- Paul Levesque is also the reigning WWE heavyweight champion
- WWE has outperformed the S&P 500 index in the past year
Paul Levesque is an executive who actually fights for his pay.
By day, Levesque is executive vice president of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., overseeing the company’s training facility and relationships with professional wrestlers. A few times each year he strips down to a pair of tight black shorts and transforms himself into "Triple H," a chisel-chested wrestler who battles in a 20-by-20 foot ring, cheered on by thousands of spectators.
Combining the two roles has been good for both WWE and Levesque, 46, the reigning heavyweight champion. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company’s revenue rose 21 percent last year to a record $659 million. Levesque received $3.1 million in reported compensation, according to a Tuesday preliminary proxy filing. That’s the biggest pay package he’s gotten since joining the executive team in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
About $1.7 million of the package came from a booking agreement between Levesque and WWE that entitles him to receive royalties from sales of merchandise featuring his name or face. The agreement also compensates him for appearing in WWE’s weekly televised shows, whether or not he actually wrestles.
Matthew Altman, a WWE spokesman, declined to comment beyond the filing on the breakdown between merchandise royalties and performance fees.
Levesque’s 2015 pay also included a $573,269 salary, a $526,000 bonus and an equity award worth about $300,000 that vested after the company met certain targets.
Last year, he participated in one single match at WWE’s flagship tournament WrestleMania, held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and attended by more than 76,000 spectators.
WWE held 273 live wrestling events in North America last year, according to its annual report. The company, which also produces the “SmackDown” and “Total Divas” shows, has more than 1.2 million network subscribers. Its shares have risen about 2.5 percent to $17.69 in the last 12 months.
WWE’s Chief Executive Officer Vincent McMahon, who’s Levesque’s father-in-law, received $3.3 million in compensation for 2015, the proxy shows.
Levesque is scheduled to return to the ring on March 25 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where he’ll team up with wrestler Sheamus to take on Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.