Arts & Entertainment

How the WWE Won and Lost its Dominance

It was out-competed by politics and corporate media?

By Ben Sixsmith, The American Conservative

For decades, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., and its chairman Vince McMahon have dominated professional wrestling. For most casual fans, their business is the business. The company and the pursuit can seem inextricable.

It was not always like this. Even in the 1980s, various wrestling “territories” guarded their flags in different regions: World Class Championship Wrestling in Dallas, Jim Crockett Promotions in Charlotte, and the American Wrestling Association in Minneapolis among them. Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation, which he had acquired from his father, was one of many.

McMahon drove these regional promotions out of business with hearty enthusiasm. “In the old days, there were wrestling fiefdoms all over the country, each with its own little lord in charge,” he said later, “I, of course, had no allegiance to those little lords.” McMahon poached their best talent, including his first megastar Hulk Hogan, and had his programming syndicated across the United States. Regional promotions collapsed faster than video rental stores in the 2000s.

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