Would The Attitude Era Work Today?, The Miz Scaled Back, Why I’ve Never Wrestled, The Next Face Of WWE

Re-launching the Attitude Era in present day WWE comes up by fans everyday, but by using only the current roster; do you think another Attitude Era now would work?

The Attitude Era was a time when WWE pushed the envelope to maintain afloat and it worked. WCW was dominating the ratings and were taking the market share from Vince McMahon. It’s almost as if they went “all-in” with their risqué programming and reaped the rewards by creating megastars such as Steve Austin, The Rock and D-Generation X. However, it’s much easier said than done and this pivotal point in the history of professional wrestling cannot be simply “recreated.” For those that think it has to do completely with WWE’s PG initiative, I often point to TNA Wrestling. They are not committed to PG yet haven’t scratched the service in terms of competing for the mainstream market share. I’m confident there will be another period of time in which pro wrestling goes mainstream but it’s impossible to predict.  It will likely be ushered in by talented performers and compelling storylines.

Why has The Miz had such a hard “fall from grace” in terms of his standing on the WWE roster since being WWE Champion?

WWE officials clearly didn’t feel The Miz was ready to be a mainstay in the company’s main event scene. Be it pay-per-view buys, television ratings, merchandise sales, crowd reactions or a combination of them all, his push was scaled back. The Miz is seen as a guy that has worked very hard for his current spot and WWE’s confidence in him is evident based on the movie role they gave him.

Were you ever a wrestler or try to get into the business?

I have never taken a bump in my life and probably never will. Some may find this offensive but I chose a different path to pursue my passion for the pro wrestling business… covering it from a journalistic standpoint. Many of my friends that started writing on the Internet with me in the late 90′s went on to work as wrestlers, referees, ring crew and even promoters but I “stayed the course” and pursued a career in journalism. I have great respect for the business and the people that work in it, however, I also do not feel the fact I have never worked makes me a “mark” or unable to understand it. I commit my day-to-day life to my work while maintaining great friendships with those that get in the ring and perform.

In your opinion how many years do you believe it will be until we see the next “face of WWE”? I don’t see it in any of the current up and coming talent.

No one knows who will be the next “face of WWE” let alone when we will see it and while you asked my opinion, I’m not in a position to make such a bold proclamation. I can tell you some view the next face of WWE to be CM Punk while Triple H feels Sheamus has the opportunity to put the company on his back. I actually think Cena is the face of the era of people like Punk and Sheamus and feel it will be someone else. Randy Orton is younger than them all but given his Wellness problems; I don’t think it can rest on his shoulders either. The next “face of WWE” will probably emerge when we least expect it but I assure you will know it when it happens.

Remember questions with proper spelling and grammar have the best chance of being answered. The next installment of Ask WNW will run on Thursday, October 4, 2012.

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  • Indy Worker

    “I have never taken a bump in my life and probably never will. Some may find this offensive but I chose a different path to pursue my passion for the pro wrestling business… covering it from a journalistic standpoint” …… So destroying the wrestling business even more. Yeah, good choice.

    • Richard Gray

      It's funny you say that considering WWE, TNA, ROH and hundreds of indy promoters send us emails, press packets and more on a daily basis. We have a lot of eyes on this website and promoters recognize that.

      • Jason

        I love the site and the Ask WNW, but you have got to be answer things directly or choose a different question to answer.

        The Attitude Era would work today because the true backbone of professional wrestling is the same demographic that makes NASCAR and MMA popular. Violence and drama always sell and what we have today in the PG Era is Vince McMahon looking at social media and saying, "People use social media to talk about themselves, people must want more drama in wrestling, I'll cut back on the wrestling and replace it with drama and consumer engagement."

        That doesn't make a show, that makes a brand and a website, but not a product.

        I hate hearing the PG initiative is what allows the WWE to expand itself because at the end of the day, looking at facts, how can you expand if your product's audience diminishes week over week? I have to believe from my experience working in television that advertising and merchandise revenue is always going to be up when your ratings are in the 7's and 8's as they were in the attitude era.

        • Richard Gray

          Direct answers are nice but responses in which generate discussion are equally as useful if not more informative. Now if this were WNW before readers were able to comment (yes, we've been around that long), answers in which generate responses would be out-of-place and pointless.

        • christopher525

          Ok "Porter," did daddy give you permission to get on the internets tonight?

        • Casey

          I'll second that one guys. I seem to remember "Mankind" and the Rock having Ravioli commercials now how many of those have you guys seem as of late with current stars and the PG programming that is there to supposedly help gain advertisers.

      • Pluto

        Richard I agree with you 100 percent, I don't think Punk is the future/long term answer either. Punk is a great wrestler and a key player moving forward but he's not a #1 guy, he'll never reach the heights of Cena nor contribute too the company the way Cena has. Punk IMO is Randy Savage type-guy, a very big deal but nowhere near the level of a Hogan. I still think that Cena has another 4-5 years as the #1 guy in the company. And I also feel that the next top guy in the company has yet too debut in the WWE.

    • DJS

      Shut the hell up! If you are so good as a wrestler than why are YOU not on raw or impact?

    • neweramaze

      I too am an Indy worker and all though I dont agree with everything Richard posts I do however enjoy the site and visit it often. That and lordsofpain.net that is a good one too which is where Richard started his career I believe

  • David

    " It will likely be ushered in by talented performers and compelling storylines. "

    I couldn't agree more.

  • Kyle

    I’m glad you didn’t want to become a wrestler, cause then we wouldn’t have this awesome journalist that keeps us updated on so much in the wrestling world.

    • Frenchfry

      hows it taste

    • Ben

      Suck up

  • Ken

    Of course the Attitude Era would work today, in terms of the style and content. Just look at the amount of people there are complaining about the crap the WWE is putting out today.
    The WWE is (trying to) tap into the market of kiddie-friendly, sunshine and smiles, be nice to everyone and hide your head in the sand away from all the bad stuff delusionals, but there are a lot of people out there (myself included) who are sick and tired of the politically correct, must make sure to never offend anybody, let's all jump on the next social guilt bandwagon brigade who would LOVE for the WWE to return to its Attitude Era greatness.
    It couldn't ever happen overnight. That would be too big a change. It could happen if they eased us back into it and ignored all the complaints, just like they used to do. For every fan who sloped off in a sulk there'd be another who tuned in soon after. For a brief moment it seemed like they were going to do that, at least part way, until Linda started her second senate run and it all fell apart again.
    They'd just need to commit to the change and give it time to take. A three hour Attitude Era style Raw would be awesome, even with the amount of distracting advertisements in the current product.

    • DJS

      Kenny…GIVE IT UP! the attitude era is dead and it's never coming back.

      • Ken

        It's all hypothetical, my friend. It's an open discussion, where opinions are expressed and backed up with reasoning (hopefully).
        A question was raised:" Would the Attitude Era work today?" Richard has given his answer. In the spirit of community and discussion I've given mine, and explained it clearly enough (as I tend to do on a lot of my posts, because simply saying 'blah blah blah' doesn't mean a thing if you can't follow it up with reasoning).
        I know the Attitude Era isn't coming back any time soon, but I can still hope, right?

        Equal rights activists throughout the years have probably thought to themselves that things weren't likely to change any time soon, but they still kept trying and hoping and expressing their opinions.
        Where would we be today if, for example, Martin Luther King had just 'GIVEN IT UP!', or if the Suffragette movements had just packed up and gone home because fighting for women's voting rights was hard?
        Where would we be if Renaissance scientists had 'GIVEN IT UP!' because challenging the Roman Catholic Church's stranglehold on knowledge and learning was too hard?
        I mean, for centuries Europe had been locked in the Dark Ages, right? Before then there'd been an era of learning and knowledge. The word 'renaissance' specifically refers to a revival of knowledge. Something can only be revived in this context if it had existed before.
        By your logic there'd never have been a Renaissance. Free discovery of science and learning was dead and it was never coming back. All those scientists and so on should have just 'GIVEN IT UP!' and gone home, right?

        That, my friend, is an adult response; written, explained and reasoned.

        You're welcome, as my new favourite wrestler would say.

  • Guy Landau

    I have to say Richard, you know I respect you immensely, but there is something about having in-ring experience and the know-how of putting on a show that gives you knowledge and experience about the business that can never be learned theoretically. My judgement of the product is very different from when I was a non-wrestler, as well as most people I talk to that are non-wrestlers. There are things that you just can't know before you get in the ring.

  • Ben

    For those who think the product needs to be TV-14 to be successful, check out WCW in its prime. They put together a quality product in a PG environment. While I have no problem with profanity or color in matches, neither is necessary (other than color in steel cage, HIAC, TLC, and similarly violent matches) in putting on a great show. The Attitude Era in WWE was very entertaining, but that's not the only way wrestling can be entertaining. Heck, look at Punk's tremendous run last year… unfortunately short-lived, but still very, very entertaining, all on a PG show.

  • Nick

    @indy worker…how is this website destroying the business? I’m sure people that come here are old enough to walk and talk so whether they come here or not its their choice and whether they choose to be in the know about current storylines and future ones is also their choice. If you choose to live in a the early 1900′s when wrestling was a carnival act then I suggest you stay away from this website. By now every young adult and older knows the ins and outs of pro wrestling so quit your whining and if you’re really an Indy worker go get yourself recognized.

    • Ben

      I dnt want the attitude era i would like a program that is believable and keeps me wanting more best wwe been in years was when rocky came back as on a weekly basis we didnt jnow what was going to happen as it is now we do i remeber battle royals cage matches on raw now its top 2 heels v top 2 faces on a weekly basis and same promos and twitter rwitter twitter

      • Nick

        Well Ben it’s called evolution…nothing stays the same. Things are always changing however I’m reminded of a quote “the more things change the more they stay the same.” In essence it’s not really things that change because guys still come out its just that we change. I’m sure in the attitude era you were problem younger and there were websites back than its just that now you are older and you have better understandings of how to find things out. I’m sure for a little kid, wrestling is as real as anything he sees on a daily basis. We just choose to find out things as we get older.

  • Dude love

    Unfortunately, I do not think pro wrestling will ever reach mainstream popularity. Even if WWE creates compelling storylines and characters, the mainstream media will still treat it as a joke. For Example, look at CM Punk. He plays his character to perfection and is a heck of a wrestler. However, he does not generate ratings. Look at his amazing run in summer of 2011. The week after his memorable promo, the ratings for RAW actually went on a down-slide. I love pro wrestling, and most likely will always. I can care less if pro wrestling as a whole reaches the epitome of popularity as they did in the Attitude Era. As long as I enjoy the product, I am a happy camper.

  • bruno

    This website is the reason wwe is losing. Spoiling everything and making propositions destroys the business and the fun.

    • Richard Gray

      Yet you not only read but take time to comment

    • Josh

      You do realize RAW was taped during the Attitude Era, do you?

    • WyFo

      Bro, if you have something against this site, why are you here? :P

    • matt

      somewhat agree, but you're reading this site just like I am. sooooooo…..??

  • Adam

    People complain about a lack of wrestling on WWE TV but the attitude era had hardly any wrestling either.

  • King

    Haha Richard is frying everyone who talks trash about his site lls!!! He is simply awesome haha

  • Leo

    So many memories in the attitude era. There’s just no competition for wwe. Not as big as wcw was anyways.

  • partyjereme

    The only reason the Attitude Era worked is because of Austin & the Rock, it's rare to have 2 of the biggest stars in wrestling history wrestling in their prime at the same time in the same company.

    • Evon Reese

      @partyjereme you are absolutely right. The wrestlers of today just don't have the same attitude. They try but just can't seem to get there.

  • Leo

    Shouldn’t the wwe take the competing companies a little more seriously? It seems Vince is only interested in his product and ignoring everything else. I don’t think there can be much development if this keeps up. At least in the attitude era both companies kept a close eye on each other and came up with good ideas to out-do the opposing one.