15 years ago – March 23rd, 2001: The day wrestling died.

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It has been quite some time since I wrote about wrestling. But this was something that I planned on writing when the time came and now, it has.

March 23rd, 2001: This was the day that the World Wrestling Federation bought World Championship Wrestling from AOL-Time Warner. Just a year or two before this, Ted Turner had owned the company a good decade before merging his company with AOL. After Turner was no longer in charge, that began the downfall. I won’t discuss too much about what else went wrong during that time but more so, my personal views on this.

I am sure others out there in the wrestling world also coined the phrase, “The day wrestling died.” For me, I was a freshman in high school at the time. I knew at that time that this was a big deal because there was no longer competition. ECW had filed for bankruptcy and WCW hadn’t been relevant about two and a half years before this. I just remember going onto the computer with the dial-up internet to check the WWF website as I did on a nearly daily-basis. And the image with both the WWF and WCW Logo was on the front page with the word “purchases” in-between them. I couldn’t believe it. Storylines played out afterwards and the rest was history.

Looking back on that time, there wasn’t a better time to be a wrestling fan. Every week was just something different and exciting. I can remember racing to get home from somewhere just to catch Smackdown. On weekends, I stayed up late to catch the highlights of Raw on Shotgun Saturday Night/Jakked. That’s how it was for a good four years or so.

Now, every week is stale and it doesn’t seem to get better anytime soon. Most of the time, I set the DVR and fast forward through a third of the show. I am not a fan who screams for the same types of storylines 15 years ago. It doesn’t have to be that good and I don’t think it ever will be. That was truly, the greatest era in wrestling with two companies fighting for ratings at the same time every Monday Night. The product just needs to be less saturated with garbage storylines and less duration.

I compare those few years for wrestling fans to the 90’s Bulls. While I may still be a fan of both, many others don’t care for either anymore. Some people I know always talk about how they always use to watch wrestling but not anymore. Likewise for people who were Bulls fans. Myself, I am still watching both and next week, I am heading to Dallas for Wrestlemania. Something is wrong with me.

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10 Responses to “15 years ago – March 23rd, 2001: The day wrestling died.”

  1. Pie in the Sky Says:

    I agree that this was the beginning of the decline for WWE. The company has a lot of issues, many of which stem from how they’ve mismanaged themselves during the PG era. September 11th and the Chris Benoit fiasco also affected what the company could do without too much negative perception against it. Can’t forget about Linda’s Senate campaign and Vince wanting to re-focus his product toward children for merch sales.

    I’m not saying PG can’t work; I’m just saying that they’ve mostly abandoned their older audience (with exception to some part-timers). At the same time, WWE really doesn’t appear to understand the current generation of kids (many of whom enjoy violence before they hit their teenage years). These kids are playing Fallout 4; they don’t want to watch Fandango, Adam Rose, and other weirdo characters & storylines featuring bunnies & fast food skits.

    Sometimes, I’m not even sure what WWE is trying to accomplish. Their focus is becoming a family-friendly product, yet, their top babyface (Roman Reigns) occasionally acts like a wild animal. Not sure how to explain it other than saying that I don’t see soccer moms wanting their kids to see that. WWE does things that alienate both fan bases, which is why their current viewers are just die-hard fans hoping for a revival.

    I could get into the lack of credible storyline & character development, the 50/50 booking (except for one or two wrestlers who receive superman booking), attitude toward fans (confiscating signs, implying that fans need to accept status quo), and many other things.

  2. dvxprime Says:

    Ramblin’ casual observer here:

    1) When you kill your competition, you may kill your innovation as well.As badly mismanaged as WCW may have been, I will wager that Vince could have worked out a deal to keep WCW alive (under a shadow WWE management) and find ways to keep the WWE=WCW rivalry alive for as long as possible.

    2) A few months after Chris Benoit’s murder-suicide, I read an article on his death in Maxim magazine. The article had a sub-feature on nine other wresters who committed suicide or died a lot younger than they should have. If a casual wresting fan sees that article, and develops a guilt trip every now and then when he/she watches a WWE match, it kind of eats at your enjoyment, little by little…

    3) IMHO, as much as the WWE needs the toys and merch money, I would recommend that WWE do a “cultural” heel turn and push the politically correct boundaries as much as possible…and Vinnie Mac should give as few fucks as can manage. In a world that has shed its manhood in fear of offending others, and being so politically correct to the point of self-imperilment (have you SEEN what goes on in college these days? Dafuck?) it would be nice if wrestling fans could truly have someplace to go blow off some steam. Attitude, anyone?

    4) My older sister is a Roman Reigns fan. I haven’t watched the WWE regularly in years…but I do fire up tunes from the “Attitude” Era (WWE Soundtrack Vol 3 or 4) on YouTube every now and then.

    GO. BLACK. HHAAAWWKKS!!!

  3. Fro Dog Says:

    DVX,

    As far keeping the WWF vs. WCW thing alive, that was impossible. Part of that deal was that they couldn’t have a show with the name “WCW” in it. In addition to that, AOL/Time Warner wasn’t going to give a TV deal to anyone who bought it.

    On WWE Network, there is a 20-episode documentary series on the Monday Night War and it’s probably the best thing on there. Eric Bischoff mentioned having a deal in place to keep WCW in business and a week or two before Vince bought it, they told him the deal was off because they had no interest on TBS/TNT.

    The worst thing Vince ever did was taking the company public in 1999. Now, he’s scared of investors and all that. It’s corporate greed at it’s finest.

  4. abdallaha92 Says:

    I miss the old WWE. They need some new blood to run this show, and some more talent on the roster.

    On another note the Bulls likely won’t make the playoffs.

  5. Fro Dog Says:

    GARY,

    If you want to to watch the Bulls suck some more, watch them tomorrow night. And you should come to the city to see Genre and myself. We’ll watch them lose together.

  6. abdallaha92 Says:

    I’m not giving that fuck JR a single penny until those fuck faces Paxson and Forman are fired. I’m not even watching the games I’m just looking at the standings.

  7. Fro Dog Says:

    We’re not going to the game. They’re in Orlando. We’ll be in the city since Genre is back home for a few days. Come join us. I promise you Chucky will not be there to sever your legs with a chainsaw.

  8. abdallaha92 Says:

    Thanks for the offer Fro, but I don’t got the money or the time. It’s good to know Chucky will not attack me with a chainsaw thought. Also since the Bulls suck, if you guys want to watch something good, watch A Walk Amoung the Tombstones on HBO. It’s really good.

  9. chucky Says:

    Don’t worry abdallaha. I only fire up the chainsaw for people who really do deserve to have their legs severed. Paxson and Forman, like you said, would be two good examples. You are safe frendt.

  10. genrebuster Says:

    Sorry we missed you abdallaha, but your post re: JR and the fuck faces was great.

SHOW DA FIRE AND PASSION, MY FRENDT!

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