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Vince McMahon wants to take 'wrestling' out of the WWE


Vince McMahon wants to take the "wrestling" out of World Wrestling Entertainment.

No, this isn't an outrageous plot the colorful impresario has cooked up for his wrestlers to act out in front of thousands of screaming fans. McMahon, the chairman and chief executive of WWE, wants to give the company a makeover, starting with the name. From now on, WWE will no longer stand for World Wrestling Entertainment. It will just be WWE, plain and simple.

Fear not, fanatics. There will still be plenty of smack in "Smackdown," and "Raw" will still be fresh.

But McMahon wants more than men in tights in his life. He wants to grow the WWE through acquisitions and expand its business beyond the ring. In particular, he said, WWE is targeting companies involved in production, live entertainment and branding.

"I think every brand has to re-create itself," he said. "I want everyone to look at us in a vastly different way than they have."

Besides hunting for acquisitions, WWE is moving ahead with long-talked-about plans to create its own cable network for its vast library of wrestling fare. The company has been meeting with distributors including Verizon and hopes to get a channel launched in 2012.

McMahon also wants to start marketing WWE's expertise in producing live events.

VINCE "No one does television production better than we do, it's damn near the Olympics," McMahon said in his customary rasp after an afternoon rehearsing for a taping of one of WWE's shows. "We know more about live event touring than anyone in the United States." The company puts on about 300 shows annually.

The moves come as WWE looks to rebound from a tough end to 2010 that saw attendance at its events and pay-per-view revenue both drop 15% in the fourth quarter. The declines were blamed on the economy, although WWE probably didn't help matters by raising prices at a time when its core audience was feeling the pinch.

"I think it is very obvious that they need to do something," Hudson Square Research managing director Marla Backer said of the company's plans. "Clearly, their prospects in terms of growth are limited if they stick to their knitting."

Not everyone embraces WWE's desire to move beyond the wrestling mat.

"I think that the most important thing right now is the return of the health of the core business," said Jay Kaplan, portfolio manager for Royce & Associates, which holds about 9% of WWE stock. "One of the market's big concerns is are they losing market share to real fighting," Kaplan added, referring to mixed martial arts and ultimate fighting.

This is not the first time WWE has tried to expand beyond its core. Several years ago, it partnered with NBC to launch the XFL, a springtime football league that died after just one season. A restaurant in Times Square also flopped. McMahon said he's learned his lesson from those follies and will stick to the entertainment business.

For more on McMahon's plans for the WWE, please see our story in Thursday's Los Angeles Times.

--  Joe Flint

Photos: Top: Vince McMahon with his son-in-law Paul "Triple H" Levesque. Right: McMahon. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images.

Comments () | Archives (32)

In the paper's Thursday story on this topic McMahon says, "I think every brand has to re-create itself. I want everyone to look at us in a vastly different way than they have."

I contend that no one is going to look at this company in a a more favorable way with McMahon at the helm. He's the problem. So re-creation will fail as long as it includes the polarizing McMahon, who tried to buy a Senate seat for his wife and many feel had some responsibility for the deaths of Owen Hart and Chris Benoit.

I would sure like to see McMahon buy the NHRA - they really need someone that understands live productions

Times Square is the wrong location for a WWE restaurant. They should consider family shows where there isn't violent fake wrestling. They certainly know how to milk the wrestling characters. How about more benign characters with a Cirque twist?

Claiming the abbreviation of a company name and a brand name stands for nothing makes no sense. Every abbreviation will always mean something even if the company behind the name wants to expand beyond the meaning.

I never liked the abbreviation WWE and always liked WWF for the World Wrestling Federation, which is a very unique name.

Really. Does anyone actually care?

This is an April Fool's joke that got way out of control. It first appeared on sites last Friday. I don't see anything on here that shows this alleged story to be fact. Time is the only thing to show that the WWE is not dropping Wrestling.... what are they going to do with WrestleMania then?

Thats dumb!!!!!!:(:(

So if the company is no longer using "wrestling" in their vocabulary so what does the company look forward into the late future? So World Wrestling Entertainment is going to be WWE or the late future name of the company World Wide Entertainment???

If there renaming all wrestling events past, present, future such as "WrestleMania" to EntertainMania? just to avoid the name wrestle, wrestling, etc. is a joke

It's sad to say the least they avoid calling all the "wrestling moves" to tell a story or ramble on that has nothing to the "wrestler" or performer in that "ring" or square circle. This is a insult to those who suffer injuries or broke their bodies for a living.

I'm starting to loose interest in the product because of the production and producing of events. I use to go to WWE events and even went to 3 WrestleMania's each year spend 5000.00 US for airfair, hotel, trasportation, etc, this year I didn't want to go and had a 200.00 seat ticket. This year's WM was a joke except the Undertaker VS Triple H match. Next year Miami one thing about it if I don't go...Spring Break, beaches here I come!

It's not a joke. Wrestling isn't going anywhere but the name of WWE is no longer World Wrestling Entertainment. It's just WWE the same way Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC.

That said, there is more to this story than a name change. The company wants to be broader than wrestling and buy other production companies and extend their businesses.

Joe Flint

MMA is the "in thing," pro-wrestling is out.

Hi WWE I have been watching u guys since the 80's What I think they should do is keep the name world wrestling Entertainment and look into what they can do to Entertain the people. About bring in new tag teams like what we had like the heart foundation bulldogs etc. Also royal rumble about a new champion gets grown again at the end. I think bring in some of the old wrestlers in the past are good if people have not see them in along time it gets the old fans to see them again and new ones.I like the king of the ring pay perview seeing all the matches etc not having them on raw thats dump I think. Also maybe bring back the raw girls with the sighns would be great to see again like u did in the start of raw. I also think people would like to see stone cold face Hogan at wrestelmainia 30 would be great what a match ok can I get payed lol I'll be watching I hope u do all of this would be great and u might want to bring the hardcord belt back thanks again I hope things get better I'll be watching and ya not the same guys wining the belts all the time or in the main event would be great I have seen alot of your shows been to wrestlmania 24 and raw etc. PS. Be as fair as u can with the prices but u can't make everyone happy goodluck and when its time for vince to retired keep it in the family thats the best thing if possible

People do realize that this "wrestling" nonsense is all fake, right? It's all staged. I'm always AMAZED when I meet people over the age of 10 who don't know that. My definitive argument in my favor is always this, "If it's not fake, why doesn't Vegas bet on it?". Vegas bets on EVERYTHING! End of story.

I also like the WWF should bring that name back for the record I'm sre alot of people where not happy when it change to WWE hello we have used WWF for ever why did they want to sue for some dump reason by them off lol get back.

please keep the name Wrestlmania we like that name if u change it u will lost alot of people I think ok goodnight

i love the wwe and this stuff all sounds great.
the name thing is cool too...
except i cant help but feel its similar to ''ingsoc.''
its an abbreviation that doesn't mean what it originally stood for; double speak is everywhere.

Even the WWE's overwhelmingly retarded viewers seem to be looking elsewhere for their entertainment.

Well, MTV has followed that path. MTV was "Music Television", but these days, MTV seems like anything, but Music Television.

This is the overreach before the collapse.

Vince McMahon is such a coward. Nuff said. He just hates the word wrestling because he fears it'll ruin his rep. Oh wait..he's is above wrestling and I heard he's launching a cable network under "WWE" banner. Hell he can even own a restruant under "WWE" banner or a prison under "WWE" banner.
He once owned a football but it turned out to be a failure.
F*ck Vince. This makes me wanna stop watching WWE.

Every company that made its name in something now wants its name to stand for nothing so it can do everything.

Regardless of any faults folks may find with Vince McMahon, one thing is certain, he is the "P.T. Barnum" of the late 20th/early 21st Century. He revolutionized indoor big screens with his "Titantron", TV pay per view through Titan Sports and indoor Pyrotechnics. His story lines remain fresh and entertaining.

It's already like a reality drama show.

he should take over the spiderman musical... would do a much better job of having people act out staged fighting live...

Was wrestling ever really involved anyway?

May as well...the name never made sense since they rolled over to the World Wildlife Fund and changed it to World Wrestling Entertainment anyway.

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