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  • Breakup Breakout:
    • The WWWF was the second major wrestling company to break ties with the National Wrestling Alliance and declare their own World Champ, the first being the American Wrestling Association. Flash-forward to the 2000s and WWE is a billion-dollar industry, while the AWA is just a memory and the NWA is a glorified indie.
    • Anytime a tag team/power stable break up and one or more of those wrestlers have a successful singles run. The most prominent example is Shawn Michaels after the break up of The Rockers. Marty Jannetty was the former Trope Namer due to his lack of popularity. There are way too many examples after them to count. In fact, Michaels' breakout success after the Rockers' breakup is considered the reason why there are too many examples to count in the first place, as WWE has engineered breakups between established teams in the hopes of creating singles stars, even to the detriment of its tag team division.
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  • Cash Cow Franchise: WWE have reached a point where they are essentially Critic-Proof, according to the The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer. They remain the largest and most-profitable wrestling company in history.
  • Channel Hop:
  • Creative Differences:
  • Creator Backlash: In 2007, WWE's "revival" of ECW made Bryan Alvarez of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter so furious that he directly messaged and emailed WWE personnel to complain to them directly. He said the resounding response could be summed up as "Yup, it sucks." WWE would spend the next three years trying to spruce up the program before giving up.
  • Distanced from Current Events: The "Muhammad Hassan summons ski mask-clad mooks" and "Who Killed Mr. McMahon?" angles, although in a reversal of how it usually happens, the "current event" happened after those storylines. The first was filmed before the July 7th bombings, it was only aired after them. The latter angle was actually stopped because of another incident to which WWE performed this trope: the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide. When the news first broke of the tragedy (before anyone became aware of the circumstances involving the deaths), the WWE dedicated the episode that was supposed to reveal that McMahon was alive and well (filmed in an empty arena) to the life and career of Benoit. However, the very next day, it was made known that Benoit killed his son and wife before killing himself, and thus, on the ECW show, McMahon mentioned that Benoit's name wouldn't be mentioned at all on that show, and that the wrestlers would "do what they do best: Entertain you." WWE has yet to acknowledge Benoit's existence since that night, to mixed reaction, and made a literal Hand Wave of his matches and appearances in their back library since then.
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  • Fan Nickname: After the Universal Championship jumped from Raw to SmackDown in 2019, WWE gave it a recolouring to match the show it was now on. Cue fans calling it the "Blueniversal Champion".
  • Follow the Leader
    • In the early days of their women's division, the WWF frequently looked to All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling a.k.a. "Zenjo." When it was time to revive said division after Rockin' Robin dropped the title, all pretenses were dropped, and most of their female talent were simply flown in from Zenjo.
    • The Attitude Era was the result of the WWF copying the Darker and Edgier product of ECW.
    • In December 2015 Lucha Underground held Aztec Warfare 2, a battle royal-type match, with the title on the line. A few weeks later, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is on the line at the 2016 Royal Rumble.
    • The Cruiserweight Classic is Lucha Libre Elite's Campeonato Elite Mundial meets New Japan Pro Wrestling's Best of the Super Juniors. That very year New Japan brought back the Super J Cup after having not used it for about seven years as if to remind everyone they had already done that too.
    • The Hardy Brand "Final Deletion" was part of a three-match series in TNA and the result of much Character Development between those involved. The New Day/Wyatt Family brawl in a location similar to the one the "Final Deletion" took place was an obvious cash in. Chris Jericho admitted the roster would hold screenings of the Final Deletion in between matches where they analyzed it in detail.
  • Friday Night Death Slot: Averted, when UPN moved SmackDown to Friday nights, and again, when it switched to MyNetworkTV, the WWE aggressively promoted the show, and it more or less retained their audience. It eventually did catch up over time, with SmackDown's ratings declining, but this could be equally attributed to WWE gradually turning SmackDown back into a B Show for Raw.
  • God Does Not Own This World:
    • Daniel Bryan's firing was a result of this. Mattel had just become an advertiser and distributor for WWE. Vince McMahon told The Nexus to go out in front of the cameras and destroy everything but gave them no limitations. Bryan spat in Cena's face and choked out one of the announcers, Justin Roberts, with his own necktie. The next day, Mattel told WWE that the angle was way too violent, citing the choking as one of the things they didn't like. Vince was painted into a corner because he can't have a company as big as Mattel walk away and take all of their money with them. So, Vince fired Bryan in good faith. As far as it has been reported, no one else was reprimanded, including the director or the cameraman. Bryan had a pretty full indie schedule afterward, so the firing was legit, but he was told by Vince that the door would be open for his return once it blew over. And it did at the end of that year's SummerSlam when he returned as the mystery member of Team WWE.
    • Besides generating controversy due to their human rights record, Saudi Arabia hosting WWE events became infamous for their demands to the promotion (which, given the lucrative deal with the country, WWE has largely acquiesced), including asking for already dead wrestlers like Yokozuna and the Ultimate Warrior (which WWE couldn't comply to, for obvious reasons) and (initially) not allowing women to wrestle due to the limited rights women have in the country (they would eventually ease on the latter, but women would still wrestle in full body suits and T-shirts instead of normal ring attire, due to the country's conservative dress policy).
  • Long-Runners:
    • WWE itself is a long-runner, being founded in 1952 as Capitol Wrestling Corporation, before their namechange to World Wide Wrestling Federation after leaving the National Wrestling Alliance in 1963.
    • Raw and SmackDown have been on the air since '93 and '99, respectively.
    • The "Big Four" pay-per-view events, with WrestleMania running annually since 1985, followed by Survivor Series (1987), SummerSlam (1988) and the Royal Rumble event (1989 as a pay-per-view, the 1988 event airing on free television).
  • Lying Creator
    • Buddy Rogers and Pat Patterson became the first WWWF World Heavyweight Champion and WWF Intercontinental Champion respectively by winning a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! It went to the point that one April Fool's Day had acknowledge it by claiming that they had footage of the tournament for the Intercontinental Championship, but clicking the link that supposedly directed to it only led to an "April Fools!" message.
    • WrestleMania III had 93,173 people attend it.note 
    • The Rock: This Is Your Life! Highest rated Monday Night Raw segment ever!note 
    • John Cena vs. The Rock: Once in a Lifetime! Then they got a rematch the following year.
    • John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, first time ever!
  • Market-Based Title: In Germany, the Elimination Chamber PPV is promoted as No Way Out because the Elimination Chamber name has connotations that tie it to the gas chambers used in The Holocaust. Elimination Chamber was introduced in 2010 by WWE as its replacement for the No Way Out PPV. Interestingly, when No Way Out was brought back in 2012, it was promoted in Germany as No Escape.
  • Old Shame: There are some matches that WWE has never uploaded online on their official accounts, in most cases because of the overwhelmingly negative reception they got (sometimes even as the match was still in progress by the live crowd), the assumption being that WWE would prefer them to be forgotten. One example of this is the infamous "Rosie O'Donnell" vs. "Donald Trump" match, whose "highlights" (or lowlights) include "Trump" splattering "Rosie" with a Fudgy the Whale cake, Jim Ross uttering the phrase "lesbianic fury", and the fans, sick of what they were seeing, chanting "BORING", "TNA", and "WE WANT WRESTLING". WWE takes down videos of the match when they find them.
  • Recycled Script:
    • The storyline in which Daniel Bryan's enemies accused him of having an affair with a woman named Megan Miller drew comparisons to the infamous Claire Lynch storyline in TNA, in which AJ Styles's enemies accused him of having an affair with a woman of that name. It got to the point that "Claire Lynch" was trending on Twitter after Stephanie McMahon introduced Megan. However (and perhaps due to the bad reception it got), the Megan Miller angle was dropped after one night, in contrast to how the Claire Lynch storyline dragged on for several weeks.
    • Big Show opposing and/or being tormented by a Corrupt Corporate Executive, turning against The Hero of the storyline and costing them a big pay-per-view match, revealing that he'd made a Deal with the Devil or last-minute Friend or Idol Decision to either keep or advance his job status, and spending some time working as the authority figure or group's muscle, has been done at least three times.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor:
    • The famous story goes that The Iron Sheik and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan were caught driving in New Jersey under the influence of some heavy narcotics. They were released from the company not for this, but for the fact that they were supposed to be arch-enemies, and the entire world saw them break character by partying together.
    • Matt Striker, a wrestler-turned-commentator, reportedly got in the hot seat for shouting, "I'm marking out, bro!" during one Royal Rumble, which is verboten in WWE.
    • Orlando Jordan was fired after WWE kept complaining about him bringing his underage groupies not only to the backstage area but also the locker room. Ric Flair also had issues with Jordan.
    • Daniel Bryan was fired for choking out an announcer with his own necktie in kayfabe during the riot that introduced The Nexus. He would be rehired two months later once it blew over.
    • In January 2018, allegations of Enzo Amore raping a woman the previous October became public. Said sexual assault accusation would be the culmination of several incidents in which Enzo reportedly rubbed a lot of people backstage the wrong way, to the point that Roman Reigns had to kick him off the tour bus at one point, along with other incidents.note  He was suspended for failing to inform WWE of the police investigation, and it was reported that as he was leaving the building, he said to the guy escorting him out, "This company needs me more than I need them." That person relayed it to Vince, and Enzo lost his only supporter, which turned the suspension into a termination.
    • Enzo's tag team partner Big Cass had a drinking problem which led to his release, but Vince left the door open for a return one day.
  • Romance on the Set: It came out that Lita cheated on Matt Hardy with Edge, causing a mini-scandal. On his website, at conventions and meet-and-greets, Hardy would tell anyone who asked that Lita cheated. Matt was legitimately fired over that. His firing turned out to be a glorified suspension and he came back.
  • Saved from Development Hell: The WWE Network was originally set for an 2011 debut date and was heavy pushed as such, but for various reasons, they didn't manage to get it off the ground. It wasn't until 2014 that the Network finally debuted.
  • Screwed by the Network
    • Happened to WWE Saturday Morning Slam, as Vortexx wanted to change the format of the show to a WWE news magazine rather than the taped matches that the company wanted. WWE didn't want the change, and thus canceled the show.
    • WWE has been the guilty party too, such as when it denied VH1 and Corey Maclin's version of Memphis Wrestling Jerry Lawler in 2007, despite otherwise allowing Lawler to wrestle where ever he wanted so long as it didn't conflict with Raw, because they didn't want Hogan to have the publicity.
  • Wag the Director:
    • The Fabulous Moolah became infamous for the control she held on women's wrestling in the WWF, and the U.S. at large in The '80s.
      • It was weird that the Rock 'N Wrestling Era of pro wrestling had a 64-year-old lady as their top female star (it was even weird at the time). It becomes clearer once you read about Moolah's business acumen and how she was able to control women's wrestling in the northeast for so long. (Numerous other women's wrestlers defected from the WWF after growing weary of sharing their paychecks with Moolah.) Her protégé, Mad Maxine, was slated for a huge push which Moolah put a halt to. Moolah was going to get a cut from Maxine being in Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling, but Moolah used her influence to take over that slot in the show.
      • The Jumping Bomb Angels habitually tore the house down in Japan, but their high-flying style was too ahead of its time in the U.S. The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) requested working with them because the innovation going on in those circles was an antidote to the boring, Moolah-infected style that western women's divisions had. When these four began house show programs in June 1987, they stole the show every night and were awarded four-star matches left and right. Moolah, who was totally at sea with the acrobatic stuff that was blowing up overseas,note  phoned the Zenjo office with phony booking which Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson didn't sign off on: The JBA won the Tag Team belts at the '88 Rumble, and the big rumor was that the Glamour Girls were going to be given an opportunity to wrestle a title match with them at a PPV. (Judging by the timing of the story, it was either going to be WrestleMania IV or SummerSlam '88.) Kai and Martin went on a tour of Japan and were instructed by Moolah to do the title change on the last show of the tour, which confused the hell out of everyone. But it was enough for management to blame it on Kai and Martin. Soon after, the title was retired and both teams were out of the company.
    • The Kliq, a backstage group whose members (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman) helped push themselves to the top of the card, whilst freezing the progress of countless others they didn't care for either professionally or personally, via having Vince's ear. Most of the horror stories involve Triple H and Michaels. Most guys who worked with them seem to like (or at the very least, respect) Nash. Hall refused the top spot, both in the WWF and in WCW. He didn't want the stress of having the entire company on his back; he enjoyed hanging back in the midcard while making tons of money. Waltman for the most part just hung out with them and got drunk. The group eventually split off in two different directions (with Nash and Hall going to WCW to form the nWo and Triple H and Michaels forming WWF's D-Generation X), with a respective member from each side (Kevin Nash and Triple H) eventually gaining creative control over their matches. Nash ended up the less lucky of the two, as his company was the one which went under, and he wound up traveling back-and-forth between WWE and TNA. Triple H married into the McMahon family and became the de facto COO. His reputation for burying talent became so prevalent (see his career starting from WrestleMania X8 and going strong through 2005) that it became an IWC meme.
  • What Could Have Been: With arcs getting aborted mid through, either due to injury of one of the wrestlers involved, lack of reaction or other issues there are some things you really wanted to see happen after reading the plans. WWE has its own page.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Official WWE Wiki covers WWE. Others like The Pro Wrestling Wiki cover more than WWE.
  • Written-In Infirmity: After Lita's neck injury hurt her momentum, her pregnancy storyline was conceived as a way to get her out of the ring, since her perfomance during her comeback was noticeably hampered because of it.
  • You Look Familiar: Occasionally a wrestler will disappear and return with a new name and gimmick so radically different, many fans won't recognize him. Sometimes the WWE marketing actually helps this along, pretending that an earlier character played by a current athlete-actor never existed:
    • Jamal from 3-Minute Warning became Wild Samoan Umaga, for example.
    • R-Truth (a.k.a. Ron Killings) is actually K-Kwik from back in the day; he even won a title as K-Kwik, but WWE has apparently handwaved that out of existence.
    • Similarly, when Dolph Ziggler won the WWE Intercontinental Championship in 2010, the announcers claimed that it was his first title, conveniently forgetting that the same wrestler was part of the Spirit Squad which won the World Tag Team Championship in 2006. Later on they do acknowledge his status as triple crown champion though, and Ziggler himself mentioned being a male cheerleader and a caddy for Kerwin White.
    • Festus became Luke Gallows, one of CM Punk's underlings, but is actually a subversion as he's acknowledged to be the same person; the story is that he was "saved" by Punk and his Smug Straight Edge Messianic Archetype teachings. He was also the fake Kane, so he's subverted it and played it straight.
    • Speaking of Kane, the real one previously played Fake Diesel when Kevin Nash left for WCW; earlier still, he was 'wrestling dentist' Isaac Yankem, before he was retooled (unacknowledged) under a mask into The Undertaker's psychopathic half-brother.
    • Charles Wright, who played Papa Shango, Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine, and The Godfather. While Kama sort of evolved into The Godfather, they never once acknowledged that he was ever Papa Shango. It sort of helps that Shango wore face paint all the time, and that the time between Wright's stints as Shango and Kama was a fairly long interval.
    • Tyler Reks was a short lived surfer dude who then showed up as Tyler Reks, dreadlocked demolition man.
    • (Lord) Tensai was Prince Albert/A-Train after gaining some respect on the Japanese circuit. Which they actually admit, albeit in a half-assed manner (never mentioning his actual former names aside from
    • Johnny Curtis disappeared off TV after he debuted on Smackdown, and reappeared months later as Fandango. It helps that he was barely on TV, and the TV time he got was on NXT.
    • The man known as Stan who got superkicked by Shawn Michaels showed up on WWECW as Gavin Spears, but was released a few months later. He reappeared in WWE several years later, as Tye Dillinger.


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