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Why did WWF change its name to WWE?

10 months ago By Sports Desk

Back in 2002, the Worldwide Wrestling Federation (WWF) officially changed its name to WWE. The company, spurred by non-spot media coverage of the announcement, added a twist of its own to this change. Vince McMahon claimed in the media that changing the name would lead to an attitudinal change in how the entertainment sport was viewed around the world.

However, there are some factual inaccuracies with that claim.

In reality, the name change was a significant event and received substantial mainstream media coverage. It was a result of a longstanding battle between the World Wilfide Fund and WWF. In 1993, the company obtained an injunction in Switzerland, which led to subsequent negotiations between the two parties. Eventually, however, the WWF was forced to change its name to the WWE for good, in 2002.

World Wildlife Federation’s lawsuit forced WWE’s birth

Linda McMahon, the then-CEO of WWE, confirmed the legal challenges faced by the company in a statement to the New York Times in 2002. McMahon acknowledged that when WWE initially registered its name in the early 1980s, there were no challenges from the wildlife fund. However, they later encountered opposition, and the fund threatened to take legal action on an international scale.

Settlement discussions took place between WWE and the WWF, but an agreement was reached in early 1994. The settlement required WWE to cease using the initials WWF internationally, with certain exceptions for older products and limited references. While this settlement may have seemed reasonable, WWE did not fully comply with the terms, most notably in 2000.

On May 5, 2002, both the company and the wrestling promotion were rebranded as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). In subsequent years, the term “World Wrestling Entertainment” was gradually phased out, and the company became known simply as WWE. This shift in branding coincided with WWE’s expansion into various forms of entertainment, including movie production, podcasts, documentaries, TV shows, and other programs. 

The subsequent shift was also true with respect to the narrative shared by Vince McMahon on the eve of the name change. 

By broadening its focus beyond professional wrestling, WWE aimed to establish itself as a multi-faceted entertainment company. As a result, the use of the term “World Wrestling Entertainment” became less prominent, and the company streamlined its identity to WWE.

Considering the vast success it has had in subsequent years, the McMahon family’s vision of the company has ultimately come true. 

Watch crazy WWE highlights below:

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