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Did the attitude era ruin Prowrestling?

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Did the Attitude Era Ruin Pro Wrestling?


Note while I was writing this article, I haven’t had the same opinion the whole way through it, but its still a pretty solid opinion. This is a very debatable topic, but as you will read through this, you will see why.

From the years of 1997 to 2001 we witnessed an era in pro wrestling history books; it was called the attitude era. It wasn’t like WWE is today; it provided a much more content, featuring explicit language, sexuality and violence. As fans were growing up, coming into their teenage years, WWF as it was then called just did the same with their programming. So the product grew up as well. I personally loved the Attitude Era but, was it good for the future of pro wrestling? We saw some great rivalries, great matches, powerful storylines and awesome promos. This was the era when pro wrestling was at its peak, we loved and adored it. But as I said before, was it good for the future of the business?

Now before I really dig in, I just want to say I loved the attitude era, we did see great matches, and rivalries etc but looking at today’s storylines, matches and booking it didn’t have a great effect. I used a couple of different sources in my research. Now, let’s have a look in a few different areas.

Matches
Before the attitude era we had matches that ‘’ settled the score ‘’ like lumberjack matches, corner strap matches etc, but it moved away from that and started using ‘’ HOLY SHIT ‘’ moments which not only created mad violence like chair shots to the skull, jumping off cells, slammed through tables, but it required performers to do more than that, it made it hard to top each other, it pushed pro wrestling to it’s limit.

As a good example, look at the Edge and Christian vs The Hardy Boys match in the first ever TLC match back in 1999. That was the match that defined their careers and looking back now, it’s proved that. So what did they do to top that? They added 2 more wrestlers, 2 more weapons, and for the tag titles at Summerslam. Edge has been in many TLC matches prior to that; he has had 4 matches after his neck surgery since then. So what happened? Edge had to retire at the age of 38 because of those matches.

Then, after the TLC invention, a lot more gimmick matches like Hell in a Cell matches etc were made, so what did they have to do? They had to top it each time.

But apart from the violent and bloodbath matches we did see some great technical wrestling matches. Mid-card matches featured performers who were talented enough to put on main event quality shows by today’s standards. Buying a pay-per-view in 2001, fans got what they payed for, high rated matches. The Attitude Era set the standard for a great match, and though the quality is no longer there, the expectation is. And that point in blod is why I think WWE is not as good today. Expectations are just too high.

Promos
In the late stages of the 90’s, storylines and rivalries were much more affected for us to buy into, we they provided the right product, and we bought it. Also their was much more wrestlers that could ‘’ talk ‘’ on the mic, which is what we call mic skills. When they talked, they more of them as I said could, which provided energy and fire that drove the crowd electric. They could do it in WCW, but in the WWF they could do it better. So what happened? Since this, pro wrestling became more like a soap opera. When we turn on our TV or play it of our DVR (with me sometimes because of time zone) the promos can make us tune out, not buy it and maybe in some cases skip it or change the channel, I personally wouldn’t but I would watch it. Why was this? Because we were spoiled with the likes of Vince’s antics and Rocks ‘’ in your face ‘’ attitude. Not that today in WWE or even TNA superstars can’t do this, but that ‘’Magic‘’ just isn’t there anymore. AND THAT’S ALL I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT!

Competitiveness
Personally this is the best thing that I did love about the attitude era, the rivalry was ‘’Awesome’’. And of course they were the WWF, WCW and ECW. But as we know now, WWF came out and defeated these 2 companies. So they all tried to outdo each other which made it more exciting, and we may never see this again, as its WWE running the whole show at the moment, but perhaps if TNA do something with their creative team… like for example, they’ve had the same rating nearly for the last few years, they were doing better or just as good before Hogan/Bischoff era. When you look at it, how does TNA now expect to compete with WWE when we seen Hogan and Bischoff both in their prime with WWF/WCW but now past it with TNA? That’s beyond uncreative, that’s just stupid. Now there is a few companies like ROH coming up, but for now WWE is the top dog. So if a Company like WWE way ahead of the other promotions, why should WWETNA sort out their creative team, WWE will always be the top dog.

Bookings/Storylines
his is my opinion is the worst thing about any promotion today, whether its WWE, TNA or what have ya, the storylines aren’t powerful. Not many times, I don’t think all of us have felt a powerful storyline that really connected, with us. And a lot of them we have seen it coming. Back to the competitiveness points about TNA creative, they were actually stupid to repeat storylines that WWF/E have done before, example, like the ECW invasion…. Really…Really…REALLY? How on gods green earth did TNA think that would be successful. But going back to another point about WWE, they don’t really have to use those powerful storylines. When you look at the rosters to then and now, the talent seemed a lot better, but that doesn’t mean talent isn’t hear now, it just means in my opinion that that the superstars today are being booked bad. Look at Miz when he was WWE Champion, the WWE Champion is THE top guy in the WWE. But, this is a guy that hasn’t had any clean wins in the last few months, he hasn’t been in major matches, for example: at Elimination chamber PPV, he faced Orton one-on-one…Edge faced 5 other guys, then at Wrestlemania 27 Miz faced Cena, but it was the Rock people were watching or waiting to appear, not Miz. WWE should have booked Miz to have more matches with John Morrison, the first match thye had while Miz was WWE Champion, it was an epic match, so why not book more of them? Instead of booking Miz with a 60 year old man.

Overall I’m not sure if the attitude era ruined pro wrestling, now don’t get me wrong, I loved the attitude era, but I am talking about in terms of the future of pro wrestling, that we may not see it that good again. But as for me, I will always be a pro wrestling fan, I just love the sport. A person I know made a very good point to me, they said pro wrestling is a cycle, no matter how bad it will be, it will come around again. So it is very hard to tell whether or not we will see pro wrestling as good as what it was during the attitude era. But we won’t for certain unless we see major competition again. Which has a connection with my next column, what TNA needs to change to be ‘’stand a chance’’. Thanks for reading.

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Comments

  1. Theiconsting's Avatar
    Actually the attitude era started in the late 90's during the monday night wars dumbass
  2. SmackdownhotelCEO's Avatar
    I'm pretty sure Hell in a Cell was a few years before TLC. First one was HBK Vs Taker in 97' at Badd Blood. Hate to be a stickler but it was bugging me.
  3. ComingToCinemas's Avatar
    I think your argument should have been on whether the Monday Night War ruined pro-wrestling, not the attitude era. After all, the attitude era was a product of the WWF being pushed to the limit by a successful WCW product at the time.

    I agree with a lot of this blog, but I wouldn't say it ruined pre-wrestling. It ruined the entertainment values for older fans who grew up in the 1990s.

    If you look at then and now you will see a significant improvement in the choreography of the matches. There are far less botches these days, and quite frankly the wrestling element of WWF was sloppy during the attitude era (among certain stars, Steve Austin for example). The product was effectively "let's throw this at the wall and see if it sticks", and it worked a lot of the time, which was great.

    The problem nowadays is that WWE is under pressure to replicate that surprise element from its own fans, and having no real competition hinders the desire to create any element of surprise or build a great storyline. The end product of this is that WWE is riding its unopposed wave of success, allowing them to only reach out to the PG demographic, and frustrating the fans who were loyal to them through the Wars.

    Ultimately, the Wars are what made pro-wrestling a huge product, and WCWs demise left WWE with no need to try anymore. If you think about the storylines WWE ran through the years since 2001 there's a pattern of them becoming shorter and shorter, and more and more predictable. With no competition there is no desire to compete, so effectively WCW is slowly killing the WWE product a decade after it passed.
  4. Automatic's Avatar
    Who came up with the idea that pro wrestling is a cycle?
  5. ComingToCinemas's Avatar
    I think it comes naturally through the fact that there are only so many directions a wrestling promotion can go and so many angles that can be used before it repeats itself.

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