Watching the Rock's DVD among others, I began to draw some conclusions as to wrestling today and back then. A lot of people claim the "Attitude Era" was the best wrestling period ever, had the greatest storylines, best wrestling, etc. I, however, feel that the best wrestling came during Hulkamania as you not only had great tag team wrestling, but you had some great superstars like Curt Hennig, Rick Rude, Steamboat, Macho Man, among many other gifted wrestlers. Also, coming into the very early 90's, a lot of those tag wrestlers broke out into their own like Michaels, Hart, and then you had Flair and Sting hitting at full cylinders. That's besides the point, though.
As I was watching and listening to the announcing, there are some things that are missing today like the biased announcing, which I feel really added a special element listening to the matches (got to love a biased King and Hennan) and Vince McMahon was actually someone you liked to see come down to the ring and get involved, unlike today. Things were fresh and crisp and entertaining. You can still do that in a "PG" rating, it just seems like creative isn't trying as much. One could argue that Hulkmania was pretty PG as there was hardly any blood and curse words but they knew how to get under your skin and draw you in. There were still storylines and all that, but it was very basic. Sometimes they had a girl involved, but it was really focused on wrestling. Smackdown is like this, but sadly it's on not only a bad TV day, but also a horrible channel. So viewers can't invest the time to get totally into it and you can't bank on fans investing that kind of time to equal PPV buyrates.
As for wrestling, I draw a few parallels into the wrestlers.
Stone Cold and John Cena
Now, a whole bunch of people HATE John Cena. Thing is, to WHO the WWE is targeting, Cena is the man as Austin was to who WWF was targeting back to back then. Austin was never an amazing wrestler (he did have some good matches with guys like Bret Hart, Rock, and even HHH), he was a very good entertainer. Cena isn't the most technical, but he's also had some good matches with people that can carry him like Jericho. They each also equal huge merchandise sells. Cena has some good charisma, he just needs that one good turn to get him over with everyone. It took Austin a LONG time to get there also, but he got there. I feel Cena will get there with a good heel turn in another 2 years.
Chris Jericho and Bret Hart
Both are great sound wrestlers and can make just about anyone good. And with Jericho's current gimmick, it kind of mimics the gimmick Hart had at the end of his WWF career. American fans can't stand them, but take them out of America, the fans adore them and respect them. Hart was probably the best technical wrestler at the time and the same can be said about Jericho right now.
HHH and Randy Orton
Each guy needs to be surrounded with a group and have people help them. MOST people couldn't stand those guys, but they had their hardcore fans that would cheer them not matter what. They were also involved with feuds that just never seemed to end no matter how long it's been. How many times did we get HHH and Rock? How many times are we getting HHH and Orton now? Orton's never had some girl behind him, like Hunter has had, but outside of that. their career path has been about the same.
Mankind and Jeff Hardy
While you read this you may go WTF?! However, Foley's title reign haven't been really long. It's been a lot of transitional reigns and they were used to push other people over. They both risked their body at any time for the enjoyment of the fans. They were crowd favorites, but we never given the ball for that long. And they each have their naysayers in the business. Mick Foley was nothing more than a stuntman and Hardy was a blotchmachine. However, they still had their fans who were with them no matter what. Their matches are never pretty, but they did help the guy they were going against to get over.
Owen Hart and Matt Hardy
Now, Owen Hart is a WAY better wrestler than Matt Hardy hands down. The reason I brought these two together is the simple fact that they were always pushed down over their brothers. Owen Hart should have been a World Champion (some might say he would have been had he not died, but we will never know). However, Bret was always looked as the draw and Owen could never get over that shadow. He would also be feuding with Bret and that always seemed to be when Owen would be pushed in the higher card. Same can be said about Matt. He complained about being in his brother's shadow, like Owen, and his high points were when he was tagging or feuding with Jeff. Other than that, he could never get past that hump. Will he now once that Jeff is gone, time will only tell.
CM Punk and Rock
Now, I had a lot of trouble trying to find someone that compares to the Rock. That man was gifted in the ring, had an amazing voice, and knew how to sell. I picked CM Punk because when Punk started out, he had a very small fan base. Sure, there were guys that liked him, but his first title reign tanked. Well, when Rock first debuted, his gimmick sucked and there were those Die Rocky Die chants. However, once he branched on his own and did his own thing, he was a top draw. Same with CM Punk. Once he was allowed to do his preaching gimmick, his whole character took it to a whole other level. I don't give a damn what Matt Hardy wrote about how Jeff Hardy got CM Punk over, CM Punk got over because of what he was saying and busting his ass in that ring. CM Punk has a lot of time left to grow and I see him continuing to rise to the top and be the face of Smackdown, as Rock was.
I know I'm missing a lot, like Taker, Edge, Big Show, Rey, and some future guys like Ziggler and Morrison, but I wanted to at least put this up and see what you all have to say. I'd love some feedback, maybe some comparisons you think are there. Thanks for reading!
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!