In the HEEL OPINIONS series, UKProWrestling.co.uk writers will let loose with their most controversial views on all things rasslin’. This week: Oliver Hope on why he believes that the Attitude Era is totally overrated.
I know what you’re thinking: this is insane. The Attitude Era was the most successful period for wrestling ever. The company was shit hot and people watched in their millions on a weekly basis. Popularity grew and the revenue went nuts. Vince was in heaven and even managed to buy his competition. But the product itself was shambolic. Watching it back now with fresh eyes, there are plotholes all over the place.
We are in the age of the internet here. Everyone complains about everything because they have the power of the keyboard and the anonymity it brings with them. There are things I do not care for, such as the subject of this elongated rant, but I still enjoy wrestling and the excitement it brings to my life. The Attitude Era is looked back on by many rose tinted glasses-wearers who feel that was the high point of wrestling and that is shall never be repeated. You log onto YouTube now and see 14-year-old ranting about how new WWE sucks compared to the Attitude Era. Hell, even WWE do this. Their DVDs and documentaries glorify this era as being the best thing ever. Just look at the highlights! I mean Austin on a beer truck and DX invading WCW and…erm….Austin and the beer!
Austin and the beer?
Yes, Steve Austin became a household name because of this, but it’s not due to his in ring work. You look back at Steve Austin’s matches and he has around 5 moves max, yet Cena still gets lambasted for having the same things? There is a growing amount of “fans” out there who are not going to be satisfied until the Attitude Era comes back. They lust after having The Rock and Stone Cold back in the ring, they feel WWE needs to be TV13 again and have people ruin their bodies in the name of their entertainment.
“WE WANT BLOOD” they cry,
“But what about the concussions and early deaths?”
“That’s not their fault, we need the entertainment!”
They desire a WWE Universe where people get cut open on a regular basis, leaving that horrible brown stain of dried blood which other wrestlers have to roll around in for the whole night. They want unprotected chair shots and for people to be smacked with barbed wire or fall through a Hell In A Cell. They seem to take an elitist standpoint compared to others and have that mental attitude where they believe they are correct and no amount of sensible reasoning can shift them.
“But wrestling is safer these days? The performers are more athletic and the show is produced to a very high standard…”
“Yes but what about when The Rock used to do those promos and DX did their thing then Shane and Stephanie would come out?”
etc. etc. etc.
The Attitude Era was good at the time, don’t get me wrong, but have you tried going back and re-watching it? I feel a lot of people’s enjoyment of the era comes from the characters that were involved. The matches themselves were nothing to shout about. Most would last five minutes or under and finish via interference or with something simple.
Most who look back fondly on the time have a selected memory of the events which transpired at the time. I mean yes we had The Rock, Steve Austin, DX and cool things like that, but remember the likes of Kurgan vs Chainz? Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice (ain’t he great?), LOD 200, the Brawl 4 All, the New Midnight Express and ICP. The nostalgia is not strong there. Imagine if they tried to pull this shit on TV today. Complain all you like about how some of the mid-cards are treated, but at least they were not as bad as these guys were. Watching back, the era seems to have around four cool storylines which are focused on heavily then the rest was just pure unwatchable rubbish. I mean you had great wrestlers such as Steve Blackman and Raven just throwing bins around for five minutes.
What the Attitude Era shows is that competition is great for business. During the current day, Vince has no real competition that poses a threat to his multi-billion dollar company. It can be argued that the closest competitor is still TNA, and the less said about them the better. Vince now doesn’t have to create a product that is must see because there is no other outlet for wrestling that is competing. The Attitude Era is long gone. People have a whole series of memories to pick and choose from, whereas the modern day product still has to convince you it is amazing on a week-by-week basis. Newsflash, the Attitude Era was not great every week. They had some appalling shows. How can you expect a company to grab your love and attention in such a short amount of time? How long was The Rock booed and hated until he was finally accepted? It’s not likely fans will give the same opportunity to the likes of Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin…Instead they will just say the product is shit and say they wish it was like it used to be. To these people I say, go back and watch your Attitude Era DVDs and stay there.
Hearing people bang on about how great the Attitude Era was over and over again has grown and dull and repetitive as Sasha Banks vs Charlotte. Face the facts, we are not going back to that era. Even if we make a PG Attitude Era, WWE would never be able to get away with the stuff they did back then. Remember when Trish had to bark like a dog and crawl around the ring? Or when Val Venis had his penis cut off but a sword? Or when Mark Henry groped a transsexual woman (WHAT?! PENIS?!)? Harping on about the good old days and the glory of the Attitude Era will never bring it back. Enjoy what you have, because in reality WWE is great currently
If we don’t let the likes of Reigns, Rollins, Sami, Finn and Braun craft their own version and era, we will never progress. It’s Attitude Era fanboys who are making the product become stagnant instead of growing. If they were to eradicate this stupid attitude they have then we would be in a much better position for the advancement of WWE and wrestling as a whole.
Bin the nostalgia and get with the times.