The WWE made national headlines on two fronts this past week. In entertainment, John Cena hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time and did a stellar job at showing his versatility as a comedic actor. Where was all that in The Marine, John?I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land some more hosting gigs for the show as well as some movie roles, much like The Rock on his rise to become the great Dwayne Johnson. Things are looking up for Cena and the state of wrestling as a whole.
In entertainment-disguised-as-politics news, earlier this weekWWE Hall of Famer and President elect, Donald Trump, tapped former WWE CEO and wife of Vinny Mac, Linda McMahon, to head up the Small Business Administration. Linda has no experience in politics, as many of Trump’s cabinet members can relate to, but she did spend a record breaking amount of wrestling money on a Senate campaign in Connecticut, only to lose ... so there’s that. Even worse, she can’t take a Stone Cold Stunner worth a damn. Either way, it’s very interesting to see Trump’s WWE connection come into play for his tenure in office. He’s showing he can reach across the aisle and nominate a woman whose husband he once weakly pummeled and shaved at WrestleMania.
Now that Trump has opened the doors for wrestling to crossover with politics, could we see some more WWE Hall of Famers in the Trump cabinet? Maybe some who have actually held office? Because former Governors and Predator stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura are both certifiable WWE Hall of Famers who still show a lot of interest in politics, albeit not as politicians. Hey, stranger things are currently happening.
But what effects do the sexually charged scandals and the backlash to PC culture have on pro wrestling? Since wrestling is always a reflection of society, we are already seeing the WWE take steps further and further away from the PG era and it’s looking a little closer to the Attitude Era. Much like the US, wrestling society is fed up with family friendly pandering and want some Bailey’s back in their morning coffee. The WWE will continue to hold a mirror up to our supermarket tabloid of a nation, as seen in last week’s RAW, in a segment that took us all back to 1999.
In a tale of seduction and deception the likes we haven’t seen since the Clinton administration, Enzo Amore was invited to Lana’s hotel room, for what was implied to be some ravishing, Russian revenge for Rusev’s outburst against her earlier in the show. Amore, taking the bait, went to the room and found Lana in a silk robe, and fell victim to Lana’s siren song to the point of removing his pants. This was all in step with the segment from a few weeks prior, where Enzo was locked out of his locker room, and ended up bumping into a blushing Lana in his birthday suit.
Alas, the hotel endeavor turned out to be a trap, as the over-protective Bulgarian Brute emerged in the room to punish the Certified G, revealing Lana to be the soviet succubus we all knew she was. Now, this is all very scintillating and we haven’t seen writing like this in quite some time. It’s almost as if the Trump era may lead to a new Attitude era, especially with someone like Linda McMahon on the inside. There’s little anyone can do to stop the WWE from treading back into those murky waters, and I’ll be loving every minute of it.
Wrestling is cyclical, and the PG era may have served its purpose. Much like in the 80s and early 90s, the WWF catered toward children and families. That batch of mostly male fans grew up with WWF and into young adulthood; angsty teens looking for any outlet for their burgeoning testosterone. And so, with that came ECW. And with ECW, came the NWO. And with the NWO, came the Monday Night War and WWE’s Attitude Era. And so on, and so forth.
However, as THAT audience grew into adults (i.e. Me), they strayed from the product and got on with their real lives (i.e. Not me). So, what was the WWE to do? Continue to grow with the same audience until pro wrestling became 60 Minutes with entrance music and pyro? Nope. They had to cultivate a new batch. And so, in the mid-2000s -rife with wrestler deaths and the Benoit tragedy to ensure that we would never see a chair shot to the head or a bra-and-panties match again, WWE went back to the kids. Vince McMahon drained the swamp, and refilled it with clean, chlorine-ridden, family friendly, fresh water once again.
But, that was a decade ago. Ten Years After (great band), those kids who grew up with the hustle, loyalty, and respect toward John Cena now see him hosting an after-hours comedy show. They woke up as teenagers and find themselves with new hearts, new minds, new desires, and a new lust for sex and violence. We are nearing the end of our sweet 2016, and we find our bona fide stud of a hero facedown and pantless on a hotel floor. And we like it. We like it because it speaks to our gritty natural order.
This New Era is familiar, but not the same. We have evolved as a society and have a deeper respect for great athleticism, more intellectual stimulation, and a deeper appreciation for women’s wrestling. If this is a rebirth of the Attitude Era, its genes are spliced with a more refined palate. Somehow, we are on the cusp of an age in pro wrestling that is as perverse as it is honest. We have an impressionable, growing young mind mixed with the power and pull of Linda McMahon in a high ranking government position. An adolescent brain inside a powerful monster. If you want to see what happens next, read your Frankenstein.