From the mid-1990’s until roughly 2003, the WWE toy chest was filled with an abundance of blood, weapons, cursing, middle fingers, and alcohol, and fans from the most popular era in professional wrestling ate it up.
Today, the evolved versions of RAW and Smackdown could almost be instilled into a lineup of Saturday morning cartoons.
There are constant reports of lower ratings for WWE programming, and many long-time fans continue to voice their concern for a declining product, so the question remains: Do we as wrestling fans just need to accept that the demand for professional wrestling is slowly shrinking, or is there something that can be done to remedy the descend toward extinction?
There are definitely ways to inject a healing medicine into the metaphorical veins of an unhealthy WWE.
Step 1 is to start taking more pride in the Divas division.
In the days of Trish Stratus and Lita, WWE divas were very well-respected, and the women settled their differences in the ring just like the men. Storylines were drawn specifically for the women in the business, and they all seemed to want a chance at a once-revered title.
There was even a time where a WWE diva held a men’s championship title.
In today’s version of the business, I don’t see many divas scratching and clawing to earn a chance to compete for the championship, and the divas of today are either being required to pass gas on camera or stand in the shadow of super heels like Daniel Bryan.
The next action that needs to be taken by WWE is to progress towards regenerating big tag team rivals.
The Hardy Boyz, The Dudleys, Edge and Christian, Brothers of Destruction, and The Rock ‘n Sock Connection are just a few teams from the past who could really get a crowd on their feet for a tag match. These teams battled relentlessly for a pair of belts, and they would climb any ladder, break any table, and use any strategy necessary to retain them.
In today’s WWE, if you botch a move, fail a drug test, or lose your singles gold, your punishment is for you to be inserted into the tag team division.
What would you change, if anything, about today's WWE?
The WWE also needs to try with all of its power to move on from the “PG Era.”
I understand that many young kids watch wrestling today, and a certain level of censorship may be necessary. However, I grew up watching all the hell being raised in the Attitude Era, and I now have a college degree from a major university and a great job.
I am not trying to brag about my education or success; my point is that I watched all the finger-flipping, beer-drinking, chair-busting and table-breaking in the 90’s and I still turned out OK. It’s not going to kill today’s WWE Universe to see some blood being shed, or to hear an occasional curse word during a heated promo.
It may actually reverse the increasingly common low ticket sales at live events and lower Pay-Per-View buy rates.
I do not claim to have the business savvy of Vince McMahon, but I am a fan of the WWE and have been long enough to see that today’s version of the product just isn’t what it used to be. I think it’s time to fold the WWE's current hand, draw some new cards, and push the chips of WWE business all-in toward a new, more creatively intense version of the product.
What do you think Bleachers?
Tyler Lutz is a new contributor to Bleacher Report for all things WWE. Please provide your thoughts, suggestions, and support for him in the comments section below. You can follow him on twitter at: @TheRealLutz