Back in 1999 when the WWF Attitude Era was at its peak, the WWF created a Super Bowl commercial that gave the question: “WWF Attitude – Get it?”. Basically saying we aren’t your dad’s wrestling promotion any more. Over the years the WWE told the WWF to get the “F” out and the Attitude Era has changed into the PG Era. Younger fans that the WWE is targeting love watching John Cena. Lifelong WWE fans enjoy watching CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. The lifelong fans (the IWC) see a change in the WWE, and this time around instead of Vince McMahon asking it, the fans are asking “Get it?”.
The WWE for as long as I have been watching loves the big guys. If you look larger than life then the WWE is probably going to treat you right. It is that whole circus mentality that wrestling has grown from. Give the fans something that nobody else can give them. However, with this look comes the dreaded 5 moves of doom. Just because you look and act the part, doesn’t mean you are that talented in the ring. Think of Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold and John Cena. 3 of the biggest names in the history of WWE all had limited moves. You will get the occasional match that enhances their talent, but for the most part it’s the same show just different venue.
For a while the PG Era was making us lifers restless. There would be occasional moments that would get us interested, but nothing really impacted WWE programming for the adult fans until June 27, 2011. That was the first real CM Punk “Pipe bomb”. Where did this pipe bomb take the WWE? It gave the fans an epic match with CM Punk and John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011 and blurred the lines between wrestling and reality. CM Punk would later become the longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era by holding it for 434 days uninterrupted. CM Punk holding the WWE Championship made me think that the WWE actually wanted “wrestlers” and not just “entertainers”.
So we go to this past August at SummerSlam when John Cena basically said Daniel Bryan is the future of the WWE and even lost the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan. After the match Randy Orton cashed in his MITB briefcase and defeated Daniel Bryan to become the WWE Champion. With John Cena out with an injury most thought that Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton would fight and carry the WWE Championship during the fall season. Well that was partly correct. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan would fight for the title but WWE was making sure Randy Orton kept the belt instead of Daniel Bryan. Why?
When Stone Cold Steve Austin uttered those magic “Austin 3:16” words it brought a whole new movement into the WWF Attitude Era. When John Cena said “You Can’t See Me” it pushed Cena into the main event. Now WWE has the “YES!” movement and it’s like they just don’t want it to catch on. With Daniel Bryan’s popularity there is no reason he wasn’t entered in the 2014 Royal Rumble and no reason he didn’t win it. Shawn Michaels wasn’t always the biggest or strongest and he has gone down in history as Mr. WrestleMania and one of the best superstars to ever come from the WWE. So why does the WWE doubt Daniel Bryan?
I read a column by Mark Madden today and he gave the old quote of “the customer is always right”. We the fans of WWE are the customers; we pay for PPV, merchandise, live events, etc. If it wasn’t for us the WWE and all the superstars wouldn’t get the comfortable lives they live. So what is so wrong with the fans wanting something and the WWE giving it to us? In the past WWE has always tried selling us on why they think a certain superstar should be in the spotlight, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I think of a specific quote from the movie “The American President” when the President says about his opponent: “Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it!”. WWE’s problem isn’t that they don’t get it, they just can’t sell us on why this current path is the right one. Which makes me question if they really do “get it” anymore. Could the WWE actually be out of touch with wrestling? With all the focus on movies and other forms of entertainment, maybe WWE is so focused on the entertainment value that wrestling is just passé to them.
CM Punk is rumored to have walked out on the WWE last week for unknown reasons at the moment. The WWE has made no mention of it yet. When Stone Cold Steve Austin walked out in 2002 it was because of differences with creative and he was burnt out. Basically differences with creative means that the creative team (the McMahon’s and other team members) couldn’t sell Stone Cold on what they thought was “best for business”. It seems history is repeating itself.
TNA doesn’t get it, they are just trying to survive. ROH kind of gets it and has potential to steal more of a spotlight in 2014. Jeff Jarrett gets it and is planning on launching a new promotion in 2014. So WWE you need to get it fast. I don’t know what stopped you from really getting it, but you did. You boast the history of the WWE will be available to the masses on February 24, 2014 with the debut of the WWE Network so fans can relive their favorite moments. Let’s not worry about rewatching the past, as great as that will be, but making new memories for a new generation of fans and even those of us who will be fans for life.
WWE I have watched almost every program you have offered since 1990. There is a lot of history in the past 24 years. Never have I questioned the future as much as I do now. I remember when the Road to WrestleMania made RAW must see each week. I remember when WrestleMania actually had WrestleMania moments. These days were not that long ago. These are things WWE can fix. I was in the crowd last week at the WWE Royal Rumble. I know that the fans want change and see the future; it was easily the best crowd I have ever been a part of. Once WWE “gets it” again I believe the pieces will all fall into place. So WWE I leave you with a question… Get it?