With WWE’s sale of their Titan Towers headquarters currently on hold, we take a look back at the history of the building, its place in WWE lore and what it has come to symbolise for the company.
Titan Towers. Even the name evokes the headquarters of some kind of group of superheroes straight out of a comic book or, for those of you familiar with classical mythology, the gods who preceded the Olympians. Timeless and powerful. In the world of pro wrestling, however, Titan Towers is the Stamford, Connecticut headquarters of World Wrestling Entertainment. The seat of power in the industry.
Sold to Titan Sports in 1985 after being built in the early 80s, the building itself stands as a symbol of 1980s excess. All glass and steel, towering over the surrounding area. An extra flagpole was even erected so that the then-WWF could fly their flag alongside the stars and stripes.
Those of us who were watching this company’s programming when the Mr McMahon character became more of a standing fixture as WWE’s ‘big bad’ will remember the opening frame of Vince McMahon’s Titantron entrance video – his scowling face dominating the image of Titan Towers; a stark reminder of where the power firmly sat in the company on-screen and off.
The building itself has featured several times in WWE programming throughout the years. Stone Cold Steve Austin was seen running the company as the kayfabe CEO of WWE from Titan Towers; DX showed up to deface the building with graffiti in an act of defiance and Brock Lesnar showed up to Triple H’s office spoiling for a rumble.
However, most of these depictions of Superstars invading the corporate space of WWE bring with them a sense of irony. Stone Cold was the biggest draw the company had ever seen and, despite of the storyline rivalry between Austin and Vince, is an icon for them. Even non-wrestling fans were likely to know who he was during his heyday and it’s a near-certainty that many still do, such was his lasting legacy. DX’s vandalism can be cast in a different light when looking back, given that Triple H went on to become a company executive which is quite ironic in hindsight.
If a company’s headquarters is a depiction of how it is perceived by the world, then WWE is a slick, corporate machine. However, a building of such excess comes at a cost that is measured beyond mere dollars and cents. The human cost is immeasurable. From freak accidents such as Droz getting injured in the ring to tragedies such as Owen Hart’s untimely passing and the countless victims of a wellness policy that has been described by those associated with the company as lacklustre in the past, you would hope that somewhere in the building there is something to mark the sacrifice of those who have given their all to WWE and its fan base.
Unfortunately, recent events such as the firing and furloughing of various WWE Superstars tells us everything we need to know about the company and how valued its workers are. Despite having a reported $500 million in reserve and posting record breaking company profits in spite of the layoffs, these wholly unnecessary cuts were made to save a few million which is pittance to WWE in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it was a big two fingers up to any dissidents in the company – if you want to leave, be careful what you wish for. All of this amounts to various acts of negligence which have never truly been held to account and probably never will be.
Titan Towers will play its own part in WWE programming once again as the location for the unironically titled Money in the Bank pay-per-view where WWE Superstars compete for a contract giving them a title shot, an event that will be viewed internationally but which should leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths. However, the apologists will continue to watch and actively defend these decisions. Titan Towers isn’t constructed of steel, it’s made of bitter irony.
The true history of Titan Towers is not the story of steel and glass or bricks and mortar, it’s the story of all of the people who have, in some cases quite literally, laid down their lives and sacrificed their own mental and physical well-being for a company whose values are so skewed that the workers there are seen as assets and commodities.
When the bottom line is more important than people’s livelihoods, you have to start asking the questions: ‘How did we get here and how do we affect change to a system that’s obviously broken?’ Alas, the answers don’t come easy, if they’ll ever come at all in that corner of Stamford. WWE is a corporate machine. It’s a meat grinder. It’s easy to understand why so many fans want no further part of it for the foreseeable future.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @goodmanstephenj. Thanks for reading!