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Pro Wrestlings Most Defining Moments of the Last 5 Decades

Updated on March 22, 2015

In life, there are moments in time, that define a generation. For example, The Beatles performance on the Ed Sullivan Show signifies pop culture in the 60s. Just like in life, there are happenings in pro wrestling, that define a decade. A moment that stands out amongst the rest. Here are pro wrestling's most defining moments of the last five decades.

Capitol Wrestling morphs into WWWF

In 1963, after a falling out with the National Wrestling Alliance, Vince J. McMahon and Toots Mondt departed from the organization and spun their Capitol Wrestling Corporation into the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Despite the quarrel, the WWWF remained loyal to its territory and ran events in the northeast region. Their home base was New York's famed Madison Square Garden. The WWWF's biggest star in the 60s was Bruno Sammartino, who retained the World Heavyweight Championship for a record seven years.

Andre the Giant

In 1972, French pro wrestler Monster Roussimoff met Vince McMahon Sr. It was a connection that would alter the industry forever. McMahon renamed the colossal athlete and christened him Andre the Giant. Though Andre never captured the WWWF Heavyweight Championship, his size made him the most celebrated wrestler of the 70s. He materialized on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" in 1974, and was also featured in national publication Sports Illustrated. Unlike Hulk Hogan, who languished in his first few years with WWWF, Andre was an immediate success.

The Birth of Wrestlemania

In 1982, Vince McMahon purchased the WWF from his father. And though it was a landmark moment, one circumstance comes before it. Wrestlemania. When the younger McMahon procured the company from his father, the business was already a triumph. So even though it was a defining moment, it didn't define the industry like Wrestlemania did on March 31st, 1985. The event was an enormous gamble for McMahon, who expended all his assets to ensure the event was a success. The gamble paid off in spades. The inaugural Wrestlemania drew over 19,000 fans to Madison Square Garden and featured stars from the music, sports and Hollywood.

The Steroid Trial

In the late 80s and early 90s, the government started investigating the WWE and their involvement in illegal steroid distribution. Charges were brought against Vince McMahon and he went to trial in 1994. The steroid investigation of the 90s affected the careers of Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and many other stars of McMahon's company. McMahon was eventually acquitted and he was able to resume his duties. The chances of McMahon going to prison were genuine, and he had set up alternative plans just in case those odds were played.

Vince McMahon buys WCW

It was the day that, for many fans, wrestling died. After five years of fierce head to head competition on Monday Nights, Vince McMahon purchased his competition. World Championship Wrestling was owned by billionaire Ted Turner. And since wrestling was a staple on his network for 30 years, he had a soft spot for the genre. But after the deal with AOL was completed, World Championship Wrestling was one of the first victims of the merger. But who can blame AOL-Time Warner? In 2000, WCW lost 63 million dollars.


Regardless of the cynical opinions, the WWE is no longer a part of pro wrestling. Rather, it defines pro wrestling. And these are the moments that have defined the company over the last five decades.

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