The Weekly Editorial: The real positive side of the Attitude Era

cementtingThe Attitude Era served up some great comedy – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

I hope everyone is having a pleasant Christmas day, and thanks for spending your sacred day with The Real Mid Card

Many wrestling fans cry out for the return of the famous Attitude Era. I was brought up on it, along with the rest of my generation. It was extremely entertaining! As time goes on, people seem to be acknowledging some of the drawbacks with it. I am one of those guys that loves to point those flaws out. So today I’m going to focus on the positives. There were a lot of them, but I’m going to try and identify those that were really valuable. Everybody would love to see a return of the hardcore division and senseless violence, gratuitous nudity and needless profanity. As entertaining as of all that stuff is/was, it’s cheap. I’d prefer to take a look at parts of the Attitude Era that could be just as useful in today’s WWE. Let’s see what I come up with.

One thing I tend to disagree with people a lot about is championships. I really liked the fact that back in the day you had a lot more titles on the roster. As I’ve grown up and started to look at the business with more empathy for the actual performers, I feel even more strongly about this issue. These days there is just not enough stuff for these guys to do, especially those in the mid or lower card. The hardcore title shouldn’t come back, but I don’t see why they retired the European, and with talk of them unifying the United States and Intercontinental, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for those guys not in the main event picture to do any meaningful work. King of the Ring was also a great way to elevate people, and it’s a big shame that they don’t do that anymore.

Creative freedom, or lack thereof, is a big problem in current WWE in my opinion. The lack of input that most guys have on their craft is not a positive. I see that only getting worse with the development of the new Performance Center. I can see the good in the facility, but it worries me that the monkey training system for promos will become even more predictable and boring. Seeing guys like Steve Austin and The Rock go out there with a couple of bullet points and stir up a frenzy was incredibly entertaining. Why they felt the need to hand so much control over to the creative team, I do not know. It just creates more work for them, and they have enough to do already. Not only that, if you’re not good at it, it often comes off very obviously scripted and staged – not good.

Despite my opposition to unnecessarily violent and brutal wrestling in the modern era, I do believe that there is excellent value in blood. As long as it’s used sparingly, and it’s stringently regulated in regard to the safety of the guys, I would be all for it’s return. We are greeted to a tiny bit of accidental blood in WWE quite often these days, but it really doesn’t have the same dramatic effect as a blade job. The classic example of it’s effectiveness, which is always passed around, is Steve Austin in the Sharpshooter with the blood streaming down his face. Remove the blood and his rise to the top may have never happened, or could have well took a lot longer. That defining moment helped build the foundations for his character, and it all hinged on the use of blood. Keep it medically safe and not overdone, and it can work wonders for an angle and/or a wrestler.

The crazy crash TV and adult comedy format that Monday Night Raw ran with during the Attitude Era really was entertaining. At times it was just insane and made no sense, but I think there are parts of that style that could be taken on board by the company in today’s world. As long as it isn’t offensive or overly crude, it could be very entertaining. After all, that’s what the business is supposed to be all about, in McMahon’s mind. You want unpredictability and cutting edge material on a show you intend to watch every single week, even if it’s silly sometimes. Mae Young giving birth to a hand, Crash Holly and The Headbangers fighting through a play area, and Stone Cold ploughing through the arena in a various heavy duty vehicles (see image).  All of these things aren’t that dissimilar to the stuff you can see on WWE TV these days. If they were toned down, they could be acceptable to the current audience and wildly entertaining, in my view.

Last but not least, and most of all, I remember the wrestlers. That’s right, the workers. Every time you cry about the lack of barbed wire exploding ring matches, just remember that Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero were never doing them in ECW. They were just putting on wrestling clinics at every show. The WWE roster at that time was stacked with unbelievable talent. Some of their most memorable moments may be extreme or adult related, but that’s not what I remember them for. Those guys should be remember for their terrific wrestling. The company has a lot of great guys on the roster now, so I don’t see a problem with that. If they were going to take influence from the past though, they should be getting Lance Storm to train the guys in developmental, not showing them New Jack matches. The most important and entertaining commodity of that era was the guys who busted their asses in the ring every night. That is still the case today.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]


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