A British Point of View – The Attitude Era Part 2

Martyn Nolan

I wanted to look at this P.G. Rated Era to see where we stand now and what we could expect in the future. So what does the PG rating mean in today’s world of wrestling? 

Well first we have a no blood policy during matches. Ringside staff and officials are now instructed to clean any sight of blood from television cameras during all matches televised or otherwise.
 
There is no bad language or mention of anything that may considered adult humour allowed these days. Any bad language that is aired by accident is beeped or edited it out if possible.
 
So overall we have a product that is greatly limited in its potential compared to the attitude era. Does this process affect our feelings to what we are watching? Obviously it does, as it seems to be such a big talking point these days. However, who is talking about it? Us! The internet wrestling community! We want more outrageous storylines that push barriers and storylines that can be considered as real rather than the pantomime that is today’s wrestling product.
 
However on the other side of the coin, parents aren’t complaining and kids are watching a product that is potentially a lot more suitable to watch than that of the 90’s. So how many of the WWE fans these days are actually involved in the Internet Wrestling Community? I would imagine a great deal less than young children that watch the product today.
 
Is anybody else not noticing a pattern that’s immerging out of all this?
 
Lets cast our minds back… it’s the 1980’s and Hulkamania is running wild. Children are watching the product and everything is great. WWF has a great run with promoting its products and the wrestling ‘entertainment’ business as we know it is born.
 
Then wrestling went a little soar as the children that followed Hogan started to grow up. WCW made a big statement by turning Hogan heel in one of the biggest shocks in wrestling history. All of the children who are now teenagers are re-ignited by this and start following the industry again. WWF pulls out all of the stops with the attitude era in its attempt to break WCW’s ratings streak.
 
Now, a few years down the line and WWE doesn’t have any mainstream competition due to WCW and ECW both folding. WWE doesn’t need to push the boat out and a lot of the teenage fans who were following the product fall of the map again as they get older and move on in life – ok I agree, not all of us!
 
So WWE needs to re-think its strategy. They are stuck with not being able to provide anything new to the teenage fans of the 90’s and they look to where it’s easy to make money and gain an interest… the kids. A new generation has been born since the 80’s and WWE decides to goes back its old policy of gaining a wrestler who can be a face for the company and provide himself as an idol to all these new youngsters. In effect John Cena is this generations Hulk Hogan, gaining the loyalty of the younger wrestling fans who never watched 10 years ago.
 
Now how much money are we betting when ratings fall again as these kids grow up and get fed up of John Cena we get the next big shock in the wrestling world? We get John Cena turn his back on the fans (ala Hogan) and we get the Attitude Era Part 2?
 
Anyone notice a pattern and system in this? WWE have done a great job of putting this business plan together and whatever way we feel about this as older wrestling fans we have to accept that it works.
 
Yes the P.G. rated era sucks. What was the main element in the iconic image of Steve Austin passing out in Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter? Blood! When the blood ran down Austin’s face it signified that he had given his all, that he could do no more as a human being.
 
Without these elements things don’t have the same impact and storylines don’t seem as realistic. Matches aren’t given that complete feel these days when big main events don’t end with both wrestlers left lying in a pool of their own blood, but that doesn’t mean that those days won’t return. The P.G. rating will end. But it will only end when John Cena makes the massive heel turn…
 
When will this happen? When these kids get a bit older and there is no more merchandise to sell.
 
Do you agree? Am I way off the mark? Let me know at beansontoastuk@msn.com
 
Martyn
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