Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
You know over the past 10 years a lot has changed in not only professional Wrestling but the world. The industry and the world seemed to have made a 180 degree turn between the late 90s and the early years of 2000. From the death of WCW and ECW, to the careers of Mick Foley, Steve Austin, and The Rock ending, to the beginning of TNA things have changed. For the positive or negative Wrestling as a whole has changed in many ways.
In the late 90s you had Wrestling booming with 2 major companies and one Cult Company. You had stars from the 80s like Piper, Sting, with a new generation of Goldberg, and the New World Order in WCW while in WWE you had power houses like Austin, Rock, Foley, and Degeneration X. Also ECW had arguably the best mix of talent in professional Wrestling history. Nitro and Raw were dominating the ratings and Pay Per View Events were drawing off the charts numbers. The Wrestling industry as a whole was just huge during the late 90s.
Then comes the new millennium in wrestling and things at first were going great for at least the WWE. However the cult company ECW was suffering from talent loses and lack of money to compete with the million dollar budgets of Vince McMahon and Ted Turner. WCW with the help of Vince Russo and Eric Bishoff booked themselves into the ground by the March of 2001. The Wrestling Industry was down to one and that was Vince McMahon?s World Wrestling Federation. Since that point in time Wrestling has gone into a slump. While TNA has arrived it?s still no where near a WWE or some argue an Original ECW level.
While wrestling is still in a slump that hasn?t stopped WWE and now TNA from doing the same old play book. In the late 90s Television, Movies, and Music was quickly becoming a game of shock value. TV Shows, Radio shows, and movies like Jerry Springer, American Pie, and Howard Stern grossed huge money. Artist like Eminem albums sold millions of copy just because people were wondering what all the fuss was about. Then there was wrestling which was becoming a game of shock value on its own.
Originally ECW started this trend when they changed professional Wrestling with there style around the mid to late 90s. It originally became a big deal when Shane Douglas threw down the NWA title. Then you had the pregnancy angle with Tommy Dreamer, Raven, and Beulah McGillicutty. That led to the first lesbian angle in wrestling with Kimona and Beulah. Angles like this led to the rise of ECW grabbing fans who were tired of WCW and WWE?s bland and cartoon character style. All these angles would lead to the WWE?s Attitude Era.
WCW?s trip down shock value lane was much more different then ECW. WCW at first was smart with what they did doing new and revolutionary things with the New World Order and the debuting of Lex Luger which really was shocking the audience and creating a buzz for themselves. They soon however hit the wall in terms of shock value as Russo and Bishoff begin to shock no one while trying to shock them. Case in point the Bishoff open challenge to Vince McMahon, Vince never acknowledged the challenge and the whole thing in the end made Bishoff look like an idiot. Then Russo the king of the shoot angle who wrote tons of angles that were meant to shock people but in the end only helped the decline of the company. Case in point when Russo did the ?Shoot? angle with Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc 1999. See Russo wanted fans to think he told Hogan to lose and Hogan walked out on WCW however most people didn?t understand it and the people who did saw it as a fake shoot angle. It was when these angles and matches that were supposed to create shock value and didn?t that really help take the bite away from the WCW.
Then you have the WWE who became the kings of shock value in professional wrestling around mid 1997. WWE took parts of ECW and WCW to create a different over the top shock value show. Wrestlers like Austin, Rock, and several others began to curse on live TV. Stone Cold Steve Austin would give out the middle finger, drink beer, and openly attack his boss which shocked audiences. Characters like Mick Foley and many others took the WWE product to a new level with dangerous but entertaining matches such as the Hell in a Cell, Inferno, and Hardcore Matches. WWE wrestlers such as Degeneration X and the Divas were taking the sexual content of the show to a brand new level. They allowed wrestlers like the Undertaker to take things to a religious standpoint when they tied Steve Austin to a cross in 1999. However WWE also took it to the WCW route of shock value.
The WCW good version of shock value was taking very real things or at least things that seemed real and putting them on TV. Case in point when Degeneration X went to WCW Headquarters, the CNN Center, and to a live WCW Nitro to wreak havoc on WCW. Another great case is the real life Montreal Screw Job which helped propel WWE Chairman Vince McMahon as the lead heel. Angles like Steve Austin pushing Mike Tyson on Raw which lead to massive media coverage which helped turn Vince McMahon?s Wrestlemania 14 into a massive success. However soon shock value would take a back seat for a real shocking event.
On September 11, 2001 the United States was attacked by terrorist in one of the most shocking moments in US history. After this moment not only did professional wrestling but television, music, and movies soon take lose its edge. The shock value from these products no longer shocked America as not only have we seen pretty much everything but now America was dealing with real shocking event. Also if it did shock America people would take offense to most shocking events. Such as the Superbowl Halftime show in 2004 when singer Janet Jackson had her right breast exposed. Whether the event was planned or not the stunt caused a huge public backlash against CBS, MTV, Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and the NFL to name a few. To make matters worst after this event the FCC commissioner Michael J. Copps soon went on a rampage and has since cracked down on Television and Radio to cut down the risky content. It got so bad that Radio powerhouse Howard Stern left FM radio for Satellite radio and even Jerry Springer was eventually forced to cut down on his show.
Then came World Wrestling Entertainment who have had there fair share of blunders in terms of shock value since 2001. Do you remember the Katie Vick Angle? The angle involved Triple H in a Kane mask having sex with a manikin that was supposed to be a dead body of Kane?s girlfriend Katie Vick. Then they produced the Gay wedding angle when Billy and Chuck had a gay wedding angle planned for Smackdown. However the problem was neither wrestler was gay and while the angle got some publicity it ended up being seen as a pathetic publicity stunt. So Raw counter the gay angle by creating an Lesbian segment that saw two lesbian kiss then get beat up by two 300 plus pound Samoan Wrestlers who went by 3 Minute Warning. As the years have gone on WWE continues to push the buttons with miscarriage angle, another lesbian angle with Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie, and Vince McMahon continuing to ?date? the Divas. However have these angles been successful?
The easy answer is hell no, if anything these angles have been complete failures. A lot of these angles either aren?t shocking or aren?t entertaining. Instead of being creative with angles and characters like in the past they have become stale and try to shock a crowd that can no longer be shocked by sex, violence, and over the top things. Why you ask? Simple because it?s not 1999 anymore and people just aren?t shocked. The biggest example of this is Degeneration X, while creative and fresh back in 1997 and 1998 it?s now half assed. The original DX was funny but knew when to be serious while the DX of today isn?t serious and the shock value that the old one generated isn?t there. Many can argue that having the son in law of the Owner in the against the establishment group is a huge problem within the stable. While the group is popular it doesn?t take a genius to realize that effect they had in its original run is no longer there. Why is this you ask? It?s because the shock value isn?t there anymore. The DX of today is doing a lot of rehashed things that in 1998 and 1999 were funny but are now stale and boring.
While WWE has more then a hand full of examples of shock value no longer being effective, TNA is just as guilty. The Voodoo Kin Mafia is the perfect example of this. Not only are they trying to half ass there shock value but there Outrageous claims don?t have a leg to stand on. When the midcarder tag team of a much smaller promotion is calling out the main event Tag Team the number one promotion in the world you look like an idiot. It?s neither shocking nor entertaining which is exactly why a lot of people find this angle to be pretty bad. Forget the fact there ripping off themselves but there not effective when there screaming things out of a road cone. Too make matters worst TNA is now trying to get more shock value from Ron Killings calling out John Cena. Now forget the fact that Killings is trying to get his release from TNA but now another midcarder calls out a huge star from a bigger company.
While though two angles have gained much criticism for the lack of shock value and down right lack of creativity it isn?t the only time TNA has had problems with it. In the first couple of weeks of the company they tried to be outlandish with the tag team of the Johnson?s, midget hardcore matches, exposing breast, and a midget pleasuring himself in a trash can. Then you have the topic of my previous column Kurt Angle who pretty much goes out of his way to create shocking interviews now. What have these interviews done? Well in the most part make Kurt look and sound like an idiot. I can honestly say TNA has zero shock value in there 4 years of history the only thing you could even consider as shocking was probably the announcement of Kurt Angle but besides that there is nothing.
So now its 2006 and wrestling seems to be on the edge of a new direction in both companies. I personally think its time for both companies to abandon the ?shock value? they are trying to get. Its no longer getting over and in the past 4 years especially has made both companies look low class and pathetic. I think both shows need to start worrying about good wrestling and no longer try to shock the crowd because there is no reason to anymore. Now a little shock value here and there isn?t terrible especially when it?s effective but for the love of god let?s not continue to go overboard with it because quiet frankly I?m sick of it!
Thanks for reading and feedback is welcomed. Until next time
Jason ?Xtremefalls? Simmons
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