Lately the Internet Wrestling Community has been excited about WWE's new direction. In particular, the IWC is excited about Triple H taking over.
Triple H has officially taken complete control of the WWE onscreen. Vince McMahon is slowly giving The Game power to run the company off-screen.
But you already know that.
As much as I love Triple H, he is not responsible for WWE's new era.
CM Punk appears the man who is the face of the new era. Punk dubbed it the "Reality Era" in an interview with ESPN writer Bill Simmons.
Therefore, I will call the new era the Reality Era for continuity's (and CM Punk's) sake.
WWE now advances storylines with twitter, youtube and other social media sites. They are not only acknowledging the Internet Wrestling Community's presence, but also taking advantage of it.
The IWC blew up when CM Punk's worked shoot rocked WWE to its core. During that promo, Punk said some things wrestling fans knew about for a long time, but WWE never officially acknowledged.
Punk's complaints about John Cena being booked as the best was music to the IWC's general distaste for Cena.
In fact, I was initially convinced that Punk's promo was going to get himself fired. It was a brilliant ruse by the WWE.
CM Punk's victory over John Cena at Money in the Bank signified the official start of the Reality Era. Another Punk victory over Cena at Summerslam will firmly establish this new era.
This new era bodes well for the IWC, in that their favorites—such as Punk and Daniel Bryan—are receiving monster pushes. In general, wrestlers are now being pushed on pure ability, not just size and strength as in the past.
Better yet, it seems like CM Punk will be the face of the company as a rebellious antihero, similar to a certain Texan.
Punk's victory is similar to when Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XIV, to officially start the Attitude Era.
The Reality Era is the combination of The Attitude Era, Ruthless Aggression Era and The PG Era, all rolled in to one.
But who laid the foundation to this new era?
There are a lot of comparisons between the Reality Era and the Attitude Era. Therefore, let's analyze the origins of the Attitude Era.
Start of Attitude Era
There is no doubt that the Montreal Screwjob set the necessary things in motion to start the Attitude Era.
Shawn Michaels' infamous victory over Bret Hart at Survivor Series in Montreal generated huge amounts of controversy because it was real.
This controversy spilled over to an epic match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, with Mike Tyson as guest enforcer.
When Austin won the match, that was the defining moment to start the Attitude Era.
But this was only the official starting point of the Attitude Era. Stone Cold was not the only man who laid the foundation for the Attitude Era.
DX's antics laid the foundation for the Attitude Era.
Before DX, WWE was a family-friendly show. WCW was destroying them in the Monday Night Wars with the creation of the nWo angle.
WWE seemingly had no answer to combat the wildly popular New World Order. WWE's era during that time was very similar to the so-called PG Era.
Vince McMahon knew he had to make a change or else his company would go out of business. He had to find a spark.
Rick Rude, Chyna, Triple H and Shawn Michaels were the original members of DX.
DX officially formed when Triple H and Chyna cost Mankind his WWE Championship match against Shawn Michaels on Raw. Later on, Rick Rude was revealed to be HBK's "insurance policy."
DX was disrupting the seemingly peaceful cosmos of the WWE.
Renowned British scientist Isaac Newton once said that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
DX's opposite was Bret Hart.
Hart stood for everything DX detested, and vice versa. The Hitman was the establishment. DX was the rebel.
Then we see the Montreal Screwjob ruining Hart's wrestling career and catapulting DX to new heights. There needed to be a new enemy for DX to continue the angle.
A certain Texas Rattlesnake accepted the challenge from Vince McMahon to be the new face of the company.
Stone Cold Steve Austin's victory over Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania was so meaningful because of DX's dominance over the WWE.
Stone Cold became the face of the company when he defeated Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania.
Does that sound familiar?
DX's overall brilliance, along with the Montreal Screwjob paved the way for Stone Cold Steve Austin to spearhead a wrestling revolution.
Transition from PG Era to Reality Era
What was the defining moment from the transition between the PG Era and the Reality Era?
The defining moment of the transition between the two eras was CM Punk's victory over John Cena at Money in the Bank.
The face of the Reality Era is undoubtedly CM Punk. But he did not lay the foundation for the Reality Era.
But if Punk didn't do it, then who did?
Zack Ryder laid the foundation for the Reality Era.
Zack Ryder was in the same predicament Vince McMahon was many years ago. Ryder knew he was about to be future endeavored if he didn't think of something.
Ryder had everything to lose. He was not only a Superstars legend, but an expendable jobber on Raw.
For whatever reason, Long Island Iced Z decided to start a series of videos.
Ryder's mic skills and his charisma endeared him to the IWC and to WWE fans. His shameless self-promotion, along with his humorous kayfabe-breaking antics made him extremely popular.
Over time, his trademark catchphrases were on signs all over WWE arenas. Fans were demanding for Ryder to appear on Raw.
The Ryder Revolution was soon born.
An obscure jobber named Zack Ryder managed to get himself over, without WWE's help at all.
In the offices of Stamford, Connecticut, Vince McMahon and Triple H saw the value the internet can provide to the company if harnessed properly.
Vince McMahon must have said something like this in his plush office. "If a jobber like Zack Ryder can become popular because of his internet shows, why not use the internet to our advantage?"
WWE was going to shake things up once again, and they needed all the support they could get from the hardcore fans.
Like WCW before them, UFC is destroying them in overall popularity and ratings. They had to find something to cater to fans alienated by WWE's kid-friendly image.
Then McMahon realized CM Punk is very popular among adult fans. Punk's undeniable charisma, brilliant mic skills and tremendous in-ring ability can make him the new face of the company.
At the time, Punk was saddled as the leader of a directionless stable in Nexus. He was one of the best heels in the business with his brilliant promos and ability to garner heel heat.
They came up with a brilliant idea. They took advantage of CM Punk's real-life gripes with the product and let him say what he wanted for five minutes.
The Cult of Personality was born in Las Vegas on June 27, 2011.
It is an incredible coincidence Money in the Bank happened to take place in Chicago, Punk's hometown.
Not only do they love CM Punk in Chicago, they despise John Cena. WWE knew a Punk victory there could put him over as the new face of the company.
The worked shoot made CM Punk famous. Everyone wanted to interview him about what he was going to say before his mic was cut off.
WWE once again made a brilliant angle out of reality.
They allowed CM Punk to air out real life concerns Punk had about the product. It was brilliant.
And it was based on reality.
To drive the point home, CM Punk actually said he was planning on leaving in the Bill Simmons interview. This added even more elements of realism into the showdown with Cena at Money in the Bank.
When CM Punk won, the adult fans were overcome with joy.
Comparisons between the starts of the Attitude Era and the Reality Era
Zack Ryder was synonymous with DX. It's borderline insanity to suggest Ryder is better than DX.
Nevertheless, Ryder's successful videos made WWE realize the internet can be used to their advantage instead of to their detriment.
The CM Punk worked shoot was synonymous with the Montreal Screwjob. The real-life controversial moments created a sustained buzz needed to make a meaningful transition work.
CM Punk's victory over John Cena at Money in the Bank was synonymous with Stone Cold Steve Austin's victory over Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XIV.
To summarize everything, Zack Ryder enabled CM Punk to become the new face of the Reality Era.
This is just like DX enabling Stone Cold Steve Austin to become the face of the Attitude Era. Austin could not have done it had DX not paved the way with their non-PG antics.
Just like Stone Cold and DX before him, Punk delivered in creating a new era. Punk's infamous promo generated the necessary buzz to make a meaningful change in the WWE.
But CM Punk's popularity could not have been without the internet success Zack Ryder had with his shows.
WWE figured if a jobber like Ryder can get loud pops due to his success then imagine a main event guy doing that.
CM Punk has set the wrestling world on fire, thanks to the help of Zack Ryder's innovation.
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Take care, spike your hair and never forget Zack Ryder's impact in WWE.