wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Is The Rock or Vince McMahon More Wealthy?

January 11, 2022 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Vince McMahon WWE Smackdown 7-16-21

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

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Chris B. is squirreling away his pennies:

At this moment, who is more (personally) wealthy: Vince McMahon or Dwayne Johnson?

Also on a related note: Have any of WWE’s wrestlers gone on to “out-rich” the boss?

Vince McMahon, and it’s not even that close.

Forbes magazine maintains a list of the wealthiest people on the face of the earth. As of this writing, Vince McMahon ranks on the list as number 1,517 with a net worth of $2.1 billion.

Dwayne Johnson does not even make the cut to be included on the Forbes list. However, Cosmpolitan magazine published an article on December 7, 2021 that listed his net worth as $400 million.

As far as other wrestlers are concerned, I cannot imagine that any of them ever accumulated a net worth into the billions of dollars as Vinnie Mac has. However, even though historical data is not available to my knowledge, I would not be surprised to learn that Hulk Hogan was at one point worth more than McMahon, specifically in the mid-1990s when the WWF was on the brink of bankruptcy and the Hulkster was making bank with his Turner contract. There’s no way that Hogan at his peak outdoes Vince at his peak, though.

A reader whose name I unfortunately lost poses a rare question about wrestling merch:

Is Billy Gunn the only person who had a Hasbro WWF action figure made of him who still wrestles?

As with most questions of this nature, it depends on what you mean by “still wrestles.” He is certainly the only wrestler who was immortalized by Hasbro and who is still wrestling regularly for a major promotion. However, a few other grapplers who received Hasbros figs are still taking the odd independent booking, namely:

Tatanka had an independent match against Brian Myers on November 25, 2021 in Hicksville, New York, though it was his first match in quite some time.

Scott Steiner had two matches in the fall of 2021 after not wrestling since February 2020, with the gap presumably being attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll see if he ever gets to share a ring with his nephew, who is certainly turning heads these days.

Finally, the Warlord appeared on September 3, 2021 for GCW in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, reforming the Powers of Pain with the Barbarian in an eight man tag team match.

Of course, you could also argue that Doink is still wrestling, because, even though none of the men who played the character in the WWF are actively competing, there is almost always going to be somebody out there on the indy circuit taking up the mantle of the clown.

Promotional consideration is paid for by Tyler from Winnipeg:

Is Sean Mooney still doing wrestling work?

Not really. Mooney’s current day job is as a local television news anchor for KVOA, a local television station in Tuscon, Arizona.

He did have a brief stint with the current incarnation of the NWA, appearing on several episodes of their “Power” show in 2020. Also, until August of last year, he hosted Prime Time with Sean Mooney, a wrestling history podcast. Though it hasn’t dropped a new episode in a while, you can still listen to the archives at the link.

Mooney has always seemed like a real stand up guy.

Mohamed is taking us back in time:

What was the perception of WCW in the year 2000 especially when in comparison to the WWF?

The promotion was viewed as being terribly inept in terms of booking, and Thunder was considered to be one of the worst weekly wrestling television shows in history (until TNA came along). Even though WCW had some rocky booking in earlier years of the Monday Night War, you knew that you could at least count on them for some excellent wrestling on the undercard. In 2000, even that went away, because things became heavily Russo-ized with even supremely talented wrestlers being limited to brief matches that took a backseat to goofy storylines.

Strap yourself in for this one, folks, because Greg H. is getting ready to take us on a wild ride:

I don’t know too much about the now-defunct Japanese promotion HUSTLE, but having scoured sites like cagematch and profightdb, I’ve noticed that a lot of the performers (mostly masked from what I gather) have remained largely unidentified. Any chance you’d be able to ID the men behind some of the men behind the masked HUSTLE gimmicks?

Greg then provided a loooooong list of HUSTLE characters. He actually sent this question in originally in June 2019, and I answered what I could back in July 2019, but there were quite a few more that I was clueless on.

Then, earlier this month, Greg wrote back in and not only asked if I had ever figured out anything further from his prior query but also added several more names from not just HUSTLE but also other promotions, bringing the list up to over fifty mysterious masked gimmicks in total.

As alluded to in Greg’s question, none of the fifty-plus characters he asked about could be unmasked through a simple google search. I quickly became aware that each name on the list would probably take a significant investment of time to dig up any dirt on. As a result, I decided that I was going to pick one name off the list and focus on it. Almost at random, I decided to select . . .

Piranha Monster Z.

Piranha Monster Z was a masked character in HUSTLE that appeared twice, once on the June 28, 2004 HUSTLE House Volume 1 show and once on the September 20, 2004 HUSTLE 5 pay per view. For those who might not know much about HUSTLE, the very short version is that it was a promotion in Japan that experimented with bringing over the top, “sports entertainment” style wrestling to the country as a counterbalance to the more athletically-based product that has been prevalent there for years. HUSTLE’s sports entertainment became far more wacky than anything a mainstream U.S. promotion has ever produced, with its product ultimately being described as a “Fighting Opera” with the primary angle being the main HUSTLE roster fighting off the Takada Monster Army, a collection of odd characters lead by Generalissimo Takada, who was actually MMA pioneer Nobuhiko Takada dressed like M. Bison from the Street Fighter video games.

As you probably guessed, Piranha Monster Z was part of the aforementioned Monster Army.

After some searching, I was able to determine that there is one promotional picture of PMZ from back in 2004 floating around the internet. I was also able to determine that the entire HUSTLE House Volume 1 show that PMZ wrestled on has been uploaded to YouTube. From that promo pic and the bootlegged video, there was something that stood out to me about Piranha Monster Z: He has tattoos, screenshots of which I shared on my Twitter:

This was noteworthy to me for two reasons. First, though there are Japanese wrestlers with tattoos, they are relatively rare because, due to associations with organized crime, tattoos are generally less accepted in Japanese culture than they are in American culture. Second, the tattoos appeared to have some some Polynesian flair to them, which combined with the skin tone of the man under the mask suggested to me that we were perhaps looking for a wrestler of Pacific Islander extraction.

I also knew from prior reading about HUSTLE that they drew a lot of their in-ring talent from Pro Wrestling ZERO1, and I knew that ZERO1 often worked with American independent promotion UPW in Southern California (the company that gave John Cena his started before he went to WWE developmental). As a result, I started looking at ZERO1 results that happened around the dates of HUSTLE House Volume 1 and HUSTLE 5, thinking that maybe somebody who was brought over from UPW for a ZERO1 tour at that time might also have jumped over and worked HUSTLE as a one-off. Though there were a lot of UPW wrestlers on ZERO1 cards in 2004, none of them seemed to match the look or the tattoos of Piranha Monster Z.

Having struck out there, I went to a fairly comprehensive list of ZERO1 alumni. I checked out photos of everybody that I could, hoping that one of them would have the distinctive tats that I posted in my tweet. That did not get me anywhere, either. I was up to two strikes and hoping that I would not receive my third.

At this point, I was starting to get a little bit desperate. I decided that I would just start looking at UPW results from 2004 to see if any names there would catch my eye. On those cards, I saw a wrestler called Makoa who I had never heard of before, and that in fact sounded like a Polynesian name. I did some googling of Makoa and determined that he was a Hawaiian independent wrestler. This lead me down a rabbit hole of Hawaiian indy groups and the wrestlers who competed for them. This eventually brought me to the website of Unify Championship Entertainment, a company with ties to the Anoa’i family and the Wild Samoan Training Center. There were several native Hawaiian wrestlers on the roster and several of them with tattoos, and one of them caught my eye . . .

Kaimana.

Kaimana’s profile says that he has wrestled since 1996, and the list of promotions that he has worked for include ZERO1 and, wait for it . . . HUSTLE.

However, as Greg’s question points out, there were quite a few men who wrestled under quite a few different gimmicks for HUSTLE. What could we do to further determine whether Kaimana was Piranha Monster Z?

It was time for a little bit of social media stalking. Off to Kaimana’s Instagram profile, which is fortunately open to the public!

The first picture that caught my eye was this one, which features Kaimana hitting a frog splash reminiscent of D-Lo Brown’s. (Note that I think you need to be logged into Instagram to view the posts linked to in this article.)

Why is this significant? Because, if you watch the HUSTLE House Volume 1 footage that is online, PMZ at one point hits a very similar version of the same maneuver (fast forwarded to about the one hour, forty-one minute mark if you’d like to see it):

There are quite a few guys who can execute a frog splash, though. What more proof could we find out there?

Well, let’s take a look at this photo of Kaimana getting kicked in the face white eating a pineapple:

Hmmm . . . don’t the tattoos on that right arm look a lot like the tattoos that were linked to in my tweet earlier in this answer?

And what about this throwback picture of Kaimana posing with a young AJ Styles?

There it is, clear as day. That left arm tattoo on Kaimana is exactly the same as the one we can see Piranha Monster Z sporting in my tweet; the same bands comprised of triangles, the same stylized suns on either side, it’s all there.

That was enough proof for me, but I kept scrolling anyway, and that’s when I found the smoking gun.

Kaimana is posting images of the HUSTLE House Volume 1 match featuring Wataru Sakata and Toshiaki Kawada tagging against Dan Bobish and . . . Piranha Monster Z.

So, there you have it. HUSTLE’s Piranha Monster Z was Hawaiian independent wrestler Kaimana. Update your Cagematches, update your ProFightDBs, update your Online Worlds of Wrestling. I’ve cracked the case.

That being said, the only thing that I can really confirm is that Piranha Monster Z was Kaimana in that one tag team match on HUSTLE House Volume 1. As far as the HUSTLE 5 match is concerned (which I have never seen footage of), 411’s own Arnold Furious reviewed the show and reported that its PMZ was not the same guy who was under the hood on HUSTLE House Volume 1, which Arnold had previously reviewed.

It should also be noted that there were many other variations on the Piranha Monster in HUSTLE, including Piranha Monster XX, Piranha Monster XXX, Piranha Monster Gamma, Piranha Monster Omega, Kinugawan Piranha Monster, and the Piranha Monster with no prefix or suffix. At this point, we have no way of knowing whether any of them were Kaimana as the original PMZ was . . . but that may be the subject of a future column.

And that has been this week’s installment of Ryan Byers: HUSTLE Detective.

(Not to be confused with Detective Alan Kuroki, an actual HUSTLE gimmick portrayed by Magnum TOKYO.)

That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.