WWE

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WWE current logo
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (doing business as WWE, Inc.;) is an American publicly traded, privately controlled entertainment company dealing primarily in professional wrestling, with major revenue sources also coming from film, music, product licensing, and direct product sales. It is currently the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world, reaching 13 million viewers in the U.S. and broadcasting its shows in 30 languages to more than 145 countries. Like other professional wrestling promotions, WWE's shows do not feature legitimate sporting contests. Instead, its programs feature storyline-driven combat sport matches with predetermined outcomes and fighting maneuvers that are worked, all promoted as legitimate bouts.
Vince McMahon is the majority owner, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the company. Together with his wife Linda McMahon, and their children Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon-Levesque (WWE Executive Vice President of Creative), the McMahons hold approximately 70% of WWE's economic interest and 96% of the voting power in the company. The company's headquarters are located in Stamford, Connecticut with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, and Mumbai.
WWE holds an extensive library of videos, 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 becoming World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002, and simplified to WWE in 2011.


Company history

Capitol Wrestling Corporation (1952-1963)

Roderick James "Jess" McMahon was a boxing promoter whose achievements included co-promoting a bout in 1915 between Jess Willard and Jack Johnson. 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 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 and Paul Berlenbach.
A few years earlier, around 1920, professional wrestler Joseph Raymond "Toots" Mondt 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 and his manager Billy Sandow. They persuaded many wrestlers to sign contracts with their Gold Dust Trio. 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 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 Jess McMahon.
http://images.wikia.com/prowrestling/images/6/62/WWF_Light_Heavyweight_Championship.jpgTogether, McMahon and Mondt created the Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. (CWC). The CWC joined the National Wrestling Alliance 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 legend Nick Bockwinkel as the "Northeast Triangle", with its territory being defined by Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Maine as points of the triangle.

 

World Wide Wrestling Federation (1963-1979)

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The official WWWF logo from 1963 to 1979
The NWA recognized an undisputed NWA World Heavyweight Champion that went to several different wrestling companies in the alliance and defended the belt around the world. The NWA generally promoted strong shooters 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 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 apocryphal tournament in Rio de Janeiro. He lost the title to Bruno Sammartino a month later on May 17, 1963, after suffering a heart attack shortly before the match. To accommodate Rogers' condition, the match was booked to last under a minute.
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Bruno Sammartino
Two years later, NWA president Sam Muchnick 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 conservative matter compared to other pro wrestling territories; it ran its major arenas monthly rather than weekly or bi-weekly, usually featuring a babyface champion wrestling various heels 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 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 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 and Freddie Blassie, forming the "Triumverate of Terror," managing heel opponents for Sammartino and later champions Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund. Heels such as Ivan Koloff and Stan Stasiak 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 in the late 1970s. At the annual meeting of the NWA in 1983, the McMahons and WWF employee Jim Barnett all withdrew from the organization.
In March 1979, for marketing purposes, the World Wide Wrestling Federation was renamed the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

Titan Sports, Inc. (1980-1999)

World Wrestling Federation 

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Vince McMahon, founder of Titan Sports, Inc. and current Majority owner, Chairman, and CEO of WWE.

On February 21, 1980, the son of Vincent J. McMahon, Vincent K. McMahon, founded Titan Sports, Inc. and on June 6, 1982, purchased Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. from his father and other stock holders (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 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 (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 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 stations across the United States, in areas outside of the WWF's traditional northeastern stronghold. McMahon also began selling videotapes 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, due to his appearance in Rocky III, had a national recognition that few other wrestlers could offer, which is what led McMahon to sign him. Roddy Piper was brought in, as well as Jesse Ventura (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). André the Giant, Jimmy Snuka, Don Muraco, Paul Orndorff, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, 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.
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The original logo for the company.
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 was a pay-per-view extravaganza (in some areas; most areas of the country saw WrestleMania available on closed-circuit television) that McMahon marketed as being the Super Bowl of professional wrestling. The concept of a wrestling supercard was nothing new in North America; the NWA had been running Starrcade a few years prior to WrestleMania, and even the elder McMahon had marketed large Shea Stadium cards 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, 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 including Muhammad Ali, Mr. T, and Cyndi Lauper at the event helped propel WrestleMania to become a staple in popular culture.
The original WrestleMania, 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 hero, Hulk Hogan, 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 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. 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
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The logo used to represent the "New Generation" era between 1994 to 1998.
The WWF hit a low point in the wake of allegations of steroid abuse and distribution made against it in 1994; there were also allegations of sexual harassment made by WWF employees. McMahon was eventually exonerated, but it was a public relations 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 and Jimmy Hart, who both left). This helped drive many WWF wrestlers to its only major competition, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), between 1994 and 1997. During this period, the WWF promoted itself under the banner of "The New WWF Generation," featuring Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, 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 and Randy Savage (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) which culminated in a "rasslin'" match during the warm-up to WrestleMania XII.


Monday Night Wars
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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. After becoming a runaway success, WCW countered in 1995 with its own Monday night cable program, WCW Monday Nitro, in the same timeslot as Raw. The two programs would trade wins in the ensuing ratings competition until mid-1996, when WCW began a nearly two-year domination that was largely fueled by the introduction of the New World Order, a stable led by former WWF performers Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash.
 
 
The Attitude Era
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The updated logo representing the "Attitude" era was introduced in December 1997 and was used until May 2002.
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 instead of the good guy. 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), Diesel (Kevin Nash), Sycho Sid (Sid Eudy), Alundra Blayze (Debrah Miceli), and Rick Rude (Richard Rood). The WWF replaced them with former WCW talent such as Vader (Leon White), Stone Cold Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, Mankind (Mick Foley), and Faarooq (Ron Simmons). 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 only for Nitro as the WWF struggled to regain its popularity.
http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/002/453/715/attitude2_display_image.jpg?1343514004McMahon 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, Steve Austin became the new face of the company, starting with his Austin 3:16 speech, shortly after defeating Jake Roberts in the tournament finals at the 1996 King of the Ring pay-per-view. WrestleMania 13 saw Hart defeat Austin in a critically acclaimed submission match, and shortly after saw Hart reform The Hart Foundation. McMahon revolved the company around Hart, Austin and Shawn Michaels, 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 stable after fans rejected his good guy image, and Shawn Michaels formed the street gang faction D-Generation X with Triple H 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 company's marketing approach following him fining Michaels $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.
http://ymenchicago.com/wp-content/uploads/DX-Logo-d-generation-x-827834_1024_768.jpg1997 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. This proved to be a founding factor in what was to officially kick start The Attitude Era.
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" character, a dictatorial 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 in the buildup to WrestleMania XIV, 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 against The Undertaker). Many wrestlers such as Chris Jericho and The Radicalz (Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko) 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 gold medalist, Kurt Angle, 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 WCW President Eric Bischoff instructed announcer Tony Schiavone to give away the result minutes before both main events started, which led to Raw drawing eleven million viewers.
 

World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. (1999-2002)

Initial public offerings

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Smack Down Current Logo
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. (WWFE Inc. or WWFE) and on October 19, 1999 became a publicly traded company, offering 10 million shares priced at $17 each. WWF Entertainment announced its desire to diversify, including creating a nightclub in Times Square, producing feature films, and book publishing.
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. The show led to further TV ratings competition with WCW, up against WCW Thunder.
In 2000 the WWF, in collaboration with television network NBC, announced the creation of the XFL, a new professional football 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

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ECW Logo
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, Ted Turner'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—whom Time Warner fired as WCW president in October 1999—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, the WWF launched the Invasion storyline integrating the incoming talent roster from WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling (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 ECW, which had folded after filing for bankruptcy protection in April 2001, were purchased by WWE in mid-2003.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. / WWE, Inc. (2002-present)

Brand extension

http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2011/119/b/9/smackdown_vs_raw_2012_v_2_by_painsindicate-d3f6dk1.jpgIn 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. 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 as a WWE brand. The new ECW program aired internationally and on Tuesday nights on Syfy in the United States until February 16, 2010.
 

Name dispute

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The "Get the F Out" marketing campaign
In 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature (also trademarked WWF), an environmental organization, sued World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. in the United Kingdom. The Law Lords 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 the UK based pay-per-view Insurrextion 2002. On May 5, 2002, the company launched its "Get The F Out" marketing campaign and changed all references on its website from "WWF" to "WWE", while switching the URL 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.
Following the case, the use of the WWF "scratch" logo became prohibited on all WWE properties. Additionally, past references to the WWF trademark and initials in 'specified circumstances' became censored. Despite litigation, WWE was 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 could 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 and Jakks Pacific that contained the WWF "scratch" logo. However, the packaging on those games had all WWF references replaced with WWE.
 
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WWE logo, retrofitted as the classic logo
Starting with the 1,000th episode of Raw in July 2012, the WWF "scratch" logo is no longer censored in archival footage due to WWE reaching a settlement with the World Wide Fund for Nature. In addition, references to the "WWF" initials are no longer censored when spoken or when written in plain text in archival footage. Since then, full-length matches and other segments featuring the WWF initials and "scratch" logo have been added to the WWE website and the WWE Classics on Demand service. This also includes WWE Home Video releases since October 2012 starting with the re-release of Brock Lesnar: Here Comes The Pain. In exchange, WWE is no longer permitted to use the WWF initials or logo in any new, original footage, with any old-school logos for retro-themed programming now using the original WWF logo, but modified without the F.

Network changes and high-definition

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WWE pay per view logo
In late 2005, WWE Raw returned after a five-year stint on TNN (now Spike) to its original home USA Network. 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 after a thirteen-year hiatus. WWE had the chance to promote the company on a major national network rather than the lower profile CW 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 (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 both the Raw and SmackDown brands. A different set, though usually similar to the universal design in layout, is used for pay-per-views. On July 23, 2012, Raw debuted a new, modified HD set which has also become universal for all weekly programming.

Social Media, TV-PG, and Public Service Initiatives

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WWE Fan Nation  Logo
On November 19, 2008, WWE launched their online social network, WWE Universe. It initially appeared in April as WWE Fan Nation. Similar to Myspace, it offered blogs, forums, and other features for WWE fans. Also the WWE fanbase began being referred to on-air by the announcers and wrestlers as the "WWE Universe", similar to how some sports franchises refer to their own fanbases ("Red Sox Nation", "Raider Nation", etc.). The social network ceased operations on January 1, 2011. The company subsequently launched a WWE page on Facebook, which, as of October 7, 2011, had more than 39 million fans worldwide. In 2012, WWE became an investor in the social media site Tout, which is now heavily promoted on all programming.
Also in 2008, WWE initiated a change in its programming content. The United States parental guidelines rating system now rates most WWE television programs TV-PG. This was done to promote more family-friendly content in the programming than in the past (especially during the Attitude Era) when most content was rated TV-14. As part of this new policy, WWE television programs shift to black-and-white if a wrestler blades in front of the camera. And in 2012, WWE debuted a new Saturday morning program (WWE Saturday Morning Slam) which is rated TV-G and has special restrictions barring the use of holds and moves aimed at the neck. Vince McMahon noted that the change to more family-friendly content is due to the changing demographics in WWE viewership.
With the adjustment made to on-air content, WWE also began to get more involved in public service and community outreach programs, such as in 2011, when WWE (along with several other groups) began the "Be A Star" anti-bullying initiative. And in 2012, WWE formed a partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to promote breast cancer awareness. As part of the campaign, WWE adorned their sets with pink ribbons, put a pink middle rope on the ring, filmed numerous PSAs, and sold special John Cena "Rise Above Cancer" merchandise. All of these efforts culminated in a donation from WWE of $1 Million, which was presented to Susan G. Komen representatives in an in-ring ceremony during the October 29, 2012 episode of Raw. In 2013, WWE became involved in the Nothing But Nets program, which involves providing and distributing mosquito nets in Africa to prevent insect bites which may cause malaria.
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Saturday Morning Slam Logo
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 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, being a non–scripted program (contrary to the scripted nature of professional wrestling) and with the expected launch of a WWE television network in 2012. However, the legal name of the company remains as World Wrestling Entertainment.
Beginning October 2012, WWE programs SmackDown, NXT, Main Event & Superstars are available in full on Hulu while only half of Raw can be viewed.

"Supershow" format and developmental restructuring

Beginning with the August 29, 2011, episode of Raw, it was announced that Raw would feature talent from both Raw and SmackDown, and would be known as Raw Supershow (the "Supershow" suffix would be dropped on July 23, 2012). The next night, on a special live episode of SmackDown, a similar announcement was made regarding Raw talent appearing on SmackDown. Also, championships previously exclusive to one show or the other became available for wrestlers from any show to compete for, as well as house show cards also featuring a mix of both Raw and SmackDown talent. For all intents and purposes, the "Supershow" format would mark the end of the brand extension, as all programming and live events since the initial announcement was made have featured the full WWE roster.
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NXT Tag Team Championship
On March 20, 2012, rumors circulated online reporting that WWE would cease operation of its lone development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, in three weeks time. However, the next day (March 21) WWE's Executive Vice President of Talent, Paul "Triple H" Levesque, in a statement on WWE.com, revealed that rumors of the impeding closing of FCW were not true, and after WrestleMania XXVIII there would be a big announcement regarding the development system of the company. In August 2012, FCW was revamped by having its name changed to NXT Wrestling (the name of a WWE program which showcases developmental talent), and by establishing new championships for the developmental roster (the NXT Championship and the NXT Tag Team Championship).

Wellness Program

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Eddie Gurrero
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, 38 year-old Eddie Guerrero. The policy tests for recreational drug use and abuse of prescription medication, including anabolic steroids. 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 committed by one of its performers, Chris Benoit, with a possible link to steroids abuse encouraged 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. According to a statement attributed to WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt, an eleventh wrestler was later added to the suspension list.
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 Montel Vontavious Porter (real name Hassan Assad) was diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, which can be potentially fatal if gone undiagnosed. The ailment was discovered while Assad was going through a routine Wellness Policy checkup.
On September 13, 2010, WWE updated their list of banned substances to include muscle relaxers.
 

TNA Entertainment, LLC lawsuit

 

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TNA
In May 2012, TNA filed a lawsuit against WWE and former TNA employee Brian Wittenstein, claiming that he took "confidential trade secrets" to WWE and helped WWE gain an "unfair" competitive advantage in negotiating contracts with TNA talent. According to the suit, TNA was informed of Wittenstein's breach three weeks later by a WWE official, after which the promotion fired Wittenstein. According to TNA, Ric Flair attempted to terminate his TNA contract two days after Wittenstein's firing. The exact allegations filed by TNA in the suit include "interference with existing contracts", breach of duty of loyalty, conversion, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, unfair competition, and violation of the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act. An injunction hearing is set for July 12


Expansion beyond wrestling


In addition to licensing wrestling and performers' likenesses to companies such as Acclaim, THQ/2K Sports, and Mattel to produce video games and action figures, WWE has moved into other areas of interest in order to market their product.

Active properties

  • WWE Libraries: A subsidiary of WWE established in 2001 after the acquisition of WCW that owns the largest collection of professional wrestling videos and copyrights.
  • 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: 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.
  • WWEShop.com: A website located at http://shop.wwe.com/


Defunct properties

  • World Bodybuilding Federation; A subsidiary of Titan Sports launched in 1990 which promoted professional bodybuilding through a television show, magazine, and annual pay-per-view events. Closed in 1992.
  • XFL: 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 (the other co-owners of the league), UPN and TNN.
  • The World, 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 took the building itself since 2005.
  • WWE Niagara Falls: A retail and entertainment establishment that was located in Niagara Falls, Ontario and owned by WWE. It was open from August 2002 through March 2011.

List of WWE pay-per-view events

Current pay-per-view events
Month Event First year
January Royal Rumble 1988
February Elimination Chamber 2010           
March/April WrestleMania 1985
May Extreme Rules 2009          
June Payback 2013
July Money in the Bank 2010
August SummerSlam 1988
September Night of Champions 2007
Early October Battleground 2013
Late October Hell in a Cell 2009
November Survivor Series 1987
December TLC 2009
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royal rumble winners

 

Upcoming pay-per-view schedule

 

Date Event Venue City
October 27, 2013  Hell in a Cell  American Airlines Arena  Miami, Florida
November 24, 2013  Survivor Series  TD Garden  Boston, Massachusetts
December 15, 2013  TLC  Toyota Center  Houston, Texas
January 26, 2014  Royal Rumble  Consol Energy Center  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
February 23, 2014  Elimination Chamber  Target Center  Minneapolis, Minnesota
April 6, 2014  WrestleMania XXX  Mercedes-Benz Superdome  New Orleans, Louisiana

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Themed pay-per-views

 

Pay-per-view Feature
Current
Royal Rumble Main event is the Royal Rumble match
Elimination Chamber One or more of the main events are Elimination Chamber matches
Extreme Rules Many of the matches will either be "Extreme Rules" matches or will otherwise be variants of hardcore wrestling
Money in the Bank Two of the main events will be Money in the Bank ladder matches
Night of Champions Every title must be defended by its respective champion
Hell in a Cell One or more of the matches will be a Hell in a Cell match
Survivor Series A focus on elimination-style matches, particularly the traditional Survivor Series elimination tag-team match
TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs At least one of the matches will be a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, while individual chair matches, ladder matches, and tables matches may also be present  
 
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Former
The Wrestling Classic The Wrestling Classic was a single-elimination tournament
King of the Ring The King of the Ring was a single-elimination tournament
Taboo Tuesday, later Cyber Sunday Fans were able to vote on the matches, such as opponents or stipulations
Breaking Point Many of the matches were focused on forcing your opponent to give up, either through submission matches or "I Quit" matches
Fatal 4-Way Many of the matches were fatal-four way matches
Bragging Rights The Raw and SmackDown brands would compete against one another for a "Bragging Rights" trophy, and a 14-man tag team match between the two brands would take place
Invasion All of the matches were between the WWF and The Alliance (WCW and ECW)
WWE One Night Stand The pay-per-views were themed around the old ECW promotion and so consisted of various hardcore matches

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Former pay-per-view events

 

Pay-per-view Year(s) Active
This Tuesday in Texas 1991
King of the Ring 1993–2002
In Your House 1995–1999
Bad Blood 1997, 2003–2004
Over the Edge 1998–1999
Fully Loaded 1998–2000
Invasion 2001
One Night Stand 2005–2008
December to Dismember 2006
New Year's Revolution 2005–2007
Unforgiven 1998–2008
No Mercy 1999–2008
Cyber Sunday/Taboo Tuesday 2004–2008
Backlash 1999–2009
Judgment Day 1998, 2000–2009
The Great American Bash The Great American Bash (2004–2008),
The Bash (2009)
Breaking Point 2009
Fatal 4-Way 2010
Bragging Rights 2009-2010
Capitol Punishment 2011
Vengeance 2001-2007, 2011
No Way Out 1998-2009, 2012
Over The Limit 2010 - 2012      

 
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International pay-per-view events

 

Event Year(s) Active Notes
UK Rampage 1991-1993 Those events took place at London Arena, and were exclusive UK-only pay-per-views.
SummerSlam 1992 only Summerslam 1992 took place at Wembley Stadium, London, England.
One Night Only 1997 only The event took place in the UK in 1997. This was available in Europe and Canada only.
Mayhem in Manchester 1998 only This was exclusive UK-only pay-per-view.
Capital Carnage 1998 only The event took place in the UK in December of that year.
No Mercy (UK) 1999 only The event took place in May of that year. Despite being held in the UK, another PPV called "No Mercy" was held the same year in the U.S.
Rebellion 1999–2002 The event took place in the UK in October 1999 and 2002, November 2001 and December 2000.
Insurrextion 2000–2003 The event took place in the UK in May between 2000–2002 and June in 2003.
Global Warning 2002 only The event took place in Australia on August 10, 2002.

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Championships and accomplishments


Championship Current champion(s) Date won Event Previous champion(s)
WWE Championship Vacated September 16, 2013 Raw Daniel Bryan
World Heavyweight Championship Alberto Del Rio June 16, 2013 Payback Dolph Ziggler
Intercontinental Championship Curtis Axel June 16, 2013 Payback Wade Barrett
United States Championship Dean Ambrose May 19, 2013 Extreme Rules Kofi Kingston
Tag Team Championship The Shield
(Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins)
May 19, 2013 Extreme Rules Team Hell No
Divas Championship AJ Lee June 16, 2013 Payback Kaitlyn




































Other accomplishments

Accomplishment Latest winner Date won
Royal Rumble John Cena January 27, 2013
Money in the Bank
(WWE Championship)
Randy Orton July 14, 2013
Money in the Bank
(World Heavyweight Championship)
Damien Sandow July 14, 2013












Developmental territory champions

Championship Current champion(s) Date won Event Previous champion(s)
NXT Wrestling
NXT Championship Bo Dallas May 23, 2013 NXT Big E Langston
NXT Tag Team Championship The Ascension
(Conor O'Brian and Rick Victor)
September 12, 2013 NXT Adrian Neville & Corey Graves
NXT Women's Championship Paige June 20, 2013 NXT Inaugural



















Defunct championships

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WWWF united states tag team champion
In its 61 year history, WWE has operated over twenty different championships. The company's first title, the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship, was created in 1958 and retired in 1967. Overall, the company has retired 19 championships with the most recent being the WWE Women's Championship. Created in 1956 and retired in September 2010, the consolidation of the WWE Unified Divas Championship into the WWE's 2008 WWE Divas Championship retired the older title and continued the lineage of the latter.

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WWE Championship

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WWE world heavyweight championship
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WWE intercontinental championship

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WWE united states champioship

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WWE  tag team championship
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WWE money in the bank briefcase















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