EXCLUSIVE: An inside look at Elite Answers Wrestling contracts

Hello everyone! Fight Grid journalist Kathy Kush here,

Heading into the 12th annual season of Elite Answers Wrestling many EAW Elitists from all four brands will be negotiating deals over the next several weeks to extend their current contracts, or obtain new ones altogether. While most contract extensions go relatively unannounced, we can report that various major new deals are currently being worked out among many top EAW Elitists and the Board of Directors.

I paid a visit to EAW Headquarters by way of a gracious invite from EAW Chief Strategist & Financial Officer, Andy Dominguez. I essentially got to be a fly on the wall for the board meetings in various departments throughout the last few days, and thanks to Mr. Dominguez I’ve been able to gather some major top-secret intel on the inner makings of an EAW talent contract. You will not find information like this anywhere else other than right here on EAW Fight Grid! Here are my notes:

General overview

  • Different contract types depending on position, seniority, push, etc.
  • People like Banks (pre-PFP), DDD, and HRDO would have an executive and elitist contract with a limit to match appearances
  • There would be a base salary, with details describing merch percentage, gate percentage, special options, etc. (ie. Chris Elite’s “Gawd contract clause”)
  • EAW gets a cut of lucrative sponsorship deals which are advertised through EAW
  • Title holders are given a raise during the duration of their reign based off of a percentage of their base salary
  • Every match has a purse. Winners get the majority of the purse (ala boxing, MMA). The purse is reflected from gate sales, sponsorships, and tv deals. The bigger the event, the larger the purse
  • The salary ranges listed with each respective contract type are the annual salaries, not accumulative.
  • Length of contracts vary person to person, however long-term deals (longer than 1 yr) are only common in Main Event and Executive Contracts. `

Contract types

  • Executive Contracts – Includes general managers, high-tier administrative staff, board members, and CEO, COO, CFO, etc. No product sales or gate percentage. Has access to company jet, stock options, unlimited jetsmarter access.
    • Salary Range: 1m – 20m
    • Merch Percentage: N/A
    • Gate Percentage: N/A
    • Travel Accommodations: First and business class, unlimited jetsmarter access, unlimited hotel accomodations
    • Other Perks: Stock options, employee benefits, signing bonus
    • Examples: Mr. DEDEDE, Ronn Banks (pre-PFP), Flannery McCoy, Andy Dominguez, HRDO, Starr Stan, Matt Daniels
  • Legend Deal (varies) – Generally not the biggest overall contracts sum wise, majorly paid through appearances.
    • Salary Range: PPA (pay per appearance; salary varies)
    • Merch Percentage: 20%
    • Gate Percentage: 5%
    • Travel Accommodations: Case by case basis
    • Other Perks: Case by case basis
    • Examples: Lethal Consequences, Mak, non-active Hall of Famers
  • Main Event Contracts – The most lucrative deals in the company; these also become the most complicated adding in PPV buys, Merch/Gate Sale Percentages and Appearances. 
    • Salary Range: $5m – $20m
    • Merch Percentage: 35%
    • Gate Percentage: 10%
    • Travel Accommodations First and business class, limited jetsmarter access, car and coach rental, unlimited hotel accommodations
    • Other Perks: Signing bonus, public appearance royalties, booking privileges, full severance package    
    • Examples: Stephanie Matsuda, Diamond Cage, Rex McAllister (after his first deal expires), Theron Nikolas (after his first deal expires), Cameron Ella Ava, Chris Elite and Jamie O’Hara
  • Veterans Contract (3m – 5m) – A substantial contract for long-tenured veterans who come in and out of the company via short term contracts. Wrestling may not be their only career (ie. acting, music, modeling). Their merch percentage varies on an individual basis (ie. Hawk has a higher % than Zakkii because she makes her fortune from her other projects) *note* Those with a Veterans Contract can be moved to a Main Event or Mid Card deal when their current deal ends based on their performance, those signed to a particular Veterans Contract are not bound to it, and can opt out at any time.
    • Salary Range: 1m – 3m
    • Merch Percentage: 15% – 25%
    • Gate Percentage: 3% – 5%
    • Travel Accommodations: First and business class, car rental, limited hotel accomodations
    • Other Perks: Signing bonus, public appearance royalties, limited booking privileges, full severance package
    • Examples: Hurricane Hawk, Zakkii, Scott Diamond, Johnny Ventura
  • Mid Card (3m – 5m) – Not near the value of Main Event deals as Marquee revenue isn’t placed into the equation. More tenured Elitists with this contract would have a base salary in the millions. (ie. Chelsea Crowe, Lars Grier, Darkane, Ahren Fournier, Jack Ripley, Consuela Rose Ava)
    • Salary Range: 3m – 5m
    • Merch Percentage: 20%
    • Gate Percentage: 5%
    • Travel Accommodations: Economy class, limited car rental, limited hotel accomodations
    • Other Perks: Minor signing bonus, limited severance package, appearance royalties
    • Examples: Chelsea Crowe, Lars Grier, Darkane, Ahren Fournier, Jack Ripley, Consuela Rose Ava
  • Rookie (750k – 3M) – Lower end contracts. Gets very little from gate sales, possibly nothing. Salary depends on the “value” (popularity, drawing power, accomplishments, reputation, etc.) of talent pre-EAW career. One can opt out of a rookie contract at any time, this is usually done to negotiate a new deal or if they would like to part ways with the company.
    • Salary Range: 750k – 3M
    • Merch Percentage: 10%
    • Gate Percentage: 2%
    • Travel Accommodations: Limited economy class, limited car rental, limited hotel accomodations
    • Other Perks: Minor signing bonus, appearance royalties
    • Examples: Noah Reigner, Liam Archer, Core Brothers, Layla Lockhart
  • Developmental – contracts for athletes training in the EAW Performance Center and dark match workers. They’re mostly receiving their in-ring experience at EAW live shows. Starting salary depends, again on “value” of the talent pre-EAW career (ie. Wild Boys, Sinister Ace)
    • Salary Range: 75k – 500k
    • Merch Percentage: 2%
    • Gate Percentage: N/A
    • Travel Accommodations: Case by case basis
    • Other Perks: Case by case basis
    • Examples: Wild Boys, Sinister Ace


A lot of interesting details as you can see! An important note is that when an Elitist signs a deal for an official amount (i.e. 2 year, $20 million) that includes their base salary, signing bonuses and talent sponsorships. This makes it possible for mid-card contract talent to easily bring home main event level figures. It does not factor in merchandise, gate percentage, fight purse or any other bonuses if they apply, which only adds to the aforementioned point.

One additional detail that I almost forgot to mention is the bonuses for miscellaneous awards. For every accolade; from weekly MVE awards, to GR/CITV/24-7, and ESPECIALLY the end-of-the-year awards; there is a bonus that the recipients of each of these accolades are reportedly receiving. While the figures weren’t quite made available, I overheard that the more prestigious the accolade is, the higher the value; with an award such as Elitist of the Year having an estimated worth in the SEVEN FIGURES! This would explain a lot about why major matches like CITV, or accolades like the Match of the Year award create so much drama and commotion on a yearly basis.

Let us know your thoughts about the fascinating EAW contract details in the comments below. I’m Kathy Kush, this is Fight Grid, and I’ll see ya next time!

Written by Fight Grid

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