Today I would like to do a feature on the History of the WWE. But, first some news and the results of “Who’s the best on the Mic.”
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin will be appearing on Raw on March 7th, from Dallas, Texas.
Chris Jericho will be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
WWE signs Mexican star Mistico.
“Bullet” Bob Armstrong will be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
Michael Cole will wrestle Jerry Lawler with Jack Swagger in the corner of Cole as his personal trainer at WrestleMania.
Abdullah the Butcher says he will be a 2011 WWE Hall of Fame inductee.
The results for “Who’s the best on the Mic:”
1. The Rock
2. Jessie “The Body” Ventura
3. Ric Flair
4. John Cena
5. Degeneration X
History of the World Wrestling Entertainment
Everyone has heard of World Wrestling Entertainment, but few know the exact roots of the company that has dominated pro wrestling for the past 60 years.
The History of the WWE beings with the creation of Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) in 1953. CWC was the idea of promoter Raymond “Toots” Mondt. He enlisted wrestling East Coast promoters Roderick “Jesse” McMahon and Ray Fabiani. Capitol Wrestling Association (CWA), the wrestling company under CWC, joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). The NWA was a group of Independent Wrestling Organizations located throughout the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast parts of the United States. They shared a common Champion in their territories. In mid-1953, Vince McMahon Sr. replaced his father (Jess) in the promotion.
In a short period of time, McMahon and Mondt dominated the wrestling territory of the NWA by booking over 70% of the Alliances bookings, primarily in the Northeast. Mondt took McMahon under “his wings” and taught him about booking and how to work in the wrestling business. Business thrived between Maine, Washington D.C, Pittsburgh and points in-between. It’s during the later part of 1953 when McMahon Sr. took a more active control of Capitol Wrestling Alliance.
Capitol Wrestling Association had its run from 1953-1963 with stars such as Pedro Morales, Buddy Rogers, Bruno Sammartino, “Chief Jay” Strongbow, Eddie Graham, Haystacks Calhoun, Johnny Valentine, Ivan Koloff, Lou Albano, Arnold Scaaland, Gorgeous George, to name just a few. If you notice, the stars of CWA would serve as the backbone of the stars of the WWWF.
Disharmony existed between members of the NWA against CWA, over the use of Champion, “Nature Boy” Buddy Rodgers. Rodgers was being used strictly in the Northeast. In January of 1963, Capitol Wrestling Corporation split from the NWA, and changed its name from Capitol Wrestling Association to World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). Buddy Rogers was the 1st WWWF World Champion.
From 1963 til 1979, WWWF was thriving in packed arena’s in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and its main arena, Madison Square Garden. In mid-1960’s “Toots” retired and sold his shares of the WWWF to Vince McMahon Sr.. But, before Mondt retired he got Vince to make Bruno Sammartino the “star” of the company. Needless to say, that was the smartest move in the young stages of the WWWF. Capitalizing on the vast Italian population in the New York area Bruno held the WWWF Heavyweight Championship for almost 8 consecutive years, to this date it is still a record. The WWWF also had a strong Spanish following which led them to elevate Pedro Morales to WWWF Heavyweight Champion. In 1979, World Wide Wrestling Federation became known as World Wrestling Federation (WWF). This was done because it was a tongue-twister to say World Wide Wrestling Federation than World Wrestling Federation. Even with the name change, everything remained status quo for the company.
Vince McMahon Jr., and Titan Sports, purchased Capitol Wrestling Corporation from his father in 1982. It was during Vince McMahon Junior’s reign as owner that the wrestling world was turned upside down. In the past, wrestling promotions were divided into territories. Promoter’s stayed within their own boundaries. McMahon began an expansion process that fundamentally changed the sport. Regional promoters were extremely upset when World Wrestling Federation broke the unwritten law of regionalism around which the entire industry had been based. WWF started televising its shows to stations across the nation. With new revenue coming in Vince McMahon started raiding talent from rival promoters.
NWA stars “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Jack Brisco, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Jerry Brisco, “Cowboy” Bob Orton and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat joined the WWF. Also, Verne Gagne’s American Wresting Association (AWA) lost Bobby “the Brain” Heenan , Gene Okerlund, Adrian Adonis, Ken Patera, Jim Brunzell, Jesse Ventura and Hulk Hogan. Now the expansion of the Federation began in earnest as they started touring nationally, officially ending the old standing territory boundaries of yesterday. With Hulk Hogan and “Hulkamania” running wild, things looked bright for the WWF. In 1984, WWF purchased Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling.
In an bold move, the WWF banked its future on a super card called “WrestleMania,” a pay-per-view extravaganza, on closed-circuit television. Vince McMahon Jr. targeted the public who were not regular wrestling fans. He hired celebrities Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper to get mainstream media interested. MTV played a role with young viewers by featuring a lot of coverage of the WWF with programming on their network.
WrestleMania was at Madison Square Garden on March 31, 1985 to a resounding success. In the main event, in front of 19,121 fans in attendance, was Hulk Hogan and Mr. T versus Roddy Pipper and Paul Orndoff. This event is sometimes credited as the debut of what McMahon called "sports entertainment." Vince McMahon had long since recognized that professional wrestling was more about entertainment than actual sport and this proved the point.
In 1993, WWF centralized it television syndication from many different stations across the nation, to one, when Monday Night Raw made its debut on the USA network. It is the longest running television show of all-time.
The low point in the history of WWF was 1994, when a rash of problems with steroid abuse and distribution of steroids. Also sexual harassment allegations against WWF employees were filed. This turned out to be a disaster as it cost over $4 million to exonerate Vince McMahon. To cover the cost Vince had to cut pay for front office personnel and wrestlers. When that happened many wrestlers and managers left the WWF and joined the only real competitor, World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
It took several years for the WWF to recover from its down fall. WCW countered with their own Monday Night show called WCW Monday Nitro to go head to head with Monday Night Raw. Nitro started at 8 PM, while Raw started at 9 PM. This led to what is called the Monday Night Wars.
The Monday Night Wars went from 1995-1998. Ratings swung back and forth for the year, then in mid-1996 WCW began a 2 year domination. With the arrival of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to WCW things looked bleak for the WWF. It got even bleaker with the arrival to WCW of Hulk Hogan and the creation of the New World Order (Nash, Hall, Hogan).
Again, WWF could not right itself. WWF started taping Monday Night Raw on a weekly basis. Talent continued to leave WWF, as Alundra Blayze, Psyco Sid and Rick Rude joined WCW. The head of WCW, Eric Bischoff would humiliate WWF on WCW programming. He went even as far as telling WCW fans what the results of WWF matches were. Even though it was a low point for the company, new talent did arrive at WWF in Ron Simmons, Brian Pillman, Steve Austin, Leon White and Mankind, all from WCW.
Rock bottom was reached at WWF headquarters, when Bret Hart left after a controversial loss to Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series in Montreal, Canada. After this event Bret Hart left the company and went to WCW, leaving fans of WWF at a loss for words.
The rebirth of the WWF began with the introduction of D-X and a more spicer show. Being bad was a good thing as Cyna, Triple H and Shawn Michael, the members of D-Generation X (D-X) raised havoc in the WWF. No one knew what to expect on a weekly basis. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin‘s “Hell Yeah, take no prisoner” 3:16 attitude. The Rock and The Undertaker continued in programs that energized the fans. This became known as the Attitude Era.
In January 1998, the WWF and its head writer Vince Russo started writing and broadcasting more violence, swearing, and more edgy angles in its attempt to compete with WCW. The Rock and Mick Foley were repackaged and competed in main event matches, whether in singles or as a tag team matches. It was now mainstream to talk about WWF on Tuesday mornings as skits were funny and wrestling was intense. Who could forget D-X taking on WCW in Norfolk, Va.? How about the Rock and Sock connection? Monday Night Raw even went back to live broadcasting on the USA network. It was during this time that Vince McMahon played a more on-air role on Monday Night Raw. His feud with Austin was classic. Ratings for Raw started to rise as the rivalry with Monday Night Nitro heated up.
The coop for WWF was when Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit made a surprise appearance on Raw after leaving WCW. The faction was called the Radicalz and it sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling world. Another WCW wrestler, Chris Jericho, fooled fans of WWF with his famous encrypted codes, which led to the creation of Y2J for Jericho. The evolution of more brutal matches with different stipulations were used to increase viewership, mainly Hell in a Cell and an Inferno match. WWF took over the ratings war against WCW, dominating them on a week-to-week basis.
As ratings rose and WWF was becoming popular again, WWF made its return to regular television with the introduction of SmackDown on UPN, a new struggling network. Also Titan Sports was renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment and became a publicity traded company.
Monday Night Raw, riding on a wave of successes, left the USA network for TNN. This was a 5 year deal for more money than USA network was willing to pay. While it was a success in raising revenue for the company, it was hard to say if this was a smart move in the long run.
The year 2001 saw the introduction of the XFL on NBC. While ratings were good in the first several weeks, but then interest in the league fell and it lasted only for the year. One of the XFL ratings was the lowest primetime show in the history of Television.
The new giant of wrestling, WWF, acquired its rival, WCW when Ted Turner’s power was reduced in a merger between Time Warner and AOL. The new company AOL Time Warner now owned WCW, but wished to sell it off. For a while Eric Bischoff tried to buy WCW but to no avail. In March 2001, WWF Entertainment, Inc. acquired World Championship Wrestling, Inc. from AOL Time Warner for a number reported to be around $7 million. With this purchase, WWF was now the largest wrestling promotion in the world, and the only one in North America with mainstream exposure. This lasted until Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) was created in 2002.
In 2002, World Wrestling Federation changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), after a law suit was settle between WWF and World Wildlife Fund, which also used the initials WWF. It had to deal with Titan Sports violating an agreement which limited the amount of use the wrestling logo could be used overseas. With the new change in their name became a new slogan “Get The ‘F’ Out.” This slogan was only used for a short time.
Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) was purchased by WWE in mid-2003 and in 2006 on the SCI-FI network, a watered down version of the classic company appeared.
Originally, World Wrestling Entertainment business initially focused on professional wrestling, a simulated sport that consists of wrestling with acting and theater. Today, it is currently the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world. The WWE holds a significant portion of the visual history of professional wrestling with its extensive library of videos from the acquisition of other wrestling organizations (WCW, AWA, ECW, Georgia Championship Wrestling, etc). The WWE is now into the movie, DVD and music business. WWE music is a popular sell as well as the reselling of wrestling pay-per-views on DVD. Also popular is documentary DVD’s on a wide range of topics, and wrestlers.
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