AEW star Colt Cabana has discussed taking a sizeable pay cut when he originally signed with WWE, saying at the time it was a sacrifice that you had to make to get ahead in the wrestling business.
Cabana has been a mainstay of the wrestling scene in the United States since 2002. Best known earlier in his career for his memorable stints in Ring Of Honor, Colt Cabana has paved the way for independent wrestlers to make a good living without the backing of a major promotion.
His entrepreneurial and ‘DIY’ spirit saw Cabana launch the massively successful ‘Art Of Wrestling’ podcast in 2010. That became the precursor to the podcast boom in the wrestling industry that has seen industry legends such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Jim Ross, and Chris Jericho launch their own shows.
Colt Cabana also had a stint as part of WWE, signing with the company to join their then-developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2007. In August 2008, Cabana made his SmackDown debut under the name Scotty Goldman. After an inauspicious time on the blue brand, Cabana was released from his WWE contract in February 2009 before returning to the independent scene.
Speaking to Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast, Cabana recalled his time in WWE and revealed the financial sacrifice he had to make for his crack at global superstardom in wrestling’s monolith.
“Yeah, I took a 50% pay cut. That’s just what it was. My friend who was in the same boat as me a year and a half before told me it was the sacrifice you have to make. This is because the potential is there and it isn’t on the indies. Years later when I started my own thing, I was making more money than some mid-carders in WWE. At that point in 2006, there was a ceiling in independent wrestling to most people. I said if I’m going to become a millionaire, WWE is the only way I can do it. So let’s give it a shot.”
The times have certainly changed with Cabana’s post-WWE career almost a roadmap to the different options wrestlers have now compared to when Cabana was in WWE. He spent time on the indies and traded the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title with Adam Pearce in a memorable series. Cabana rejoined Ring Of Honor where he had a lot of early success which also provided opportunities to move behind the commentary desk as well as wrestle in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Colt Cabana was also a part of the rebooted National Wrestling Alliance before officially becoming All Elite in February 2020. At first a reluctant recruit, Colt Cabana has now made his home in AEW as part of The Dark Order.