At the risk of sounding philosophical, I'd like to ask a question. Over the course of the past few days, I've been rather harsh with WWE for the removal of Attitude Era footage from their digital archives in YouTube and other media outlets. I suppose my question is......Is WRESTLING for kids?
In its purest form, professional wrestling is a choreographed artform, where two partners perform a mock duel of fisticuffs and might in front of a crowd. There's nothing inherently wrong with that to give parents pause. Action movies do that sort of thing all the time. Where ratings and products divide the audiences is as simple as story and character. WWF, in their product 20 and 30 years ago, used colorful characters and personas to woo many a child into believing that prayers and vitamins could take them beyond their youth into a place where anything was possible.
When WWF and WCW squared off, it gave birth to a new era for both companies. WCW decided to blur the lines a bit, making storylines more complicated and the characters more true to life. That made wrestling into something else. I don't blame WCW or WWF for a racy and edgy product. I give the credit to the fans of the day. We created the Attitude Era. It made interesting storylines, but it also made it impossible for WWE to go back.
This isn't to say that WWE shouldn't try to tame their product down to draw in a younger audience, but to attempt to remove a piece of the road traveled is the wrong message to send. Holding on to concepts like Hell in a Cell and using the devil to communicate it undoes whatever progress there is to be made in making the WWE product "safer" for kids to watch. Characters like Kane or the Undertaker, who were in essence, birthed by the Attitude Era, simply don't fit the bill as well under those guidelines and it seems hypocritical for WWE fans to make their stances without acknowledging that.
So....is wrestling for kids? In my opinion, it can be. It all depends upon where you draw the line in how deep your storyline and characters are. If you want a deep storyline with more complicated characters, it can't stay within the confines of a PG environment. Simple as that.