The World Wrestling Federation. That is how I knew it. A lawsuit soon changed all that. Accordingly, the creative forces in Connecticut wheeled out their best advertising campaign in years; they proclaimed "get the 'F' out", and World Wrestling Entertainment was born.
In many ways, that day has come to symbolize the day that wrestling changed. It has been a slow but steady decline away from traditional territorial style rasslin' towards a product that is sleek and professionally produced.
The product does look superior to what has come before. Even a few years ago, wrestling relied upon single cameras and rather amateurish looking setups. However, it is what has happened inside the ring that makes me wonder whether wrestling is now passé.
Take Smackdown on August 14. It had approximately 14 minutes of wrestling. For a 120 minute show where the highlight was a five-minute match involving Rey Mysterio and The Miz, surely we are getting short changed as wrestling fans?
Now, wrestling has changed, and I doubt very much that any of us would want iron man matches every week, but surely the art form that is wrestling is still in demand?
The dropping of the F in the WWF was a legal issue. However, is it possible that very soon we may lose Wrestling from the WWE. Could we have a televised event where wrestling simply does not happen?
Put on some dark matches for the fans but leave the airtime for interviews and promos before some big PPV. The matches are largely filler anyway, so why use them up with boring matches involving the B-list and divas?
At risk of sounding like an old fan, I fear that wrestling may be heading towards the seedy streets of Hollywood in everything they do. Horrendous self-made movies, unfunny comedy sketches, TMZ partnerships and celebrity hosts all lead to a product being watered down and altered beyond recognition.
It's hard to recognise wrestling at times. Yet every now and again, there is one match that simply takes our breath away. The problem is that they are far and few between. Is there a real possibility that one day soon, we may indeed have a Raw or Smackdown that has no actual wrestling at all?
Give me the days of the vanilla midgets who made wrestling what it was.
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