March 29th, 1998. A devastated, blue-eyed six-year-old boy sits with his family as Mike Tyson quickly counts to three.
"Tyson was our ace in the hole," thought the little blue-eyed boy as his eyes began to water. This little boy had just watched the most popular wrestler on the planet kickoff the Austin Era, and he was furious.
As you can probably tell, this is not recollection of Austin's triumph and heroism by sticking it to the often flamboyant Shawn Michaels.
This is not a tribute to the attitude era and the many great moments it produced but rather an examination of the idea of moments, what they mean, who is responsible for creating them and most of all, do they still exist in professional wrestling.
In 2009, when I first began to explore the Internet wrestling community, the most common complaint I found was a lack of moment being made in modern wrestling; specifically World Wrestling Entertainment and its PG programming.
The initial theories about the sudden evaporation of moments and the intriguing feuds that spawned them were caused by the restrictive PG guidelines in WWE programming were stifling the creative team.
This theory was quickly be dismissed by me for the fact that smackdown has found quite a bit of successes despite always working under these restrictions. These moments included the Lesnar suplex, McMahon pinning HHH for the WWF Championship and TLC 3.
Clearly these moments are memorable despite the fact that they were a part of PG content. Then finally two weeks ago, Cena won the WWE Championship off of Rey Mysterio.
At first, this seemed insignificant due to the return of CM Punk. Then I got a call.
My younger brother called with excitement in his voice, “Did you see that.” I assumed he was talking about CM Punk’s return, but no he was excited for a different reason.
“Cena is the champ again." Now through my eyes, Cena winning the championship was meaningless. I had been corrupted by the cynicism of age and was now struggling to suspend my disbelief that made me a fan of professional wrestling in the first place.
It was soon after this that I realized perhaps the moments I thought were just coming back never really went away in the first place.
See, to the eye of an older fan, nothing seemed to matter anymore and I blamed the creative team for this and rightfully so, but maybe I deserved as much blame for my dissatisfaction as they did.
We as fans have the power to shutdown our over critical thinking, pack away our knowledge of the backstage structure and simply try to lose ourselves in the product, or we can always be skeptical and see if we ever begin to enjoy the product we have in the past.
My prediction is if we go the latter route, we will never be satisfied.
Yes, there are times when the product can become stale and there is really no realistic way of avoiding that for writers as they work 52 weeks a year, but if we as fans can simply immerse ourselves in the product, then maybe the product can simply become tolerable during the downturns and that much more enjoyable when things are at their most exciting.
I leave you my fellow fans and myself a challenge. When we are watching RAW tonight.
Let us try to watch it as we would any other show. Let us forget the person behind the character and simply believe in the character behind the person. Let us try for ourselves to make this fun again—and this is no guarantee—and maybe it will be, and maybe we will find a new moment.