If there was ever a question in the WWE if the “Attitude Era” would ever make an appearance again, I think we are getting our answer loud and clear.
To refresh your memory, The Attitude Era was a period in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, known now as WWE) and sports entertainment history that began during the latter half of the 1990s and ended in the early 2000s. The era was marked by a shift to more adult-oriented programming content, which was accomplished in a number of different ways; including an increase in the level of depicted violence and the incorporation of sexually suggestive, horrific, or otherwise politically incorrect characters and story lines created for shock value.
Similar to the 1980s professional wrestling boom, the Attitude Era was a surge in the popularity of sports entertainment in the United States as television ratings and pay-per-view buy-rates saw record highs.
The era saw several wrestlers rise to stardom, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Kurt Angle and Mick Foley; established WWF stars The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels continued their main-event prominence. Wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero – who were unhappy with their employment in rival promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW) – jumped ship to the WWF to make names for themselves. Other main-event wrestlers who first rose to prominence during the Attitude Era include Kane, Edge, Christian, and The Hardy Boyz.
The era also saw an increase in the McMahon Family’s on-screen presence, starting with Chairman Vince McMahon’s creating a heel persona of himself following the Montreal Screw Job.
While there is an edge and a new feel for the company, do not be conflicted over the past and what is now the present. Those wrestlers of the original era are nowhere to be found and the performers of today are very good, but their technique and the storylines of this period cannot match the intensity of what has already taken place.
Sorry, John Cena.
There has been many instances where the current clan of WWE superstars have been promoted as “The next ….” Fill in the blank with one of the greatest of all time. Yes, you can make the argument Cena from a composite of everything he has become in and out of the ring, surpassed Hulk Hogan years ago. Shawn Michaels was the “Ric Flair” of his ear, but no one on the roster with possibly the exception of Chris Jericho, could be linked as a potential equal or replacement. It just isn’t there.
For a while I thought, like other wrestling fans, Jericho was Roddy Piper, CM Punk was Randy Savage, Cena was Hogan and Triple H was a much better version of Paul Orndorff. But generations cause us to feel the amnesia of the business. We want the past repeated and would give anything for that to happen with the current lot of superstars. If that is the case, then the Usos are the Samoans, Punk, is Savage, Jericho is Piper, Dolph Ziggler is a really bad knockoff of Michaels, The Miz is Owen Hart and Paul Heyman is Bobby Heenan.
It the reality of the now.
And now, with The Authority proving to be as tough as The Corporation in some aspects, we have a 180-degree turn in the company. Only this week did we realize how good it could be with a SummerSlam I really loved because every match meant something. To take it a step further, the squash match between Cena and Lesnar should have happened three years ago, before the CM Punk pipe bomb and 12 reigns by Randy Orton. The reason the WWE seemed to be watered down for the last few years is simple. The “Attitude” has always been there, but the fans weren’t buying who the attitude was coming from. Orton had too much power and Edge left the business too soon.
If the Montreal Screw Job started the “Attitude” of the past, SummerSlam of 2013 started the “Attitude” of the present. It’s what fans have and it’s what Triple H, Vince McMahon and the rest of the people backstage are giving us. Let’s just deal with it for now, mainly because it is getting better and before long, it will be pretty good, if not great, AGAIN.
[amazon_link id=”B00JHH1YAW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE The Paul Heyman Story[/amazon_link]