If the world of professional wrestling is ever-evolving, why does it seem like I’m watching a weak version of the same old thing? We should learn from the past, not fuck it up.
I was having a conversation with a fellow wrestling aficionado , Tony, about the “PG” nature of the current WWE. He is steadfast in the belief that the current WWE is too soft compared to what it used to be in the heart of the Attitude Era. While I don’t think professional wrestling is too “soft” per se, I do think that it’s become a bit too polished and clean. So what do I mean by too polished?
Back in “the day” wrestlers typically had a ver different build and things were much more mat-oriented. However, as the 90’s wore on, WCW turned to higher violence, but really focused on cruiserweights. Meanwhile the WWF started bringing in some real high flyers like the Hardy Boys, but where the WWF really broke out was the uber-violent department. I loved both of these wrestling organizations at this time because they were so starkly different from each other, yet both had an amazing amount of talent. Now it seems, we’ve watered down the best of both of those worlds.
The fun, high-flying luchadors are now doing the same moves to Sheamus and Drew McIntyre as they used to do to Juventud Guerrera and Psychosis. I have a hard time believing Rey Mysterio Jr. can actually huracanrana Wade Barrett. Meanwhile, the “violence” has been turned down significantly compared to 1999, but not to the point it was in the late 80’s. However, to be honest, I think it’s worse in a way now. In watching a “street fight” with Randy Orton and David Otunga on today’s Smackdown!, I actually just started channel surfing. A certain amount of this can be chalked up to the fact that Mr. Hudson was allowed to enter the squared circle. However, a bigger reason for disappointment was the sheer lack of chaos that ensued. Street fights should not spend any significant amount of time in the ring, they should involve more than 1 weapon, and by the end of it, you better have me convinced someone actually got hurt. I would rather see a normal match than some weak excuse for an “all out brawl”. Even the WCW knew how to properly put on a street fight in the mid-late 90’s. You want to see a street fight? Here’s a fuckin’ street fight!!! …and here’s the 2nd part of the fuckin’ street fight!.
I understand the WWE wanting to create a new image for themselves but I still think there are a few things we can take from the past to make the present even better.
1. (On behalf of Tony) Bring back Tornado Tag matches! So many great tag team title matches during that Attitude Era, and what’s the overlying theme amongst most of them? They were tornado matches! Be it ladder, table, TLC, or just plain tornado tag, there’s no doubt that it was more entertaining. I understand it can’t happen all the time, but it is pretty much completely gone now and all we want to know is “why?”
2. Let the blood flow! This personally upsets me the most. I can’t recal the last time i saw a Superstar bleed significantly. However, this makes no sense to me because even at its cartooniest of times, there was still plenty of blood shed in that squared circle. At WrestlemaniaV, Hogan wrestles most of the main event with blood running into his eye. Shawn Michaels has lost gallons of blood throughout his career (and the changing images of the WWE/F) and it always was appreciated by the fans. After all, aren’t they supposed to give us their BLOOD, sweat, and tears?
3. Cruiserweight division. Right now the WWE has a decent roster of cruiserweights. I quickly scanned the WWE roster and found 20 guys that should be in their own division. Get rid of the U.S. title, bring back the Cruiserweight title, and build it up with some great rivalries. Maybe some people find it entertaining to watch Kofi Kingston face Kane, but I much prefer 2 high flyers move in the ring with each other. They are more familiar with the moves so they are less stiff with their bumps, and more important, it’s actually believable. I get the whole david vs. goliath concept, but let the little guys fling each other around, and let the big guys go back to pounding the crap out of each other.
What aspect of wrestling went away before its time? Or perhaps, what aspect needs to go away sooner rather than later? Let your voice be heard!