The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) had to change its name to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) due to the lawsuit initiated by the World Wildlife Fund over the initials back in 2002.
However, this was not the first time that the company changed it’s name. We will take a look at the history of name changes and why the name was changed to WWE in this article.
From CWC to WWF
The history of WWE is really long. The company was first called Capitol Wrestling Corporation(CWC) when it began in 1952 under Jess McMahon. It is the same name after which WWE Performance Center was renamed.
Then in 1963, it became WWWF(World Wide Wrestling Federation) when Vincent J McMahon took over the operation. Back in 1979, after a few years of Vincent K McMahon joining the business, he pushed his father to rename the company to the World Wrestling Federation.
One year later, he founded Titan sports and purchased the WWF. He then applied also applied for the trademark of the initials “WWF” for the company. When the company went public in 1999, it was registered as World Wrestling Federation Entertainment.
Court Case with World Wildlife Fund
In 1994, the World Wildlife Fund asserted that the World Wrestling Federation signed a legal settlement assuring the World Wrestling Federation borders their treatment of the WWF acronym outside of North America. In return, the World Wildlife Fund accepted not to seek further litigation against the company.
Talking about this dispute, Linda McMahon told New York Times, ”When we first registered our name in the early 1980’s, the wildlife fund did not raise any challenges. But the fund got a Swiss injunction against the wrestling federation in 1993, and threatened to take it around the world.”
This soon turned out to be the case as World Wildlife Fund sued Vince McMahon’s company for using the WWF acronym in the UK in the year 2000. The Court of Appeal found World Wrestling Federation had violated the 1994 agreement. One of the main violations noted was creating the website wwf.com and the name was very close to the wwf.org site of World Wildlife Fund.
Changing to Entertainment
After losing the case in the UK, Vince McMahon was forced to rename his company’s name. On May 5, 2002, the name of the company and the promotion was changed to World Wrestling Entertainment(WWE). Right after that, WWE launched a huge marketing campaign with the slogan “Get the F out” to promote its new name.
In coming years, the use of the term World Wrestling Entertainment was phased out and the company is now simply called WWE as it ventured into the production of movies, podcasts, documentaries, TV shows, and other shows.