History Repeats itself

I recently watched a video on Youtube that addressed the issue of people complaining about WWE talent getting fired or not being resigned. The youtuber points out that this is simply a repeat of history. For those interested, the video is "The True Story of WWE's First Main Event Talent Exodus" By Cultaholic.

If you are old enough to remember the time before the New Generation, you'll recall dozen of top tier talent leaving WWE after their contracts were up including several WWF Champions, Tag Champions, and Intercontinental Champions. Furthermore, the talent in WWE at the start of 1992 represents 26 are in the WWE Hall of Fame. Let's just set up the situation for everyone. WWE was hammered by allegations of Steroid use by performers, moreover that WWE had provided them. The 1991 Summer Slam, 1991 Survivor Series, 1992 Royal Rumble where the winner would win the WWF Championship both saw buy rates fall over 20% over the previous year's event. At the start of 1992 there were 50 supertars on the full time roster. Among the talent on the roster in 1992 were Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Undertaker (first WWE superstar since Bob Backlund to hold the WWF Championship in his 20's), Sid Justice, Roddy Piper, and Ultimate Warrior. Among the mid-card talent you had IC Champion Brett Hart, Jake the Snake Roberts, the Legion of Doom, Sgt Slaughter, Million Dollar Man, Shawn Michaels, Davey Boy Smith, IRS, Mr. Perfect, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. You also had the Natural Disasters and the Nasty Boys.

After Wrestlemania Hogan left to take time off to let the heat die down following the allegations of steroid use, Roddy Piper dropped the IC belt and left, and of course Jake Roberts left too. Then Sid Justice, the Warlord, Chris Walker, The Iron Shiek, and of course JIm Niedhart were all gone by end of May. Of those, Hogan, Pipper, Roberts, Shiek, and Niedhart are in the Hall of Fame. Von Erich, The Legion of Doom, The Mountie, British Bulldog, and Ultimate Warrior were all gone by end of summer. Sgt. Slaughter took a back stage gig and quit as a full time performer. 21 of the 50 wrestlers on WWE's roster were gone in less than 10 months. 4 WWF Champions, 6 IC Champions, and 7 Tag Team Champions. 18 more of the remaining 29 were gone by Survivor Series, 1993. WWE did back fill and brought back Bob Backlund, brought on Bam Bam Bigelow, Yokozuna, the Headshrinkers, and of course Razor Ramon. By end of 1993 1 former WWF champion (Ric Flair), 2 IC Champions, and 7 Tag Champions were gone from WWE plus Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Big Boss Man. That's 39 of the 50 superstars that started 1992 gone from WWE.

Now, there are obvious differences in WWE between 1992/1993 and today. Legal troubles plagued WWE, as did an aging roster and fan base. Not only that, but you didn't have the internet and people didn't have an easy way to share information about wrestling as you do today. You could also argue that WWE wasn't as financial sound in 1992/1993 as it is today, with the drop in viewership for PPVs and the legal problems they were having one could say that they were in pretty bad shape. Last, but certainly not least, the product we see on WWE today doesn't change much despite the mass exodus from the company. That isn't the case in 1992/1993 when you lost the big men Vince equated to money makers and were replaced with the likes of Brett Hart and Shawn Michaels. WWE certainly went through a transition phase in the early 1990's, introducing the aforementioned New Generation angle, the launch of Monday Night Raw just to name a few. As I've said, this is all been seen before. WWE survived in the 1990's, it will survive today.

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