Ranking the Top 5 WWE Show Introduction Videos and Slogans
courtesy of WWE.com
WWE has used an introductory video before the start of a televised event for many years. These introductory videos often featured a slogan that conveyed the nature of the era that WWE was in at the time. Sometimes these videos flaunted the viewership of WWE, while other times they reflected the sense of tradition that WWE was trying to hold onto.
Over the past thirty years, WWE has created many different video introductions that have had many different slogans attached to them. These short videos do not get much recognition, but they truly play an important role in conveying just what WWE is all about.
Each time a slogan or video changes, the nature of what WWE is trying to accomplish seems to change (even minutely).
These slogans have been ranked in order of how I feel they best convey the era they came from. The length of time an era lasted does not really matter. What really matters is how successfully each video conveyed what WWE was all about in a matter of seconds.
5. Then, Now, Forever: Current Intro
Then, Now, Forever
This is the current introduction video that WWE uses before its programming. It does a fantastic job of conveying the sense of history that WWE really has.
There is no narrator speaking the words, “Then, Now, Forever,” but the words appear on the screen at the bottom right at the end of the video. These words are made all the more powerful by the superstars who are shown, including John Cena, The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
It seems as though WWE really embraced its own history when it acquired the footage of WCW and ECW. With documentaries, round-table discussion shows and compilation DVDs, WWE has gone from disregarding its own history in story lines to proclaiming it as time has gone by. By owning so many video libraries, WWE controls more of the history of pro wrestling than any other entity and can use it to their advantage in current programming. This slogan states that loud and clear with the words “then” and “now.”
Having the word “forever” within the slogan is quite bold. Many people see the legacy of WWE ending with Vince McMahon, but WWE quite clearly wants its viewers to understand that the company will be around long after McMahon has stopped running the show.
This slogan makes the top five because it conveys a sense of past nostalgia, present athleticism and the possibilities of the future within WWE.
4. Start of Attitude Era: 1997-98
Beginning of Attitude Era (1997-98)
“In 80 countries, in seven languages, to over a half-billion viewers each week, the World Wrestling Federation, the worldwide leader in sports entertainment.”
This slogan existed in a transitional time for WWE from the New Generation era to the Attitude era from spring of 1997 to the beginning of 1998.
During this time period, WWE was facing extraordinary challenges from WCW and the Monday night rating wars between WCW Monday Nitro and WWE Raw. With ratings dropping below WCW’s on Monday nights, WWE needed a tagline to remind viewers of their own popularity.
Although WCW was dominating the Monday night wars, the WWE was still more popular outside the United States. Also, according to pro wrestling office executive and Four Horsemen manager J.J. Dillon, WWE was garnering higher pay-per-view buys than WCW was at the time (WWE Legends of Wrestling: nWo).
WCW might have been winning one aspect of the battle, but WWE would not give up that easily; flaunting their worldwide ratings was one way to prove that if WCW wanted a war, WWE would give them one.
Although this introduction was not used very long, it strongly conveyed that the WWE product was still wildly popular, even with competition from WCW.
3. The Recognized Symbol: Mid-1980s
Rock and Roll Wrestling era (mid-1980s)
“The recognized symbol of excellence in sports entertainment.”
World Wrestling Entertainment used this slogan at the beginning of their programming during the mid-1980s.
Describing professional wrestling as sports entertainment gave World Wrestling Entertainment a fresh way to describe a genre that transcended both sport and entertainment by being a hybrid between the two. This would prove beneficial to WWE chairman Vince McMahon in 1989 when he admitted to the New Jersey Athletic commission, to avoid paying state athletic commission licensing fees, that “his product could not be considered a sport, and therefore should not be licensed, because the WWE merely offered ‘sports entertainment,’” according to Scott Beekman’s history of pro-wrestling book, Ringside.
The use of the phrase “sports entertainment” became integral to the Rock and Roll Wrestling era that WWE was embarking upon. With the massively popular Cyndi Lauper appearing on WWE programming, Mr. T taking part in the main event of Wrestlemania I in 1985, Andy Warhol also attending Wrestlemania and a slew of other celebrities being showcased, the WWE worked to their strengths for this all-important slogan.
The line between athleticism and showmanship blurred, and with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan at the forefront of it all, the idea of what a professional wrestling match conveyed during the in-ring action started to change based on the popularity that the WWE garnered.
What was really more important to a pro-wrestling match—sport or entertainment? This slogan helped to usher in a debate that continues on to the present day.
2. The Attitude Era: 1998-Spring 2002
The Attitude Era (1998-2001)
The introduction video for the Attitude era had no slogan stated whatsoever.
This became important because it suggested that WWE did not need any message at the beginning of their program but their logo. Changing substantially, the WWE logo went from being boxy and blocky to what is best described as a “scratch” logo.
Popularity for WWE was at an all-time high during this era, and with this introduction video, WWE suggested the idea that less is more. It seemed as though WWE did not feel the need to have a slogan because the fans already understood the message of the Attitude era.
Going against tradition was what the Attitude era seemed to be about more often than not, and even the introduction video supported this idea. This video helped to make the Attitude era WWE logo an iconic part of WWE history. The original logo became blurred in WWE footage as the result of a lawsuit from the World Wildlife Fund, but it can now be seen again on WWE.com's Greatest Matches and featured prominently in the recent Blu-ray and DVD release of WWE The Attitude Era.
Because this video did not feature a slogan and helped to suggest an era change, it ranks higher on the list. The “scratch” logo is still used to this day, albeit with the “F” taken out. This video was sightly changed in 2002 when the World Wrestling Federation officially changed to World Wrestling Entertainment.
This goes on the list at No. 2 because of the sheer creativity in not having a spoken slogan given to the audience.
1. What the World Is Watching: Late 1980s-1990
What the world is watching (late 1980s-1990)
“The World Wrestling Federation—What the world is watching”
The WWE used this slogan before their programming by the late 1980s and into 1990.
With the Rock and Roll Wrestling era of the WWE ushering in unprecedented popularity, the slogan used at the beginning of WWE programming changed to reflect the time.
With national and international expansion, more people than ever before were viewing WWE programming. Hulk Hogan had appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1985, Andre the Giant had been body-slammed by Hogan at Wrestlemania III in 1987 and it seemed like the WWE was an unstoppable juggernaut of popularity.
This slogan served the WWE by showcasing its popularity and pointing out that WWE was not just a part of popular culture at the time, but a fixture of it. What better way to flaunt such popularity than with a slogan claiming the entire world is watching?
At the time, the WWE was developing relationships with pop celebrities like Donald Trump, who hosted Wrestlemania IV and V at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J. Trump was in the infancy of using his name recognition for branding with the release of his simply named board game, “Trump: The Game” in 1989. The association between Trump and WWE was beneficial to both parties and suggested that the audience for pro wrestling included those not usually thought of as part of the demographic for it—the rich and wealthy.
This was also the time when WWE was getting into producing movies with Hulk Hogan starring in films such as No Holds Barred, released in 1989. With expansion occurring outside the genre of pro wrestling, WWE of the “What the world is watching” time period really lived up to the moniker.
This is the No. 1 slogan because it best suggested what WWE was going through at the time. At such a high level of popularity, WWE decided to portray it in this classic introduction video.
Honorable Mentions: You Decide
Most of the WWE intro videos
There are many more WWE introductory videos with slogans available to see.
These videos have not only introduced WWE programming for nearly the past 30 years, but they have also provided memories of their own ushering in a wide variety of WWE eras.
Please take a look at the above video and decide for yourself which WWE introduction video and slogan is the best.