A couple of days ago, I realised that next year, World Wrestling Entertainment would have been in existence for a decade. On May 5, 2002, the World Wrestling Federation ceased to exist – except in backdated Tagged Classics from Silver Vision and historians who refuse to use revisionist history and still refer to anything before that point as the WWF (and I’m one of them) – and the following day, WWE thrust itself into the forefront, courtesy of a bunch of horrendous vignettes and the infamous – and still confusing – “Get The F Out” slogan which had an accidental secondary purpose of telling fans to bugger off. If you don’t know why the WWF name had to go, it’s because the company played chicken with the World Wildlife Fund, and lost.
Officially, the final WWF show was Insurrextion, an annual UK-only pay-per-view which trotted out second rate stars for the undercard, had decent main events and while observing current storylines, did nothing to forward or develop them. As such, they weren’t worth buying, and eventually, WWE stopped running them and chose to do tours and record Raw and SmackDown in the UK instead. However, even though Insurrextion was the final show presented under the WWF name, it wasn’t the final WWF TV show, as that honour went to Sunday Night Heat, which had its matches taped before the previous Monday’s Raw.
The final Heat was broadcast on May 5, and closed the show with a match between Trish Stratus and Molly Holly, who had turned heel on the April 1 episode of Raw by interfering in a Trish v Terri Runnels Bikini Paddle on a Pole match (oh, how I miss those days) and solidified her new status by levelling Terri with a brutal headshot that would never happen now.
Click after the jump to see that match, and also how the WWE era was also welcomed into existence.
(Jump to 8:17 for the match)
The following night featured the first ever WWE telecast – a live episode of Raw in Hartford, CT, which kicked off with Trish challenging the Women’s Champion Jazz in a no-DQ match, with a shedload of shenanigans after the bell.