A Moment In Time: Get The F Out

WWEfout

Craig Wilson

So what’s in a name? Back in May 2003 Vince McMahon would certainly have hoped not very much after the World Wrestling Federation were forced to change the company name. Gone was the ‘F’ with the replacement being an ‘E’ for entertainment.

In this ‘A Moment in Time’ Craig looks at what lead to the “Get the ‘F’ out” campaign.

Background

In March 1979 the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) dropped the ‘wide’ and became the WWF for marketing purposes. Three years later Vincent Kennedy McMahon Jr. purchased the company from his father and began to take over the wrestling world. Territory after territory were swept aside as Vince sought to take his newly purchased company from a north-east promotion to a global phenomenon.

Along the way a certain Terry ‘Hulk Hogan’ Bollea was signed and became the face of the company as it became a huge world renowned brand. The early 90s saw a series of troubles for the promotion with a steroid scandal and a sexual harassment case.

But the WWE didn’t start out as the WWF or even the WWWF. In the very beginning the promotion was called CWC. Capitol Wrestling Corporation was owned by Roderick James McMahon – Vince McMahon’s Grandfather – and Joseph Raymond Mondt. Between 1953 and 1963 they were a member of the NWA. In 1963 the promotion, now owned by Roderick’s son VIncent James McMahon and Mondt left the NWA over a dispute and created the World Wide Wrestling Federation.

In 1994 the company entered into an agreement with the World Wide Fund for Nature – also trademarked WWF. The agreement saw Titan Sports cease using the acronym WWF in connection with wrestling and minimise the spoken use of it.

The Scene

In 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature sued World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. in the United Kingdom, alleging various violations of the 1994 agreement. Following the lawsuit the wrestling WWF changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE. Its parent company, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, also chose to adopt this name. The lawsuit dealt with the wrestling company’s breaching of an agreement with the Fund over use of the initials “WWF” in the United Kingdom. Rather than attempt a financial settlement with the Fund, McMahon changed the name of the company.

The logo was altered, and a promotional campaign called “Get The F Out” was used to publicize this change. Also, all verbal and visual references to “WWF” and the World Wrestling Federation logo from the “Attitude” era were edited out from old broadcasts. Some observers saw the new name as further acknowledgement by the company on its emphasis towards the entertainment rather than athletic aspects of professional wrestling.

Aftermath

Most wrestling fans were just happy that the word ‘wrestling’ was dropped from the name. After all, it was something that had previously been suggested. In the end, they settled for World Wrestling Entertainment due to, and I quote Linda, “Our new name puts the emphasis on the ‘E’ for entertainment, what our company does best.”

Some 12  years on it’s difficult to disagree. The PG era may not be on par with the Attitude era and is well behind in terms of the money the company brings in but there’s no denying its success. With the company having just released their on demand streaming Network, it doens’t look like they are slowing down any time soon.

Since the 1,000th episode of Raw, broadcast in July 2012, the WWF “scratch” logo is no longer censored in archival footage. This is due to the WWE reaching a settlement with the WWF. Additionally, the WWF initials are no longer censored when spoken or when written in plain text in archival footage full-length matches and other segments featuring the WWF initials and “scratch” logo have been added to the WWE website and now the Network.

In exchange, WWE is no longer permitted to use the WWF initials or logo in any new, original footage, packaging, or advertising. When it comes to the use of the old logo for Raw Old School the original logo is used but modified to no longer feature the ‘F’.

On a side note, just over a month after the name change a new promotion debuted called ‘NWA:TNA’.

2 thoughts on “A Moment In Time: Get The F Out

  1. Pingback: Striving to Survive: The History of a WWE Thanksgiving Tradition Part 2 | Ring the Damn Bell

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