If you asked a common person on the street what they knew about wrestling, they probably couldnâ<80><99>t tell you much. After all, wrestling has never been consistently mainstream in many parts of the globe. However, even if that person you asked told you nothing else, you would at least probably hear one of the names of Hulk Hogan, The Rock, or Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Itâ<80><99>s a simple concept really, as those three men represented wrestling when it was most popular. Granted, even though wrestling did hit popular strides when those three wrestled, itâ<80><99>s still a matter of opinion whether or not the product was actually good then/ Some common fans maintain that the Hulk Hogan era of the mid-1980s was when wrestling was its finest. Others will tell you that the Attitude era of the late 1990s represented wrestlingâ<80><99>s best. However, even though these were two completely different eras, they share one thing in common, and thatâ<80><99>s the fact that they were referred to as â<80><9c>boom periods.â<80> More often then not, the common person will remember the wrestlers of one of wrestlingâ<80><99>s infamous boom periods.
You canâ<80><99>t blame them for that. Wrestling was so wildly popular during these different years that it was almost â<80><9c>uncoolâ<80> to not be a fan. I remember being in 6th grade during the Attitude era. If I ever dare confused Goldberg and Stone Cold Steve Austin, I would be running away as fast as my scrawny legs would let me. The fact is, is that wrestling often hits strides where it becomes wildly popular, then dies, becomes popular again, and then dies again. Itâ<80><99>s a vicious cycle that has left even the best wrestling promoters baffled for decades.
In the age of wrestling today, more often then not, you will observe that many fans are clamoring for that next boom period. If you go onto any wrestling opinion website, talk to any fan at a live show, or interact with your own friends who are into the sport, many of them would love to see wrestling go mainstream. They want to see wrestling popular again! They want to have another hero like Hogan! They want to be a spectator of another Monday Night War! Even Vince McMahon himself has said that WWE is on the brink of another boom period. So if everyone wants it, then where the hell is it? And if it comes, do we really want it as much as we say?
Well to answer this dilemma, letâ<80><99>s look at why wrestling has never consistently been popular. Many promoters claim this problem stems from the fact that wrestling is cyclical, and that you canâ<80><99>t control the cycle. I really hate that theory, because it just makes it seem that these promoters donâ<80><99>t have their own destiny in their hands. They are basically saying that it doesnâ<80><99>t matter what they promote â<80>” they are at the mercy of some almighty â<80><9c>cycleâ<80> and itâ<80><99>s this cycle that determines how their product gets over; not what they actually book. Thatâ<80><99>s complete and utter BS. Itâ<80><99>s just an excuse to hide behind poor booking.
Apparently this â<80><9c>cycleâ<80> is the reason Triple H destroying everyone on the RAW roster from 2002 to 2005 cast away millions of viewers each week; whereas it wasnâ<80><99>t in effect when the Rock was cutting some of the most entertaining promos in wresting history in the late 90â<80><99>s as RAW pulled phenomenal ratings in the sixes and sevens. Do you see what Iâ<80><99>m getting at? The fact of the matter is that promoters determine their own experience, and they arenâ<80><99>t at the mercy of some mysterious â<80><9c>cycle.â<80> When the product is bad, itâ<80><99>s because they made it bad. When the product is exciting, itâ<80><99>s because they made it that way. They make the decisions, not this supposed cycle. Now, I know that wrestling companies canâ<80><99>t control things like injuries or the economy, but all creative decisions are ones they make and no one else. In turn, itâ<80><99>s these decisions that control the fate of the promotion, not some cycle.
In all honesty, the only thing keeping WWE from another boom period is themselves. Many predicted that John Cenaâ<80><99>s push would lead to a boom, but then they booked him against flimsy heels like Jericho and Angle, which caused him to become exposed and be turned on by the fans. Itâ<80><99>s up to the powers that be, and them alone to find that next big star. (And on that note, having a VKM death angle wonâ<80><99>t bring this about either, but thatâ<80><99>s for another day entirely.)
Until then, we all just have to sit and wait for that next boom period. But really, is that something we really want? Is it truly our calling as wrestling fans to wait until the next boom period?
I have never understood the craze at wanting another boom period. Arenâ<80><99>t most wrestling fans attracted to the sport because they donâ<80><99>t enjoy other mainstream entertainment? I would say nine times out of ten, that is the case. Many wrestling fans like wrestling and care less for other sports. Theyâ<80><99>re not all that way, but just from the majority of the ones I have interacted with, that is the case. Wrestling fans are rebels, plain and simple. They enjoy wrestling because it gives them something alternative to stand up for. Regardless of whether or not they think itâ<80><99>s â<80><9c>real,â<80> they watch it because thatâ<80><99>s what makes them happy. If they donâ<80><99>t like the NFL or American Idol, they can turn to wrestling to live in a the fantasy world of rings and men in tights.
I truly believe that wrestling fans love the fact that they are fans of alternative entertainment. Deep down inside, itâ<80><99>s their way of getting back at society. Donâ<80><99>t believe me? Then explain to me why Stone Cold Steve Austin was the biggest drawing star of all time, while playing the ultimate rebel. Wrestling fans like the alternative, and thatâ<80><99>s why the diehard fans embraced concepts like ECW and to an extent, TNA. ECW achieved cult status when wresting was at itâ<80><99>s hottestâ<80>“a true oxymoronâ<80>“meaning that ECW took off only when wrestling was in a boom period, not when the two bigger companies were showcasing awful products. The most die hard fans turned away from the mainstream of WCW and WWF in the late nineties to watch something different, and thatâ<80><99>s something to think about.
All in all, wrestling fans will always have something to complain about, and even if wrestling does get to another boom period, they will turn away from it in search of some alternative form of the product. At the end of the day, clamoring for another boom period actually goes against the very grain of what it means to enjoy wrestling. If wrestling is unpopular, fans get mad; if wrestling does get popular, fans still get mad. Itâ<80><99>s a vicious cycle, and the overall best thing to do is to watch whatever wrestling you want, and as long as it entertains you, who cares if itâ<80><99>s popular or not? Watch what you like, and let the promoters see if they can figure out that â<80><9c>mysterious cycle.â<80>
If you just read this, thanks for your time! I would like to take this time to apologize for not having a column out in several months now. Things got too backed up, but I really hope to stay on a more consistent schedule from here on out.
I would also like to tell you that May actually marked my two year anniversary in writing columns! Itâ<80><99>s truly been a pleasure, and I canâ<80><99>t thank my readers and peers enough for all the opportunities and help they have given me. So hereâ<80><99>s for two years, and hopefully many more!
If you have any feedback for this column, itâ<80><99>s always much appreciated, and I ALWAYS respond. Maybe not right away, but I love interacting with readers that take the time to send me their thoughts. You can reach me at:
Thanks again for reading, and until next time, this has been From the Eye of the Dragonâ<80>¦