Why does WWE feel the need to turn back the clock so much?
I know the Attitude Era put WWE on the map. It was the most profitable period in the company’s history.
But history is exactly what it is and what it should remain.
So why does WWE keep repeating history?
One word: Ratings.
Sure, Vince McMahon likes to talk about how proud he is of the current Superstar roster. But if he is so proud of this roster, why then does he insist on bringing back Attitude Era stars—that now are, at best, part-time wrestlers—and count on them to bring back the viewers?
We have CM Punk virtually jawing with Steve Austin in a program that may or may not lead to some kind of physical altercation. We have The Rock, who is taking time between movie sets to possibly challenge for the WWE championship at a pay-per-view. We have the Undertaker, who stays in virtual hibernation except to come out and work his annual unbeaten streak program at WrestleMania.
I’m not challenging the greatness of these men and the other wrestlers of that era. What I do challenge is the need to constantly bring them forth every time WWE hears a ratings point drop.
Should WWE rely on its past stars to help boost ratings?
That has to be somewhat demeaning to today’s crop of Superstars. They work their butts off to get top exposure, only to have someone past their prime come in and take over the spotlight. Couple that with so many weak story lines the WWE Creative Team has been generating and you can understand why there is apparently some backstage tension among wrestlers and management.
Business is built on history, but it grows on its present and its future.
There is another nugget that WWE should take into consideration before it gets too deep into reliving parts of the Attitude Era.
Unlike then, WWE now is involved in many kid friendly programs like Make-a-Wish and Be a STAR. Several of its biggest stars, such as John Cena, Sheamus and Rey Mysterio, have huge kid followings.
Would you want your kids idolizing characters whose signature moves are crotch-chops, cursing and flipping the double bird? I would hope not.
Right now, WWE has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to promote breast-cancer awareness. That would not have worked back in a time when breasts were considered "puppies."
I do not know how much, if any, actual revenue WWE is getting from these partnerships now, but the publicity itself is priceless.
WWE, if you want to improve your product and ratings, then you need to push what you have now. Create solid, credible story lines for your Superstars. Pay more attention to budding stars in your developmental territories. Have a place for your revered stars of several years ago, but not at the cost of current talent.
In short, WWE needs to pull its head out of its past.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.