WWE, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSEWWE
Industry Professional wrestling, sports entertainment
Founded 1952
Founder(s) Roderick McMahon
Toots Mondt
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Key people Vince McMahon
(Chairman & CEO)[1]
George Barrios
John Laurinaitis
(Executive Vice President, Talent Relations)
Stephanie McMahon-Levesque
(Executive Vice President, Creative)
Revenue decrease $108.5 million (Q3/2011)[2]
Operating income decrease $15.9 million (Q3/2011)[2]
Profit decrease $10.6 million (Q3/2011)[2]
Total assets decrease $384.7 million (Q3/2011)[2]
Total equity decrease $312.6 million (Q3/2011)[2]
Owner(s) Vince McMahon (59% of shares; 88% of voting power)[3][4]
Employees 585 (as of February 2011, excluding wrestlers)[5]
Website Official Site
Corporate WWE Web Site

WWE, Inc.[6] (NYSEWWE) is an American publicly traded, privately controlled entertainment company dealing primarily in professional wrestling, with major revenue sources also coming from film, music, product licensing, and direct product sales. It is currently the largest professional wrestling company in the world, reaching 13 million viewers in the U.S. and broadcasting its shows in 30 languages to more than 145 countries.[7] It promotes under two brands, known as Raw and SmackDown.

Vince McMahon is the majority owner, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the company. Together with his wife Linda McMahon, and their children Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon-Levesque (WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and Creative Writing), the McMahons hold approximately 70% of WWE's economic interest and 96% of the voting power in the company. The company's headquarters are located in Stamford, Connecticut with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, and Mumbai.[8][9]

WWE holds an extensive library of videos, representing a significant portion of the visual history of professional wrestling. The company began as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation in 1952, which promoted under the banner of the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) and later the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). In 1982, it was sold to the same family's Titan Sports company, which later changed its name to World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, before finally becoming World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002, and simplified to WWE in 2011.[10]


Company history

Capitol Wrestling Corporation

Roderick James "Jess" McMahon was a boxing promoter whose achievements included co-promoting a bout in 1915 between Jess Willard and Jack Johnson. In 1926, while working with Tex Rickard (who actually despised wrestling to such a degree he prevented wrestling events from being held at the third Madison Square Garden in New York City between 1939 and 1948), he started promoting boxing at the Garden. The first match during their partnership was a light-heavyweight championship match between Jack Delaney and Paul Berlenbach.

A few years earlier, around 1920, professional wrestler Joseph Raymond "Toots" Mondt had created a new challenge of professional wrestling that he called Slam Bang Western Style Wrestling to make the entertainment more appealing to spectators. At the time, pro wrestling consisted primarily of mat grappling; and while the sport had flourished a decade earlier under Frank Gotch, the fans had since grown tired of the painfully deliberate pace of the bouts. However, Mondt discovered a solution that would completely transform the industry, as he convinced Lewis and Sandow to implement a new form of wrestling that combined features of boxing, Greco-Roman, freestyle, lumber-camp fighting, and theater into what he deemed “Slam Bang Western-Style Wrestling.” He then formed a promotion with wrestler Ed Lewis and his manager Billy Sandow. They persuaded many wrestlers to sign contracts with their Gold Dust Trio. After much success, a disagreement over power caused the trio to dissolve and, with it, their promotion. Mondt formed partnerships with several other promoters, including Jack Curley in New York City. When Curley was dying, Mondt moved to take over New York wrestling with the aid of several bookers, one of whom was Roderick "Jess" McMahon.

Together, McMahon and Mondt created the Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd (CWC). The CWC joined the National Wrestling Alliance in 1953. In November 1954, Jess McMahon died, and Ray Fabiani, one of Mondt's associates, brought in Vincent James McMahon to replace his father in the promotion.[11] McMahon and Mondt were a successful combination, and within a short time, they controlled approximately 70% of the NWA's booking, largely due to their dominance in the heavily populated Northeast region. Mondt taught McMahon about booking and how to work in the wrestling business. Due to the dominance in the northeast, the CWC was referred to by AWA legend Nick Bockwinkel as the "Northeast Triangle", with its territory being defined by Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Maine as points of the triangle.[12]

World Wide Wrestling Federation

The NWA recognized an undisputed NWA World Heavyweight Champion that went to several different wrestling companies in the alliance and defended the belt around the world. The NWA generally promoted strong shooters as champions, to give their worked sport credibility and guard against double-crosses. While doing strong business in the Midwest (the Alliance's core region), these wrestlers attracted little interest in the Capitol territory. In 1961, the NWA board decided instead to put the belt on bleach blonde showman "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, a much more effective drawing card in the region.[13] The rest of the NWA was unhappy with Mondt because he rarely allowed Rogers to wrestle outside of the Northeast. Mondt and McMahon wanted Rogers to keep the NWA World Championship, but Rogers was unwilling to sacrifice his $25,000 deposit on the belt (title holders at the time had to pay a deposit to insure they honored their commitments as champion). Rogers lost the NWA World Championship to Lou Thesz in a one-fall match in Toronto, Ontario on January 24, 1963, which led to Mondt, McMahon, and the CWC leaving the NWA in protest, creating the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) in the process.

The official WWWF logo from 1963-1979

In April, Rogers was awarded the new WWWF World Championship following an apocryphal tournament in Rio de Janeiro. He lost the title to Bruno Sammartino a month later on May 17, 1963, after suffering a heart attack shortly before the match. To accommodate Rogers' condition, the match was booked to last under a minute.

Two years later, NWA president Sam Muchnick and McMahon discussed a unification match between Thesz and Sammartino, with both parties agreeing to Sammartino winning the unified title. The match plans fell apart when Sammartino refused to take on the enlarged schedule and Thesz demanded a high guarantee for doing the job.[13]

The WWWF operated in a very conservative matter compared to other pro wrestling territories; it ran its major arenas monthly rather than weekly or bi-weekly, usually featuring a babyface champion wrestling various heels in programs consisting of one to three matches, with the initial meeting often featuring a heel win in a non-decisive manner.[14] Although business was initially rather strong, crowds in Madison Square Garden fell off due to a lack of television exposure. After gaining a television program on a Spanish language station, and turning preliminary wrestler Lou Albano as a manager for Sammartino's heel opponents, the WWWF was doing sellout business by 1970. Albano was soon joined by fellow managers Ernie Roth and Fred Blassie, forming the "Triumverate of Terror," managing heel opponents for Sammartino and later champions Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund.[15] Heels such as Ivan Koloff and Stan Stasiak were used to transition the title from one babyface to another; Superstar Billy Graham enjoyed a nine and a half month reign as a heel champion, as McMahon felt he would need this much time to build up Bob Backlund as championship material.[16]

Mondt left the company in the late sixties. Although the WWWF had withdrawn from the NWA, Vince McMahon, Sr. quietly rejoined the organization in 1971, although he did not book an NWA world champion in his territory until Harley Race in the late 1970s. At the annual meeting of the NWA in 1983, the McMahons and WWF employee Jim Barnett all withdrew from the organization.[13]

In March 1979, for marketing purposes, the World Wide Wrestling Federation was renamed the "World Wrestling Federation" (WWF).[17]

World Wrestling Federation

Vince McMahon, founder of Titan Sports, Inc. and current majority owner of WWE.

On February 21, 1980, the son of Vincent J. McMahon, Vincent K. McMahon, founded Titan Sports, Inc.[18] and on June 6, 1982, purchased Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. from his father and other stock holders (Arnold Skaaland, Gorilla Monsoon, and Phil Zacko).[17] The elder McMahon had long since established the northeastern territory as one of the most vibrant members of the NWA. He had long since recognized that professional wrestling was more about entertainment than actual sport. Against his father's wishes, McMahon began an expansion process that fundamentally changed the industry.

The original logo for the company.

The WWF was not the only promotion to have broken ranks with the NWA; the American Wrestling Association (AWA) had long ago ceased being an official NWA member (although like the WWF, they seldom left their own territory). However, neither of the defecting members attempted to undermine the territory system that had been the foundation of the industry for more than half a century.

Other promoters were furious when McMahon began syndicating WWF television shows to television stations across the United States, in areas outside of the WWF's traditional northeastern stronghold. McMahon also began selling videotapes of WWF events outside the Northeast through his Coliseum Video distribution company. He effectively broke the unwritten law of regionalism around which the entire industry had been based. To make matters worse, McMahon used the income generated by advertising, television deals, and tape sales to poach talent from rival promoters. Wrestling promoters nationwide were now in direct competition with the WWF.

Hulk Hogan, due to his appearance in Rocky III, had a national recognition that few other wrestlers could offer, which is what led McMahon to sign him. Roddy Piper was brought in, as well as Jesse Ventura (although Ventura rarely wrestled in the WWF at that point due to the lung disorder that caused his retirement, moving to the commentator booth alongside Gorilla Monsoon). André the Giant, Jimmy Snuka, Don Muraco, Paul Orndorff, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, and the Iron Sheik (Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) rounded out the roster. Hogan was clearly McMahon's biggest star, causing some people to debate whether the WWF could have achieved national success without him.

The WWF would tour nationally in a venture that required huge capital investment; one that placed the WWF on the verge of financial collapse. The future of not just McMahon's experiment, but also the WWF, the NWA, and the whole industry came down to the success or failure of McMahon's groundbreaking concept, WrestleMania. WrestleMania was a pay-per-view extravaganza (in some areas; most areas of the country saw WrestleMania available on closed-circuit television) that McMahon marketed as being the Super Bowl of professional wrestling. The concept of a wrestling supercard was nothing new in North America; the NWA had been running Starrcade a few years prior to WrestleMania, and even the elder McMahon had marketed large Shea Stadium cards viewable in closed-circuit locations. However, McMahon's vision was to make the WWF and the industry itself mainstream, targeting more of the general television audience by exploiting the entertainment side of the industry. With the inaugural WrestleMania the WWF initiated a joint-promotional campaign with MTV, which featured a great deal of WWF coverage and programming, in what was termed the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection. The mainstream media attention brought on by celebrities including Muhammad Ali, Mr. T, and Cyndi Lauper at the event helped propel WrestleMania to become a staple in popular culture.

The original WrestleMania, held in 1985, was a resounding success. This event is sometimes credited as the debut of what McMahon called "sports entertainment", in contrast to his father's preference of pure wrestling. The WWF did incredible business on the shoulders of McMahon and his all-American babyface hero, Hulk Hogan, for the next several years, creating what some observers dubbed a second golden age for professional wrestling. The introduction of Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC in mid-1985 marked the first time that professional wrestling had been broadcast on network television since the 1950s. In 1987, the WWF produced what was considered to be the pinnacle of the 1980s wrestling boom, WrestleMania III. A rematch of the Wrestlemania III feature bout, once again pitting Champion Hulk Hogan against Andre the Giant on Main Event, was seen by 33 million people, which is still the record for the most watched wrestling match in North America.[19]

New Generation

The logo used from 1994 to 1998, during the "New Generation" era.

The WWF hit a low point in the wake of allegations of steroid abuse and distribution made against it in 1994; there were also allegations of sexual harassment made by WWF employees. McMahon was eventually exonerated, but it was a public relations nightmare for the WWF. The steroid trial cost the WWF an estimated $5 million at a time when revenues were at an all-time low. To compensate, McMahon cut the pay of both wrestlers and front office personnel – close to 40% in the latter case (and about 50% for top level managers such as Bobby Heenan and Jimmy Hart, who both left). This helped drive many WWF wrestlers to its only major competition, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), between 1994 and 1997. During this period, the WWF promoted itself under the banner of "The New WWF Generation," featuring Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, and The Undertaker. In an effort to promote them and other young talent as the new superstars of the ring, the WWF began to play on the age restrictions which former WWF wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage (who by now were working for WCW) now faced. This is best seen in the "Billionaire Ted" parodies of early 1996 (a reference to WCW's owner and patron, media mogul Ted Turner) which culminated in a "rasslin'" match during the warm-up to WrestleMania XII.

Monday Night Wars

In 1993, the WWF broke new ground in televised professional wrestling with the debut of its cable program WWF Monday Night Raw. After becoming a runaway success, WCW countered in 1995 with its own Monday night cable program, WCW Monday Nitro, in the same time slot as Raw.[20] The two programs would trade wins in the ensuing ratings competition until mid-1996, when WCW began a nearly two year domination that was largely fueled by the introduction of the New World Order, a stable led by former WWF performers Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash.

The Attitude Era

The updated logo used to represent the "Attitude" era. In May 2002, usage of this trademark, also known as the "scratch" logo, became prohibited.

The feuds and match types developed by the end of the mid 1990s began a new era in wrestling. The fans of WWF seemed to favor what was posed to them as the bad guy instead of the good guy. The creative changes made by the WWF creative board saw wrestling take on a "street fighting", "bad attitude" approach; however, despite the revolutionary changes in sports-entertainment that the WWF founded, 1997 remains the lowest of the WWF's financial income and a heavy loss in fan interest to rival WCW. Through to present day many wrestlers acknowledge that at the time, they were not aware of how close the company came to liquidation. Throughout 1996 and 1997, the WWF lost much of its leading talent to WCW, including Razor Ramon (Scott Hall), Diesel (Kevin Nash), Psycho Sid (Sid Eudy), Alundra Blayze (Debra Miceli), and Rick Rude (Richard Rood). The WWF replaced them with former WCW talent such as Vader (Leon White), Stone Cold Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, Mankind (Mick Foley), and Farooq (Ron Simmons). Eric Bischoff's public humiliation of the WWF, criticizing them for signing WCW's sacked wrestlers and bragging that WWF wrestlers were signing for WCW due to higher pay, intensified the Monday Night Wars only for Nitro as the WWF struggled to regain its popularity.

McMahon managed to keep Bret Hart from reverting to WCW, and began a feud with Hart and Steve Austin. In Hart's absence after WrestleMania XII, Steve Austin became the new face of the company, starting with his Austin 3:16 speech, shortly after defeating Jake Roberts in the tournament finals at the 1996 King of the Ring pay-per-view.[21] WrestleMania 13 saw Hart defeat Austin in a critically acclaimed submission match, and shortly after saw Hart reform The Hart Foundation. McMahon revolved the company around Hart, Austin and Shawn Michaels, feuding with each other for the majority of the year, leaving many to admire their impact carrying the business through a difficult time. Despite his strong long running image as a face, the Canadian Hart was turned heel in an anti-USA gimmick, while Steve Austin became cheered by fans despite efforts to design him as the ultimate heel, making him a tweener. Rocky Maivia joined the Nation of Domination stable after fans rejected his good guy image, and Shawn Michaels formed the street gang faction D-Generation X with Triple H and Chyna; similar to the Stone Cold Steve Austin character, DX was designed not to care for what the fans or other wrestlers thought of them. Michaels later stated that the concept of DX was brought about after he persuaded McMahon to take a cruder approach to the companies marketing approach following him fining Michael's $10,000 for putting large ornaments in his shorts and exploiting his crotch around the ring during an on-air interview. The Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker produced a fresh strong foundation for the WWF's creative board.

1997 ended with McMahon facing real life controversy resulting in major ratings and financial losses after becoming widely despised by his employees, wrestling critics, and wrestling fans following Bret Hart's controversial departure from the WWF, later known as the Montreal Screwjob. This proved to be a founding factor in what was to officially kick start The Attitude Era.

By January 1998, the WWF began broadcasting more violence, swearing, and more edgy angles in its attempt to compete with WCW. Following Bret Hart's departure,[22] Vince McMahon used the resulting backlash in the creation of his "Mr. McMahon" character, a dictatorial and fierce ruler who favored heels who were "good for business" over "misfit" faces like Austin. This, in turn, led to the Austin vs. McMahon feud, which, along with D-Generation X who briefly hired Mike Tyson in the build up to WrestleMania XIV, officially began the Attitude Era. It also featured the established Monday Night Wars, where both WCW and the WWF had Monday night shows that competed against each other in the ratings, and saw the WWF finally beat WCW for the first time in 84 weeks when McMahon made his in-ring debut against Austin. The evolution of more brutal matches with different stipulations to increase viewership worked to a major extent, mainly through the furthering of Hell in a Cell (notably its second appearance featuring The Undertaker vs. Mankind) and the Inferno match (introduced by Kane against The Undertaker).[23] Many wrestlers such as Chris Jericho and The Radicalz (Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko) were drafted from WCW, all publicly claiming on both companies' TV broadcasts that they were extremely unhappy at the storylines and backstage chaos at WCW, and were further intrigued and happier with the structural running of the WWF. The 1996 Olympic gold medalist, Kurt Angle, The Rock (renamed from Rocky Maivia), and Mick Foley (as Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love) were successfully re-invented to compete at the main event level. Notably, Mick Foley's WWF Championship win over The Rock on Monday Night Raw saw WCW lose millions of viewers when Eric Bischoff instructed announcer Tony Schiavone to give away the result minutes before both main events started, which led to Raw drawing eleven million viewers.

Business advances

On the back of the success of the Attitude Era, several new advances and products were launched. During this period, the WWF's parent company Titan Sports was renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. and on October 19, 1999 became a publicly traded company, offering 10 million shares priced at $17 each.[24] WWF Entertainment announced its desire to diversify, including creating a nightclub in Times Square, producing feature films, and book publishing.


On April 29, 1999, the WWF made its return to terrestrial television by launching a special program known as SmackDown! on the fledgling UPN network. The Thursday night show became a weekly series on August 26, 1999. The show led to further TV ratings competition with WCW, up against WCW Thunder.


In 2000 the WWF, in collaboration with television network NBC, announced the creation of the XFL, a new professional football league that debuted in 2001.[25] 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.[26]

Acquisition of WCW and ECW

By the fall of 1999, The Attitude Era had turned the tide of the Monday Night Wars into WWF's favor for good. After Time Warner merged with AOL, Ted Turner's control over WCW was considerably reduced, and the newly merged company announced a complete lack of interest in professional wrestling as a whole, and decided to sell WCW in its entirety. Although Eric Bischoff was nearing a deal to purchase the company complete, in March 2001, WWF Entertainment, Inc. acquired WCW from AOL Time Warner for a number reported to be around $7 million.[27] Shortly after WrestleMania X-Seven, the WWF launched the Invasion storyline integrating the incoming talent roster from WCW and ECW. With this purchase, WWF now became the largest wrestling promotion in the world, and the only one in North America with mainstream exposure. The assets of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), which had folded after filing for bankruptcy protection in April 2001, were purchased by WWE in mid-2003.[28]

World Wrestling Entertainment

Brand extension

In March 2002, roughly two months before the name change, WWE decided to create two separate rosters, Raw and SmackDown! due to the overabundance of talent left over from the Invasion storyline. This is known as the WWE Brand Extension. Despite much of the originally drafted talent departing by 2004, WWE has continued to separate the shows, taking on younger talent, and holds a Draft Lottery every year. On May 26, 2006, WWE announced the relaunch of Extreme Championship Wrestling as a WWE brand. The new ECW program aired internationally and on Tuesday nights on Syfy in the United States until February 16, 2010.[29]

The "Get the F Out" marketing campaign

Name dispute

In 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature (also trademarked WWF), an environmental organization, sued World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc.[30] The Law Lords agreed that the promotion company had violated a 1994 agreement as Titan Sports which had limited the permissible use of the WWF trademark in Europe, particularly in merchandising. The World Wide Fund and World Wrestling Federation used the initials since March 1979.[31] The last televised event to market the WWF logo was UK based pay-per-view Insurrextion 2002. On May 5, 2002, the company launched its "Get The F Out" marketing campaign and changed all references on its website from "WWF" to "WWE", while switching the URL from WWF.com to WWE.com.[32] The next day, a press release announced the official name change from World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., or WWE, and the change was publicized later that day during a telecast of Monday Night Raw, which was broadcast from the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut.

Following the case, the use of the "Attitude" logo became prohibited on all World Wrestling Federation properties. Additionally, past references to the WWF trademark and initials in 'specified circumstances' became censored.[33] Despite litigation, WWE is still permitted use of the original WWF logo, which was used from 1979 through 1994, as well as the "New WWF Generation" logo, which was used from 1994 through 1998. Furthermore, the company may 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 the WWF Video Library censoring out all WWF references, other than the permitted logos.

Network changes and high-definition

In late 2005, WWE Raw returned after a five year stint on TNN (now Spike) to its original home USA Network. In 2006, due to contracts with NBC Universal, parent company of USA Network, WWE revived its classic Saturday night show Saturday Night's Main Event (SNME) on NBC after a thirteen-year hiatus. WWE had the chance to promote the company on a major national network rather than the lower profile CW or cable channels like USA Network. SNME airs occasionally on NBC as a WWE special series. On September 26, 2007, it was announced that WWE would be expanding its international operations. Alongside the current international offices in London and Toronto, a new international office would be established in Sydney.[34]

On January 21, 2008, WWE made the transition to high-definition (HD). All TV shows and pay-per-views after this were broadcast in HD. In addition, WWE also introduced a new HD set that is used for all three brands and a different set is used for each of the pay-per-views.[35]

WWE Universe and change in programming

On November 19, 2008, WWE launched their online social network, WWE Universe. It initially appeared in April as WWE Fan Nation. Similar to MySpace, it offered blogs, forums, and other features for WWE fans.[36] The social network ceased operations on January 1, 2011.[37] The company subsequently launched a WWE page on Facebook, which, as of October 7, 2011, had more than 39 million fans worldwide.[38]

It was announced on December 19, 2008 that WWE and WGN America had come to an agreement to create a new weekly, one-hour prime time series entitled WWE Superstars. On April 16, 2009 the show made its debut airing. The show featured talent from all WWE brands. On February 2, 2010, it was announced that a new program called WWE NXT would premiere on Syfy on February 23, 2010, over the ECW timeslot. Later that year NXT was removed from the Syfy lineup and was replaced with WWE SmackDown which had been airing on MyNetworkTV since October 2008. NXT continues to air on WWE.com.[39]

In 2008, WWE initiated a change in its programming content. The United States parental guidelines rating system now rates all WWE television programs "PG" indicating family-friendly content in the programming.[40][41] Vince McMahon noted that the change to more family-friendly content is due to the changing demographics in WWE viewership.[42] As of 2010, women and young children make up 40% of the company's audience.

As of mid-2011, WWE has started to veer slightly away from their family-friendly style of programming due to the return of such wrestlers as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. This has resulted in an increase in viewership from older audiences, as well as the WWE permitting some mild profanity and more adult-oriented storylines (for example, Aksana's encounters with Teddy Long are laden with sexual puns and innuendo). Mild blood is being allowed to be shown again on television, although it is always legitimate; wrestlers are not allowed to cut themselves.

Change of business model

On April 7, 2011, WWE Corporate announced that the company would be rebranded from "World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc." to simply "WWE, Inc." This orphan initialism occurred to reflect WWE's global entertainment expansion away from the ring with the ultimate goal of acquiring entertainment companies and putting a focus on television, live events, and film production. WWE quoted that their new company model was put into effect with the relaunch of WWE Tough Enough, being a non–scripted program (contrary to the scripted nature of professional wrestling) and with the expected launch of a WWE television network in 2012.[10]

Wellness Program

Following the death of Chris Benoit, Congress began a federal investigation into steroid use in the wrestling industry.

The Talent Wellness Program is a comprehensive drug, alcohol, and cardiac screening program initiated in February 2006, shortly after the sudden death of one of their highest profile talents, thirty-eight year old Eddie Guerrero.[43] The policy tests for recreational drug use and abuse of prescription medication, including anabolic steroids.[43] 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.[43]

After the double murder and suicide committed by one of its performers, Chris Benoit, with a possible link to steroid abuse given by WWE, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requested that WWE turn over any material regarding its talent wellness policy.[44]

In August 2007, the program was defended[clarification needed] by WWE and its employees in the wake of several illegal pharmacy busts that linked WWE performers to steroid purchases even after the policy was put into place. Ten professional wrestlers were suspended for violating the Wellness Policy after reports emerged they were all customers of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida. According to a statement attributed to WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt, an eleventh wrestler was later added to the suspension list.[45][46][47]

On the other hand, because of the Wellness Policy, physicians were able to diagnose one of its performers with a heart ailment that otherwise would have likely gone unnoticed until it was too late. In August 2007, then-reigning United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter (real name Hassan Assad) was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome,[48] which if gone undiagnosed can be potentially fatal. The ailment was discovered while MVP was going through a routine Wellness Policy checkup.

On September 13, 2010, WWE updated their list of banned substances to include muscle relaxers.[49]

Expansion beyond wrestling

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

Active properties

  • WWE Studios: A subsidiary of WWE created in 2002 to create and develop feature film properties. Formerly known as WWE Films.
  • WWE Music Group: A subsidiary that specializes in compilation albums of WWE wrestlers' entrance themes. The group also releases titles that have been performed by WWE wrestlers.
  • WWE Home Video: A subsidiary that specializes in distributing compilation VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc copies of WWE pay-per-view events, compilations of WWE wrestlers' performances, and biographies of WWE performers.
  • WWE Books: A subsidiary of WWE that serves to publish autobiographies of and fiction based on WWE personalities, behind-the-scenes guides to WWE, illustrated books, calendars, young adult books, and other general "Nonfiction" books.
  • WWE Kids: A website and comic set aimed at the children's end of the wrestling market, comics are produced bi-monthly. It was launched on April 15, 2008.

Defunct properties

  • World Bodybuilding Federation; A subsidiary of Titan Sports launched in 1990 which promoted professional bodybuilding through a television show, magazine, and annual pay-per-view events. Closed in 1992.
  • XFL: Folded in 2001, a partially-owned subsidiary of WWFE launched in 2000 which comprised eight league-owned professional football teams. The league included television broadcasts on NBC (the other co-owners of the league), UPN and TNN.
  • The World, formerly known as WWF New York: A restaurant, night club, and memorabilia shop in New York City launched in 1999. Closed in 2003. Hard Rock Cafe took the building itself since 2005.
  • WWE Niagara Falls: A retail and entertainment establishment that was located in Niagara Falls, Ontario and owned by WWE. It was open from August 2002 through March 2011.

Corporate governance

Executive officers

WWE headquarters, Stamford, Connecticut

Board of directors

  • Vince McMahon (Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer)[50][58]
  • Basil DeVito (Senior Advisor, Business Strategy)[59]
  • David Kenin (Executive Vice President of Programming, Hallmark Channel)[58]
  • Frank Riddick III (Consultant, TowerBrook Capital Partners)[59]
  • Jeffrey Speed (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Six Flags, Inc.)[59]
  • Joseph Perkins (President, Communications Consultants, Inc.)[58]
  • Kevin Dunn (Executive Vice President, Television Production) [59]
  • Patricia A. Gottesman (President and Chief Executive Officer, Crimson Hexagon) [58]
  • Stuart Goldfarb (President and Chief Executive Officer, Atrinsic, Inc.)[60]

Championships and accomplishments

Current champions

Championship Current champion(s) Date won Event Previous champion(s)
WWE Championship CM Punk November 20, 2011 Survivor Series Alberto Del Rio
United States Championship Dolph Ziggler June 19, 2011 Capitol Punishment Kofi Kingston
World Heavyweight Championship Mark Henry September 18, 2011 Night of Champions Randy Orton
Intercontinental Championship Cody Rhodes August 9, 2011 SmackDown Ezekiel Jackson
Tag Team Championship Air Boom
(Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston)
August 22, 2011 Raw David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty
Divas Championship Beth Phoenix October 2, 2011 Hell in a Cell Kelly Kelly

Other accomplishments

Accomplishment Latest winner Date won
Royal Rumble Alberto Del Rio January 30, 2011
Raw Money in the Bank Alberto Del Rio July 17, 2011
SmackDown Money in the Bank Daniel Bryan July 17, 2011
WWE Tough Enough Andy Leavine June 6, 2011
WWE NXT Johnny Curtis March 1, 2011
King of the Ring Sheamus November 29, 2010

Developmental territory champions

Championship Current champion(s) Date won Previous champion(s)
Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW)
Florida Heavyweight Championship Leo Kruger September 1, 2011[61] Bo Rotundo
Florida Tag Team Championship Brad Maddox & Briley Pierce November 3, 2011 CJ Parker and Donnie Marlow
FCW Divas Championship Audrey Marie September 1, 2011[61] Aksana
Queen of FCW Raquel Diaz November 17, 2011
FCW 15 Championship Damien Sandow September 22, 2011[62] Seth Rollins

Defunct championships

In its 50 year history, WWE has operated over twenty different championships. The company's first title, the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship was created in 1958 and retired in 1967. Throughout its history, the WWE has formed partnerships with other international promotions which led to the creation of various titles, however, when those partnerships ended, these titles were either retired or began operation in the United States for WWE. Overall, the company has retired 19 championships with the most recent being the WWE Women's Championship. Created in 1956 and retired in September 2010, the consolidation of the WWE Unified Divas Championship into the WWE's 2008 WWE Divas Championship retired the older title and continued the lineage of the latter.

See also


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