Rewind back to 1998/99 and what do you get?
A beer swigging Texan, who beats on a 50-year-old man with a bed pan whilst he lies in hospital, a guy who speaks, in the third person, to his millions (and millions) of fans, a deadman who strikes fear into everyone around him (apart from his estranged father who carries an urn), a group of utter Degenerates whose actions were so wild they were adored by all, and finally a fully grown man that wore a sock on his hand and named him ‘Mr Socko.'
This represents what the Attitude Era had and this was the Attitude Era at its finest.
With WCW dominating the viewing figures, Vincent Kennedy McMahon knew he had to freshen his approach to how the then WWF was run. By introducing a more edgy outlook that included a hardcore division that was not to dis-similar to that of Paul E Dangerously’s (Paul Heyman’s) ECW brand, and a little help from Austin 3:16; Vince and Stone Cold could both proclaim to WCW that the “WWF just whipped your ass”.
When WCW was brought out by Vince in 2001, it left the WWE with no competition and with this, the WWE's quality has really suffered. It has been attributed to many decisions over the years for example the current PG era is a major one, and of course wrestlers like Stone Cold and Mankind to name a few cannot go on forever.
Fast forward now to present day and the majority of fans clamour for a return to those golden days of wrestling. Whilst we have seen the return of the great one, The Rock, even going as far to win the WWE title at this year’s Royal Rumble, he was largely a ‘part time’ champ.
Triple H still makes appearances, rather more frequent of late it seems, along with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, whilst your lucky to see Undertaker more than three times a year.
The Big Red Machine is no longer the Big Red Machine as Kane is not the monster he once was. Hardcore matches are near non existent, a very good example here is the recent Ryback vs John Cena’s three stages of hell. I didn’t witness hell at all, it was a very average match coupled with a disappointing storyline as a whole. Remember the three stages of hell HHH and Stone Cold had? Now that match, was hellacious and they really did put each other through hell, it was a great spectacle, that really did enhance the feud those two were having, as JR would have said “they are beating each other like government mules”, or “that was one hell of a slobber knocker”.
WWE has evolved to being a family friendly show, with a lot of hardcore matches being removed, (notice the banning of head shots from chairs, HHH and Taker did it in their WM27 match and both received fines for their actions), fans may as well give up hope of seeing an era, remotely like the one we witnessed in the 90’s. WWE really upped their health and safety policies or wellness policy meaning bloody hell in a cell matches, or other gruelling hardcore gimmick matches are long in the past.
The lack of competition can also be attributed for the lesser quality of Raw and SmackDown, whilst the change to the three hour Monday night show has made it an advertiser’s heaven. Throw in excessive ‘tweeting’ and ‘touting’ and that is you Monday Night Raw show.
The PG era is here to stay and whether you want to see a change or not, chances are it won’t happen, unless TNA do something spectacular but with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff over there it is highly unlikely.
At the end of the day why would Vince change something that is lining his pockets?
It seems a distant memory when Mankind was thrown from the top of the Cell.
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