World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., 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 2018, 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 included 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 1980’s, 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.