The biggest and most successful professional wrestling company in the entire world.

The birth of the WWWF: As NWA champion, Buddy Rogers' bookings were controlled by Toots Mondt, promoter in the Northeast. The other NWA promoters were dissatisfied because Mondt rarely let Rogers defend the belt outside the Northeast. Mondt and Vince McMahon Sr. wanted to keep Rogers and the NWA title, but Rogers didn't want to lose his $25,000 deposit on the belt. So Rogers lost the NWA title to Lou Thesz in Toronto on January 24, 1963. Rogers was not recognized as the first WWWF champion right after losing to Thesz. Instead, Rogers was awarded the WWWF title in mid-April 1963, with the explanation that he has won a (fictitious) tournament in Rio de Janeiro. He lost the title to Bruno Sammartino a month later on May 17, 1963. Rogers would have likely had a longer reign as champion, but, he suffered a heart attack shortly before the match with Bruno. This explains both the brevity of the match (47 seconds) with Bruno and the subsequent disappearance of Rogers from the ring. Rogers retired after this match, although he did return to the ring in 1967.

The change of name from WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation, I believe) to WWF (World Wrestling Federation) occurred in 1979; it was a cosmetic change only. From now on all references will be to the WWF for the sake of clarity.

From 1971-1983, the WWF joined the NWA as a regional promotion and the WWF World title was dropped in status to the WWF title, a regional title. By 1983, Vince McMahon Jr. had taken over control of the promotion and wanted out from the shadow of the NWA, so he changed the name of his title to the "WWF Championship" and established the WWF as an autonomous organization with World title status.

The WWF's biggest draw--the biggest name in all of professional wrestling, in fact--in the 1980s was Hulk Hogan, who was the WWF Champion for much of the '80s and quickly became a household name. More than anything else, Hogan's success allowed Vince McMahon to expand his operations until the WWF was taking over pretty much every other wrestling federation in North America. It was the first wrestling federation to break through regional boundary lines and truly become a national (and arguably international) wrestling company.

Today, the WWF's only real "competition" is World Championship Wrestling, but aside from a two-year span (1996-1998) during which time WCW was winning the ratings war, the WWF has remained virtually unchallenged since the mid-1980s.

Some information gleaned from