Can I be a WWE wrestler?
Is wrestling sport or show, real or "fake"?
Basically almost everyone knows the answer: The WWE wrestlers do not carry out a sporting competition in the actual sense, but an agreed show to entertain the fans, WWE calls it "Sports Entertainment". What is sought and rewarded with titles is not the best fighter, but the best athletic entertainer.
But how exactly does the world's largest show fight company work? Who is behind the weekly TV shows RAW and SmackDown, the big events like WrestleMania and the tours around the world?
SPORT1 answers the most important questions about the wrestling empire - and the minds behind it.
- When was WWE formed?
In 1963, WWE was founded as an independent league. As early as 1933, Jess McMahon had put on shows in the American Northeast. Thirty years later, his son Vince McMahon Sr. (1914-1984) released the promotion, which was originally called the Capitol Wrestling Federation, from the wrestling umbrella organization NWA and gave it a new name: World Wide Wrestling Federation, WWWF. It later became the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), then WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
- Who's the boss at WWE?
The man who dominates everything at WWE to this day is Vince McMahon, the younger (born on August 24, 1945), who took over at the beginning of the eighties: McMahon formed the initially only regionally active wrestling league into a global company, its CEO he is to this day - and for which he occasionally got into the ring as the main villain himself.
McMahon is now over 70 and is preparing the generation change. The bosses of the future are McMahon's daughter Stephanie - the company's chief brand officer - and her husband, Paul Levesque aka Triple H. The ring legend is responsible for talent development on the WWE board, and he and Stephanie are assuming ever more responsibility.
Who contests and wins the important matches, who is allowed to hold the title belt, who is generally presented as a big star, who plays the big bad guy and who the good: Vince McMahon and the small family council on the board of directors cannot ignore important creative decisions.
Since summer 2019 there are also so-called "Executive Directors" who watch over the creative processes at RAW and SmackDown. Paul Heyman (RAW) and Eric Bischoff (SmackDown), who were initially engaged for the jobs, have now both been replaced by McMahon's long-time confidante Bruce Prichard.
- Who will determine the winners of the matches?
The all important matches: McMahon personally. However, he has a large staff for the preparatory work. The stories that are told in and around the ring at WWE are thought up by the creative teams assigned to RAW, SmackDown and Co. in accordance with the guidelines set by the executive floor. The writers are often newcomers from Hollywood, actor Freddie Prinze Jr., for example, was once a WWE writer.
For every major show, a script is written that resembles a classic TV script: It defines the matches and their outcomes, as well as the arrangement and course of interviews, promo segments and fights. Deserved WWE stars are also allowed to contribute to the writing of their stories.
- Who designs the matches?
So-called producers, formerly known as road agents, are responsible for carrying out the matches and other segments in the ring. Ex-wrestlers like Jeff Jarrett, the "Road Dogg" Brian Armstrong and Jamie Noble are the link between writers and active people.
Hall of Fame member Michael Hayes is the senior producer.
How strongly a fight is choreographed depends on the importance of the fight and the experience of those involved. Reliable veterans are often only given the basics. "We wrestlers incorporate a lot more spontaneous, creative elements into the fights than most people think," said wrestler Cesaro once in an interview with SPORT1.
- Why did WWF become WWE?
The abbreviation from WWWF to WWF brought the league into conflict with the conservation organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF). For a while it was still able to be enclosed because the WWF assured the WWF that it would not sell itself via the abbreviation but via the advertised variant. In the Internet era, however, the controversy over the domain WWF.com turned into a rift: The conservationists complained that the league lost and was called WWE from 2002.
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