I've got bad news for pro wrestling fans hoping that Bray Wyatt's debut, teased beautifully in this recent vignette, is going to kick off the rebirth of the "Attitude Era."
Sorry, but that ship has sailed.
WWE is going to continue to keep its content as "PG" as possible because little kids, as I've learned from spawning one, spend beaucoup bucks on tickets, merchandise and pay-per-view (PPV) events. Scare the tykes away, or alienate them with an adults-only product, and you can say goodbye to easy money.
The proof is in this face-palmer.
Didn't the "Attitude Era" make money? Of course. But you also had a war between WWE and WCW, with a little dose of ECW thrown in there to keep them honest. The cutthroat competition, as well as the very real risk of being run out of business, demanded the best possible product for that generation.
And in the end, the better (or at least the smarter) man won.
At present, WWE doesn't have anything to compete against except its own nostalgia. Dinosaurs like me hearken back to the golden age of the late 80s, while the young guns long for the days of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. We're the victims of our own era and it's hard to please us fans of yesteryear.
Even though we were probably just as whiny back then, but didn't have as many online friends to commiserate with.
But it turns out we may be able to have our cake and eat it too, if the goods arrive as advertised. The Wyatt family looks to be about as dark and edgy as anything WWE has committed to in recent years and I, for one, welcome their arrival. Not just because Bray Wyatt is a bona fide talent, but because the Wyatt family can bring balance to a lopsided product.
Every Superman needs his
Lex Luthor Doomsday.
To that end, consider "The Shield" their television pilot. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, the baddest men in black since Jack Wilson buried "Stonewall" Torrey in the mud, laid the foundation for edgier content and you can argue they even paved the way for the Wyatts.
Success begets success.
If The Shield had bombed, or the crowd rejected them, the phone call would have sounded something like, "We're sorry Bray, creative has nothing for you ... Except a new, dancing bear gimmick! You'll love it! You can even come out on a unicycle!"
I wouldn't put it past them.
Instead, The Shield kicked all kinds of ass and proved the WWE Universe is big enough for all of us. We can have the PG era for the kids, but that doesn't mean we have to eliminate the adult themes for the older audience, especially if it's restricted to the latter part of RAW.
For Christ's sake, the show is three hours long, they can certainly find the time.
The good news is, for every new superstar that can debut (or return repackaged) and get over -- or at least generate some heat -- the more confidence WWE will have to ask guys on the bench to step up to the plate and take a few swings in a big spot. Guys like Big E. Langston have been doing their part.
Now it's time for Bray Wyatt to do his.
I downloaded his song yesterday (without being coerced by my kid -- for once) and I had a chuckle because it's named "Live in Fear." I don't agree with that at all. We should live in hope! Because when I tune into Monday Night RAW and see guys like Langston, Wyatt and the soon-to-be debuting El Generico, that's exactly what I have.
Hope that there's more where they came from.