COMMENTARY | Due to the secretive nature of professional wrestling, fans are constantly starving for real news about the industry.
With the launch of the WWE Network on February 24, 2014, pro wrestling fans are learning more about the history of the organization, as well as that of other promotions. However, there are a number of obscure facts that even ardent wrestling fans may never discover while pouring through the WWE Network’s extensive on-demand library. Take a closer look at five random facts you may not know about the WWE.
The first WWE Tag Team Champions were crowned in New Orleans.
In 1971, the WWE (then known as the WWWF) was a small, regional promotion that primarily operated in the northeast. However, its first tag team champions won their belts in, of all places, New Orleans. On June 3, 1971, Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler defeated the Bruiser and the Sheik in the Big Easy to become the World Tag Team Champions. Details about this event are sketchy; leading some to speculate this may have been a fictitious match.
The WWE rejoined the NWA in the 1970s.
Most wrestling fans know that the WWE was born in the 1960s from a disagreement with the NWA over the booking of its World Heavyweight Champion. Also, there was a strange angle in the mid-1990s that saw NWA wrestlers appearing on WWE Monday Night Raw. But in 1971, the WWE quietly rejoined the mega power of pro wrestling. This allowed for several great matches between NWA and WWE World Champions. The partnership ended in 1983.
WWE programming used to appear on HBO.
Long before WWE owner Vince McMahon had an infamous encounter with Bob Costas on HBO, McMahon provided commentary for WWE wrestling on HBO. Shortly after the cable giant launched in the early 1970s, HBO aired WWE wrestling from Madison Square Garden. The first such event was on June 30, 1973 and WWE Champion Pedro Morales defeated George “The Animal” Steele. Later, MSG wrestling reached a much wider audience on the USA Network.
The Andy Kaufman angle almost took place in the WWE.
When Andy Kaufman originally conceived of his storyline to get involved in pro wrestling, he wanted to reach as many people as possible. So he pitched the idea to WWE owner Vince McMahon, Sr. However, the elder McMahon was a traditionalist and he turned down Kaufman’s offer. Just one year later, McMahon’s son assumed ownership of the WWE and he has gone on record as saying that he would have accepted Andy Kaufman’s offer in a heartbeat.
The WWE Hardcore Championship changed hands 236 times.
One of the greatest memories of the Attitude Era for many wrestling fans is the WWE Hardcore Championship. From 1998 to 2002, the Hardcore Title was the WWE’s answer to ECW. However, I was never a big fan of the Hardcore Championship because the 24/7 rule rendered it a comedy act in my eyes. Sometimes, the title changed hands multiple times in one night. Mercifully, the WWE merged the Hardcore title with the Intercontinental title in 2002.
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