Here's How Much Junkyard Dog Was Worth When He Died

At the height of his career in the '80s, professional wrestler Junkyard Dog was one of the few prominent Black wrestlers at a time when Black faces just were not as common yet in that entertainment field. Born Sylvester Ritter in North Carolina, Junkyard Dog was a force in the New Orleans wrestling scene, and even helped integrate matches between white and Black wrestlers, according to NOLA. Supposedly at the time, promoters did not often book two wrestlers of different races in a wrestling match. That attitude would shift when wrestling promoter Bill Watts took over Mid-South Wrestling and tapped Junkyard Dog as one of their stars, reported NOLA. "It was a changing era. To condemn a person because of race just didn't make sense to me. I was proud to change the culture of wrestling," Watts said.

A former college football player, Junkyard Dog's hulking size, unique characteristics, and fighting style earned him a lot of popularity with fans of all types. By the time he retired, he had worked with three wrestling major organizations: Mid-South Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the World Wrestling Federation (now known as World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE).

Junkyard Dog's net worth

Wrestling was growing rapidly as a popular form of entertainment sport in the '80s. The millions of dollars that wrestlers are pulling in today were virtually nonexistent back then. Still, they were able to pull in six-figure salaries.

Junkyard Dog retired from wrestling in 1993 (via WWE). While he did have a $12,000 week here and there, in his heyday was earning somewhere around $150,000 annually, reported Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Of course, he was no Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan, who were more popular and seeing half million to $1 million earnings. Nevertheless, Junkyard Dog made a comfortable amount of money from wrestling.

He passed away in 1998 at the age of 45 after a fatal car accident took his life. Around that time, he was several years post-retirement and had stopped wrestling professionally. There is no verifiable source on how much he was worth at the time of his death, but based on reports of the many six figure contracts that wrestlers signed in '80s and '90s (via The Sportster), we can presume that Junkyard Dog did touch a million dollars in his lifetime. The range of Junkyard Dog's net worth could have been anywhere from $150,000 to upward of $2 million, according to BuzzLearn.