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Vince McMahon is the chairman of the World Wrestling Federation, representing the third generation of McMahons in the business.
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A problem of another kind had arisen in 1988 with the launch of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) by media titan Ted Turner. In the years after McMahon's trial, the rivalry between the WWF and WCW grew stronger, though the WWF remained solidly on top. The competition has only intensified popular enthusiasm for professional wrestling in the late 1990s. WWF events consistently rank as some of the highest among cable and pay-per-view programs,
and the company's revenue increased over 45% from 1996 to 1999.
Aside from the battle between the WWF and WCW, this rise in popularity has been attributed to a change in attitude of the popular wrestlers today--while they were once portrayed as patriotic and relatively wholesome (like Hulk Hogan), today's top stars are far more aggressive and rebellious (examples include "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Mick "Mankind" Foley). McMahon has done much to encourage this change, flamboyantly playing the evil corporate foil to the wrestlers' bad-boy heroes. He has been accused of bringing the outrageous nature of professional wrestling to an extreme and possibly dangerous level, especially after the accidental death of the WWF's Owen Hart during a pre-match publicity stunt in May 1999. His controversial decision to continue the pay-per-view event at Kansas City's Kemper Arena after Hart's fatal fall earned McMahon few friends, and prompted a pending lawsuit by the late wrestler's family.
In October 1999, McMahon saw World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., through its initial public offering on the Nasdaq. The company's stock price closed at nearly double its opening price for 10 million shares. As chairman, McMahon controls 98 percent of the voting shares in the WWF. His wife, Linda, serves as the WWF's president and chief executive; both his children, Stephanie and Shane, also work in the company, which is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.
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