Opinion: WWE is in for its biggest creative renaissance since the Attitude Era
So, people aren't particularly thrilled with WWE's creative direction these days, have you noticed?
WWE is in a position that it hasn't even been close to being in since WCW Monday Nitro debuted back in 1995. Namely, its back is against a wall.
Now, to be fair, the wall it's against now isn't nearly as daunting at the one in the mid-90s. WWE isn't at risk of going under any time soon. Yes, it has more competition than it's seen in decades, but that competition isn't actively trying to put them out of business.
Yes, it's been dealing with all-time low TV ratings but, again to be fair, TV ratings aren't the same animal they were back in the 1990s. There wasn't a WWE Network and other streaming video services to consider, for example.
But, like 1995, they've become a bit complacent and hit a creative lull, right around the time some brand new competition has hit the scene.
And the last time WWE were in a position like this, we got the Attitude Era.
Let me make something clear, right off the bat: I am in no means suggesting that WWE exactly, to-the-letter, replicate the creative direction they took that led to things like the Brawl For All or Mae Young giving birth to a hand. As much as we'd all love to look at the Attitude Era with rose-coloured glasses, the majority of stuff done during those years simply won't fly today.
And that's fine. It doesn't need to.
What I'm suggesting is that when WWE needs to be - again, when their back is against that proverbial wall - that's when they bust out some of their most creative, entertaining ideas.
Nowadays, WWE finds themselves a bit more creatively restricted than they have been in the past. As a publicly-traded company, they have shareholders to answer to. It's why the PG era happened (which wasn't the outright disaster we all like to pretend it was) - advertising money is more important than ever to the company.
They're also putting on a weekly show on a major broadcast network for the first time. Yes, Saturday Night's Main Event was an NBC show, but that was barely monthly at the time, much less weekly. Yes, SmackDown was on UPN, but if UPN was a "major broadcast network", then I'm Dave Meltzer.
The Fox network is a big deal - they air NFL games for crying out loud. Fox is going to want to set some standards - and word has it they want SmackDown to have a more "sports-oriented" feel to it.
This is all a good thing. Restrictions need creativity to get around, and that translates to the product. We're already, albeit slowly, starting to see it on Raw and Smackdown - and Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff haven't even taken full control of their shows yet.
WWE has never been shy about pulling the trigger on creatively explosive ideas - the Nexus and CM Punk's "pipebomb" are just two examples. It's following through on them that's been their problem. Now, however, with a major TV network to keep happy and a new upstart (not to say also well financially backed) promotion breathing down their neck, they have even more incentive to follow through.
When WWE follows through on a major storyline, they're simply - warning: CM Punk reference incoming - the best in the world. And I have a strong feeling they're going to be following through way more often now.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let us hear it - hit up the comments section below and share your own opinion.
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