The Verbal Attitude Era
by, 02-29-2012 at 06:55 AM (3494 Views)
Been thinking for a while about what to add to the mix regarding the Wrestlemania build up without repeating other really good blogs/comments etc…. so thought I’d talk about what I’d like to call the birth of the Verbal Attitude Era.
We are all aware of how over recent years the WWE have continually blurred the edges between reality and fantasy and I think this has been out of respect to the fans rather than detriment. The internet has become a thorn in the side of the WWE in some ways but also has helped them to evolve, they know their fans are clued up as to what is going on , who’s injured/suspended, who’s returning etc and instead of fighting against it they have begun to embrace it.
Then last year a new force emerged to challenge the status quo ‘CM Punks Promos’ watching a man reaching the end of his contract (albeit briefly) walk into the ring each week and speak real truths was refreshing, entertaining and also shocking even for WWE standards. Yes we’d had promos before that perceived to break kayfabe but they still stayed in the realms of safe scripting. The Edge/Hardy/Lita situation is one that springs to mind – seemed controversial at the time but looking back there was so much that could have been said by all parties but wasn’t purely because the writers wanted to control the storyline.
Looking back over the years there have been other instances for example in the HBK/Bret Hart feud when Shawn accused Bret of enjoying ‘Sunny Days’ alluding to a relationship with then top diva Sunny. Something like that would set the internet alight with speculation and commentary these days and affected Harts family home life – the comment addressed superbly by both men on the HBK/Hart Rivalries DVD.
So back to 2011 and we have Punk going into the ring and speaking his mind and yes some of those comments must have made producers and management wince. Saying the WWE will be better off once Vince is dead, referencing TNA talent, totally breaking character and calling HHH by his real name to his face to name a few – actions that would not have been tolerated behind the scenes in previous years (and still wouldn’t be) let alone in front of the camera. What I feel it did do however is bring in the Verbal Attitude Era and what we are seeing now is that a sharp verbal retort can be more powerful than a chair shot to the head.
Case in point – The Rocks promo this week. For the first time since his return last year he looked dated. Up until now everything (bar the rushed end of last years Wrestlemania) had been spot on with the Rocks return. Great ring presence, great promos and still great wrestling ability. But what this week proved is that Rocky is still delivering promos in the old era style and when up against someone who’s coming back at you with cutting, kayfabe breaking replies you can come across really weak and wow did he look weak. Yes Rock has incorporated modern devices such as Twitter in a way that no other performer has but scratch the surface and it’s still standard babyface promo stuff.
Look at how CM Punk basically killed the return of Nash with his mic work. The big guy just couldn’t handle it, he couldn’t keep up with the quick improvised style of Punk and was visibly hurt and flustered by what he said. Cena did the same to the Rock on Monday and I applaud him for seeing an opportunity and delivering some of his best promo work ever.
I am fascinated to see how the Rock comes back from this, can he match the verbal attitude that Cena is displaying? The ‘fruity pebbles’ ‘Ladyparts’ stuff has got to be put aside now if he wants to regain some ground.
True on Wrestlemania night the home crowd will cheer the Rock and boo Cena out of the building and I don’t honestly know who will win but unless Rock learns quickly and realises that it’s 2012 and not 2002 he has a chance of winning the battle but not the war.
Thanks for reading…comments, abuse etc more than welcome below.