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November 12, 2015

WWE Contract Details Revealed Due To Lawsuits: Downside Guarantees, Royalties, PPV, More

The several pending lawsuits against the WWE have provided some interesting information regarding contracts with the company from 1993-2007. Contract details for Ryan Sakoda, Viscera, Luther Reigns, and Russ McCullough were uncovered by Chris Harrington and posted today.

Several renditions of Viscera's contracts were revealed, dating all the way back to 1993, when he portrayed the "Mabel" character in the Men on a Mission tag team. In addition to this, other court documents show espite the fact that Viscera's widow is suing WWE, WWE says they advanced her $10,000 against future royalties to help prevent her from being evicted from her home.

Viscera was paid weekly with a downside guarantee of $100,000 in his 2007 deal, and WWE held rights if Viscera chose to write a book about his career in wrestling. The company also held the rights if Viscera chose to auction off items in relation to his WWE character, which they owned the intellectual property to.

There's also a large section about royalties for merchandise and DVDs. The contract reads "f WRESTLER is considered a "Featured Performer" in respect, of the sale of the first one hundred and fifty thousand units of a DVD and/or home video,shall pay five percent (5%) of the Net Receipts paid to (WWE) with respect to the Licensed Product Sale of the DVD and/or home videos to. If (Viscera) is the only Featured Performer or if there are multiple Featured Performers then to (Viscera)all other Featured Performers in such DVD and/or home videos on an equal/pro-rata basis. lf the aggregate DVD and home video sales (exceeds) 150,000 units, (WWE) shall instead pay ten percent (10%) of (WWE's) Net Receipts paid to(WWE) if.(Viscera) is the only Featured Performer or if there are multipleFeatured Performers then in the equal/pro-rata basis as set forth in the preceding sentence retroactive to the first 150,000 units."

More interestingly, it's at the WWE's discretion if a performer is considered "featured performer." In addition to this, 25 percent of the WWE's PPV revenue was reseved to give to the talent pool.

WWE released annual payouts to Viscera in the response to the lawsuit, which were as follows:

1994 - $127,659.15
1995 – $100,648.28
1999 – $159,081.44
2000 – $136,951.85
2005 – $124,252.74
2006 – $152,659.51
2007 – $178,359.64
2008 – $251,023.65

In addition to these, some other downside guarantees were revealed. Luther Reigns was guaranteed $75,000 during his first year, Ryan Sakoda $52,000, and Russ McCulluogh at $60,000. It appears the percentages as it pertains to royalties, DVD sales, PPV sales and other things were uniform across the board in these contracts.

Breaches of the contracts include failing drug tests and physical exams, and not maintaining satisfactory physical condition, at the WWE's discretion. Being habitually late, or not obtaining necessary athletic commission licenses are also included among breaches.

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