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Approaching 15th anniversary of when WWE stopped being really great (WM19)


Maikeru
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I tend to look back on Wrestlemania 19 as being the turning point, the last hurrah if you will, after which WWE was just never the same again. They had had a fresh, must-see product for the better part of the previous nineteen years since Hogan first won the belt in Jan '84 (the five years from mid 92 to mid 97 being the exception in most people's view, though I personally enjoyed them much more than today's product). Mania '19, a fantastic all-round PPV, saw Stone Cold's retirement bout, the end of the Rock's full time career (he has wrestled only 9 matches in the fifteen years since), and the end of Hulk Hogan as a full timer (20 matches in the fifteen years since, only 9 of which were in WWE). The company has never had the same level of star power in a wrestling capacity on any show since, and has created only one true new megastar that could truly carry the company in those fifteen years compared with the 7 they created in the preceding nineteen years (Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Bret, Shawn, Stone Cold and Rock). I literally watch nothing post March 2003 on the network, I just can't conjure up the interest as frankly none of it feels very important. Stale, regurgitated angles from years gone by (but that lack any kind of realism due to the heavily scripted nature of it all), generic characters, the same matches over and over again due to having so many TV hours to fill with relatively few stars....... I'll always been thankful that I discovered Japanese wrestling in 2007 and for the network coming along in 2015 for keeping the passion going. 

But as for following the current WWE product........I just cannot believe it's been a full decade and a half of this. 

What was your turning point?

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It's a bit later for me. Stereotypical net fan answer incoming, but it's JBL challenging for and winning the WWE Title that was the turnaround moment for me.

2000 - 2004, I was really, really into my WWE. I never had much chance to see Raw, so its various dips and dives in quality from 2002 onwards didn't really affect or bother me. To quote Tazz, I was "a SmackDown guy!!!" and I maintain in the first two years of the brand split it was far and away the better show. But after WrestleMania XX, it all went to shit... Edge and Benoit went to Raw and both died a death there, Angle was out of the ring for a while, Lesnar was gone, the Cruiserweight division was in freefall, Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki were both pushed over RVD and Mysterio, Orlando Pissing Jordan was US Champion, Undertaker was in his Hugh-Jackman-Van-Helsing state of nobody quite knowing what the fuck to do with him... and to top it all off, after the most wonderful feelgood story of winning the big one, Eddie Guerrero was about to have the WWE Championship taken off him and given to Bradshaw from the APA who'd last been seen losing to Scotty 2 Hotty at WrestleMania. Talk about how to kill a show overnight. It was never clearer that WWE didn't give a shit about the b-show, and I couldn't care about SmackDown anymore either. My investment in the product - and in watching regularly - went right down and, now I think about it, has never gone back to how it was before Mania XX. It's fourteen years (fuuuuuuu) later, and I don't think it ever will now.

So that.

Edited by HarmonicGenerator
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For me, in a sense, it was Katie Vick. I was never really an Attitude Era fan - I lapsed out of my childhood fandom around late '97, and only got back into after the first Smackdown game on PS1, so mid-2000, and got back into wrestling in a big way at Summerslam 2000. Even the shoddiness of the Invasion never really bothered me because it was all still relatively new and exciting, and watching WWE grow out of the Attitude Era and move towards a more in-ring focused product ("Ruthless Aggression", I suppose) appealed to me at the time.

The whole Katie Vick angle felt like a desperate grab for controversy, or relevancy, and seemed symptomatic of everything they were getting wrong at the time. Trying to be shocking for shocking's sake, when the zeitgeist had moved on from that, and trying to rekindle something of the spirit of the Attitude Era - but aiming for that Era's worst excesses, not the "anything can happen" atmosphere that actually made it entertaining, just the gross-out humour and outlandish angles. It was the same problem that affected so many DX reunion promos built around dick jokes, and juvenile promos, and everything else cringeworthy that people forget about when complaining about WWE going "PG".

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Goldberg getting smashed in that Elimination Chamber match, right after he finally looked like the biggest star in the world, was about the time I realised wrestling wasn't for me anymore. Raw was proper shocking most weeks, but I watched out of habit. However, Goldberg getting smashed like that made me fully appreciate that wrestling isn't fun anymore. It didn't help it felt like Triple H was everywhere, and was proper off form for months and months before it.
I just came to the conclusion wrestling wasn't for me anymore - maybe I'd grown out of it.

Genuinely, I never watched a bit of wrestling again until some old mate told me Jericho returned in late 07/08, so I gave Raw another go. Pleasingly, and looking back, 2008 is one of WWE's best years. Jeff Hardy's quest for the WWE title, Undertaker/Edge, Ric Flair retirement angle, Floyd v Big Show, Mania 24, CM Punk cashing in, Chris Jericho v Shawn Michaels, and even Triple H returning to form with his great SD run. Every week (or other week) there seemed to be something brilliant going on, which kept me around and made me fall for wrestling again.

Edited by ColinBollocks
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2 moments that turned me off were Austin turning heel and Taker losing at Mania. Not a single soul on this Earth can convince me either were a good idea. I love Wrestling and will always watch, it keeps me sane and provides almost tent peg points during my week, I know Tuesday morning i'll watch Raw, Wednesday Smackdown, then Thursday NXT etc etc. Some I look forward to more than most but i'll always watch. A bit of routine in an otherwise hectic week.

Edited by Ambulance Chaser
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Pinpointing Wrestlemania 19 is a weird choice considering how boss WWE television was in early 2004 before Wrestlemania 20. The Foley vs. Orton stuff, the return of Deadman Undertaker, Eddie winning the title from Brock, the Goldberg vs. Brock feud, and the build up to Benoit’s win, that was one of the best build ups to any Wrestlemania in history. 

Edited by Supremo
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1 hour ago, Supremo said:

Pinpointing Wrestlemania 19 is a weird choice considering how boss WWE television was in early 2004 before Wrestlemania 20. The Foley vs. Orton stuff, the return of Deadman Undertaker, Eddie winning the title from Brock, the Goldberg vs. Brock feud, and the build up to Benoit’s win, that was one of the best build ups to any Wrestlemania in history. 

Just to build on this, you also have the ridiculously good slow build stuff with Batista/Triple H over the next year, the mad world of Smackdown during '04, and plenty more going on. 2004 was actually a fairly decent year for TV.

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Roughly 2006 for me, cant pinpoint one thing. Cena probably has a lot to do with it though. Have alway kept my toe in since but never been really arsed to follow it religiously.  I have been to watch it live alot still. I thought when The Wyatts and Sheild were feuding there was a chance of an upswing in my interest but they soon ruined that. 

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2 hours ago, MEGABUCKS said:

Even though i continued to watch, i always felt the fun of wrestling ended when WWF purchased WCW in 2001

In fairness, there was a lot of intrigue when WCW was purchased as everyone was wondering what the WWE would do with it. It wasn't until months later that the realisation came that it was so badly managed.

Personally, Flair and then the nWo coming in the next year held enough intrigue for me to keep me watching religiously. Its hard to pinpoint an exact time but by Wrestlemania 20 I'd seriously started to lose interest. I know a lot of fans look back at that event as some sort of watershed PPV with Benoit and Guerrero standing tall at the end, but I hated it.

I just wasn't buying wrestlers like that being pushed as the new stars.

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WrestleMania 20, without a shadow of a doubt.

I had started to lose interest in most of the product in the months leading up to Mania 20, I especially had little interest in many of the guys they had called up to the main roster in the tail-end of that period. Guys like Renee Dupree, Rob Conway, Garrison Cade, The Bashams, Matt Morgan, Heidenreich- it felt as though they had reached the bottom of the OVW well and were left with the dregs, and they had long exhausted the top former WCW names.

We found out that Brock - who was my favourite guy pretty much since his debut - was leaving after Wrestlemania and there were also strong rumours that Kurt Angle might retire due to his banged-up body. That's two of the main reasons to watch WWE gone in a heartbeat. I hadn't enjoyed watching RAW in a long time, either, and Smackdown was starting to get a bit shit too.

To cap it all off, the closing image of WrestleMania 20 was Benoit and Eddie holding aloft their titles. As a fanboy of those type of 'workrate' wrestlers at the time, I thought that moment couldn't possibly be topped anytime soon. With Benoit and Eddie reaching the summit, Brock and Angle gone, the new blood much shitter than the last lot that came through (Brock, Cena, Orton, Batista, WGTT)- I completely lost interest and stopped watching WWE completely. I still kept up to speed by reading results and watching the odd bit here and there, and disliked the new guys coming in even more (Eugene, Carlito, Masters, Orlando Jordan)- in addition to resenting the sudden main event push for JBL. I remember watching SummerSlam and being pretty unimpressed, feeling that they were hot-shotting Orton as the youngest world champ just to spite Brock. I watched Wrestlemania 21 a couple of weeks after it happened and wasn't particularly impressed- wasn't on board with the Batista push and got tired of Cena by then.

I was tempted back to watching WWE on a couple of occasions- I loved One Night Stand (and the 2nd event the following year) and almost started watching regularly when they launched WWECW. I also remember watching - and loving - Cena VS Umaga, which nearly pulled me back in. The closest I came to becoming a regular viewer though was when they brought in Mayweather for Wrestlemania 24. Finally, of all things, it took the Nexus invasion on RAW to bring me back for good. I'd started to get back into watching wrestling in late 2009 when McGuinness joined TNA and the HOGOFF era kept me interested for a bit, and because of NXT I watched WWE now and then as well (mostly to see Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett). But it was the reaction to their invasion, and Michael Tarver standing there looking like a fucking menace, that reeled me in.

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I can't pinpoint it exactly but for me it was the WWE's move to more indy inspired long matches throughout the card with multiple reversals, kick out of finishers etc. Nearly every match these days goes on far too long for what is needed especially the lower and mid card. 

I've been watching Wrestlemania 17 recently and it struck me how many matches were quite short but much more enjoyable. No ridiculous smart crowds trying to get themselves over either also helps a great deal. 

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