World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., d/b/a WWE, is an American integrated media and entertainment company that is primarily known for professional wrestling. WWE has also branched out into other fields, including movies, real estate, and various other business ventures.
The WWE name also refers to the professional wrestling promotion itself, founded by Jess McMahon and Toots Mondt in 1952 as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation. As of 2019, it is the largest wrestling promotion in the world, holding over 500 events a year, with the roster divided up into various globally traveling brands, and is available to about 36 million viewers in more than 150 countries. The company's global headquarters is located in Stamford, Connecticut, with offices in major cities across the world.
As in other professional wrestling promotions, WWE shows are not legitimate contests, but purely entertainment-based, featuring storyline-driven, scripted, and choreographed matches, though matches often include moves that can put performers at risk of injury if not performed correctly. This was first publicly acknowledged by WWE's owner Vince McMahon in 1989 to avoid taxes from athletic commissions. Since the 1980s, WWE publicly has branded their product as sports entertainment, acknowledging the product's roots in competitive sport and dramatic theater.
The company's majority owner is its chairman and CEO, Vince McMahon, who retains a 42% ownership of the company's outstanding stock and 83% of the voting power.
The current entity, incorporated on February 21, 1980, was previously known as Titan Sports, Inc., which was founded that same year in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. It acquired Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd., the holding company for the World Wrestling Federation, in 1982. Titan was renamed World Wrestling Federation, Inc. in 1998, then World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. in 1999, and finally the current World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. in 2002. Since 2011, the company has officially branded itself solely as WWE though the company's legal name was not changed.
|World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.|
WWE logo since August 2014
WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, in 2012
|Titan Sports, Inc.|
World Wrestling Federation, Inc.
World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc.
|Predecessor||Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd.|
|Revenue||US$729.2 million (2016)|
|US$55.6 million (2016)|
|US$33.8 million (2016)|
|Total assets||US$600.9 million (2016)|
|Total equity||US$239.7 million (2016)|
|Owner||Vince McMahon (42%)|
Number of employees
|approximately 800 (2016)|
WWE's origins can be traced back as far as 1952 when Roderick James "Jess" McMahon and Toots Mondt created the Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. (CWC), which joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in 1953. McMahon, who was a successful boxing promoter, began working with Tex Rickard in 1926. With the help of Rickard, he began promoting boxing and wrestling at the third Madison Square Garden. It was not the first time McMahon had promoted wrestling cards, as he had already done so during the 1910s.
In November 1954, McMahon died and Ray Fabiani, one of Mondt's associates, brought in McMahon's son Vincent James. The younger McMahon and 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. 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. Both men left the company in protest and formed the WWWF in the process, awarding Rogers the newly created WWWF World Heavyweight Championship in April of that year. He lost the championship to Bruno Sammartino a month later on May 17, 1963, after suffering a heart attack a week before the match.
Capitol operated the WWWF in a conservative manner compared to other pro wrestling territories: it ran its major arenas monthly rather than weekly or bi-weekly, usually featuring a babyface (heroic character) champion wrestling various heels (villainous character) in programs that consisted of one to three matches. After gaining a television program deal and hiring Lou Albano as a manager for Sammartino's heel opponents, the WWWF was doing sellout business by 1970.
Mondt left Capitol in the late 1960s and although the WWWF had withdrawn from the NWA, Vince McMahon, Sr. quietly re-joined in 1971. Capitol renamed the World Wide Wrestling Federation to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979.
Vincent J. McMahon's son, Vincent K. McMahon, and his wife Linda, established Titan Sports, Inc., in 1980 in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. The company was incorporated on February 21, 1980, in the Cape Cod Coliseum offices. The younger McMahon bought Capitol from his father in 1982, effectively seizing control of the company. 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.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, McMahon noted:
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 (AWA) talent Hulk Hogan, who had achieved popularity outside of wrestling, notably for his appearance in the film Rocky III. McMahon signed Roddy Piper as Hogan's rival, and then shortly afterward Jesse Ventura as an announcer. Other wrestlers joined the roster, such as Jimmy Snuka, Don Muraco, The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Junkyard Dog, Paul Orndorff, Greg Valentine, and 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 was a major success, and was (and still is) marketed as the Super Bowl of professional wrestling. The concept of a wrestling supercard was nothing new in North America; the NWA had begun running Starrcade 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, Muhammad Ali, and Cyndi Lauper to participate in the event, as well as securing a deal with MTV to provide coverage. The event and hype surrounding it led to the term Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection, due to the cross-promotion of popular culture 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 on NBC 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 broadcast matches of Vince McMahon Sr.'s Capitol Wrestling Corporation. The 1980s "Wrestling Boom" peaked with the WrestleMania III 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. A rematch of the WrestleMania III main event between WWF champion Hulk Hogan and André the Giant took place on The Main Event in 1988 and was seen by 33 million people, the most-watched wrestling match in North American television history.
In 1985, Titan moved its offices to Stamford, Connecticut, though the current building was built in 1981. Subsequently, a new Titan Sports, Inc. (originally WWF, Inc.) was established in Delaware in 1987 and was consolidated with the Massachusetts entity in February 1988.
The WWF was hit with allegations of steroid abuse and distribution in 1992. This was followed by allegations of sexual harassment by WWF employees the following year. McMahon was eventually exonerated, but the allegations brought bad public relations 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 (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, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, and 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. WCW countered in September 1995 with its own Monday night program, Monday Nitro, which aired in the same time slot as Raw. The two programs would trade wins in the ensuing ratings competition (known as the "Monday Night Wars") 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 Order (nWo), a stable led by former WWF performers Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall (the former Razor Ramon), and Kevin Nash (the former Diesel).
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 era was spearheaded by WWF VP Shane McMahon (son of owner Vince McMahon) and head writer Vince Russo.
1997 ended with McMahon facing real-life controversy following Bret Hart's controversial departure from the company, dubbed as the Montreal Screwjob. 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".
Prior to 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, Mankind, and Vader. Austin was slowly brought in as the new face of the company despite being promoted as an antihero, starting with his "Austin 3:16" speech shortly after defeating Jake Roberts in the tournament finals at the King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1996.
On May 6, 1998, Titan Sports, Inc. was renamed World Wrestling Federation, Inc. It was renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. a year later.
On April 29, 1999, the WWF made its return to terrestrial television, airing a special program known as SmackDown! on the fledgling UPN network. The Thursday night show became a weekly series on August 26, 1999—competing directly with WCW's Thursday night program Thunder on TBS. 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. 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.
On October 19, 1999, World Wrestling Federation, Inc. launched an initial public offering as a publicly traded company, trading on the 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.
By the fall of 1999, the Attitude Era had turned the tide of the Monday Night Wars into WWF's favor. 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, 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, the WWF launched the Invasion storyline, integrating the incoming talent roster from WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). With this purchase, WWF now became by far the largest wrestling promotion in the world. The assets of ECW, which had folded after filing for bankruptcy protection in April 2001, were purchased by WWE in mid-2003.
On May 5, 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). 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.
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 (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.
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".
Beginning in 2002 a draft lottery 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. On May 26, 2006, WWE announced the relaunch of ECW as a third WWE brand. The new ECW program aired until February 16, 2010. All ECW wrestlers at that point became free agents that could sign either Raw or SmackDown.
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 in east Orange County, Florida in partnership with Full Sail University from Winter Park, Florida. 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 over the years has grown and expanded from a small developmental territory into a globally touring brand in its own right.
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 own unique rosters, announcers, ring sets/ropes, and championships. A 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 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 own brand (though select cruiserweights still also appear on Raw, as well as working on the NXT and SmackDown brands).
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 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 TV show. The UK based brand - officially known as NXT UK - also has its own Women's Championship, and Tag Team Championship.
WWE currently has over 140 wrestlers (both male and female) under various forms of contract, and stages over 500 events a year around the world.
WWE uses a variety of special terms in promoting their product, such as describing the wrestling industry as sports entertainment. 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).
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 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, 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 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, 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, 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 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 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 and 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.
On October 19, 1999, WWF, which had been owned previously by parent company Titan Sports, launched an initial public offering as a publicly traded company, trading on the 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 2018, the company's Board of Directors has nine members: Vince McMahon, the company's Chairman of the Board and CEO; Stuart U. Goldfarb, President of Fullbridge, Inc.; Patricia A. Gottesman, former President and CEO of Crimson Hexagon; 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 and Head of Product, Mashable; Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer of WWE; and Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE's Executive Vice President of talent, live events, and creative.
WWE signs most of their 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 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".
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, 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, shortly after the sudden death of one of their highest profile talents, 38-year-old Eddie Guerrero. 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 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 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.
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 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.
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 was 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, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA, now Impact Wrestling) sued former employee Brian Wittenstein and WWE. 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 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.
On May 23, 1999, Owen Hart fell to his death in Kansas City, Missouri during the 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 WWF Home Video. In 2014, fifteen years after his death, the WWE Network 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.
In April 2000, USA Networks had filed a lawsuit against World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. in an bid to keep Raw is War and all WWF programming after the WWFE opened up a bidding a month prior. 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 WWFE. The next day, Viacom won the rights to all WWF programming for $12.6 million including Raw is War on TNN/Spike TV, a revamped Sunday Night Heat on MTV and retained SmackDown! on 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 WWFE 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.
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 furthermore 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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" 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 violation of the rights to original music used by ECW that WWE had been using during the Invasion storyline of 2001. The case was resolved on both sides with a settlement that saw WWE purchase the catalogue outright in January 2005.
In 1993, Jim Hellwig, known in the WWF as "The Ultimate Warrior", legally changed his name to the 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 own 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.
During Warrior's falling out with WWE, Warrior made comments that WWE has decided to not acknowledge. In 2005, Warrior went on a rant calling now former WWE announcer Todd Grisham a "queer". Warrior referred to Droz, a former WWF wrestler who fractured two discs in his neck and is quadriplegic, as a "cripple". He made comments about the victims of Hurricane Katrina referring to them as "poor, mostly black New Orleanians without cars." He condemned Martin Luther King Jr. Day, made disparaging remarks towards gays and lesbians, criticized Heath Ledger's parenting style after Ledger's death, and expressed rejoicing when Bobby Heenan was diagnosed with cancer.
Warrior returned to WWE to be inducted into the 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 several 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 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."
Longtime WWE employee and former WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield has been accused numerous times of bullying and hazing his coworkers, with some claiming that WWE turned a blind eye towards Layfield's behavior. In 2017, Sports Illustrated stated that Layfield "has been accused for years of being a locker room bully", while Deadspin wrote that "backstage tales of Layfield's hazing and bullying have long been legend among hardcore wrestling fans." Dayton Daily News described that "YouTube has dozens of interviews where former [WWE] performers discuss harassment, bullying and taking real blows from Layfield while wrestling him in supposedly choreographed matches." Le Journal de Montréal listed Mark Henry, Matt Hardy, René Duprée, Daivari, and Ivory, among others, as wrestlers who in interviews described Layfield as a bully. In 2010, The Miz referenced Layfield in an onscreen promo about hazing he faced in the locker room early in his career. Layfield admitted to hazing Miz and said that he did not regret doing so. It was later revealed that JBL's name was substituted in The Miz's promo for Chris Benoit, whose name has been barred from being mentioned in new content after Benoit's actions that led to his death, and that of his wife and son.
In April 2017, WWE commentator Mauro Ranallo took an absence from WWE, which Dave Meltzer reported had been triggered by hostilities with Layfield. The allegations coincided with the release of former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts' autobiography, in which he alleged that Layfield encouraged Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury to steal his passport. Angered WWE fans subsequently called on WWE to fire Layfield. On April 22, Newsweek reported that Ranallo and WWE "mutually agreed to part ways", and Ranallo released a statement in which he said his departure had "nothing to do with JBL". Layfield released a statement of his own, stating: "Admittedly, I took part in locker room pranks that existed within the industry years ago. WWE addressed my behavior and I responded accordingly, yet my past is being brought up because of recent unfounded rumors. I apologize if anything I said playing ‘the bad guy’ on a TV show was misconstrued." Ranallo has since decided to renew his WWE contract, and is now the voice of NXT.
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 misconduct, a WWE talent shall be immediately suspended and its contract terminated.
In addition to licensing wrestling and performers' likenesses to companies such as Acclaim, THQ, 2K Sports, and Mattel to produce video games and action figures, WWE has branched out into other areas of interest in order to market their product.
In March 2015, WWE announced a partnership with Authentic Brands Group to relaunch Tapout, formerly a major 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 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.
In 1997, WWE established a real estate brokerage and investment firm called TSI Realty Company.
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 (UWF), Universal Lucha Libre (FULL), and the Mexican Universal Wrestling Association (UWA). These working relationships led to the creations of the WWF World Martial Arts, Light Heavyweight and 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, and the United States Wrestling Association (USWA).
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 1997 Light Heavyweight Championship tournament.
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 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.
Throughout the company's history, WWE has had past arrangements with independent companies from the contiguous United States (such as Ohio Valley Wrestling among others) and Puerto Rico (such as the International Wrestling Association) with the companies serving as developmental territories.
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes|
|WWE Universal Championship||Brock Lesnar||2||November 2, 2018||137||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia||Defeated Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel to win the vacant title|
|WWE Intercontinental Championship||Bobby Lashley||2||March 11, 2019||8||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Defeated Finn Bálor on Raw|
|WWE Raw Women's Championship||Ronda Rousey||1||August 19, 2018||212||Brooklyn, New York||Defeated Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam|
|WWE Raw Tag Team Championship||The Revival
(Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson)
|1||February 11, 2019||36||Grand Rapids, Michigan||Defeated Bobby Roode and Chad Gable on Raw|
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes|
|WWE Championship||Daniel Bryan||4||November 13, 2018||126||St. Louis, Missouri||Defeated AJ Styles on SmackDown|
|WWE United States Championship||Samoa Joe||1||March 5, 2019||14||Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania||Defeated previous champion R-Truth, Andrade, and Rey Mysterio in a fatal four-way match on SmackDown|
|WWE SmackDown Women's Championship||Asuka||1||December 16, 2018||93||San Jose, California||Defeated previous champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in a triple threat tables, ladders, and chairs match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs|
|WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship||The Usos
(Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)
|4||February 17, 2019||30||Houston, Texas||Defeated Shane McMahon and The Miz at Elimination Chamber|
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes|
|WWE Women's Tag Team Championship||The Boss 'N' Hug Connection
(Bayley and Sasha Banks)
|1||February 17, 2019||30||Houston, Texas||Defeated Carmella and Naomi, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, Nia Jax and Tamina, The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce), and The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) in a tag team elimination chamber match at Elimination Chamber to become the inaugural champions|
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes|
|WWE Cruiserweight Championship||Buddy Murphy||1||October 6, 2018||164||Melbourne, Australia||Defeated Cedric Alexander at Super Show-Down|
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes|
|NXT Championship||Vacant||—||—||—||—||Previous champion Tommaso Ciampa was forced to vacate the title due to a neck injury|
Next champion will be determined at NXT TakeOver: New York in a two out of three falls match between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano
|NXT North American Championship||Velveteen Dream||1||January 30, 2019||48||Winter Park, Florida||Defeated Johnny Gargano on NXT|
Aired on tape delay on February 20
|NXT Women's Championship||Shayna Baszler||2||October 28, 2018||142||Uniondale, New York||Defeated Kairi Sane at Evolution|
|NXT Tag Team Championship||War Raiders
(Hanson and Rowe)
|1||January 26, 2019||52||Phoenix, Arizona||Defeated The Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong) at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix|
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes|
|WWE United Kingdom Championship||Pete Dunne||1||May 20, 2017||668||Rosemont, Illinois||Defeated Tyler Bate at NXT TakeOver: Chicago|
|NXT UK Women's Championship||Toni Storm||1||January 12, 2019||66||Blackpool, England||Defeated Rhea Ripley at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool|
|NXT UK Tag Team Championship||James Drake and Zack Gibson||1||January 12, 2019||66||Blackpool, England||Defeated Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) in a tournament final at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool to become the inaugural champions|
|Accomplishment||Latest winner(s)||Date won||Location||Notes|
|Money in the Bank (Men)||Braun Strowman||June 17, 2018||Rosemont, Illinois||Defeated Kevin Owens, Bobby Roode, Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, Rusev, The Miz and Kofi Kingston to win.|
|Money in the Bank (Women)||Alexa Bliss||June 17, 2018||Rosemont, Illinois||Defeated Ember Moon, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Lana, Naomi, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair to win.|
|Mae Young Classic||Toni Storm||October 28, 2018||Uniondale, New York||Defeated Io Shirai at Evolution in the tournament final to win.|
|Royal Rumble (Men)||Seth Rollins||January 27, 2019||Phoenix, Arizona||Last eliminated Braun Strowman to win.|
|Royal Rumble (Women)||Becky Lynch||January 27, 2019||Phoenix, Arizona||Last eliminated Charlotte Flair to win.|
|Mixed Match Challenge||Fabulous Truth
(R-Truth and Carmella)
|December 16, 2018||San Jose, California||Defeated Mahalicia (Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox) at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in the tournament final to win.|
|Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic||Aleister Black and Ricochet||March 13, 2019||Winter Park, Florida||Defeated The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake) in the tournament final to win.|
|André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal||Matt Hardy||April 8, 2018||New Orleans, Louisiana||Last eliminated Baron Corbin to win.|
|WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal||Naomi||April 8, 2018||New Orleans, Louisiana||Last eliminated Bayley to win.|
|WWE Greatest Royal Rumble Championship||Braun Strowman||April 27, 2018||Jeddah, Saudi Arabia||Last eliminated Big Cass in the 50-man Royal Rumble to win.|
|WWE World Cup||Shane McMahon||November 2, 2018||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia||Defeated Dolph Ziggler in the tournament final to win.|
And then, in June, Jamal was released by WWE stemming from an incident at a night club, leaving Rosey on his own.
Until Great Sasuke allegedly told Japanese reporters that he was going to win the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship and refuse to defend it in the USA and threatened to only defend it in Japan. The WWE immediately fired The Great Sasuke and moved on to put their new championship around the waist of the young Taka Michinoku. One would have to speculate that this hurt WWE's new relationship with Michinoku Pro
Rebecca Quin (born 30 January 1987) is an Irish professional wrestler. She is currently signed to WWE under the ring name Becky Lynch, where she performs on the SmackDown brand.
Quin began training as a professional wrestler in June 2002. Initially working in Ireland and occasionally teaming with her brother using the ring name Rebecca Knox, she soon expanded her career into the rest of Europe and North America on the independent circuit, wrestling regularly for various promotions. She most notably competed in Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling and became the first wrestler to win the SuperGirls Championship in June 2005.
In September 2006, Quin suffered a severe head injury during a match in Germany which kept her away from professional wrestling for several years. She returned in late 2012 and signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2013, reporting to the developmental territory NXT. Following her arrival on WWE's main roster in July 2015, she became the inaugural SmackDown Women's Champion at Backlash 2016 and since held the title twice as of March 2019. In January 2019, she won the 2019 women's Royal Rumble match.Brock Lesnar
Brock Edward Lesnar (; born July 12, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, mixed martial artist, and former professional football player. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand and is the current Universal Champion in his second reign.After his successful amateur wrestling career at Bismarck State College and the University of Minnesota, Lesnar signed with WWE (then the World Wrestling Federation) in 2000. He was assigned to its developmental promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he was a three-time OVW Southern Tag Team Champion with Shelton Benjamin. After debuting on WWE's main roster in 2002, Lesnar won the WWE Championship five months after his debut at the age of 25, becoming the youngest champion in the title's history. He was also the 2002 King of the Ring and the 2003 Royal Rumble winner. Following his match with Goldberg at WrestleMania XX, Lesnar left WWE and pursued a career in the National Football League (NFL). He was named a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, but was cut prior to the start of the 2004 season. In 2005, Lesnar returned to professional wrestling and signed with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his first match. After a contractual dispute with NJPW, he also wrestled as IWGP Heavyweight Champion in the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF).
In 2006, Lesnar pursued a career in mixed martial arts (MMA), as he signed with Hero's and won his first fight, against Min-Soo Kim, in June 2007. He then signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) the following October. Lesnar lost in his UFC debut against Frank Mir and then won his second fight against Heath Herring. In November 2008, Lesnar defeated Randy Couture to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Shortly after a successful title defense in a rematch with Mir, Lesnar was sidelined due to diverticulitis. He would return at UFC 116 to defeat Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin and unify the heavyweight championships, becoming the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion in the process. Lesnar then lost the championship to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121. In 2011, he was once again sidelined due to diverticulitis and underwent surgery. Lesnar returned at UFC 141 in December, losing to Alistair Overeem and promptly retiring from MMA. Lesnar was a box office sensation in UFC, as he took part in some of the best-selling pay-per-view events in UFC history, including UFC 100 and UFC 116.In April 2012, Lesnar returned to professional wrestling, rejoining WWE after an eight-year hiatus. Two years later, at WrestleMania XXX, Lesnar defeated The Undertaker to end his undefeated streak at WrestleMania. He achieved world champion status three times after this, having won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 2014 and the WWE Universal Championship in 2017 and 2018. His first reign as Universal Champion was the longest world title reign in WWE since 1988 at 504 days. In June 2016, at UFC 199, the UFC announced that Lesnar would return to fight at UFC 200 even though he was still contracted with WWE. Lesnar defeated his opponent Mark Hunt via unanimous decision. However, after Lesnar tested positive for clomiphene, a banned substance on the UFC's anti-doping policy, he was suspended from the UFC by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for one year and fined $250,000, and his victory over Hunt was overturned to a no-contest. Lesnar then retired from MMA for a second time in 2017.
Lesnar is a six-time world champion in WWE, a one-time world champion in NJPW and IGF, a one-time heavyweight champion in the UFC, and a one-time heavyweight wrestling champion in the NCAA, the only person in history to win a championship in each of those organizations. He has headlined numerous pay-per-view events for both WWE and the UFC, including WrestleMania XIX, WrestleMania 31, WrestleMania 34, UFC 100 and UFC 116. Lesnar has been managed by Paul Heyman throughout the majority of his professional wrestling career. A 2015 ESPN.com article referred to Lesnar as "the most accomplished athlete in professional wrestling history".CM Punk
Phillip Jack Brooks (born October 26, 1978), better known by the ring name CM Punk, is an American mixed martial artist, comic book writer and retired professional wrestler. He is currently signed to both the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he competes in the welterweight division, and to Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC), where he works as a commentator. He is perhaps best known for his time in WWE, where he is recognized as the sixth longest reigning WWE Champion of all-time.
Brooks began his professional wrestling career on the American independent circuit, primarily with Ring of Honor (ROH) until 2005, when he signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). During his 15-year career, Brooks won the WWE Championship twice, WWE's World Heavyweight Championship three times, and the ECW and ROH World Championships once each. By winning WWE's World Tag Team Championship (with Kofi Kingston) and Intercontinental Championship, he became WWE's 19th Triple Crown Champion and the fastest to achieve this feat, in 203 days. He was voted WWE Superstar of the Year at the 2011 Slammy Awards, and Wrestler of the Year in 2011 and 2012 by readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
Brooks used the CM Punk moniker his entire career, and consistently portrayed the character of an outspoken, sharp-tongued, anti-establishment, straight edge iconoclast. Most of the straight edge principles he portrayed, such as not drinking alcohol or not taking recreational drugs, are his real life views. Depending on his alignment as a hero or villain, he emphasized different aspects of the straight edge culture to garner the desired audience reaction.After becoming disgruntled in WWE, Punk retired from professional wrestling in 2014. He pursued a career in mixed martial arts and was signed by the UFC in December of that year. His first professional fight took place on September 10, 2016, at UFC 203 against Mickey Gall, where he was defeated via submission in the first round. He lost his second bout to Mike Jackson via unanimous decision on June 9, 2018, at UFC 225.Dave Bautista
David Michael Bautista Jr. (born January 18, 1969) is an American actor, professional wrestler, and former mixed martial artist and bodybuilder.
Bautista began his wrestling career in 1999, and signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 2000. From 2002 to 2010, he gained fame under the ring name Batista and became a six-time world champion by winning the World Heavyweight Championship four times and the WWE Championship twice. He holds the record for the longest reign as World Heavyweight Champion at 282 days and has also won the World Tag Team Championship three times (twice with Ric Flair and once with John Cena) and the WWE Tag Team Championship once (with Rey Mysterio). He was the winner of the 2005 Royal Rumble match and went on to headline WrestleMania 21, one of the top five highest-grossing pay-per-view events in professional wrestling history. Bautista re-signed with WWE in 2013, going on to win the 2014 Royal Rumble match and headline WrestleMania XXX.
Bautista began acting in 2006 and has starred in The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), Riddick (2013), the James Bond film Spectre (2015), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017). He is perhaps best known for his role as Drax in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portraying the character in the films Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). He has also appeared in several direct-to-video films since 2009.
In August 2012, Bautista signed a contract with Classic Entertainment & Sports to fight in mixed martial arts (MMA). He won his lone MMA fight on October 6, 2012, defeating Vince Lucero via TKO in the first round.Dean Ambrose
Jonathan David Good (born December 7, 1985) is an American professional wrestler and actor, currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Dean Ambrose.
He is also known for his work on the independent circuit under the ring name Jon Moxley between 2004 and 2011. He worked for various promotions including Full Impact Pro (FIP), Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) and Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA), winning the FIP World Heavyweight Championship once and the CZW World Heavyweight Championship twice.
After signing with WWE, Good, under his current ring name, competed in their developmental territories Florida Championship Wrestling and NXT until 2012. He joined the main roster in November 2012 as a member of The Shield with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Ambrose won his first championship while in the group, the United States Championship, with his 351-day reign being the longest in WWE history. Following The Shield's breakup, Ambrose has gone on to become a one-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, a three-time Intercontinental Champion, and a two-time Raw Tag Team Champion (with Seth Rollins). He was also the 2016 Money in the Bank ladder match winner and cashed in his contract to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Upon winning the Raw Tag Team Championship in August 2017, Ambrose became the twenty-seventh Triple Crown Champion and the sixteenth Grand Slam Champion.
Outside of wrestling, Good has played a leading role in the 2015 film 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown.Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor, producer, and semi-retired professional wrestler.
Considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time, Johnson was born in Hayward, California, but moved to Florida in 1989, where he was a college football player for the University of Miami, with whom he won a national championship in 1991. After initially aspiring for a career in football, Johnson began training as a professional wrestler in the summer of 1995, after being cut from the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL).In 1996, Johnson secured a contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), and was promoted as the first third-generation wrestler in the company's history. He gained mainstream fame after adopting the persona of a charismatic, trash-talking bully named The Rock, and won the WWF Championship in 1998. He subsequently ushered the WWF, alongside fellow mainstream industry star Stone Cold Steve Austin, as the principal leaders of the Attitude Era, a boom period in company business in the latter 1990s and early 2000s.
The Rock has headlined several major WWE pay-per-view events, closing the company's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, five times. He has also won several championships in his career, being a two-time Intercontinental Champion, a five-time world tag team champion, and a ten-time world champion. He is also a Royal Rumble match winner, and a Triple Crown champion. After entering into a hiatus in 2004, The Rock returned to WWE part-time from 2011 to 2013, and continues to make occasional appearances.
Outside of wrestling, Johnson has attained success as an actor, producer, and writer. He has had leading film roles in The Scorpion King (2002), San Andreas (2015), Central Intelligence (2016), Moana (2016), and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), and is widely known for his prominent role as Luke Hobbs in The Fast and the Furious franchise. He has also produced several films under his production company Seven Bucks Productions, and released his autobiography The Rock Says... in 2000, which debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list. Consistently ranked among the world's highest paid actors, Johnson was also named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016.John Cena
John Felix Anthony Cena Jr. (; born April 23, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, actor, and rapper. He is signed to WWE, where he appears for both the Raw and SmackDown brands.
Considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time by his peers, Cena was born and raised in West Newbury, Massachusetts, but moved to California in 1998, where he pursued a career as a bodybuilder, before transitioning into professional wrestling after debuting for Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW) in 1999. Cena soon signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 2000.
In WWE, Cena gained industry fame after adopting a persona of a villainous trash-talking rapper, and won his first singles title, the United States Championship, in 2004. After winning the WWE Championship a year later, Cena's character transitioned into a heroic "goody-two shoes Superman", and subsequently led the company as its franchise player and public face for the next decade, gaining mainstream fame in the process. Cena has headlined several major WWE pay-per-view events, closing the company's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, five times. He has also won several championships in his career, being a five-time U.S. champion, a four-time world tag team champion, and a sixteen-time world champion, a WWE record. He is also a two-time Royal Rumble match winner, and a Money in the Bank ladder match winner. Despite his success, Cena is regularly met with mixed critical reception, with perceived criticisms against his in-ring move set and character limitations, thus making him one of the most polarizing professional wrestlers ever.Outside of wrestling, Cena has attained success as a musician, actor, and philanthropist. He released the rap album You Can't See Me in 2005, which gained platinum certification in the United States. He has had leading film roles in The Marine (2006), 12 Rounds (2009), Trainwreck (2015), Ferdinand (2017), Blockers (2018), and Bumblebee (2018). He is also known for his involvement in numerous charitable causes, namely the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where he has granted more than 500 wishes, the most in company history.Kane (wrestler)
Glenn Thomas Jacobs (born April 26, 1967) is an American professional wrestler, actor, businessman, and politician. A Republican, he is the Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee.In professional wrestling, Jacobs is signed to WWE, where he is known by his ring name Kane. He began his professional wrestling career on the independent circuit in 1992, wrestling in promotions such as Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW) and the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) before joining the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 1995. Jacobs played various characters until 1997, when he was repackaged as Kane, the mentally disturbed, pyromaniacal, monstrous/demonic younger half-brother of The Undertaker, with whom Jacobs would alternatively feud or team as The Brothers of Destruction.
Following his debut, Kane remained a pivotal component of the WWF's "Attitude Era" of the late 1990s and early 2000s, defeating the era's "poster boy" Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship in his first pay-per-view (PPV) main event at King of the Ring in June 1998. He has continued to headline PPV cards through 2018, and has appeared in more of such events than any other performer in WWF/WWE history.Within WWE, Kane is a three-time world champion (having held the WWF Championship, ECW Championship and World Heavyweight Championship once each) and a 12-time world tag team champion (having held the World Tag Team Championship, WCW Tag Team Championship and WWE Tag Team Championships with various partners). He is also a two-time Intercontinental Champion and a Money in the Bank winner, as well as the third man to complete WWE's Grand Slam. Kane holds the record for cumulative Royal Rumble match eliminations at 44. In a 2015 interview, veteran wrestler Ric Flair described Kane as "the best in the world".Outside of professional wrestling, Jacobs has made numerous guest appearances in film and on television, including the lead role in the 2006 WWE Studios production See No Evil and its 2014 sequel. He is also a longtime supporter of libertarian political causes. In March 2017, Jacobs announced that he was running for the mayoral seat of Knox County, Tennessee as a Republican. On May 1, 2018, he won the Republican primary election for the mayoral seat of Knox County, and on August 2, went on to win the general election.List of WWE pay-per-view events
This is a list of WWE pay-per-view events, detailing all professional wrestling cards promoted on pay-per-view (PPV) by WWE.
WWE has broadcast pay-per-views since the 1980s, when its classic "Big Four" events (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series) were first established. The company's PPV lineup expanded to a monthly basis in the mid-1990s and reached its peak of sixteen shows a year in 2006 before returning to twelve in 2012. Following the second brand extension in July 2016, the number of shows per year were expanded once again to 16. Pay-per-view shows are typically three hours in length, though budget priced events (e.g., In Your House) were shorter, while premium events such as WrestleMania can approach five hours. Since 2008, all WWE pay-per-views have been broadcast in high definition. Pay-per-view events are a significant part of the revenue stream for WWE.WWE pay-per-views are made available in the United States by In Demand. In Canada, WWE pay-per-views are available through (depending on service provider) Vu!, Shaw PPV, or SaskTel PPV, and can be seen in movie theatres in HD through selected locations of the Cineplex Entertainment chain. In Australia, WWE's pay-per-views are shown on Main Event. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, some pay-per-views are shown on Sky Sports 1 & 3 and others on Sky Sports Box Office. In India and South Asia, a single broadcaster (currently Sony TEN) generally holds the rights to all WWE programming, including pay-per-views, and they are broadcast for no additional charge. Aside from its standard monthly schedule, WWE produced additional international pay-per-views between 1997 and 2003. These events were not available in the United States and coincided with overseas tours in the United Kingdom.
Following WWE's original brand extension in 2002, the company promoted two touring rosters representing its Raw and SmackDown television programs. Aside from Insurrextion (Raw) and Rebellion (SmackDown!), all WWE pay-per-views featured both brands until June 2003. The traditional "Big Four" continued to showcase the entire roster, while the remaining pay-per-views alternated between Raw and SmackDown cards. A special ECW event in 2005 led to the creation of an ECW brand in 2006, which also received its own dedicated pay-per-view. Additional brand-exclusive events were added to the schedule, which reached its peak in 2006 with sixteen pay-per-view events (five Raw, five SmackDown, two ECW, and the original "Big Four"). In March 2007, WWE announced that all subsequent pay-per-views would feature performers from all brands. Dates were slowly removed from the pay-per-view schedule and in 2012, WWE returned to holding twelve pay-per-views a year. However, since the second brand extension in July 2016, brand-exclusive pay-per-views returned with only the "Big Four" as the only pay-per-views to feature both Raw and SmackDown brands, and some months have two pay-per-views, one for each show. Just like the previous brand extension, brand exclusive pay-per-views ended after WrestleMania 34.In 2009, WWE began to rename several of its "B"-show pay-per-views, identifying them with types of matches such as the Money in the Bank ladder match and the Hell in a Cell cage match. Since 2012, WWE has offered a free kickoff/pre-show before each pay-per-view, available on WWE.com and from social media partners such as YouTube and Facebook. The WWE Network, launched on February 24, 2014, features an extensive back catalog of WWE pay-per-view events, as well as all future pay-per-views streamed live from WrestleMania XXX onwards. The WWE Network also included non-PPV events, The Big Event and 1988 Royal Rumble, in their pay-per-view section.In recent years, WWE pay-per-views are mainly held in top-drawing arenas, such as the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri, the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the TD Garden in Boston, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and the Toyota Center in Houston.List of WWE personnel
WWE is a professional wrestling promotion based in Stamford, Connecticut. WWE personnel consists of professional wrestlers, managers, play-by-play and color commentators, ring announcers, interviewers, referees, trainers, producers, script writers, and various other positions. Executives and board members are also listed.
WWE contracts typically range from developmental contracts to multi-year deals. WWE describes most personnel as "independent contractors." Since the reintroduction of WWE's brand extension in 2016, personnel on the main roster are assigned to either the Raw or SmackDown brands. A level below the main roster is the NXT brand. Specialty brands in WWE include 205 Live, which is for male wrestlers 205 lbs. and under (designated by WWE as cruiserweights), and NXT UK, which is for wrestlers based in the United Kingdom.
Main roster personnel primarily appear on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, while cruiserweight wrestlers appear on 205 Live. Wrestlers from NXT appear on the brand's eponymous TV show, while wrestlers from NXT UK also have their own weekly show.
Personnel can also appear on WWE's other weekly television programming, as well as pay-per-views, and on untelevised live events.
Personnel in WWE's developmental system are assigned to train at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. UK-based developmental wrestlers train at the UK Performance Center in London, England.
As WWE has partnerships with the U.S. independent promotion Evolve, the UK based Insane Championship Wrestling and Progress Wrestling, and Germany's Westside Xtreme Wrestling, wrestlers from those groups may also make periodic appearances at WWE events and on WWE programming.Paige (wrestler)
Saraya-Jade Bevis (born 17 August 1992) is an English professional wrestling personality, actress, and retired professional wrestler. She is signed to WWE under the ring name Paige, where she was most recently the on-screen general manager of the SmackDown brand. Bevis is a two-time Divas Champion and was the inaugural NXT Women's Champion in WWE's developmental branch NXT, holding both championships concurrently at one time.In 2005, at the age of 13, Bevis made her debut in the World Association of Wrestling, a promotion run by her family, under the ring name Britani Knight. She went on to hold several championships on the independent circuit within Europe. In 2011, she signed a contract with WWE and started wrestling within its developmental systems, eventually debuting on WWE's main roster in April 2014. In her debut match on the main roster, she won the Divas Championship, becoming the youngest champion in the title's history at the age of 21.Roman Reigns
Leati Joseph Anoaʻi (born May 25, 1985) is an American professional wrestler, actor, and a former professional gridiron football player. He is part of the Anoaʻi family and is currently signed to WWE as a member of the Raw brand under the ring name Roman Reigns.
After playing collegiate football for Georgia Tech, Anoaʻi started his professional football career with brief off-season stints with the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) in 2007. He then played a full season for the Canadian Football League's (CFL) Edmonton Eskimos in 2008 before his release and retirement from football. He then pursued a career in professional wrestling and was signed by WWE in 2010, reporting to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). As Roman Reigns, he made his main roster debut in November 2012 alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield. The trio teamed together until June 2014, after which Reigns entered singles competition.
Reigns is a four-time world champion in WWE, having held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship three times and the Universal Championship once. He is also a one-time United States Champion, a one-time Intercontinental Champion, a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion (with Rollins), the 2015 Royal Rumble winner, and the 2014 Superstar of the Year. He tied the WWE record for most eliminations in a Survivor Series elimination match with four in the 2013 event and set the then-record for most eliminations in a Royal Rumble match with 12 in the 2014 event. Upon winning the Intercontinental Championship, he became the twenty-eighth Triple Crown Champion and the seventeenth Grand Slam Champion.
Since 2014, WWE has attempted to establish Reigns as their next "face of the company", which has been met with audience disapproval. Reigns has headlined numerous WWE pay-per-view events, including the last four WrestleManias (31, 32, 33 and 34).Seth Rollins
Colby Lopez (born May 28, 1986) is an American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Seth Rollins.Prior to signing with WWE, Lopez wrestled under the ring name Tyler Black for Ring of Honor (ROH), where he held the ROH World Championship once and the ROH World Tag Team Championship twice (with Jimmy Jacobs), as well as the winner of the 2009 Survival of the Fittest tournament. He also wrestled for various independent promotions including Full Impact Pro (FIP), where he was a one-time FIP World Heavyweight Champion, as well as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), where he was a one-time PWG World Tag Team Champion (also with Jacobs).
After signing with WWE in 2010, Lopez was sent to its developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) where he was renamed Seth Rollins and became the inaugural FCW Grand Slam Champion. After WWE rebranded FCW into NXT, he became the inaugural NXT Champion. Alongside fellow wrestlers Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, he debuted on WWE's main roster at the 2012 Survivor Series as part of a faction called The Shield. He won his first main roster championship while with the group, the WWE Tag Team Championship with Reigns. Following the team's first breakup in June 2014, Rollins went on to become a two-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion, a one-time United States Champion, a four-time WWE/Raw Tag Team Champion (with Reigns, Ambrose, and Jason Jordan), the 2014 Money in the Bank winner, the 2015 Superstar of the Year and the 2019 Men's Royal Rumble winner. Upon capturing his first WWE Championship (then known as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship), he became the first wrestler of Armenian descent to hold the title and after winning his first Intercontinental Championship, he became the 29th Triple Crown Champion and the 18th Grand Slam Champion.
Rollins has headlined numerous major pay-per-view events for WWE, including WrestleMania 31. Industry veteran Sting, who wrestled his final match against Rollins, described him as the most talented professional wrestler he has ever seen or worked with. He was the cover athlete for WWE 2K18.The Undertaker
Mark William Calaway (born March 24, 1965), better known by the ring name The Undertaker, is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE.Regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Calaway began his wrestling career in 1984, working under various gimmicks for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and other affiliate promotions. After signing for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1989, he enjoyed a brief stint as a mid-card performer named "Mean Mark" Callous, prior to joining the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 1990.
In WWE, Calaway was rebranded as "The Undertaker", and gained significant mainstream popularity as a horror-themed, macabre entity who employed scare tactics and held links to the supernatural. The Undertaker became one of the most prominent figures of the Attitude Era, featuring in various pivotal storylines and matches as WWF sustained a boom period in business in the latter 1990s. His character transitioned into a biker in the early 2000s, before returning to a refined version of his previous gimmick in 2004. The Undertaker is known for The Streak, a series of 21 straight victories at WWE's flagship annual event, WrestleMania.
Calaway has held 17 championships. Within WWF/E, he is a four-time WWF/E Champion, a three-time World Heavyweight Champion, a six-time WWF World Tag Team Champion, a one-time WCW Tag Team Champion and a one-time WWF Hardcore Champion. Outside of WWE, he is a one-time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion and a one-time WCWA Texas Heavyweight Champion. The Undertaker has headlined multiple pay-per-view (PPV) events for WWE, including four WrestleManias (WrestleMania 13, WrestleMania XXIV, WrestleMania XXVI, and WrestleMania 33). He is also the second most prolific pay-per-view performer in WWE history, wrestling in over 170 matches.Triple H
Paul Michael Levesque (born July 27, 1969), better known by the ring name Triple H (an abbreviation of the ring name Hunter Hearst Helmsley), is an American business executive, professional wrestler, and actor. He has been the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for WWE since 2013, as well as being the founder and senior producer of NXT.
Levesque, under the ring name Terra Ryzing, began his professional wrestling career in 1992 with the International Wrestling Federation (IWF). In 1994, he joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he was soon repackaged as a French-Canadian aristocrat named Jean-Paul Lévesque. In 1995, Levesque moved to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), where he became Hunter Hearst Helmsley and later Triple H. In 1997, he co-founded the influential D-Generation X stable, which became a major element of the WWF's "Attitude Era". After winning his first WWF Championship and beginning a storyline marriage with Stephanie McMahon in 1999, Triple H became a fixture of the company's main event scene. According to the Pro Wrestling Torch, he was "widely regarded as the best wrestler in North America" by the turn of the millennium.After legitimately marrying Stephanie McMahon in 2003, Levesque became a member of the McMahon family, which maintains majority ownership of WWE. Since 2011, he has curtailed his in-ring appearances as he has taken on a greater behind-the-scenes role within WWE. Over the course of his career, Levesque has held a total of 25 championships including nine reigns as WWF/WWE Champion and five as WWE's World Heavyweight Champion. In addition, he was also the winner of the 1997 King of the Ring tournament and the 2002 and 2016 Royal Rumbles. His total of 14 world championships is the third-most all-time (recognized by WWE) behind only Ric Flair (16) and John Cena (16). He has headlined WrestleMania, WWE's flagship pay-per-view, seven times. In 2019, Levesque was announced as an inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the D-Generation X group induction.WWE Championship
The WWE Championship is a world heavyweight championship created and promoted by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE on the SmackDown brand. It is one of two world titles for WWE's main roster, alongside the WWE Universal Championship that was created for the Raw brand as a result of the 2016 WWE draft. The current champion is Daniel Bryan, who is in his fourth reign.
The original world championship of the promotion, it was established by the then-World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) on April 25, 1963 as the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship, following the promotion seceding from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). The inaugural champion was Buddy Rogers. Since its inception, the title has undergone many name changes due to company name changes and title unifications. It is the oldest championship currently active in the WWE, and is presented as being the promotion's most prestigious title, with many matches for the title having headlined pay-per-view events – including WWE's flagship event WrestleMania. In professional wrestling in general, it is considered by many to be one of the most prestigious championships of all time.From its inception until 2001, it was promoted as WWE's sole primary championship. An additional world title, the WCW Championship, was added after the then-World Wrestling Federation's purchase of World Championship Wrestling in early 2001. The titles were later unified as the Undisputed Championship. After the first brand extension in 2002 and the promotion becoming the WWE, the championship became exclusive to SmackDown, and the World Heavyweight Championship was created for Raw. ECW became a third brand in 2006, adding the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Over the course of the first brand extension, the WWE Championship switched between brands, usually as a result of the annual draft. The ECW Championship was deactivated in 2010, and the World Heavyweight Championship was unified with the WWE Championship in 2013. The championship was again the sole world title of WWE's main roster until the reintroduction of the brand extension in 2016.WWE Fastlane
Fastlane is a professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced annually by WWE, a Connecticut–based promotion, and broadcast live and available through pay-per-view (PPV) and WWE Network. The event was established in 2015; it replaced Elimination Chamber in the February slot of WWE's pay-per-view calendar. The name of the event is a reference to its position on the "Road to WrestleMania". In 2015 and 2016, Fastlane was held in February until after WWE reinstated the brand split in July 2016, which moved it to March in the successive years. In 2017, Fastlane was a Raw-exclusive pay-per-view and in 2018, it switched to being SmackDown-exclusive. In 2019, Fastlane was a dual-branded event.WWE Hall of Fame
The WWE Hall of Fame is a hall of fame which honors professional wrestlers and professional wrestling personalities maintained by WWE. The 1994 and 1995 ceremonies were held in conjunction with the annual King of the Ring pay-per-view events. In 1996, the ceremony was held with the Survivor Series event, for the first time in front of a paying audience as well as the wrestlers, after which, the Hall of Fame went on hiatus.
In 2004, WWE relaunched the Hall of Fame to coincide with WrestleMania XX. This ceremony, like its predecessors, was not broadcast on television. However, it was released on DVD on June 1, 2004. Beginning with the 2005 ceremony, an edited version of the Hall of Fame was broadcast on Spike TV (2005) and on the USA Network (2006–present); these were aired on tape delay. Since 2005, the entire Hall of Fame ceremony has been packaged as part of the annual WrestleMania DVD release, and from 2014, has been broadcast live on the WWE Network. In 2015, historical WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies became available on the WWE Network.
Although a building has never been built to represent the Hall of Fame, WWE has looked into constructing a facility. In 2008, Shane McMahon, then-Executive Vice President of Global Media of WWE, stated that WWE had been storing wrestling memorabilia in a warehouse for years, with all items categorized and dated in case a facility is created.As of 2018, there have been 183 inductees — with 110 wrestlers inducted individually, 26 Legacy Inductees, 12 group inductions (consisting of 33 wrestlers within those groups), 10 celebrities and four Warrior Award recipients, whilst 46 members have been inducted posthumously. As of 2018, Ric Flair is the only Hall of Famer to be inducted twice, first individually in 2008, then as a member of The Four Horsemen in 2012.WrestleMania
WrestleMania is a professional wrestling event produced annually between mid-March to early April by WWE, an American professional wrestling promotion based in Stamford, Connecticut. WWE first produced the event in 1985 and has since produced 34 editions, with the most recent having been held in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 8, 2018. WrestleMania, WWE's flagship event, airs on pay-per-view (PPV) and WWE Network and is the most successful and longest-running professional wrestling event in history. It contributes to the worldwide commercial success of WWE through media, merchandise, and shows. WrestleMania was conceptualized by WWE owner Vince McMahon and long time WWE ring announcer and Hall of Famer Howard Finkel is credited with devising the name "WrestleMania" in 1984.
WrestleMania's widespread success helped transform professional wrestling. The event has facilitated the rise to stardom of several top WWE wrestlers. Celebrities such as Aretha Franklin, Cyndi Lauper, Muhammad Ali, Mr. T, Alice Cooper, Lawrence Taylor, Pamela Anderson, Mike Tyson, Donald Trump, Floyd Mayweather, Pete Rose, Burt Reynolds, Mickey Rourke, Snoop Dogg, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Kid Rock, Fred Durst, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronda Rousey, Rob Gronkowski, and Shaquille O'Neal have participated or made special appearances within the events.
The first WrestleMania was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City; the 10th and 20th editions were also held there. WrestleMania III in the Detroit suburb of Pontiac, Michigan was the highest-attended indoor sports event in the world, with 93,173 fans in attendance. The record stood until February 14, 2010, when the 2010 NBA All-Star Game broke the indoor sporting event record with an attendance of 108,713 at Cowboys Stadium, since renamed AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas. In 2016, WrestleMania 32 surpassed WrestleMania III as the highest-attended professional wrestling event ever held in America, with 101,763 fans in attendance at AT&T Stadium. All editions of the event have been hosted in North American cities, with 32 in the United States and two in Canada.