WWE Monday Night Raw
From the venue:
There’s no two ways about it — the WWE is the world’s premier and most explosive wrestling organization. Founded by Jess McMahon and Toots Mondt in 1952 as Capitol Wrestling Corporation, the organization eventually became the largest wrestling corporation in the world, hosting more than 500 events per year. But it wasn’t until Vince McMahon bought Capitol Wrestling from his father and became CEO in 1980 that the WWE gained footing as a legitimate wrestling dynasty. This was largely due to the massive strides McMahon made in turning it into a global phenomenon.
First, he signed little-known prospects like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, and Jesse Ventura, all of whom went on to become superstars. Then, McMahon invented a little event called WrestleMania, whose first occurrence was in 1985 and featured André the Giant, King Kong Bundy, Ricky Steamboat, The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and more. Its main event saw Hulk Hogan and Mr. T beating Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper, overseen by a guest referee — none other than Muhammad Ali.
It’s not surprising, then, that WrestleMania would go on to become one of the world’s most beloved annual sporting events. Additionally, McMahon wasn’t just a behind-the-scenes businessman — he became a frequent participant in matches. By blending the business and wrestling aspects into a continuous drama, he lent the organization a soap-opera narrative, which remains one of its most attractive features.
By the late 1980s, there was a full roster of hardcore brawlers, including Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. In the ‘90s, as spectatorship grew and wrestlers multiplied exponentially, the WWE added regular events like Monday Night Raw, Monday Nitro, and Raw Is War.
The New World Order (nWo) was introduced as a splinter faction. By the late ‘90s, the WWE saw a full-on renaissance, with new wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, and The Rock being introduced. In 2014, the WWE launched a 24/7 streaming network. In 2016, the organization made almost a billion dollars in revenue, with an operating income of more than $55 million.