers.
It is believed that Kong has several years remaining on her contract with TNA. She refused to appear on the company's recent UK tour and at time it was widely assumed that she was upset with Bubba the Love Sponge's controversial remarks concerning the country of Haiti. However, multiple sources say the issue has since been resolved and that her ongoing problems with the organization are related to pay.
The primary reason Gail Kim left TNA for World Wrestling Entertainment was due to the significant discrepancy between the amount of money being offered by both companies. According to multiple sources, Kim did not want to leave TNA, but felt she had no choice but to bolt for WWE due to the massive difference in pay.
AWESOME KONG UPDATE: As noted Friday here on the website, a source in TNA claims that the company has suspended Kong after she refused to appear on the UK tour. She is also not expected to appear at Against All Odds tonight or the TV tapings on Monday and Tuesday. More shortly.