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Dry Socket Opinion: Attitude Era Turns 20.

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I didn’t watch RAW. Heck, the show was only about half an hour away from where I live. WWE just isn’t worth tuning in for. There are far too many titles. WWE has too many “stars” which results in stars not being built properly. One show’s top champion never shows. He doesn’t even care about the company or the product. The other one is a “demographic champ”. I’m a fan of Mahal but to crown him champion, this early, doesn’t make sense. Sure, WWE wants to sell to the Indian demographic, but does it make sense wrestling wise? When I think of a champion, I think of someone that the non-wrestling fan would recognize. Mahal doesn’t have that.

Triple H continues to give titles away to other sports teams. When Lesnar won the title, did he get a replica trophy from the World Series? Did he get a replica Superbowl ring? Nope. Has WWE gotten anything in return for giving these titles? Nope. They’re attempting to steal another team’s spotlight for their own benefit. It’s just not working. It looks desperate. The ratings are plummeting and so is the value of the product.

Anyone remember the video of Vince McMahon announcing the beginning of the attitude era? It was 1997 and things have changed. Let’s compare it to now…

Here Is The Video

In a 2:15 minute video, McMahon announces the beginning of a new era, with the tagline “A Cure For The Common Show”. He begins with saying that “anything can happen” in the WWF. Today, that same thought rings true—whether the fans like it or not. McMahon continues by emphasizing “entertainment” and states that the fans do not like having their intelligence insulted. This statement is ironic because of WWE’s blatant attempt to cover their tracks and expect the fans to forget recent events (Roman Reigns beating ‘Taker, obvious camera angle changes, holes in common logic). He also states that wrestling is no longer “good guy vs. bad guy”. This very theme is what professional wrestling is based off of and Owen Hart is credited with sticking true to this. Instead of doing a questionable storyline (involving him having an affair with another woman—something he did not want to have to explain to his children), he was punished into using his “Blue Blazer” gimmick.

McMahon then begins to introduce a new era of television. This new era would “push the envelope” and could contain some material mature audiences. Fast forward to 2017 and we’re stuck with stupid gimmicks and kiddie toilet humor. These all fall under the TV-PG guidelines and have been a major influence in the ratings drop. He closes by saying that the company will continue to change with the times. This is evident in WWE’s obsession with pop-culture (even if they are a few years too late).

Look, I want to be a WWE fan. It’s something I’ve grown up with for 20 years. It’s an addiction. But I’m just not entertained, anymore. There are too many times WWE has pissed away an opportunity to make a logical storyline unfold and entertain the fans. The roster is stacked (more than it should be). Was tonight’s show great? Maybe. But will WWE produce a consistently solid product? Doubtful. WWE fails to build newer guys properly. Putting them on the fast-track doesn’t make them a star. Giving them titles doesn’t make them a star. Listen to the die-hard fans. Listen to the fans who have been watching to product for more than 5 years. We don’t need blood and sex. We want wrestling. We don’t need stupid gimmicks that don’t make sense. We need characters we can believe in. Was the Undertaker believable? Yes. Why? Because he sold the character and the company built him correctly. Every single interview made sense. We were able to suspend our disbelief. Each wrestler cared. They had their place and the bookers strived to make each segment built to the main event. And the main event was a match. It wasn’t a talking segment or a contract signing. It was a match. The match had purpose and, if it was a rematch, it wasn’t a rematch the fans had seen multiple times before. The purpose of a cable show is to sell the PPV. It doesn’t make much sense to have a PPV main event rematch the following night on RAW.

The product is now focused on WWE’s outside projects. Movies, video games, celebrities, and part-time workers are getting top priority over the talent. The wrestlers weren’t sitting backseat to a celebrity. It drives me nuts when a celebrity gets the upperhand over a professional. It makes the show feel fake and like anyone can do it. David Arquette won the WCW title and the company had officially jumped the shark. How many celebrities have beaten full-time WWE wrestlers? I’ve lost count. Gimmick matches were few and far between. We didn’t need a PPV (other than the Rumble) to give away the shock of a TLC, Hell in a Cell, or ladder match. Feuds weren’t drawn out and milked dry. WWE didn’t need to jump on a charity bandwagon only for the publicity.

WWE had wrestling competition. While the major wrestling competition is gone, WWE now has outside competition. “Love & Hip Hop”, news shows, and professional sporting events are now taking the top ratings. WWE uses the excuse that a professional sporting event, awards show, or holiday are the reason for low numbers. It’s not as if these suddenly became popular. WWE has had this competition since it started Monday Night RAW. They’ve beaten major sporting events. The only difference is that, now, WWE is lazy. They try to skate by and get their social media scores up. We never know if those tweets are positive or negative about the product. WWE whores themselves out to Hollywood and jobs to the same outlets that criticized them. They’ve become ashamed of wrestling and have made it (along with “belt”) a taboo word. When it comes right down to it, they’ve abandoned their long-time loyal fanbase for the younger mainstream kids.

Will WWE be around for a while? Sure. The ticket sales will drop for larger arenas. To combat this, they’ll sell out smaller ones. When adverts continue to pull their commercials, WWE will just add more breaks and replay same loop of commercials. They’ll give their Network, PPVs, and “premium content” away for free. Vince McMahon, Triple H, Kevin Dunn, and Stephanie will feed their egos while the company strives to keep an audience. Wrestlemania will always sell out because of the nostalgia. But the build will be nonexistent and the part-timers will get top billing. The novelty of former stars has worn off. It’s time for a change.

We know WWE can produce a compelling show but only when they want to. Bottom line: I’ll start caring when WWE starts caring.

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