World Wrestling Entertainment. It does not require any introduction whatsoever. This has been every child’s favorite pass time in the evenings, and every parent’s nightmare. Still, it would do no harm if some lines are dedicated to introduce this company again. World Wrestling Entertainment(popularly known as WWE), was previously known by many names. The most popular of them was WWF(World Wrestling Federation). But in the year 2000 this company got sued by another company, World Wide Fund for Nature also trademarked by the same initials. Skipping the details the wrestling company lost and they initiated a major “get the F out” campaign.
This was in 2002. They also held a press conference to officially declare that they were now World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. But that is a different and long story. However, despite the name change the company continued to exist and gained popularity. But in July 2008, the WWE shifted from TV 14 to PG. That meant goodbye blood, goodbye weapons, goodbye swearing and an epitaph to the attitude era(an epitaph which it did not deserve). According to experts there were a lot of reasons for this move. And although many people in the IWC have been against it, up till now the WWE has shown no sign whatsoever to suggest that they are considering going back to the mature rating for the show. An everlasting debate could go on with this motion so I won’t indulge into anything like that.
Having been on the group of people who have watched both sides of WWE wrestling(pre & post PG), I can state some facts which may justify WWE’s decision to go PG.
During the 1990s when the attitude era supposedly began, the wrestling shows gained huge amount of popularity. After taking away all the stories, feuds between stables, brawls etc., the main if not the only reason for this popularity is the Monday Night Wars. The people were more interested in the competition that was going on between two large companies viz. the then WWF and WCW in order to get more ratings in the monday nights. Because lets face it, most of the stories of both WWE and WCW went over the head of the viewers. Many including me had to shout at the TV set Stone Cold’s infamous catch phrase “WHAT?” on a regular basis. Although the WWE came on the verge of liquidation in the year 1997 which saw the WWE’s lowest revenue till this day, they still went on broadcasting more violence, swearing and more attitude. This paid dividends as on 23rd March 2001 all the trademarks, existing contracts and video library were sold to Vince McMahon. This was after WCW faltered for a couple of years and finally went down. This meant that WWE was victorious and the sole conqueror of the ‘monday night’ territory. Now the competition was over and now we were left with one large company. The ratings started getting lower as the creative team were at a loss of ideas. This meant the ad revenues were at the downward slope. So the WWE went PG on 2008.
The main reason for this is to attract the child and the parent fan base. I know that children watched the show before but not much money could be made out of that. Now during the PG era the WWE targets to remove a stain from their image. During the pre PG era the WWE saw a lot of their superstars die at very young ages due to steroids and other similar drugs. The one story that comes into mind is that of Chris Benoit. Also two most infamous events include the ‘Katie Vick moment with Triple H dressed as Kane’ and ‘Vince McMahon dressed as Dr. Hiney to conduct a surgery of Jim Ross’ both of which were shown live in front of an audience and on television. Going back to the mature ratings may result into similar lapses of ideas. It will not serve any purpose apart from a satisfying the nostalgia of a select few. What all viewers want is an appealing and exciting show with stories both young and old can watch on the edge of their seats. The recent Wrestle Mania 27 match between Triple H and The Undertaker is a very good example.
So as long as there is no competition, the WWE is better of as they are now.
This brings on the concluding part of this article.
Will we ever see the WWE as we once saw it?
Make no mistake guys, The Rock’s or John Cena’s getting a bit edgy during their verbal fights DOES NOT give an indication that the bosses are rethinking their decisions.
I think what can make a major catalyst in the change of ways is how much TNA accomplishes during the upcoming years. There is no doubt it has huge potential. With better story lines and better mass appeal they can pose a threat to WWE. Till then the monopoly is inevitable. We just have to leave it alone and enjoy the ride.