World Wrestling Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) is a publicly-traded company dealing with wrestling entertainment. It also had failed venues in football (the XFL) and body building. The WWE puts on live and telecast wrestling shows, produces video games and licenses various products. The company was previously known was the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), and before 1979 the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), before changing its name in 2002. It is the largest entertainment wrestling organization in the world.
Vince McMahon is the majority owner and Chairman of the company and his wife Linda McMahon holds the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Together with their children, Executive Vice President of Global Media Shane McMahon and Senior Vice President of Creative Writing Stephanie McMahon, the McMahons hold approximately 70% of WWE's economic interest and 96% of all voting power in the company.
Some promotional names that the WWE maintains:
WWE's revenue in fiscal 2006 (from May 2005 to April 2006) was approximately $400 million (US), with a net profit of approximately $47 million. As of August 2006, the company's market capitalization is over $1 billion (US). Its stock is traded on the NYSE .
The World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) was born in 1963 when Vincent J. McMahon split off from the larger National Wrestling Alliance, an umbrella organization of "mom and pop" wrestling territories with each promotion staying in its own territory. The company was renamed the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979. Under Vince McMahon, Vincent J. McMahon's son, the WWF would start to go national in the 1980s, breaking the unwritten rule of not encroaching on the turf of other regional wrestling territories. As his revenue increased, he also started to sign the best known names from other promotions, including the American Wrestling Association (AWA) and the NWA's flagship promotion, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP).
The breakthrough signing that became the first nationally recognized superstar was former AWA wrestler Hulk Hogan who, due to his appearance in the movie Rocky III, had a national recognition that few other wrestlers could manage. Other big named wrestlers were brought in including Andre the Giant. Superstardom hit paydirt with the production of the first nationwide Pay per view WrestleMania in 1985. Incorporating well known actors such as Mr. T into the production helped to turn the WWF and WrestleMania into a mainstream hit.
Allegations of steroid abuse hit the WWF in 1994 as well as sexual harassment claims. They were a costly public relations nightmare that led to big cuts in salary for the wrestlers and staffs and saw many wrestlers leave to Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling (the former JCP, which Turner bought in 1988), including Hulk Hogan.
Due to the steroid allegations, as well as WCW signing away many wrestlers from WWE, the company began promoting what they called the New Generation around 1994. This era focused less on wrestlers with bodybuilder physiques and more on performance. The two big names during this time were Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, who were smaller, but were known to be great performers. Other wrestlers who were prominent during this time included the Undertaker, Diesel, and Razor Ramon. Talent who would become prominent in the Attitude Era also began to be shown during this time. Most notably, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, The Rock, and Triple H. In 1996, Diesel (Kevin Nash) and Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) would leave for WCW, where they would eventually form the New World Order (nWo), with Hulk Hogan.
Stone Cold Steve Austin rose as a star in the late 1990s in what is known as The Attitude Era, which saw a movement away from family fun to attacking authority, more violence, and swearing. The WWF and WCW went head to head during this time, including having competing wrestling shows on Monday nights. In the summer of 1997, Austin suffered a neck injury. At Survivor Series 1999, he was written out of WWE storylines in order to have neck surgery that would keep him out of action for the majority of 2000. During Austin's absence, fellow WWE superstar The Rock would begin to rise in popularity. Eventually, he would become just as big as Austin was. In September 2000, Austin returned to the WWE at the Unforgiven pay-per-view. In March 2001, the WWF bought WCW, ending the Monday Night Wars, as well as The Attitude Era. In the years following, many talent from WCW would have runs in WWE. These include Booker T, Buff Bagwell, and Diamond Dallas Page, who were arguably three of the biggest names WWE brought over in the immediate months following the purchase. Bagwell was released in July 2001, while Booker T and Page would be apart of the Invasion storyline, which ran for the better part of 2001. Other WCW talent who would come over to WWE included Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, and Rey Mysterio. On March 31, 2003, Goldberg, who was WCW's most famous home-grown talent made his debut in the WWE, he left a year later at WrestleMania XX.
In the summer of 2001, WWE attempted to negotiate with WCW wrestler, Sting. However, a segment on SmackDown convinced him to decline. For the next 13 years, WWE tried to get Sting, but were unsuccessful. A noticeable attempt was made in 2011, leading up to WrestleMania XXVII, with the 2.21.11 promo. Many believed this to be Sting, however, it was a promo for the Undertaker. In July 2014, Sting signed a deal with WWE, and anyone who pre-orded the game WWE 2K15 would receive a code in which they could play as Sting. On November 23, 2014, at Survivor Series, Sting finally made his official WWE debut, 13 years after the purchase of WCW. His first match was at WrestleMania 31, where he lost to Triple H.
From 2002-2008, WWE entered the Ruthless Aggression Era. It retained many aspects of the Attitude Era, but also focused more on in-ring action. Talent who would become prominent during this time period included Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, CM Punk, and Edge, who had already been with the company for awhile but was a mid-carder. Lesnar, Cena, Batista, and Orton all made their television debuts within months of each other.
In 2008, WWE started the PG Era. With no competition to worry about, as well as the Chris Benoit murders, WWE decided to go back to more family-friendly programming similar of the late 1980s to early 1990s. Talent such as Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Ryback, and Dolph Ziggler would become major names.
On February 24, 2014, WWE launched the WWE Network. The network contains the entire past pay-per-view events from WWE, WCW, and ECW, as well as original programming. It also features Over the Edge 1999, the event in which Owen Hart died from a botched accident, in it's entirety. Although the fifteen minutes in which paramedics got Hart out of the ring, and the backstage interview with Jeff Jarrett have been edited out. It also features events featuring Chris Benoit, although an advisory is shown prior.
On April 29, 1999, the WWF made its return to terrestrial television by launching a special program known as SmackDown! on the fledgling UPN network. The Thursday-night show became a weekly series on August 26, 1999.
On the back of the success of the Attitude Era, on October 19, 1999 the WWF's parent company, Titan Sports (by this time renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc.) became a publicly traded company, offering 10 million shares priced at $17 each. WWF announced its desire to diversify, including creating a nightclub in Times Square, producing feature films, and book publishing.
In 2000 the WWF, in collaboration with television network NBC, announced the creation of the XFL, a new professional American football league that debuted in 2001. The league had surprisingly 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 primetime 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 UPN demanded that SmackDown! be cut by half an hour, McMahon shut down the XFL.
In March 2001 McMahon's empire grew when he acquired his main competitor WCW, which had been losing money and was sold for about $7 million.
Another smaller wrestling company, Extreme Championship Wrestling, was purchased in mid 2003.
Initially, WWE had planned to branch WCW into it's own entity. The original plan was for RAW to be the WCW show, while SmackDown would become the WWE show. However, on July 2, 2001, at a show in Tacoma, the last 20 minutes of RAW were given to WCW. A match between Booker T and Buff Bagwell for the WCW Championship was met with negative criticism from fans. Attendees at the area had be chanting "This Match Sucks!" and "Boring!" A week later, the Invasion storyline began when ECW was added. In April 2002, about a month before the name change, WWE decided to create two separate rosters, one on RAW, the other on SmackDown! due to the overabundance of talent left over from the Invasion storyline (which involved talent from the absorbed ECW and WCW rosters interacting in WWF storylines). This is known as the WWE Brand Extension. For the first few months of the Brand Extension, the WWE Undisputed Champion appear on both shows. After SummerSlam 2002, Brock Lesnar who had won the Championship from the Rock, signed with SmackDown. With that, the Undisputed WWE Championship once again became the WWE Championship. A week later, Eric Bischoff introduced the WCW Championship (also called the World Championship), as the World Heavyweight Championship, and awarded it to Triple H. Following the Brand Extension, a yearly Draft Lottery was instituted to exchange members of each roster and generally refresh the lineups.
In August 2002, the company launched WWE Niagara Falls, a retail establishment in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
On May 26 2006, WWE revived Extreme Championship Wrestling as its third brand with the new ECW program airing Tuesday nights on the Sci Fi Channel (now SyFy).
The final episode of WWE's ECW show aired on February 16, 2010. In that episode, the final ECW title match was held. Ezekiel Jackson won the bout and became the final man to hold the ECW title.
The next week, WWE aired a new breed of wrestling television show. WWE NXT aired on the SyFy network in ECW's stead. NXT has sinced been moved to a livestreaming internet format along with WWE Supertstars.
On August 29, 2011, it was announced that Raw would feature SmackDown Superstars full-time. As a result, the Brand Extension as well as the Draft, was discontinued.
Current Pay Per View Schedule
- Royal Rumble
- Fast Lane
- WrestleMania 31
- Extreme Rules
- Elimination Chamber (WWE Network Exclusive)
- Money in the Bank
- Night of Champions
- Hell in a Cell
- Survivor Series
- TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs
Championships and accomplishments
|Championship||Current Champion||Date Won||Notes|
|WWE World Heavyweight Championship||Sheamus||November 22, 2015||Sheamus cashed in Money in the Back at Survivor Series, defeating Roman Reigns, who had won the title just minutes prior.|
|WWE United States Championship||Alberto Del Rio||October 25, 2015|
|WWE Intercontinental Championship||Kevin Owens||September 20, 2015|
|WWE Tag Team Championship||The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods)||August 23, 2015||All three members of The New Day are recognized as champions due to the Freebird Rule.|
|WWE Divas Championship||Charlotte||September 20, 2015|
|Accomplishment||Latest Winner||Date Won|
|Royal Rumble||Roman Reigns||January 25, 2015|
|Money in the Bank||Sheamus||June 14, 2015|
|Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy||Big Show||March 29, 2015|
|King of the Ring||Bad News Barrett||April 28, 2015|
|Championship||Current Champion||Date Won|
|NXT Championship||Finn Balor||July 4, 2015|
|NXT Tag Team Championship||The Mechanics (Scott Dawson and Scott Wilder)||October 22, 2015|
|NXT Women's Championship||Bayley||August 22, 2015|
- World Heavyweight Championship (2002-2013) - Formerly the WCW Championship. Awarded to Triple H on the September 2, 2002 edition of Raw. Unified with the WWE Championship on December 15, 2013.
- WWE Undisputed Championship (2001-2002) - Became the WWE Championship after Brock Lesnar signed with SmackDown on August 26, 2002, making the title exclusive to that show.
- WCW/WWE Cruiserweight Championship (1991-2001) (2001-2008)
- WWE Hardcore Championship (1998-2002) - Briefly renamed the WWE Texas Hardcore Championship in the Summer of 2002.
- WWE European Championship (1997-2002)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship (2001) - Renamed the World Championship from November 19, 2001 to December 9, 2001.
- WCW World Tag Team Championship (2001)
- WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (1981-2001) Officially recognized by WWE from 1997-2001.
- Million Dollar Championship|WWF Million Dollar Championship (1989-1992, 1995-1996, 2010)
- WWF Intercontinental Tag Team Championship (1991)
- WWF Women's Tag Team Championship (1983-1989)
- WWF Canadian Championship (1985-1986)
- WWF International Heavyweight Championship (1959-1963, 1982-1985)
- WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship (1967-1985)
- WWF International Tag Team Championship (1969-1985)
- WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship (1978-1985)
- WWF North American Heavyweight Championship (1979-1981)
- WWWF United States Championship (1970-1975)
- WWWF United States Tag Team Championship (1963-1967)
- ECW Championship (1994-2001, 2006-2010)
- WWE World Tag Team Championship (1971-2010) Unified with the WWE Tag Team Championship to create the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship
- ECW Television Championship (1992-2000)
- ECW Tag Team Championship (1992-2000)
- WWE Women's Championship (1956-2010) Unified with the Diva's Championship on September 19, 2010.
- FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship (2008-2012)
- FCW Florida Tag Team Championship (2008-2012)
- FCW 15 Championship (2011-2012)
- Diva Search (2003-2007)