Internet Killed the Wrestling Star
by, 03-11-2011 at 11:45 AM (4598 Views)
Welcome back boys and girls. I know my last blog was not the most popular thing ever, but that's sometimes the case when it comes to people's opinions. So let's move on to our next matter. I recently read an interesting blog by someone talking about how the "attitude era" has pretty much marked the end of gimmick wrestlers, save a select few...most notably being the Undertaker. You see, this person's main point was that back before the attitude era, wrestlers were treated more along the lines of comic book characters. We all knew it was staged, but it was still so exciting and fun to watch because we treated it like it was real. We would watch week after week to see these larger than life figures battle in classic bouts of usually good vs. evil.
What the attitude era did was assign much more human qualities to the big stars in the business. Guys like Steve Austin, HBK, The Rock, Triple H, Mick Foley, etc etc were the ones who had to fill the shoes of the ones before them. They replaced names like Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, Andre the Giant, and so on. These were guys who all seemed to have superhuman powers and did not exist in the same world as the rest of us. Now I will say that the guys who did in fact head up the attitude era did an amazing job. I will definitely admit from purely a fan's point of view, there was never a more exciting time for wrestling. But this was accomplished not primarily from keen story telling and epic emotional matches. No, it was done with more of the shock factor. It wasn't necessarily the deep and ongoing story that millions were tuning in to see; it was to see what on earth are the going to get away with this week. And what that did was change the entire demographic of the typical fan. It went from being a kids/family program straight to a frat house getting drunk 18-25 male group party show. I mean, do you guys remember the Nitro parties? Every week WCW went to a different college campus to party with a frat house during Nitro. That's how big it was with the college crowd. Now if you've been a fan of wrestling for more than a few years, nothing that you've read so far should be anything you don't already know. The point I'm here to make (or just what's on my mind that I want to get out) is that there's one huge factor contributing to what happened over the years that we tend to look over, the Internet.
You see, watching guys like Hogan and the Warrior battle each week was exciting because everything we saw was new to us. Granted, they did have an obvious tendency to do the same thing over and over again, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, no matter what happened, you had to watch to found out. Then around the same time as the attitude era taking shape, the Internet exploded. I remember looking online at sites and reading about HBK's back injury and that he was going to drop the title to Austin at WM 14 and then hang it up. That was the first time I watched a Wrestlemania and knew for a fact what the outcome was going to be. My world would never be the same. And I'm not here to discount what guys like Austin, Triple H, and the Rock have done in those days for entertainment, but I just want to make sure we don't forget that there were other forces at work. Think about it, it's kind of tough to portray a larger than life character when everyone under the sun can go and at the click of a mouse, find out your real name, where you're from, if you're going to win tomorrow, and so on. I feel as though wrestling had no real choice but to embrace this change and with it change the way they developed talent. So, was it the attitude era that more or less killed the gimmick wrestler, or was it the Internet?