Having watched a sh*tload of old school WWF via the WWE Network this past week, I realized something depressing: Pro wrestling today is terrible and it will never be the same again.
But what else would you expect in this era of soft behavior? Wrestling on TV is only a direct reflection of American culture, which has been watered-down, stripped of its soul and made PG-friendly for everyone to watch. I think I speak for everybody when I say: Bring that TV-14 sh*t back!
I grew up in the glory days when Mick Foley was Mankind, Stone Cold was the Texas rattlesnake and The Rock was the most electrifying man in sports entertainment (wait a second, he still is!). WTF is a CM Punk?
From the late 90s up until 2003, the WWF was must-see TV and one of the biggest attractions on primetime television. That statement could never be said today. The Attitude Era, as it was called, was in every sense a war zone that showcased wrestling at its best.
Was it the incredible intros that got the fans going? Partly. Maybe it was the death-defying recklessness that made it so popular? Of course. But at the end of the day, it was the larger-than-life superstars that made the ridiculous story lines worth watching.
It’s almost impossible to tune into “Raw” or “Smackdown” for more than five minutes today without turning off your TV in pure disgust. I mean, who are these assh*les trying to pass as “superstars,” looking more like they belong on the “Jersey Shore”?
There’s no denying that WWE CEO Vince McMahon is a marketing genius, but it seems like he’s been a little out of touch with his audience lately. He is, after all, the one who brought the company to the top, but now he’s also the one who brought it back to the bottom. Not from a financial standpoint, though — the company’s worth well over $1 billion!
Selling out to conform to what your sponsors want is always a reasonable excuse (I guess), but it does come at cost, and that’s exactly what we’re experiencing with this piece-of-crap television, today. It’s sad to say, but Japan and Mexico are the only places you can go to catch some quality action these days.
Taking the monopoly and consolidating the WWF, WCW and ECW into the WWE seemed like the right move for the sport at the time, but with over a decade elapsed, was it really? Good old American greed is what took over and turned something so distinct and so perfect into yet another generic brand that’s as predictable as… well, yeah, pro wrestling itself.
As a result, the WWE is giving us too much of a damn soap opera rather than the daredevil action that got us all hooked. And that right there is where everything crumbles. How the f*ck do you take away violence from a sport that’s predicated on violence?!
America, and American sports in particular, has gotten soft with an extra emphasis on safety, and that’s understandable. But when you grow up watching guys jumping from ladders onto a stack of tables and being choke-slammed into a bed of tacks, it’s hard to cross over.
Don’t give us a bunch of grown-ass, over-sensitive men, getting emotional on the microphone. Give us some badasses who have that charisma, a pyro-filled intro and devastating finishing moves that will make us want to slap yo’ mama.
The creativity is lacking, and while we don’t foresee pro wrestling going anywhere, neither does the WWE. I mean, why else would they create an entire on-demand channel dedicated to the classic matchups, superstars and pay-per-views to attract more viewers? No one cares about this bullsh*t they have on TV anymore!
The Rock leaving in 2004 to pursue his career in acting was when everything went south. Then, when he came back years later, he was hardly the same. Like many of the other wrestlers who stayed on past the Attitude Era, he was asked to tone it down and be nicer.
But The Rock, I remember, was a prolific sh*t-talker, a borderline racist and never gave a damn. He disrespected everyone, wore Versace shirts and beat the crap out of his own boss. I know he still has it in him, but the show’s producers are holding him back! Oh well, at least we have the WWE Network to relive that every single day.
Photo credit: WWE