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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Where The Attitude Era Has Left Us
(And The Return of The Character)

June 9, 2004 by Lee Heir


For my first column, I am going to take a delve into the the wonder that was the Attitude Era. The positives, the negatives, stars born, stars lost, and where it has left us today.

To begin, I would like to state that I have now been watchin wrestling for 15/16 years, and considering I am just approaching 19 I can say it is a huge part of my life. People have called the Attitude time the Golden Era for the WWE, but was it infact Golden or just tinted bronze"

Entertainment was the main driving force during these years, mainly due to television ratings being at the forefront of the wrestling world's mind. This was all well and good, but the wrestling suffered for it in my view. It spawned such an array of entertainers from The Rock to Steve Blackman, each had their own unique character and appeal. The main players driving the WWE in this time were The Rock, Steve Austin, Triple H and Mankind, respectively. Of course you also had your Undertakers and Kanes, but what real quality 'wrestlers' led the scene"

Of course, you can argue that Triple H and Mankind had some tremendous matches, as did Triple H with many at this time. But how many 5 star matches, considering he was the main bill of a Pay Per View each month, did Stone Cold actually have" In effect when he was at the top of the mountain he was a broken man. We all know Stone Cold could have a brilliant match, just look at Austin/Hart from WM13, but he did not produce consistantly high calibur in the ring at this time.

On the entertainment side however, Austin did it week in week out. And because of this, the match quality didn't effect tv ratings or ppv buyrates. Same goes for The Rock, but yet, Wrestling was hotter than ever. Underneath these main eventers, you had majority of the now main players. Your Benoits, your Angles, your Edge's, Christians and Guerreros. Now these wrestlers have taken to the floor, the 'Entertainment' side has maybe died down slightly.

And could this be the reasoning behind the slump in ratings recently" Maybe the WWE is seeing this, and slowly bringing characters more into the Spotlight again. But oddly in my opinion the characters seem out of place now. We've had pure wrestlers topping the main event for about 2 years now, with their character seeming to be less and less important to the fans who have stuck with the product through this time.

For example Mordecai, what is going on there" Now there may be people reading this who think that this character is good, but to me, he looked like a fool when he debuted. I doubt he'll ever become what the Undertaker is or was, and I just find him hard to believe.

Whereas in the Attitude Era, I think he would have fit in a charm. This is just my view, but maybe the characters will gradually work their way back in to the fold but at the moment I still think audiences want to see more wrestlers and wrestling with the likes of Benoit at the top of the bill rather than the Mordecai praying segments filling up the show.

If we were still in the Attitude Era, Benoit would be the Intercontinental Champion, and John Cena would be on TV Guides and chat shows the world over. And that, in effect, is how the Attitude Era was and where it has left us.

I hope you have enjoyed my first column, albeit a blunt and quite short one. I could have and may well explore this subject deeper in a future column, but I just felt for my 'pilot' column I would share my thoughts on this subject. I hope you read my next column, which will be longer, deeper and filled with Chavo Classic.

by Lee Heir ..


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