World Wrestling Entertainment
Overview
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (doing business as
Doing business as
The phrase "doing business as" is a legal term used in the United States, meaning that the trade name, or fictitious business name, under which the business or operation is conducted and presented to the world is not the legal name of the legal person who actually own it and are responsible for it...

 WWE, Inc.) is an American publicly traded, privately controlled entertainment company dealing primarily in professional wrestling
Professional wrestling
Professional wrestling is a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.Roland Barthes, "The World of Wrestling", Mythologies, 1957 It takes the form of events, held by touring companies, which mimic a title match combat sport...

, with major revenue sources
Revenue
In business, revenue is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, revenue is referred to as turnover....

 also coming from film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, product licensing, and direct product sales. It is currently the largest professional wrestling company
Professional wrestling promotion
A professional wrestling promotion is a company or business that regularly performs shows involving professional wrestling. Promotion also describes a role which entails management, advertising and logistics of running a wrestling event...

 in the world, reaching 13 million viewers in the U.S. and broadcasting its shows in 30 languages to more than 145 countries.
Encyclopedia
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (doing business as
Doing business as
The phrase "doing business as" is a legal term used in the United States, meaning that the trade name, or fictitious business name, under which the business or operation is conducted and presented to the world is not the legal name of the legal person who actually own it and are responsible for it...

 WWE, Inc.) is an American publicly traded, privately controlled entertainment company dealing primarily in professional wrestling
Professional wrestling
Professional wrestling is a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.Roland Barthes, "The World of Wrestling", Mythologies, 1957 It takes the form of events, held by touring companies, which mimic a title match combat sport...

, with major revenue sources
Revenue
In business, revenue is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, revenue is referred to as turnover....

 also coming from film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, product licensing, and direct product sales. It is currently the largest professional wrestling company
Professional wrestling promotion
A professional wrestling promotion is a company or business that regularly performs shows involving professional wrestling. Promotion also describes a role which entails management, advertising and logistics of running a wrestling event...

 in the world, reaching 13 million viewers in the U.S. and broadcasting its shows in 30 languages to more than 145 countries. It promotes under two brands, known as Raw
WWE RAW
WWE Raw ) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States...

 and SmackDown.

Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon
Vincent Kennedy "Vince" McMahon is an American professional wrestling promoter, announcer, commentator, film producer, actor and former occasional professional wrestler. McMahon is the current Chairman, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of professional wrestling promotion WWE...

 is the majority owner
Ownership
Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties. The concept of ownership has...

, chairman and chief executive officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 (CEO) of the company. Together with his wife Linda McMahon
Linda McMahon
Linda Marie McMahon is an American professional wrestling magnate and politician. She is notable for her career developing WWE with her husband Vince McMahon. She was in the company from 1980 to 2009. During this time, WWE grew from a small regional business in New York to a large multinational...

, and their children Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon
Shane Brandon McMahon is an American executive, currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of YOU On Demand. A former executive and professional wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment , he is the son of WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon and former US Senate candidate Linda...

 and Stephanie McMahon-Levesque (WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and Creative Writing), the McMahons hold approximately 70% of WWE's economic
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 interest and 96% of the voting power
Voting interest
Voting interest in business and accounting means the total number of votes entitled to be cast on the issue at the time the determination of voting power is made, excluding a vote which is contingent upon the happening of a condition or event which has not occurred at the time.This notion is...

 in the company. The company's headquarters
Headquarters
Headquarters denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States, the corporate headquarters represents the entity at the center or the top of a corporation taking full responsibility managing all business activities...

 are located in Stamford, Connecticut
Stamford, Connecticut
Stamford is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 122,643, making it the fourth largest city in the state and the eighth largest city in New England...

 with offices in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, and Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

.

WWE holds an extensive library of videos
WWE Video Library
The WWE video library is currently the largest collection of professional wrestling videos and copyrights in the world. It is comprised not only of past and current works by WWE but the works of now defunct professional wrestling promotions dating back to the 1940s...

, representing a significant portion of the visual history of professional wrestling. The company began as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation in 1952, which promoted under the banner of the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) and later the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). In 1982, it was sold to the same family's Titan Sports company, which later changed its name to World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, before finally becoming World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002, and simplified to WWE in 2011.

Capitol Wrestling Corporation

Roderick James "Jess" McMahon
Roderick McMahon
Roderick James "Jess" McMahon was a professional wrestling and professional boxing promoter, and the patriarch of the McMahon wrestling family. McMahon was the founder of the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, along with Toots Mondt.-Early life:Roderick James McMahon was born May 26, 1882, to hotel...

 was a boxing promoter whose achievements included co-promoting a bout in 1915 between Jess Willard
Jess Willard
Jess Willard was a world heavyweight boxing champion. He won the heavyweight title from Jack Johnson in April 1915 and lost it to Jack Dempsey in July 1919....

 and Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson (boxer)
John Arthur Johnson , nicknamed the “Galveston Giant,” was an American boxer. At the height of the Jim Crow era, Johnson became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion...

. In 1926, while working with Tex Rickard (who actually despised wrestling to such a degree he prevented wrestling events from being held at the third Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden (1925)
Madison Square Garden was an indoor arena in New York City, the third of that name. It was built in 1925 and closed in 1968, and was located on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan on the site of the city's trolley car barns. It was the first Garden that was not located near...

 in New York City between 1939 and 1948), he started promoting boxing at the Garden. The first match during their partnership was a light-heavyweight championship match between Jack Delaney
Jack Delaney
Jack Delaney was a former light heavyweight boxing champion of the world and contender for the heavyweight crown...

 and Paul Berlenbach.

A few years earlier, around 1920, professional wrestler Joseph Raymond "Toots" Mondt
Toots Mondt
Joseph Raymond "Toots" Mondt was a former wrestling promoter who revolutionized the wrestling industry in the early to mid 1920s and co-promoted the World Wide Wrestling Federation...

 had created a new challenge of professional wrestling that he called Slam Bang Western Style Wrestling to make the entertainment more appealing to spectators. At the time, pro wrestling consisted primarily of mat grappling; and while the sport had flourished a decade earlier under Frank Gotch, the fans had since grown tired of the painfully deliberate pace of the bouts. However, Mondt discovered a solution that would completely transform the industry, as he convinced Lewis and Sandow to implement a new form of wrestling that combined features of boxing, Greco-Roman, freestyle, lumber-camp fighting, and theater into what he deemed “Slam Bang Western-Style Wrestling.” He then formed a promotion with wrestler Ed Lewis
Ed Lewis (wrestler)
Robert Herman Julius Friedrich , was a professional wrestler best known by his ring name Ed "Strangler" Lewis, whose career spanned four decades.-Wrestling career:...

 and his manager Billy Sandow
Billy Sandow
Wilhelm Baumann, better known as Billy Sandow , was the manager of professional wrestler Ed "Strangler" Lewis and a subsequent member of the famed Gold Dust Trio promotion that changed the face of the industry during the 1920s...

. They persuaded many wrestlers to sign contracts with their Gold Dust Trio
Gold Dust Trio
The Gold Dust Trio was a group of promoters who controlled the world of professional wrestling during the 1920s while also making several fundamental changes to the industry's business model and operations that would ultimately change the direction of the sport towards a more pseudo-competitive...

. After much success, a disagreement over power caused the trio to dissolve and, with it, their promotion. Mondt formed partnerships with several other promoters, including Jack Curley
Jack Curley
Jack Curley was a sports promoter of the early 1900s. He managed several high-profile boxing events around the turn-of-the-century and he also established professional wrestling as a viable business in the big city, and he eventually built the New York office into an industry power while...

 in New York City. When Curley was dying, Mondt moved to take over New York wrestling with the aid of several bookers, one of whom was Roderick "Jess" McMahon
Roderick McMahon
Roderick James "Jess" McMahon was a professional wrestling and professional boxing promoter, and the patriarch of the McMahon wrestling family. McMahon was the founder of the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, along with Toots Mondt.-Early life:Roderick James McMahon was born May 26, 1882, to hotel...

.

Together, McMahon and Mondt created the Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd (CWC). The CWC joined the National Wrestling Alliance
National Wrestling Alliance
The National Wrestling Alliance is a wrestling promotion company and sanctions various NWA championships in the United States. The NWA has been in operation since 1948...

 in 1953. In November 1954, Jess McMahon died, and Ray Fabiani, one of Mondt's associates, brought in Vincent James McMahon to replace his father in the promotion. McMahon and Mondt were a successful combination, and within a short time, they controlled approximately 70% of the NWA's booking, largely due to their dominance in the heavily populated Northeast region. Mondt taught McMahon about booking and how to work in the wrestling business. Due to the dominance in the northeast, the CWC was referred to by AWA
American Wrestling Association
The American Wrestling Association was an American professional wrestling promotion based in Minneapolis, Minnesota that ran from 1960 to 1991. It was owned and founded by Verne Gagne and Wally Karbo...

 legend Nick Bockwinkel
Nick Bockwinkel
Nicholas Warren Francis "Nick" Bockwinkel is a retired American professional wrestler. He mainly competed in the American Wrestling Association in the United States...

 as the "Northeast Triangle", with its territory being defined by Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, and Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 as points of the triangle.

World Wide Wrestling Federation

The NWA recognized an undisputed NWA World Heavyweight Champion
NWA World Heavyweight Championship
The National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in the National Wrestling Alliance. Its lineage has been traced from the first World Heavyweight Championship, which traces its lineage to Georg Hackenschmidt's 1905 title and...

 that went to several different wrestling companies in the alliance and defended the belt around the world. The NWA generally promoted strong shooters
Shoot (professional wrestling)
A shoot in professional wrestling is a term that refers to any unplanned, unscripted or real-life occurrence within a wrestling event. Contrary to popular belief, the name does not originate from "shooting in" for a takedown, as in amateur wrestling - rather it is a carny term shortened from...

 as champions, to give their worked sport credibility and guard against double-crosses. While doing strong business in the Midwest (the Alliance's core region), these wrestlers attracted little interest in the Capitol territory. In 1961, the NWA board decided instead to put the belt on bleach blonde showman "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, a much more effective drawing card in the region. The rest of the NWA was unhappy with Mondt because he rarely allowed Rogers to wrestle outside of the Northeast. Mondt and McMahon wanted Rogers to keep the NWA World Championship, but Rogers was unwilling to sacrifice his $25,000 deposit on the belt (title holders at the time had to pay a deposit to insure they honored their commitments as champion). Rogers lost the NWA World Championship to Lou Thesz
Lou Thesz
Aloysius Martin "Lou" Thesz was a United States professional wrestler and 18-time world heavyweight champion, most notably holding the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three times. Combined, he held the NWA Championship for 10 years, three months and nine days , longer than anyone else in history...

 in a one-fall match in Toronto, Ontario on January 24, 1963, which led to Mondt, McMahon, and the CWC leaving the NWA in protest, creating the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) in the process.

In April, Rogers was awarded the new WWWF World Championship following an apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

l tournament in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

. He lost the title to Bruno Sammartino
Bruno Sammartino
Bruno Leopoldo Francesco Sammartino is an Italian-American former professional wrestler, best known for being the longest-running champion of the World Wide Wrestling Federation , holding the title across two reigns for over 11 years in total, as well as the longest single WWE Championship reign...

 a month later on May 17, 1963, after suffering a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 shortly before the match. To accommodate Rogers' condition, the match was booked to last under a minute.

Two years later, NWA president Sam Muchnick
Sam Muchnick
Sam Muchnick was an American professional wrestling promoter from St. Louis, Missouri. He is often deemed as wrestling’s equivalent of Pete Rozelle , and he was instrumental in establishing the National Wrestling Alliance, which became the industry’s top governing body, in 1948...

 and McMahon discussed a unification match between Thesz and Sammartino, with both parties agreeing to Sammartino winning the unified title. The match plans fell apart when Sammartino refused to take on the enlarged schedule and Thesz demanded a high guarantee for doing the job.

The WWWF operated in a very conservative matter compared to other pro wrestling territories; it ran its major arenas monthly rather than weekly or bi-weekly, usually featuring a babyface
Face (professional wrestling)
In professional wrestling, a babyface or face or in simple words, a fan favorite is a character who is portrayed as a heroic relative to the heel wrestlers, who are analogous to villains...

 champion wrestling various heels
Heel (professional wrestling)
In professional wrestling, a heel is a villain character. In non-wrestling jargon, heels are the "bad guys" in professional wrestling; the term heel coming from the term take to you heels, which means to run away which heel champions tend to do to avoid losing their titles.storylines...

 in programs consisting of one to three matches, with the initial meeting often featuring a heel win in a non-decisive manner. Although business was initially rather strong, crowds in Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

 fell off due to a lack of television exposure. After gaining a television program on a Spanish language station, and turning preliminary wrestler Lou Albano
Lou Albano
Louis Vincent "Captain Lou" Albano was an Italian-American professional wrestler, manager and actor. He was active as a professional wrestler from 1953 until 1969, then he became a manager, until 1995....

 as a manager for Sammartino's heel opponents, the WWWF was doing sellout business by 1970. Albano was soon joined by fellow managers Ernie Roth
Ernie Roth
Ernie Roth , best known as The Grand Wizard of Wrestling, also well known as Abdullah Farouk, was a professional wrestling manager of many infamous heels...

 and Fred Blassie
Fred Blassie
Frederick Kenneth Blassman , better known as "Classy" Freddie Blassie, was an American professional wrestling villain and manager born in St. Louis, Missouri. Renowned as "The Fashion Plate of Professional Wrestling" , Blassie was a master at antagonizing the crowd, and inspired legendary animosity...

, forming the "Triumverate of Terror," managing heel opponents for Sammartino and later champions Pedro Morales
Pedro Morales
Pedro Morales is a retired Puerto Rican professional wrestler. He began his wrestling career as a teenager in 1959 and continued through to the late 1980s...

 and Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund
Robert Lee "Bob" Backlund is an American professional wrestler with an in ring career that spanned over 30 years. Over that time, he went on to become a two-time WWWF/WWF Champion...

. Heels such as Ivan Koloff and Stan Stasiak
Stan Stasiak
George Stipich , better known by his ring name Stan Stasiak, was a Canadian professional wrestler and fifth World Wide Wrestling Federation Champion. He is the father of professional wrestler Shawn Stasiak.-Career:...

 were used to transition the title from one babyface to another; Superstar Billy Graham enjoyed a nine and a half month reign as a heel champion, as McMahon felt he would need this much time to build up Bob Backlund as championship material.

Mondt left the company in the late sixties. Although the WWWF had withdrawn from the NWA, Vince McMahon, Sr. quietly rejoined the organization in 1971, although he did not book an NWA world champion in his territory until Harley Race
Harley Race
Harley Leland Race is a retired American professional wrestler and current promoter and trainer. During his career as a wrestler, he held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship 7 times...

 in the late 1970s. At the annual meeting of the NWA in 1983, the McMahons and WWF employee Jim Barnett
Jim Barnett (wrestling)
James E. Barnett was an American professional wrestling promoter, and owner of Georgia Championship Wrestling and Australia's World Championship Wrestling.-Professional wrestling career:...

 all withdrew from the organization.

In March 1979, for marketing purposes, the World Wide Wrestling Federation was renamed the "World Wrestling Federation" (WWF).

World Wrestling Federation

On February 21, 1980, the son of Vincent J. McMahon, Vincent K. McMahon
Vince McMahon
Vincent Kennedy "Vince" McMahon is an American professional wrestling promoter, announcer, commentator, film producer, actor and former occasional professional wrestler. McMahon is the current Chairman, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of professional wrestling promotion WWE...

, founded Titan Sports, Inc. and on June 6, 1982, purchased Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. from his father and other stock holders (Arnold Skaaland
Arnold Skaaland
Arnold Skaaland was an American professional wrestler and professional wrestling manager.-Career:Skaaland served in the U.S. Marines during World War II. After a short-lived attempt to make a living through boxing, he became a professional wrestler and debuted in 1946 as "Arnold Skaaland"...

, Gorilla Monsoon, and Phil Zacko). The elder McMahon had long since established the northeastern territory as one of the most vibrant members of the NWA. He had long since recognized that professional wrestling was more about entertainment
Sports entertainment
Sports entertainment is a type of spectacle which presents an ostensibly competitive event using a high level of theatrical flourish and extravagant presentation, with the purpose of entertaining an audience...

 than actual sport. Against his father's wishes, McMahon began an expansion process that fundamentally changed the industry.
The WWF was not the only promotion to have broken ranks with the NWA; the American Wrestling Association
American Wrestling Association
The American Wrestling Association was an American professional wrestling promotion based in Minneapolis, Minnesota that ran from 1960 to 1991. It was owned and founded by Verne Gagne and Wally Karbo...

 (AWA) had long ago ceased being an official NWA member (although like the WWF, they seldom left their own territory). However, neither of the defecting members attempted to undermine the territory system
National Wrestling Alliance
The National Wrestling Alliance is a wrestling promotion company and sanctions various NWA championships in the United States. The NWA has been in operation since 1948...

 that had been the foundation of the industry for more than half a century.

Other promoters were furious when McMahon began syndicating WWF television shows to television station
Television station
A television station is a business, organisation or other such as an amateur television operator that transmits content over terrestrial television. A television transmission can be by analog television signals or, more recently, by digital television. Broadcast television systems standards are...

s across the United States, in areas outside of the WWF's traditional northeastern stronghold. McMahon also began selling videotape
Videotape
A videotape is a recording of images and sounds on to magnetic tape as opposed to film stock or random access digital media. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an electrocardiogram...

s of WWF events outside the Northeast through his Coliseum Video distribution company. He effectively broke the unwritten law of regionalism around which the entire industry had been based. To make matters worse, McMahon used the income generated by advertising, television deals, and tape sales to poach talent from rival promoters. Wrestling promoters nationwide were now in direct competition with the WWF.

Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan
Terrance Gene "Terry" Bollea , better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American Semi-retired professional wrestler, actor, television personality, and musician currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling ....

, due to his appearance in Rocky III
Rocky III
Rocky III is a 1982 American film that is the third installment in the Rocky film series. It is written and directed by and stars Sylvester Stallone as the title character, with Carl Weathers as former boxing rival Apollo Creed, Burgess Meredith as Rocky's trainer Mickey, and Talia Shire as Rocky's...

, had a national recognition that few other wrestlers could offer, which is what led McMahon to sign him. Roddy Piper
Roddy Piper
Roderick George Toombs , better known by his ring name "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, is a Canadian semi-retired professional wrestler and film actor who is currently signed to WWE. In professional wrestling, he is best known for his work with WWE...

 was brought in, as well as Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura
James George Janos , better known as Jesse Ventura, is an American politician, the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, Navy UDT veteran, former SEAL reservist, actor, and former radio and television talk show host...

 (although Ventura rarely wrestled in the WWF at that point due to the lung disorder that caused his retirement, moving to the commentator booth alongside Gorilla Monsoon
Gorilla Monsoon
Robert James "Gino" Marella , better known by his ring name of Gorilla Monsoon, was an American professional wrestler, play-by-play announcer, and booker...

). André the Giant
André the Giant
André René Roussimoff , best known as André the Giant, was a French professional wrestler and actor. His best remembered acting role was that of Fezzik, the giant in the film The Princess Bride...

, Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Snuka
James William "Jimmy" Reiher is a semi-retired Fijian professional wrestler and actor, better known by his ring name Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Originally from the Fiji Islands, Snuka wrestled for several promotions in the 1970s and 1980s. Snuka is a two-time world heavyweight champion, having been a...

, Don Muraco
Don Muraco
Donald Muraco , better known by his ring name "The Rock" Don Muraco, is a retired American professional wrestler...

, Paul Orndorff
Paul Orndorff
Paul Parlette Orndorff, Jr. is a retired American professional wrestler, best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling as "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff...

, Greg Valentine
Greg Valentine
John Wisniski, Jr. is an American professional wrestler, better known as Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. He is the son of wrestler Johnny Valentine.-Training:...

, Ricky Steamboat
Ricky Steamboat
Richard Henry Blood , better known by his ring name Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, is a retired American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE working as a road agent. He was one of the few wrestlers who stayed a babyface throughout his career...

, and the Iron Sheik (Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) rounded out the roster. Hogan was clearly McMahon's biggest star, causing some people to debate whether the WWF could have achieved national success without him.

The WWF would tour nationally in a venture that required huge capital investment; one that placed the WWF on the verge of financial collapse. The future of not just McMahon's experiment, but also the WWF, the NWA, and the whole industry came down to the success or failure of McMahon's groundbreaking concept, WrestleMania
WrestleMania
WrestleMania is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced annually in late March or early April by WWE, a professional wrestling promotion based in Connecticut...

. WrestleMania was a pay-per-view
Pay-per-view
Pay-per-view provides a service by which a television audience can purchase events to view via private telecast. The broadcaster shows the event at the same time to everyone ordering it...

 extravaganza (in some areas; most areas of the country saw WrestleMania available on closed-circuit television
Closed-circuit television
Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors....

) that McMahon marketed as being the Super Bowl
Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

 of professional wrestling. The concept of a wrestling supercard
Card (sports)
In sports, a card comprises a listing of the matches taking place in a title-match combat-sport event. Organizers divide overall cards into a main-event match and the undercard, which encompasses the rest of the matches. One can also further subdivide the undercard into midcard and lower card,...

 was nothing new in North America; the NWA had been running Starrcade
Starrcade
Starrcade was an annual professional wrestling event held from 1983 to 2000 by the National Wrestling Alliance and later World Championship Wrestling as their flagship event equal to WWE's WrestleMania , and featured the largest feuds of the promotion...

 a few years prior to WrestleMania, and even the elder McMahon had marketed large Shea Stadium
Shea Stadium
William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, usually shortened to Shea Stadium or just Shea , was a stadium in the New York City borough of Queens, in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. It was the home baseball park of Major League Baseball's New York Mets from 1964 to 2008...

 cards
Showdown at Shea
Showdown at Shea was the name given to three professional wrestling events presented by the World Wide Wrestling Federation at Flushing, New York's Shea Stadium, from 1972 to 1980.-1972:...

 viewable in closed-circuit locations. However, McMahon's vision was to make the WWF and the industry itself mainstream, targeting more of the general television audience by exploiting the entertainment side of the industry. With the inaugural WrestleMania the WWF initiated a joint-promotional campaign with MTV
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

, which featured a great deal of WWF coverage and programming, in what was termed the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection. The mainstream media attention brought on by celebrities
Celebrity
A celebrity, also referred to as a celeb in popular culture, is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media...

 including Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist...

, Mr. T
Mr. T
Mr. T is an American actor known for his roles as B. A. Baracus in the 1980s television series The A-Team, as boxer Clubber Lang in the 1982 film Rocky III, and for his appearances as a professional wrestler. Mr. T is known for his trademark African Mandinka warrior hairstyle, his gold jewelry,...

, and Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper
Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper is an American singer, songwriter, actress and LGBT rights activist. She achieved success in the mid-1980s with the release of the album She's So Unusual and became the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album...

 at the event helped propel WrestleMania to become a staple in popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

.

The original WrestleMania
WrestleMania (1985)
WrestleMania was the first annual WrestleMania professional wrestling event produced by the World Wrestling Federation. It took place on March 31, 1985, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The attendance for the event was 19,121 fans...

, held in 1985, was a resounding success. This event is sometimes credited as the debut of what McMahon called "sports entertainment", in contrast to his father's preference of pure wrestling. The WWF did incredible business on the shoulders of McMahon and his all-American babyface
Face (professional wrestling)
In professional wrestling, a babyface or face or in simple words, a fan favorite is a character who is portrayed as a heroic relative to the heel wrestlers, who are analogous to villains...

 hero, Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan
Terrance Gene "Terry" Bollea , better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American Semi-retired professional wrestler, actor, television personality, and musician currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling ....

, for the next several years, creating what some observers dubbed a second golden age for professional wrestling. The introduction of Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 in mid-1985 marked the first time that professional wrestling had been broadcast on network television since the 1950s. In 1987, the WWF produced what was considered to be the pinnacle of the 1980s wrestling boom, WrestleMania III
WrestleMania III
WrestleMania III was the third annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation . The event was held on March 29, 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan....

. A rematch of the Wrestlemania III feature bout, once again pitting Champion Hulk Hogan against Andre the Giant on Main Event, was seen by 33 million people, which is still the record for the most watched wrestling match in North America.

New Generation

The WWF hit a low point in the wake of allegations of steroid
Anabolic steroid
Anabolic steroids, technically known as anabolic-androgen steroids or colloquially simply as "steroids", are drugs that mimic the effects of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in the body. They increase protein synthesis within cells, which results in the buildup of cellular tissue ,...

 abuse and distribution made against it in 1994; there were also allegations of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment
Sexual harassment, is intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. In some contexts or circumstances, sexual harassment is illegal. It includes a range of behavior from seemingly mild transgressions and...

 made by WWF employees. McMahon was eventually exonerated, but it was a public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 nightmare for the WWF. The steroid trial cost the WWF an estimated $5 million at a time when revenues were at an all-time low. To compensate, McMahon cut the pay of both wrestlers and front office personnel – close to 40% in the latter case (and about 50% for top level managers such as Bobby Heenan
Bobby Heenan
Raymond Louis "Ray" Heenan , better known as Bobby "The Brain" Heenan , is a former American professional wrestling manager and color commentator, best known for his time with the American Wrestling Association , World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation...

 and Jimmy Hart
Jimmy Hart
James "Jimmy" Ray Hart is a professional wrestling manager, executive, composer, and musician currently signed with WWE. He is best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling under his nickname "The Mouth of the South." He has managed many professional...

, who both left). This helped drive many WWF wrestlers to its only major competition, World Championship Wrestling
World Championship Wrestling
World Championship Wrestling, Inc. was an American professional wrestling promotion which existed from 1988 to 2001. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, it began as a regional promotion affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance , named Jim Crockett Promotions until November 1988, when Ted Turner and...

 (WCW), between 1994 and 1997. During this period, the WWF promoted itself under the banner of "The New WWF Generation," featuring Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels
Michael Shawn Hickenbottom , better known by his ring name Shawn Michaels, is an American television host and retired professional wrestler. He presents the Outdoor Channel show MacMillan River Adventures, and is currently signed to WWE, where he has served in an ambassadorial role since December...

, Diesel
Kevin Nash
Kevin Scott Nash is an American professional wrestler and actor. As of 2011, Nash is signed to a five year contract with WWE under their WWE Legends program and appears as part of their Raw brand roster...

, Razor Ramon
Scott Hall
Scott Hall is an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his tenure with the World Wrestling Federation in the early and mid 1990s under the ring name Razor Ramon, as well as for his period in the mid 1990s and early 2000s with World Championship Wrestling under his real name...

, Bret Hart
Bret Hart
Bret Hart is a Canadian on-screen personality, writer, actor and Semi-retired professional wrestler. Like others in the Hart wrestling family, Hart has an amateur wrestling background, including wrestling at Ernest Manning High School and Mount Royal College...

, and The Undertaker. In an effort to promote them and other young talent as the new superstars of the ring, the WWF began to play on the age restrictions which former WWF wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan
Terrance Gene "Terry" Bollea , better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American Semi-retired professional wrestler, actor, television personality, and musician currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling ....

 and Randy Savage
Randy Savage
Randall Mario Poffo , better known by his ring name "Macho Man" Randy Savage, was an American professional wrestler, best known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling .Savage held twenty championships during his professional wrestling career and was a...

 (who by now were working for WCW) now faced. This is best seen in the "Billionaire Ted" parodies of early 1996 (a reference to WCW's owner and patron, media mogul Ted Turner
Ted Turner
Robert Edward "Ted" Turner III is an American media mogul and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the cable news network CNN, the first dedicated 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television...

) which culminated in a "rasslin'" match during the warm-up to WrestleMania XII
WrestleMania XII
-Other on-screen talent:-External links:**...

.

Monday Night Wars

In 1993, the WWF broke new ground in televised professional wrestling with the debut of its cable program WWF Monday Night Raw
WWE RAW
WWE Raw ) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States...

. After becoming a runaway success, WCW countered in 1995 with its own Monday night cable program, WCW Monday Nitro
WCW Monday Nitro
WCW Monday Nitro was a weekly professional wrestling telecast produced by World Championship Wrestling, created by Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff. The show aired Monday nights on TNT, going head-to-head with the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw from September 4, 1995 to March 26, 2001...

, in the same time slot as Raw. The two programs would trade wins in the ensuing ratings
Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen ratings are the audience measurement systems developed by Nielsen Media Research, in an effort to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States...

 competition until mid-1996, when WCW began a nearly two year domination that was largely fueled by the introduction of the New World Order
New World Order (professional wrestling)
The New World Order was a professional wrestling stable that originally wrestled for World Championship Wrestling . The group later appeared in the World Wrestling Federation after the purchase of WCW by the WWF...

, a stable led by former WWF performers Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash.

The Attitude Era



The feuds and match types developed by the end of the mid 1990s began a new era in wrestling. The fans of WWF seemed to favor what was posed to them as the bad guy
Heel (professional wrestling)
In professional wrestling, a heel is a villain character. In non-wrestling jargon, heels are the "bad guys" in professional wrestling; the term heel coming from the term take to you heels, which means to run away which heel champions tend to do to avoid losing their titles.storylines...

 instead of the good guy
Face (professional wrestling)
In professional wrestling, a babyface or face or in simple words, a fan favorite is a character who is portrayed as a heroic relative to the heel wrestlers, who are analogous to villains...

. The creative changes made by the WWF creative board saw wrestling take on a "street fighting", "bad attitude" approach; however, despite the revolutionary changes in sports-entertainment that the WWF founded, 1997 remains the lowest of the WWF's financial income and a heavy loss in fan interest to rival WCW. Through to present day many wrestlers acknowledge that at the time, they were not aware of how close the company came to liquidation. Throughout 1996 and 1997, the WWF lost much of its leading talent to WCW, including Razor Ramon (Scott Hall
Scott Hall
Scott Hall is an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his tenure with the World Wrestling Federation in the early and mid 1990s under the ring name Razor Ramon, as well as for his period in the mid 1990s and early 2000s with World Championship Wrestling under his real name...

), Diesel (Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash
Kevin Scott Nash is an American professional wrestler and actor. As of 2011, Nash is signed to a five year contract with WWE under their WWE Legends program and appears as part of their Raw brand roster...

), Psycho Sid (Sid Eudy
Sid Eudy
Sidney Raymond "Sid" Eudy is an American professional wrestler, best known as Sid Vicious in World Championship Wrestling, and as Sid Justice and Sycho Sid in the World Wrestling Federation...

), Alundra Blayze (Debra Miceli
Debra Miceli
Debrah Ann Miceli is a Monster truck driver and former professional wrestler. She is best known under her ring names Madusa or Alundra Blayze. Her early career was spent in the American Wrestling Association, where she held the AWA World Women's Championship one time...

), and Rick Rude (Richard Rood). The WWF replaced them with former WCW talent such as Vader (Leon White), Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Steve Austin , better known by his ring name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is an American film and television actor and retired professional wrestler...

, Brian Pillman
Brian Pillman
Brian William Pillman was an American football player and professional wrestler best known for his appearances in the World Wrestling Federation, Extreme Championship Wrestling, and World Championship Wrestling....

, Mankind (Mick Foley
Mick Foley
Michael Francis "Mick" Foley, Sr. is an American semi-retired professional wrestler, author, comedian, actor, voice actor and former color commentator. He has worked for many wrestling promotions, including WWE, WCW, ECW and TNA. He is often referred to as "The Hardcore Legend", a nickname he...

), and Farooq (Ron Simmons
Ron Simmons
Ronald "Ron" Simmons is an American semi-retired professional wrestler and retired American football player. He is recognised as being the first Black world heavyweight champion in professional wrestling and the first of only two African Americans to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship,...

). Eric Bischoff's public humiliation of the WWF, criticizing them for signing WCW's sacked wrestlers and bragging that WWF wrestlers were signing for WCW due to higher pay, intensified the Monday Night Wars
Monday Night Wars
Monday Night Wars is the common term describing the period of mainstream televised American professional wrestling from September 4, 1995, to March 26, 2001. During this time, the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw went head-to-head with World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro in a...

 only for Nitro as the WWF struggled to regain its popularity.

McMahon managed to keep Bret Hart from reverting to WCW, and began a feud with Hart and Steve Austin. In Hart's absence after WrestleMania XII
WrestleMania XII
-Other on-screen talent:-External links:**...

, Steve Austin became the new face of the company, starting with his Austin 3:16 speech, shortly after defeating Jake Roberts
Jake Roberts
Aurelian Jake Smith, Jr. is a second-generation American professional wrestler, the son of former wrestler Aurelian "Grizzly" Smith...

 in the tournament finals at the 1996 King of the Ring
King of the Ring
King of the Ring is a professional wrestling single-elimination tournament held by WWE. The tournament was held annually from 1985 to 2002, with the exception of 1990 and 1992, and from 1993 to 2002 the tournament was produced as a pay-per-view event....

 pay-per-view. WrestleMania 13
WrestleMania 13
WrestleMania 13 was the thirteenth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation...

 saw Hart defeat Austin in a critically acclaimed submission match, and shortly after saw Hart reform The Hart Foundation
The Hart Foundation
The Hart Foundation referred to several teams or stables in the World Wrestling Federation , usually consisted of members or close friends of the Hart wrestling family from Canada....

. McMahon revolved the company around Hart, Austin and Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels
Michael Shawn Hickenbottom , better known by his ring name Shawn Michaels, is an American television host and retired professional wrestler. He presents the Outdoor Channel show MacMillan River Adventures, and is currently signed to WWE, where he has served in an ambassadorial role since December...

, feuding with each other for the majority of the year, leaving many to admire their impact carrying the business through a difficult time. Despite his strong long running image as a face, the Canadian Hart was turned heel in an anti-USA gimmick, while Steve Austin became cheered by fans despite efforts to design him as the ultimate heel, making him a tweener.
Rocky Maivia joined the Nation of Domination
Nation of Domination
The Nation of Domination was a professional wrestling stable in World Wrestling Federation from November 18, 1996 to November 28, 1998. The Rock was a 1 time Intercontinental Champion and D'Lo Brown was a 2 time European Champion while in the group.-United States Wrestling Association :The...

 stable after fans rejected his good guy image, and Shawn Michaels formed the street gang faction D-Generation X
D-Generation X
D-Generation X was a professional wrestling stable in WWE . The group originated in the midst of the WWF's "Attitude Era" from 1997 to 2000...

 with Triple H
Triple H
Paul Michael Levesque is an American professional wrestler, professional wrestling authority figure, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and actor, better known by his ring name Triple H, an abbreviation of the ring name, Hunter Hearst Helmsley...

 and Chyna; similar to the Stone Cold Steve Austin character, DX was designed not to care for what the fans or other wrestlers thought of them. Michaels later stated that the concept of DX was brought about after he persuaded McMahon to take a cruder approach to the companies marketing approach following him fining Michael's $10,000 for putting large ornaments in his shorts and exploiting his crotch around the ring during an on-air interview. The Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker produced a fresh strong foundation for the WWF's creative board.

1997 ended with McMahon facing real life controversy resulting in major ratings and financial losses after becoming widely despised by his employees, wrestling critics, and wrestling fans following Bret Hart's controversial departure from the WWF, later known as the Montreal Screwjob
Montreal Screwjob
The Montreal Screwjob was a controversial, purportedly real life professional wrestling event in which the owner of the World Wrestling Federation, Vince McMahon, double-crossed the defending WWF Champion, Bret Hart, during the main event match of the professional wrestling pay-per-view event...

. This proved to be a founding factor in what was to officially kick start The Attitude Era
The Attitude Era
The Attitude Era was a period in World Wrestling Federation and professional wrestling history that began as a direct result of the Monday Night Wars, a television ratings conflict between the WWF and longtime rival promotion World Championship Wrestling that lasted from 1995 to 2001...

.

By January 1998, the WWF began broadcasting more violence, swearing, and more edgy angles in its attempt to compete with WCW. Following Bret Hart's departure, Vince McMahon used the resulting backlash in the creation of his "Mr. McMahon
Vince McMahon
Vincent Kennedy "Vince" McMahon is an American professional wrestling promoter, announcer, commentator, film producer, actor and former occasional professional wrestler. McMahon is the current Chairman, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of professional wrestling promotion WWE...

" character, a dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

ial and fierce ruler who favored heels who were "good for business" over "misfit" faces like Austin. This, in turn, led to the Austin vs. McMahon feud, which, along with D-Generation X who briefly hired Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson
Michael Gerard "Mike" Tyson is a retired American boxer. Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles, he was 20 years, 4 months and 22 days old...

 in the build up to WrestleMania XIV
WrestleMania XIV
WrestleMania XIV was the fourteenth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation , which took place on March 29, 1998 at the FleetCenter in Boston, Massachusetts....

, officially began the Attitude Era. It also featured the established Monday Night Wars, where both WCW and the WWF had Monday night shows that competed against each other in the ratings, and saw the WWF finally beat WCW for the first time in 84 weeks when McMahon made his in-ring debut against Austin. The evolution of more brutal matches with different stipulations to increase viewership worked to a major extent, mainly through the furthering of Hell in a Cell (notably its second appearance featuring The Undertaker vs. Mankind) and the Inferno match (introduced by Kane
Kane (wrestler)
Glenn Thomas Jacobs is a Spanish-born American professional wrestler and actor better known by his ring name, Kane. He is signed to WWE, appearing on its SmackDown brand, but is currently inactive due to injury....

 against The Undertaker). Many wrestlers such as Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho
Christopher Keith Irvine , better known by his ring name Chris Jericho, is an inactive Canadian-American professional wrestler, musician, songwriter, radio personality, television host, actor, author, and dancer...

 and The Radicalz
The Radicalz
The Radicalz were a professional wrestling stable in the World Wrestling Federation . Their members were former World Championship Wrestling performers Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko. Terri Runnels later joined the group by proxy after becoming Saturn's onscreen...

 (Chris Benoit
Chris Benoit
Christopher Michael "Chris" Benoit was a Canadian professional wrestler whose career and life ended in a murder–suicide...

, Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero
Eduardo Gory "Eddie" Guerrero was a Mexican-American professional wrestler born into the Guerrero wrestling family. He wrestled in Mexico and Japan for several major professional wrestling promotions...

, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko
Dean Malenko
Dean Simon is a retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Dean Malenko. He is currently signed to WWE working as a road agent. He is best known for his time with Extreme Championship Wrestling , New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling...

) were drafted from WCW, all publicly claiming on both companies' TV broadcasts that they were extremely unhappy at the storylines and backstage chaos at WCW, and were further intrigued and happier with the structural running of the WWF. The 1996 Olympic
1996 Summer Olympics
The 1996 Summer Olympics of Atlanta, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and unofficially known as the Centennial Olympics, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States....

 gold medalist, Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle
Kurt Steven Angle is an American professional wrestler, amateur wrestler, and 1996 Olympic gold medalist. He is currently under contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, where he is recognized as a 15-time World Heavyweight Champion...

, The Rock (renamed from Rocky Maivia), and Mick Foley (as Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love) were successfully re-invented to compete at the main event level. Notably, Mick Foley's WWF Championship win over The Rock on Monday Night Raw saw WCW lose millions of viewers when Eric Bischoff instructed announcer Tony Schiavone
Tony Schiavone
Noah Anthony "Tony" Schiavone is an American sports broadcaster. He is the play-by-play broadcaster for the Gwinnett Braves of the International League...

 to give away the result minutes before both main events started, which led to Raw drawing eleven million viewers.

Business advances

On the back of the success of the Attitude Era, several new advances and products were launched. During this period, the WWF's parent company Titan Sports was renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. and on October 19, 1999 became a publicly traded company, offering 10 million shares priced at $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

17 each. WWF Entertainment announced its desire to diversify, including creating a nightclub in Times Square
The World (WWE)
The World was a WWE-themed restaurant/nightclub in Times Square in New York City, in the Paramount Theater building on the corner of Broadway and 43rd Street...

, producing feature films, and book publishing.
SmackDown!

On April 29, 1999, the WWF made its return to terrestrial television
Terrestrial television
Terrestrial television is a mode of television broadcasting which does not involve satellite transmission or cables — typically using radio waves through transmitting and receiving antennas or television antenna aerials...

 by launching a special program known as SmackDown! on the fledgling UPN
UPN
United Paramount Network was a television network that was broadcast in over 200 markets in the United States from 1995 to 2006. UPN was originally owned by Viacom/Paramount and Chris-Craft Industries, the former of which, through the Paramount Television Group, produced most of the network's...

 network. The Thursday night show became a weekly series on August 26, 1999. The show led to further TV ratings competition with WCW, up against WCW Thunder
WCW Thunder
WCW Thunder was a professional wrestling show produced by World Championship Wrestling which aired on TBS from January 8, 1998 to March 21, 2001...

.
The XFL

In 2000 the WWF, in collaboration with television network NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

, announced the creation of the XFL
XFL
The XFL was a professional American football league that played for one season in 2001. The league was founded by Vince McMahon, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of WWE...

, a new professional football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 league that debuted in 2001. The league had high ratings for the first few weeks, but initial interest waned and its ratings plunged to dismally low levels (one of its games was the lowest-rated prime-time show in the history of American television). NBC walked out on the venture after only one season, but McMahon intended to continue alone. However, after being unable to reach a deal with UPN, McMahon shut down the XFL.
Acquisition of WCW and ECW

By the fall of 1999, The Attitude Era had turned the tide of the Monday Night Wars into WWF's favor for good. After Time Warner merged with AOL
AOL
AOL Inc. is an American global Internet services and media company. AOL is headquartered at 770 Broadway in New York. Founded in 1983 as Control Video Corporation, it has franchised its services to companies in several nations around the world or set up international versions of its services...

, Ted Turner
Ted Turner
Robert Edward "Ted" Turner III is an American media mogul and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the cable news network CNN, the first dedicated 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television...

's control over WCW was considerably reduced, and the newly merged company announced a complete lack of interest in professional wrestling as a whole, and decided to sell WCW in its entirety. Although Eric Bischoff was nearing a deal to purchase the company complete, in March 2001, WWF Entertainment, Inc. acquired WCW from AOL Time Warner for a number reported to be around $7 million. Shortly after WrestleMania X-Seven
WrestleMania X-Seven
WrestleMania X-Seven was the seventeenth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view produced by the World Wrestling Federation . It took place on April 1, 2001 at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The event was the first WrestleMania held in the state of Texas...

, the WWF launched the Invasion storyline integrating the incoming talent roster from WCW and ECW. With this purchase, WWF now became the largest wrestling promotion in the world, and the only one in North America with mainstream exposure. The assets of Extreme Championship Wrestling
Extreme Championship Wrestling
Extreme Championship Wrestling was a professional wrestling promotion that was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1992 by Tod Gordon and closed when his successor, Paul Heyman, declared bankruptcy in April 2001...

 (ECW), which had folded after filing for bankruptcy
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 protection in April 2001, were purchased by WWE in mid-2003.

Brand extension

In March 2002, roughly two months before the name change, WWE decided to create two separate rosters, Raw and SmackDown! due to the overabundance of talent left over from the Invasion storyline. This is known as the WWE Brand Extension
WWE Brand Extension
WWE, formerly the World Wrestling Federation and World Wrestling Entertainment , currently promotes its core business of professional wrestling through two "brands" named after their two major television shows Raw and SmackDown...

. Despite much of the originally drafted talent departing by 2004, WWE has continued to separate the shows, taking on younger talent, and holds a Draft Lottery every year. On May 26, 2006, WWE announced the relaunch of Extreme Championship Wrestling
Extreme Championship Wrestling
Extreme Championship Wrestling was a professional wrestling promotion that was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1992 by Tod Gordon and closed when his successor, Paul Heyman, declared bankruptcy in April 2001...

 as a WWE brand
WWE Brand Extension
WWE, formerly the World Wrestling Federation and World Wrestling Entertainment , currently promotes its core business of professional wrestling through two "brands" named after their two major television shows Raw and SmackDown...

. The new ECW program aired internationally and on Tuesday nights on Syfy
Syfy
Syfy , formerly known as the Sci-Fi Channel and SCI FI, is an American cable television channel featuring science fiction, supernatural, fantasy, reality, paranormal, wrestling, and horror programming. Launched on September 24, 1992, it is part of the entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal, a...

 in the United States until February 16, 2010.

Name dispute

In 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

 (also trademarked WWF), an environmental organization, sued World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. The Law Lords
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, commonly known as Law Lords, were appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in order to exercise its judicial functions, which included acting as the highest court of appeal for most domestic matters...

 agreed that the promotion company had violated a 1994 agreement as Titan Sports which had limited the permissible use of the WWF trademark in Europe, particularly in merchandising. The World Wide Fund and World Wrestling Federation used the initials since March 1979. The last televised event to market the WWF logo was UK based pay-per-view
Pay-per-view
Pay-per-view provides a service by which a television audience can purchase events to view via private telecast. The broadcaster shows the event at the same time to everyone ordering it...

 Insurrextion 2002
WWE Insurrextion
Insurrextion was an annual professional wrestling pay-per-view produced by World Wrestling Federation exclusively for the United Kingdom on Sky Box Office. From 2002 on, it was a Raw brand exclusive show. After the 2003 show, all UK exclusive pay-per-views were stopped...

. On May 5, 2002, the company launched its "Get The F Out" marketing
Marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

 campaign and changed all references on its website from "WWF" to "WWE", while switching the URL
Uniform Resource Locator
In computing, a uniform resource locator or universal resource locator is a specific character string that constitutes a reference to an Internet resource....

 from WWF.com to WWE.com. The next day, a press release announced the official name change from World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., or WWE, and the change was publicized later that day during a telecast of Monday Night Raw, which was broadcast from the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford is the capital of the U.S. state of Connecticut. The seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960, it is the second most populous city on New England's largest river, the Connecticut River. As of the 2010 Census, Hartford's population was 124,775, making...

.

Following the case, the use of the "Attitude" logo became prohibited on all World Wrestling Federation properties. Additionally, past references to the WWF trademark and initials in 'specified circumstances' became censored. Despite litigation, WWE is still permitted use of the original WWF logo, which was used from 1979 through 1994, as well as the "New WWF Generation" logo, which was used from 1994 through 1998. Furthermore, the company may still make use of the full "World Wrestling Federation" and "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment" names without consequence. In 2003, WWE won a limited decision to continue marketing certain classic video games from THQ
THQ
THQ Inc. is an American developer and publisher of video games. Founded in 1989 in the United States, the company develops products for video game consoles, handheld game systems, as well as for personal computers and wireless devices...

 and Jakks Pacific
Jakks Pacific
JAKKS Pacific, Inc. is a designer and marketer of toys and consumer products, with a range of products that feature numerous children's toy licenses...

 that contained the WWF "Attitude" logo. However, the packaging was changed to replace all WWF references with WWE.

Network changes and high-definition

In late 2005, WWE Raw
WWE RAW
WWE Raw ) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States...

 returned after a five year stint on TNN (now Spike) to its original home USA Network
USA Network
USA Network is an American cable television channel launched in 1971. Once a minor player in basic cable, the network has steadily gained popularity because of breakout hits like Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Monday Night RAW, Suits, and reruns of the various...

. In 2006, due to contracts with NBC Universal, parent company of USA Network, WWE revived its classic Saturday night show Saturday Night's Main Event (SNME) on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 after a thirteen-year hiatus. WWE had the chance to promote the company on a major national network rather than the lower profile CW
The CW Television Network
The CW Television Network is a television network in the United States launched at the beginning of the 2006–2007 television season. It is a joint venture between CBS Corporation, the former owners of United Paramount Network , and Time Warner's Warner Bros., former majority owner of The WB...

 or cable channels like USA Network. SNME airs occasionally on NBC as a WWE special series. On September 26, 2007, it was announced that WWE would be expanding its international operations. Alongside the current international offices in London and Toronto, a new international office would be established in Sydney.

On January 21, 2008, WWE made the transition to high-definition
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

 (HD). All TV shows and pay-per-views after this were broadcast in HD. In addition, WWE also introduced a new HD set that is used for all three brands and a different set is used for each of the pay-per-views.

WWE Universe and change in programming

On November 19, 2008, WWE launched their online social network, WWE Universe. It initially appeared in April as WWE Fan Nation. Similar to MySpace
MySpace
Myspace is a social networking service owned by Specific Media LLC and pop star Justin Timberlake. Myspace launched in August 2003 and is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. In August 2011, Myspace had 33.1 million unique U.S. visitors....

, it offered blogs, forums, and other features for WWE fans. The social network ceased operations on January 1, 2011. The company subsequently launched a WWE page on Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

, which, as of October 7, 2011, had more than 39 million fans worldwide.

It was announced on December 19, 2008 that WWE and WGN America had come to an agreement to create a new weekly, one-hour prime time series entitled WWE Superstars
WWE Superstars
WWE Superstars is a professional wrestling television program produced by World Wrestling Entertainment that originally aired on WGN America in the United States. It debuted on April 16, 2009 and ended its domestic broadcasting on April 7, 2011...

. On April 16, 2009 the show made its debut airing. The show featured talent from all WWE brands. On February 2, 2010, it was announced that a new program called WWE NXT
WWE NXT
WWE NXT is a sports entertainment television program produced by WWE that debuted on February 23, 2010. Described as a hybrid between reality television and WWE's scripted live event shows, the premise of the show follows select talent contracted to WWE's developmental territory Florida...

would premiere on Syfy
Syfy
Syfy , formerly known as the Sci-Fi Channel and SCI FI, is an American cable television channel featuring science fiction, supernatural, fantasy, reality, paranormal, wrestling, and horror programming. Launched on September 24, 1992, it is part of the entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal, a...

 on February 23, 2010, over the ECW timeslot. Later that year NXT was removed from the Syfy lineup and was replaced with WWE SmackDown which had been airing on MyNetworkTV
MyNetworkTV
MyNetworkTV is a television broadcast syndication service in the United States, owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a division of News Corporation...

 since October 2008. NXT continues to air on WWE.com.

In 2008, WWE initiated a change in its programming content. The United States parental guidelines
TV Parental Guidelines
The TV Parental Guidelines system was first proposed on December 19, 1996 by the United States Congress, the television industry and the Federal Communications Commission , and went into effect by January 1, 1997 on most major U.S...

 rating system now rates all WWE television programs "PG" indicating family-friendly content in the programming. Vince McMahon noted that the change to more family-friendly content is due to the changing demographics in WWE viewership. As of 2010, women and young children make up 40% of the company's audience.

As of mid-2011, WWE has started to veer slightly away from their family-friendly style of programming due to the return of such wrestlers as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Steve Austin , better known by his ring name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is an American film and television actor and retired professional wrestler...

. This has resulted in an increase in viewership from older audiences, as well as the WWE permitting some mild profanity and more adult-oriented storylines (for example, Aksana's encounters with Teddy Long are laden with sexual puns and innuendo). Mild blood is being allowed to be shown again on television, although it is always legitimate
Shoot (professional wrestling)
A shoot in professional wrestling is a term that refers to any unplanned, unscripted or real-life occurrence within a wrestling event. Contrary to popular belief, the name does not originate from "shooting in" for a takedown, as in amateur wrestling - rather it is a carny term shortened from...

; wrestlers are not allowed to cut
Blading (professional wrestling)
In professional wrestling, blading is the practice of intentionally cutting oneself to provoke bleeding. It is also known as juicing, gigging, or drawing color. Similarly, a blade is an object used for blading, and a bladejob is a specific act of blading...

 themselves.

Change of business model

On April 7, 2011, WWE Corporate announced that the company would be rebranded from "World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc." to simply "WWE, Inc." This orphan initialism
Orphan initialism
Orphan initialism is the changing of the official name of a corporation, advocacy group or any organization to an acronym or initialism. Formed like any other acronym, the initial letters of the previous name are used. Such name changes are often connected to the continuous process of brand...

 occurred to reflect WWE's global entertainment expansion away from the ring with the ultimate goal of acquiring entertainment companies and putting a focus on television, live events, and film production. WWE quoted that their new company model was put into effect with the relaunch of WWE Tough Enough
WWE Tough Enough
WWE Tough Enough is a professional wrestling reality television program produced by WWE wherein participants undergo professional wrestling training and compete for a contract with WWE. There were two winners per season for the first three seasons, all of which aired on MTV...

, being a non–scripted program (contrary to the scripted nature of professional wrestling) and with the expected launch of a WWE television network
WWE Network
The WWE Network is a future cable television network owned by WWE, to be launched in 2012. The current goal is to form a "hybrid" network incorporating a traditional TV distribution model with online/mobile distribution...

 in 2012.

Wellness Program

The Talent Wellness Program is a comprehensive drug, alcohol, and cardiac screening program initiated in February 2006, shortly after the sudden death of one of their highest profile talents, thirty-eight year old Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero
Eduardo Gory "Eddie" Guerrero was a Mexican-American professional wrestler born into the Guerrero wrestling family. He wrestled in Mexico and Japan for several major professional wrestling promotions...

. The policy tests for recreational drug use
Recreational drug use
Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

 and abuse of prescription medication, including anabolic steroid
Anabolic steroid
Anabolic steroids, technically known as anabolic-androgen steroids or colloquially simply as "steroids", are drugs that mimic the effects of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in the body. They increase protein synthesis within cells, which results in the buildup of cellular tissue ,...

s. Under the guidelines of the policy, talent is also tested annually for pre-existing or developing cardiac issues. The drug testing is handled by Aegis Sciences Corporation. The cardiac evaluations are handled by New York Cardiology Associates P.C.

After the double murder and suicide
Chris Benoit double murder and suicide
The Chris Benoit double murder suicide occurred over a three-day period ending on June 24, 2007. World Wrestling Entertainment professional wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife, Nancy Benoit, strangled his seven-year-old son, Daniel, and subsequently committed suicide by hanging. Autopsy results...

 committed by one of its performers, Chris Benoit
Chris Benoit
Christopher Michael "Chris" Benoit was a Canadian professional wrestler whose career and life ended in a murder–suicide...

, with a possible link to steroid abuse given by WWE, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requested that WWE turn over any material regarding its talent wellness policy.

In August 2007, the program was defended by WWE and its employees in the wake of several illegal pharmacy busts that linked WWE performers to steroid purchases even after the policy was put into place. Ten professional wrestlers were suspended for violating the Wellness Policy after reports emerged they were all customers of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

. According to a statement attributed to WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt, an eleventh wrestler was later added to the suspension list.

On the other hand, because of the Wellness Policy, physicians were able to diagnose one of its performers with a heart ailment that otherwise would have likely gone unnoticed until it was too late. In August 2007, then-reigning United States Champion
WWE United States Championship
The WWE United States Championship is a professional wrestling championship in WWE. It was originally a National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling championship, and is currently the secondary championship of the Raw brand....

 Montel Vontavious Porter (real name Hassan Assad) was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome is a disorder of the heart in which the ventricles of the heart contract prematurely due to an accessory pathway known as the bundle of Kent. This accessory pathway is an abnormal electrical communication from the atria to the ventricles...

, which if gone undiagnosed can be potentially fatal. The ailment was discovered while MVP was going through a routine Wellness Policy checkup.

On September 13, 2010, WWE updated their list of banned substances to include muscle relaxers
Muscle relaxant
A muscle relaxant is a drug which affects skeletal muscle function and decreases the muscle tone. It may be used to alleviate symptoms such as muscle spasms, pain, and hyperreflexia. The term "muscle relaxant" is used to refer to two major therapeutic groups: neuromuscular blockers and spasmolytics...

.

Expansion beyond wrestling

In addition to licensing wrestling and performers' likenesses to companies such as Acclaim
Acclaim Entertainment
Acclaim Entertainment was an American video game developer and publisher. It developed, published, marketed and distributed interactive entertainment software for a variety of hardware platforms, including Sega's Mega Drive/Genesis, Saturn, Dreamcast, and Game Gear, Nintendo's NES, SNES, Nintendo...

, THQ
THQ
THQ Inc. is an American developer and publisher of video games. Founded in 1989 in the United States, the company develops products for video game consoles, handheld game systems, as well as for personal computers and wireless devices...

, and Mattel
Mattel
Mattel, Inc. is the world's largest toy company based on revenue. The products it produces include Fisher Price, Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys, Masters of the Universe, American Girl dolls, board games, and, in the early 1980s, video game consoles. The company's name is derived from...

 to produce video games and action figures, WWE has moved into other areas of interest in order to market their product.

Active properties

  • WWE Studios: A subsidiary of WWE created in 2002 to create and develop feature film properties. Formerly known as WWE Films.
  • WWE Music Group: A subsidiary that specializes in compilation albums of WWE wrestlers' entrance themes. The group also releases titles that have been performed by WWE wrestlers.
  • WWE Home Video: A subsidiary that specializes in distributing compilation VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc copies of WWE pay-per-view events, compilations of WWE wrestlers' performances, and biographies of WWE performers.
  • WWE Books
    WWE Books
    WWE Books is a subsidiary of WWE, Inc., created in 2002 to publish autobiographies of and fiction based on WWE personalities, behind-the-scenes guides to the WWE, illustrated books, calendars, young adult books, and other general nonfiction books....

    : A subsidiary of WWE that serves to publish autobiographies of and fiction based on WWE personalities, behind-the-scenes guides to WWE, illustrated books, calendars, young adult books, and other general "Nonfiction" books.
  • WWE Kids: A website and comic set aimed at the children's end of the wrestling market, comics are produced bi-monthly. It was launched on April 15, 2008.

Defunct properties

  • World Bodybuilding Federation
    World Bodybuilding Federation
    The World Bodybuilding Federation was a bodybuilding organization founded in 1990 by Vince McMahon that lasted until 1992. It was a subsidiary of Titan Sports which owned and operated the World Wrestling Federation.-Creation:...

    ; A subsidiary of Titan Sports launched in 1990 which promoted professional bodybuilding
    Bodybuilding
    Bodybuilding is a form of body modification involving intensive muscle hypertrophy. An individual who engages in this activity is referred to as a bodybuilder. In competitive and professional bodybuilding, bodybuilders display their physiques to a panel of judges, who assign points based on their...

     through a television show, magazine, and annual pay-per-view events. Closed in 1992.
  • XFL
    XFL
    The XFL was a professional American football league that played for one season in 2001. The league was founded by Vince McMahon, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of WWE...

    : Folded in 2001, a partially-owned subsidiary of WWFE launched in 2000 which comprised eight league-owned professional football teams. The league included television broadcasts on NBC
    NBC
    The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

     (the other co-owners of the league), UPN
    UPN
    United Paramount Network was a television network that was broadcast in over 200 markets in the United States from 1995 to 2006. UPN was originally owned by Viacom/Paramount and Chris-Craft Industries, the former of which, through the Paramount Television Group, produced most of the network's...

     and TNN.
  • The World
    The World (WWE)
    The World was a WWE-themed restaurant/nightclub in Times Square in New York City, in the Paramount Theater building on the corner of Broadway and 43rd Street...

    , formerly known as WWF New York: A restaurant, night club, and memorabilia shop in New York City launched in 1999. Closed in 2003. Hard Rock Cafe
    Hard Rock Cafe
    Hard Rock Cafe is a chain of theme restaurants founded in 1971 by Americans Peter Morton & Isaac Tigrett. In 1979, the cafe began covering its walls with rock and roll memorabilia, a tradition which expanded to others in the chain. In 2006, Hard Rock was sold to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and...

     took the building itself since 2005.
  • WWE Niagara Falls
    WWE Niagara Falls
    WWE Niagara Falls was a wrestling-related retail establishment that was part of the Falls Avenue Entertainment Complex, which is located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and owned by World Wrestling Entertainment . It was the world's first WWE retail and attraction site.-History:The facility...

    : A retail and entertainment establishment that was located in Niagara Falls, Ontario
    Niagara Falls, Ontario
    Niagara Falls is a Canadian city on the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario. The municipality was incorporated on June 12, 1903...

     and owned by WWE. It was open from August 2002 through March 2011.

Executive officers

  • Vince McMahon
    Vince McMahon
    Vincent Kennedy "Vince" McMahon is an American professional wrestling promoter, announcer, commentator, film producer, actor and former occasional professional wrestler. McMahon is the current Chairman, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of professional wrestling promotion WWE...

     (Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer)
  • George Barrios (Chief Financial Officer)
  • Jim Connelly (Executive Vice President, Consumer Products)
  • Paul Levesque
    Triple H
    Paul Michael Levesque is an American professional wrestler, professional wrestling authority figure, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and actor, better known by his ring name Triple H, an abbreviation of the ring name, Hunter Hearst Helmsley...

     (Executive Vice President, Talent)
  • Michael Luisi (President, WWE Studios and General Counsel)
  • John Laurinaitis
    John Laurinaitis
    John Joseph Laurinaitis is the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations for WWE and appears on WWE's Raw Brand as interim General Manager. He was previously a professional wrestler under the ring name Johnny Ace, and wrestled for such promotions as the National Wrestling Alliance and All...

     (Executive Vice President, Talent Relations)
  • Michelle Wilson (Chief Marketing Officer)
  • Stephanie McMahon-Levesque (Executive Vice President, Creative)

Board of directors

  • Vince McMahon
    Vince McMahon
    Vincent Kennedy "Vince" McMahon is an American professional wrestling promoter, announcer, commentator, film producer, actor and former occasional professional wrestler. McMahon is the current Chairman, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of professional wrestling promotion WWE...

     (Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer)
  • Basil DeVito (Senior Advisor, Business Strategy)
  • David Kenin (Executive Vice President of Programming, Hallmark Channel)
  • Frank Riddick III (Consultant, TowerBrook Capital Partners)
  • Jeffrey Speed (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Six Flags, Inc.)
  • Joseph Perkins (President, Communications Consultants, Inc.)
  • Kevin Dunn (Executive Vice President, Television Production)
  • Patricia A. Gottesman (President and Chief Executive Officer, Crimson Hexagon)
  • Stuart Goldfarb (President and Chief Executive Officer, Atrinsic, Inc.)

Current champions

Championship Current champion(s) Date won Event Previous champion(s)
Raw
WWE RAW
WWE Raw ) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States...

WWE Championship
WWE Championship
The WWE Championship is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in WWE. It is the world title of the Raw brand and one of two in WWE, complementing the World Heavyweight Championship of the SmackDown brand. It was established under the then WWWF in 1963...

CM Punk
CM Punk
Phillip Jack "Phil" Brooks , better known by his ring name CM Punk, is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE and working on its Raw brand currently serving his second title reign as WWE Champion....

November 20, 2011 Survivor Series
Survivor Series (2011)
Survivor Series was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by WWE that took place on November 20, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was the 25th annual Survivor Series event and the first one to take place in Madison Square Garden since the 2002 event...

Alberto Del Rio
United States Championship
WWE United States Championship
The WWE United States Championship is a professional wrestling championship in WWE. It was originally a National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling championship, and is currently the secondary championship of the Raw brand....

Dolph Ziggler June 19, 2011 Capitol Punishment
WWE Capitol Punishment
Capitol Punishment was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by WWE, which took place on June 19, 2011 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C....

Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston
Kofi Nahaje Sarkodie-Mensah , is a Ghanaian American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Kofi Kingston. He is currently signed to WWE and works on its Raw brand where he is one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions with Evan Bourne as Air Boom...

SmackDown
World Heavyweight Championship
World Heavyweight Championship (WWE)
The World Heavyweight Championship is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in WWE. It is the world title of the SmackDown brand and one of two in WWE, complementing the WWE Championship of the Raw brand...

Mark Henry
Mark Henry
Mark Jerrold Henry is an American professional wrestler signed with WWE, where he performs on its SmackDown brand as the reigning World Heavyweight Champion. He is a 1992 Olympian, and winner of the 2002 Arnold Strongman Classic...

September 18, 2011 Night of Champions
Night of Champions (2011)
Night of Champions was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by WWE that took place on September 18, 2011 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. It was the 4th annual WWE Night of Champions event and the 11th in the WWE Vengeance overall timeline. Seven matches took...

Randy Orton
Randy Orton
Randal Keith "Randy" Orton is an American professional wrestler and actor. He is signed to WWE wrestling on its SmackDown brand...

Intercontinental Championship
WWE Intercontinental Championship
The WWE Intercontinental Championship is a professional wrestling championship in WWE. It is the original secondary title of the promotion. Currently, it is the secondary championship exclusive to the SmackDown brand...

Cody Rhodes August 9, 2011 SmackDown Ezekiel Jackson
Dual-branded
Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Championship
The WWE Tag Team Championship is a professional wrestling world tag team championship in WWE. It was established as a second title for tag teams in WWE in 2002 to complement the original World Tag Team Championship...

Air Boom
Air Boom
Air Boom is a WWE professional wrestling tag team consisting of Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston, both of whom compete on WWE's Raw brand where they are the current reigning WWE Tag Team Champions. Their team name "Air Boom" was voted upon by fans on WWE's website...


August 22, 2011 Raw
WWE RAW
WWE Raw ) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States...

David Otunga
David Otunga
David Daniel Otunga is a professional wrestler and former reality television actor. He is signed to WWE, appearing on the Raw brand under his real name. He's a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, having one reign each with Michael McGillicutty and John Cena. He was the runner-up on the first season...

 and Michael McGillicutty
Divas Championship
WWE Divas Championship
The WWE Diva's Championship is a unified professional wrestling championship in WWE. It is competed for by WWE Divas. The championship was created by WWE in 2008, and was introduced in storyline by then-SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero as an alternative to Raw's Women's Championship...

Beth Phoenix
Beth Phoenix
Elizabeth Kocianski is an American professional wrestler, currently signed to WWE where she wrestles on the Raw brand under the ring name Beth Phoenix, where she is the reigning WWE Divas Champion....

October 2, 2011 Hell in a Cell
Hell in a Cell (2011)
Hell in a Cell was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by WWE that took place on October 2, 2011 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was the third annual Hell in a Cell event. Like the 2009 and 2010 events, this event also featured the Hell in a Cell match...

Kelly Kelly

Other accomplishments

Accomplishment Latest winner Date won
Royal Rumble Alberto Del Rio January 30, 2011
Raw
WWE RAW
WWE Raw ) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States...

Money in the Bank
WWE Money in the Bank
Money in the Bank was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment , which took place on July 18, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The concept of the event was based around the Money in the Bank ladder match, with two matches held at the...

Alberto Del Rio July 17, 2011
SmackDown Money in the Bank Daniel Bryan
Bryan Danielson
Bryan Danielson is an American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE where he wrestles on its SmackDown brand as Daniel Bryan, and currently holds the SmackDown Money in the Bank briefcase, which enables him to have a World Heavyweight Championship match at any time of his choosing...

July 17, 2011
WWE Tough Enough
WWE Tough Enough
WWE Tough Enough is a professional wrestling reality television program produced by WWE wherein participants undergo professional wrestling training and compete for a contract with WWE. There were two winners per season for the first three seasons, all of which aired on MTV...

Andy Leavine
Andy Leavine
Andrew "Andy" Leavine is an American professional wrestler who is signed to WWE. Leavine is the winner of the fifth season of WWE Tough Enough and wrestles for WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling....

June 6, 2011
WWE NXT
WWE NXT
WWE NXT is a sports entertainment television program produced by WWE that debuted on February 23, 2010. Described as a hybrid between reality television and WWE's scripted live event shows, the premise of the show follows select talent contracted to WWE's developmental territory Florida...

Johnny Curtis
Johnny Curtis
Jonathan Curtis is an American professional wrestler. He is signed to WWE, where he performs on its SmackDown brand under his ring name Johnny Curtis. He also performs in its developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling. He was the winner of the fourth season of NXT.- Early Career :Curtis...

March 1, 2011
King of the Ring
King of the Ring
King of the Ring is a professional wrestling single-elimination tournament held by WWE. The tournament was held annually from 1985 to 2002, with the exception of 1990 and 1992, and from 1993 to 2002 the tournament was produced as a pay-per-view event....

Sheamus November 29, 2010

Developmental territory champions

Championship Current champion(s) Date won Previous champion(s)
Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW)
Florida Championship Wrestling
Championship Wrestling from Florida was the corporate and brand name of the Tampa, Florida wrestling office existing from 1961, when Eddie Graham first bought into the promotion, until 1987, when it closed down. It is also referred to as Florida Championship Wrestling...

Florida Heavyweight Championship
FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship
The FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship is a professional wrestling heavyweight championship owned and promoted by Florida Championship Wrestling , the developmental territory of WWE. It is contested for in their heavyweight division...

Leo Kruger September 1, 2011 Bo Rotundo
Taylor Rotunda
Taylor Rotunda is an American professional wrestler. He is signed to WWE and wrestles in their developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling , as Bo Rotundo. He is a former two time FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion and has previously held the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship...

Florida Tag Team Championship Brad Maddox & Briley Pierce November 3, 2011 CJ Parker and Donnie Marlow
FCW Divas Championship Audrey Marie September 1, 2011 Aksana
Zivile Raudoniene
Živilė Raudonienė is a Lithuanian fitness model, bodybuilder and professional wrestler. She is signed to WWE, performing on their SmackDown brand under the ring name Aksana, and is training in Florida Championship Wrestling , WWE's developmental territory...

Queen of FCW
Queen of FCW
The Queen of FCW title is a professional wrestling women's title in Florida Championship Wrestling ; it is contested for in their divas division. A crown is held by the title holder, rather than a championship belt that is primarily used in professional wrestling....

Raquel Diaz November 17, 2011
FCW 15 Championship Damien Sandow
Aaron Stevens (wrestler)
Aaron Haddad is an American professional wrestler. He is contracted to WWE, and appears in Florida Championship Wrestling , a WWE developmental territory, as Damien Sandow. He is the current FCW 15 Champion...

September 22, 2011 Seth Rollins
Tyler Black
Colby Lopez is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Tyler Black. He is signed to a contract with WWE, where he competes in their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling as Seth Rollins. He is a former FCW 15 Champion and FCW Florida Tag Team Champion with...


Defunct championships

In its 50 year history, WWE has operated over twenty different championships
Championship (professional wrestling)
A Championship or "title" in professional wrestling is a recognition promoted by professional wrestling organizations.Championship reigns are determined by professional wrestling matches, in which competitors are involved in scripted rivalries...

. The company's first title, the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship
WWWF United States Tag Team Championship
The WWWF United States Tag Team Championship was a major tag team title in the World Wide Wrestling Federation from 1963 until 1967. Originally, the WWF was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance operating out of the Northeast and was called the Capitol Wrestling Corporation...

 was created in 1958 and retired in 1967. Throughout its history, the WWE has formed partnerships with other international promotions which led to the creation of various titles, however, when those partnerships ended, these titles were either retired or began operation in the United States for WWE. Overall, the company has retired 19 championships with the most recent being the WWE Women's Championship
WWE Women's Championship
The WWE Women's Championship was a professional wrestling championship in the World Wrestling Entertainment promotion. Created in 1956, it was the oldest active professional wrestling championship in World Wrestling Entertainment history until its retirement in 2010 as a result from a unification...

. Created in 1956 and retired in September 2010, the consolidation of the WWE Unified Divas Championship into the WWE's 2008 WWE Divas Championship
WWE Divas Championship
The WWE Diva's Championship is a unified professional wrestling championship in WWE. It is competed for by WWE Divas. The championship was created by WWE in 2008, and was introduced in storyline by then-SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero as an alternative to Raw's Women's Championship...

 retired the older title and continued the lineage of the latter.

See also


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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