As a long time wrestling fan, I grew up watching wrestling in the 80’s, which should tell you or not tell you my age. When then the WWF changed to the attitude era in the late 90’s to compete with WCW who was putting them out of business made me ill. This old school wrestling fan was not a fan of that format. Then not long after big rating plunge, WCW under Eric Bischoff, then Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera attempts make WCW into a WWF lite, which I did not care much for either, but tried to tolerate it as much as possible. While I enjoyed the wrestling action of the original ECW, I did not like the other stuff that went along with it, just like the WWF had then (i.e. adult language, women as sex objects, etc).
As a fan of the old school, I am actually enjoying watching a product that is wrestling without the foul language, scantily clad women and other sex references. The past few weeks I have been watching RAW more than I have in a long time. (I found out that my cable provider has USA-HD which is the east coast version of USA, so I can get RAW at 6:00pm Pacific Time, since I am on the west coast). The other night I went online at watched some of SmackDown which I really had not watched in several months.
The investors of the WWE are correct when they say if you want to generate more advertisers and a fan base of kids whose parent will buy them WWE Rey Mysterio masks, TV-PG is the right way to go. Wrestling of 2009, now going into 2010 does not need the attitude era format. It ran its and the WWE has moved forward with the old school more family friendly format, and it has paid off. The ratings are steady and I have noticed that more advertisers are coming on board, not to mention the boat load of Rey masks sold online and at WWE events.
After watching TNA for several years, the WWF attitude era lite format is running thin. SPIKE is seen in over 90 million homes, which is more than the USA Network, yet the WWE has higher ratings. MyNetwork TV is on less affiliates, but SmackDown still draws a higher rating. D’Lo Brown who is a co-host of the Between the Ropes radio show, and now a TNA agent has said that TNA is making changes that will surprise the viewer. Dixie Carter has said that she wants to make the product more “sports-oriented.” You can make the product more sports-like with the blood, the barb wire, but can do it without the foul language and scantily clad women. Yes, SPIKE is suppose to be the “First Network for Men”, but this married man with children is growing tired of the old attitude era like format. Dixie – Jeff – Vince (Russo), this is 2009, not 1999. If you want to eventually compete on Monday Nights, watch Friday Night SmackDown.
TNA might be surprised if they change their programming a little, that maybe, just maybe it might cause the ratings to rise a little and generate a new audience.