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Wwe raw which country?

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Answer # 1 #

WWE Raw, also known as Monday Night Raw or simply Raw, is an American professional wrestling television program produced by WWE that currently airs live every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on the USA Network in the United States. The show features characters from the Raw brand, to which WWE employees are assigned to work and perform. The show debuted on January 11, 1993 and is currently considered to be one of two flagship shows, along with Friday Night SmackDown. In September 2000, Raw moved from the USA Network to TNN, which rebranded to Spike TV in August 2003. On October 3, 2005, Raw returned to the USA Network, where it remains to this day. The WWE Network has ceased operations in the United States as of April 5, 2021, with all content being moved to Peacock TV, which currently has most Raw episodes, excluding content that was censored or removed by Peacock TV's standards and practices department. Recent episodes are still available for on-demand viewing 30 days after the original air date.

Since its first episode, Raw has been broadcast live from 208 different arenas, 171 cities and towns, and ten different nations: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Afghanistan in 2005, Iraq in 2006 and 2007, South Africa, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Mexico.

Beginning as WWF's Monday Night Raw, the program first aired on January 11, 1993 on the USA Network as a replacement for Prime Time Wrestling, which aired on the network for eight years. The original Raw was sixty minutes in length and broke new ground in televised professional wrestling. Traditionally, wrestling shows were pre-taped on sound stages with small audiences or at large arena shows. The Raw formula was considerably different from the pre-taped weekend shows that aired at the time such as Superstars and Wrestling Challenge. Instead of matches taped weeks in advance with studio voice overs and taped discussion, Raw was a show shot and aired to a live audience, with angles and matches playing out as they happened.

Raw originated from the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center, a small New York City theater, and aired live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved to be a successful improvement. However, the weekly live schedule proved to be a financial drain on the WWF. From spring 1993 until spring 1997, Raw would tape several week's worth of episodes after a live episode had aired. The WWF taped several weeks worth of Raw from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York in April 1993, and again in June and October. The first episode produced outside of New York was taped in Bushkill, Pennsylvania in November 1993 and Raw left the Manhattan Center permanently as the show would be taken on the road throughout the United States and had in smaller venues.

On September 4, 1995, the WWF's chief competitor World Championship Wrestling began airing its new wrestling show, Monday Nitro, live each week on TNT, which marked the start of the Monday Night Wars. Raw and Nitro went head-to-head for the first time on September 11, 1995. At the start of the ratings war in 1995 through to mid-1996, Raw and Nitro exchanged victories over each other in a closely contested rivalry. Beginning in mid-1996, however, due to the nWo angle, Nitro started a ratings win-streak that lasted for 84 consecutive weeks, ending on April 13, 1998. On February 3, 1997, Raw went to a two-hour format, to compete with the extra hour on Nitro (which had been expanded to two hours in the summer of 1996), and by March 10, it was renamed to Raw Is War. It was also during the time Raw would be aired live more often. After WrestleMania XIV in March 1998, the WWF regained the lead in the Monday Night Wars with its new "WWF Attitude" brand. The April 13, 1998 episode of Raw Is War, which was headlined by a match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon, marked the first time that WCW had lost the head-to-head Monday night ratings battle in the 84 weeks since 1996.

On January 4, 1999, Mick Foley, who had wrestled for WCW during the early 1990s as Cactus Jack, won the WWF Championship as Mankind on Raw Is War. On orders from Eric Bischoff, Nitro announcer Tony Schiavone gave away this previously taped result on a live Nitro and then sarcastically added, "That's gonna put some butts in the seats", consequently resulting in over 600,000 viewers switching channels to Raw Is War to see the underdog capture the WWF Championship. This was also the night that Nitro aired a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match in which Kevin Nash laid down for Hollywood Hogan after Hogan poked him in the chest.

On June 28, 2000, Viacom won the landmark deal with the WWF to move all of its WWF programs stemming from the lawsuit action against WWF from USA Network. The new television contract and the subsequent purchase of competitor WCW led to many changes in WWF's programming content. Raw Is War premiered on TNN on September 25, 2000.

WCW's sharp decline in revenue and ratings led to AOL Time Warner selling selected assets such as the WCW name, tapes, and contracts to the WWF in March 2001 for $3 million. The final episode of Nitro, which aired on March 26, 2001, began with Vince McMahon making a short statement about his recent purchase of WCW and ended with a simulcast with Raw on TNN and Nitro on TNT including an appearance by Vince's son Shane. The younger McMahon interrupted his father's gloating over the WCW purchase to explain that Shane was the one who actually owned WCW, setting up what became the WWF's "Invasion" storyline. Following the purchase of WCW and the September 11 attacks, the program was retitled as Raw on October 1, 2001, permanently retiring the Raw Is War moniker in prelude to the upcoming United States invasion of Afghanistan.

In March 2002, as a result of the overabundance of talent left over from the Invasion storyline, WWF instituted a process known as the "brand extension", under which Raw and SmackDown! would be treated as two distinct divisions, each with their own rosters and championships. Shortly thereafter, the WWF was legally required to change the name of the company to World Wrestling Entertainment.

On March 10, 2005, Viacom and WWE decided not to go on with the agreement with Spike TV, effectively ending Raw and other WWE programs' tenure on the network when their deal expired in September 2005. On April 4, 2005, WWE announced a three-year deal with NBCUniversal to bring Raw back to its former home, the USA Network, with two yearly specials on NBC and a Spanish Raw on Telemundo. On the same week as Raw's return to the USA Network, Spike TV scheduled Ultimate Fighting Championship's live Ultimate Fight Night in Raw's old timeslot in an attempt to go head-to-head with Raw.

Since the move to USA Network, Raw has been pre-empted during the U.S. Open, which aired on USA, resulting the program to be moved to SciFi, a sister channel to USA, for three years. Since 2016, the two-hour version of that week's Raw has aired on Syfy. In February 2022, Raw temporarily moved to Syfy for two episodes due to USA's coverage (as part of NBC Sports) of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

On the August 29, 2011 episode of Raw, it was announced that performers from Raw and SmackDown were no longer exclusive to their respective brand, thus effectively dissolving the brand extension. On July 23, 2012, Raw aired its 1,000th episode, which also began its permanent three-hour format. On January 14, 2013, Raw celebrated its 20th year on the air. On May 25, 2016, WWE reintroduced the brand split, and a new set with red ring ropes, a brand new stage, used at SummerSlam. Furthermore, the broadcast table was moved to the entrance ramp similar to how it was in 2002–2005. On January 22, 2018, WWE celebrated the 25th anniversary of Raw with a simulcast show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the home of the first Monday Night Raw, the Manhattan Center. On the February 19 episode of Raw, six days before Elimination Chamber, seven participants of the men's Elimination Chamber match, Braun Strowman, Elias, Finn Bálor, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and The Miz, were involved in a Gauntlet match that began with Reigns and Rollins. Strowman won the Gauntlet match by pinning The Miz in what was the longest match in WWE history, lasting nearly two hours.

From March 12, 2020 to August 18, 2020, WWE announced that all of its live programs would air from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida without an audience until further notice beginning with the following day's episode of SmackDown due to the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the suspension of many professional sports leagues. On the May 25 episode of Raw, NXT trainees were added into live crowds at the Performance Center. In August, all programming was moved to the new, state-of-the-art WWE ThunderDome inside of the Amway Center in Orlando. On May 21, 2021, WWE announced that they will return in front of live fans with a 25 city tour, therefore the July 12, 2021 edition of Raw would be the final WWE ThunderDome show.

Raw's original set featured red, white, and blue ring-ropes, a blue ring-apron, blue steps, and a small stage made of neon light tubes. In 1995, the entrance way was changed to feature "Raw" in giant letters. Beginning on March 10, 1997, broadcasts of Raw were split into two hour-long blocks, each given its own name for television ratings purposes. The first hour was referred to as Raw Is War, and the second became known as War Zone. These changes were reflected in television listings and, beginning with the June 9, 1997 episode, by the show's on-screen graphics. War Zone initially opened with a repeat of the Raw intro, punctuated with the War Zone logo. On November 24, 1997, the hour received its own distinct opening video, a remixed version of the typical Raw opening.

In 1997, the WWF changed the color of the ring-ropes to red and began printing Raw Is War along the ring in reference to their rivalry with WCW. The stages was updated to feature a 70-foot tall large screen video wall known as the "TitanTron", which consisted of a projection screen with several metal stage trusses and a video projector. The set also initially featured curtains on each side with truss beams and lighting later bearing the "WWF Attitude" banner on the sides. By 1999, the WWF placed a " 'Download This!'" logo on the bottom of the TitanTron and added two vertical sides on the stage.

Raw moved to TNN from USA beginning with the September 25, 2000 episode. The TNN network logo was added atop the TitanTron on the December 11, 2000 episode. Chyron graphics were added to the bottom beginning with the July 2, 2001 episode.

Beginning October 1, 2001, in direct response to the September 11 attacks, the first hour was referred to as Raw instead of Raw Is War, and the second hour was rebranded from the War Zone to the Raw Zone within the show's on-screen graphics. The Monday Night Wars had ended months earlier with the WWF's purchase of the competing WCW brand. Monday Nitro, which had once gone head-to-head with Raw, aired its final show in March. WWF announcers began generally referring to the entire two-hour block as Raw on-air. Raw updated to a new, industrial-inspired, parallelogram-shaped TitanTron in 2002. Ring apron lettering that had once born Raw Is War slogan was replaced with an advertisement for the WWF website. Around this time, black ring-ropes were occasionally used. Like the previous set, the TNN logo was relocated to the bottom side of the TitanTron. It was subsequently replaced by the Spike TV logo on August 11, 2003 upon network relaunch. During the July 25, 2005 broadcast of Raw in Cleveland, Ohio, a special stage design was built for the John Cena-Chris Jericho Battle of the Bands concert.

The 2002 set was designed by Production Designer Jason Robinson. It featured a larger TitanTron with dimensions of 55 feet wide by 25 feet tall. The expanded structure weighed about 4,000 pounds and requiring three 18,000-watt projector screens to power itself. According to Eric Bischoff on a 2003 episode of WWE Confidential, the show utilized 13 cameras at the time at a cost of $85,000.

On October 3, 2005, as Raw returned to the USA Network, the 2002 set was retained but the beams and lighting on the sides were modified. The Spike TV logo was removed from the bottom side of the TitanTron. On October 9, 2006, the show debuted a new logo and opening intro featuring "...To Be Loved" by Papa Roach as its theme song. This logo and intro were retained until November 9, 2009, a period that also saw the changeover to broadcasting Raw in high-definition, which occurred on January 21, 2008.

From November 16, 2009 to July 16, 2012, the theme song for the Raw brand was "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback. Prior to this, the theme song for Raw was "...To Be Loved" by Papa Roach, which had been used since October 9, 2006 and "Across The Nation" by The Union Underground which was used from April 1, 2002 to October 2, 2006. The rap outro of "Thorn In Your Eye" featuring Scott Ian of Anthrax was the theme song from March 31, 1997 to March 25, 2002.

On May 17, 2012, WWE and USA Network announced that Raw would switch to a permanent three-hour format beginning with the 1,000th episode on July 23, 2012. Since then, all three hours of the broadcast have been known solely as Raw, though they are still considered three separate programs for Nielsen ratings purposes (as indicated by the on-screen copyright notice shown near the end of each hour). In 2010, WWE retired the red ropes for Raw after thirteen years for an all white scheme, which in 2012 became standard for all WWE programming. In 2012, Raw updated their HD set.

Beginning in mid-2014, this set would also be featured in pay-per-views. From late September through the end of October 2012, the middle rope at all WWE programming was changed to pink due to WWE's alliance with the Susan G. Komen organization for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This was repeated in 2013, from late September to early November, and it was repeated in 2014 from September 29. WWE is one of many organizations who provide financial contributions to the organization in addition to raising awareness among its employees and consumers.

On August 18, 2014, Raw switched to a full 16:9 letterbox widescreen presentation, with a down-scaled version of the native HD feed on a 4:3 SD feed. In conjunction with this, Raw updated its graphics package, with the new WWE logo (first used with the WWE Network's launch in February) now on the lower-right corner of the screen, right next to the word, "Live". At this time, the new WWE logo began appearing on the ring's turnbuckle covers, and the USA Network logo moved to the lower-left hand corner of the screen. Additionally, Raw's theme song ("The Night") was modified.

On March 23, 2015, WWE added a small LED board to the left side of the ring on Raw. This LED board was also used at WrestleMania 31. The LED board has since been featured on a sporadic basis, appearing in some weeks and being absent in others. On the 1,000th episode of Raw, "The Night" by Kromestatik debuted as the theme for Raw. "Energy" by Shinedown served as the secondary theme-song until August 18, 2014, when it was replaced with "Denial" by We Are Harlot.

On the September 14, 2015 season premiere of Raw, the middle rope was colored gold. Throughout the month of October 2015, the program once again partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with various stage elements being made pink. On the November 16, 2015, episode of Raw, WWE had a moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris, France, on November 13, 2015. Another moment of silence was held months later in June for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

On July 25, 2016, the ropes returned to red, the announce table moved back to the top of the stage for the first time since 2005, and a new HD set and graphics were debuted. The new set was almost identical to the set used for SummerSlam 2012 and 2013. After some fans responded negatively to the redesign, the set was revamped four weeks later with a more elaborate and distinctive arrangement. The new set featured the absence of a traditional TitanTron, which had been part of the Raw staging since 1997. In its place was a curved LED banner with several rows of rectangle LED lights behind it. The new set also introduced LED floor panels on the entrance ramp along with LED ring posts. On the January 29, 2018 episode of Raw, new graphics and an updated logo were introduced, which lasted until September 23, 2019.

On September 30, 2019 for its season premiere (and coinciding with the premiere of SmackDown on Fox later that week), Raw introduced a new set (including the reinstatement of pyrotechnics, which had been dropped in 2017 due to budget issues), updated logo (cropped with a chevron to make it resemble the corner of a ring), and new theme music ("Legendary" by Skillet). It was also revealed that both shows would be staffed by separate writing teams.

In September 2021, the ring-ropes changed color from red to white, which was also reflected on SmackDown. On November 22 of that year, an updated version of the 2019 logo was introduced, alongside new graphics. The theme song was changed to "Greatness" by Vo Williams, which remains the shows theme song currently.

In February 2022, Raw and NXT temporarily moved to Syfy in the United States due to USA Network broadcasting coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The name for Raw was disputed in June 2009 when Muscle Flex Inc., a Los Angeles-based fitness company, had taken legal action against the WWE after a court ruled that some of WWE's trademarks related to Raw were similar enough to the In the Raw trademark that they caused confusion among Canadians. On June 18, 2008, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office then issued a final decision that found certain wares listed in the trademark application from WWE (No. 1,153,018) were confusingly similar and thus lacked distinctiveness from the Muscle Flex trademark, which Muscle Flex is in the process of acquiring. The WWE appealed the CIPO's ruling to the Federal Court of Canada, but failed to file the required documents by the deadline.

In August 2009, the court ruled in favor of Muscle Flex, Inc. that it was successful in defending its In the Raw trademark against the WWE. In a press release date issued on July 20, 2009, Muscle Flex Inc. disclosed that it was in possession of WWE Raw-labeled items that it believes directly infringe on its In the Raw trademark such as various CDs, VHS tapes, and a number of apparel items. According to the WWE's most recent reported financial quarter in 2009, combined sales of WWE's consumer products and digital media business segments produced $40 million in global revenues. In previous quarters, these numbers were even higher.

Similarly, in June 2017, the WWE issued a legal order to Raw Motors, an automobile repair company in Colwick, UK, over a logo that it claims infringes on one of its logos for Raw that was used from 2006 to 2012.

Throughout its broadcast history, the show has aired episodes that have different themes. Some of them are yearly events such as the Slammy Awards. Others include tributes to various professional wrestlers who have recently died or retired from actively performing, as well as episodes commemorating various show milestones or anniversaries such as Raw 1000, which celebrated the 1000th broadcast.

The show features various on-air personalities including the wrestlers themselves (both males and females), ring announcers, commentators, on-screen authority figures and musicians. Raw also has had various recurring on-air segments hosted by members of the roster. The current commentators for RAW in the United States are Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves.

In the United States, the show airs live every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on the USA Network. Occasionally, Raw is aired on same-day tape delay when WWE is on an overseas tour. Raw is also shown live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and Ireland, in a deal which began January 2020. Raw airs live in India at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesdays on Sony Ten 1. Since October 6, 2014, Raw has been airing live throughout Latin America on Fox Sports. The show also airs live on Supersport in South Africa on Tuesdays at 02:00 am CAT. Raw had aired in Australia on Fox8 since 2003, usually on a 27-hour tape delay, but has started airing live as of February 4, 2014. Syfy in the United States started airing a 2-hour replay of Raw on May 20, 2016. On June 26, 2018, WWE and USA Network announced a five-year contract extension for Raw. The new agreement for the live, weekly three-hour block commenced in October 2019. Clips from some WWE shows have also been shown on Fox

On September 24, 2012, Hulu signed a multi-year deal with WWE to stream all of the company's TV shows and some of its web series which includes Raw. Episodes of Raw are available for viewing the following day as a condensed 90-minute version is available, not the full version as shown the previous night on the USA Network.

As of December 9, 2016, all episodes of Raw are available on demand on the WWE Network. Recent episodes are available for on-demand viewing 30 days after their original air date.

After WrestleMania 32 in 2016, WWE began with airing the newest episodes of Raw and SmackDown on YouTube for countries that do not air WWE programming on traditional TV for free in less than 24 hours after the original broadcast (The links are blocked in countries where the shows are traditionally available). The 90-minute Hulu version gets put on YouTube for international audiences.

From 1995 to 2006, Raw was shown on The Sports Network (TSN) until it moved to rival sports broadcaster The Score (now renamed Sportsnet 360) after it was announced that TSN would be carrying Monday Night Football for the 2006 season. This meant that Canadian viewers would have to watch via tape-delay, as The Score did not broadcast Raw live at that time. Around that time, The Score aired Countdown to Raw until May 2013 when Raw is shown live to match the United States airtime. It was also shown on CKVR-TV in Barrie and CKMI-TV in Quebec until 2009.

During its run on TSN, which aired live, Raw occasionally had been censored live for extremely violent scenes, or when female wrestlers or characters were assaulted by male wrestlers (particularly one segment that featured the 3-Minute Warning assaulting Kitana Baker). These actions are supposed to be in order to meet Canadian broadcast standards, with repeat broadcasts often more heavily edited. This move had disappointed many wrestling fans over the years, and is unusual since the violence of wrestling scenes are not significantly different from other television programs aired on regular Canadian networks.

Due to Rogers holding the rights to the National Hockey League broadcasts, Raw also airs on its OLN channel. All archived broadcasts of Raw are available on the WWE Network. Rogers Media secured the rights to Canadian WWE programming until 2024.

Raw airs live in the MENA region on Shahid streaming platform Tuesday mornings, and later on the same day, a one-hour version airs on MBC Action at 8 PM Egypt Standard Time. It also airs on FM1 in Iran and on Sport 1 and Sport 1 HD in Israel. Raw further began airing on S Sport and S Sport Plus in Turkey.

In Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, Raw airs live on DAZN and with German commentary on ProSieben MAXX every Wednesday at 10pm. In Belgium, Raw airs on ABXplore (in French) and on Play6.

In Czech Republic, Raw airs on Nova Sport.

In France, Raw airs on AB1 every Wednesday with french commentary.

In Italy, Raw airs live on Discovery Plus and with the italian commentary 7 days after on DMAX.

In Lithuania, Raw airs on BTV. In Poland, Raw airs on Extreme Sports Channel.

In Portugal, Raw airs live on Sport TV with Portuguese commentary. In Romania, Raw airs on Telekom Sport.

In Russia, Raw airs on Match! Fighter with Russian commentary. In Serbia, Raw was airs on Prva Srpska Televizija., like it was airs on OBN in Bosnia and Herzegovina and on RTL 2 in Croatia.

In Spain, Raw aired on Mega every Saturday at 1pm with Spanish commentary.

In United Kingdom and Ireland, Raw airs live on BT Sport, with a one-hour version airing on Channel 5 every Sunday at 10:30am.

Raw airs on Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 1 HD in Nepal. It airs on Mola TV On-Demand in Indonesia.

Raw airs live on Sony Ten 1 HD and Sony Ten 1 in India. And airs exclusive in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Raw streams live on TAP GO app with a live and encore telecast on TAP Sports (Philippines) on the same day and 5 in delayed telecast every Sunday nights.

Raw airs live on Starhub's Hub Sports 2 in Singapore.

Raw airs both live and delayed on Fox8 and Thursday nights on 9Go! as a one-hour version in Australia.

Raw airs live on J Sports 4 in Japan.

Raw airs live on Sky 5 and Friday nights on Prime as a one-hour version in New Zealand.

Raw airs in China on various local networks within China and Videoland Television Network in Taiwan in both English and Thai.

Raw airs on ViuTVsix in Hong Kong, on Ten Sports in Pakistan, and on IB Sports in South Korea.

Raw airs live on Fox Sports in Mexico and across Central and South America. It also airs on La Red in Chile, Unitel in Bolivia, Canal Uno in Colombia, Teleamazonas in Ecuador, Andina de Televisión in Peru, Repretel: Canal 11 in Costa Rica, Canal VTV in El Salvador, Canal 5 in Honduras, RPC Canal 4 in Panama and Imagen Televisión in Mexico.

Previously the rights to broadcast Raw, along with other WWE shows, were held by free-to-air broadcaster Raw would play on Sundays in the evening, with a 7-day delay, edited to one hour and was the most watched program on the channel. However, in 2017 decided not to renew its broadcasting deal with WWE. The rights were later resold to SuperSport (the initial broadcasters of WWE programming).

In 2019 SuperSport, along with its parent company MultiChoice, signed a deal to broadcast the 24-hour WWE channel as a pop-up channel for five months on their DStv platform. It is now a permanent channel on DStv under the channel number 128

WWE Raw airs live on Flow 1 and has a replay on Saturdays at 12 PM.

Kenny Butkus
Chief Visionary Officer
Answer # 2 #

Also Read: WWE Raw Preview April 10th: Becky Lynch and Lita vs Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez, Riddle vs The Miz and more: Follow WWE RAW LIVE

The upcoming episode of WWE Raw will feature Liv Morgan, Raquel Rodriguez, Becky Lynch, Lita, Matt Riddle, Cody Rhodes, Damian Priest, and several other WWE Superstars.

United States: Raw starts at 7 p.m.ET on peacock

UK: Raw starts at 1 am on BT Sport 1

Canada: Raw starts at 8 Am on Sportsnet 360

India: Raw starts at 5:30 a.m on Sony Sports Network and Sony Liv

Australia: Raw starts at 10 am (AEST) on Fox8

American Samoa: Raw starts at 7 p.m.ET on peacock

Guam, Northern Marian Island: Raw starts at 7 p.m.ET on peacock

Puerto Rico: Raw starts at 7 p.m.ET on peacock

U.S. Virgin Islands: Raw starts at 7 p.m.ET on peacock

Algeria: Raw starts at 12:00 am

Bahrain: Raw starts at 2:00 AM

Chad: Raw starts at 12:00 AM

Djibouti: Raw starts at 2:00 AM

Egypt: Raw starts at 1:00 AM

Iraq: Raw starts at 2:00 AM

Jordan: Raw starts at 12:00 PM

Kuwait: Raw starts at 2:00 AM

Lebanon: Raw starts at 1:00 AM

Libya: Raw starts at 1:00 AM

Morocco: Raw starts at 11:00 PM

Oman: Raw starts at 3:00 AM

Palestine: Raw starts at 1:00 AM

Qatar: Raw starts at 2:00 AM

Saudi Arabia: Raw starts at 2:00 AM

Sudan: Raw starts at 1:00 AM

Tunisia: Raw starts at 12:00 AM

United Arab Emirates: Raw starts at 3 AM

Warner Beutel
Answer # 3 #

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., doing business as WWE, is an American professional wrestling promotion. A global integrated media and entertainment company, WWE has also branched out into other fields, including film, American football, and various other business ventures. The company is additionally involved in licensing its intellectual property to companies to produce video games and action figures.

The promotion was founded in 1953 as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) as a Northeastern territory of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Following a dispute, CWC left the NWA and became the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) in April 1963. After rejoining the NWA in 1973, the WWWF was renamed to World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979 before the promotion left the NWA for good in 1983. The company's majority owner is its executive chairman, third-generation wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, who retains a 38.6% ownership of the company's outstanding stock and 81.1% of the voting power. The current entity, which was originally named Titan Sports, Inc., was incorporated on February 21, 1980, in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, but reincorporated under Delaware General Corporation Law in 1987. It acquired Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd., the holding company for the WWF, in 1982. Titan was renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. in 1999, and then World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. in 2002. Since 2011, the company has branded itself solely with the initials WWE, though the legal name has not changed since 2002.

WWE is the largest wrestling promotion in the world, with its main roster divided up into two primary touring groups, along with a developmental roster based in Orlando, Florida (referred to by WWE as "brands"). Overall, WWE is available in more than one billion homes worldwide in 30 languages. The company's global headquarters is located in Stamford, Connecticut, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, and Munich.

As in other professional wrestling promotions, WWE shows are not legitimate contests but entertainment-based performance theater, featuring story line-driven, scripted, and partially choreographed matches; however, matches often include moves that can put performers at risk of injury, even death, if not performed correctly. The pre-determined aspect of professional wrestling was publicly acknowledged by WWE's owner Vince McMahon in 1989 in order to avoid taxes from athletic commissions. WWE brands its product as sports entertainment, acknowledging wrestling's roots in competitive sport and dramatic theater.

In 2023, WWE began to explore a potential sale of the company, amidst an employee misconduct scandal involving McMahon that had prompted him to step down as chief executive officer, although he returned as executive chairman. In April 2023, WWE made a deal with Endeavor Group Holdings, under which it would merge with the mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to form TKO Group Holdings, a new public company majority-owned by Endeavor, with McMahon serving as executive chairman of the new entity, and Nick Khan remaining president. The merger is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.

WWE's origins can be traced back as far as the 1950s when on January 7, 1953, the first show under the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) was produced. There is uncertainty as to who the founder of the CWC was. Some sources state that it was Vincent J. McMahon, while other sources cite McMahon's father Jess McMahon as founder of CWC. The CWC later joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and famous New York promoter Toots Mondt soon joined the promotion.

Vincent J. McMahon and Toots Mondt were very successful and soon controlled approximately 70% of the NWA's booking power, largely due to their dominance in the heavily populated Northeastern United States. In 1963, McMahon and Mondt had a dispute with the NWA over "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers being booked to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Mondt and McMahon were not only promoters but also acted as his manager and were accused by other NWA promoters of withholding Rogers making defenses in their cities versus only defending in Mondt and McMahon's own cities thus maintaining a monopoly on the world title. In a now infamous situation, the NWA sent former five-time world champion and legitimate wrestler Lou Thesz to Toronto to face Rogers on January 24, 1963. Thesz recalls this was not planned and prior to the match remembered telling Buddy "we can do this the easy way or the hard way." Rogers agreed to lose the fall and title in a one fall match versus the traditional two out of three fall matchup that most world title matches were defended. Once word reached back to Mondt and McMahon, at first they simply ignored the title change. From January until April 1963, Rogers was promoted as the NWA World Champion, or simply the World Heavyweight Champion, in their area. The World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) was not an immediate creation after Rogers's one fall loss to Thesz. Mondt and McMahon both eventually left the NWA in protest and formed the WWWF in the process. They brought along with them Willie Gilzenberg, long time boxing and wrestling promoter in New Jersey. In April 1963, the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship was created, with the promotion claiming that inaugural champion Rogers had won a tournament in Rio de Janeiro on April 25, 1963, defeating long time Capitol Sports favorite Antonino Rocca in the finals. In reality, Rocca was no longer in the area, as he was working for Jim Crockett Sr. in the Carolinas. Rogers also had already suffered what would later be a career ending heart attack on April 18 in Akron, Ohio, and was in an Ohio hospital during the time the alleged tournament took place. Rogers lost the championship to Bruno Sammartino a month later on May 17, with the promotion beginning to be built around Sammartino shortly after.

In June 1963, Gilzenberg was named the first president of the WWWF. Mondt left the promotion in the late 1960s and although the WWWF had previously withdrawn from the NWA, McMahon quietly re-joined in 1971. The WWWF was renamed to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979.

Vincent J. McMahon's son, Vincent K. McMahon, and his wife Linda, established Titan Sports, Inc., in 1980 in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts and applied trademarks for the initials "WWF". The company was incorporated on February 21, 1980, in the Cape Cod Coliseum offices, then moved to the building on Holly Hill Lane in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The younger McMahon bought Capitol from his father in 1982, effectively seizing control of the company. The actual date of sale is still unknown but the generally accepted date is June 6, 1982; however this was likely only the date the deal was struck but not finalized. On WWF television, Capitol Wrestling Corporation maintained copyrights and ownership past the June 1982 date. The World Wrestling Federation was not solely owned by Vincent J. McMahon but also by Gorilla Monsoon, Arnold Skaaland and Phil Zacko. The deal between the two McMahons was a monthly payment basis where if a single payment was missed, ownership would revert to the elder McMahon and his business partners. Looking to seal the deal quickly, McMahon took several loans and deals with other promoters and the business partners (including the promise of a job for life) in order to take full ownership by May or June 1983 for an estimated total of roughly $1 million with the three business partners receiving roughly $815,000 among them and Vincent J. McMahon receiving roughly $185,000. Seeking to make the WWF the premier wrestling promotion in the country, and eventually, the world, he began an expansion process that fundamentally changed the wrestling business.

At the annual meeting of the NWA in 1983, the McMahons and former Capitol employee Jim Barnett all withdrew from the organization. McMahon also worked to get WWF programming on syndicated television all across the United States. This angered other promoters and disrupted the well-established boundaries of the different wrestling promotions, eventually ending the territory system, which was in use since the founding of the NWA in the 1940s. In addition, the company used income generated by advertising, television deals, and tape sales to secure talent from rival promoters, to which McMahon discussed in an interview with Sports Illustrated. McMahon was quoted as saying: "In the old days, there were wrestling fiefdoms all over the country, each with its own little lord in charge. Each little lord respected the rights of his neighboring little lord. No takeovers or raids were allowed. There were maybe 30 of these tiny kingdoms in the U.S. and if I hadn't bought out my dad, there would still be 30 of them, fragmented and struggling. I, of course, had no allegiance to those little lords."

McMahon gained significant traction when he hired American Wrestling Association (AWA) talent Hulk Hogan, who had achieved popularity outside of wrestling, notably for his appearance in the film Rocky III. McMahon signed Roddy Piper as Hogan's rival, and then shortly afterward Jesse Ventura as an announcer. Other wrestlers joined the roster, such as The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Junkyard Dog, Paul Orndorff, Greg Valentine, and Ricky Steamboat, joining existing stars such as Jimmy Snuka, Don Muraco, Sgt. Slaughter and André the Giant. Many of the wrestlers who would later join the WWF were former AWA or NWA talent.

The WWF would tour nationally in a venture that would require a huge capital investment, one that placed the WWF on the verge of financial collapse. The future of McMahon's experiment came down to the success or failure of McMahon's groundbreaking concept, WrestleMania. WrestleMania was a major success and was (and still is) marketed as the Super Bowl of professional wrestling. The concept of a wrestling supercard was nothing new in North America; the NWA had begun running Starrcade a few years prior. In McMahon's eyes, however, what separated WrestleMania from other supercards was that it was intended to be accessible to those who did not watch wrestling. He invited celebrities such as Mr. T, Muhammad Ali, and Cyndi Lauper to participate in the event, as well as securing a deal with MTV to provide coverage. The event and hype surrounding it led to the term Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection, due to the cross-promotion of popular culture and professional wrestling.

The WWF business expanded significantly on the shoulders of McMahon and his babyface hero Hulk Hogan for the next several years. The introduction of Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC in 1985 marked the first time that professional wrestling had been broadcast on network television since the 1950s when the now-defunct DuMont Television Network broadcast matches of Vincent J. McMahon's Capitol Wrestling Corporation. The 1980s "Wrestling Boom" peaked with the WrestleMania III pay-per-view at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1987, which set an attendance record of 93,173, a record that stood for 29 years until WrestleMania 32. A rematch of the WrestleMania III main event between WWF champion Hulk Hogan and André the Giant took place on The Main Event I in 1988 and was seen by 33 million people, the most-watched wrestling match in North American television history.

In 1983, Titan moved its offices to Stamford, Connecticut, though the current building was built and opened on May 13, 1991. Subsequently, a new Titan Sports, Inc. (originally WWF, Inc.) was established in Delaware in 1987 and was consolidated with the Massachusetts entity in February 1988.

The WWF was hit with allegations of steroid abuse and distribution in 1992. This was followed by allegations of sexual harassment by WWF employees the following year. McMahon was eventually exonerated, but the allegations brought bad public relations for the WWF, and an overall bad reputation. The steroid trial cost the company an estimated $5 million at a time of record low revenues. This helped drive many WWF wrestlers over to rival promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW), including 1980s babyface hero Hulk Hogan. During this period, the WWF promoted wrestlers of a younger age comprising "The New Generation", featuring Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Sycho Sid among others in an effort to promote new talent into the spotlight.

In January 1993, the WWF debuted its flagship cable program Monday Night Raw. WCW countered in September 1995 with its own Monday night program, Monday Nitro, which aired in the same time slot as Raw. The two programs would trade wins in the ensuing ratings competition (known as the "Monday Night Wars") until mid-1996. At that point, Nitro began a nearly two-year ratings domination that was largely fueled by the introduction of the New World Order (nWo), a stable led by former WWF performers Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall (the former Razor Ramon), and Kevin Nash (the former Diesel).

As the Monday Night Wars continued between Raw Is War and WCW's Nitro, the WWF would transform itself from a family-friendly product into a more adult-oriented product, known as the Attitude Era. The era was spearheaded by WWF VP Shane McMahon (son of owner Vince McMahon) and head writer Vince Russo.

1997 ended with McMahon facing real-life controversy following Bret Hart's controversial departure from the company, dubbed as the Montreal Screwjob. This proved to be one of several founding factors in the launch of the Attitude Era as well as the creation of McMahon's on-screen character, "Mr. McMahon".

Before the Montreal Screwjob, which took place at the 1997 Survivor Series, former WCW talent were being hired by the WWF, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, and Vader. Austin was slowly brought in as the new face of the company despite being promoted as an antihero, starting with his "Austin 3:16" speech shortly after defeating Jake Roberts in the tournament finals at the King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1996.

On April 29, 1999, the WWF made its return to terrestrial television, airing a special program known as SmackDown! on the fledgling UPN network. The Thursday night show became a weekly series on August 26, 1999 – competing directly with WCW's Thursday night program titled Thunder on TBS.

In the summer of 1999, Titan Sports, Inc. was renamed World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. On October 19, 1999, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. launched an initial public offering as a publicly traded company, trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with the issuance of stock then valued at $172.5 million. The company is traded on the NYSE under ticker symbol WWE.

By the fall of 1999, the Attitude Era had turned the tide of the Monday Night Wars into WWF's favor. After Time Warner merged with America Online (AOL), Ted Turner's control over WCW was considerably reduced. The newly merged company lacked interest in professional wrestling as a whole and decided to sell WCW in its entirety. Although Eric Bischoff, whom Time Warner fired as WCW president in October 1999, was nearing a deal to purchase the company, in March 2001 McMahon acquired the rights to WCW's trademarks, tape library, contracts, and other properties from AOL Time Warner for a number reported to be around $7 million. Shortly after WrestleMania X-Seven, the WWF launched the Invasion storyline, integrating the incoming talent roster from WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). With this purchase, WWF now became by far the sole largest wrestling promotion in North America and in the world. The assets of ECW, which had folded after filing for bankruptcy protection in April 2001, were purchased by WWE in 2003.

In 2000, the WWF, in collaboration with television network NBC, launched the XFL, a new professional football league that debuted in 2001. The league had high ratings for the first few weeks, but initial interest waned and its ratings plunged to dismally low levels (one of its games was the lowest-rated prime-time show in the history of American television). NBC walked out on the venture after only one season, but McMahon intended to continue alone. However, after being unable to reach a deal with UPN, McMahon shut down the XFL. WWE maintained control of the XFL trademark before McMahon reclaimed the XFL brand, this time under a separate shell company from WWE, in 2017 with intent to relaunch the XFL in 2020.

On June 24, 2002, episode of Raw, Vince McMahon officially referred to the start of the next era, called the "Ruthless Aggression" era.

On May 6, 2002, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) changed both its company name and the name of its wrestling promotion to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) after the company lost a lawsuit initiated by the World Wildlife Fund over the WWF trademark. Although mainly caused by an unfavorable ruling in its dispute with the World Wildlife Fund regarding the "WWF" initialism, the company noted it provided an opportunity to emphasize its focus on entertainment.

In March 2002, WWE decided to create two separate rosters, with each group of wrestlers appearing on one of their main programs, Raw and SmackDown!, due to the overabundance of talent left over from the Invasion storyline. This was dubbed as the "brand extension".

Beginning in 2002 a draft lottery was held nearly every year to set the rosters, with the first draft to determine the inaugural split rosters, and subsequent drafts designed to refresh the rosters of each show. WWE expanded the brand split by relaunching ECW as a third brand on May 26, 2006. Two years later, WWE adapted a more family-friendly format and their programming received a TV-PG rating. The final ECW program aired on February 16, 2010, after which it was replaced with NXT.

On April 7, 2011, WWE, via the WWE Corporate website, the company ceased using the full name World Wrestling Entertainment and henceforth referred to itself solely as WWE, making the latter an orphan initialism. This was said to reflect WWE's global entertainment expansion away from the ring with the ultimate goal of acquiring entertainment companies and putting a focus on television, live events, and film production. WWE noted that their new company model was put into effect with the relaunch of Tough Enough, being a non-scripted program (contrary to the scripted nature of professional wrestling) and with the launch of the WWE Network (at the time scheduled to launch in 2012; later pushed back to 2014). However, the legal name of the company still remains as World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Beginning with the August 29, 2011, episode, Raw - referred to as Raw Supershow - featured talent from both Raw and SmackDown (the "Supershow" epithet would be dropped on July 23, 2012). Championships previously exclusive to one show or the other were available for wrestlers from any show to compete for; the "Supershow" format would mark the end of the brand split, as all programming and live events (until July 2016) featured the full WWE roster.

In 2013, the company built the sports medicine and training facility WWE Performance Center in the east Orange County, Florida in partnership with Full Sail University from Winter Park, Florida. The training facility is targeted at career and athletic development for the company's wrestlers. Full Sail is also home base to WWE's NXT brand, which served as a developmental territory for WWE.

On February 24, 2014, WWE launched WWE Network, an over-the-top streaming service that would feature archive content from WWE and its predecessors, all pay-per-views, (which would continue to be sold through television providers as well), and original programming.

Beginning in 2015 WWE started to push Roman Reigns as their face of the company since having him win the 2015 Royal rumble match, amidst mixed reception. By 2017 Roman Reigns became their highest merchandise seller.

On May 25, 2016, WWE relaunched the brand split, billed as the "New Era". Subsequently, Raw and SmackDown have each featured their unique rosters, announcers, championships and ring sets/ropes. A draft took place to determine which wrestlers would appear on what show. SmackDown also moved from Thursdays to Tuesday nights, which began on July 19 (the night of the aforementioned draft), and airs live instead of the previous pre-recorded format.

On November 29, 2016, WWE introduced a new program specifically for their cruiserweight division (wrestlers 205 lbs. and under) called WWE 205 Live. The program focuses exclusively on those wrestlers who qualify for the division. The cruiserweights – who first became a fixture in WWE with the Cruiserweight Classic tournament – were originally exclusive to the Raw brand before landing their own brand.

On December 15, 2016, WWE established a new WWE United Kingdom Championship, with the inaugural champiopn being decided by a 16-man tournament to air on WWE Network featuring wrestlers from the UK and Ireland during January 2017. WWE executive Paul "Triple H" Levesque said the eventual plan with the new title and tournament was to establish a UK-based brand with its own weekly television show. WWE subsequently launched its UK-based brand as an offshoot of NXT, NXT UK, in June 2018, with Johnny Saint serving as inaugural general manager.

Starting in September 2019, NXT had a weekly, live, two-hour show Wednesday nights on the USA Network and WWE began promoting NXT as their "third brand". However, in 2021 NXT was moved to Tuesday nights, having conceded the Wednesday Night Wars to rival promotion All Elite Wrestling (AEW), and in September of that year was reinstated to its original function as the developmental brand for the main roster (Raw and SmackDown), under the name "NXT 2.0".

In March 2020, WWE began to be impacted by the American onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In mid-March, three of the four major sports leagues closed locker rooms to the media as a precautionary measure. As other sports cancellations and postponements were being introduced, WWE began to film its weekly programs at the Performance Center without spectators and with only essential staff present, beginning with the March 13 episode of SmackDown – the March 11 episode of NXT had been recorded at the Performance Center with paying fans, thus being WWE's last event to have ticketed fans in attendance before the pandemic took full effect. WrestleMania 36 was scheduled to take place on April 5 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa but on March 16, was moved to Orlando to be held behind closed doors. WrestleMania, as well as Raw and SmackDown for a period before and after WrestleMania, shifted from live broadcasts to a pre-recorded format. NXT continued to air from Full Sail University, but under similar restrictions.

Live broadcasts returned on April 13, with the existing arrangements continuing; WWE stated to that "we believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times", and that the company's programming "bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance". It was subsequently reported that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had deemed WWE a business critical to the state's economy, and had added an exception under the state's stay-at-home order for employees of a "professional sports and media production" that is closed to the public and has a national audience. The decision was met with criticism from media outlets, with several media outlets pointing out that DeSantis's actions happened on the same day a pro-Donald Trump political action committee led by Linda McMahon, who was previously a part of Trump's cabinet, pledged to spend $18.5 million in advertising in Florida, and that, also on the same day, Vince McMahon was named part of an advisory group created by Trump to devise a strategy in re-launching US economy.

On April 15, WWE started a series of cuts and layoffs in response to the pandemic, including releasing a number of performers (Karl Anderson, Kurt Angle, Aiden English, EC3, Epico, Luke Gallows, Curt Hawkins, No Way Jose, Sarah Logan, Mike Kanellis, Maria Kanellis, Primo, Erick Rowan, Rusev, Lio Rush, Zack Ryder, Heath Slater, and Eric Young), three producers (Dave Finlay, Shane Helms and Lance Storm), referee Mike Chioda, and multiple NXT/Performance Center trainees and staff. WWE executives also took a pay cut, and the company has also suspended construction on its new headquarters for at least six months. The firings caused significant backlash by fans; with Business Insider calling them "livid." Both fans and several media outlets pointed out that while WWE claimed that these actions were "necessary due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic", the WWE also claimed to have "substantial financial resources. Available cash and debt capacity currently total approximately $0.5 billion". DeSantis's claimed WWE was "essential", which meant that the company's revenues loss would be limited.

In August 2020, WWE relocated from the Performance Center to Orlando's Amway Center for a long-term residency, broadcasting episodes of Raw, SmackDown, and pay-per-views through a virtual fan viewing experience called WWE ThunderDome. Inside the ThunderDome, drones, lasers, pyro, smoke, and projections were utilized to enhance the wrestlers' entrances on a level similar to that of pay-per-view productions pre-pandemic. Nearly 1,000 LED boards were installed to allow for rows and rows of virtual fans. It was free of charge for fans to virtually attend the events, though they had to reserve their virtual seat ahead of time. WWE remained at the Amway Center up through early December before relocating the ThunderDome to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The ThunderDome relocated to Yuengling Center, located on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa, beginning with the April 12, 2021, episode of Raw. In October 2020, NXT events were relocated from Full Sail University to the Performance Center in a similar setup dubbed the Capitol Wrestling Center. It had many of the same features as the ThunderDome, but with a small crowd of select live fans included, in addition to the virtual fans. The name is also an homage to WWE's predecessor, the Capitol Wrestling Corporation. On May 21 WWE brought back fans full time, beginning with a 25-city tour, thus ending the ThunderDome residency. The July 16 episode of SmackDown started WWE's return to the road, taking place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

In January 2021, WWE moved WrestleMania 37, which was originally to be held in Inglewood, California on March 28, to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida – WrestleMania 36's original location – as a two-night event on April 10 and 11, with fans in attendance, though to a limited capacity. This marked WWE's first event during the pandemic to have ticketed fans in attendance with a maximum of 25,000 spectators for each night with COVID-19 protocols in place. Also around this time, the WWE Network in the United States became exclusively distributed by Peacock on March 18, 2021 (ahead of Fastlane and WrestleMania 37). The merger of the WWE Network and Peacock did not affect the service outside of the United States. NXT was moved to a Tuesday night timeslot in 2021 and was rebooted as NXT 2.0 later that year, reinstituting its original function as a developmental brand. The Performance Center became NXT's permanent home base, replacing Full Sail. Maximum capacity crowds resumed and the Capitol Wrestling Center name was phased out. In February 2022, the 205 Live brand was dissolved and the 205 Live show was replaced by a new NXT show called Level Up.

On February 24, 2022, WWE launched a partnership with On Location, a company known for providing premium hospitality experiences for marquee events. Through the partnership, spectators will have access to hospitality packages for WWE's five biggest events, including WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, and Money in the Bank. The 2022 Money in the Bank was WWE's first event to offer the premium hospitality packages. These ticket and travel packages include premier seating, premium hospitality offerings, and meet-and-greets with current WWE wrestlers and legends.

On June 17, 2022, amidst an investigation by WWE's Board of Directors into reported "hush money" paid to a former employee by Vince McMahon following an affair, Mr. McMahon stepped down as chairman and CEO of WWE and was replaced by his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, as the interim chairwoman of WWE. Despite the change Vince McMahon came out on WWE SmackDown, that night opening the show with a brief speech, the highlights of which "then, now, forever and most importantly together" was quoted by various news media as Vince letting people know that he was still in creative control from behind the scenes. On July 22, 2022, Vince McMahon officially retired, stating on Twitter, "At 77, time for me to retire. Thank you, WWE Universe. Then. Now. Forever. Together." Following Vince's retirement, Stephanie McMahon was officially named chairwoman while she and Nick Khan were named co-CEOs of WWE. Triple H would take over as head of creative, while resuming his position as Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and later being promoted to Chief Content Officer. Commentators have highlighted the significance of McMahon's retirement, saying that it marked the historic start of a new period in WWE's history. The 2022 SummerSlam event held on July 30, 2022, was the first WWE pay-per-view event to be held under the leadership of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. On August 18, 2022 WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels was promoted to WWE Vice President of Talent Development Creative.

In January 2023, Vince McMahon stated his intention to return to the company ahead of media rights negotiations. WWE's media rights with Fox and USA Network are set to expire in 2024. That same month, JPMorgan were hired to handle a possible sale of the company, with rumored suitors having included its media partners Comcast and Fox Corporation, The Walt Disney Company (owners of ESPN), Warner Bros. Discovery (media partners of rival All Elite Wrestling), Netflix, Amazon, Endeavor Group Holdings (owners of mixed martial arts promotion UFC, and Endeavor Streaming—which replaced MLB Advanced Media as the streaming service provider for WWE Network in 2019), Liberty Media, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (WWE had partnered with the Ministry of Sport to promote events in the country).

On January 10, 2023, Stephanie McMahon resigned as Chairwoman and co-CEO, also on the same day Vince McMahon assumed the role of executive Chairman of WWE while Nick Khan became the sole CEO.

On April 3, 2023, WWE and Endeavor reached a deal under which WWE would merge with UFC to form a new, currently-unnamed company, which will go public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol "TKO". Endeavor will hold a 51% stake in "TKO", with WWE's shareholders having a 49% stake, valuing WWE at $9.1 billion. This will mark the first time that WWE has not been majority-controlled by the McMahon family. McMahon will serve as executive chairman of the new entity, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel becoming CEO, with Mark Shapiro as president and chief operating officer. Emanuel will not take on any creative roles, with Nick Khan becoming president of WWE post-merger (not unlike Dana White's role as president of UFC). In an interview with CNBC, McMahon stated that he would be involved in creative "on a higher level", but would not be "in the weeds" as he was in the past. Shane McMahon had attempted to purchase the UFC multiple times in the 2000s, but Vince talked him out of doing so.

Emanuel stated that this merger would "bring together two leading pureplay sports and entertainment companies" and provide "significant operating synergies". McMahon stated that "family businesses have to evolve for all the right reasons", and that "given the incredible work that Ari and Endeavor have done to grow the UFC brand — nearly doubling its revenue over the past seven years — and the immense success we've already had in partnering with their team on a number of ventures, I believe that this is without a doubt the best outcome for our shareholders and other stakeholders." The merger is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023. Despite the merger, the two promotions, WWE and the UFC, will continue to run as separate divisions of the newly merged company.



Tag Team

Note: The "Days rec." column means that WWE officially recognizes a different number of days held due to an event airing on tape delay.

WWE signs most of its talent to exclusive contracts, meaning talent can appear or perform only on WWE programming and events. They are not permitted to appear or perform for another promotion unless special arrangements are made beforehand. WWE keeps all wrestlers' salary, employment length, benefits, and all other contract details strictly private.

WWE classifies its professional wrestlers as independent contractors and not as employees. A study by the University of Louisville Law Review found that after applying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 20-factor test, 16 factors "clearly indicate that wrestlers are employees". However, as a result of WWE terming them as independent contractors, "the wrestlers are denied countless benefits to which they would otherwise be entitled".

In September 2020, WWE reportedly told wrestlers that they could no longer "engage with outside third parties", such as Cameo, and claimed that the WWE "owns the real names of talent, not just their character names".

In December 2021, WWE revealed a new recruitment contract for athletes who are currently attending college. The NCAA-approved name, image, and likeness contracts are referred to by WWE as "next in line agreements".

On October 19, 1999, WWF, which had been owned previously by parent company Titan Sports, launched an initial public offering as a publicly traded company, trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with the issuance of stock then valued at $172.5 million. The company has traded on the NYSE since its launch under ticker symbol WWE.

The company has actively marketed itself as a publicly traded company through presentations at investor conferences and other investor relations initiatives. In June 2003, the company began paying a dividend on its shares of $0.04 per share. In June 2011, the company cut its dividend from $0.36 to $0.12. In 2014, concerns about the company's viability caused wide fluctuations in its share price.

Notable executives:

During the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. George Zahorian was thought to have routinely distributed steroids and other drugs to WWF wrestlers, supposedly with the approval of WWF owner Vince McMahon. In 1993, McMahon was indicted in federal court after the steroid controversy engulfed the promotion, forcing him to temporarily cede control of the WWF to his wife Linda. The case went to trial in 1994, where McMahon himself was accused of distributing steroids to his wrestlers. One notable prosecution witness was Nailz (real name: Kevin Wacholz), a former WWF performer who had been fired after a violent confrontation with McMahon. Nailz testified that McMahon had ordered him to use steroids, but his credibility was called into question during his testimony as he repeatedly stated that he "hated" McMahon. The jury would later acquit McMahon of the charges and he resumed his role in the day-to day operations of the WWF.

In 1996, Titan Sports, the parent company of the World Wrestling Federation, sued World Championship Wrestling (WCW) over WCW implying that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (Razor Ramon and Diesel) were invading WCW on the WWF's behalf. This led to a series of lawsuits filed by both companies as the Monday Night War heated up. The lawsuit went on for years, ending with a settlement in 2000. One of the terms gave then WWF the right to bid on WCW's assets if the company were liquidated. AOL Time Warner, the then-parent company of WCW, cancelled WCW's television shows in March 2001 and sold the company assets to the WWF.

On May 23, 2012, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA, now Impact Wrestling) sued former employee Brian Wittenstein and WWE. The suit alleged that Wittenstein violated a non-disclosure agreement and shared confidential information with the WWE which represented a comparative advantage in negotiating with wrestling talent under contract with TNA. He was subsequently hired by WWE, after which TNA asserted that Wittenstein violated the agreement by downloading confidential TNA trade secrets and providing that information to WWE. Although WWE fired Wittenstein and alerted TNA officials as to the disclosure of the information, TNA claimed that WWE had access to the information for three weeks prior to disclosure and in this time, the WWE used secret contract information and attempted to poach their talent in violation of Tennessee's Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The lawsuit was formally withdrawn without prejudice, by the plaintiff, TNA, on January 15, 2013, under a "Notice of Voluntary Nonsuit" which offers no ruling on the merits of the suit and allows TNA to potentially refile at a later date.

On January 11, 2022, Major League Wrestling (MLW) filed an anti-trust lawsuit against WWE, accusing them of interfering in television and streaming deals and poaching talent. Through the lawsuit, it was disclosed that a streaming deal with Fox Corporation-owned Tubi was terminated due to WWE allegedly threatening to pull their programming from the sibling Fox broadcast network. The suit also alleges that WWE pressured Vice TV to withdraw from negotiations with MLW.

On May 23, 1999, Owen Hart fell to his death in Kansas City, Missouri during the Over the Edge pay-per-view event in a stunt that went wrong. WWF broke kayfabe by having television commentator Jim Ross repeatedly tell those watching live on pay-per-view that what had just transpired was not a wrestling angle or storyline and that Hart was hurt badly, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation. While several attempts to revive him were made, he died from his injuries. The cause of death was later revealed to be internal bleeding from blunt force trauma. The WWF management controversially chose to continue the event. Later, Jim Ross revealed Hart's death to the home viewers during the pay-per-view, but not to the crowd in the arena. While the show did go on, it has never been released commercially by WWF Home Video. In 2014, fifteen years after his death, the WWE Network aired the event for the first time. A small photo tribute is shown before the start informing fans that Hart died during the original broadcast. All footage of Hart was edited out of the event. The statement reads: "In Memory of Owen Hart May 7, 1965 – May 23, 1999 who accidentally passed away during this broadcast." Four weeks after the event, the Hart family sued the WWF over how dangerous and poorly planned the stunt was, and that the harness system was defective. After over a year and a half into the case, a settlement was reached on November 2, 2000, which saw the WWF give the Hart family US$18 million.

In April 2000, USA Networks had filed a lawsuit against World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. in a bid to keep Raw is War and all WWF programming after the WWF opened up a bidding a month prior. Viacom's proposed bid included a $30-million to $50-million equity investment in the company and carriage on broadcast, billboards and radio of both wrestling matches along with the then-launched XFL.

On June 27, 2000, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in favor of the WWF. The next day, Viacom won the rights to all WWF programming for $12.6 million including Raw is War on TNN/Spike TV, a revamped Sunday Night Heat on MTV and retained SmackDown! on UPN after the merger with CBS in 1999. The lawsuit centered on USA's contention that it did not have to match every aspect of a Viacom offer to satisfy a right of first refusal clause in its contract that allowed its deal with the WWF to continue. In 2005, WWE's programming (excluding SmackDown!) moved back to USA Network (now owned by NBCUniversal) and maintains its relationship to this day.

In 1994, Titan Sports had entered into an agreement with the World Wide Fund for Nature (also trademarked WWF), an environmental organization, regarding Titan's use of the "WWF" acronym, which both organizations had been using since at least March 1979. Under the agreement, Titan had agreed to cease using the written acronym "WWF" in connection with its wrestling promotion, and to minimize (though not eliminate) spoken uses of "WWF" on its broadcasts, particularly in scripted comments. In exchange, the environmental group (and its national affiliates) agreed to drop any pending litigation against Titan, and agreed not to challenge Titan's use of the full "World Wrestling Federation" name or the promotion's then-current logo.

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. The Court of Appeal agreed that the promotion company had violated the 1994 agreement, particularly in regards to merchandising. The last televised event to market the WWF logo was the UK-based pay-per-view Insurrextion 2002. On May 5, 2002, the company launched its "Get The F Out" marketing campaign and changed all references on its website from "WWF" to "WWE", while switching the URL from to The next day, the official name change from World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., was publicized in a press release and during a broadcast of Raw, from the Hartford Civic Center.

Following the name change, the use of the WWF "scratch" logo became prohibited on all WWE properties. Additionally, past references to the WWF trademark and initials in 'specified circumstances' became censored. Despite the litigation, WWE was still permitted use of the original WWF logo, which was used from 1979 through 1994 and had been explicitly exempted under the 1994 agreement, as well as the similar "New WWF Generation" logo, which was used from 1994 through 1998. Furthermore, the company could still make use of the full "World Wrestling Federation" and "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment" names without consequence. In 2003, WWE won a limited decision to continue marketing certain classic video games from THQ and Jakks Pacific that contained the WWF "scratch" logo. However, the packaging on those games had all WWF references replaced with WWE.

Starting with the 1,000th episode of Raw in July 2012, the WWF "scratch" logo is no longer censored in archival footage due to WWE reaching a new settlement with the World Wide Fund for Nature. In addition, the F in WWF initials are no longer censored when spoken or when written in plain text in archival footage. Since then, full-length matches and other segments featuring the WWF initials and "scratch" logo have been added to the WWE website and the WWE Classics on Demand and eventually the WWE Network service. This also includes WWE Home Video releases since October 2012, starting with the re-release of Brock Lesnar: Here Comes The Pain. Although the WWF initials and logo are no longer censored in archival footage, WWE cannot use the WWF initials or logo in any new, original footage, packaging, or advertising.

Harry "Slash" Grivas and Roderick Kohn filed a lawsuit against WWE in June 2003 due to the music being used for its programming and DVDs without consent or payment. It also asserted a violation of the rights to original music used by ECW that WWE had been using during the Invasion storyline of 2001. The case was resolved on both sides with a settlement that saw WWE purchase the catalog outright in January 2005.

In 1993, Jim Hellwig, known in the WWF as "The Ultimate Warrior", legally changed his name to the mononym Warrior. This one-word name appears on all legal documents pertaining to Warrior, and his children carry the Warrior name as their legal surname. Warrior and the WWF engaged in a series of lawsuits and legal actions in 1996 and 1998, where both parties sought a declaration that they owned the characters, Warrior and Ultimate Warrior, under both contract and copyright law. The court ruled that Warrior was legally entitled to use the gimmick, costuming, face paint designs, and mannerisms of the "Warrior" character.

On September 27, 2005, WWE released a DVD documentary focusing on Warrior's retrospective wrestling career, titled The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. The DVD featured clips of his more notable feuds and matches along with commentary from WWE stars past and present (most of which are unflattering). The DVD has provoked some controversy due to Warrior's allegations of libel by WWE against him. Originally, Warrior was asked to help with the production of the DVD, but as he refused to work with WWE, there had been some resulting animosity between Warrior and WWE over the Warrior claiming bias on the part of WWE. In January 2006, Warrior filed another lawsuit against WWE in an Arizona court over the depiction of his wrestling career in The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD. On September 18, 2009, Warrior's lawsuit in Arizona was dismissed.

Warrior returned to WWE to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. During his induction, he mentioned that WWE should create an award to honor those behind the scenes called the Jimmy Miranda Award, named after a long time WWE employee who died. Warrior died three days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. WWE decided to create the Warrior Award, an award for people "who embodied the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior." The award was later given to Connor Michalek (a child who died from cancer), Joan Lunden (a journalist who was diagnosed with cancer), and Eric LeGrand (a former college football player who became a quadriplegic after an in-game injury). In October 2017, WWE used the tagline "Unleash Your Warrior" when promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since Warrior's death, WWE has been accused of whitewashing and ignoring Warrior's bigoted and controversial past comments. Pro Wrestling Torch described Warrior in real-life having made public "vile, bigoted, hateful, judgmental comments", citing as an example that regarding Bobby Heenan's cancer diagnosis, Warrior said, "Karma is just a beautiful thing to behold." Vice wrote that "completely whitewashing his past and elevating his likeness to a bland symbol of corporate altruism is shockingly tone-deaf, especially for a company that's at least outwardly trying to appear progressive, inclusive and diverse."

Under Section 9.13(a) of WWE's booking contract, commonly known as the "morals clause", the company has a zero-tolerance policy involving domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Upon arrest and conviction for such crimes, a WWE talent shall be immediately suspended and their contract terminated.

Starting in 2014, numerous former WWE talent filed multiple lawsuits against WWE alleging that WWE did not protect and hid information from their talent about concussions and CTE. The former talent claimed physical and mental health issues as a result physical trauma they experience in WWE. The lawsuits were filed by attorney Konstantine Kyros. US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant dismissed many of the lawsuits in September 2018. In September 2020, the lawsuits were dismissed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Supreme Court of the United States subsequently declined to hear the case in April 2021.

The events promoted in Saudi Arabia by WWE have been subjected to criticism due to allegations of sportswashing. WWE has been accused of contributing to Saudi Arabia's discrimination of LGBT people and women by holding events in the country.

WWE's relation with Saudi Arabia has been condemned by activist groups such as Code Pink and several politicians.

One of the first allegations against Vince McMahon was made on April 3, 1992, when Rita Chatterton, a former referee noted for her stint as Rita Marie in the WWF in the 1980s and for being the first female referee in the WWF (possibly in professional wrestling history), made an appearance on Geraldo Rivera's show Now It Can Be Told. She claimed that on July 16, 1986, McMahon tried to force her to perform oral sex on him in his limousine; when she refused, he raped her. Former wrestler Leonard Inzitari has corroborated Chatterton's allegation. Several years later, on February 1, 2006, McMahon was accused of sexual harassment by a worker at a tanning bar in Boca Raton, Florida. At first, the charge appeared to be discredited because McMahon was in Miami for the 2006 Royal Rumble at the time. It was soon clarified that the alleged incident was reported to police on the day of the Rumble, but actually took place the day before. On March 25, it was reported that no charges would be filed against McMahon as a result of the investigation. Both Chatterton and a separate tanning spa worker who alleged that McMahon sexually assaulted her in California in 2011 filed civil sex abuse lawsuits against him in late 2022. McMahon would agree to pay Chatterton an undisclosed multimillion-dollar legal settlement.

In 2014, activist investor Emmanuel Lemelson stated that he believed the company had made material misrepresentations in its financial reporting and called for new leadership or a sale of the company. Lemelson's analysis was credited with an $800 million drop in the market capitalization of the stock.

In April 2022, the WWE board began investigating a $3 million hush-money settlement that McMahon paid over an alleged affair with a former employee of the company. The investigation also revealed other nondisclosure agreements related to misconduct claims by other women in the company against McMahon and executive John Laurinaitis, totaling $12 million. This eventually led to McMahon retiring from all of his positions on July 22, 2022, and a change in leadership of the WWE for the first time in 40 years since 1982; he would later return to the company in January 2023 as executive chairman.

The company would eventually report $19.6 million in unrecorded payments made by Vince McMahon between 2006 and 2022.

WWE uses a variety of special terms in promoting their product, such as describing the wrestling industry as sports entertainment. The fan base is referred to as the "WWE Universe" for the main roster shows, while for NXT shows, they are also referred to as the "NXT Universe". Main roster wrestlers are designated "WWE Superstars", while those in NXT are also referred to as "NXT Superstars". Retired wrestlers are described as "WWE Legends", while those who have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame are called "Hall of Famers".

On February 24, 2014, WWE launched WWE Network, an over-the-top subscription streaming service The service, which was initially proposed as a linear pay television service, carries all WWE pay-per-view events, original programming (including in-ring programs, as well as documentary and reality programming highlighting the promotion and its history), and access to WWE library content such as classic pay-per-views and television episodes from WWE and other promotions that it had acquired. The service reached 1,000,000 subscribers on January 27, 2015, in less than one year of its launch, with WWE claiming that it was thus "the fastest-growing digital subscription service ever".

In May 2014, WWE and NBCUniversal agreed to a new contract that would see both Raw and SmackDown continue on NBC owned networks the USA Network and Syfy. In January 2016, SmackDown would change networks to the USA Network. The contract with NBCUniversal expires in 2019. On November 17, 2016, WWE and Sky Deutschland signed a multi-year agreement to distribute WWE's premier pay-per-view events and broadcast Raw and SmackDown Live on SKY Sports starting in April 2017. On April 10, 2017, WWE and DAZN, made Raw and SmackDown available live in Japan with Japanese commentary. On April 27, 2017, WWE and TV5, reached a new agreement to broadcast one-hour editions of SmackDown. On May 12, 2017, WWE and Saran Media, reached a new multi-year agreement to televise Raw and SmackDown. On July 10, 2017, WWE and AB 1, extended their partnership into its 18th year with a new, multi-year agreement to broadcast WWE programming. On July 20, 2017, WWE and SuperSport, reached a new, multi-year agreement to broadcast WWE programming live for the first time in more than 50 countries. On August 1, 2017, WWE and Foxtel, extend their partnership into its 18th year with a new agreement to broadcast WWE programming. On August 8, 2017, WWE and Canal 1, a new agreement to broadcast One-hour editions of Raw and SmackDown. On August 16, 2017, WWE and Nine Network reached a broadcast agreement to air weekly one-hour versions of Raw and SmackDown. On August 24, 2017, WWE and Flow reached a multi-year agreement to televise WWE's flagship programmes Raw and SmackDown. On September 7, 2017, WWE and TVA Sports reached a multi-year agreement to air a weekly, one-hour only edition of Raw, in French in Canada. On October 24, 2017, WWE and Sport TV reached a multi-year agreement to air Raw and SmackDown. On December 15, 2017, WWE and IB SPORTS, they will extend their partnership with a new agreement to broadcast WWE programming live for the first time in South Korea. On December 18, 2017, WWE and SPS HD, reached an agreement to broadcast Raw and SmackDown on SPS Sports for the first time in Mongolia.

On December 13, 2017, WWE and Facebook introduced a new Internet in-ring series called WWE Mixed Match Challenge that will stream live in the U.S. exclusively on Facebook Watch. Premiering on January 16, 2018, the 12-episode series will feature wrestlers from both the Raw and SmackDown rosters competing in a single-elimination mixed tag-team tournament to win $100,000 to support the charity of their choice. Each episode will be 20 minutes long and will air at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Starting on March 18, 2021 (ahead of Fastlane and WrestleMania 37), the WWE Network in the United States became exclusively distributed by Peacock. The merger of the WWE Network and Peacock did not affect the service outside of the United States.

On September 9, 2022, WWE reached a new multi-year partnership deal with The Foxtel Group, which allowed Foxtel to be the exclusive distributor of WWE in Australia, starting in early December 2022, allowing all pay-per-view events and original programming to be available on a dedicated WWE channel, Foxtel Now, and on Binge, with no additional cost to Foxtel and Binge users.

In March 2015, WWE joined forces with Authentic Brands Group to relaunch Tapout, formerly a major MMA-related clothing line, as a more general "lifestyle fitness" brand. The apparel, for men and women, was first released in spring of 2016. WWE markets the brand through various products, including beverages, supplements, and gyms. WWE will hold a 50% stake in the brand, and so will advertise it regularly across all its platforms, hoping to give it one billion impressions a month, and take some of the fitness market from Under Armour. WWE wrestlers and staff have been shown wearing various Tapout gear since the venture began.

Though an infrequent occurrence, during its history WWE has worked with other wrestling promotions in collaborative efforts.

During the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, WWE had working relationships with the Japanese New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF), Universal Lucha Libre (FULL), and the Mexican Universal Wrestling Association (UWA). These working relationships led to the creations of the WWF World Martial Arts, Light Heavyweight and Intercontinental Tag Team championships.

During the period of 1992–1996, WWE had talent exchange agreements with the United States and Japanese independent companies Smokey Mountain Wrestling (SMW), Super World of Sports (SWS), WAR, and the United States Wrestling Association (USWA).

In 1997, the company did business with Mexico's AAA promotion, bringing in a number of AAA wrestlers for the Royal Rumble event and namesake match.

In 1997, WWE would also do business with Japan's Michinoku Pro Wrestling (MPW), bringing in MPW talent to compete in the company's light heavyweight division and in their 1997 Light Heavyweight Championship tournament.

In 2015, WWE entered a partnership with Evolve – a U.S. independent promotion that WWE uses as a scouting group for potential signees for the NXT brand. In 2020, WWE would purchase Evolve for an undisclosed amount.

In 2016, WWE partnered with England's Progress Wrestling with Progress hosting qualifying matches for WWE's Cruiserweight Classic. In 2017, Progress talent would participate in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament and at WWE's WrestleMania Axxess events. Three years later in 2020, Progress programming began airing on the WWE Network.

In 2017, WWE partnered with Scotland's Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) with some ICW talent appearing in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament and at WWE's WrestleMania Axxess events. In 2017, WWE explored a deal to bring ICW programming onto the WWE Network – ICW programming began airing on the WWE Network in 2020.

In 2018, WWE partnered with Germany's Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw). In October 2018, WWE hosted German tryouts at the wXw Wrestling Academy. In 2020, wXw programming began airing on the WWE Network.

Throughout the company's history, WWE has had past arrangements with independent companies from the contiguous United States (such as Ohio Valley Wrestling) and Puerto Rico (such as the International Wrestling Association) with the companies serving as developmental territories.

In 2023, WWE (specifically their NXT brand) launched a partnership with the Texas-based independent promotion Reality of Wrestling (ROW), which is owned by WWE Hall of Famer and NXT commentator Booker T.

The World Wrestling Federation had a drug-testing policy in place as early as 1987, initially run by an in-house administrator. In 1991, wrestlers were subjected to independent testing for anabolic steroids for the first time. The independent testing was ceased in 1996, being deemed too expensive as the company was going through financial duress at the time as a result of their competitors, World Championship Wrestling, being so overwhelmingly more popular and hurting the federation's business.

The Talent Wellness Program is a comprehensive drug, alcohol, and cardiac screening program initiated in February 2006, three months after the sudden death of one of their highest-profile and most popular talents, Eddie Guerrero, who died at 38-years-old. The policy tests for recreational drug use and abuse of prescription medication, including anabolic steroids. Under the guidelines of the policy, talent is also tested annually for pre-existing or developing cardiac issues. The drug testing is handled by Aegis Sciences Corporation; the cardiac evaluations are handled by New York Cardiology Associates P.C. The Wellness Policy requires that all talent "under contract to WWE who regularly perform in-ring services as a professional sports entertainer" undergo testing; however, part-time competitors are exempt from testing.

After the double-murder and suicide committed by one of its performers, Chris Benoit, with a possible link to steroid abuse encouraged by WWE, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requested that WWE turn over any material regarding its talent wellness policy.

In August 2007, WWE and its contracted performers defended the program in the wake of several busts of illegal pharmacy that linked WWE performers to steroid purchases even after the policy was put into place. Ten professional wrestlers were suspended for violating the Wellness Policy after reports emerged they were all customers of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida. According to a statement attributed to WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt, an eleventh wrestler was later added to the suspension list.

Because of the Wellness Policy, physicians were able to diagnose one of its performers with a heart ailment that would otherwise likely have gone unnoticed until it was too late. In August 2007, then-reigning United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter (real name: Hassan Assad) was diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, which can be potentially fatal if gone undiagnosed. The ailment was discovered while Assad was going through a routine Wellness Policy checkup.

On September 13, 2010, WWE updated their list of banned substances to include muscle relaxers.

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Beginning as WWF Monday Night Raw, the program first aired on January 11, 1993. The show as presented would be barely recognizable to a viewer of today's programming - as the WWF at the time was attempting to cater to a younger audience with cartoonish, one dimensional characters. It screened on the USA Network for one hour. Of the wrestlers featured on that occasion, only one is still actively wrestling with WWE: The Undertaker. The original Raw broke new ground in televised professional wrestling. Traditionally, wrestling shows were taped on sound stages with small audiences or at large arena shows. The Raw formula was very different than that of its predecessor, Prime Time Wrestling. Instead of taped matches, with studio voice overs and taped chat, Raw was a show shot to a live audience, with angles as they happened. The first episode featured Yokozuna defeating Koko B. Ware, The Steiner Brothers defeating The Executioners, WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels defeating Max Moon and The Undertaker defeating Damien Demento. The show also featured an interview with Razor Ramon.

Raw originated from the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios, a small New York City theater, and aired live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved highly successful. However, the weekly live schedule proved to be a financial drain on the WWF, and taped shows began airing every other week. From early 1994 to September 1999, Raw was shown live on one Monday and then the next day (Tuesday) next Monday's Raw was taped. This meant that Raw was live one week and taped the next.

The storylines and characters during the early years of Raw still had a healthy dose of the old Federation "gimmick-heavy" style. For instance, events occurred such as Irwin R. Schyster tearing up Tatanka's headdress, the various "Undertaker sightings" in mid-1994 and characters like Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, Doink the Clown, or Bob "Spark Plugg" Holly.

Raw, uniquely in its day, covered the unexpected, exciting moments, a prelude to "the Attitude Era", in which it coined Raw as "Uncut, Uncensored, Uncooked." Some of those moments include Razor Ramon losing a match unexpectedly to The Kid or Marty Jannetty beating Shawn Michaels to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Raw also was the first WWF television program of any kind to show footage of Lex Luger bodyslamming Yokozuna at the USS Intrepid.

Vince McMahon, Rob Bartlett and "Macho Man" Randy Savage served as the original hosts of Raw. Sean Mooney conducted the interviews and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan also helped contribute. On April 19, 1993, Rob Bartlett made his final appearance on the program. He was dropped from the broadcasting team and was replaced by Bobby Heenan the following week, who remained until December 6, 1993, when Gorilla Monsoon kicked him out of the WWF. In reality, this was a storyline between Monsoon and his close friend Heenan, who decided to leave the World Wrestling Federation in order to lighten his travel schedule and because he didn't want to take a 50% paycut. After about a year, Raw moved out of the Manhattan Center and traveled to various regular Federation venues in the United States.

In 1995, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) began airing its new wrestling show, WCW Monday Nitro, live each week on TNT. Raw and Nitro went head-to-head for the first time on September 11, 1995. Due to Raw's taping schedule on several occasions, WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, who also worked as an on-air personality, would frequently give away the results of WWF's taped Raw shows on the live WCW show. Some fans also looked at Raw taping results on the steadily growing Internet; as a result, this caused the ratings of the taped Raw episodes to be lower.

Until September 1999 WWF Raw broadcast live every other week to save costs, but ratings and pay-per-view buy-rate increased, allowing them to justify doing a weekly live show.

At the start of the ratings war in 1995 through to mid-1996, Raw and Nitro exchanged victories over each other in a closely contested rivalry. Beginning in mid-1996, however, thanks primarily to the nWo angle, Monday Nitro started a ratings win-streak that lasted for 84 continuous weeks, ending on April 13, 1998.

On February 3, 1997, Monday Night Raw went to a two-hour format, as the Attitude Era was starting to come in full stream in the WWF. In an attempt to break the momentum of what had turned into ratings domination by WCW's competing Monday Nitro, Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) was brought in as Jerry Lawler challenged ECW on February 17, 1997.

In an episode where Raw returned to the Manhattan Center, the challenge answered on the following week's show with Taz, Mikey Whipwreck, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, D-Von Dudley, and The Sandman. ECW owner Paul Heyman did a call-in interview on Raw the week after that.

Throughout 1997, further controversial elements emerged with Rawand WWF programming. Memorable moments included Bret Hart cursing profanely at the crowd after losing a Steel Cage match, with commentators apologizing for his foul behavior, before he proceeds in major brawls with Sid, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, and briefly Shawn Michaels. Some of the most notable moments cites the profusely intense feud with The Hart Foundation against Michaels and Austin, which saw Raw develop a memorable episode in which Michaels and Austin beat The British Bulldog and Owen Hart for the WWF Tag Team Championship, and during their post-match attack on Michaels, Austin physically charged a disabled Bret Hart to ward them off. Other events saw the new black street gang Nation of Domination formed, and Michaels D-Generation X "racial graffiti" storyline designed to "implicate Bret Hart's 'The Hart Foundation'", and the "XXX Files" series.

On March 10, 1997, Monday Night Raw officially became Raw is War/War Zone. The March 17, 1997 episode featured a heated Bret Hart/Vince McMahon ringside altercation (that unknowingly foreshadowed the Montreal Screwjob) with profanity normally not heard on television. Brian Pillman did a series of "XXX Files" segments with Terri Runnels, which further "pushed the envelope". These segments ended prematurely with the September 29, 1997 episode of Raw, after the death of Pillman on October 5, 1997 due to hereditary heart problems.

After WrestleMania XIV in March 1998, which featured Mike Tyson as a ring enforcer, and Shawn Michaels final match up until 2002, the WWF regained the lead in the Monday Night Wars with its new "WWF Attitude" brand, led in particular by rising stars Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and Mankind. The classic feud between the heel WWF Chairman Vince McMahon (who was re-imagined and re-branded from the color commentator into the evil corporal chairman character Mr. McMahon after the real-life Montreal Screwjob incident) and fan favorite Steve Austin caught the imaginations of fans. The April 13, 1998 episode of Raw, headlined by a match between Austin and McMahon, marked the first time that WCW had lost the head-to-head Monday night ratings battle in the 84 weeks since 1996.

While Raw was taking a new approach to programming, Nitro began producing lackluster programming with repetitive storylines. Older stars such as Hogan and Nash frequently occupied the main events, while younger talent such as Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Lance Storm and Shane Helms were not given opportunities to advance, and the only newcomers elevated to main-event status at this time were Bill Goldberg and Diamond Dallas Page.

Meanwhile, on Raw, fans were immersed in the feud between WWF owner Vince McMahon and Steve Austin. New talent such as Triple H being the new leader of the D-Generation X (DX) stable, Mankind and The Rock were elevated to main event status on the WWF's program. Superstars such as Kane, Kurt Angle, Val Venis, Goldust and the like were coming through the ranks and exposing the WWF as territory where new talent can ascend unlike the WCW counterpart. Matters were so heated between the two programs that, when both shows were in the Hampton Roads area on the same night (Raw in Hampton, Virginia, Nitro in Norfolk, Virginia), DX was sent to film a "war" segment at the Norfolk Scope where they berated WCW and interviewed fans on camera who stated that they received their Nitro tickets for free (presumably in an attempt by WCW to pack the arena to capacity due to low ticket sales).

On January 4, 1999, Mick Foley, who had wrestled for WCW during the early 1990s as Cactus Jack, won the WWF Title as Mankind on Raw. On orders from Bischoff, Nitro announcer Tony Schiavone gave away this previously taped result on a live Nitro, and then sarcastically added "that'll sure put some butts in the seats" consequently resulting in over 600,000 viewers switching channels to watch Raw. This was also the night that Nitro aired a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match in which Kevin Nash blatantly laid down for Hulk Hogan after Hogan poked him in the chest. The next week, and for months after, many fans in the Raw audience brought signs which read, "Mick Foley put my ass in this seat!" On September 27, 1999, Mick Foley helped WWF Raw achieve some of its highest ratings ever with a segment featuring himself (as Mankind) and The Rock. The segment called "This is Your Life" included Mankind bringing out people from The Rock's past, such as a home economics teacher, gym teacher and old high school girlfriend. The "This is Your Life" segment remains one of the highest rated segments in Raw viewership history, with an 8.4 rating.

A new television contract with Viacom led to changes in WWF broadcasting. On September 25, 2000, Raw moved from the USA Network to TNN (which later became Spike TV).

WCW's sharp decline in revenue and ratings led to Time Warner's sale of the company to the WWF in 2001. The final edition of Nitro aired on March 26, 2001. The show began with Vince McMahon making a short statement about his recent purchase of WCW and ended with a simulcast Raw on TNN and Nitro on TNT with an appearance by Vince's son Shane McMahon . Shane interrupted his father's gloating over the WCW purchase to explain that Shane was the one who actually owned WCW, setting up what became the WWF's "Invasion" storyline.

The RAW IS WAR logo and name were retired in September 2001, following the September 11 attacks and sensitivity over the word war, and because the Monday Night Wars were "over".

In early to mid-2002, WWF underwent a process they called the "Brand Extension". WWF divided itself into two "de facto" wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures. Raw and SmackDown! would host each division, give its name to the division and essentially compete against each other. The split was a result of WWF purchasing their two biggest competitors, WCW and ECW. The brand extension was publicly announced during a telecast of WWF Raw on March 25, 2002, and became official the next day. The March 25th episode of RAW was the final RAW to use the Attitude era depiction and the last to use the theme song Thorn In Your Eye.

Wrestlers now would become show-exclusive, wrestling for their specific show only. At the time this excluded the WWE Undisputed Championship and WWE Women's Championship, as those WWE titles would be defended on both shows. In August 2002, WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar refused to defend the title on Raw, in effect causing his title to become exclusive to SmackDown! The following week on Raw, General Manager Eric Bischoff awarded a newly instated World Heavyweight Championship to Raw's designated number one contender, Triple H. Due to the fact that since the WWE Undisputed Championship was now SmackDown! exclusive it was no longer seen as "undisputed". Following this, the WWE Women's Championship soon became Raw-exclusive as well. As a result of the Brand Extension, an annual "draft lottery" was instituted to exchange members of each roster and generally refresh the lineups.

WWE Raw claimed to have earned the distinction of having the most original episodes of any fictional weekly program on August 2, 2005 when it broadcasted the 636th episode. It was said to have taken the place of Gunsmoke, which held that distinction.

On March 10, 2005, Viacom and WWE decided not to go on with the agreement with Spike TV, making it so Raw and other WWE programs on the network would cease when their deal expired in September 2005. On April 4, 2005, WWE announced a 3-year deal with NBC Universal to bring Raw back to its former home, the USA Network, with 2 yearly specials on NBC and a Spanish Raw on Telemundo. On the same week as Raw's return to the USA Network, Spike TV scheduled Ultimate Fighting Championship]'s live Ultimate Fight Night in Raw's old timeslot in an attempt to go head-to-head with Raw.

The show's first night back on USA was billed as the "WWE Homecoming" and featured the return of former WWE Champions such as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Triple H and Vince McMahon along with cameos from legends such as Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Jimmy Snuka and Harley Race. Also, it featured a 30 minutes Iron Match between Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle. WWE Homecoming was three hours long — the second longest an episode of Raw has ever run in its 12-year history. USA also showed Raw Exposed, an hour of the best moments of Raw during its previous run on USA. WWE announced that Raw received its highest ratings in three years, gaining close to six million viewers.

The following week, Vince McMahon fired Jim Ross for not helping after Steve Austin gave him and his entire family the Stone Cold Stunner. Jonathan Coachman, the second analyst at the table, took over Ross's duties as play-by-play for two weeks until former ECW announcer Joey Styles was hired.

On the May 1, 2006 edition of Raw, Joey Styles announced he was quitting (kayfabe). His vacating of the announcer position set the stage for Jim Ross to return to Raw's commentary booth, thus ending the storyline where Ross got fired by Linda McMahon. This freed Styles to become a commentator for the ECW brand when it launched in June.

In Canada, after an 11-year run on TSN, Raw moved to rival sports broadcaster The Score after it was announced that TSN would be carrying Monday Night Football for the 2006 season. The Score claimed that unlike TSN they would never preempt Raw, however that promise only lasted a few months. Then in 2007, The Score started airing the show with a 15-minute tape delay. The first 15 minutes of the hour contains a countdown pre-show recapping the previous week's events.

During the September 25, 2006 episode of Raw in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the opening of Raw suffered a blackout. Spotlights were the only lights running in the house. Power in the presentation was later restored. Another similar moment happened back on May 26, 1996 in Florence, South Carolina for WWF In Your House 8: Beware of Dog, when a major thunderstorm hit the Florence Civic Center causing major chaos for the PPV. That Tuesday, Beware of Dog, returned to North Charleston, South Carolina to finish out three matches that were not shown because of the lost power feed.

That October, Raw held a three-hour season premiere called the "Raw Family Reunion", where the Raw brand debuted a new logo and theme song, Papa Roach's "...To Be Loved". The episode also featured talent from the SmackDown! and ECW brands. Later that month, on October 23 Raw aired its 700th episode, making it the longest running weekly entertainment show, without a hiatus, in television history.

On June 25, 2007, Raw was scheduled in Corpus Christi, Texas to be a three-hour special memorial show for the storyline death of the Mr. McMahon character. Two weeks earlier, the show had broadcast an angle in which Mr. McMahon was murdered by a bomb planted within his limousine. The 'Mr. McMahon' tribute was cancelled on the day it was due to air after the real life death of current superstar Chris Benoit and his family. The show then became a three-hour tribute to Benoit. What made this tribute different from others (e.g. Eddie Guerrero and Owen Hart) was that the show had no original matches and no live audience. Instead, the three-hour show aired highlights from the WWE DVD 'Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story', and a selection of Benoit's most famous matches. Several wrestlers paid tribute in the form of real interviews about him, and Vince McMahon broke character to address the viewers about what had happened. However, when the facts of Benoit's death came to light, WWE pulled this episode from international markets which aired Raw on a tape delay basis. Several channels announced the episode was being withheld for legal reasons. A substitute Raw, hosted by Todd Grisham from WWE Studios, was created featuring recaps of John Cena's WWE Championship victories, mainly the ones that had occurred over the past year. The episode started with a message from Vince McMahon which originally aired on the June 26 edition of ECW. Some countries that received WWE programing up to three weeks late had all Chris Benoit matches edited out. The WWE even removed all Chris Benoit matches and interviews from the WWE 24/7 service. In December, Raw celebrated its 15th anniversary in a three-hour spectacular on the USA Network with the returns of Steve Austin, Rob Van Dam, The Godfather, Steve Blackman, Howard Finkel, Ted DiBiase, Eric Bischoff, Marty Jannetty, Gangrel, Trish Stratus, Lita, Sunny, Molly Holly, Hulk Hogan and Mick Foley (as Mankind) among others. Along with several reunions of former tag teams and also included a 15-man "15 Years of Raw" Battle Royal. The Raw 15th Anniversary DVD was also released which featured some of the most memorable moments in Raw history.

WWE began their 2008 year with a new HD set, which consists of more than 1,000,000 LEDs. The introduction of this new set retired the old set, which was used from April 2002 to January 2008. Raw's first show in HD was held in the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. That June, the World Heavyweight Championship returned to Raw after CM Punk cashed in money in the bank and defeated Edge.

Since then, Raw announced that a "talent exchange" was started between ECW and Raw, allowing their respective talent to appear and compete on either brand o n the September 8, 2008. This is similar to an earlier "talent exchange" between SmackDown and ECW. However, on November 3, 2008, Raw celebrated its 800th episode with a three-hour episode. The actual 800th episode aired on September 22, 2008.

In 2009, at No Way Out that February 15, Edge won the World Heavyweight Championship in Raw's Elimination Chamber match, thus making it a SmackDown exclusive title and giving SmackDown two top tier championships. As a result of the 2009 WWE Draft in April, WWE Champion Triple H was drafted to the Raw brand, while the World Heavyweight Championship moved to the Raw brand after Edge lost the title to John Cena at WrestleMania XXV. SmackDown would regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash (2009) when Edge defeated John Cena to win the championship. In addition, SmackDown and Raw would exchange both women-exclusive championships with Raw gaining the WWE Divas Championship and SmackDown gaining the WWE Women's Championship. Also, SmackDown and Raw exchanged the WWE Intercontinental Championship which is now exclusive to SmackDown and the WWE United States Championship which is exclusive to Raw Brand, for the first time ever.

On June 15, 2009, McMahon announced on a special three-hour edition of Raw that he had "sold" the WWE Raw franchise to Donald Trump, who appeared on-screen to confirm it and declared he would be at the following commercial-free episode in person. WWE issued a press release on the scripted sale while the USA Network later issued a statement confirming the "sale" as part of a storyline. The statement was issued in response to multiple news sources having mistakenly reported the event as legitimate. Due to the mistake, on the day following the announcement, WWE's stock on the New York Stock Exchange notably fell. Despite USA Network's acknowledgment that the sale was fictional, Randy Katz, a securities lawyer with Baker & Hostetler, commented on the Fox Business Network that a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against WWE and USA Network owner General Electric "certainly is a possibility." The next week, Vince McMahon repurchased Raw from Donald Trump and announced that a "Guest host" initiative originally introduced by Trump in response to the position of General Manager being vacant would go in effect on June 29. Each weekly guest host is usually either a WWE Hall of Famer, a former or returning talent, or other celebrity. The guest host or hostess assumes the role of a General manager, serving as Raw's authority figure for the day. The following year, it was announced that with Vickie Guerrero (and subsequently Bret Hart) becoming the new full-time GM, the guest hosts (while continuing to appear) would no longer have booking power.

In 2010, TNA impact!, which normally airs on Thursdays, would go head to head with Raw in a three-hour live broadcast. This would be the first time since March 2001 that two major wrestling promotions would go head-to-head in a Monday night ratings competition. TNA promoted the debut of Hulk Hogan leading to the broadcast. WWE countered by announcing the return of Bret Hart, who hadn't appeared with the company since the Montreal Screwjob in 1997. The ratings showed that, much like the first Monday Night War, Raw came out on top, averaging 5.6 million viewers while iMPACT! averaged 2.2 million viewers.

On March 8, 2010, Impact! permanently moved to Monday nights to compete head-to-head with Raw. After declining ratings, Spike executives announced that starting April 5, Impact! would air an hour earlier than Raw. After scoring its lowest ever rating at 0.5, it was announced May 3 that Impact! would be moving back to its original time on Thursdays starting May 13. Since then on April 19, 2010, many of the WWE Raw superstars were stranded in Belfast due to the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull (a volcano in Iceland) hovering over most of Europe and causing many flights to be put on hold. Former ring announcer Lilian Garcia announced that night while the SmackDown roster took part in production of the Raw episode. The following month on May 17, 2010, Raw aired its second overall commercial free episode from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

That summer on August 30, 2010, Raw aired its 900th episode, SmackDown superstars and NXT rookies also appeared on this milestone episode. It featured The Undertaker vs Bret Hart for the first time in almost 14 years. That November, Raw went "Old School" for one night with the old ring and titantron designs. This episode featured WWE Legends Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Mae Young, Million Dollar Man, Ron Simmons, The Iron Sheik and many more. Mark Henry briefly returned to his "Sexual Chocolate" gimmick in honor of Raw going "Old School".

Currently, the theme song for the Raw brand is "Enemies" by Shinedown, which has been used for the brand since July 25, 2016, when Raw moves to the new era. Previously, the 2014 Remix version of "The Night" by CFO$ and KromestatiK, which has been used for the brand since August 18, 2014. Prior to this, the theme song for the Raw brand was the regular version of "The Night" by KromestatiK, which has been used for the brand since Raw 1000, "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback, which had been used for the brand since November 16, 2009, and "...To Be Loved" by Papa Roach, which had been used since October 9, 2006. "Across The Nation" by The Union Underground was used from April 1, 2002 to October 2, 2006. The rap outro of "Thorn In Your Eye" featuring Scott Ian of Anthrax was the theme song from 1998 to March 25, 2002.

From March 10, 1997 to July 16, 2012, broadcasts of Raw were split into two hours and given hourly names for television ratings purposes, with the first hour being referred to as Raw is War and the second as War Zone by the show's on-screen graphics. However, as of October 1, 2001, the first hour has been referred to as Raw and the second as Raw Zone by the show's on-screen graphics. However, both hours are known as just "Raw" on-air. The program extended to three hours on July 23, 2012.

On January 7, 2008, WWE announced that all brands (Raw, SmackDown and formerly, ECW) would be broadcast in HD, codenamed "WWE HD" starting with Raw on January 21. WWE invested an estimated $20 million on new recording and broadcasting equipment to prepare for the move, as well as new pyrotechnics and lighting. The move replaced the Raw, SmackDown and ECW sets with a new state of the art set shared by all brands. The stage has been altered since 2008, but most of the stage stays the same.

^ Mathews became the alternate color commentator on Raw beginning December 27, 2010 due to Lawler's increased in-ring schedule (Lawler would continue as commentator when he was not wrestling). On March 14, 2011, Raw began using a full-time three man team with Cole announcing from his own separate table ("The Cole Mine"). Ross has also returned to the broadcast table since making his broadcast return at WrestleMania XXVII and the four announcers worked in rotating three man shifts. This ended on the May 23, 2011 edition of Raw when Michael Cole returned to the normal announce table. However, Mathews still serves as an alternate commentator for Raw if any member of the announce team is unable to continue with their duties.

^ From November 1997 until July 1998 Jim Ross served as color commentator for the first hour, and play by play commentator for the second hour of Raw, with the Michael Cole tandem (later just Cole) as play by play commentator, and Kevin Kelly as the alternate color commentator for the first hour ("Raw Is War"), with Jerry Lawler taking over for the second hour ("The War Zone").

^ Filled in for Jerry Lawler, who was recovering from injury.

^ Filled in for Jerry Lawler, who was recovering from a heart attack.

^ JBL sat in with Cole and Ross during Jerry Lawler recovering from a heart attack.

^ Ross sat in for Cole, who allowed him to call the main event.

^ Lawler was sick during the day, so only Cole and JBL called the event.

^ Filled in for Michael Cole, JBL and Booker T after they were assaulted by Brock Lesnar.

^ Aries replaced Saxton during the Cruiserweight division matches.

^ Booker T fills in for David Otunga during Otunga's movie shoots.

^ Lawler fills in for Booker T when he was stranded in Houston due to Hurricane Harvey.

^ Phillips fills in for Michael Cole when he was attended his son's wedding.

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