24 January 1963
Many consider this the day the actual World Wide Wrestling Federation was formed, but
it only marked the day of which Lou Thesz beat Buddy Rogers in Toronto to capture the
National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship. Buddy Rogers had been
the top draw as a heel in the northeast and promoters in that region continued to
recognize him as the World Champion after this loss. Promoters Willie Gilzenberg, Joe
“Toots” Mondt, Vincent J. McMahon and the Capitol Sports Booking Office were all
members of the NWA. It has been cited that these promoters didn’t recognize the
January 24th win by Thesz because it was only a one-fall match. Other facts were that
Rogers was making big money for promoters in the northeast and according to some
sources, they attempted to book Thesz in their territory, but could not get into his already
busy schedule. Buddy Rogers had been booked by Capitol Sports and Lou Thesz was
booked by Sam Muchnick, the NWA President.
07 February 1963
A rematch between NWA World Champion Lou Thesz and Buddy Rogers took place in
Toronto and has been often overlooked. The match was a two-of-three-falls match and
was won by Thesz. The National Wrestling Alliance and nationwide reporters recognized
Thesz as the universal World Champion.
These “rouge” NWA promoters went a step further by establishing their own organization
and decided to withdraw their membership from the Alliance. The “World Wide Wrestling
Federation” (WWWF) was formed and Buddy Rogers was named the group’s initial
champion. Several additional reports stated that Rogers took the title in a tournament
final victory over Antonino Rocca in South America.
18 April 1963
“Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers was officially awarded the WWWF Title after his match with
Bruno Sammartino in Washington D.C.
17 May 1963
Over 19,000 fans packed Madison Square Garden in New York City to see Rogers
defend his title against Bruno Sammartino in a rematch. The challenger caught Buddy in
a powerful bearhug and at the 48-second mark, the World Wide Wrestling Federation
had a new champion. A new era of pro wrestling began.
02 August 1963
Bruno Sammartino teamed with Bobo Brazil in the main event of a Madison Square
Garden show in New York City. Their opponents were Buddy Rogers and Johnny
Barend. In two-of-three-falls, Barend and Rogers won. Also on the show were the
Fabulous Kangaroos, Brute Bernard and Skull Murphy, Tim Woods, Gorilla Monsoon,
Killer Kowalski and Pedro Morales.
16 December 1963
In the main event of a Madison Square Garden event, Bruno Sammartino successfully
defended his WWWF World Title against Dr. Jerry Graham. In another match, Killer
Kowalski, a co-holder of the United States Tag Team Title, teamed with Hans Mortier
against his championship partner, Gorilla Monsoon and Bobo Brazil. The bout ended in
a draw. The Tolos Brothers beat the Fabulous Kangaroos in other matches.
06 June 1964
Bruno Sammartino beat Gorilla Monsoon to retain his WWWF World Title in Madison
Square Garden in New York City. Bobo Brazil and Ernie Ladd teamed to beat the Mortier
Brothers, Hans and Max. Also on the show was Killer Kowalski and Bill Watts, who fought
each other to a draw.
16 November 1964
The WWWF continued to prove that it was holding some of the most important shows in
wrestling at New York’s Madison Square Garden. In the main event of a Monday Night
show, Bruno Sammartino beat former AWA and future NWA World Champion, Gene
Kiniski. The following superstars also worked the show: Haystacks Calhoun, Gorilla
Monsoon, Miguel Perez Sr., Boris Malenko, Pedro Morales, Fred Blassie, Sam
Steamboat, Luke Graham, Waldo Von Erich and Bobo Brazil.
25 December 1964
NWA Miami Promoter, Chris Dundee brought in Bruno Sammartino for a show at the
Miami Beach Convention Hall to defend his WWWF World Title. Two weeks earlier at the
Miami Beach Auditorium, the NWA World Champion Lou Thesz appeared. Sammartino
met and beat Duke Keomuka before more than 4,100 fans. Arnold Skoaland, another
WWWF wrestler, also appeared on the bill.
14 September 1970
In a shocking result, Bepo Mongol beat Bruno Sammartino in a non-title match at
Madison Square Garden in New York City. Bepo was the co-holder of the WWWF World
Tag Title with Gito.
18 January 1971
“The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff, guided by Captain Lou Albano, defeated Bruno
Sammartino to capture the WWWF World Heavyweight Title in New York’s Madison
Square Garden. Many consider it to be the upset of the century. Sammartino had
reigned as champion for 2,803 days, and today continues to be the longest in
08 February 1971
The popular Pedro Morales dethroned Ivan Koloff in New York City and won the WWWF
World Heavyweight Title.
24 May 1971
Tarzan Tyler headlined a Madison Square Garden show in New York against WWWF
World Champion, Pedro Morales. Morales retained his crown. Eddie Graham, Luke
Graham, Chief Jay Strongbow, Gorilla Monsoon, Jimmy Valiant and Bob Roop were
among the others who filled out the card.
Capitol Wrestling Corporation (Capitol Sports) rejoined the National Wrestling Alliance
and mended an old wound. The WWWF World Heavyweight Title became a territorial
championship, known as the WWWF Heavyweight Title, under the NWA World Title. The
reigning WWWF Champion was always a top contender to the NWA throne.
10 June 1972
Pedro Morales successfully defended his WWWF Title against Captain Lou Albano in
Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Arena in a special cage match.
02 September 1972
In New York’s Madison Square Garden, Pedro Morales wrestled Ernie Ladd for the
WWWF Heavyweight Title. After 15:50, Morales pinned his opponent and retained the
18 December 1972
A historic night of professional wrestling occurred in New York City and Madison Square
Garden on Monday, December 18, 1972. In the main event, Pedro Morales beat Ray
Stevens to retain his WWWF Title. The legendary father and son duo of Dory Funk Sr.
and Terry Funk teamed in a loss to Victor Rivera and El Olympico. Mil Mascaras, the first
masked wrestler to compete in New York after a ban on masked athletes was lifted by the
New York State Athletic Commission, beat The Spoiler.
30 September 1972
The two most popular figures in WWWF history were matched up in the main event of a
Shea Stadium spectacular in Flushing, New York. Pedro Morales defended his WWWF
Heavyweight Title against the “Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino. After … minutes, the
two wrestled a draw.
01 December 1973
The popularity of Pedro Morales had sustained the WWWF’s power in the northeast.
The heartpunch expert, Stan Stasiak beat Morales for the WWWF Championship in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Stasiak was managed by the “Manager of Champions,” The
10 December 1973
Nine days later, Bruno Sammartino won his second WWWF Heavyweight Title with a win
over Stan Stasiak at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The match had been Stasiak’s
first title defense. Was another seven year reign ahead?
Bruno Sammartino found one of his toughest opponents in a man from West Texas
named Stan “The Lariat” Hansen. Hansen lived up to his nickname when he broke
Sammartino’s neck with his famous “lariat” clothesline. Immediately after the champion
went down, both Hansen and his manager Fred Blassie claimed the WWWF Title. The
claim was not backed by any promoter and later dropped.
30 April 1977
“Superstar” Billy Graham beat Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF Heavyweight Title in
Baltimore, Maryland. Sammartino had reigned for an additional 1,237 days as the
heavyweight king. Like Stan Stasiak before him, Graham was guided to the title by The
25 January 1978
On Wednesday Evening, 12,000 fans attended the “SuperBowl of Professional Wrestling”
on a rainy night in Miami, Florida. The main event saw National Wrestling Alliance World
Heavyweight Champion Harley Race wrestle WWWF Champion Billy Graham in a title vs.
title match. A bloody and even match ended with Graham locked in a sleeperhold. When
the bell rang, Race thought he had won the match, but it had ended in a sixty-minute
draw. Fans responded in respect and appreciation for both champions’ work. A rematch
was scheduled for Jacksonville.
20 February 1978
An estimated 23,000 fans at Madison Square Garden in New York City saw former NCAA
Amateur Wrestling Champion, Bob Backlund dethrone Billy Graham and capture the
WWWF Heavyweight Title. Although Graham’s foot was on the bottom rope when the
pinfall was counted, referee Jack Lotz did not see it. The decision stood and Backlund’s
23 February 1978
The second SuperBowl of Professional Wrestling was also known as Night of Champions ’
78. The event took place on a Thursday Night at the Jacksonville Coliseum in
Jacksonville, Florida. Because of Billy Graham’s loss of the WWWF Title three days
earlier, Bob Backlund took over the spot in the main event against NWA World Champion
Harley Race. Jacksonville newspapers reported the title change and alteration to the
card on Wednesday, February 22nd. Bob Backlund and Harley Race followed suit in the
NWA vs. WWWF Title matches, going the distance and ending with a sixty-minute draw.
On the undercard, Women’s World Champion Fabulous Moolah beat Vicki Williams.
The organization faced some bad news when it’s reigning President and one of it’s
founding fathers, Willie Gilzenberg passed away at the age of 77.
The World Wide Wrestling Federation became the “World Wrestling Federation,”
dropping the “Wide” from it’s name.
25 March 1979
In yet another title vs. title match, Bob Backlund went to Toronto and wrestled the AWA
World Heavyweight Champion, Nick Bockwinkel to a double-countout.
30 November 1979
In controversial fashion, New Japan superstar Antonio Inoki beat Bob Backlund and
captured the WWF Heavyweight Title in Tokushima, Japan. The event marked the first
title change out of the continental United States. This title change has not been
recognized by many sources and many wrestling writers have refused to print the switch.
Inoki was also the NWF World Champion.
06 December 1979
In a rematch for the WWF Championship, Tiger Jeet Singh interfered and Antonio Inoki
retained the belt when the match was declared a no contest. Afterwards, Inoki gave up
the title and officials declared the vacant. Promoters in the United States scheduled a
match to determine a new champion in New York City.
12 December 1979
Bob Backlund won his second WWF Heavyweight Title with a vacant title victory over
Bobby Duncum Sr. at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The WWF worked closely with promoters in Los Angeles, Montreal, Quebec, Tokyo,
Japan and in Mexico. The organization used it’s strengths to build and expand. Among
the top superstars of the late 1970s and into the early 1980s were Andre the Giant,
Pedro Morales, Pat Patterson, Pedro Morales, Don Muraco, Ivan Putski, Larry Zbyszko
and many other younger stars who would become legends.
22 September 1980
Harley Race, the NWA World Champion, ventured into New York City to meet Bob
Backlund in a title vs. title match. Race was disqualified for hitting the referee and both
men retained their titles
19 October 1981
The WWF Heavyweight Title was held-up after a match between Bob Backlund and Greg
Valentine on October 19, 1981 at Madison Square Garden in New York. A rematch was
scheduled for November.
23 November 1981
Bob Backlund beat Greg Valentine in New York City and regained the WWF Heavyweight
Title. His third reign began.
04 July 1982
In Atlanta, Bob Backlund wrestled NWA World Champion Ric Flair in a title vs. title match.
The important match ended in a double-countout.
Vincent K. McMahon bought out his father and changed the name of the business from
Capitol (Sports) Wrestling to Titan Sports Promotions. The World Wrestling Federation
was looking at a major change.
Vince McMahon was firmly ready to go “national.” He separated from the NWA and
elevated his recognized WWF Heavyweight Title back to World Championship status.
Then he signed a chiasmic athlete away from the American Wrestling Association. When
that pen went to paper and Terry Bollea ventured to New York City, professional wrestling
altogether changed. It wasn’t just the WWF, and not just wrestling in the northeast, but
wrestling from Asia to Los Angeles changed. Most of it fell onto the shoulders of one
man. That individual was Hulk Hogan.
26 December 1983
“Ayatollah” Fred Blassie led the Iron Sheik to a victory over Bob Backlund for the WWF
World Heavyweight Title at Madison Square Garden. In 11:50, Backlund’s second,
Arnold Skoaland tossed in a towel to stop the match after the Sheik had caught Backlund
in a painful Camel Clutch. Backlund had three WWF Title reigns and led the organization
through his popularity with fans and his toughness in the ring.
In his continuing efforts to demolish individual territories, McMahon bought the NWA’s
television time on the cable outlet Superstation WTBS named “World Championship
Wrestling,” based out of Georgia. Instead of the normal wrestlers fans were used to
seeing, Hulk Hogan and the WWF’s stars were broadcast. Fans protested the change
with their phone calls. WCW Wrestling was moved to Saturday Mornings and then
returned to it’s normal position at 6:05 nine months later. The WWF had done it’s
damage. Taking their competitor’s off television and replacing them with their own stars
brought an interest to their organization in areas of the country which had grown on NWA
wrestling. McMahon soon purchased Georgia’s World Championship Wrestling.
23 January 1984
Only weeks after his return, Hulk Hogan defeated the Iron Sheik and captured the WWF
World Heavyweight Title in New York City. In a post-match party, Hogan celebrated with
Andre the Giant. The WWF had a new hero. Hogan had an earlier stint in the
organization several years earlier, but hadn’t exploded on the scene as “Hulkamania”
had. Hogan was also the IWGP World Champion in Asia.
29 May 1984
The man who helped the WWF become what it was, Vincent J. McMahon died at the age
of 69 in North Miami, Florida of cancer.
Hulk Hogan’s popularity was further expanding. Through feuds with Roddy Piper, Paul
Orndorff, The Iron Sheik, Greg Valentine, David Schultz, Terry Funk, Don Muraco and
Nikolai Volkoff. Hogan dominated his opponents and maintained his following through
thick and thin. Hogan’s legacy was only going in one direction. Up. Where he lacked the
scientific prowess of Ric Flair, he made up with his size and ring presence.
The organization scheduled appearances for Cyndi Lauper, a famous singer, on WWF
Television. A connection between wrestling and music began the “Rock and Wrestling”
era of the ’80s. Lauper began a feud with Captain Lou Albano, which lead to his
appearance in Lauper’s music videos “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “She Bop.”
23 July 1984
Several big-time wrestling shows were broadcast on Music Television (MTV). The “Brawl
to End it All” was held on Monday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Several of the matches were broadcast on MTV. Hulk Hogan successfully defended his
WWF World Title against Greg Valentine. Wendi Richter, who was managed by pop
music icon Cyndi Lauper, beat The Fabulous Moolah to capture the WWF Women’s
World Title. Tito Santana retained the WWF Intercontinental Title over Bob Orton Jr.
Vince McMahon invaded Calgary and bought Stu Hart’s Foothills Athletic Club Ltd…also
known as the Stampede wrestling organization. One of the perks of that deal was the
signing of a man named Brett “Hitman” Hart. Promoters were sure of his talents, but no
one could have predicted Hart’s future.
18 February 1985
The “War to Settle the Score” was the second live telecast on MTV from the WWF at
Madison Square Garden. In the main event, Hulk Hogan beat Roddy Piper by
disqualification and retained the WWF World Heavyweight Title. Leilani Kai won the
Women’s Title over the popular Wendi Richter.
WrestleMania was announced and would act as the annual “SuperBowl” of the World
Wrestling Federation. It would be the ultimate wrestling show and pay-per-view. The first
annual WrestleMania would be held on Sunday, March 31, 1985 in New York City at
Madison Square Garden. The event would be shown on an estimated 135 closed-circuit
television locations throughout the world.
With such names as Hogan, Mr. T, Lauper, Albano and Roddy Piper, the first
WrestleMania seemed as if it could be a wrestling event like never before seen. It was.
Seemingly beyond the NWA’s annual supershow, Starrcade. The promotions were
universal and fans were coming out of the woodwork.
28 March 1985
Hulk Hogan appeared on a Lifetime Cable Talkshow hosted by Richard Belzer three-days
before WrestleMania. The interview was to promote the event before a national
audience. Belzer, a comedian, asked Hogan to demonstrate a wrestling maneuver on
him. Hogan agreed and put Belzer in a front facelock. Belzer slumped in Hogan’s arms
and when the Hogan released the hold, the host dropped face first into the ground. His
head cracked opened and a pool of blood grew on the show’s floor. A lawsuit was filed
and settled out of court four years later in late 1989 for an undisclosed sum of money.
31 March 1985
WrestleMania I in New York’s Madison Square Garden was a huge success. Big name
entertainers and national coverage put the WWF’s name into the world spotlight. Among
the celebrities in attendance were Cyndi Lauper, Liberace, The Rocketts, Muhammad Ali
and Billy Martin. In the show’s main event, Hulk Hogan teamed with “B.A. Braccus” of the
A-Team, Mr. T against Paul Orndorff and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Hogan pinned Orndorff
to win the contest. Wendi Richter regained the WWF Women’s World Title over Leilani
Kai and The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff won the World Tag Title from Mike Rotundo
and Barry Windham. Andre the Giant beat Big John Studd in a special $15,000
bodyslam match. After the match, Andre gave some cash to ringside fans. 18,000 fans
were in attendance and WrestleMania I marked the only WrestleMania which the WWF
World Title was not up for grabs.
10 May 1985
The first ever Saturday Night’s Main Event was taped in Uniondale, New York. Hulk
Hogan faced off against Bob Orton Jr. in the show’s main event. SNME was broadcast
the next night on NBC.
13 June 1985
In Japan, Hulk Hogan wrestled Antonio Inoki in a battle of two rival World Heavyweight
Champions. Inoki was the IWGP Champ and Hogan was the WWF Champ. Inoki won the
battle, but no title changed hands.
08 July 1985
The first annual King of the Ring Tournament was held in Foxboro, Massachusetts at
Sullivan Stadium. 16-competitors battled for the honors. Among the wrestlers who
competed were almost a who’s who of pro-wrestling: Terry Funk, Pedro Morales, Paul
Orndorff, Don Muraco, Junkyard Dog, Johnny Valiant, Bob Orton Jr., Greg Valentine, Tito
Santana and B. Brian Blair. In the finals, Don Muraco beat the Iron Sheik and won the
07 April 1986
WrestleMania II was held in three separate locations and was the first broadcast on pay-
per-view. From the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Long Island, Mr. T beat Roddy
Piper in a special boxing match by disqualification. Among the sports and entertainment
celebrities involved in this portion of the show were Joe Frazier, Lou Duva, Joan Rivers,
G. Gordon Liddy, Cab Calloway and Darrell Dawkins. Randy Savage also retained his I-
C Title over George “The Animal” Steele. At the Rosemont Horizon in the western
Chicago area, the Fabulous Moolah beat Velvet McIntyre to retain her WWF Women’s
World Title. In a special twenty-man battle royal, Andre the Giant eliminated Bret Hart to
win. Several NFL football stars were involved in the match. The British Bulldogs also
captured the WWF World Tag Title from the Dream Team. Finally, in Los Angeles, Hulk
Hogan successfully defended his WWF World Title against King Kong Bundy. The match
was held inside of a cage. Tommy Lasorda, Rick Schroeder and Elvira were also in
28 August 1986
On Thursday Night at the Exhibition (CNE) Stadium in Toronto, 74,000 fans attended a
huge WWF spectacular. In the main event, Hulk Hogan beat Paul Orndorff by
disqualification. The Rougeau Brothers beat Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine.
Among the other names involved in the show were Dory Funk Jr., in the role of “Hoss”
Funk, Big John Studd, Don Muraco, Harley Race, Pedro Morales, Rick Steamboat, Jake
Roberts, Junkyard Dog, Adrian Adonis, Dick Slater and Billy Jack Haynes.
The legendary Andre the Giant made it publicly known during an interview segment on
Piper’s Pit, that he wanted a piece of Hulk Hogan and specifically yearned for the WWF
World Heavyweight Title. Andre tore the shirt and chain from around Hogan’s neck,
leaving an impact both on the champion and the fans. Bobby Heenan became his
29 March 1987
On Sunday, 93,173 fans packed the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac,Michigan, breaking an
American indoor attendance record. Hogan successfully defended his title against
Andre, body-slamming and pinning his opponent. The champ suffered an injury during
the match. The torch was passed. In other matches, Rick Steamboat beat Randy
Savage for the WWF Intercontinental Championship in one of the most highly regarded
WrestleMania matches of all time.
28 August 1987
The WWF presented longtime NWA Promoter, Paul Boesch’s Retirement Show in
Houston. Hogan defended his World Title against former UWF World Champion One
Man Gang in the main event.
The World Wrestling Federation continued to not only go “national,” but “international.”
WWF Wrestlers ventured into Milan, Italy and an estimated 10,000 fans saw the likes of
Junkyard Dog, Jim Duggan, Nikolai Volkoff, Sherri Martel, Dino Bravo and Greg
Valentine. It was the WWF’s first ever show in that country.
05 February 1988
The Hogan-Andre war was not over. The two met on a live edition of the “Main Event” on
NBC in prime time. Andre pinned Hogan and captured the WWF World Title.
Controversy immediately was spawned and two Hebners were on the scene. Andre
attempted to sell the belt to the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, but had it stripped from
him and it was declared vacant.
13 February 1988
WWF President, Jack Tunney announced that a World Heavyweight Title Tournament
would be held at WrestleMania IV, on Superstars of Wrestling.
A major problem came up around February 1988 when Randy Savage was announced
as the new WWF World Champion in the WWF’s Magazine. This was prior to his
participation in WrestleMania IV and the heavyweight title tournament. It was stated that
USA Today got a copy of the magazine and printed the results. Rumors also circulated
about a month following the WrestleMania card as well when Rick Rude was billed as the
WWF World Champion in a separate promotion for his appearance in Las Vegas. Rick
Rude never did capture the World Title, but did have a reign as the Intercontinental
Champion in 1989.
WWF wrestling in 1988 also saw the retirement of multiple-time World Champion, Harley
Race. It was stated that Race was put out of the business after his Saturday Night’s Main
Event bout with Hulk Hogan. Race would return later in the year.
27 March 1988
The first ever WWF World Heavyweight Title Tournament was held on Sunday in Atlantic
City, New Jersey. WrestleMania IV was shown on pay-per-view and broadcast in more
than 160 closed-circuit markets. 14-wrestlers entered the tournament and both Andre
the Giant and Hulk Hogan received a bye into the second round. In a shocker, Andre
and Hogan ended in a double-disqualification and were disqualified. Their eliminations
opened the door for many others, but many considered Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase
to be the favorites. Savage and DiBiase successfully advanced to the finals and in a
dramatic moment, Savage landed his elbowdrop and scored a winning pin. He captured
the vacant WWF World Title. In other matches, Demolition won the WWF World Tag Title
from Strike Force and Bad News Brown won a battle royal. Among the celebrities and
dignitaries at the show were Glades Knight, Bob Uecker, Vanna White, Robin Leach,
Sugar Ray Leonard and Donald Trump.
03 February 1989
After WrestleMania IV, a partnership between Randy Savage, Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan
had been formed. They were known as the “Mega Powers,” and by early ’89, Elizabeth
was directly in the middle of both superstars. On February 3rd in Milwaukee, the Mega
Powers wrestled the Twin Towers during a live edition of The Main Event on NBC. After
Elizabeth was knocked down, Hogan rushed to her aid. He carried her back to the
dressing room for assistance as Savage was beaten by both the Big Bossman and
Akeem. Later, Savage attacked Hogan and the Mega Powers were officials separated.
Their feud was leading up to WrestleMania.
02 April 1989
The explosion of the Mega Powers culminated in their WrestleMania V main event contest
in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Where Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage had celebrated the
year earlier, both men wrestled for the WWF World Title. In the end, Hogan kicked out of
a top-rope elbowdrop and landed his finisher. He pinned Savage and won his second
WWF Title. In another match, “Ravishing” Rick Rude won the Intercontinental Title from
the Ultimate Warrior with some help from Bobby Heenan. The Warrior would regain the
title at SummerSlam.
21 January 1990
During the third annual Royal Rumble, Hulk Hogan ran into the organization’s second
most popular wrestler, the Ultimate Warrior. Alone in the ring and in the midst of the
Rumble, Hogan and Warrior squared off for the first time as fans everywhere stood. Fan-
favorites vs. fan-favorites were a very uncommon thing in the WWF. The two circled
each other and then criss-crossed off the ropes leading into a double clothesline. Both
men laid barely unmoving until a third participant entered through the ropes. More was
27 January 1990
Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior were forced to team against Mr. Perfect and the
Genius during Saturday Night’s Main Event in Chattanooga. After a miscue, an
accidental blow nearly brought the two to fists. Soon thereafter, the main event for
WrestleMania VI was announced. It was going to be Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior
in a title vs. title match, the WWF World Champion vs. the WWF Intercontinental
23 February 1990
Earlier in February 1990, James “Buster” Douglas won the Boxing World Heavyweight
Title in an upset over Mike Tyson in Tokyo. In Detroit, Douglas replaced Tyson as the
special outside the ring referee for a match between Hulk Hogan and “King” Randy
Savage on the Main Event. Douglas’ participation would become more than just the
observer as he counted the final pinfall on Savage for Hogan. Afterwards, Savage had
words for Douglas as Hogan watched. When he had enough, Douglas punched Savage
and knocked him out. The two champions celebrated before a screaming audience.
01 April 1990
In Toronto’s Skydome, the “Ultimate Challenge” saw Hulk Hogan wrestle the Ultimate
Warrior in a battle between the WWF’s top two babyfaces. 67,678 fans saw the Warrior
pin Hogan after the latter missed his famous legdrop. The Warrior landed a splash and
pinned the World Champion and became the first man to hold both the WWF Title and
the WWF I-C Title simultaneously. After the match, Hogan handed the belts to the
Warrior and left as a symbolic “torch” was passed. Also on the show, Demolition, Ax and
Smash, regained the WWF World Tag Title from the Colossal Connection.
One of the WWF’s most popular athletes, Brutus Beefcake suffered serious injuries in a
boating accident near Tampa, Florida. Early speculation was that he would never return
to the ring, but he made sporadic appearances in 1992 and 1993 before jumping to
WCW in 1994. He would headline Starrcade that year.
An incident on the mat caused the World Wrestling Federation years of anguish and lead
to call for a $26.7 million compensation payment from a Tampa, Florida judge and jury in
May 1994. Preliminary wrestler and upstart, Charles Austin suffered a serious injury
during a tag team match when Marty Jannetty’s “Rocker Dropper” broke his neck and
paralyzed him from the neck down. Austin originally asked for $3.8 million and the final
outcome was seven times more.
The WWF signed both former NWA World Champion Kerry Von Erich and the legendary
tag team, Legion of Doom. “LOD” were also known as the Road Warriors, Hawk and
The United States prepared it’s military for an impending war against Iraq. Sgt. Slaughter
soon turned against the country he loved for so long and declared loyalty for Iraq, and
instantaneously became the most hated man in wrestling. Slaughter took General Adnan
and Colonel Mustafa as seconds.
17 December 1990
The WWF’s weekly Monday Show, “Prime Time Wrestling,” aired it’s 300th episode. The
show was hosted, at it normally would have been, by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan.
19 January 1991
In Miami, the fourth annual Royal Rumble was held and was headlined by the 30-man
Rumble and a WWF Title match between champion, the Ultimate Warrior and Sgt.
Slaughter. With help from Randy Savage, Slaughter beat the Warrior and won the World
Title. Hulk Hogan won his second consecutive Rumble, last eliminating the Earthquake in
Promoters made arrangements for a Hulk Hogan-Slaughter Title Match at WrestleMania
VII in Los Angeles. Originally planned to sell out the Rose Bowl with an upwards of
100,000 fans, but changed it’s location to the Sports Arena due to safety precautions.
24 March 1991
Hulk Hogan pinned Sgt. Slaughter to capture his third World Title at WrestleMania VII in
Sid Vicious was signed by the WWF and was named as the special referee for the main
event of SummerSlam in New York City. Vicious, who was coming off his Four Horsemen
stint in WCW, altered his name to “Sid Justice.”
26 August 1991
An estimated 20,000 fans packed Madison Square Garden in New York City to see Hulk
Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior beat the Triangle of Terror and finally put the pro-Iraqi
supporters out of business. Sid Justice performed the officiating duties and celebrated
with Hogan after the match. The Warrior was surprisingly absent. Also on the show, the
Legion of Doom beat the Nasty Boys and became the first team in history to have won
the AWA, NWA and WWF World Tag Team Titles. Bret Hart also beat Mr. Perfect in a
classic contest and won the Intercontinental Title.
10 September 1991
Aside from Sid Justice, there was another former Four Horsemen member who was about
to make his presence felt in WWF arenas. The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair appeared and
claimed that he was the real World’s Champion and held the gold belt fans remembered
him wearing in WCW. The former NWA and WCW World Champion made his debut on
September 10th in Cornwall, Ontario. Flair made Jim Powers submit to his figure-four
27 November 1991
Hulk Hogan was pinned by the Undertaker and lost the WWF World Title in Detroit at the
Survivor Series. Flair played a part in the finish. A rematch between Hogan and the
Undertaker was scheduled for December 3rd at a special pay-per-view entitled “Tuesday
in Texas.” Hogan regained the championship that night at the Freeman Coliseum in San
Antonio. The following day in Austin, WWF President, Jack Tunney declared the WWF
Title vacant due to the circumstances surrounding Tuesday’s match. The belt was put up
for vacancy in the 1992 Royal Rumble.
19 January 1992
Ric Flair drew number three in the Royal Rumble event in Albany, New York and lasted
for over sixty-minutes. He ousted Sid Justice in the finals and captured the vacant WWF
World Heavyweight Title. Flair became the second man in history and the second
“Nature Boy” to have held both the NWA and WWWF/WWF World Titles. The first was
Buddy Rogers, a man who Flair was often compared to.
26 June 1992
The legendary “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers died of a stroke in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at
the age of 71. Rogers had established himself as one of wrestling history’s best, and
was the initial WWWF World Champion in 1963.
13 October 1992
Wrestling got a jolt when the circus came to town in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Doink
the Clown made his WWF debut.
Accomplished tandem, Rick and Scott Steiner signed with the World Wrestling Federation
and joined a tough tag team division.
11 January 1993
The first ever Monday Night Raw was broadcast live on the USA Network from the
Manhattan Center in New York City, New York. The Undertaker wrestled Damien
Demento and Koko B. Ware grappled against the mammoth Yokozuna.
01 February 1993
The WWF gave a respectful 10-bell salute to the late Andre the Giant on Monday Night
Raw. Pictures of the man’s heroic career was shown. Andre had died in January. The
WWF paid tribute to him again in March.
04 April 1993
At Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Yokozuna went into a WWF World Title match against
Bret Hart and won the title, then dropped the strap to Hulk Hogan. A confident Yokozuna
and his manager, Mr. Fuji made a challenge to Hogan after the latter had run out to help
Hart from the ring. Hogan accepted. He pinned Yokozuna and captured his fifth WWF
Title. The following day, WWF President Jack Tunney validated the title switch in Phoenix.
The WWF formed a business partnership with the United States Wrestling Association
and Jerry Lawler. Lawler traveled north to do television commentary and wrestle. Other
wrestlers would soon make the trip both to the WWF from the USWA and to the USWA
from the WWF. A similar partnership was formed with Smokey Mountain Wrestling,
another independent organization. The SMW Tag Team Title actually changed hands on
a WWF Pay-per-view on November 24, 1993. The WWF was helping these two
promotions gain more national recognition.
28 September 1993
Tatanka’s long winning streak came to an end on September 28, 1993 in Worcester,
Massachusetts. Lost a match to Ludvig Borga after being smashed in the ribs with a
steel chair, then tossed back into the ring and covered for the three-count.
24 November 1993
Controversy within the Hart Family began during the Survivor Series in Boston. Bret
teamed with brothers Owen, Bruce and Keith Hart against Shawn Michaels and the
colored Knights. A rift between Bret and Owen began, but apparently was brushed under
the mat once the show was over. In December and going into January, Bret and Owen
formed a highly successful tag team. The duo made a strong challenge towards the
WWF World Tag Team Title. After a falling out at the Royal Rumble, Bret and Owen
would feud throughout 1994 and staged some of the organization’s best matches in
history. The Harts engaged in several 60-minute broadways which fans today still talk
22 January 1994
Bret Hart and Lex Luger co-won the Royal Rumble in Providence when both men hit the
arena floor at the same time. According to WWF Rules, they would each receive a World
Title shot at WrestleMania.
20 March 1994
Yokozuna retained his WWF World Title against Lex Luger with a disqualification victory,
but lost the belt to Bret Hart. WrestleMania X was held at Madison Square Garden in New
York City and was billed as “Ten Years in the Making.” After Hart’s victory, members from
the locker room ran out and hoisted the new champion onto their shoulders as the large
audience applauded. Earlier in the night, Bret’s brother Owen pinned him and after the
main event, immediately became the top contender to the World Title.
Jesse Ventura was awarded a $809,958 lawsuit by a federal jury in St. Paul, Minnesota
when it was found that Titan Sports had failed to pay him certain royalties on videotapes
in which the future Governor participated. He originally sought $2-million in the case.
23 November 1994
Bob Backlund won his fourth WWF World Heavyweight Title with a controversial victory
over Bret Hart in San Antonio. The match ended when Hart’s mother Helen tossed a
towel into the ring, reminiscent of the way Backlund lost his last WWF Title to the Iron
Sheik in New York.
26 November 1994
Diesel, better known today as Kevin Nash, beat Bob Backlund at Madison Square
Garden and won the WWF World Heavyweight Title. A long reign was ahead.
One of the World Wrestling Federation’s most widely acclaimed and successful attempts
to drive pro wrestling into the mainstream light occurred in early 1995. Former New York
Giant and Hall of Fame Linebacker, Lawrence Taylor was lured into the ring for the co-
main event of WrestleMania XI in Hartford on April 2nd. Taylor was going to stand across
the ring from Bam Bam Bigelow, one of the top rated big men in the world. The Bigelow-
Taylor contest was heavily promoted and both men appeared for a press conference, a
live workout in New York and on the Howard Stern Show.
02 April 1995
WrestleMania XI was held in Hartford, Connecticut. In one of the main events, Diesel
pinned Shawn Michaels to retain his WWF World Heavyweight Title in 20:40. Both men
were accompanied two of the most beautiful women in the world. Michaels had Jennifer
McCarthy on his side and Diesel had Pamela Anderson. Lawrence Taylor defeated Bam
Bam Bigelow in his match while NFL superstars Carl Banks, Reggie White, Steve
McMichael and Chris Spielman looked on.
04 September 1995
The WWF and Monday Night Raw received a jolt when World Championship Wrestling’s
Nitro on TNT hit the air waves. The Monday Night wars began with each trying to out-do
the other. WCW won the first battle when it resigned Lex Luger away from the WWF less
than twenty-four hours after appearing on a WWF card. More shockers were to come.
18 December 1995
Once again, the WWF faced a problem on Monday Night when Women’s World
Champion Alundra Blayze appeared on WCW Monday Nitro with the WWF Belt.
Wrestling fans were shocked when she tossed the belt into the garbage and returned to
her old persona, Madusa.
25 December 1995
Rather then putting on an edition of Monday Raw on December 25th, the WWF instead
let WCW put on a show unmatched and instead put on a special show that Thursday
Night on USA. It was a half-hour long and promoted the WWF World Title and it’s
importance in the wrestling world. The program ended with a tribute to Shawn Michaels.
29 January 1996
During Monday Night Raw, a “Billionaire Ted Press Conference” was held, continuing the
growing feud between Ted Turner and WCW and Vince McMahon and the WWF. Later
that night, Mankind was introduced as well as Roddy Piper in the position of interim WWF
06 May 1996
The WWF paid tribute to legendary grappler Ray Stevens during Monday Night Raw.
Future WWF Champion Kurt Angle captured the Olympic Gold Medal in Atlanta,
Georgia. His legendary status as a amateur wrestler was pounded into stone.
16 September 1996
Jim Ross announced during Raw that Razor Ramon and Diesel were going to appear on
the following week’s show. WWF President, Gorilla Monsoon said the information was
false. The news got many fans wondering if, in fact, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had left
WCW and returned to the WWF. When it came down to it, Ramon and Diesel did
appear, but they weren’t the men many were expecting to see.
08 January 1996
The “Ring Master” Steve Austin made his World Wrestling Federation debut during
Monday Night Raw. Austin, with manager Ted DiBiase, had an interview with Brother
Love. Austin adopted the “Million Dollar Dream” sleeperhold as his finisher and DiBiase
supplied him with the Million Dollar Belt. His potential was unknown.
21 January 1996
Shawn Michaels won his second-straight Royal Rumble in Fresno, California, last
eliminating Diesel. In the WWF World Title match, Bret Hart retained his title but lost to
the Undertaker by disqualification.
31 March 1996
WrestleMania XII saw an epic match between WWF World Champion Bret Hart and
Shawn Michaels in Anaheim, California. The two grapplers went 61:52 in an Iron Man
Match with only one fall scored for Michaels. The belt changed hands. Steve Austin
made his WrestleMania debut and beat Savio Vega. Also at WrestleMania were “Rowdy”
Roddy Piper, The Ultimate Warrior, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, The Undertaker, Diesel,
Owen Hart and Yokozuna. In the “Free for All” match was the Huckster against the Nacho
19 May 1996
A house show at Madison Square Garden saw Shawn Michaels successfully defend his
WWF World Title against Diesel in Kevin Nash’s final match in the WWF before jumping
to WCW. Razor Ramon, who was also wrestling his final match, had wrestled his final
match against Hunter Hearst Helmsley. When the Michaels-Diesel match ended,
Helmsley and Ramon (Scott Hall) went to the ring and joined their “Clique” teammates,
breaking kayfabe. The quartet celebrated in the ring as fans watched history.
23 June 1996
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was being born before the public’s eye. In Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, Austin won the King of the Ring Tournament, overcoming a 16-stitch injury he
suffered to his mouth, with a defeat of Jake Roberts in the finals.
22 September 1996
Entering enemy territory, the WWF promoted a pay-per-view event in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania entitled “Mind Games.” Philadelphia was the home of Extreme
Championship Wrestling, a rouge promotion which was building a national following. In
the front row were Paul E. Dangerously (Heyman), The Sandman and Tommy Dreamer.
The trio had words for the WWF’s athletes and were escorted from the building. A WWF-
ECW relationship would be formed. In the main event, Shawn Michaels won a tough and
memorable match against Mankind.
17 November 1996
After years in the hunt and placing consistently in the top five of the so-called “Big Two,”
Sid Vicious captured his first major World Championship with a defeat of Shawn Michaels
in New York City. The title change occurred at the 1996 Survivor Series. In other
matches, Bret Hart beat Steve Austin and Rocky Maivia Jr. (The Rock) made his pay-per-
19 January 1997
1997 was going to quickly prove to be the year of “Stone Cold.” Steve Austin won the
annual Royal Rumble before 60,000 fans at the AlamoDome in San Antonio. He would
soon enter a vicious feud with Bret Hart and the Hart Foundation. Through his
“Rattlesnake” image, Austin became the most popular man in the business.
03 August 1997
In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Bret Hart beat The Undertaker and captured the WWF
World Heavyweight Title for a fifth time. Shawn Michaels acted as special referee. Steve
Austin won the Intercontinental Title over Owen Hart in 16:16, but suffered a serious neck
injury in the process. He was carried from the ring and taken to a local hospital.
The “Excellence of Execution” Bret Hart signed an unprecedented twenty-year contract
extension with the World Wrestling Federation. The contract was later voided.
04 October 1997
Brian Pillman lost a match to Goldust at a house show in St. Paul, Minnesota. The bout
was his last. Mr. Pillman was found dead the next day in a hotel room in Bloomington. He
was 36 years of age and it was later learned that he had died of heart disease.
05 October 1997
The WWF ran it’s “Badd Blood” pay-per-view from the Kiel Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
More then 21,000 fans turned out to see Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker wrestle a
classic “Hell in a Cell” cage match. During the program, the WWF honored the city of St.
Louis and it’s decades of professional wrestling history. A number of wrestling legends
were brought to the ring and honored. Jim Ross announced each dignitary, as a short
bio played. Gene Kiniski, “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” was the initial man brought out.
Jack Brisco, Dory Funk Jr., Harley Race, Terry Funk, Lou Thesz and Sam Muchnick
followed. Some of wrestling’s greatest individuals stood together as the WWF and it’s
fans paid tribute to their years of work.
09 November 1997
At the Survivor Series, a situation arose that will forever be remembered. It was the
infamous, “Montreal Finish.” After the fabled “twenty-year contract” was altered, and a
falling out with Vince McMahon, Bret Hart signed with World Championship Wrestling. At
the time, he was still the WWF World Champion. To prevent Hart from taking the WWF
Title to WCW, organizers planned to have him lose to Shawn Michaels at the Survivor
Series in Montreal. Hart didn’t want to lose the title in his home country. The film “Bret
Hart, Wrestling With Shadows” documented the situation completely. During the brutal
match, Michaels locked Hart in the sharpshooter and seconds later, the bell rang. Hart
had apparently given up and the title changed hands. The question was, did Hart give
up? An altercation between Hart and Vince McMahon took place backstage afterwards.
It was over and everyone had witnessed the action in the ring. Michaels was the
champion. During an edition of Raw, members of DeGeneration X mocked the “Hitman”
in the ring. Many were forced to wonder whether others had known about what was
going to transpire that night in Montreal. A legend was gone from the WWF and
professional wrestling had changed forever.
29 March 1998
Steve Austin won his first WWF World Heavyweight Title from Shawn Michaels in the main
event of WrestleMania XIV in Boston, Massachusetts.
11 August 1998
Shane McMahon, the fourth generation McMahon in the business, became the President
of New Media for Titan Sports Inc., and the World Wrestling Federation.
27 September 1998
The WWF World Title was declared vacant after a controversial match between Steve
Austin, The Undertaker and Kane in Hamilton, Ontario. A WWF Title Tournament was
planned for only the second time in organization history.
15 November 1998
Just a matter of two years after his professional wrestling debut, Rocky Maivia Jr.,
otherwise known as The Rock, captured the WWF World Heavyweight Title. Maivia won
a tournament final over Mankind in St. Louis and also marked his joining of Vince
29 December 1998
Four days after Christmas, Mick Foley won his first World Championship in Worcester,
Massachusetts as Mankind. The Maivia-Mankind war was just beginning. On January
24, 1999, Maivia regained the belt at the Royal Rumble. In the 30-man, over-the-top-
rope Rumble, Vince McMahon ousted Steve Austin for the victory. Two days later,
Mankind regained the belt in a special, empty arena match in Tucson. The bout was held
at the Convention Center, taped and broadcast during the WWF’s special “Halftime Heat”
show on the USA Network in-conjunction with the SuperBowl on ABC.
Titan Sports became “World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc.,” and a percentage
of the company was put up to the public on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Competing
against the likes of “Friends” and other top rated television shows, WWF “Smackdown”
was broadcast on the UPN Network and consistently drew high ratings. In it’s first year,
Smackdown saw many of the WWF’s top athletes compete and a number of title
changes. It quickly became an important factor in the World Wrestling Federation’s
continued success. Loyal WWF fans knew what they were watching on Thursday Nights.
28 March 1999
WrestleMania XV in Philadelphia saw Steve Austin defeat The Rock for his third WWF
World Heavyweight Title.
23 May 1999
On Sunday, the WWF held it’s second annual “Over the Edge” pay-per-view at the
Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Owen Hart, a former Intercontinental
Champion, was scheduled to challenge The Godfather for the belt in one of the show’s
most anticipated matches. Many speculated that Hart was finally going to regain the belt
after being without it for over 16-months. Prior to the match, Hart prepared to descend to
the ring from the arena’s rafters as the Blue Blazer, a longtime gimmick he first used ten
years earlier. The harness failed and Hart fell to the ring below, over 70 feet down and
into a turnbuckle. Mr. Owen Hart died from his injuries. The wrestling community
mourned the loss of one of it’s superstars and heroes. The WWF paid tribute to him, as
did World Championship Wrestling, the following night on Raw.
23 August 1999
In Ames, Iowa, Hunter Hearst Helmsley won his first ever WWF World Title with a victory
over Mankind on Raw.
14 September 1999
Vince McMahon, the head of the World Wrestling Federation, beat Hunter Hearst
Helmsley and captured the WWF World Title in Las Vegas, Nevada during a Smackdown
Taping. McMahon received an assist from Steve Austin and his son Shane acted as
20 September 1999
Six days as World Champion was seemingly enough for Vince McMahon. During the live
Raw telecast from Houston, McMahon gave up the belt to vacancy and announced that it
would be up for the winner of a “Six-Pack” challenge at Unforgiven. Triple H would win
05 October 1999
Darren Drosdov was paralyzed during a Smackdown Taping in Uniondale, New York. He
had been competing in a match against D-Lo Brown when the accident occurred.
Paramedics immediately rushed to his aid.
06 October 1999
In another blow to the sport of wrestling, legendary Gorilla Monsoon died on Wednesday
in New Jersey. The WWF and WCW both paid tribute to him during their respected
Monday Night programs.
Two WWF creative directors left the organization for it’s rival, WCW. They were Vince
Russo and Ed Ferrara.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley seemingly tricked Stephanie McMahon, Vince McMahon’s
daughter, into marriage in Las Vegas. The situation immediately drew the ire of the
entire McMahon Family. The WWF’s Owner battled Helmsley in a bloody war at the
December pay-per-view. Helmsley won, with help from Stephanie. It appeared that she
had accepted the bond and joined Triple H in his quest to be the top man in the
14 November 1999
The Big Show, replacing the injured Steve Austin, beat Hunter Hearst Helmsley and The
Rock in Detroit and became the sixth man in history to have captured both the NWA/
WCW and WWF World Heavyweight Titles. Austin’s neck injury would require surgery
and prevent him from wrestling until late 2000.
03 January 2000
One of the most notable actions in WWF History occurred in Miami. Stephanie McMahon-
Helmsley went to the ring with the Intercontinental Belt in her possession. She
announced that both Chris Jericho and Chyna owned a right to the belt, making it the first
championship held by both a male and a female at the same time. If one of them were to
lose a match, both would drop the strap. That night, Chyna was successful in a defense
against Hardcore Holly…with help from Jericho.
31 January 2000
Four wrestlers were broadcast on Monday’s Raw is War in the front row of the live show.
They were Perry Saturn, Eddy Guerrero, Dean Malenko and former World Champion,
Chris Benoit, all former employees of World Championship Wrestling. The group of four
would soon be signed by the WWF, much to the delight of fans.
03 February 2000
On Thursday, Vince McMahon announced that he was going to start a new professional
football league, named the “XFL,” beginning in February 2001. The XFL would have
30 April 2000
The Rock captured his fourth WWF World Championship before 17,000 fans at the MCI
Center in Washington DC. His defeat over Hunter Hearst Helmsley meant he had to also
overcome the special referee, Shane McMahon, who was on the champion’s side. “Stone
Cold” Steve Austin also made his return to celebrate with the Rock afterwards.
WWF athletes were seen on all over mainstream television. Edge appeared on Total
Request Live on MTV on Friday, August 25, 2000. Chyna and The Rock appeared on
the MTV Video Music Awards live from New York on Thursday, September 7, 2000.
Chyna announced an award with Survivor Winner, Richard Batch, while the Rock
appeared with Kid Rock. Both were memorable scenes for the millions watching around
27 September 2000
In the Fall of 2000, the WWF left the USA Network and joined Viacom. It’s programming
switched channels to The National Network (TNN) and MTV. Making it debut on
September 27, 2000, Raw is War set the highest ratings in TNN’s 17-year record with it’s
first week’s broadcast. Many wondered if the jump would confuse the organization’s fans,
but it didn’t. The WWF only lost two points in the ratings from a 5.7 on USA, to a 5.5 on
The WWF moved it’s holdings to the New York Stock Exchange and altered it’s symbol
from WWFE to simply “WWF.” Also, the group continued to beat WCW in the ratings.
25 February 2001
A major World Wrestling Federation record was broken by the Rock, one of the youngest
and most popular wrestlers in the business, when he captured his sixth WWF World
Championship. The win over Kurt Angle propelled him over “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan
and Bret “Hitman” Hart, whom he had previously shared the record with at five. Also on
the bill was a legendary two-of-three falls contest between Steve Austin and Hunter
Hearst Helmsley. Austin won the first fall with a stunner, but lost the second after being
leveled with a pedigree. Helmsley won the bloody final fall in a cage and the time of the
match was 39:28. The match was named Match of the Year ’01 by WWF fans.
World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. purchased World Championship Wrestling
from Time-Warner. On the 26th of that month, the WWF and WCW co-existed on the
same planet for the first time since the early 1980s. Shane McMahon appeared in
Panama City Beach, Florida and announced that he had purchased WCW while Vince
McMahon watched live from Cleveland. The match-up was simulcast on both Nitro on
TNT and Raw on TNN. The March 26th airing of Nitro was the final on Turner Network
Television. Prior to Shane McMahon’s appearance from Florida, Vince McMahon spoke
to the live WWF audience and ran through a list of WCW wrestlers before announcing
that he was putting WCW on the “shelf.” Among the names mentioned on WWF
Television were Hulk Hogan, Booker T, Scott Steiner and Sting.
01 April 2001
At WrestleMania in Houston, 67,925 packed the Reliant Astrodome to see Steve Austin
beat the Rock for his fifth WWF World Title. Austin had some surprising assistance from
his longtime nemesis, Vince McMahon in the win. Chyna beat Ivory to capture the WWF
Women’s Title. Christian and Edge won a memorable Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC)
II match. Also, a Gimmick Battle Royal was held with many famous names from the past.
Sgt. Slaughter, Doink the Clown, The Bushwhackers, Jim Cornette, Michael Hayes, One
Man Gang, Tugboat, Brother Love, Nicolai Volkoff and Kamala were all involved. Former
WWF Champion, The Iron Sheik won.
02 April 2001
The next night in Fort Worth, Austin announced his new loyalties to McMahon much to
the dismay of the organization’s fans. Hunter Hearst Helmsley also joined McMahon and
Austin’s alliance. Later in the week, The Rock was indefinitely suspended and Helmsley
won the Intercontinental Championship from Chris Jericho.
Like the World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF) before it, the XFL failed to meet
expectations and folded.
Into the summer, Shane McMahon made numerous appearances on WWF Telecasts with
the WCW logo not far behind. It wasn’t long before World Championship Wrestling
Wrestlers were also making themselves known and felt by interjecting into matches.
Dallas Page, Booker T, Lance Storm and Hugh Morris were among the first to join the
fracas. A war had started. WWF vs. WCW.
09 July 2001
Before things could get too far out of hand, the wrestling world exploded on Monday night
in Atlanta when Paul Heyman and Stephanie McMahon reformed Extreme Championship
Wrestling. ECW’s heavy-handed crew aligned itself with Shane McMahon and WCW in it’
s battle against the WWF. They would be known collectively as the “Alliance.”
12 July 2001
When it seemed that everything was going downhill, Vince McMahon made an
impassioned plea to Steve Austin during Smackdown to return to his old habits and
recover the lost “Rattlesnake” inside. Austin walked away without a word. Austin
temporarily returned to his old self and joined four other WWF superstars in their war with
the Alliance at the Invasion pay-per-view. In the end, Austin jumped sides and left the
WWF and Vince McMahon behind. The WWF World Title went with him. The Alliance
had control of both the WWF and WCW World Heavyweight Titles.
Hollywood Superstar, The Rock returned to professional wrestling in August 2001.
Before the end of the month, he would win the WCW World Heavyweight Title from
11 September 2001
On September 11, 2001, the United States and the entire world was rocked by terrorism.
The Smackdown Taping which was scheduled to have been held that Tuesday in
Houston was rescheduled for Thursday. The broadcast was the first major sports event
to be held live. Thousands of fans turned out for the event, ready to show their
patriotism. The WWF was applauded on many levels for their boldness in continuing
American life despite the horrors which had been thrust upon freedom everywhere. The
superstars of the organization spoke on a personal level, directed away from the mat and
the normal entertainment many were used to seeing. The tears were real.
Fall of 2001
Linda McMahon, the WWF CEO, presented a $1,000,000 check to New York City Mayor
Rudolph Guiliani in behalf of the World Wrestling Federation. The money was to aid
those families in need of financial support.
Fall of 2001
During the fall of 2001, a member of the Alliance had become one of the most popular
athletes in the promotion. The man was the “Whole F’n Show” Rob Van Dam. “R.V.D”
chants could not be avoided in any city that the WWF toured. Rumors had also stated
that “R.V.D” had been bellowed by wrestling fans at a Major League Baseball game.
Many of his early WWF matches were praised by critics. Van Dam captured the WWF
World Hardcore Title and battled the likes of Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, Steve Austin and
The Rock. Fans predicted bigger things for him. Van Dam co-headlined the October
pay-per-view with Austin and Kurt Angle.
21 October 2001
The WWF Website read “Jericho Wins The Big One!” on it’s front page after the No
Mercy pay-per-view on Monday, October 22, 2001. The event had been held the night
prior in St. Louis, Missouri at the Savvis Center. The headline made reference to Chris
Jericho’s victory over The Rock for the WCW World Heavyweight Title. “Y2J” had
wrestled in WCW for several years in the late ‘90’s prior to jumping to the WWF. During
his tenure in the Atlanta-based organization, Jericho never captured the World
Heavyweight Championship. He did hold both the Cruiserweight and World Television
Titles. Since his joining the WWF in 1999, Jericho won both the WWF World Tag Title
and the WWF Intercontinental Titles. A World Heavyweight Title continued to elude him.
On October 21st, Jericho finally realized his dream and had become the WCW World
Early Nov 2001
In early November 2001, America’s own Kurt Angle turned on his fans and joined Steve
Austin and the Alliance. The jump of sides was one of the most unexpected in recent
history. Vince McMahon also returned to battle his son Shane in a memorable street-
fight on Raw.
09 November 2001
On Friday, WWFE announced that they were laying off nine-percent of it’s workforce.
WWF President and COO, Stuart Snyder announced his resignation.
18 November 2001
The WWF rekindled some lost faith when it’s athletes defeated the Alliance at the
Survivor Series on November 18, 2001 in Greensboro, NC. Kurt Angle hit Steve Austin
with a belt and The Rock landed a “Rock Bottom.” A three-count was made and the WWF
had won it’s several month war with members from WCW-ECW. The WCW U.S. Title had
been unified with the Intercontinental Title and the WCW World Tag Title was unified with
the WWF World Tag Team Title.
19 November 2001
During an edition of Raw live from Charlotte, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair appeared and settled
dozens of rumors which were riding the line between him showing up and him not. It was
Flair’s first WWF appearance since early 1993. He strutted to the ring before Vince
McMahon and Kurt Angle and announced that he was the new co-owner of the WWF,
having bought the shares sold by Shane and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley months
earlier. Flair was greeted by an out-pouring of respect and excitement, reminding many
of his September 1998 return in Greenville. Jerry Lawler also returned to the WWF that
night, replacing Paul Heyman in the broadcast booth. Heyman had taken a beating from
Jim Ross and physically carried from the ring area. Those remaining members of the
Alliance, the champions, were going to face tremendous odds in their matches. For
example, WWF World Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam wrestled the Dudley Boys in a
handicap tables match. He was defeated after nearly scoring an upset.
25 March 2002
Perhaps the most important Raw in World Wrestling Federation History took place on
March 25, 2002 in State College, Pennsylvania at the Bryce Jordan Center. The brand
extension forced co-owners Vince McMahon and Ric Flair to draft wrestlers for their
particular wrestling programs. Here are the picks:
WWF Smackdown: (1) The Rock (2) Kurt Angle (3) Chris Benoit (4)
Hulk Hogan (5) Billy and Chuck – WWF World Tag Team Champions (6) Edge (7) Rikishi
(8) D-Von Dudley (9) Mark Henry (10) Maven (11) Billy Kidman (12) Yoshihiro Tajiri (13)
Chris Jericho (14) Ivory (15) Albert (16) Hurricane Helms (17) Al Snow (18) Lance Storm
(19) Dallas Page (20) Torrie Wilson (21) Scotty Too Hotty (22) Stacy Keibler (23)
Christian (24) Test (25) Faarroq (26) Tazz (27) Hardcore Holly (28) The Big Valbowski
(29) Perry Saturn (30) No Pick due to Billy and Chuck being two wrestlers
WWF Raw: (1) The Undertaker (2) New World Order (Scott Hall, Kevin
Nash and X-Pac) (3) Kane (4) Rob Van Dam (5) Booker T (6) The Big Show (7) Bubba
Ray Dudley (8) Brock Lesnar (9) William Regal (10) Lita (11) Justin Bradshaw (12) Stevie
Richards (13) Matt Hardy (14) Raven (15) Jeff Hardy (16) Mr. Perfect (17) Spike Dudley
(18) D-Lo Brown (19) Shawn Stasiak (20) Terri (21) Jacqueline (22) Goldust (23) Trish
Stratus (24) Justin Credible (25) Big Bossman (26) Tommy Dreamer (27) Crash Holly
(28) Mighty Molly (29) No Pick due to New World Order’s three wrestlers (30) No Pick due
to New World Order’s three wrestlers
Triple H, the reigning World Champion, and Jazz, the Women’s World Champion, would
be available to work on both shows. Steve Austin was not available to be picked and
would remain a “free agent.”
01 April 2002
At the Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York, a live Raw saw a new set, a new attitude and a
new roster of competitors.
05 May 2002
The World Wrestling Federation officially changed it’s name to “World Wrestling
Entertainment.” During the weekend of May 5-6, 2002, www.WWF.com redirected hits to
www.WWE.com and the announcement was made further public on Monday’s Raw in
Hartford on May 7th. News of the change made national reports including the Associated
Press wire, CNN and ESPN.
Copyright 2012 Tim Hornbaker
|WWWF/WWF/WWE Historical Timeline