Creation: 1953

Country: United States


Owner: Endeavor


Broadcast: WWE Network / USA Network / Peacock / FOX

Previous names:
Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC)
World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF)
World Wrestling Federation (WWF)


WWE was founded in 1953 as Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC), and the first event of the company took place on January 7th. We’re still not sure who was the original founder of the CWC between Jess McMahon and his son Vincent James McMahon. The company was under the banner of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) at first, as the NWA had been founded few years before, in 1948. In 1963, CWC was rebranded as World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) and the first world champion in the history of the promotion was crowned in « Nature Boy » Buddy Rogers. One month later, Buddy Rogers lost the championship to the legendary Bruno Sammartino, who would go on to be the main figure of WWWF for the years to come. In total, Bruno Sammartino held the WWWF championship for 4040 days, which represents more than 11 years as champion, with only two reigns. In 1979, WWWF lost a “W” by becoming the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Three years later, in 1982, the son of Vincent James McMahon, Vincent Kennedy McMahon (Vince McMahon), became the new president of WWF. Vince McMahon had established Titan Sports Inc. in 1980 and bought the family company from his father. A new era for professional wrestling and for WWF was on the verge of revolutionizing the wrestling world.

Indeed, WWF was no longer under the control of the NWA in the 80’s. In 1985, Vince McMahon created the ultimate sports entertainment show: WrestleMania. The first edition of the biggest event of the company was a great success, and led to more accomplishments. In March 1987, the WWF presented WrestleMania III with Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant main eventing the show in a sold out Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The event was such a success that Vince McMahon decided to create new pay-per-views. In November 1987, the Survivor Series were created, then the Royal Rumble in January 1988 and SummerSlam in August 1988. The 80’s embody a period called the “Golden Era” in WWF, and the company came in the 90’s as the main professional wrestling and sports entertainment company in the United States and in the world. The idea of Vince McMahon when he took control of the business was to build a kingdom of entertainment, more than a pure professional and sporting wrestling entity. But the competition was about to get harder in the 90’s, especially with Jim Crocket Promotions becoming the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1988. WCW quickly became the biggest rival of WWF, with wrestlers going from one company to the other during this period.

On the 11th of January 1993, WWF aired the first ever episode of a new televised weekly program in the United States, Monday Night Raw, which is still the longest televised WWE program airing today. Two years later, in September 1995, WCW created Monday Nitro to compete against Monday Night Raw, leading to the famous Monday Night Wars between the two wrestling companies. In the middle of the 90’s, new rising stars are shining in WWF, like Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels or Diesel. The period is called the “New Generation Era” because the former major Superstars like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage or The Ultimate Warrior saw their spotlight be taken by younger wrestlers. The competition between WWF and WCW ended in 2001 with the “Invasion” chapter, when WWF bought WCW and finished the story by winning the Monday Night Wars. The success of Vince McMahon’s company in the late 90’s and the beginning of the 2000’s is linked with the popularity of numerous Superstars that have brought the company to the “Attitude Era”, the main wrestlers coming in our mind when we hear these words being Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. We can add the names of Triple H, Kurt Angle, Mankind, The Undertaker or D-Generation X in the list of famous Superstars at that time. This period has also seen, in April 1999, the birth of a new major weekly program: WWF SmackDown.

So, WCW died in 2001, letting the WWF dominate the market of professional wrestling and sports entertainment. A few independent promotions were created during this period, such as Ring Of Honor (ROH), but also a new company which wanted to establish a new competitive entity for WWF, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).

In May 2002, the WWF became the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and entered a new era, symbolized by the rise of a new member of the roster: John Cena. This era is called the “Ruthless Aggression Era” and was marked by the first Draft, which is a separation between the two weekly programs in two distinct brands. WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown had their own roster and affiliated Superstars. The “Ruthless Aggression Era” saw new names conquer the landscape of the wrestling company: Brock Lesnar, Batista, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Lita, Trish Stratus and many more. But for a few years, John Cena was the one appearing as the face of the company as he won multiple world titles between 2005 and 2011.

As the company kept on writing her own story, Vince McMahon decided to take a new direction at the end of the 2000’s, as he wanted to concur a new and younger audience. The visual identity of the shows changed, with more colors; the attitude of the Superstars and their intervention on the mic were adapted to be addressed to children, to fans of an entertaining product more than a pro wrestling product. That’s how WWE entered what is called the “PG Era”.

In 2010, NXT was created. It was a televised program in the United States where some young wrestlers (the rookies) were mentored by WWE Superstars to try to get a chance to make it on the main roster. The beginning of the 2010’s also saw the quick increase in popularity of CM Punk, who appeared as a popular rebel against an inked system guided by the hands of Vince McMahon. But even if CM Punk seemed to appear as the main attraction for the company at this time, John Cena still was the wrestler who embodied the spirit and the identity of WWE. In 2012, CM Punk was the WWE champion and his popularity reached its peak, but he didn’t main event WrestleMania 28, as it was John Cena and The Rock who took the spot, even if they had already main evented the “grandest stage of them all” several times in the past. CM Punk went on to stay WWE champion for the entire 2012 year, and lost the title to The Rock in January 2013 after 434 days of dominance. The beginning of the 2010’s was also the period of the brand reunification, as Raw and SmackDown Superstars could now fight on both brands.

At this point, WWE was on the verge of a new era, mainly marked by the ascent of Daniel Bryan. The “American Dragon” quicky gained popularity between the beginning and the summer of 2013. He established himself as the top face of the company, struggling against The Authority, guided by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Daniel Bryan had a big rivalry against Randy Orton with the prestigious WWE championship at stake. At WrestleMania XXX, in 2014, Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight championship by defeating Randy Orton and Batista in a memorable triple threat main event. Unfortunately, Daniel Bryan’s reign will be shortened because of a serious neck injury that would keep him out of action for years. WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans was also marked by the end of the legendary winning streak of The Undertaker, who was defeated by Brock Lesnar. A few months before at the Royal Rumble, CM Punk had his last WWE match before leaving the company for nearly ten years. WWE calls the period which goes from early 2014 to mid-2016 the “Reality Era”, which saw new faces emerge and take the big spots in the wrestling company, such as The Shield members, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, but also Bray Wyatt, The New Day, Kevin Owens and more. Furthermore, from September 2015, WWE started the “Women’s Revolution”, the goal being to put the spotlight on Women’s wrestling. The WWE Divas championship became the WWE Women’s championship in April 2016 at WrestleMania 32, as well as the Divas division became the Women’s division. The main Superstars behind that major change were, among others, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Alexa Bliss or Asuka. The “Women’s Revolution” also took over the landscape of NXT, which had become, at this time, a WWE secondary brand where wrestlers performed before moving on to the main roster.

In July 2016, the brand separation came back, with Superstars performing exclusively on Raw or on SmackDown, and WWE entered the “New Era”. A brand new title was created in the Men’s division: the Universal championship. The first champion was crowned in SummerSlam 2016 in the final of a tournament where Finn Bálor defeated Seth Rollins.

A few years later, the biggest wrestling company in the world was confronted by the COVID-19 pandemic and had to adapt her product to move forward through these hard times. For that, WWE recorded its shows from the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, with no crowd. However, WWE suggested an innovative idea, the ThunderDome, which was a bio-secure bubble that allowed the fans to attend virtually to the events thanks to a videoconferencing crowd system. It was launched in August 2020, which means WrestleMania 36, in April 2020, took place with no physical or virtual crowd. Drew McIntyre, who had won the 2020 Men’s Royal Rumble match, won the WWE championship by defeating Brock Lesnar in the main event of the show, but couldn’t celebrate his victory with the fans. The “ThunderDome Era” was a tough period for WWE, as many talents were released to overcome growing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.

In the summer of 2022, Vince McMahon stepped down as the chairman and CEO of the company due to an investigation concerning the complaint of a former WWE employee who accused him of sexual assault among others, and he was replaced by his daughter, Stephanie McMahon. Paul “Triple H” Levesque took the control of the creative team, Shawn Michaels was promoted as Vice President of Talent Development Creative and the landscape of WWE started to change for the better, as many fans seemed to be weary of Vince McMahon’s booking choices for the past few years. But on January 10, 2023, Vince McMahon came back on board, assuming the role of executive chairman of the company, and his daughter Stephanie McMahon resigned as chairwoman and co-CEO while Nick Khan became the sole CEO of WWE.

In April 2023, WWE reached a deal with UFC’s parent company Endeavor which would become its own parent company. WWE would now be a part of a new entity alongside UFC named “TKO Group Holdings” (TKO). WWE was valued at $9.1 billion, and Endeavor would hold a 51% stake in TKO, with WWE having a 49% stake. On January 2024, it was announced that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had joined the TKO Board of Directors. Also in early 2024, Vince McMahon resigned from his position in the company for new sexual assaults and sex trafficking allegations; as a result, Ari Emanuel, Endeavor’s CEO, obtained greater control of TKO.


Last update: February 2024



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