Updated: Mar 3
As I type, this piece is celebrating it's eighth birthday. At the time, it was the most exhaustive research I had ever completed (since eclipsed by All X-Men), but it was worth every second. Whenever I create art, especially in the age of social media, there is an innate sense of dread. People ignoring the work altogether hurts, but that sting is significantly less than people hating the work. The History of the Federation (formerly titled The History of the WWF, as depicted in the following images) was my first real "I hope they like it" moment.
It took me about two years to complete this labor of love.* Because there are a lot of new people frequenting the site now, I’d like to re-share my maximum endeavor on a minimalist history of the World Wrestling Federation.
The History of the Federation starts with the WWWF, the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, as it was initially known, way back in 1963. I chronicled every champion, in sequential order, from Buddy Rogers’ inaugural run up to and including Chris Jericho’s unification of the WWF and WCW titles on December 9, 2001. (The crowning of the first undisputed champion seemed like a logical place to stop.)
I did the same for Intercontinental, Tag Team, European and Light Heavyweight championship histories, as well as Royal Rumble winners and the Pay-Per-View-era Kings of the Ring. (The WWF previously held a sometimes-annual – somannual? – King of the Ring tournament every year in the Providence, Rhode Island area in the mid-to-late 80s and as late as 1991. Those Kings were not counted toward the total, although I do have characters made for the Macho King, King Haku and “King” Harley Race.) Anytime a title was vacated or held up, a black silhouette appears among the characters that make up the classic 1980s-era WWF logo.
The Rest, and the Criteria
After the important wrasslers were incorporated, I went back to 1963 and added as many superstars I could find through my end date. Wrestlers who were exclusively jobbers, such as Barry O or Duane Gill, were not included, but glorified jobbers who could occasionally steal a win, like Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz and Gillberg, are absolutely a part of this poster.
The research was exhaustive. I fell down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia. A page on Ric Flair sent me to Dusty Rhodes to Dustin Rhodes to Shane Douglas to the 1991 Royal Rumble to every Royal Rumble to Rikishi.
I watched, paused, and replayed countless YouTube videos, so I could accurately detail each wrestler’s outfit. I did the same with old magazines, pro-wrestling biographies (Mick Foley, Bret Hart, and Chris Jericho have terrific autobiographies) and ultimately double-checked everything against The History of the WWE, a site that includes dates and cards for pretty much every WWF event ever.
Yes, I included the dates Wrestlers A, B, C, etc. wore the outfits you see them in. I'm Sick. In. The. Head. In conclusion, Canadian Wolfman 4 life. He needs no wolfpack.