To fans of WWE and of wrestling the Monday night wars are considered to be the golden era of the industry. People tuned in week after week in their millions to watch WCW and WWE's product as the two battled for sports entertainment supremacy. It was during this time that WWE stepped up their product and launched one of the most influential and historic era's in the companies history with the Attitude Era. This was a time when almost nothing was out of bounds and the content of WWE's product was no longer about muscular men with over the top gimmicks and instead featured more real life personas that fans could relate to and identify with. Fast forward to 2014 and we now live in the PG Era, where fans feel the product has been watered down too much and gone are the majority of things the Attitude Era provided to us. Many fans often say they would love a return for the Attitude Era, and while that may be a good thing in some peoples eyes I'm going to explain why I believe bringing back the Attitude Era would be a mistake for the fans, the performers, and WWE as a company itself.
People miss the edginess of the product and the unpredictability of what was going to happen from one minute to the next. At the time WWE had competition in WCW to drive it and make them push harder to be the better product. However now WWE seemingly has no competition that seems to have just destroyed creative to push as hard as it could to create engaging story lines. You can't recreate something like the scenario's the Attitude Era would produce when it was all unique at the time. It's hard to rekindle the same passion and emotion produced by the creative team in the scenario's they came up with when there isn't that driving force of competition to make things better. Essentially creative has become lazy and is now also controlled by people who have no real knowledge of the product and probably should be anywhere near a wrestling company. But hey that's WWE's choice to hire these people.
There's no question that at it's peak the Attitude Era was great while it lasted. However I think if you bring it back there is always a danger that ultimately it could kill the legacy of the era. We saw with the reunion of DX in 2006 that it wasn't the same as it was in say 1998 and some fans were turned off by this as it ruined there memory of what DX was all about. As a fan I want to be able to look back at the Attitude Era and remember it for what it was; a unique and amazing time in wrestling history. I don't want to be talking about how great the first Attitude Era was and that when they tried to run it a second time that it sucked. You can apply that to real life situations too as you might do something one day like when you go to a theme park and take your first roller coaster ride. You may love it the first time but on the second experience it might not be as good and you may leave feeling disappointed. No one wants to remember the Attitude Era for the wrong reasons.
There is a big risk in a return to the Attitude Era for the company and that is simply that it would turn off the sponsors the company are currently attracting. Right now WWE is attracting sponsors from big name companies who want to be associated with the company such as Mountain Dew, Skittles, and Seven Eleven, and as a company WWE is doing a lot of great work with companies like Make-A-Wish and recently the company became a founding partner of the Special Olympics. You return to the Attitude Era and a lot of the big name companies are going to shy away from sponsoring WWE or having their name associated with the brand which will ultimately hit the company hard in the bank. This has a bigger bubble effect as you not only lose company sponsorship but there is a big risk you not only lose existing investors in the company but you may also lose the ability to attract new ones. A lot of what WWE does with it's PG product all comes down to money and in today's society I think it is a better fit for the company.
Also for me as a parent I wouldn't want my kids watching WWE if it went back to doing the Attitude stuff as there was stuff that happened during that time that I look back at now as an adult and wonder how they got away with it. The demographic WWE appeals to now is vastly different to what it was back when the era was at it's peak and the company are appealing more to families now instead of the 18 to 30 male demographic. Some of what WWE did was risky and close to the line of being unacceptable and I guess a lot of guys did what they had to at the time to survive and help the product succeed. As performers I wonder if going back to the more edgier hard hitting stuff is a line they want to cross as someone who has a much more family friendly character like John Cena isn't going to want to start walking around, flipping people off and swearing as he is the companies go to guy. Even in a product that could be edgier I think kids would still gravitate toward the Cena character though I guess that the Cena character would have to be more edgy like the Thuganomics gimmick was.
The Attitude Era was great at it's peak but I really think we need to leave it at that and move forward with the company as it is. Lets face it, I don't know any business that gets better going backwards and reverting back to something from the past to make it more successful. The Attitude Era was good while it lasted and it created some great superstars and memories but I think we need to leave it that way and not ruin a good thing. While there will always be those fans who want WWE to return to it's glory days and to relive some of the best years of the company I think we need to accept that those years are behind it now and instead we should embrace not only what we have now but what we could potentially have in the future. Thanks to the guys who created some great memories in my teenage years but that's where I want to keep you, as a memory of what a great time in my life you created.