Point: Yes, the wrestling product in the WWE has improved significantly since the attitude era.
Counterpoint: No, the attitude era was better.
P: So, you agree that the wrestling has improved significantly?
CP: The attitude era was not known for its wrestling matches. That era was full of over-the-top characters talking and doing skits. They didn't wrestle much at all.
P: Exactly. I like to watch wrestling, and there is more pure wrestling now.
CP: But the characters now pale in comparison to the characters then. Guys like Sheamus, Miz, Rey Mysterio, or Hornswoggle just don't measure up to Brett Hart, Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin, or The Rock.
P: You are cherry-picking the big names from the attitude era. Also, many attitude era characters, like The Undertaker, Kane, Edge, and Shawn Michaels, are still around.
CP: Yeah, but they have toned those guys down. They are not like they were.
P: I don't know about that.
CP: They aren't creative anymore. There is no originality. Back then, the wrestlers would come up with their own promos. They had flexibility with their story lines. Now, the WWE has Hollywood script writers handing them lines.
P: Are you saying it comes off as phony?
CP: Yes, and another thing is the way they're pushing some of the younger guys. They don't have an edge to them anymore. They seem cookie-cutter.
P: Your criticisms are valid, but people still watch to see great wrestling, and that is better now.
CP: It is consistently better, but could you imagine seeing anything like the brutal match between The Undertaker and Mick Foley in their famous Hell in a Cell match in today's WWE?
P: I suppose not. Those thumb tacks had to hurt.
CP: You know it. Those guys took risks back then. Edge talked about this recently on RAW.
P: They did, but how long could that possibly last? Foley is still feeling the pain from that one.
CP: He might be, but there are always more guys that will do it.
P: The business model of having your top guys getting hurt all the time does not work.
CP: It seemed to then.
P: The new era wasn't brought on to irritate fans like you.
CP: It is all about money right?
P: Yes. The shift back to a safer, family-oriented show was out of necessity for the WWE's survival. They had all kinds of problems with drug and alcohol abuse among the wrestlers, steroid use and abuse, government scrutiny, and the media was out to crucify pro wrestling in general and the WWE in particular. Did you forget all that?
CP: Until now I did. I recall there were serious injuries as well.
P: This led to the big-money advertisers pulling out, which leads to closing shop.
CP: I don't buy that it would have had to be shut down.
P: It certainly wouldn't have the mass audience the WWE enjoys today. They rely on these guys to do more shows than ever.
CP: Sounds like you think it was all about money.
P: Duh. Also, having more kids attend shows, buying souvenirs and merchandise doesn't hurt.
CP: Of course.
P: The 1980s wrestling was similar to today. The attitude era was a result of the WWF adapting to the Monday Night Wars with WCW.
CP: So if TNA can pick up their game, perhaps the attitude era will return to the WWE?
P: Yes, when the WWE's ratings are threatened, the product will change. Also, The WWE fans have a very strong loyalty to Vince McMahon and the WWE. It would take a lot for them to consider watching anything but the WWE.
CP: Sounds like a long shot.
P: If you want more violence and blood, you can watch TNA.
CP: Yes, they have the blood but it isn't the as good as the WWE.
P: So you are just like all the other loyal WWE fans who complain but can't turn away?
CP: Yup, pretty much.
P: Do you need blood and head bashing to make it more fun to watch?
CP: Sometimes blood makes it realistic—like when you slam someone's head through a cage or hit them with a weapon. It isn't needed, but it adds intensity.
P: There are amazing wrestling matches without blood.
CP: Nothing gets the crowd excited like some blood.
P: The blood in wrestling matches got so out-of-hand in the 1990's that it lost all meaning. It became cartoonish. Fans came to expect bloodbaths in every match. The wrestlers were getting booed if they didn't bleed enough.
CP: I guess. You know...the girls were hotter in the attitude era also.
P: They lost their credibility too. They were little more than porn extras.
CP: Yeah, that was cool. They would cat-fight for our amusement.
P: They still do. They will have a hard time getting credible ladies' wrestling back. It may never return.
CP: At least we will have that.
P: If the TV networks did not tell you the ratings, there would not be such a huge point of contention among so many fans. Many people equate PG to a family show. The Jerry Springer episode of RAW was not family-friendly at all.
CP: Yeah, that would have been great if it was not so stupid.
P: That it was.
CP: I guess there is always something to complain about.