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The Verbal Attitude Era

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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.


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  1. SmackdownhotelCEO's Avatar
    I think you have a very fair analysis of what has happened. BUT...I tend to think this was a little more scripted than we give it credit for. You mentioned how Rock came back has been on point until now. Seems a little too convenient to me that Rock would slip off right before his trumpeted return to Mania' in Miami. But you're spot on Cena's promos last week and this week put Rock on notice. But it did was it was designed to do or in WWE's case accidentally caused all of us in the IWC to mark out. Good blog.
  2. Cobra Commander's Avatar
    You are right SDHCEO. It was planned by the WWE to make Cena look better. They want a 50/50 split come WM 28. I don't see it happening but we will see. Once again the internet has foiled the WWE. Look at the newly posted news if you want the facts to back up what I just said. It was a good blog though and CM Punk did bury Nash on the mic but he never intended to wrestle full time.
  3. ComingToCinemas's Avatar
    It was made to give Cena some momentum IMO. Over the past year Cena has effectively been made to look untouchable by insults. You can't wipe the smile off of his face because of the whole 'love me or hate me, I don't care' thing he has going on. The fact that Rocky's promo was weak adds to this and on some level makes him the babyface heading into WrestleMania. Without giving Cena a flaw other than the fans being bored of him, Rocky has nothing but cheap insults and comedy nicknames to work with. And whilst this is the case Cena has the resentment and possible jealousy (over not being able to build a decent movie career outside of WWE) to build some fiery promos. It's all a huge risk of making this build up into another SuperCena storyline.
  4. Domkin's Avatar
    Thanks for the comments. It's interesting to see developing story on this and the news that the intention was for Cena to come out stronger than the Rock which i think is good booking. I still think Cena caught Rock off guard tho with the notes on wrist part because Rock was definitely not the same after Cena left the ring and struggled to find his flow again.
  5. TheLegendaryIcon's Avatar
    I see this all as the beginning of something another blog recently pointed out, a Reality Era. That means calling guys out by their actual name like Punk did with Paul. It means cutting promos that blur the lines of reality and have a real touch of emotion behind them. The Rock v. Cena feud is a perfect example of this change. Cena is talking reality and he's got attitude going on that's frankly making the attitude era Rock look scripted, phoney, and just reaching for the shock factor material. Does Rock still get the crowd to pop? Sure, he's still The Rock... but Cena and Punk are the face of this new potential Era as we partially depart PG and begin burying the Attitude Era.
  6. Domkin's Avatar
    Top notch comment. I apologise I haven't seen that blog but the Reality Era sounds spot on when you look at whats been happening recently within the business. It's something that I feel TNA have tried to bring into their programming but have failed to pull off entirely with their voyueristic filmed backstage segments and 'no holds barred' face offs in the ring. As I said a strong verbal retort is more impactful than a chair shot these days so if this is the way PG is evolving then I'm all for it.
  7. TNAorWWEorROH's Avatar
    ughhh. How did John Cena cut a good promo to you on Monday? A bunch of people think that for some reason, It's quite amazing. Cena didn't even do anything all he did was point out notes on the Rocks wrists WOW
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