One of the most intriguing aspects of wrestling that keeps the fans constantly tuned in is how the product as a whole evolves and changes over time. A myriad of factors affect how the final product is presented – even some as unrelated, except perhaps on the basis of matrimonial bond, as Linda McMahon's political aspirations.The journey of evolution that the product has undergone has not always been well received by the audience, but in the Reality Era that we currently find ourselves in, enough information about the internal workings of the business has filtered through via the internet to buy a certain degree of clemency. Conversely, the WWE has subjected its product and superstars to the purview and dissection of the audience like never before through social media. However, the WWE did not always function like this. The previous eras have seen WWE superstars glorified and followed as larger-than-life characters, not the normal people with normal lives who are working in a certain profession – which is how we view them today, thanks to the internet. The allure that yesteryear WWE superstars had to the audience could be compared to the way gladiators held the Colosseum in attention. On that note, here is a look back at WWE's most important eras, and their respective superstars who are still fondly reminisced about today.
#5 Reality Era ( 2011 - present )
The Reality Era that we currently find ourselves in the midst of, marks the thankful end of the PG era, and can be attributed mostly to CM Punk’s sensational shoot promo in 2011. Whether Punk realized it or not, when he spoke about “the glass ceiling” in the WWE hierarchy, he was breaking a completely different “glass ceiling”.
His promo on Raw generated so much internet attention that it also filtered into the audience reaction. WWE had to bow to the pressure and grant Punk a run as the face of the company, and credit to him, CM Punk delivered. Other superstars who are currently dominating the Reality Era are Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and the new king-in-waiting Roman Reigns.
This era has seen an important change of dynamics in the ring. Matches have become more intense, faster and more realistic. The style of fighting has evolved from mostly showmanship punctuated with an occasional feat of strength to actual MMA-style, well-choreographed fighting sequences.
The audience reactions are being considered with greater brevity each passing day in the creative decision-making process of the WWE. The company’s considerable presence on social media coupled with the advent of the WWE network has made this possible.
Fans nowadays can read and understand the nature of the wrestling business online, and this is an advantage considering that it has led to WWE pushing “smaller guys” like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan into the main-event picture.
Hopefully, the reality era will be an era that brings about a never before witnessed cohesion between the WWE and the audience in determining the course that the product should take.