WWF as a Business
Since 1890, professional wrestling has garnered the attention of the public. However, no one has capitalized on this sport’s entertainment value more than the World Wrestling Federation and Vince McMahon Jr. Vince McMahon Jr. acquired the WWF from his father Vice McMahon Sr. in 1982. Vince McMahon Jr.’s succession brought along freshness, flare, success, and much controversy to the world of professional wrestling.
Before McMahon’s takeover of his father’s company, professional wrestling had various territories across the country in which each was headed by a “little lord.” These people in charge followed a gentleman’s agreement in which no takeovers of different territories were allowed. McMahon, however, broke this mold and took over all the markets by signing wrestlers to lucrative contracts, creating a “rock show” type of venue, and occupying prime television slots. The WWF began to enjoy much success as it took advantage of the cable network USA Network and delved into pay-per-view events.
This period of time for the WWF was somewhat monopolistic because of a lack of competition in the industry. After a failing attempt to buy some of the WWF’s stock, Ted Turner, owner of the TBS Network, sought to get into the wrestling business for himself. Ted Turner created the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and brought direct competition to the WWF. The WCW challenged the WWF’s success in every way, including its Monday night showcase and its use of headlining characters. Competition amongst the two wrestling corporations was brought to a head with a fight over WWF superstar, Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
The WWF is in a constant battle against time and the audience’s ever-changing wants and desires causing consistent reinvention. During early years of wrestling it was clear wrestling had no identity. Wrestlers would travel from region to region fighting in promoted venues, the sport slowly began to gain popularity but quickly lost steam during the Radio and TV age where popularity shifted to sports like boxing, baseball, and football. During this time Vince McMahon Sr. would begin the first of many reinventions of the sport.
Changes included starting a full scale wrestling federation (WWF) and the inception of a championship which wrestlers would compete for. Along with having to always change the image of the WWF, both McMahon SR. and McMahon Jr. had to deal with the rise and fall of the wrestlers/characters. This is an issue McMahon Jr. dealt with more so than his father, thanks to his strategy of making the characters lives accessible to fans through the plot twists used during wrestling events and TV show. When a character was hot they would be really hot and the merchandise and ratings would go through the roof. And just as fast as the character rose is as fast as they would fall. The problem comes when the owner has to designate how short or how long to push a character to the audience....