The year was 1998, and it was a beautiful time for any wrestling fan. Vince McMahon could do no wrong. Stone Cole Steve Austin was a household name... Even in households that didn't watch wrestling. The Rock was telling all of his adversaries to shut their mouths, and know their roles. DX in WWF, and NWO in WCW were making memories and pushing the boundaries on a weekly basis, all for the sake of having a higher rating than the other. Every wrestling fan was excited every Monday night because they knew that whether it was Austin, Rock, DX, NWO, Mankind, or Goldberg were going to put a smile on their face. It was dubbed the 'Attitude Era' and everything was great.
The year is 2012 and somehow everything has changed. The Rattlesnake hasn't stunned the socks off someone in quite some time. DX makes a rare appearance here and there, but is far from what it once was. Goldberg.... is doing something. Yes, those stars that we have such fond memories of are long gone. Today, we have the likes of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Christian, and Austin Aries (my only TNA mention). All are or were considered 'internet darlings.' Each of these men have been main stays on wrestling programming this year as they try to make their own memories for us every week. Punk has held the title for nearly 300 days, Daniel Bryan has taken the wrestling world by storm with one simple word... then again with another word. Dolph Ziggler is constantly considered the next Mr Perfect, or Shawn Michaels. It's called the 'PG Era' and for some reason everyone gripes and complains about every little thing about it.
Strange isn't it?
The Attitude Era has been gone for 10 or 11 years now. In that time we have seen alot. Mostly Cena (more on that later), but what we've also seen plenty of is great wrestling. All those names I listed: Punk, Aries, Bryan, Ziggler, Rhodes, Christian, all are outstanding performers, and are at the top of anyones lists. The internet smarks are so obsessed with Punk, I'm convinced if Jesus made his 2nd coming and Punk lifted him upon his shoulders and made The Son go to sleep, they would cum their pants.
Now I'm exaggerating, but you get my point. In the last year, we have seen outstanding matches. Ziggler vs Punk from November last year had me glued to my screen, and had me into every move. Ziggler vs Orton was also outstanding. BOTH of those were on RAW, for free for you to watch. Christians feud with Orton over the WHC was a very nice surprise, and brought many enjoyable matches. Daniel Bryan has done some incredible things in a very short span.
CM Punk brings out the very best of John Cena. Maybe it was the crowd, and the atmosphere, but that fateful night in Chicago at Money In The Bank last year was one of those things you will never forget. The match itself is forgotten by alot of people, but it was VERY good.
My point in all this is we have been treated to incredible in ring action in these times, yet I can't log onto twitter (@KaptainKayfabe) without seeing 300 people whining and complaining about how the 'PG era sucks!!!' 'Bring back tv-14!!' 'Fuck Vince and Cena!'
Tell me please, what is sooo bad about this era? What made TV-14 so much better?
'We want blood!!'
Oh yes, thats what is hurting the product, the lack of bleeding. Nothing says pro wrestling like seven steel chairs to the skull. You would think a demographic so obsessed with companies like ROH, DGUSA, or PWG would enjoy the pure wrestling taking place inside the ring, instead of demanding more gimmicky spots. Go watch more CZW for that garbage.
'They shove Cena down our throats! He never loses!'
Cena hasn't held the WWE Title in a year. CM Punk has beaten him 3 times now, while Cena hasn't beaten him at all. He's lost two consecutive Wrestlemania matches. Allowed Lesnar to beat the living hell out of him, and even became the first man to fail to successfully cash in his Money in the Bank. Now I am by NO means a Cena fan. In fact I was anti-Cena before most of you, but I have common sense. All those 'Cena sucks' chants mean nothing. THAT is a part of the Cena character just as much as being the 'super hero.'
'Theres no surprises. Its too predictable'
Hey you didn't you exclamation points. Kudos! And the lack of surprises is YOUR fault. You're the one that is checking out all the dirtsheets three times a day, reading up 'plans' for the entire summer. If you predicted that not only would Punk continue to one up Cena, but also hold the title for 300 days you need to play the lottery. My friend that I watch every PPV with says the same thing every single time. 'This is the night they take the title off Punk, and its back to the midcard he goes.' I don't understand this logic. When the time comes that Punk does lose the title, I promise you kids he will not be in the midcard. In fact the only thing that is predictable is the IWC bitching about outcomes.
'They don't push the real talent.'
Remember back in November or so last year? Daniel Bryan had just cashed in his MITB and became WHC (YES!). He joined CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Air Boom, Beth Phoenix, and everyone's favorite overrated internet darling Zack Ryder as the champions in WWE. Yet you continued to bitch and just waited for Vince to fuck it up. Damien Sandow, Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, and others are starting to see TV time, and they seem to be the next class to step up.
'They dont care about us, they just care about kids.'
Whats the harm in that? You do know that pro wrestling existed before the Attitude Era right? Some of you were introduced into wrestling by middle fingers, beer drinking, HBK flashing his ass, DX getting girls to flash their tits, or Val Venis getting his dong chopped off (choppy choppy!). I on the other hand was introduced into wrestling at birth. Locally it was Tracey Smothers and Ronnie Garvin. In the big leagues it was Koko B Ware, Hulk Hogan, Brutus Beefcake, and Sting when he was blonde. I was the definition of a little Stinger. They catered to kids in that era, and by the time the product started getting more edgy, my generation grew older so we continued to watch. It's a cycle. 15 years from now, kids of today will be online bitching about how bad the product is.
'Its just so damn boring.'
I hear that the most. Apparently having all those great wrestlers be on the main event scene, putting on solid matches every week is boring. I remember the days where a televised wrestling program had about 3-4 matches on it, and they were ALL squash matches. I mean all. Think about that the next time Ryback demolishes Curt Hawkins.
Look, I'm not saying its flawless. There is alot they could do to improve the product, but none of it is what everyone says. The Attitude Era had its MANY flaws. One of which is lack of good solid in-ring action. Sure the matches were entertaining, but thats because wrestling as a whole was so hot, that all Stone Cold had to do was one stunner and the crowd would go crazy. Remember when Kane beat Austin in a First Blood match, only to have Austin win the title right back the very next night? Could you imagine the rage of todays fans if Cena did that exact same thing?
Or all those crazy storylines that didn't make much sense? One of those being NWO by the way (another topic for another day). Todays storylines are much simpler, much easier to follow along. The major ones involve stuff for the older fans, where they straddle that line of real and fake. The dumb gimmicks are gone. I dare you to explain to me how The Funkasaurus is harder to believe than The Undertaker.
Through all this rambling, what I'm trying to say is that while the Attitude Era was great, it wasn't as great as our memories force us to think it was. And at the same time, todays era while not perfect, is greatly unappriciated. As far as in-ring performance this is the best time to be a wrestling fan. And isn't that the most important part of wrestling? The actual wrestling?