Kellner basically took the air out of the Attitude Era and wrestling in general when he referred to wrestling as lowbrow entertainment and not deserving of being on Turner networks. As a result, he basically took the bitch's way out, since the WWE was kicking WCW's ass at that time he just said that wrestling sucked and that was that.
I have to disagree.
People fail to realize that the other Turner/Time Warner executives had pretty much gave up on wrestling in 1996, after the first merger. And that was after WCW began winning the ratings war. It only lasted so long because Ted Turner maintained majority share.
Problem was, WCW was still losing money back then. Turner maintained faith in the company because it was responsible for the success of his networks. With him still in charge, WCW remained in business. By the time he was forced out in 2000 when AOL merged with Time Warner, the ship had sunk even further, losing over 60 million in that year alone. It was no point in keeping a program on air that was losing that kind of money, even if it was the ratings puller for Time Warner.
And eventhough the networks were owned by Time Warner, it left little room for profit to be made, as unlike Turner, they actually cared about turning a profit and had little patience on waiting for a "maybe".
But in the end, remember this, if Turner didn't have majority share in 1996, WCW would have been taken off Turner Networks back then, as they wanted nothing to do with wrestling, eventhough WCW was dominating the ratings.
The major negative of the Attitude Era is that it was so successful that it eventually eliminated the last of the WWF's competition.
That meant that none of the talents had any kind of bargaining posture or options on where to take their careers. With a WCW around, you could, theoretically, have twice as many stars and talents being groomed & developed at once. But that isn't possible now with only one major brand in town to have that.
The other way in which the Attitude Era left a negative impact was that nobody has figured out how to move past it. It was such a creative high that many promoters try to apply the same formula or constantly go back to the Attitude Era to generate a spark, but nobody seems to know how to move to the future and create a new direction for wrestling.
The Post Hogan era for the WWF only lasted a few years. It was dark times, sure, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel in the Attitude Era and they were able to grow and develop into that. Well, the Attitude Era, to me, ended in 2001. We have now been living in the shadow of that era for close to 12 years now, and I do not see an end in sight. The same stories, cliches, presentation, and even many of the stars from that era will continue to pop up for the foreseeable future and that light at the end of the tunnel just isn't there.
So if anything, The Attitude Era was almost too good. It was so influential that people almost don't know what to do except borrow from it and without the competition, the business is stagnant.
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