The Birth of WWE World
WWE’s chaotic path to wrestling domination
The World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE is one of the most, if not the most, powerful and popular professional wrestling organization in the world. Known for its larger-than-life wrestling superstars and over-the-top storylines, the WWE’s own rise to prominence seems scripted, just like their sold-out shows.
National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)
The professional wrestling landscape during the late 1940s to the early 1960s can be described as a group of different promoters running their own shows and events in their own territories, but with one unanimous Wrestling World Champion under the National Wrestling Alliance.
NWA promoters were frequently pulling power moves against their rivals to gain the upper hand on the other promoters.
In one instance, promoters voted to have Lou Thez as the champion to weaken the powerful northeastern promoters. As the new champion was not popular in the northeast, promoters in the area started losing some of their influence in the growing entertainment industry.
World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF)
The northeastern promoters decided to do something about it. Thus, in 1963, they formed the World Wide Wrestling Federation to rival the NWA.
At the helm of WWWF were Vince McMahon Sr. and Toots Mondt. One of WWWF’s first matches was pitting former NWA champion Buddy Rogers against Bruno Sammartino, with the latter becoming the first-ever champion of WWWF.
WWWF was renamed to The World Wrestling Federation after the death of Mondt in 1976. During these times, the promotion’s most famous wrestlers where Sammartino and new champion, Pedro Morales.
From Sr. to Jr.
However, as the ’80s rolled along with the advent of cable TV, Vince Sr. sold his company to his son, Vince Jr. The younger Vince McMahon knew that wrestling as a regional promotion was no longer viable.
He set his goal to conquer the whole of the wrestling world. Vince went on to whirlwind promotional tours. He resigned Hulk Hogan as the organization’s signature star, and he started signing wrestling stars from smaller promotions.
All these were costing Vince a lot of money. As a make-or-break for the company, Vince decided to hold an event—the first ever WrestleMania.
The groundbreaking event was truly the first successful pay-per-view event of the wrestling industry to make money and it helped WWF to gain a significant foothold in the industry.
WWF’s remaining competitor was Jim Crockett and his Starrcade. With the backing of Ted Turner and his TNT network, NWA was renamed to World Championship Wrestling and stood as the main rival for WWF.
Monday Night Wars
As WCW got into full swing, McMahon’s WWF was losing in ratings battle. It was also during that time that Vince was battling a lawsuit for a steroid trail.
And, with many superstar wrestlers switching allegiance from WWF to WCW, they needed to make changes to survive. With the help of new booker Vince Russo, WWF went with more adult and edgier content to counter the family-friendly environment of WCW.
With gimmicks like bringing in “Post Ear Bite” Mike Tyson and developing younger wrestlers like Steve Austin and The Rock, wrestling fans got hooked on WWF’s Raw.
WWF started gaining back viewers and, coupled with Ted Turner losing control of TNT, WCW was sold to Vince McMahon in 2001. Finally, his dream of controlling the world of wrestling finally came true.
However, in 2002, the company lost its rights to the WWF name to World Wildlife Fund. Thus, it was renamed as the World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE.
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Cohen, Eric. 2017. “History of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).” ThoughtCo. Accessed July 12, 2018. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-wwe-2787159.
WWE. 2012. “The Epic History of WWE.” Classics. Accessed July 12, 2018. https://www.wwe.com/classics/history-of-wwe.