I would very much like to thank a commenter for this column. The question is simple.....was the Attitude Era the best era? Is that kind of environment what the wrestling world needs right now to bring the popularity back? Some wrestling fans would argue that the sex and scandal in storylines is absolutely what will bring fans back. As for me, I have a different take on the matter.
In pre-Attitude Era WWF, we had cartoonish characters with colorful personas (see also Koko B. Ware, Doink the Clown, etc.); we had men in uniform (see also The Mountie, Big Boss Man, etc.); and we had the monochromatic wonders (see also HBK, the Harts, The Undertaker, Diesel, etc.). It was popular and even in years shortly prior with Hulk Hogan and his vitamins and prayers rhetoric, it worked perfectly with the fans of the day. Since that time, wrestling has changed with the fans and their tastes. While trying to maintain a sense of realism and good ring psycology, the business kept changing and morphing into a reinvention of itself.
While there were elements of the Attitude Era that made 80's and the era shortly before that time pale in comparison, there were elements lost from WWF of the earlier era that made the Attitude Era just plain hard to watch for me. I simply never bought into the whole Divas as sex symbols mentality. I just wanted to see wrestlers on a wrestling show doing their thing and let the fans make their own judgements. As for now?
I want to see the ring psychology Jake Roberts made famous restored to prominence. I want to see the writing depth of the WCW and WWF Monday Night War brought to the forefront. So many great stories from that time period and well thought out, with plenty of plot twists and innovations that made the debuts of the day ring with feelings of nostalgia and awe. I believe TNA is doing all of that and is doing it very well, with performers that are able to do tremendous storytelling in the ring. Ring generals like Angle, Sting, the Dudleys, and Jeff Hardy help bring authenticity to the product. WWE's veteran performers are few a far between, with even fewer from the Attitude Era back. Triple H, The Undertaker, Christian, and Rey Mysterio account for almost all in ring coaching from within the squared circle.
So....is the Attitude Era necessary to bring wrestling to prominence? My view is yes and no. We don't need DX having women from the audience flashing the cameras, but we do need something bold and unafraid to stand out. We don't need the same men in the top events every month, but we do need continuity amongst the characters and storylines that share that in common. We don't need models being expected to do the same work in 6 months that other performers are doing in 6 years, but we do need beauty to add to the ranks of the experienced. You see my point? The Attitude Era brought some fine things to the table, but the current product needs to change once more into something the fans can appreciate again......which is why TNA is growing faster than WWE at the moment.