Triple H, Road Dogg, X-Pac, Billy Gunn, Shawn Michaels. Just look at that pic for a second. Bringing back some memories, right? But what if these guys made some more memories?
For any pro wrestling fan who followed the business during the Monday Night Wars, these men were must-see TV. Cliché as that phrase may be, the fact is that you could not watch WWE Raw or WCW Nitro without seeing them in the ring, on the mic and basically in your face.
And we would not have had it any other way.
Degeneration-X led the charge for Vince McMahon’s WWE and the nWo were headlining for Eric Bischoff in WCW. Each company was doing all it could to outdo the other in the red-hot ratings war and these two factions were the gasoline that was poured on the fire.
Whether we realized it at the time or not, history was unfolding right in front of us. Never before had two pro wrestling companies publicly faced off on such a worldwide stage and little did we know how much it would impact the industry for years to come.
The fact is that the Attitude Era stars made such an impact that we just can’t stop talking about them, even now. So why not include them in today’s WWE?
Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not suggesting that WWE’s veterans come in and take over. This is not WCW that we’re talking about, which at times, I personally often referred to as pro wrestling’s senior tour.
Today’s WWE Superstars are working hard to get over, to establish themselves in the company and with fans. To overshadow them by bringing in former stars is to devalue what they have accomplished and the work they put in each and every night.
And to fill today’s WWE match card with aging Superstars who are long past their prime would be in direct contradiction to the company’s efforts over the years to keep the product as young as possible. After all, it was the spotlighting of fresh, newer faces that helped WWE move past WCW during the Monday Night Wars and it has worked pretty well up to this point.
But what matters the most for WWE, as with any entertainment company on TV, is that the viewers keep tuning in. And to maintain its fanbase is great, but to make it grow is even better. For WWE, the key to that happening may just be assimilating older stars into the company’s current lineup.
This does not necessarily mean that the Superstars from the Kliq, or anyone from the Attitude Era for that matter, should once again become active performers in the ring. Again, to feature any veteran too heavily on TV is to take time from a younger talent who perhaps could have been receiving an opportunity for some air time. Besides, there are other potential spots in WWE for some of its former main event stars, and not just those of Attitude fame.
Every time the Raw general manager position is open, fans everywhere automatically begin debating whom should be given the spot. Stone Cold Steve Austin? Shawn Michaels? Edge? Yet the move never happens.
The pro wrestling manager role is one that used to be an important part of WWE. There are men out there who could fill that void now, namely Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and Mick Foley, but thus far, Paul Heyman is the only true manager in WWE.
Appearances by The New Age Outlaws and occasionally Shawn Michaels and Triple H, always get over very big with the crowd. It’s not just a nostalgia act for fans. The fact is that when it comes to getting over, these guys are just as good today as they were then.
And then there is The Rock, the guy who helped WWE sell just a few more tickets than usual at last year’s WrestleMania.
The point is that WWE spends a lot of time talking about its recent past, specifically the Attitude Era. It’s celebrated with DVD retrospectives, mentioned by Superstars and commentators on the air and is widely accepted as the moment that helped WWE conquer its biggest rival in the industry. Why not incorporate some of those Superstars who can still contribute, if only in a small way, into today’s WWE?
Of course many of these stars have moved on with their lives, or likely just do not have the time to give to the company. For those guys, even a part-time commitment would be extremely difficult with their current schedules. But for those Superstars who have the time to spend and want the opportunity to perhaps give more to WWE and the fans, why not give them the chance?
The Attitude Era will be remembered for its reckless abandon, for its daring to be individually different, and more importantly, for exciting fans all over the world. The men and women who made that era possible were extremely important to the overall success of the company and are a huge reason why it is still in operation today.
Why not give some of them the opportunity—if only a small one—to help bring more ratings and perhaps more viewers, to the company that made them stars?