Oh, the WWE/WWF/ECW/WCW... fond memories there.
I remember way back when Hulk Hogan bodyslammed Andre the Giant with an astonished Bobby "The Brain" Heenan looking on agape. I remember the
"Ultimate Challenge" when Hulk Hogan took on the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania. I remember the old cast, many who are now hall-of-famers: Jake
"The Snake" Roberts, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper ("Hot Rod"), The Rockers (Shawn Michaels
and Marty Janetti), The Hart Foundation (Bret "Hit Man" Hart, Owen Hart, and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart), The Earthquake and Tugboat (who teamed up
to form the Natural Disasters), "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, The Genius, Sergeant Slaughter, The Sheik, etc., etc., etc.
I remember when the Undertaker was introduced by the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase as his mystery tag team partner against the American Dream Dusty
Rhodes and his manager Sweet Sapphire (and this was when Dusty was trying to make a comeback in his old age
). I remember when Shawn Michael
double-crossed Marty Janetti to destroy the Rockers. I remember the Undertaker's manager Paul Bearer and the mysterious urn he carried everywhere. I
remember the Wild Samoans, "Gorilla" Monsoon, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Yokozuma, and Bradshaw (before he dyed his hair blond, donned a suit, and
I have watched pro wrestling (aka choreographed fights on demand) for many many many years. I have seen the transitions. Originally it was more of a
childrens/young adults show anyway. There was no overt sexuality (that was reserved for GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling)). There was no cursing.
There was violence, but it was always set in a good vs. evil match. And always, before the story line played out, good triumphed above evil.
What is happening now is not what I would call a return to those kiddie years, but rather an attempt to correct some problems. Wrestlemania (as well
as the other PPVs) is the primary reason for the show. Monday Night RAW, ECW, and Friday Night Smackdown are little more than 1-2 hour infomercials
advertising for the next PPV event. The bulk of the money is now made via PPV. But since the initial offering of PPV wrestling specials, the profits
have been steadily declining. My personal feeling is that this is mostly due to the high price, the lack of available disposable income among their
fans, and the sheer number of events (combined with the inability to really follow the storylines without buying the PPV events). To compensate, WWE
is trying new concepts. They will tone down the cursing a bit for a while, then raise it bck up a notch. They will concentrate on the Divas for a
while, then they will back off a bit for a while. They will keep the fighting in the ring for a while, then suddenly you'll see wrestlers going wild.
and all the time, they are looking at what will get people interested more.
Example: The present HHH/Orton storyline. Randy Orton is the "heel" (bad guy) and HHH is the "face" (good guy). Orton has been playing the heel
for so long, it is easy to identify him as such. He kicked the CEO (Mr. McMahon) in his head, then Sean McMahon (his son) came out to get revenge and
Orton kicked him in the head as well. Then he used his signature move (the "RKO", a sideways bulldog with a twist) to stun the General Manager and
Mr. McMahon's daughter, Stephanie McMahon, who happens to be HHH's wife (actually they really are in reality... surprise!
). Orton is accompanied
by his two henchmen, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase (sons of Dusty Rhodes and the Million Dollar Man) and a fleet of lawyers to explain that he is a
'victim' because he has a 'mental disease' that makes him not responsible for his actions. So far, HHH has threatened "I'm going to break your
neck!", Orton has threatened lawsuits, HHH has busted Orton's house down and attacked him, Orton has had HHH arrested, HHH has trapped Cody in a
steel cage and beat him senseless... you get the idea.
All this is perpetrated carefully to play on the average person's anger at people who use lawyers to get away with terrible acts, people who blame
others for things they do (hypocrites) and who use the law to take advantage of others. We on ATS are not the only ones who are angry; we just try to
find out who it is we should be angry at. The average Joe just gets angry at the clearest target. Now, Wrestlemania is being billed as HHH's chance
to get Orton alone in a ring and beat the Hades out of him. The idea is, who wouldn't pay good money to watch this fool get his brains beaten out?
In short, this is nothing more than a tweaking of the storylines to try and compensate for the dwindling profits companies are seeing across the
board. After all, it's a storyline, an act, a soap opera for guys. I went to a live WWE event years ago and saw someone (I think it was Bubba
Dudley?) knock Bret Hart clear out of the ring. The only problem was, I had a good seat; the blow missed his face by a good foot. I tell you, that was
a major blow for the air pressure to have done all that!