Re: What will the current era be called?
I know it sounds cheesy as all get out, but I honestly believe one of the frontrunners for this era to eventually be called is The Universe Era.
Yeah, the origins of that is the goofy, silly, cheesy "WWE Universe" euphemism for "WWE fans." But it actually makes sense. More than ever before, WWE is reaching out to, effectively, the entire world. WWE has offices in NYC, LA, Tokyo, London and other international locations. Certain wrestlers are either on the payroll (Great Khali) or are heavily featured (Sheamus, McIntyre, Barrett, the soon-to-debut Del Rio and others), in part, to reach out to the international market. More emphasis has been placed on African-American wrestlers coming up the ranks in recent years, and you can see more blacks in the average WWE audience than, I would venture to say, ever before. Rey Mysterio is a great icon for the Latin audience as well as drawing many children to the product. This era sees the once-controversial and "edgy" Cena tone things down to appeal to a wider audience, and be viewed as a wholly moralistic doer of good (you may want to puke when you realize this, but each Cena metamorphosis, from "wigger" climbing up the midcard ranks to superman holding the title to "The Marine" to what he is today has been done fairly gracefully by him, at least.
It also comments on WWE's reach to history: the reintroduction of the Hall of Fame Ceremony, I believe in, what, 2004? The massive emphasis on the company's history--nay, pro wrestling's history. Vince and others have made it a mission to collect as much archival footage of as much wrestling as possible, or so it would seem. WWE is making huge strides on the Internet as of late, having its wrestlers have Twitter accounts, interact with fans online, etceteras. The "PG" Era is also about branching out the company's lucrative endorsement deals, and most bluntly the cash cow that is advertising revenue.
It was during this era that WWE finally altered course from the Attitude Era-ish focus of appealing to older, jaded teenagers and adults and went after a market that needed to be targeted, the next generation of wrestling fans, kids. This in turn symbolizes a company departing from the entire Monday Night Wars/Attitude Era/Ruthless Aggression Eras and Moments in Wrestling. It's like WWE won the Cold War of pro wrestling and like the United States of America, neoconservatives and liberal intellectuals such as Francis Fukuyama posited an "end of history": this can be seen as a parallel for WWE's turning a new page, accepting its place in what was once a bipolar world between WWE/F and WCW (Cold War analogy, USA vs. USSR) and has in the past ten years become, in pro wrestling, a unipolar world.
WWE now heralds four different shows, six whole hours, of original programming a week. On NXT, Superstars and Smackdown we get "Raw Rebound" recaps of what is the de facto "A Show"; on Superstars and Smackdown we get recaps of the fledgling new show "NXT," which is intended to be a torch-bearer for the creation of new stars, a kind of sausage factory on live (or barely-taped earlier in the evening) television that people can watch and enjoy, take a part of.
Naturally, like any era of a country or pro wrestling promotion, one can look at the problematic elements and simmering deficiencies. The "Universe Era," if it is to be called that, would ipso facto carry with it the cheesiness that so many endlessly ridicule this era for, the forced manner in which personalities shoehorn that phraseology in as if to brainwash the fans at nearly every turn. This can point to character flaws of the regime itself, such as, perhaps, hubris and a potential unwillingness to give voice to those for whom the status quo is not good enough. If these coexisting positives and negatives stir debate, as with all eras--Golden, New Generation, Attitude, Ruthless Aggression, etceteras, etceteras--then, tant mieux