Devon's Dissention: My View of the Attitude Era, Part II
While the Attitude Era has been part of the last ever "boom" in professional wrestling, and meliorated the oncoming odds in the Monday Night Wars against their biggest competitor in WCW, I have to say that the Attitude Era is just simply: OVERRATED .
A while back from my last article, I stated how the Attitude Era was overrated by many wrestling fans who proclaimed it as "the best thing to hit professional wrestling." But due to the length of the article, I've decided to split it into two parts.
The Pit of Talent Obscurity
Picking up from where I left off, I want to touch upon the talent that sunk into the pit of obscurity.
Many wrestling fans hunger for fresh, young talent ready to prove themselves as the next big thing in professional wrestling. But it is always that one person (or group, for that matter) that refuses to pass the torch. That one person or group usually feels insecure about their spot being taken over, and it's only a matter of time before they depart to another company in search of bigger and better things.
It's just too bad that when they finally arrive with very high expectations, their dreams are crushed when they discover that nothing has really changed.
Let us all remember the slogan WWE has stated on numerous occasions: "You’re nothing before you make it in the WWE. " Many ex-WCW wrestlers (such as Chris Jericho) that squandered around the cesspool of main eventers who were pushing forty and fifty had to learn the hard way.
But one talented individual I want to portray in this scenario is Scott Levy, aka Raven.
I'm not going to digress into his current status with TNA, questioning why they chose to have him simply sit at home collecting figurative CPCs (Chuck Palumbo Checks), instead of trying to get him involved behind-the-scenes.
Instead, I would like to indulge myself in his illustrious career from the sinking ship that was WCW, to the augmented elite company that is WWE.
Raven left WCW sometime in 1999 after a dispute with Eric Bischoff during a company meeting. Eric Bischoff told Raven that if he didn't like how things were going, he could leave. Amazingly, Raven was the only one who had the cajones to walk out.
He stated in interviews that he "would rather work in a small outfit that was ECW than the hellhole WCW put itself into".
After Raven made his departure from ECW following CyberSlam 2000, he arrived in the WWE. During his three-year tenure there, it seems that WWE didn't have anything planned for the guy, as he was merely a shell of what his character was.
He was put into a meaningless feud with the Moppy-obsessed Perry Saturn, viciously attacked by Kurt Angle during the Invasion angle, and was demoted to Sunday Night HEAT.
The only good thing to come out his career was WWE attempting to appease the hostility growing from Raven—by giving him creative control to develop a storyline based on the movie Se7en, which was later aborted by management.
Sex Sells, Wrestling Fails
Ah, yes. Who could forget one of the many cornerstones of the Attitude Era?
This concept that was developed by the internet wrestling community's long time "friend" Vince Russo, effectively and efficiently abandoned all the hard work that Alundra Blayze did in exchange for respect. The result was a montage of stripteases, bikini contests, evening gown matches, and myriads of provocative attire.
No one could argue that if a "wardrobe malfunction" occurred television, an instant ratings boost would follow. But isn't it wrong to exploit the many attractive features of a female for the sake of ratings and revenue?
Sex definitely sells, folks. But it can't be argued that the Divas have relied on the use of sex appeal to further their storylines for some significant interest. In my humble opinion, I think it simply devalues and crushes any of the credibility maintained by the network.
But let's fast forward into today, where WWE is seemingly trying it's best to drift away from the stereotype of having "blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Barbie shaped" women that lack any ability to wrestle whatsoever, and into establishing some actual credibility for its female employees.
While I applaud the WWE for taking steps forward, I fear that a cycle has been bestowed upon the Divas. The "sexploitation" of yesteryear may find its way onto your television screen in the near future, reverting back to the overabundance of the negative stereotyping that has plagued wrestling entertainment in the past.
There's only so much shock value we can take.
The real lesson to learn here in professional wrestling is to keep everything balanced. There's more to professional wrestling than boobs, blood, and foul language, as conventional wisdom would have you believe.
Compelling stories, rivalries, entertaining matches, and characters that are not too "over-the-top" will succeed.
I'm just trying to advise fans to stop living in the past—don't misconstrue my opinion of the Attitude Era as the worst thing to hit professional wrestling. We may not know what the future has in store for us, but that doesn't mean we can't strap ourselves along for the ride.
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