Welcome one and all to another edition of The Main Event. I am your host, Don Franc, back with another column that you will all hopefully enjoy. Due to life getting in the way I haven’t been able to post in quite some time but I’m back now and ready to write. Long introductions aren’t really my thing so let’s get right to…
THE MAIN EVENT
In my last column I examined the decline in professional wrestling in modern times and wondered if wrestling still mattered. Opinions were mostly of a similar ilk. In the comments most everyone mentioned the lack of character that is on display and also instilled the fact that the wrestlers were almost neutered when it comes to giving their own opinions on their own character development. Perhaps with guys like Paul Heyman and Eric Bishoff having more of an input the characters on the WWE roster will be able to flourish.
Nevertheless, something needs to be done to combat this stagnant aura that WWE has about them. What I suggest is simple: WWE needs to find a way to combine their most popular era with that of the era we are currently living in.
Now, many people like to call the era that we’re currently in the New Era. However, I disagree with that sentiment. I am of the belief that we are still in the Reality Era and have never left that era since its inception. My reasoning is pretty simple. More and more throughout the years WWE have broken kayfabe to the point where you’re left wondering if kayfabe even exists. WWE has referenced so much inside information and have even made mention of the IWC. It started off with slight nods but now locker room talk is all the rage on WWE broadcasting. Therefore the Reality Era never ended, we’re living more and more in the Reality of WWE to the point where WWE openly addressed the complaints that they see on message boards and vowed to be better earlier this year. So if that doesn’t tell you that the Reality Era is still in full force then I don’t know what will.
As for the most popular era? Do I even have to mention it? We all know that the most popular era of WWE is the Attitude Era. Ever since WWE lost its “attitude” fans have been yearning for the days of old. Clearly WWE has lost its edge and there are those out there who feel that the lack of edginess is one if the reasons causing WWE not to be as entertaining as they once were. When WWE reverted back to a more family friendly product they lost many of their fans who clamored for a more adult-orientated product. However, business modules presented to Vince made him think otherwise and thus the PG Era was born. Yet fans of WWE will always reminisce about the sought-after Attitude Era and I’m sure they pray to the Wrestling Gods that WWE are able to get their “attitude” back.
Well, I don’t believe WWE should start a new Attidude Era. Like I mentioned in the second paragraph, WWE should combine the Reality Era with the Attitude Era and create a brand new era: The Realitude Era. Okay, so the name is super lame but I think you know where I’m going with this. With the IWC in full force and WWE acknowledging them as well as bringing up backstage politics constantly they are entrenched in the Reality Era. However, as seen on occasion lately on RAW and Smackdown it looks like they are trying to bring some edge back to the product but they will never go full Attitude.
That’s why a combination of The Reality and Attitude Era would be best for business. I can assure you that it will lead to some fantastic storylines. Don’t believe me? Well, for the perfect example of a great story with the mixture of those two eras you have to look no further than the Matt Hardy and Edge feud from 2005. As you may recall, Lita cheated on Matt with Edge in real life and WWE made a feud out of it! They brought their real lives into the mix and what ensued thereafter was an engaging storyline. Add all the brawling elements and edginess of the Attitude Era and you had a truly captivating storyline born of real-life events.
And this is the approach I believe WWE has to take in order to become entertaining again. Use all the backstage drama and form them into a story that their fans can enjoy. Yes, this will certainly bury kayfabe once and for all but at the end of the day kayfabe is all but dead. The WWE has become an open book and they should exploit the fact that everyone knows what’s going on behind the scenes. The best stories are those born from real-life events and once WWE takes advantage of that and sprinkles a little bit of attitude over it then they may just become a joy to watch again.
There are so many elements that come into play that can be put on show. Imagine a story with Vince McMahon feuding with Triple H about the direction of the company. In the story Vince could even threaten to shutdown HHH’s pet project, NXT. That could then also lead to an NXT invasion of sorts. And that all comes about by using a known backstage issue.
What about WWE really pushing the envelope and having Lars Sullivan come out and say that he stands by the bigoted comments he made? I know the idea of WWE pushing the envelope in this day and age may be a pipe dream what with them being a publicy traded company and all but there are an endless amount of stories that can be told by combining these two eras. With AEW debuting their television show in October and the potential of competition that comes with it this would be the perfect time for WWE to send their product in a different direction. Sooner or later WWE are going to have to rethink the way they produce their product in order to achieve their desired results and perhaps combining the Attitude and Reality Era may just be the way to do it.
Kofi Kingston’s WWE Championship Run
I must admit that I’ve really been enjoying Kofi Kingston’s WWE Championship run. His booking has been on point for the majority of his tenure as champion. I honestly thought that this would just be a run-of-the-mill championship reign to thank Kingston for his service to the company over the years. I never expected WWE to actually take Kofi and his WWE Championship reign seriously. Admittedly, I still don’t see Kofi as World Champion material but that may just be because he was in the midcard for so long beforehand. I don’t know why but he just screams midcard act to me. But yet hard work should always be rewarded and you have to applaud Kofi for all the work he’s done with WWE over the years and his great title run is evidence of his recognition.
If only every champion could have a run as good as Kofi’s I think the WWE/Universal Championships would be much better off. Just think about his run from the get-go and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s been a pretty solid run. Kingston’s WWE Championship reign just checks all the boxes of how I believe a champion should be booked. He got super over and then won the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania. Check. Had good PPV matches against decent contenders. Check. A couple of good feuds. Check. Won ninety percent of his championship defenses cleanly. Check. Won ninety percent of his matches during his championship run. Check. Is having a strongly booked, lengthy reign as WWE Champion. Check.
Based off my criteria for a great championship run, Kofi Kingston has had a fantastic championship campaign. Certainly better than Seth Rollins’ Universal Championship run. So kudos to WWE and their good booking of Kingston as champion and kudos to Kofi for taking the ball and running with it. If there were to be more titles booked like this across the board then perhaps titles would mean much more. For future title reigns this is the blueprint of how a championship run should be booked. In any case, no matter how Kofi is booked after this title reign he can always find solace in the fact that he had a really good WWE Championship run.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. What do you think about WWE combining the Attitude and Reality eras? Do you think Kofi Kingston’s WWE Championship reign was booked strongly? Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Alternatively, you an send me an email to [email protected] or follow me on twitter @donfranclop. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. It felt really good to write again so I’ll definitely be back same time next week. But until then…
This is Don Franc signing out.