The American professional wrestling organisation WWE was reportedly sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on Wednesday morning, as per multiple reports.
After Stephanie McMahon announced her retirement from the company and her father Vince McMahon‘s return to the position of chairman of the board, the reports started to circulate.
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Here’s a brief history of the WWE:
WWE’s roots can be traced to the 1950s, when the first show under the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) was released on January 7, 1953. WWE’s founder was Jess McMahon. The CWC later joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), and Toots Mondt, a well-known New York promoter, soon followed.
Longtime boxing and wrestling promoter Willie Gilzenberg was appointed as the WWWF’s inaugural president in June 1963. ( World Wide Wrestling Federation). Although the WWWF had previously withdrew from the NWA, McMahon discreetly rejoined in 1971 after Mondt quit the organisation in the late 1960s. In 1979, the WWWF changed its name to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
In 1982, Vince McMahon, the son of Jess McMahon, acquired Capitol from his father, thus taking over management of the business.
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In South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, Vince McMahon and his wife Linda founded Titan Sports, Inc. and filed trademark applications for the “WWF” initials. Vincent J. McMahon was not the only owner of the World Wrestling Federation; Gorilla Monsoon, Arnold Skaaland, and Phil Zacko all had ownership interests.
When McMahon hired American Wrestling Association (AWA) wrestler Hulk Hogan, who had garnered notoriety outside of wrestling, most notably for his role in the movie Rocky III, he got a lot of momentum. Roddy Piper, who will compete against Hogan, and Jesse Ventura, an announcer, were both signed by McMahon shortly after. Along with already-established talents like Jimmy Snuka, Don Muraco, Sgt. Slaughter, and Andre The Giant, new wrestlers like The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Junkyard Dog, Paul Orndorff, Greg Valentine, and Ricky Steamboat were added to the roster. Many of the wrestlers who subsequently joined the WWF had previously competed for the AWA or NWA.
Mcmahon’s idea WrestleMania was a huge success and is promoted as the Super Bowl of professional wrestling (and still is).
1992 saw accusations of steroid abuse and distribution against the WWF. The following year, WWF staff members made accusations of sexual harassment in response. Although McMahon was ultimately cleared, the claims damaged the WWF’s brand and produced terrible press. At a period of record-low sales, the steroid study cost the corporation an estimated $5 million. This influenced a number of WWF wrestlers to switch to the competing organisation World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Titan Sports, Inc. changed its name to World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. in the summer of 1999. As a publicly traded corporation, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 19, 1999, with the issuing of stock with a market value of $172.5 million at the time. WWE is the ticker for the company’s stock on the NYSE.
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The following years saw the first brand split, multiple rosters such as Raw and SmackDown! and ECW in 2002, the relaunch of Tough Enough, and the launch of the WWE network in 2014.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Vince paid over $12 million to four women associated with the company over a 16-year period to cover up claims of sexual misconduct and infidelity.