Mouthing Off: The PG Era of World Wrestling Entertainment

Frankie GargiuloContributor IIIOctober 19, 2010

I must admit that I’m 25 years old and my favorite show is rated PG. It is both quite ironic, yet hysterical at the same time. I’ve been a fan of professional wrestling since I was three years old. Growing up in New York City, the WWF (at the time) was the best wrestling company in the world. As I got older and so did the children of the 80’s, we went on to watch more programming suitable for our age group.

Being a crazy teenager and staying up till two in the morning, there was nothing like this show called “ECW” on MSG and sometimes on Fox Sports Channel. I enjoyed watching ECW because it identified with me. It gave me a chance to see something that I was into rather than garbage gimmicks and child-like storylines.

During this time, WWF began to change their image, which would also be copied by WCW, causing both companies to display this new “attitude” style of professional wrestling. Both were seemingly ripoffs of ECW.

But just like the old saying goes, “Business is business.” Being the business man he is, Vince McMahon looked at the best way to make him money.  So Vince went through with the “Attitude Era,” making millions of dollars and making such stars as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

As the years progressed and the wrestlers on his roster began to show some form of aging, WWE (its present name) decided to take a step back and go “PG.” Why?

Currently there have been three major influences towards this argument: Linda McMahon’s political campaign, Mattel’s toy line and their partnership with the WWE and/or the product wanted to change an benefit a demographic of a younger audience.

Out of these three examples, the WWE Universe is just supposed to sit back and take it as is, enjoying storylines that many WWE fans don’t find exciting. These three internet rumors circled around wrestling sites.

One thing I can note is that Vince knows that we are not stupid and understands that we do know that the major change is mainly due to his wife’s campaign. Unlike many of you, I find it quite hysterical. Why? Mainly due to my recent understanding of how a product evolves and how it should continue to evolve rather than go back to its original 1980’s, early 90’s form. 

Consider this example, the current WWE product is like the invention of “New Coke,” a product that lost millions of dollars for the Coca-Cola Company just because they wanted to “change their product.”  

It sounds very unwise to do in the business world. Why go out and change your product if your demographics show that it’s a success? So I guess we can state the obvious that changing the product for a lower-aged demographic is not really the reason behind this debacle.

In referencing the Mattel toy line and their partnership with WWE regarding non-violent acts, I say it’s hogwash. Why? The recent Hell in a Cell match between Sheamus and Randy Orton depicted Sheamus continually pulverizing Randy Orton in the center of the ring with a black chair over his head as Orton lay motionless for that moment. Isn’t this some sort of violence? Of course it is, so how is this product PG? Just because someone isn’t bleeding doesn’t mean it’s not violent.  

Also, the average fan who grew up with the original WWF product like I did, and that currently has kids that witnessed the “Attitude Era” will probably state that their child was about 8 to 12 when they first started watching it. They could have personally changed the channel themselves and told their child not to watch.

This finally brings me to my overall point. The main reason for the sudden change is due to the 2010 Linda McMahon Campaign.

Vince has also stated that there will be some WWE changes happening in January 2011.Changes to occur in 2011?  Why would this change have to occur in 2011 and not now? Maybe because the obvious answer is due to the election taking place in the fall and Vince giving himself some leeway if Linda loses.

The point of my article was to express the points of the obvious, and state the information that some of us obviously do know but other wrestling fans have yet to hear.


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