A dawning of a new decade is upon us.
The question is, will WWE follow suit and usher in a brand new exciting era that will entice lapsed fans back? The jury is out on that one.
The Attitude Era was such a fantastic time to be a wrestling fan. It was cool to watch. It was edgy, it was exciting, but no doubt, if social media had been around it would’ve died on its butt just like every era has since. The internet has been the single biggest killer for wrestling. That, and Stephanie McMahon being given creative control with zero knowledge or qualifications.
Lots of fans often beg for a return of the Attitude Era, but anytime WWE gives them a small taste of it (I.e, the Lana/Rusev/Lashley love triangle) they revolt in their droves. It’s like they never witnessed Brian Pillman win a sexy night with Terri Runnells. The Attitude Era was as out there and controversial as Donald Trump.
Okay, maybe not that bad, but you get the idea.
The Attitude Era simply would not fly in today’s world. It would be taken off the air before an episode of Monday Night Raw could even finish. Although, that doesn’t sound such a bad idea right now. No matter how much fans clamour for the return of the glory days, there’s just no feasible way Vince McMahon and co could allow it. However, there is something they could do to get tired fans back on board and create an edgy, exciting TV show that has people talking.
What should they do? No, not rehire Vince Russo, although I think that would be a great idea. The first thing they need to do is strip back the writing teams to three per brand. Have a writer specialising in TV, a wrestling legend who understands the business, and a serial story writer. Have them write shows for the month ahead, and only change when injuries, suspensions and things of that nature occur. Right off the bat we have a more grounded and watchable product by just tweaking a little something, and also saving WWE a small fortune in the process. Those Hollywood writers aren’t cheap, believe it or not.
Bring back authority figures. Come on, admit it. We all love them. Wrestling just isn’t the same without them. Heel authority figures work way better than good guys. So my suggestion would be Paul Heyman for Raw GM, Triple H as the lord of NXT, and Bruce Prichard running the Smackdown asylum. This gives the baby babyfaces a target and a goal to reach, while also helping weave multiple stories together.
Edgy stories are a must, but they have to be logical and entertaining. So that rules out pretty much everything WWE has done in the last decade or so. There needs to be clear motivation on the wrestlers part too, not just wrestling for the sake of wrestling. WWE is a weekly TV show and it needs to start acting like one again. Give us cliffhangers, give us drama, give us action, give us something we can enjoy again.
The first story I would run if I was given the pen would be Vince McMahon holding a meeting in the ring surrounded by the entire roster to lambast them for poor ratings. The lights would then go out, when they come back on, McMahon is lying motionless in the ring with blood gushing down his face. The mystery will then begin… Okay it’s not perfect, but it’s more bloody intriguing that what we have right now.
Superstars have to have personality. Currently, barring The Fiend and Brock Lesnar, everyone acts and behaves the same way. If they’re a heel, they’re a whiny coward. If they’re a face, they’re a naive hero. It makes no sense. No one is perfect in the real world. No one is black or white. Everyone is grey. We can all do good and bad things from time to time depending on the situation, so why should it be any different for wrestlers? It shouldn’t be. That was Vince Russo’s greatest trick, letting the show organically write itself by asking simple questions like what would Stone Cold so in this scenario? Simple, basic stuff that WWE can’t be bothered to do right now. And why should they? TV networks and Saudi Arabia keep throwing bucket loads of cash at them to remain awful.
Last but not least the biggest change I’d make is the time the shows are on. I don’t care how much the third hour of Raw makes in revenue, no one is watching. Pull it back to two and cut out all the filler. Same for pay per views. Nobody wants to watch anything for eight hours, let alone wrestling. You truly can have too much of a good thing.
If WWE implements these things moving forward, then the next decade promises to be a memorable one.
If they continue on the road they’re going down, I’d be surprised if WWE exists come 2030.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @JK_CFC3. Thanks for reading!