"Attitude" in a Modern Setting

The conclusion to Monday's Raw has been critically acclaimed by wrestling fans and pundits everywhere.

We all felt like we'd travelled back to the Attitude Era as CM Punk took a place once occupied by Stone Cold Steve Austin against an ever-awkward-but-slightly-older Vince McMahon. The two had a match akin to the down and dirty fights we've come to expect from McMahon, of which he had plenty with Austin in years passed.

We were treated to a kendo stick duel, a bit of (unintentional) red stuff, not to mention the commentary desk seeing some action as the sixty-seven year old Vince McMahon hurled himself across it at Punk.

Oh, and there was that hint of chaos the Attitude Era was renowned for. Ryback's music hit and the crowd gave one of the loudest explosions in recent memory. Punk escaped Ryback's clutches until John Cena arrived to throw him back in. But Punk escaped again and fled threw the crowd, where McMahon would ignore Punk backhanding a baldy in the stands to deliver his ultimatum.

It was indeed reminiscent of the era named "Attitude", and it was a lot of fun to watch.

I admit, as I watched on, I compared the moment to the Attitude Era like everyone else. But, though many have made the valid comparison to the bygone time, no-one has made the equally valid point that we're not in the Attitude Era any more.

That's important, because WWE have now proven to everyone that they don't need a TV-14 rating to produce the compelling television we remember fondly. They can provide the violence, emotion, chaos and drama of the Attitude Era in a less risqué setting, and it'll work as effectively. And yes, we've seen glimpses of that in the past, but to me, Monday was the best showcase of the point we've ever seen.

I know a lot of you who visit this blog are intelligent enough to realize that the rating in the box doesn't mean anything. You knew before this that wrestling was still capable of providing you those gripping, exciting moments of TV whether the rating was 14 or PG. We've seen it, you know it, so this isn't really aimed at you. But since PG was slapped on the tin, it tainted the waters to where the thought amongst some fans was that the rating made the difference. Now, we've conclusively proved it doesn't.

Whether the product is gripping and compelling or boring and predictable depends on how well it's presented, not which guidelines it's sticking to.

Maybe now those stuck in the past can come and join the rest of us in the present. Because if Monday night proved anything, it's that there's fun – and even a bit of attitude – to be had in this era as well.