The Attitude Era, a tale of two companies
by, 11-04-2013 at 03:18 AM (4118 Views)
“The longer I love, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.”
- Charles R. Swindoll
Hello everybody out there, I don't know if any of you know me, or remember me, but I am back to write another blog, one of hopefully many blogs. If you read my last blog, it was just after WrestleMania 28, where I "quit" watching this wrestling hullabaloo. It was maybe my best (or possibly worst) blog. Alot of passion went into it and I "quit" watching wwe. I started again sometime this year around the Money In The Bank ppv, so I had a good years sabbatical from it. It's always good when you take a break, eventually that nerd within you comes back out and you find yourself falling in love with the product again and keenly researching what has happened in the time you have taken off. I really like the stable "The Shield" and have really enjoyed what has been happening since I've restarted. I'm very happy that Brock Lesnar is still a beast and Triple H is back being an asshole, and Daniel Bryan has gone into the stratosphere, and Bray Wyatt may be the coolest thing I've seen in years, his character alone would be enough to grab my attention, especially when he hits main event. I can go on about my thoughts regarding the current product another time, this blog is about something else.
Let's rewind to about 1999. I live in Ireland, and I only just recaptured the wrestling bug, and it was a totally different show from the one I loved but grew tired of. The last time I remember watching was back in 1996, a certain character by the name of 'The Ringmaster' was being introduced and I just thought "Man this blows", and was ready to pack in wwf(e). You still hear things, and I heard in the summer of that year Hulk Hogan turned heel, and formed something called the nWo. I thought I would be interested again, looking back it was something I should have been interested in, but no. I just had grown out of wrestling, I was trying to be cool or something stupid like that, and I liked new shows, like Frasier (pretty cool XD) and I can't remember what else I watched, point is I'd watch Frasier and then whatever comedy usually after that when Nitro would be on tv. I'd only really check it out during commercial breaks. I was a huge Hulkamaniac as kid and was beyond intrigued, but I just couldn't really get that much into it. All I ever saw was the nWo, that music playing all of the time, and it just reeked of being too cool for wrestling to me. My tastes had just really changed I guess, but I kind of rolled my eyes at how cool they all seemed to be all the time. I guess around then I started to feel like people who act cool all the time really aren't that cool. Anywho, I had no interest in wCw in its peak years, and quit wwf so I was a lost fan. Fast forward to 99, I had seen little bits of wwf, I had heard about Stone Cold but that's it, I only heard about him, never really watched it, I remember Mankind was crazy looking, but had no insight into his character, just saw what I saw I guess, Faarooq was in some neon blue stupid looking outfit, and Taker, Hart and Michaels were just there as always. As I was saying anyway, fast forward to 99 and I was hooked one more time, and probably more than ever. It was completely fresh, lewd, and everyone I knew seemed to love it. Of course the popularity of it all went away, but I continued watching all the way until today bar a year and a bit. So I have read up pretty much everything, and seen pretty much everything.
On a Friday night at home I was flicking around the channels and I watched a bit of Nitro. Raw was action packed, but I had no Sky subcription so had to rely on the free Sky One for my wwe entertainment shows on Saturday mornings, superstars, bottomline, and Metal. Until Saturday morning, I could only get my wrestling fix on Friday Nights on Tnt, courtesy of wCw. I had no real interest in the latter brand, compared to all these new hot shot characters from wwe wCw had the old timers who were now in the 'old' category to me (though I once loved them) and a Hogan v Piper feud just didn't have the same appeal to me as a Rock v Austin. So wCw blew, I'd love it to be around now of course, but back then it blew. Some to make fun of. The overblown, high pitched voice commentary (JR could be overblown, but he was so natural it just fit right when he was), old timers or as I thought of at the time 'wwe rejects', all the things that weren't enticing anyway. It was good to have it on Friday nights, but to be honest I just didn't give a shit about it, just watched it because I could. Basically all the people that were in promenance when I stopped watching wrestling years before were all on this one show, compared to wwe, that was a whole new cast of characters as far as I was concerned, even Taker, he was now THE FUCKING DEVIL. I also didn't understand the cruiserweights. They just seemed to be in a totally separate show, why didn't they get involved in storylines (of the big variety anyway). And I didn't appreciate Goldberg, I misssed the whole streak and i stupidly just thought he was a rip off of Stone Cold, ah, the ignorance of youth.
Well, thats just the feedback. It brings me to an important point for my blog topic. Attitude.
WWF's whole entire slogan of things was Attitude. I didn't really know the scope of things going on there, I thought wCw would be around forever and it was just two different companies to watch, pick one or the other as your favourite, I didn't know all about the behind the scenes stuff, or would have given a crap about it. I just always thought wCw was lame, and it might have been something to do with some special wCw show I watched one day, it certainly didn't help my perception, but here it is.
I don't remember the name of the show. I remember Bobby Heenan was on it, and to be honest I pretty much lumped him in with all of the others, old and therefore 'yesterdays news', and some other people, probably Tony Schiavone, and alumni such as Dusty Rhodes. I never watched wCw, so when I watched this show, I only recognized Heenan. Anyway, it was clear in my mind before it that wwf was far better than wCw, there was no competition the way I saw it. This was probably June 99 when I saw it. Just the tone of the show, it was very self pitying. It was like an analysis after some game were a bunch of media figures are talkinga about the decline of a team in sports. That's exactly what this was like. Except that they were going on about their own team in decline. It was just pretty uneasy, it was a very serious discussion about the decline of wCw and how the dark days were coming and reliving the days of glory they had before. It was like "those were the good days" and sighing because they are not in the past anymore. It just shocked me, I didn't know wrestling was such a big deal, of course I knew that wwf had been leading for years and then wCw took over, and it was just out of timing that I didn't see them during their reign at the top, but it wasn't far gone, and they were acting self pitying about "what about wCw?" So from my own book, not only were they uncool, they were now totally pathetic. I didn't even know a war was going on, but it just seemed that they were having a sympathy party and looking back fondly at the good old days far too much. What about the now?
I've seen the dvd's, read articles, and done lots of research, but 'Attitude' was not just a clever slogan, it really was symbolic of both companies at the one time. On one hand, wwf created 'The Attitude Era', and decided to play dirty to get back on top from near destruction (if you believe everything Vince and his lackeys tell you), and did in a big big way, and wCw, who coasted far too much over being number 1 for about two years and as soon as they started to lose, fell into self pitying. And from what I had seen that night, seemed to want their fans to pity them. I didn't hate wcw, but if I had Sky Sports on Friday nights I would have definitely been watching Raw instead of Nitro, I only had Nitro to stick to and I would usually find something else to watch. There were still people that were fresh to me, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, WWF had their new generation of guys but these were just as new to me, so they were not totally fucked as far as I saw.
Maybe wCw were self pitying because they knew the writing was on the wall. I don't know about that, they talk about all of that stuff nowadays were they all claim to know it was a sinking ship (there may be truth, but mid 99 to the time of close they tried out some new things, so I don't know about that), but this was pretty premature for sinking ship mode. It was only about a year removed from when they were on top, wCw only declined in ratings in January 99, so this was only 6 months later. Pretty early to be packing it all in. There were politics, creative control issues, the guys that were new to me like Benoit and Jericho were not getting breaks that the guys that were new to me in wwf were, which were all overwhelming, but WWF had to deal with a few things. A) Being the absolute best in the field, and then falling far down from their standard. B) Falling down from their standard, and being passed at their worst, with a behemoth of nWo to get over. C) Having to scrap everything that they had spent years doing, image, marketing etc. , and start all over again with the resources they have built up to back up the new image, and D) Not just get on top, but get totally on top. As we all know, wCw only had to get on top. Once they did, boy did they gloat about it. While they were gloating, the people they were gloating over decided "okay, they got us. So it's time to do something I guess", and they certainly did. While the other guys just kept on gloating and gloating until they started to lose, and then they started acting like the wounded soldier. WWF just kept on getting a better attitude, where wCw just kept on getting a worse attitude, which worsened after every little defeat. WWF hardly ever had to acknowledge wCw, while wCw couldn't stop acknowledging WWF when they were beating them, and couldn't stop acknowledging them when they were losing, acting like the victims.
wCw was the rich obnoxious kid who bullied the person it was jealous of and wanted them to go broke because they could. When the person they bullied got bigger and stronger and started doing the best thing they could, basically ignore the fact they existed, wCw got deeper and deeper into self pity, and stopped trying to think of ways that they could win. wCw had all the money, but none of the brains when it mattered the most. WWF = FLAWLESS VICTORY!
Yes, WWF could have more leeway with the content on the shows they had, but wCw just lay on their backs and didn't like the fact that the company they tried to bully fought back, and sat around being forlorn about it, especially when they started losing, instead of trying to fight back themselves. Hiring Russo was not fighting back, the whole thing reeked of "PHEW! This person will solve all our problems". A very very bad choice, a result of having no leadership and no vision.
Attitude, a tale of two very different companies.