Not to Defend the Wildly Rich, But Why Does WWE's Stephanie McMahon Make Less Than Her Husband?

Not to Defend the Wildly Rich, But Why Does WWE's Stephanie McMahon Make Less Than Her Husband?
Image:Rodin Eckenroth (Getty Images)

If there is one person I am ashamed to admit that I admire, it is absolutely Stephanie McMahon. I am aware that she is the child of Vince McMahon, a man who has been running an unjust monopoly on professional wrestling since before I was born. But something about Stephanie, in particular, inspires me. She is the personification of the internet’s fictitious “girl boss,” and as the WWE’s current chief brand officer, she is in fact the boss of many people.

So it came as an immense surprise to me when Bleacher Report reported that Stephanie McMahon makes the same base salaries as one of her employees who also happens to be her husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque.

The math is not mathing.

Triple H is considered on-screen talent, but he’s also the current executive vice president of global talent strategy and development. On any corporate ladder, a vice president is below a chief brand officer—albeit both are still in the C-suite. Even if they’re in different departments in the company, she is effectively his boss. According to Bleacher Report, McMahon and Levesque both make $730,000 a year with Levesque making and added $1 million under his on-screen talent contract. (McMahon also has an on-screen talent contract which is worth a few hundred thousand less than her subordinate.)

On a scale of bad things happening in the world today this pay discrepancy doesn’t really register, but it’s one of those small things that confounds me and is now living in my brain, rent-free.

That these two people make this much money and are probably abundantly happy in their lives is beside the point. Whenever her father decides to die, Stephanie McMahon is the next face of the WWE, and deservedly. She has elevated the entire brand by pushing a (false) narrative that the WWE is going to start caring about women. She helmed and branded the absolute crap out of WWE’s Women’s Evolution which was the highest-grossing all-women’s event in the company’s history. Stephanie has also been pushing hard for a more feminist branding of the company, promoting more women wrestlers as company show ponies . Attempting feminism without first getting her own proverbial ducks in a row adds to the brain melt of this situation.

Anyone who’s watched WWE in the last ten years can see Stephanie’s thumbprint on the product and yet she’s making the same base salary as her husband. Meanwhile, her brother Shane McMahon jumps off a steel cage once a year wearing a baseball jersey and his on-screen talent contract is also higher than Stephanie’s base salary. How Sway?

I have no intention of crying a river for Stephanie McMahon because she makes an incredible sum of money—while the wrestlers her father hires are underpaid underinsured contract workers—but gendered pay equity is an unwieldy beast and sometimes the millionaire women get caught up in the trap too.

Now that I’ve said that, Stephanie: can I hold $100?

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