Guest Author - Vance Rowe
The WWE is the most inexhaustible wrestling promotion in business today. However, it wasn’t always a billion dollar generating juggernaut. No, it was once a small regional promotion that barely saw any money. The promotion was started thanks to the foresight of a man named Joseph “Toots” Mondt. He was a wrestling promoter and wanted to bring pro wrestling to the sports arenas and get it out of barns, fairs and barrooms. This would be Mondt’s second attempt at starting a wrestling promotion as his first one failed because the owners could not divide the power evenly. Imagine greed causing the fall of a company. That is unheard of. Mondt decided to go into business with Roderick “Jess” McMahon, a successful boxing promoter. Together they formed the Capitol Wrestling Corporation and eventually joined up with the NWA.
Mondt’s main eventer was Antonino Rocca and Rocca was fast becoming unhappy with the company and Mondt. In 1953, another associate of Mondt, Ray Fabiani brought in Vincent K. McMahon Sr. As it turns out, Mondt and McMahon made a great combination and were soon booking over 70% of the NWA’s bookings. Mondt had taught Vince all about booking matches and other aspects of professional wrestling and the wrestling insurrection was just starting. The CWC signed a deal with WTTG Channel 5 in 1956 to broadcast live professional wrestling shows. At this time, the NWA recognized an undisputed world champion that would travel around the world and into other territories to defend the belt. In 1963, that man was the Nature Boy Buddy Rogers.
However, wrestlers in the NWA would become unhappy with Mondt because he rarely allowed Rogers to wrestle outside of the northeast territories. When the NWA finally had Rogers lose the title to Lou Thesz in Canada, Vince, Mondt and the CWC left the NWA in protest and formed the World Wide Wrestling Federation. A couple of months later, Buddy Rogers was awarded the World title but lost it to Bruno Sammartino a month later after allegedly suffering a heart attack before the match.
By the time 1979 rolled around, the WWF was born out of the WWWF and Mondt was gone so McMahon took on two new associates in Gorilla Monsoon and Arnold Skaaland. In 1980, Vincent McMahon Jr. formed Titan Sports and bought the company from his father and his associates and the world of professional wrestling hasn’t been the same since.