An Attitude era fan.... Who came back....
by, 05-29-2012 at 05:36 PM (6378 Views)
And my, OH MY do some modern fans have a selective rose-tinted memory!
I'm quite new to the old blogging thing, but have enjoyed reading a lot of the entries and thoughts of fellow pro-wrestling fans, a thought I'd give it a whirl. What I want to say is simple - wrestling today, particularly WWE, gets a lot of criticism, especially in contrast to bygone times of golden ages of wrestling and ESPECIALLY under the scathing eye of armchair bookers, criticism IT DOES NOT DESERVE!
Let me explain; the first wrestling event I saw on television was an episode of Raw in 1997, where I saw some baldy Texan chap standing outside on a bridge talking shit to the camera. He then took a nifty-looking championship belt and threw it in the river and said something about a bottom line. Cut to a ring where a big Samoan fellow was visibly upset about this, to the point where his eyes were trying to escape from his head. Hmmm. That was fun.
Cut to a year later and I'm watching wrestling for the second time, I'm 12 years old and I'm channel hoping at the start of the summer holidays, when I'm allowed to stay up veeeery late and happen upon a WWF event....KING OF THE RING 1998.
The rest was history.
I then bore witness to what is described as a golden age in pro-wrestling where the WWF (which it will be referred to as from here on - WWE? What does that even mean? Rubbish, that's what) had more fresh, exciting stars than you could shake a stick at as well as the popularisation of brutal matches and "edgy" tv. Happy days, I was hooked solid for 5 years before I began to drift away from the WWF.
The rock left for Hollywood. Austin retired. Triple H blew up. Cactus Jack became Mick Foley. Undertaker cut his hair. And Kurt angle was getting smacked about by a guy yammering on about "ruthless aggression". Fuck this.
But I never stayed completely away, especially after the full time return of shawn michaels, but never followed the shows the same way. Then around 2007 I just stopped altogether.
Then something wonderful happened. I came back last year after catching the now famous "shoot" promo from CM punk and saw the stir it was causing. I also heard the rock was coming back to the ring. So I gave the new PG product a go and folks... I like it. A lot.
So to avoid any more history lessons about me! I wanted to lay out what it is about the new product that I think is pretty awesome and dispell some of the biased memories of the so called golden age; hope you like!
WHY THE NEW PRODUCT ROCKS...
1. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan - folks if you really believe vince McMahon pushes the wrong people and the WWF can't find new mega stars, I point to these two. Over the Limit was the first PPV I've watched live in a long time and the match these two put on at a B PPV was 1st class. The chemistry, stiff shots, in ring skill, pace, energy and psychology were immense. Frankly folks, and I urge you to trawl YouTube to confirm, it is very rare to find guys who can perform together at this level. People get hot and bothered about benoit and Jericho and angle and michaels in their prime, from what I've seen from these guys (and remember I haven't had the benefit of the last 5 years of product) they are on a whole other level.
2. YES YES YES (SI SI SI!) - better than WHAT. Fuck it's more fun than the entire 1999 mid card...
3. We don't get an hour of triple H/MCMahon promos every week that go nowhere and burythe rest of the talent. I've seen a few shows in a row now, and yes there's room for more actual "Wrestling", but nowadays I find promos are slightly better conceived. I know ppl hate the scripting element, but lately I don't see a problem (Punk, Bryan, Big Show, Henry, Cena, ORton, Santino, Vickie, Sheamus, Rhodes all seem to do better than "fine") and more thought seems to go into progressing the storyline through promos rather than the stock "run the other guy down and say your catchphrase to get a pop" style of the attitude era (hunter, rock?). I personally think promos are gd these days despite the storylineS (big show this week, for example)
4. MATCHES ARE BETTER... don't be fooled. Ten years ago, raws matches were largely shit and two minutes long. The booking was often illogical and story lines out-right stupid (Katie Vick, Kurt loves Stephanie, rikishi did it fo da rock, Kane and x-PAC are BFFs, heidenreich, chyna is the IC champ, Snitzky, Eugene, Austin loves vince, Kane was champ for a day), by comparison the modern era is right on par and often a step up, with less blood, no swearing and toned down violence. "Wrestling" folks, is not about being overly violent or bleeding like a pig, it's about working a story and paying it off with a match. Storylines might be a touch bland and predictable today, but the matches are consistently gd and believe or not- 12 years ago the opposite was the case. Story lines were "cooler", matches were fucking shite.
From September 98 to January 99 most WWF title main events were embarrassing. The talent was wrestling when hurt, feuds were stale and in-ring chemistry was non existent (I'm looking at you Austin and taker... Except summer slam 98'. That rocked ). The only thing that stopped this rot was the fact that Dwayne didn't mind bending a chair over mankinds head a dangerous number of times for the sake of shock value.
Every wrestler had his 5 moves of doom (or in 1999, the three moves of doom), insisted on wrestling in the crowd and relied too heavily on blading and weapons to get the crowd excited. This lasted through to 2000 when the rock finally reached his zenith, triple H was pooping classics, the big show was still mobile and the likes of Kurt angle, Jericho and guerrero had yet to peak. 2000-2001 were high points, but then the wheels started coming off again.
PLEASE GO BACK AND WATCH. Matches were often chaotic spot rests, sporadic offence, odd psychology or none at all, talent often seemed lost in the ring, sluggish and relying on gimmick matches to crutch the contest (go back and watch Austin v angle v RVD - that match is nowhere near where you think it is). Today while many matches never rise above 3 star, they are better worked, planned and executed! And when given time stinkers are hard to come by from a roster full of dependable talent. 1999 WWF would've killed for a kofi Kingston or Miz.
5. Cena - a short and final word. Cena is a megastar. Cena is rarely injured. Cena to my knowledge has never seriously hurt anyone. Cena works with all shapes and sizes (giggle). Cena divides the audience, but he is no fucking tweener. Cenas character has changed over the last ten years. Has triple H or the rock? Cena has carried the company in the barren years and now I believe the WWF is on the cusp of another explosion of talent and golden times. Cena probably doesn't love his gimmick. He probably gets run down by his schedule and has to work some stupid programmes, but he does it anyway because he does what's asked of him and what he believes is gd for the WWF. michaels, hart, Austin, hunter, the rock, flair, taker, Batista, Jericho, angle, ORton... None of them can say that.
And?... if you think cena would be nothing more than a mid carder in 2000 WWF, let me say; Cena beats ken shamrock every time. Cena beats Chyna every time. Cena owns D-lo brown, and x-PAC, and billy gunn, and dan Severn, and farooq, Ahmed Johnson, Steve Blackman, al snow, bossman, savio vega, mark Henry.... Hell, in 1999....
CENA WOULD OWN AUSTIN IN THE RING.
So I'm done. A long first one and very ranty. Sorry bout that, but hope it generates angry flaming, cuz I know it's the unpopular opinion. Remember, I love the WWF and I loved it then and now.
If its apparent that I should shut up and go away, this will be my last blog. But I just wanted to get that off my chest.
P.S the titles have been ruined though, in that respect new WWF sucks balls.