|Our 3rd Anniversary||
THINGS HAVE CHANGED
It's funny how much things really do change.
A couple of years ago the WWF put on the best year of quality wrestling I may have ever seen. It had great main eventers, great undercards, great angles, great matches, drama, comedy and amazing moments. It didn't start the boom but it was the peak of it. It made me not even care that we were on our way to leaving behind the days where we had three entertaining, if flawed, companies. We were now treated to one great one and they were putting out more than enough material to make me not care about what happened to the other two. Except for one fear in the back of my head, the fear of wondering what would happen to the WWF with no one else around. What would the fans get when there was no choice?
What we got was one of the most rapid falls in quality and popularity that wrestling has ever seen. It started for me at the end of 2000. WWF didn't seem to be putting quite the effort into the show as they used to and those rare dud shows became a little more common. Undercards were getting less build. The company that was producing incredible angles from start to finish started screwing up with ones like the Angle/HHH program and the Who Ran Over Steve Austin saga. Things kept on going well though. The WWF had so much going for them, so much steam, that things kept fumbling towards greatness. They had one last great flare, WM X7, perhaps the greatest PPV ever. For me that will always be the end of the boom, it started before that I guess but for me that's when the WWF I loved left for good.
Since then we've been given false hope after false hope that things would return to form. Free agent signings, hot shot angles, hugely hyped returns, a slew of "New Beginnings". Jericho and Benoit's push, WCW, ECW, Rock's return, Flair, HHH's return, The nWo, The Split. None have worked. The TV is stagnant, some things that worked during the boom no longer work. Major stars have left, others have lost their luster and no one has been created to fill those spots. The writing has grown formulaic at best, incredibly horrible at worse. There's not much else to turn to. Japan has slowly declined and splintered, Mexico has EMLL going for it. It seems that's the one thing I see in wrestling that people are actually completely satisfied by these days. People hold onto to the rare good TV shows as a sign that things are changing, they still have faith in new beginnings. I don't, I've been burned too many times. I need a lot of reasons before my faith is restored.
Yet I'm not sad now. Not anymore.
I miss the quality WWF TV of old, sure. I get angry and frustrated watching incredible talent being misused or in some cases, not used at all. I'm not sad though. You see, I'm a huge fan of Dave Meltzer, maybe too much. I defend him quite a bit, even when he does have his share of wacky quirks to him. I bring this up because the reason I'm not sad is the main reason I love Meltzer.
Meltzer is different from every other person on the internet that talks about wrestling. At first he may seem as pessimistic to wrestling as any other but he isn't. The man has followed wrestling for so long, has seen so many federations rise and fall that these last few failures don't surprise him much except for how fast they happened. While others whine about backstage politics and glass ceilings with a fire that shows they think things can be changed, Dave always talks about them calmly as if they're part of this business. They are. He's seen this all before, it's happened before and guess what? It will happen again.
Wrestling isn't like legitimate sports, it's a profession full of politics, prejudice, stubbornness and deceit. There hasn't been a promoter in wrestling who's been able to retire on top. At least in my memory. In this sport people become successful only to fall by clinging to the very ideas and stars that brought them fame, by failing to change they fail to survive. Maybe that's why so many think Vince McMahon is the greatest promoter of all time. He's far from perfect but for every fall so far he has managed at the last second to reinvent himself. He's had some lucky breaks sure but there's no denying that he has some talent as well.
Like Dave Meltzer I don't have faith in the WWE reinventing itself any time soon. I don't have much hope for NWA TNA or any other federation taking it's place. But I do have faith that wrestling won't die, I have faith that there will be another boom. Maybe Vince McMahon will be part of it, maybe he won't, but I think there will be one. I have faith that someone will make wrestling even better than it was in 2000. I also have faith that they'll fall one day just as fast as the WWE is falling now. That's the fun of wrestling, there's nothing else like it. It always dies, it always comes back.
And just like Dave Meltzer I think I'll stick around in some degree for years to come. Less at some points, more in others but I'll be there. Change is part of life and it's certainly part of wrestling, I can not only accept that, I can enjoy it too.
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