WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) is a publicly traded, privately controlled integrated media (focusing in television, Internet, and live events) and sports entertainment company dealing primarily in the professional wrestling industry, with major revenue sources also coming from film, music, product licensing, and direct product sales. Vince McMahon is the majority owner and Chairman of the company and his wife Linda McMahon holds the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Together with their children, Executive Vice President of Global Media Shane McMahon and Executive Vice President of Talent and Creative Writing Stephanie McMahon-Levesque, the McMahons hold approximately 70% of WWE's economic interest and 96% of all voting power in the company.
The company's global headquarters are located at 1241 East Main Street in Stamford, Connecticut. It has offices in Los Angeles and in New York City; its international offices are located in both London and Toronto. The company was previously known as Titan Sports before changing to World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., and most recently becoming World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
WWE's business focus is on professional wrestling, a simulated sport and performing art which combines wrestling with theater. It is currently the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world, and holds an extensive library of videos representing a significant portion of the visual history of professional wrestling. The promotion previously existed as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, which promoted under the banner of the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), and later the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). WWE promotes under three brands; RAW, SmackDown! and ECW. WWE is also home to two of the three current world heavyweight championships recognized by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
WWE's revenue in fiscal 2006 (from May 2005 to April 2006) was approximately US$400 million, with a net profit of approximately $47 million. As of August 2006, the company's market capitalization is over $1 billion. Its stock is traded on the NYSE as WWE.
WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION (WWF)
In 1980, the son of Vincent J. McMahon, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, founded Titan Sports, Inc. and in 1982 purchased Capitol Wrestling Corporation from his father. The elder McMahon had long since established the northeastern territory as one of the most vibrant members of the NWA. He had long since recognized that professional wrestling was more about entertainment than actual sport. Against his father's wishes, McMahon began an expansion process that fundamentally changed the sport.
The WWF was not the only promotion to have broken ranks with the NWA; the American Wrestling Association (AWA) had long ago ceased being an official NWA member (although like the WWF, they seldom left their own territory). But in neither instance did the defecting member attempt to undermine the territory system that had been the foundation of the industry for more than half a century.
Other promoters were furious when McMahon began syndicating WWF television shows to television stations across the United States, in areas outside of the WWF's traditional northeastern stronghold. McMahon also began selling videotapes of WWF events outside the Northeast through his Coliseum Video distribution company. He effectively broke the unwritten law of regionalism around which the entire industry had been based. To make matters worse, McMahon used the income generated by advertising, television deals, and tape sales to poach talent from rival promoters. Wrestling promoters nationwide were now in direct competition with the WWF.
Hulk Hogan, due to his appearance in Rocky III had a national recognition that few other wrestlers could offer, which is what led McMahon to sign him. Roddy Piper was brought in, as well as Jesse Ventura (although Ventura rarely wrestled in the WWF at that point due to the lung disorder that caused his retirement, moving to the commentator booth alongside Gorilla Monsoon). André the Giant, Jimmy Snuka, Don Muraco, Paul Orndorff, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat and the Iron Sheik rounded out the roster. Hogan was clearly McMahon's biggest star, but there was debate as to whether the WWF could've achieved national success without him.
According to several reports, the elder McMahon warned his son: "Vinny, what are you doing? You'll wind up at the bottom of a river." In spite of such warnings, the younger McMahon had an even bolder ambition: the WWF would tour nationally. However, such a venture required huge capital investment; one that placed the WWF on the verge of financial collapse.
The future of not just McMahon's experiment, but also the WWF, the NWA, and the whole industry came down to the success or failure of McMahon's groundbreaking concept, WrestleMania. WrestleMania was a pay-per-view extravaganza (in some areas; most areas of the country saw WrestleMania available on closed-circuit television) that McMahon marketed as being the Super Bowl of professional wrestling.
The concept of a wrestling super card was nothing new in North America; the NWA had been running Starrcade a few years prior to WrestleMania, and even the elder McMahon had marketed large Shea Stadium cards viewable in closed-circuit locations. However, McMahon wanted to take the WWF to the mainstream, targeting the public who were not regular wrestling fans. He drew the interest of the mainstream media by inviting celebrities such as Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper to participate in the event. MTV, in particular, featured a great deal of WWF coverage and programming at this time, in what was termed the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection.
WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT (WWE)
In 2000, the World Wildlife Fund (also WWF), an environmental organization now called the World Wide Fund for Nature, sued the World Wrestling Federation. A British court agreed that Titan Sports had violated a 1994 agreement which had limited the permissible use of the WWF initials overseas, particularly in merchandising. On Sunday May 5, 2002, the company quietly changed all references on its website from "WWF" to "WWE", while switching the URL from WWF.com to WWE.com. The next day, a press release announced the official name change from World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., or WWE, and the change was publicized later that day during a telecast of Monday Night RAW, which emanated from the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut. For a short time, WWE used the slogan "Get The 'F' Out." The company had also been ordered by court to stop using the old WWF Attitude logo on any of its properties and to censor all past references to WWF, as they no longer owned the trademark to the initials WWF in 'specified circumstances'.However, despite litigation, WWE is still permitted use of the original WWF logo, which was used from 1984 through 1997, as well as the "New WWF Generation" logo, which was used from 1994 through 1998. Furthermore, the company may still make use of the full "World Wrestling Federation" and "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment" names without consequence.
In April 2002, about a month before the name change, WWE decided to create two separate rosters, one on RAW, the other on SmackDown! due to the overabundance of talent left over from the Invasion storyline (which involved talent from the absorbed ECW and WCW rosters interacting in WWF storylines). This is known as the WWE Brand Extension. Following the Brand Extension, a yearly Draft Lottery was instituted to exchange members of each roster and generally refresh the lineups.
In late 2005 WWE RAW returned after a brief 5-year stint on TNN (now Spike TV) to its original home USA Network. In the TNN days, WWE got all advertising revenue during commercial breaks into their own pockets, now on USA Network, USA Network gets all advertising revenue. So, WWE had to invest into other lines of products introducing WWE 24/7, an on-demand subscription-only channel which shows classic wrestling matches from WWE's vast video library (more than 80,000 hours) and WWE produced content other than wrestling.
In 2006, due to contracts with NBC Universal, parent company of USA Network, WWE had the chance to revive its classic Saturday night show WWE Saturday Night's Main Event (SNME) on NBC after a 13-year hiatus. WWE had so the chance to promote the company on a national network and not only on cable channels like The CW and USA Network. SNME airs occasionally on NBC as a WWE special series.
On May 26, 2006, WWE revived Extreme Championship Wrestling as its third brand. The new ECW program airs Tuesday nights, on the Sci Fi Channel. On September 26, 2007, it was announced that WWE would be expanding its international operations. Alongside the current international offices in London and Toronto, a new international office would be established in Sydney.
Starting on January 21, 2008, WWE made the transition to high-definition (HD). All TV shows and PPV's after this would be broadcast in HD. In addtion, WWE also introduced a new state of the art set that would be used for all three brands.
CURRENT WWE CHAMPIONS
WWE Champion: Randy "The Legend Killer" Orton
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Jeff "The Enigma" Hardy
WWE Womens Champion: Beth Pheonix "The Glamazon"
WWE World Tag Team Champions: Cody Rhodes & Hardcore Holly
World Heavywheight Champion: "The Rated R Superstar" Edge
WWE United States Champion: Monetal Vontavious Porter (MVP)
WWE Cruiserwheight Champion: VACATED
WWE Tag Team Champions: John Morrison & The Miz
ECW Champion: Chavo Guerrero
"To Be Loved" WWE RAW Theme
"Rise Up" Smackdown! Theme
"This Is Extreme" ECW Theme
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