I can say with no hesitation, that to date, there has been nothing in my life that I have loved quite like, or as much as, professional wrestling. As a child, I was handed down over a hundred wrestling tapes from before I was born. Although nearly half of them are now ruined from the years of aging and the toll Hurricane Charley put on them, those remaining are my most prized possession.
I write this, and that first paragraph with a knot in my chest, as it is clear to me that my love-affair is entering its dying days.
I've experienced what it's like to be Stone Cold. I've had my Heart Broken by a kid. I've played the game, and I've experienced thousands of other moments both on tape and on television. Is every spine-chilling moment I've ever seen a build-up to an even larger let-down?
The current state of wrestling is poor. The ratings have dropped so painfully low that it's almost impossible for a promotion to make a lot of money. Meaning that the desire to start wrestling companies is very small. Furthermore, the direction of the product has dwindled and the classic promos we became accustomed to seeing have virtually disappeared.
The one thing I can not complain about is the skill that is showcased. Regardless of what you may think, I feel that this era of professional wrestling has the most talented workers; likely because the thirty-and-forty-year-olds that make this era-up grew up watching Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat. This new era of wrestling offers a fast-paced brand of wrestling that has never been seen before. Even the larger workers in this era are unusually fast. (See Samoa Joe)
Why is it, that in the era of the greatest in-ring performers, the writing and the direction of professional wrestling disappears without a trace?
Is this the fault of Vince McMahon? Is this the fault of Eric Bischoff?
To both questions, the short answer is no. The Attitude Era completely over-saturated the market, causing huge-pay raises that could not possibly be maintained. This, in turn, caused the same promotions that brought us those golden moments to fold. However, this is not why professional wrestling has began to die.
The real problem with professional wrestling is not within. It is the Internet, and to a much lesser extent, the fans themselves. Professional Wrestling cannot draw quality ratings unless it is live. That is because the Internet readily gives spoilers for everything in professional wrestling that is not done live.
This leads to professional wrestling's biggest problem. The fans simply know too much. They know so much about what is going to happen, in fact, that they have began to judge angles and story-lines in wrestling before they even air.
Professional wrestling angles haven't grown stale. They're as entertaining as they ever were. It's you that have grown stale. The surprise is gone. You took it.
Professional wrestling is a casualty of the Internet. It's only a matter of time before the final cord is unplugged.