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World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., commonly shortened to WWE, is an American integrated media and entertainment company that is primarily known for
professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', held by touring companies called Professional wrestling promotion, promotions, in ...
. WWE has also branched out into other fields, including
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...
,
American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular American football field, field with goalposts at each end. ...
, and various other business ventures. The WWE name also refers to the
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 (''see pr ...
itself, which was founded in 1952 as the
Capitol Wrestling Corporation Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. was an American sports promotion company. It was run by Vincent J. McMahon from 1953–1982. Operating as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC), the company was originally a professional wrestling Profession ...
. It is the largest wrestling promotion in the world with the roster divided up into two primary traveling
brands A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business Business is the activity of making one's living or making mon ...
, and a secondary developmental brand. Overall, WWE is available to 900 million homes worldwide in 28 languages. The company's
global headquarters Headquarters (commonly referred to as HQ) 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 ...
is located in
Stamford, Connecticut Stamford () is a city in the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its with the . Du ...
, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai and Munich. As in other professional wrestling promotions, WWE shows are not legitimate contests but entertainment-based performance theater, featuring storyline-driven, scripted, and partially-choreographed matches; however, matches often include moves that can put performers at risk of injury, even death, if not performed correctly. The pre-determined aspect of professional wrestling was publicly acknowledged by WWE's owner
Vince McMahon Vincent Kennedy McMahon (; born August 24, 1945) is an American professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'm ...

Vince McMahon
in 1989 in order to avoid taxes from athletic commissions. WWE brands its product as
sports entertainment Sports entertainment is a type of spectacle which presents an ostensibly competition, competitive event using a high level of theatre, theatrical flourish and extravagant presentation, with the purpose of entertainment, entertaining an audience. Un ...
, acknowledging wrestling's roots in competitive sport and dramatic theater. The company's majority owner is its chairman and CEO, third-generation wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, who retains a 37.6% ownership of the company's outstanding stock and 80.5% of the voting power. The current entity, which was originally named Titan Sports, Inc., was incorporated on February 21, 1980 in
South Yarmouth, Massachusetts Image:South-Yarmouth rotary.JPG, 200px, The first traffic rotary in the United States stands at the intersection of River Street and Pleasant Street. South Yarmouth is an unincorporated village and census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Yarmo ...
. It acquired Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd., the holding company for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), previously known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), in 1982. Titan was renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. in 1999, and then World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. in 2002. Since 2011, the company has branded itself solely with the initials WWE, though the legal name has not changed since 2002.


Company history


Before Titan Sports (1953–1980)

WWE's origins can be traced back as far as the 1950s when on January 7, 1953, the first show under the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) was produced. There is uncertainty as to who the founder of the CWC was. Some sources state that it was Vincent J. McMahon, while other sources cite McMahon's father
Jess McMahon Roderick James "Jess" McMahon Sr. (May 26, 1882 – November 22, 1954) was an Irish American professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcom ...
as founder of CWC. The CWC later joined the
National Wrestling Alliance The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) is an American professional wrestling promotion and former governing body operating via its parent company Lightning One, Inc. Founded in 1948, the NWA began as a governing body for a group of independent pr ...
(NWA) and famous New York promoter
Toots Mondt Joseph Raymond "Toots" Mondt (January 18, 1894 – June 11, 1976) was an American professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned ...
soon joined the CWC. Vincent J. McMahon and Toots Mondt were very successful and soon controlled approximately 70% of the NWA's booking, largely due to their dominance in the heavily populated
Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), ...
. In 1963, McMahon and Mondt had a dispute with the NWA over "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers being booked to hold the
NWA World Heavyweight Championship The NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship is a world heavyweight championshipWorld heavyweight championship may refer to: * List of heavyweight boxing champions, World heavyweight boxing championship (professional) ** World Colored Heavyweight Champi ...
. Mondt and McMahon were not only promoters but also acted as his manager and were accused by other NWA promoters of withholding Rogers making defenses in their cities versus only defending in Mondt and McMahon's own cities thus maintaining a monopoly on the world title. In a now infamous situation, the NWA sent former five-time world champion and legitimate wrestler
Lou Thesz Aloysius Martin "Lou" Thesz (April 24, 1916 – April 28, 2002) was an American professional wrestler. A twenty-five time world champion, he held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three times for a combined total of 10 years, three months ...
to Toronto to face Rogers on January 24, 1963. Thesz recalls this was not planned and prior to the match remembered telling Buddy "we can do this the easy way or the hard way." Rogers agreed to lose the fall and title in a one fall match versus the traditional two out of three fall matchup that most world title matches were defended. Once word reached back to Mondt and McMahon, at first they simply ignored the title change. From January until April 1963, Rogers was promoted as the NWA World Champion, or simply the World Heavyweight Champion, in their area. The World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) was not an immediate creation as once thought the day after Rogers' one fall loss to Thesz. Mondt and McMahon both eventually left the NWA in protest and formed the WWWF in the process. They brought along with them Willie Gilzenberg, long time boxing and wrestling promoter in New Jersey. In June 1963, Gilzenberg was named the first president of the WWWF, marking the traditionally beginning of their history. with Rogers winning a fictitious tournament in Rio de Janeiro on April 25, 1963, when he defeated long time Capitol Sports favorite Antonino Rocca. In reality, Rocca was no longer in the area, as he was working for Jim Crockett Sr. in the Carolinas. Rogers also had already suffered what would later be a career ending heart attack on April 18 in Akron, Ohio, and was in an Ohio hospital during the time the alleged tournament took place. Mondt left Capitol in the late 1960s and although the WWWF had withdrawn from the NWA, Vince McMahon, Sr. quietly re-joined in 1971. The WWWF was renamed to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979.


Titan Sports, Inc. (1980–1999)


Early years (1980–1982)

Vincent J. McMahon's son, Vincent K. McMahon, and his wife
Linda Linda may refer to: As a name * Linda (given name) Linda is a female given name, of German origin, but widespread in the English-speaking world since the end of the nineteenth century. The German name ''Linde'' was originally an abbreviated form ...

Linda
, established Titan Sports, Inc., in 1980 in
South Yarmouth, Massachusetts Image:South-Yarmouth rotary.JPG, 200px, The first traffic rotary in the United States stands at the intersection of River Street and Pleasant Street. South Yarmouth is an unincorporated village and census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Yarmo ...
and applied trademarks for the initials "WWF". The company was incorporated on February 21, 1980, in the Cape Cod Coliseum offices, then moved to the building on Holly Hill Lane in
Greenwich, Connecticut Greenwich (, ) is a town A town is a human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and ...
.


Golden Era (1982–1992)

The younger McMahon bought Capitol from his father in 1982, effectively seizing control of the company. The actual date of sale is still unknown but the generally accepted date is June 6, 1982; however this was likely the date the deal was struck. On WWF television, Capitol Wrestling Corporation maintained copyrights and ownership past the June 1982 date. The World Wrestling Federation was not solely owned by Vince Sr. but also by
Gorilla Monsoon Robert James Marella (June 4, 1937 – October 6, 1999), better known by his ring name of Gorilla Monsoon, was an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, Sports commentator, play-by-play commentator, and Glossary of professional w ...
,
Arnold Skaaland Arnold Skaaland (January 21, 1925 – March 13, 2007) was an American professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, ...
and Phil Zacko. The deal between the two McMahons was a monthly payment basis where if a single payment was missed, ownership would revert to McMahon Sr. and his business partners. Looking to seal the deal quickly, McMahon Jr. took several loans and deals with other promoters and the business partners (including the promise of a job for life) in order to take full ownership by May or June 1983 for an estimated total of roughly $1 million with the three business partners receiving roughly $815,000 among them and Vincent J. McMahon receiving roughly $185,000. Seeking to make the WWF the premier wrestling promotion in the country, and eventually, the world, he began an expansion process that fundamentally changed the wrestling business. At the annual meeting of the NWA in 1983, the McMahons and former Capitol employee Jim Barnett all withdrew from the organization. McMahon also worked to get WWF programming on syndicated television all across the United States. This angered other promoters and disrupted the well-established boundaries of the different wrestling promotions, eventually ending the territory system, which was in use since the founding of the NWA in the 1940s. In addition, the company used income generated by advertising, television deals, and tape sales to secure talent from rival promoters, to which McMahon discussed in an interview with ''
Sports Illustrated ''Sports Illustrated'' (''SI'') is an American sports magazine owned by Authentic Brands Group, and was first published in August 1954. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the National Magazine Award for General ...
''. McMahon was quoted as saying: "In the old days, there were wrestling fiefdoms all over the country, each with its own little lord in charge. Each little lord respected the rights of his neighboring little lord. No takeovers or raids were allowed. There were maybe 30 of these tiny kingdoms in the U.S. and if I hadn't bought out my dad, there would still be 30 of them, fragmented and struggling. I, of course, had no allegiance to those little lords." McMahon gained significant traction when he hired
American Wrestling Association The American Wrestling Association (AWA) was an American professional wrestling promotion A professional wrestling promotion is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of peopl ...
(AWA) talent
Hulk Hogan Terry Eugene Bollea (, born August 11, 1953), better known by his ring name A ring name is a type of stage name used by an athlete such as a Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, Mixed martial arts, mixed martial artist, or Boxing, ...

Hulk Hogan
, who had achieved popularity outside of wrestling, notably for his appearance in the film ''
Rocky III ''Rocky III'' is a 1982 American sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition arises whenever two or more parties strive for a common goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group ...
''. McMahon signed
Roddy Piper Roderick George Toombs (April 17, 1954 – July 31, 2015), better known as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, was a Canadian professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose pr ...

Roddy Piper
as Hogan's rival, and then shortly afterward
Jesse Ventura Jesse Ventura (born James George Janos; July 15, 1951) is an American politician, actor, television presenter, political commentator, author, and retired professional wrestler. After achieving fame in the WWE, World Wrestling Federation (WWF), h ...

Jesse Ventura
as an announcer. Other wrestlers joined the roster, such as
Jimmy Snuka James Reiher Snuka (born James Wiley Smith; May 18, 1943 – January 15, 2017) was a Fijian Americans, Fijian American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler. He is better known by the ring name Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Snuka wrestled for ...

Jimmy Snuka
,
Don Muraco Don Muraco (born September 10, 1949) is an American retired professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typical ...
,
The Iron Sheik Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri ( fa, حسین خسرو علی وزیری; born 15 March 1942), better known by his ring name The Iron Sheik, is an Iranian retired professional wrestling, professional wrestler, amateur wrestling, amateur wrestler an ...
,
Nikolai Volkoff Josip Hrvoje Peruzović (October 14, 1947 – July 29, 2018), better known by his ring name of Nikolai Volkoff, was a Croatian Americans, Croatian-American professional wrestler who was best known for his performances in the World Wrestling Feder ...

Nikolai Volkoff
,
Junkyard Dog Sylvester Ritter (December 13, 1952 – June 2, 1998) was an American professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, ...
,
Paul Orndorff Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr. (October 29, 1949 – July 12, 2021), nicknamed "Mr. Wonderful", was an American professional wrestler and National Football League, NFL football player, best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federatio ...

Paul Orndorff
,
Greg Valentine Jonathan Anthony Wisniski (born September 20, 1951) is an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, better known as Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. He is the son of wrestler Johnny Valentine. Over five decades, Valentine held more than ...

Greg Valentine
, and
Ricky Steamboat Richard Henry Blood Sr. (born February 28, 1953), better known by his ring name Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, is an American retired professional wrestling, professional wrestler best known for his work with the American Wrestling Association (A ...

Ricky Steamboat
. Many of the wrestlers who would later join the WWF were former AWA or NWA talent. The WWF would tour nationally in a venture that would require a huge capital investment, one that placed the WWF on the verge of financial collapse. The future of McMahon's experiment came down to the success or failure of McMahon's groundbreaking concept,
WrestleMania WrestleMania is a professional wrestling event produced annually between mid-March and mid-April by WWE, an American professional wrestling promotion based in Stamford, Connecticut. WWE first produced the event in WrestleMania 1, 1985 and has s ...

WrestleMania
. WrestleMania was a major success and was (and still is) marketed as the
Super Bowl The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). It has served as the final game of every NFL season since 1966, replacing the NFL Championship Game. Since 2004, the game has been played on the first Sunday ...
of professional wrestling. The concept of a wrestling
supercard In sports, a card lists the match A match is a tool for starting a fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemistry), pr ...
was nothing new in North America; the NWA had begun running
Starrcade Starrcade was a recurring professional wrestling List of NWA/WCW closed-circuit events and pay-per-view events, event, originally broadcast via closed-circuit television and eventually broadcast via pay-per-view. It was originally held from 1983 ...
a few years prior. In McMahon's eyes, however, what separated WrestleMania from other supercards was that it was intended to be accessible to those who did not watch wrestling. He invited celebrities such as
Mr. T Mr. T (born Laurence Tureaud, May 21, 1952), is an American actor, television personality, and retired bouncer, bodyguard and professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestlin ...
,
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali (; born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, activist, entertainer, poet and philanthropist. Nicknamed The Greatest, he is widely regarded as one of the most significa ...

Muhammad Ali
, and
Cyndi Lauper Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper Thornton (born June 22, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and activist. Her career has spanned over 40 years. Her album ''She's So Unusual ''She's So Unusual'' is the debut studio album by American si ...
to participate in the event, as well as securing a deal with
MTV MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel that launched on August 1, 1981. Based in New York City, it serves as the flagship property of the ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks division of ViacomCBS. Prio ...

MTV
to provide coverage. The event and hype surrounding it led to the term ''
Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection The 1980s professional wrestling boom (more commonly referred to as the Golden Age) was a surge in the popularity of professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whos ...
'', due to the cross-promotion of
popular culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and ...
and professional wrestling. The WWF business expanded significantly on the shoulders of McMahon and his babyface hero Hulk Hogan for the next several years. The introduction of ''
Saturday Night's Main Event ''Saturday Night's Main Event'' is a professional wrestling television program that was produced by WWE (previously known as the World Wrestling Federation). Premiering in 1985, it originally aired on NBC in the United States as 29 occasional r ...
'' on
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), co ...
in 1985 marked the first time that professional wrestling had been broadcast on network television since the 1950s when the now-defunct
DuMont Television Network The DuMont Television Network (also known as the DuMont Network, simply DuMont/Du Mont, or (incorrectly) Dumont ) was one of America's pioneer commercial television networks, rivalling NBC and CBS for the distinction of being first overall in th ...
broadcast matches of Vince McMahon Sr.'s Capitol Wrestling Corporation. The 1980s "Wrestling Boom" peaked with the
WrestleMania III WrestleMania III was the third annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) List of WWE pay-per-view events, event produced by the WWE, World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). The event was held on March 29, 1987, at the Pontia ...
pay-per-view at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1987, which set an attendance record of 93,173, a record that stood for 29 years until
WrestleMania 32 WrestleMania 32 was the 32nd annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event and WWE Network event produced by WWE. It took place on April 3, 2016, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Arlington is a city in the U.S. ...
. A rematch of the WrestleMania III main event between WWF champion Hulk Hogan and
André the Giant André René Roussimoff (; 19 May 1946 – 27 January 1993) was a French professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in ad ...
took place on ''
The Main Event I ''The Main Event'' is a professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typically between performers with establis ...
'' in 1988 and was seen by 33 million people, the most-watched wrestling match in North American television history. In 1983, Titan moved its offices to
Stamford, Connecticut Stamford () is a city in the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its with the . Du ...
, though the current building was built and opened on May 13, 1991. Subsequently, a new Titan Sports, Inc. (originally WWF, Inc.) was established in
Delaware Delaware ( ) is a state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Maryland to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean to its east. The state takes i ...
in 1987 and was consolidated with the Massachusetts entity in February 1988.


New Generation (1992–1997)

The WWF was hit with allegations of
steroid A steroid is a biologically active organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, ...
abuse and distribution in 1992. This was followed by allegations of
sexual harassment Sexual harassment is a type of involving the use of explicit or implicit sexual overtones, including the unwelcome and inappropriate promises of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from verbal ...
by WWF employees the following year. McMahon was eventually exonerated, but the allegations brought bad
public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British ...
for the WWF, and an overall bad reputation. The steroid trial cost the company an estimated $5 million at a time of record low revenues. This helped drive many WWF wrestlers over to rival promotion
World Championship Wrestling World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (WCW) was an American professional wrestling promotion A professional wrestling promotion is a company or business that regularly performs shows involving professional wrestling. "Promotion" also describes a ro ...
(WCW), including 1980s babyface hero Hulk Hogan. During this period, the WWF promoted wrestlers of a younger age comprising "The New Generation", featuring
Shawn Michaels Michael Shawn Hickenbottom (born July 22, 1965), better known by his ring name A ring name is a type of stage name used by an athlete such as a Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, Mixed martial arts, mixed martial artist, or Boxin ...

Shawn Michaels
,
Diesel Diesel may refer to: * Diesel engine, an internal combustion engine where ignition is caused by compression * Diesel fuel, a liquid fuel used in diesel engines * Diesel locomotive, a railway locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine ...

Diesel
,
Razor Ramon Scott Oliver Hall (born October 20, 1958) is an American retired Professional wrestling, professional wrestler. He is known for his work with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) as Razor Ramon and with World Championship Wrestling (W ...

Razor Ramon
,
Bret Hart Bret Sergeant Hart (born July 2, 1957) is a Canadian-American Canadian Americans is a term that can be applied to American citizens Citizenship is the Status (law), status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or lo ...
, and
The Undertaker Mark William Calaway (born March 24, 1965), better known by the ring name The Undertaker, is an American retired Professional wrestling, professional wrestler. Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, he is bes ...

The Undertaker
, in an effort to promote new talent into the spotlight. In January 1993, the WWF debuted its flagship cable program ''
Monday Night Raw ''WWE Raw'', also known as ''Monday Night Raw'' or simply ''Raw'', is an American professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhi ...
''. WCW countered in September 1995 with its own Monday night program, ''
Monday Nitro ''WCW Monday Nitro'', also known as ''WCW Nitro'' or simply ''Nitro'', was a professional wrestling television program that was produced by World Championship Wrestling and broadcast weekly every Monday night on TNT (American TV network), TNT fr ...
'', which aired in the same time slot as ''Raw''. The two programs would trade wins in the ensuing
ratings A rating is an evaluation or assessment of something, in terms of quality, quantity, or some combination of both. Rating or ratings may also refer to: Business and economics * Credit rating, estimating the credit worthiness of an individual, co ...
competition (known as the "
Monday Night Wars The Monday Night Wars were a period of mainstream televised American professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and , which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', h ...
") until mid-1996. At that point, ''Nitro'' began a nearly two-year ratings domination that was largely fueled by the introduction of the
New World OrderNew World Order may refer to: * New World Order (conspiracy theory), a conspiracy theory referring to the emergence of a totalitarian one-world government * New world order (politics), any period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world polit ...
(nWo), a stable led by former WWF performers Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall (the former Razor Ramon), and Kevin Nash (the former Diesel).


Attitude Era (1997–2002)

As the Monday Night Wars continued between ''Raw Is War'' and WCW's ''Nitro'', the WWF would transform itself from a family-friendly product into a more adult-oriented product, known as the
Attitude Era The Attitude Era was a term used by World Wrestling Entertainment World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., Trade name, d/b/a WWE, is an American integrated media and entertainment company that is primarily known for professional wrestling. WWE ...
. The era was spearheaded by WWF VP
Shane McMahon Shane Brandon McMahon (born January 15, 1970) is an American businessman and professional wrestler. He is the founder and Chairperson, executive vice-chairman of Ideanomics, formerly Seven Stars Cloud Group. He is also a minority owner, Road agen ...

Shane McMahon
(son of owner Vince McMahon) and head writer
Vince Russo Vincent James Russo (born January 24, 1961) is an American author, podcaster, professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned i ...

Vince Russo
. 1997 ended with McMahon facing real-life controversy following
Bret Hart Bret Sergeant Hart (born July 2, 1957) is a Canadian-American Canadian Americans is a term that can be applied to American citizens Citizenship is the Status (law), status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or lo ...
's controversial departure from the company, dubbed as the
Montreal Screwjob The Montreal Screwjob (also called the Montreal Incident; French: ''Le Coup Tordu de Montréal'' lit. Montreal's Twisted Coup) was an infamous and controversial unscripted professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhi ...
. This proved to be one of several founding factors in the launch of the Attitude Era as well as the creation of McMahon's on-screen character, "
Mr. McMahon Vincent Kennedy McMahon (; born August 24, 1945) is an American professional wrestling promoter and executive, American football executive, and media proprietor. He is currently serving as the chairman and chief executive officer of WWE, the lar ...
". Before the Montreal Screwjob, which took place at the 1997 Survivor Series, former WCW talent were being hired by the WWF, including
Stone Cold Steve Austin Steve Austin (born Steven James Anderson, December 18, 1964; later Steven James Williams) is an American television host, actor, and retired professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment inv ...

Stone Cold Steve Austin
,
Mankind Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They are the only Extant taxon, ...

Mankind
, and Vader. Austin was slowly brought in as the new face of the company despite being promoted as an
antihero An antihero (sometimes spelled as anti-hero) or antiheroine is a main character Image:Hamlet William Morris Hunt.jpeg, 200px, William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's ''Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.'' William Morris Hunt, oil on canvas, c. 1864 A prot ...
, starting with his " Austin 3:16" speech shortly after defeating
Jake Roberts Aurelian Smith Jr. (born May 30, 1955), better known by the ring name Jake "The Snake" Roberts, is an American retired professional wrestler and actor currently signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) where he performs as manager and valet to Lance A ...
in the tournament finals at the
King of the Ring King of the Ring was a professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network List of WWE Network events, event series held by WWE. The main focus was the King of the Ring tournament which was previously held annually from 1985 to 1991, with the ex ...
pay-per-view in 1996. On April 29, 1999, the WWF made its return to
terrestrial television Terrestrial television is a type of television broadcasting Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized fun ...
, airing a special program known as '' SmackDown!'' on the fledgling
UPN The United Paramount Network (UPN) was an American broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized func ...

UPN
network. The Thursday night show became a weekly series on August 26, 1999—competing directly with WCW's Thursday night program ''
Thunder Thunder is the sound caused by lightning Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge during which two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere or ground temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous r ...
'' on TBS.


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

In the summer of 1999, Titan Sports, Inc. was renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. On October 19, 1999, World Wrestling Federation, Inc. launched an
initial public offering An initial public offering (IPO) or stock launch is a public offering A public offering is the offering of securities A security is a tradable financial asset. The term commonly refers to any form of financial instrument, but its legal defi ...
as a publicly traded company, trading on the
New York Stock Exchange The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE, nicknamed "The Big Board") is an American stock exchange A stock exchange, securities exchange, or bourse is an exchange Exchange may refer to: Places United States * Exchange, Indiana Exchange is an U ...

New York Stock Exchange
(NYSE) with the issuance of stock then valued at $172.5 million."WWF pins IPO," CNN Money, August 3, 1999
, Retrieved June 5, 2014.
The company has traded on the NYSE since its launch under ticker symbol WWE.
, accessed June 5, 2014.
By the fall of 1999, the Attitude Era had turned the tide of the Monday Night Wars into WWF's favor. After
Time Warner Warner Media, LLC ( traded as WarnerMedia, but stylized as WarnerMedia; formerly known as Time Warner from 1990 to 2001 and again from 2003 to 2018; from 2001 to 2003, AOL Time Warner and from 1972 to 1990, Warner Communications) is an Americ ...

Time Warner
merged with
AOL AOL (stylized as Aol., formerly a company known as AOL Inc. and originally known as America Online) is an American web portal and online service provider based in New York City. It is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or a ...

AOL
,
Ted Turner Robert Edward Turner III (born November 19, 1938) is an American entrepreneur, television producer, media proprietor A media proprietor, media mogul or media tycoon refers to a successful entrepreneur or businessperson who controls, through ...

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 Eric Aaron Bischoff (born May 27, 1955) is an American entrepreneur, television producer, professional wrestling booker, podcast host, and on-screen personality. He is best known for serving as Executive Producer and later Senior Vice Presiden ...

Eric Bischoff
, whom Time Warner fired as WCW president in October 1999, was nearing a deal to purchase the company, in March 2001 McMahon acquired the rights to WCW's trademarks, tape library, contracts, and other properties from AOL Time Warner for a number reported to be around $7 million. Shortly after
WrestleMania X-Seven WrestleMania X-Seven was the 17th annual WrestleMania professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typically betw ...
, the WWF launched the Invasion storyline, integrating the incoming talent roster from WCW and
Extreme Championship Wrestling HHG Corporation, doing business as Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), was a professional wrestling promotion and media company that was based in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The promotion was founded in 1992 by Tod Gordon and i ...
(ECW). With this purchase, WWF now became by far the sole largest wrestling promotion in North America and in the world. The assets of ECW, which had folded after filing for
bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditor A creditor or lender is a party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' par ...

bankruptcy
protection in April 2001, were purchased by WWE in 2003. In 2000, the WWF, in collaboration with television network
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), co ...
, announced the creation of the XFL, a new professional
football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called ''football'' include (known as ''soccer'' ...

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. WWE maintained control of the XFL trademark before McMahon reclaimed the XFL brand, this time under a separate
shell company A shell corporation is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morali ...
from WWE, in 2017 with intent to relaunch the XFL in 2020.


World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (2002–present)

In May 2002, the World Wrestling Federation announced it was changing both its company name and the name of its wrestling promotion to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) after the company lost a lawsuit initiated by the
World Wildlife Fund In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the worl ...
over the WWF trademark. Although mainly caused by an unfavorable ruling in its dispute with the World Wildlife Fund regarding the "WWF" initialism, the company noted it provided an opportunity to emphasize its focus on entertainment.


First brand split (2002–2011)

In March 2002, WWE decided to create two separate rosters, with each group of wrestlers appearing on one of their main programs, ''Raw'' and ''SmackDown!'', due to the overabundance of talent left over from the Invasion storyline. This was dubbed as the "
brand extension Brand extension or brand stretching is a marketing strategy in which a firm A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal ...
". Beginning in 2002 a was held nearly every year to set the rosters, with the first draft to determine the inaugural split rosters, and subsequent drafts designed to refresh the rosters of each show. WWE expanded the brand extension by relaunching ECW as a third brand on May 26, 2006. Two years later, WWE adapted a more
family-friendly A family-friendly product or service is one that is considered to be suitable for all members of an average family. Family-friendly restaurants are ones that provide service to families that have young children. Frequently, family-friendly product ...
format and their programming received a TV-PG rating. The final '' ECW'' program aired on February 16, 2010, after which it was replaced with '' NXT''. On April 7, 2011, WWE, via the WWE Corporate website, announced that the company was ceasing use of the full name World Wrestling Entertainment and would henceforth refer to itself solely as WWE, making the latter an orphan initialism. This was said 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 noted that their new company model was put into effect with the relaunch of '' Tough Enough'', being a non-scripted program (contrary to the scripted nature of professional wrestling) and with the launch of the
WWE Network WWE Network is an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video ...
(at the time scheduled to launch in 2012; later pushed back to 2014). However, the legal name of the company remains as World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.


Brand reunification (2011–2016)

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). Championships previously exclusive to one show or the other were available for wrestlers from any show to compete for; the "Supershow" format would mark the end of the brand extension, as all programming and live events from when the original announcement was made until July 2016 featured the full WWE roster. In 2013, the company built the sports medicine and training facility
WWE Performance Center The WWE Performance Center is the official professional wrestling school Professional wrestling has accrued a considerable amount of jargon throughout its existence. Much of it stems from the industry's origins in the days of carnivals and circus ...
in the east
Orange County, Florida Orange County is located in the central portion of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primaril ...
in partnership with
Full Sail University Full Sail University is a Private university, private For-profit higher education in the United States, for-profit university in Winter Park, Florida. It was formerly a recording studio in Ohio named Full Sail Productions and Full Sail Center ...
from
Winter Park, Florida Winter Park is a city in Orange County, Florida, Orange County, Florida, United States. The population was 30,825 according to the 2019 census population estimate. It is part of the Greater Orlando, Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Florida Metropolit ...
. The training facility is targeted at career and athletic development for the company's wrestlers. Full Sail is also home base to WWE's NXT brand, which served as a developmental territory for WWE.


Second brand split (2016–present)

300px, From September 2019 to September 2021, WWE's three primary brands were Raw (WWE brand), Raw, NXT, and SmackDown (WWE brand), SmackDown. In 2021, NXT would get rebooted as NXT 2.0, and reinstated as a developmental brand for Raw and SmackDown. On May 25, 2016, WWE announced a relaunch of the brand extension, billed as the "New Era". Following that announcement, ''Raw'' and ''SmackDown'' now each feature their unique rosters, announcers, ring sets/ropes, and championships. A 2016 WWE draft, draft took place to determine which wrestlers would appear on what show. ''SmackDown'' also moved from Thursdays to Tuesday nights, which began on July 19 (the night of the aforementioned draft), and airs live instead of the previous pre-recorded format. On November 29, 2016, WWE introduced a new program specifically for their cruiserweight (professional wrestling), cruiserweight division (wrestlers 205 lbs. and under) called ''WWE 205 Live''. The program focuses exclusively on those wrestlers who qualify for the division. The cruiserweights – who first became a fixture in WWE with the Cruiserweight Classic tournament – were originally exclusive to the Raw brand at the onset of the 2016 brand extension, before landing their 205 Live (WWE brand), own brand. On December 15, 2016, it was announced that WWE was establishing a new WWE United Kingdom Championship, with the winner being decided by a 16-man tournament to air on WWE Network featuring wrestlers from the UK and Ireland during January 2017. WWE executive Triple H, Paul "Triple H" Levesque said the eventual plan with the new title and tournament was to establish a UK-based brand with its own weekly television show. WWE subsequently launched its UK-based brand as an offshoot of NXT, NXT UK, in June 2018, with Johnny Saint serving as inaugural general manager. Starting in September 2019, NXT had a weekly, live, two-hour show Wednesday nights on the USA Network and WWE began promoting NXT as their "third brand". NXT was moved to a Tuesday night timeslot in 2021 and was rebooted as NXT 2.0 later that year, reinstituting its original function as a developmental territory.


= Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020–2021)

= In March 2020, WWE began to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, American onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In mid-March, three of the four major sports leagues had announced that they would close locker rooms to the media as a precautionary measure. As other sports cancellations and postponements were being announced, WWE officially announced on March 12 that its weekly programs, beginning with the following night's episode of ''SmackDown'', would be filmed at the Performance Center Behind closed doors (sport), without spectators and with only essential staff present—the March 11 episode of ''NXT'' had been recorded at the Performance Center with paying fans, thus being WWE's last event to have ticketed fans in attendance before the pandemic took full effect. WrestleMania 36 was scheduled to take place on April 5 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Tampa; on March 16, WWE announced that the event would also be held behind closed doors in Orlando. WrestleMania, as well as ''Raw'' and ''SmackDown'' for a period before and after WrestleMania, shifted from live broadcasts to a pre-recorded format. ''NXT'' continued to air from Full Sail University, but under similar restrictions. Live broadcasts returned on April 13, with the existing arrangements continuing; WWE stated to ESPN.com that "we believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times", and that the company's programming "bring[s] families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance". It was subsequently reported that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had deemed WWE a business critical to the state's economy, and had added an exception under the state's stay-at-home order for employees of a "professional sports and media production" that is closed to the public and has a national audience. The decision was met with criticism from media outlets, with several media outlets pointing out that DeSantis' actions happened on the same day a pro-Donald Trump political action committee led by Linda McMahon, who was previously a part of Trump's cabinet, pledged to spend $18.5 million in advertising in Florida, and that, also on the same day, Vince McMahon was named part of an advisory group created by Trump to devise a strategy in re-launching US economy. On April 15, WWE announced a series of cuts and layoffs in response to the pandemic, including releasing a number of performers (Karl Anderson, Kurt Angle, Aiden English, Ethan Carter III, EC3, Epico (wrestler), Epico, Luke Gallows, Curt Hawkins, No Way Jose (wrestler), No Way Jose, Sarah Logan, Mike Kanellis, Maria Kanellis, Primo (wrestler), Primo, Erick Rowan, Rusev (wrestler), Rusev, Lio Rush, Zack Ryder, Heath Slater, and Eric Young (wrestler), Eric Young), three producers (Dave Finlay, Shane Helms and Lance Storm), referee Mike Chioda, and multiple NXT/Performance Center trainees and staff. WWE executives also took a pay cut, and the company has also suspended construction on its new headquarters for at least six months. The firings caused significant backlash by fans; with ''Business Insider'' calling them "livid." Both fans and several media outlets pointed out that while WWE claimed that these actions were "necessary due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic", the WWE also claimed to have "substantial financial resources. Available cash and debt capacity currently total approximately $0.5 billion". DeSantis' claimed WWE was "essential", which meant that the company's revenues loss would be limited. In August 2020, WWE relocated from the Performance Center to Orlando's Amway Center for a long-term residency, broadcasting episodes of ''Raw'', ''SmackDown'', and pay-per-views through a virtual fan viewing experience called WWE ThunderDome. Inside the ThunderDome, drones, lasers, pyro, smoke, and projections are utilized to enhance the wrestlers' entrances on a level similar to that of pay-per-view productions pre-pandemic. Nearly 1,000 LED boards were installed to allow for rows and rows of virtual fans. It is free of charge for fans to virtually attend the events, though they must reserve their virtual seat ahead of time. WWE remained at the Amway Center up through early December before relocating the ThunderDome to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The ThunderDome relocated to Yuengling Center, located on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa, beginning with the April 12, 2021 episode of ''Raw''. In October 2020, NXT events were relocated from Full Sail University to the Performance Center in a similar setup dubbed the Capitol Wrestling Center. It has many of the same features as the ThunderDome, but with a small crowd of select live fans included, in addition to the virtual fans. The name is also an homage to WWE's predecessor, the Capitol Wrestling Corporation. On May 21 WWE announced that they would be bringing back fans full time with the 25-city tour thus ending the WWE ThunderDome concept in the interim, and the July 16 edition of ''WWE SmackDown, SmackDown'' started WWE's return to the road and it took place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. In January 2021, WWE announced that WrestleMania 37, which was originally to be held in Inglewood, California on March 28, would be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida—WrestleMania 36's original location—as a two-night event on April 10 and 11 and would have fans in attendance, though to a limited capacity. This marked WWE's first event during the pandemic to have ticketed fans in attendance with a maximum of 25,000 spectators for each night with COVID-19 protocols in place. Also around this time, WWE announced that the WWE Network in the United States would become exclusively distributed by Peacock (streaming service), Peacock on March 18, 2021 (ahead of Fastlane (2021), Fastlane and WrestleMania 37). The merger of the WWE Network and Peacock does not affect the service outside of the United States.


Championships and accomplishments


Current championships


Raw


SmackDown


NXT


NXT UK


Shared championships

*The NXT Cruiserweight Championship is shared between NXT, NXT UK, and 205 Live. *The 24/7 Championship is shared between all five brands *The WWE Women's Tag Team Championship is shared by Raw and SmackDown. The colors indicate the home brand of the champions. * Note – The WWE 24/7 Championship may change hands anywhere and anytime as long as a referee is present. The title can be held by anybody, regardless of gender or whether they are a wrestler or not.


Defunct championships


Other accomplishments


Contracts

WWE signs most of its talent to exclusive contracts, meaning talent can appear or perform only on WWE programming and events. They are not permitted to appear or perform for another promotion unless special arrangements are made beforehand. WWE keeps all wrestlers' salary, employment length, benefits, and all other contract details strictly private. WWE classifies its professional wrestlers as independent contractors and not as employees. A study by the University of Louisville School of Law, ''University of Louisville Law Review'' found that after applying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 20-factor test, 16 factors "clearly indicate that wrestlers are employees". However, as a result of WWE terming them as independent contractors, "the wrestlers are denied countless benefits to which they would otherwise be entitled". In September 2020, WWE reportedly told wrestlers that they could no longer "engage with outside third parties", such as Cameo (website), Cameo, and claimed that the WWE "owns the real names of talent, not just their character names".


Stock and corporate governance

On October 19, 1999, WWF, which had been owned previously by parent company Titan Sports, launched an
initial public offering An initial public offering (IPO) or stock launch is a public offering A public offering is the offering of securities A security is a tradable financial asset. The term commonly refers to any form of financial instrument, but its legal defi ...
as a publicly-traded company, trading on the
New York Stock Exchange The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE, nicknamed "The Big Board") is an American stock exchange A stock exchange, securities exchange, or bourse is an exchange Exchange may refer to: Places United States * Exchange, Indiana Exchange is an U ...

New York Stock Exchange
(NYSE) with the issuance of stock then valued at $172.5 million. The company has traded on the NYSE since its launch under ticker symbol WWE. The company has actively marketed itself as a publicly traded company through presentations at investor conferences and other investor relations initiatives. In June 2003, the company began paying a dividend on its shares of $0.04 per share. In June 2011, the company cut its dividend from $0.36 to $0.12. In 2014, concerns about the company's viability caused wide fluctuations in its share price. As of 2021, the company's Board of Directors has 12 members: * Vince McMahon, the company's chairman of the board and CEO * Stuart U. Goldfarb, Co-founder & Partner, Melo7 Tech Partners, LLC. * Frank A. Riddick, III, CEO of Shale-Inland Group, Inc. * Jeffrey R. Speed, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Six Flags * Laureen Ong, former President of Travel Channel * Robyn W. Peterson, Chief Technology Officer, CNN and former Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product, Mashable * Stephanie McMahon, Chief brand officer, Chief Brand Officer of WWE * Triple H, Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE's Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy & Development. * Man Jit Singh, Former President of Home Entertainment for Sony Pictures Entertainment. * Alan M. Wexler, Senior Vice President of Innovation & Growth at General Motors. * Steve Pamon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Parkwood Entertainment * Erika Nardini, CEO of Barstool Sports * Steve Koonin, chief executive officer, Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena * Connor Schell, chief executive officer, Chernin Entertainment * Nick Khan, President & Chief Revenue Officer, WWE


Legal disputes and controversies


1990s drug scandal

During the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. George Zahorian was thought to have routinely distributed steroids and other drugs to WWF wrestlers, supposedly with the approval of WWF owner Vince McMahon. In 1993, McMahon was indicted in federal court after the steroid controversy engulfed the promotion, forcing him to temporarily cede control of the WWF to his wife Linda. The case went to trial in 1994, where McMahon himself was accused of distributing steroids to his wrestlers. One notable prosecution witness was Kevin Wacholz, Nailz (real name: Kevin Wacholz), a former WWF performer who had been fired after a violent confrontation with McMahon. Nailz testified that McMahon had ordered him to use steroids, but his credibility was called into question during his testimony as he repeatedly stated that he "hated" McMahon. The jury would later acquit McMahon of the charges and he resumed his role in the day-to day operations of the WWF.


Disputes with rival companies

In 1996, Titan Sports, the parent company of the World Wrestling Federation, sued World Championship Wrestling (WCW) over WCW implying that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (Razor Ramon and Diesel) were invading WCW on the WWF's behalf. This led to a series of lawsuits filed by both companies as the Monday Night War heated up. The lawsuit went on for years, ending with a settlement in 2000. One of the terms gave then WWF the right to bid on WCW's assets if the company were liquidated. AOL Time Warner, the then-parent company of WCW, cancelled WCW's television shows in March 2001 and sold the company assets to the WWF. On May 23, 2012, Impact Wrestling, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA, now Impact Wrestling) sued former employee Brian Wittenstein and WWE. TNA Entertainment, LLC v. Wittenstein, The suit alleged that Wittenstein violated a non-disclosure agreement and shared confidential information with the WWE which represented a comparative advantage in negotiating with wrestling talent under contract with TNA. He was subsequently hired by WWE, after which TNA asserted that Wittenstein violated the agreement by downloading confidential TNA trade secrets and providing that information to WWE. Although WWE fired Wittenstein and alerted TNA officials as to the disclosure of the information, TNA claimed that WWE had access to the information for three weeks prior to disclosure and in this time, the WWE used Trade secret, secret contract information and attempted to poach their talent in violation of Tennessee's Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The lawsuit was formally withdrawn without prejudice, by the plaintiff, TNA, on January 15, 2013, under a "Notice of Voluntary Nonsuit" which offers no ruling on the merits of the suit and allows TNA to potentially refile at a later date.


Owen Hart's death

On May 23, 1999, Owen Hart fell to his death in Kansas City, Missouri during the Over the Edge (1999), Over the Edge pay-per-view event in a stunt that went wrong. WWF broke kayfabe by having television commentator Jim Ross repeatedly tell those watching live on pay-per-view that what had just transpired was not a wrestling angle or storyline and that Hart was hurt badly, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation. While several attempts to revive him were made, he died from his injuries. The cause of death was later revealed to be internal bleeding from blunt force trauma. The WWF management controversially chose to continue the event. Later, Jim Ross announced the death of Hart to the home viewers during the pay-per-view, but not to the crowd in the arena. While the show did go on, it has never been released commercially by WWE Home Video, WWF Home Video. In 2014, fifteen years after his death, the
WWE Network WWE Network is an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video ...
aired the event for the first time. A small photo tribute is shown before the start informing fans that Hart died during the original broadcast. All footage of Hart was edited out of the event. The statement reads: "In Memory of Owen Hart May 7, 1965 – May 23, 1999 who accidentally passed away during this broadcast." Four weeks after the event, the Hart family sued the WWF over how dangerous and poorly planned the stunt was, and that the harness system was defective. After over a year and a half into the case, a settlement was reached on November 2, 2000, which saw the WWF give the Hart family US$18 million.


Dispute with USA Network

In April 2000, USA Networks had filed a lawsuit against World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. in a bid to keep ''WWE Raw, Raw is War'' and all WWF programming after the WWF opened up a bidding a month prior. Viacom (original), Viacom's proposed bid included a $30-million to $50-million equity investment in the company and carriage on broadcast, billboards and radio of both wrestling matches along with the then-launched XFL. On June 27, 2000, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in favor of the WWF. The next day, Viacom won the rights to all WWF programming for $12.6 million including ''Raw is War'' on Paramount Network, TNN/Spike TV, a revamped ''WWE Heat, Sunday Night Heat'' on
MTV MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel that launched on August 1, 1981. Based in New York City, it serves as the flagship property of the ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks division of ViacomCBS. Prio ...

MTV
and retained '' SmackDown!'' on
UPN The United Paramount Network (UPN) was an American broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized func ...

UPN
after the merger with CBS in 1999. The lawsuit centered on USA's contention that it did not have to match every aspect of a Viacom offer to satisfy a right of first refusal clause in its contract that allowed its deal with the WWF to continue. In 2005, WWE's programming (excluding ''SmackDown!'') moved back to USA Network (now owned by NBCUniversal) and maintains its relationship to this day.


WWF name dispute

In 1994, Titan Sports had entered into an agreement with the World Wide Fund for Nature (also trademarked WWF), an environmental organization, regarding Titan's use of the "WWF" acronym, which both organizations had been using since at least March 1979. Under the agreement, Titan had agreed to cease using the written acronym "WWF" in connection with its wrestling promotion, and to minimize (though not eliminate) spoken uses of "WWF" on its broadcasts, particularly in scripted comments. In exchange, the environmental group (and its national affiliates) agreed to drop any pending litigation against Titan, and agreed not to challenge Titan's use of the full "World Wrestling Federation" name or the promotion's then-current logo. In 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature sued World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. in the United Kingdom, alleging various violations of the 1994 agreement. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Court of Appeal agreed that the promotion company had violated the 1994 agreement, particularly in regards to merchandising. The last televised event to market the WWF logo was the UK-based pay-per-view WWE Insurrextion, 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 Uniform Resource Locator, 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 ''Raw'', which was broadcast from the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Following the name change, 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 the litigation, WWE was still permitted use of the original WWF logo, which was used from 1979 through 1994 and had been explicitly exempted under the 1994 agreement, as well as the similar "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. Starting with the WWE Raw 1000, 1,000th episode of ''Raw'' in July 2012, the WWF "scratch" logo is no longer censored in archival footage due to WWE reaching a new settlement with the World Wide Fund for Nature. In addition, the F in 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 and eventually the
WWE Network WWE Network is an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video ...
service. This also includes WWE Home Video releases since October 2012, starting with the re-release of ''Brock Lesnar: Here Comes The Pain''. Although the WWF initials and logo are no longer censored in archival footage, WWE cannot use the WWF initials or logo in any new, original footage, packaging, or advertising.


Harry Slash and the Slashtones lawsuit

Harry Slash & The Slashtones, Harry "Slash" Grivas and Roderick Kohn filed a lawsuit against WWE in June 2003 due to the music being used for its programming and DVDs without consent or payment. It also asserted a violation of the rights to original music used by ECW that WWE had been using during The Invasion (professional wrestling), the Invasion storyline of 2001. The case was resolved on both sides with a settlement that saw WWE purchase the catalog outright in January 2005.


Ultimate Warrior-related disputes

In 1993, Jim Hellwig, known in the WWF as "The Ultimate Warrior", legally changed his name to the mononymous person, mononym Warrior. This one-word name appears on all legal documents pertaining to Warrior, and his children carry the Warrior name as their legal surname. Warrior and the WWF engaged in a series of lawsuits and legal actions in 1996 and 1998, where both parties sought a declaration that they owned the characters, Warrior and Ultimate Warrior, under both contract and copyright law. The court ruled that Warrior was legally entitled to use the gimmick, costuming, face paint designs, and mannerisms of the "Warrior" character. On September 27, 2005, WWE released a DVD documentary focusing on Warrior's retrospective wrestling career, titled ''The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior''. The DVD featured clips of his more notable feuds and matches along with commentary from WWE stars past and present (most of which are unflattering). The DVD has provoked some controversy due to Warrior's allegations of libel by WWE against him. Originally, Warrior was asked to help with the production of the DVD, but as he refused to work with WWE, there had been some resulting animosity between Warrior and WWE over the Warrior claiming bias on the part of WWE. In January 2006, Warrior filed another lawsuit against WWE in an Arizona court over the depiction of his wrestling career in ''The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior'' DVD. On September 18, 2009, Warrior's lawsuit in Arizona was dismissed. Warrior returned to WWE to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame. During his induction, he mentioned that WWE should create an award to honor those behind the scenes called the Jimmy Miranda Award, named after a long time WWE employee who died. Warrior died three days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. WWE decided to create the Warrior Award, an award for people "who embodied the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior." The award was later given to Connor Michalek (a child who died from cancer), Joan Lunden (a journalist who was diagnosed with cancer), and Eric LeGrand (a former college football player who became a quadriplegic after an in-game injury). In October 2017, WWE used the tagline "Unleash Your Warrior" when promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since Warrior's death, WWE has been accused of whitewashing and ignoring Warrior's bigoted and controversial past comments. ''Pro Wrestling Torch'' described Warrior in real-life having made public "vile, bigoted, hateful, judgmental comments", citing as an example that regarding Bobby Heenan's cancer diagnosis, Warrior said, "Karma is just a beautiful thing to behold." ''Vice (magazine), Vice'' wrote that "completely whitewashing his past and elevating his likeness to a bland symbol of corporate altruism is shockingly tone-deaf, especially for a company that's at least outwardly trying to appear progressive, inclusive and diverse."


Morals clause violations

Under Section 9.13(a) of WWE's booking contract, commonly known as the “morals clause”, the company has a zero-tolerance policy involving domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Upon arrest and conviction for such crimes, a WWE talent shall be immediately suspended and their contract terminated. *On May 10, 1983, Nancy Argentino, the girlfriend of
Jimmy Snuka James Reiher Snuka (born James Wiley Smith; May 18, 1943 – January 15, 2017) was a Fijian Americans, Fijian American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler. He is better known by the ring name Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Snuka wrestled for ...

Jimmy Snuka
, then 39 years old, died in their hotel room, hours after Snuka defeated José Estrada Sr., José Estrada at a WWF TV taping at the Lehigh County Agricultural Hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Snuka was arrested 32 years later on September 1, 2015, and charged with Murder (United States law)#Degrees of murder in the United States, third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter for Argentino's death. This eventually led WWE to suspend his Legends contract (a long-term deal to make infrequent, non-wrestling appearances) and removed his Hall of Fame page from its website. However, Snuka never stood trial due to his poor health, and he died on January 15, 2017. *In June 2003, Umaga (wrestler), Eddie Fatu (then known as "Jamal" and later "Umaga") was released after his involvement in a bar fight. *In the aftermath of Chris Benoit's Chris Benoit double-murder and suicide, murder of his wife and son, along with his suicide in June 2007, the WWE removed mentions of Benoit in its broadcasts and its merchandise. *On November 30, 2012 Bram (wrestler), Thomas Latimer, then known as Kenneth Cameron, was charged with Battery (crime), battery of a law enforcement officer and disorderly intoxication in St. Petersburg, Florida which led him being released from his NXT contract by the WWE. Latimer had previously been arrested in January 2011 for driving under the influence. *On December 10, 2017, Rich Swann was arrested in Gainesville, Florida on charges of battery and kidnapping/false imprisonment. The victim was identified as his wife, Su Yung, Vannarah Riggs. According to the arrest report, Swann and Riggs had gotten into an argument over Swann critiquing Riggs' performance at a show that night. When Riggs tried to get away from Swann, witnesses state that he grabbed her in a headlock and dragged her back into his car. WWE suspended Swann indefinitely and was released on February 15, 2018. He was originally scheduled to face Drew Gulak in a match to determine the number one contender to the Cruiserweight Championship, Enzo Amore, the following night on ''Raw'', but the match was cancelled in light of his domestic violence arrest. *On January 22, 2018, the Phoenix Police Department confirmed that Enzo Amore, Eric Arndt (Enzo Amore) was under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that was reported to authorities in October 2017. Later that day, Arndt was suspended by WWE due to violating their zero tolerance policy for matters involving sexual harassment and sexual assault. WWE released a statement indicating that he would remain suspended until the matter was resolved. In an interview on January 23, a woman accused Arndt of raping her in a Phoenix, Arizona, hotel room on October 19, 2017. As a result, his scheduled title defense against Cedric Alexander at the Royal Rumble (2018), Royal Rumble was cancelled. Arndt was fired from WWE the next day and the title was vacated. On Twitter, Arndt "fully and unequivocally" denied the allegations against him. On May 16, 2018, the Phoenix Police Department ceased their investigation due to insufficient evidence.


Concussion lawsuit

Starting in 2014, numerous former WWE talent filed multiple lawsuits against WWE alleging that WWE did not protect and hid information from their talent about concussions and Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, CTE. The former talent claimed physical and mental health issues as a result physical trauma they experience in WWE. The lawsuits were filed by attorney Konstantine Kyros. US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant dismissed many of the lawsuits in September 2018. In September 2020, the lawsuits were dismissed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Supreme Court of the United States subsequently declined to hear the case in April 2021.


Relationship with Saudi Arabia


Terminology

WWE uses a variety of special terms in promoting their product, such as describing the wrestling industry as
sports entertainment Sports entertainment is a type of spectacle which presents an ostensibly competition, competitive event using a high level of theatre, theatrical flourish and extravagant presentation, with the purpose of entertainment, entertaining an audience. Un ...
. The fan base is referred to as "the WWE Universe". A wrestler is designated a "WWE Superstar", while retired wrestlers are described as "WWE Legends" (or "Hall of Famers" if they have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame).


WWE Network and distribution deals

On February 24, 2014, WWE launched a 24/7 streaming network. The network includes past and present WWE shows, pay-per-views, and shows from the WWE Libraries, WWE Library. The network reached 1,000,000 subscribers on January 27, 2015, in less than one year of its launch, with WWE claiming that it was thus "the fastest-growing digital subscription service ever". In May 2014, WWE and NBCUniversal agreed to a new contract that would see both ''Raw'' and ''SmackDown'' continue on NBC owned networks the USA Network and Syfy. In January 2016, ''SmackDown'' would change networks to the USA Network. The contract with ''NBCUniversal'' expires in 2019. On November 17, 2016, WWE and Sky Deutschland signed a multi-year agreement to distribute WWE's premier pay-per-view events and broadcast ''Raw'' and ''SmackDown Live'' on SKY Sports starting in April 2017. On April 10, 2017, WWE and DAZN, announced that Raw and SmackDown would be available live in Japan with Japanese commentary for the first time ever. On April 27, 2017, WWE and TV5 (Philippines), TV5, announced a new agreement to broadcast one-hour editions of SmackDown. On May 12, 2017, WWE and Saran Media, announced a new multi-year agreement to televise Raw and SmackDown. On July 10, 2017, WWE and AB1, AB 1, extended their partnership into its 18th year with a new, multi-year agreement to broadcast WWE programming. On July 20, 2017, WWE and SuperSport (South African TV channel), SuperSport, announced a new, multi-year agreement to broadcast WWE programming live for the first time in more than 50 countries. On August 1, 2017, WWE and Foxtel, extend their partnership into its 18th year with a new agreement to broadcast WWE programming. On August 8, 2017, WWE and Canal 1 (Colombia), Canal 1, a new agreement to broadcast One-hour editions of Raw and SmackDown. On August 16, 2017, WWE and Nine Network announced a broadcast agreement to air weekly one-hour versions of Raw and SmackDown. On August 24, 2017, WWE and Flow announced a multi-year agreement to televise WWE's flagship programmes Raw and SmackDown. On September 7, 2017, WWE and TVA Sports announced a multi-year agreement to air a weekly, one-hour only edition of Raw, in French in Canada. On October 24, 2017, WWE and SPORT TV, Sport TV announced a multi-year agreement to air Raw and SmackDown. On December 15, 2017, WWE and IB SPORTS, they will extend their partnership with a new agreement to broadcast WWE programming live for the first time in South Korea. On December 18, 2017, WWE and SPS HD, announced an agreement to broadcast Raw and SmackDown on SPS Sports for the first time in Mongolia. On December 13, 2017, WWE and Facebook announced a new Internet television, Internet in-ring series called ''WWE Mixed Match Challenge'' that will stream live in the U.S. exclusively on Facebook Watch. Premiering on January 16, 2018, the 12-episode series will feature wrestlers from both the Raw (WWE brand), Raw and SmackDown (WWE brand), SmackDown rosters competing in a single-elimination mixed tag-team tournament to win $100,000 to support the charity of their choice. Each episode will be 20 minutes long and will air at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.


Expansion beyond wrestling

In addition to licensing wrestling and performers' likenesses to companies such as Acclaim Entertainment, Acclaim, THQ, 2K (company), 2K Sports, and Mattel to produce video games and WWE action figures, action figures, WWE has branched out into other areas of interest to market their product.


Subsidiaries


Active

* WWE Archives (2010–present): Warehouses where WWE holds classic wrestling gears, props, and equipment. * WWE Magazine (2010–present): A magazine that is released for special issues. The magazine was originally released bi-monthly, later switching to a monthly schedule, until its cancellation in 2014. * WWE Books (2013–present): A book series that often publishes biographies of WWE personalities, behind-the-scenes guides to WWE, illustrated books, calendars, young adult books, and other nonfiction books. * WCW (WWE subsidiary), WCW Inc. (2000–present): A WCW subsidiary that was originally created as W. Acquisition Company. It owns the rights to the video library and intellectual property for
World Championship Wrestling World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (WCW) was an American professional wrestling promotion A professional wrestling promotion is a company or business that regularly performs shows involving professional wrestling. "Promotion" also describes a ro ...
. * WWE Libraries, WWE Legacy Department (2014–present): A collection of professional wrestling videos and copyrights for other promotions. * WWE Studios (2002–present): A subsidiary that creates and develops feature film properties. In November 2017, WWE announced that WWE Studios will now include scripted, non-scripted, family and animated television and digital content. Formerly known as WWE Films. * WWE Music Group (2015–present): A music group that specializes in compilation albums of WWE wrestlers' entrance themes. The group also releases titles that have been performed by WWE wrestlers. * WWE Jet Services, Inc. (2013–present): is a subsidiary formed to manage the financing and operations of the company's fleet of private jets. *
WWE Performance Center The WWE Performance Center is the official professional wrestling school Professional wrestling has accrued a considerable amount of jargon throughout its existence. Much of it stems from the industry's origins in the days of carnivals and circus ...
(2013–present): A subsidiary that serves as the usual training and performance center for future employees. *
WWE Network WWE Network is an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video ...
(2014–present): A subscription-based video streaming service that uses the infrastructure of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. * WWEShop.com (2015–present): A website established as the place to buy officially licensed WWE-related apparel, gear, and several other of the merchandise's products. It alsosells these items. * WWE Podcast Network (2019–present): A podcast network that features several WWE superstars hosting their own podcast. WWE partners with Endeavor Audio here.


Defunct

* World Bodybuilding Federation (1990–1992): A subsidiary of Titan Sports which promoted professional bodybuilding through a television show, magazine, and annual pay-per-view events. * Radio WWF (1993) A syndicated radio station. The hosts were Jim Ross and Johnny Polo until Ross' release. The station featured shows that would speak about on different topics in then World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and beyond the scenes incidents. Radio WWF would feature commentary from two pay-per-views. This is the only subsidiary that was only shown for one year. * Wrestle Vessel (1996–1999): A WWF-themed cruise. Wrestlers were on the cruise to entertain the guests with many activities. * XFL (2000–2001): An partially-owned subsidiary of WWF which comprised eight league-owned professional football (gridiron), professional football teams. The league included television broadcasts on
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), co ...
(the other co-owners of the league),
UPN The United Paramount Network (UPN) was an American broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized func ...

UPN
, and Spike (TV network), TNN. * The World (WWE), The World Entertainment (1999–2003): A subsidiary of World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment that operated a restaurant, nightclub, and memorabilia shop in New York City. World originally opened as "WWF New York", and was renamed to "The World". Hard Rock Cafe took over the location in 2005. * WWE Niagara Falls (2002–2011): A retail store that was located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The store featured autograph signings and appearances by WWE superstars, legends, and Hall of Famers. * WWE Classics on Demand (2004–2014): A subscription video-on-demand television service. Classics had footage from WWE's archive footage, including
World Championship Wrestling World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (WCW) was an American professional wrestling promotion A professional wrestling promotion is a company or business that regularly performs shows involving professional wrestling. "Promotion" also describes a ro ...
,
Extreme Championship Wrestling HHG Corporation, doing business as Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), was a professional wrestling promotion and media company that was based in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The promotion was founded in 1992 by Tod Gordon and i ...
, and others. Classics offered around 40 hours of rotating programming per month, arranged into four programming buckets, and often centered on a specific theme. * WWE Kids (2008–2014): A website and comic set, aimed at the children's end of the wrestling market. WWE Kids' comics were produced bi-monthly. * WWE Universe (WWE Fan Nation) (2008–2011): A social media website which was managed and operated by WWE. Its original name was WWE Fan Nation. * WWE Home Video (2011–2022): A home video that specialized in distributing compilations of VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc copies of WWE pay-per-view events, compilations of WWE wrestlers' performances and entrances, and biographies of WWE performers.


Tapout

In March 2015, WWE announced a partnership with Authentic Brands Group to relaunch Tapout (clothing brand), Tapout, formerly a major Mixed martial arts, MMA-related clothing line, as a more general "lifestyle fitness" brand. The apparel, for men and women, was first released in spring of 2016. WWE markets the brand through various products, including beverages, supplements, and gyms. WWE will hold a 50% stake in the brand, and so will advertise it regularly across all its platforms, hoping to give it one billion Impression (online media), impressions a month, and take some of the fitness market from Under Armour. WWE wrestlers and staff have been shown wearing various Tapout gear since the venture began.


TSI Realty Co.

In 1997, WWE established a real estate brokerage and investment firm called TSI Realty Company.


Investments

* Tout (company), Tout: A social media 15-second video service. In 2012, WWE invested $5,000,000 and entered into a two-year partnership. Stephanie McMahon was named a part of the Tout Board of Directors. The agreement between the two companies ended in 2014. * Marvel Experience: Marvel Experience was an interactive live event with Marvel Comics, Marvel characters appearing. WWE invested in Marvel in 2013. * Phunware: A business that creates mobile apps. WWE invested in Phunware in 2014. WWE uses Phunware for their app. * FloSports: An over-the-top sport streaming service that WWE originally invested into in 2016. In 2019, WWE once again invested into FloSports. The sports that are available in FloSports include amateur wrestling, professional wrestling, Track and field, track, grappling, mixed martial arts, boxing, softball, gymnastics, basketball, tennis, volleyball, cheerleading, And eSports. * Avid Technology: A technology company and is a multimedia company. Avid specializes in audio and video; specifically digital non-linear editing systems, management and distribution services. WWE invested in Avid in 2016. * Drone Racing League: A league that contains remote-controlled lightweight aircraft races and appears as a spectator sport. WWE invested in Drone in 2017. * Cloud9: is an eSports organization, which has teams compete in many different video games including a WWE sponsor, Rocket League. WWE invested in Cloud9 in 2017. * DraftKings: WWE's fantasy sports investor. * Alpha Entertainment: A limited liability company that was established in 2018 by Vince McMahon for the purpose of being the parent company and for funding the new XFL (2020), XFL. McMahon stated that the XFL would remain as a separate company. Alpha was revealed through WWE's 2018 10-K, that WWE holds a minority stake in the XFL's parent Company * Rad: A company that has a streaming platform focusing on non-fungible token technology for film, TV, and celebrities. WWE invested in Rad in 2021.


Charities

* WWE has had a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation that spans three decades. Multi-time WWE champion John Cena has granted more wishes than any other celebrity in history, having completed his 500th wish in August 2015. * In 2011, WWE launched its anti-bullying campaign, Be A S.T.A.R (Show Tolerance and Respect). The campaign targets children. The campaign consists of an interactive ceremony with WWE Superstars visiting children at their schools and lecture the children on bullying. * Since 2012, WWE has partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to raise awareness of breast cancer during the month of October. Their partnership includes offering special charity-related wrestler merchandise, as well as adding a pink color scheme to the sets and ring ropes; 20% of all October purchases of WWE merchandise go to the organization. * Since 2012, WWE has partnered with Hire Heroes USA to donate and implement a veterans hiring initiatives through WWE's partners. Multiple times a year, WWE hosts a panel for companies and veterans to come together and discuss career opportunities. * In June 2014, ''Connor's Cure'' – a non-profit charitable organization – was established by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, who have personally funded it through the UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. It is named in honor of Pittsburgh native Connor Michalek, Connor Mason Michalek (October 17, 2005 – April 25, 2014) who had died two months earlier from medulloblastoma, a rare tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord. Beginning in 2015, WWE began recognizing September as Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, adding a gold color scheme to the sets and ring ropes, and offering special ''Connor's Cure'' merchandise, with the proceeds going to charity. * In 2014, WWE entered into an international partnership with the Special Olympics. * In 2016, WWE entered into a multiyear agreement with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. *In October 2018, a week before the WWE Evolution, Evolution pay-per-view, the WWE and the United Nations Foundation's Girl Up created ''Sports for a Purpose'' program aiming to create a culture of sports participation for girls around the world. The program launched in fall 2019. Stephanie McMahon stated, “WWE is proud to partner with Girl Up to create Sports for a Purpose, a new program designed to help our youth achieve gender equality in sports. Playing sports has a positive impact on girls’ leadership skills, confidence and self-esteem, and we are excited to work with Girl Up to create this meaningful program.” * In 2019, WWE announced a partnership with Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The partnership will feature using their platform to drive WWE awareness and support for the research of leukemia. WWE Superstar and leukemia survivor Roman Reigns will be featured in the campaign.


Partnerships

Though an infrequent occurrence, during its history WWE has worked with other wrestling promotions in collaborative efforts. During the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, WWE had working relationships with the Japanese New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), Universal Wrestling Federation (Japan), Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF), Universal Lucha Libre (FULL), and the Mexican Universal Wrestling Association (UWA). These working relationships led to the creations of the WWF WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship, World Martial Arts, WWF Light Heavyweight Championship, Light Heavyweight and WWF Intercontinental Tag Team Championship, Intercontinental Tag Team championships. During the period of 1992–1996, WWE had talent exchange agreements with the United States and Japanese independent companies Smokey Mountain Wrestling (SMW), Super World of Sports (SWS), WAR (wrestling promotion), WAR, and the United States Wrestling Association (USWA). In 1997, the company did business with Mexico's Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, AAA promotion, bringing in a number of AAA wrestlers for the Royal Rumble (1997), Royal Rumble event and namesake match. In 1997, WWE would also do business with Japan's Michinoku Pro Wrestling (MPW), bringing in MPW talent to compete in the company's light heavyweight division and in their WWF Light Heavyweight Championship#1997 tournament, 1997 Light Heavyweight Championship tournament. In 2015, WWE entered a partnership with Evolve (professional wrestling), Evolve – a U.S. independent promotion that WWE uses as a scouting group for potential signees for the NXT brand. In 2020, WWE would purchase Evolve for an undisclosed amount. In 2016, WWE partnered with England's Progress Wrestling with Progress hosting qualifying matches for WWE's Cruiserweight Classic. In 2017, Progress talent would participate in the United Kingdom Championship Tournament (2017), WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament and at WWE's WrestleMania Axxess events. In 2017, WWE partnered with Scotland's Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) with some ICW talent appearing in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament and at WWE's WrestleMania Axxess events. WWE has also explored a deal to bring ICW programming onto the WWE Network. In 2018, WWE partnered with Germany's Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw). In October 2018, WWE hosted German tryouts at the wXw Wrestling Academy. Throughout the company's history, WWE has had past arrangements with independent companies from the contiguous United States (such as Ohio Valley Wrestling) and Puerto Rico (such as the International Wrestling Association (Puerto Rico), International Wrestling Association) with the companies serving as Farm team#Professional wrestling, developmental territories.


Talent Wellness Program

The World Wrestling Federation had a drug-testing policy in place as early as 1987, initially run by an in-house administrator. In 1991, wrestlers were subjected to independent testing for anabolic steroids for the first time. The independent testing was ceased in 1996, being deemed too expensive as the company was going through financial duress at the time as a result of their competitors,
World Championship Wrestling World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (WCW) was an American professional wrestling promotion A professional wrestling promotion is a company or business that regularly performs shows involving professional wrestling. "Promotion" also describes a ro ...
, being so overwhelmingly more popular and hurting the federation's business. The Talent Wellness Program is a comprehensive drug, alcohol, and cardiac screening program initiated in February 2006, three months after the sudden death of athletes, sudden death of one of their highest-profile and most popular talents, Eddie Guerrero, who died at 38-years-old. 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. The Wellness Policy requires that all talent "under contract to WWE who regularly perform in-ring services as a professional sports entertainer" undergo testing; however, part-time competitors are exempt from testing. After the Chris Benoit double-murder and suicide, double-murder and suicide committed by one of its performers, Chris Benoit, with a possible link to steroid 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, WWE and its employees defended the program in the wake of several busts of illegal pharmacy 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 would otherwise likely have gone unnoticed until it was too late. In August 2007, then-reigning WWE United States Championship, 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 relaxant, muscle relaxers.


Notes


References


Further reading

* * *


External links

* * {{authority control WWE, 1980 establishments in Massachusetts 1999 initial public offerings American companies established in 1980 Companies based in Stamford, Connecticut Companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange Entertainment-related YouTube channels Mass media companies established in 1980 Mass media companies of the United States National Wrestling Alliance members