For many true blue wrestling fans, this is indeed quite obvious, but for the casual fan, the initialism, which is a series of capital letters placed together, each of the letters representing a word. Example: FBI is the initialism for the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Many people often mistake this type of presentation as an acronym.
An acronym is a word formed by using the initial letters of other words like an initialism, but the end result is actually pronounced as a word. For example: NASA.
In the former case, you wouldn’t say “fbeee,” for FBI. Of course not. Anyways, sorry for the grammar lesson. I was an English teacher moonlighting as a cook before I became a full-time writer and journalist, so I couldn’t help it. Helps to know.
Today we’ll be taking a look at just what WWE stands for, specifically for those casual fans out there that would like to know. And for you fans and readers out there already in the know, we’ll take a look at just why they changed this from WWF and when, which would be pretty cool to know as well I guess. You can impress your friends with this type of stuff, as I’ve said before.
So without further ado…
Of course throughout the eighties and nineties, the company we know and love was known as the WWF or the World Wrestling Federation. They became a global phenomenon under that trademark and really, it took years after they changed it for people to get the hang of referring to them as the WWE, but eventually everyone got there, and in the process, perhaps a few out there even forgot the story as to why they had to change it in the first place, which as it turns out, resulted in law suits and a great deal of controversy.
What does WWE Stand for?
Ah…finally an answer, and so soon in the piece. I’ll give you the goodies, dear readers, but only because the juicy stuff is still to come, and I know you’ll keep reading.
In journalism, you always have a series of questions to answer. It’s your job. You need to answer: Who, What, Where, When, Why and sometimes if not always How. Do that and you’ve earned your paycheck.
So after we reveal the words that make up the initialism, we’ll go ahead and get to the juicy bits as to why this change occurred.
There you have it.
It’s Sports Entertainment, isn’t it?
Indeed it is, or at least that’s what Vince McMahon would have us believe. These days, the debate rages on, particularly in an active storyline in AEW, WWE’s rival pro wrestling company. There, the Jericho Appreciation Society or JAS, to use the initialism, states that sports entertainers reign supreme over pro wrestlers…this directly enrages current wrestling fans that consider the game to be primarily about pro wrestling regarded as a sport and not entertainment.
Of course it’s a lot more complicated than just this, but in the end, it pits a portion of the audience against the other and thus works and works well. But back in the day, Vince McMahon, who shattered the expectations the world had about or for pro wrestling by pushing the envelope and spawning what was known as the Attitude Era.
At this time, the under 11 year old demographic that watched throughout the eighties and nineties was pretty much forgotten about, the older portion of the crowd being catered to with adult-themed storylines and image…half naked ladies, violence, obscene gestures and so on and so forth…
The media got on McMahon’s case, essentially stating “how can you call this garbage a sport?” and instead of toning it down, McMahon loving the boost in ratings and cash, he stated or rather started stating publically: “well it isn’t sports…it’s sports entertainment…”
(The above was an abridgement of the events that occurred. The alternative would have been an 800 page book, so you’re welcome.)
Well, battling the critics of his material wouldn’t be the only controversy he’d be having to deal with at the time, and as the new millennium got under way it would seem…
Get the ‘F’ Out!
No, I’m not telling you to leave in an obscene manner. Yes, I was there for the aforementioned Attitude Era as a fan, a teenager no less, but I wouldn’t tell you to get the F’’ out…
This was the campaign that then-WWF put out when they got into a little bit of a legal battle with the original WWF, the World Wildlife Fund…an organization I support and so should you. They’re trying to help raise awareness for the climate issue we’ve been battling. If you would like to donate to their cause, please do so HERE.
They gave good old Vince something to worry about at the turn of the century, and that was that they wanted him to drop the F. They went to court and the good people at the World Wildlife Fund were awarded use of the WWF initialism. So…off to making a new plan the WWE was…and they came up with this campaign.
It was at this point that they focused on pushing the boundaries of what they delivered to the audience even more, and the aptly named Ruthless Aggression Era that would ensue would do just that. They made T-shirts that had the new slogan on them and everything: “Get the ‘F’ Out!”
They officially changed to WWE from the WWF on May 6th, 2002, according to Wikipedia.
The Rock even got creative at that time, cutting a promo on Steve Austin, who at the time walked out of the company after a dispute over creative, stating in said promo: “If you’re not happy, get the F out,” or something to that effect. I am paraphrasing a tad.
He showed with that promo that he certainly would have a flair for business promotion. He is now a mogul who owns his own production company, energy drink, tequila, a bunch of other things/products, and oh yeah, he owns the XFL!
Anyways, there you have it dear readers. Stay tuned for more articles of this sort, where we’ll be looking at the WWE even closer.