WWE: Why the "Old Guard" Is Not the Answer to Our Woes

Merlot WilliamsCorrespondent IIJune 24, 2011

One of the many heroes of the Attitude Era
One of the many heroes of the Attitude EraFrederick M. Brown/Getty Images

It seems as though the popularity of the WWE has been in decline as of late. Pay-per-view buyrates are sinking, and I have seen a quite a bit of the IWC talking about how WWE can bolster itself back up from its ratings slump.

WWE's creative team seems to be trying a lot of "new" things, but none of them are working. From the dreadful celebrity guest host spots to the gimmicky RAWs to bringing back legends for one-shot appearances (no disrespect, HBK is my idol and I love The Rock and Stone Cold), noone new is coming to the product. A lot of us in the IWC seem to only be hanging on because most of us have grown up with the product.

For the same token, I don't believe many of the IWC answers are the right ones either. Changing all the heels to faces and the faces to heels just flops everyone's roles. While that might shake things up a bit, I don't really think that is going to be a lasting solution. As much as I love Chris Jericho and as popular as Batista is, bringing either of these two back will not solve anything either. I really believe that the WWE has the answer right under their noses, but they are reluctant to take the jump. The answer is...

Push the young talent.

Simple as that. In the late 80s and early 90s when the Hulk Hogans and Randy Savages and Lex Lugers were leaving the company to the rival WCW, WWE was placed in a position to where they had to build new talent. Guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Undertaker all grew from the mid 90s to the latter part of the decade and beyond. All the legends of the Attitude Era were built because WWE was in a position where they had to take risks. Someone had to be built to take the spots of the guys who left.

What resulted was one of the most entertaining ages in wrestling. I don't believe that WWE necessarily needs to appeal to the older fans (myself included) by bringing back the edginess and sometimes downright vulgarity of the Attitude Era. The PG Era can work, but John Cena and Randy Orton won't be around forever. Those two are the youngest hardened veterans they have left, being that Triple H is transitioning into management, and Undertaker is all but retired.

With the loss of Edge and Shawn Michaels in the past couple years, Orton and Cena are all WWE has left right now (CM Punk would be on this level as well, though it seems he is on his way out). However, due to a lack of heavy competition, I feel the WWE is really playing it safe right now which is making the product stale all the way around. The locker room is filled with talent. Just look at it! John Morrison, R-Truth, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston, and as much as I hate to say it, even Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler are showing promise!

I don't understand the IWC's obsession with Zack Ryder, but I am simply one person. Everyone seems to love this guy, why not put him on TV? The WWE used to seem more in tune with what the fans wanted, and it grew the business. Now, it seems they want to continue to expand, but they don't want to take any risks to get there.

I was shocked when The Miz won the title from Randy Orton by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase on an episode of RAW no less. The Miz is the first guy to become a main event player in some time, but four months later, they put the title back on John Cena in order to build a match nearly a year away. Christian, after 17 years in the business, got a World Title reign...of two days in order to build someone else to take his best friend's spot as the face of SmackDown. Cena and Orton will draw money regardless of whether or not they have title belts around their waists.

As much as I remember tiring of seeing Triple H with the title as much as he had it in the early to mid 2000s (no disrespect, I am a HUGE Triple H fan), he built people he stepped in the ring with. If it weren't for Triple H, there would be no Randy Orton, John Cena or Batista. I believe Michael Hayes said it best when he said "Our fans always want to see a new guy break through the glass ceiling," and it's true. They don't need the old guard to build new stars. If the current talent can embitter themselves in rivalries with "SuperCena" and "MegaOrton" and tell STORIES and have the poetry in the ring that the legends of the past did, we can have just as entertaining and captivating television as yesteryear.