Monday Night Raw (Reality)
By Dakota Smith
Why is wrestling so cool?
Wrestling is a form of entertainment I think most of us brush off because it’s “Fake.” To which I would ask, can you really fake bashing your friend over the back with a metal garbage can or leaping 50 feet off a cage into a table? It may be scripted and choreographed, but man is it an entertaining artform. A few friends and I have recently been referencing some outrageous clips we had seen over the years from the Attitude Era of the WWE, or WWF as it was at the time. For those out of the loop;
“The Attitude Era was a term used by World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE) to describe the company's programming during the Monday Night Wars, a period in which WWF's Raw went head-to-head with World Championship Wrestling's (WCW) Monday Nitro in a battle for Nielsen ratings each week during the late 1990s into early 2001.”
As the title implies, the Attitude Era is essentially a bunch of wrestlers getting angry at each other for some of the most absurd reasons you will ever see. It is also some of the greatest entertainment I have ever witnessed.
Naturally, we dove right in. We traveled back to April Fool’s Day 2001, for WrestleMania X-Seven. The rivalry between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock has hit it’s boiling point. A boiling point we have no context for because this is the first WWF event we had watched, but the magic of wrestling and all of its absurdity is that no matter where you dive in, you just get it. Two announcers present at every WrestleMania, they have strategically been made part of the act, each of them being biased to a side so the audience has someone explaining both sides of the match to them.
When you look at these larger-than-life men and women and hear them speak to one another, you just understand it. Watching a match is like watching Cirque Du Soleil only they’re out for blood and sometimes innocent bystanders such as the announcers and referees get knocked out with a chair or the occasional Stone Cold Stunner (look that up if you haven’t seen one.)
During the event we find out that Vince McMahon, owner and occasional competitor, will be fighting his own son, Shane, in a street match. Partially over ownership of the WCW, a competing wrestling League Vince was buying at the time, but also over the fact that Vince was cheating on his real-life wife who was in a catatonic state being wheeled around the arena in a wheelchair. You’d think hearing all of this would cause some form of confusion, but you just get it. Every time a storyline is brought up, they do so much to establish the hatred between two fighters before they just start fighting well before the bell is even rung.
What makes Wrestling so real is acknowledging the work and pain that goes into this. You sit there and watch, sure you can get hung up on the fact that it is scripted and the fact that when the Undertaker does a Tombstone his knees hit the mat and not his opponent’s head. But it is so much more fun to sit there and watch these stunts being done. It’s like being behind the scenes on a movie set. They are really slamming these chairs into each other and really diving chest first from the top ropes into the announcer’s table. On top of that there is a lovely soap opera being told between and during the matches.
The WWE is the perfect combination of Raw (literally in name on Mondays) and Reality.
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, June 24). Attitude Era. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:34, June 24, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Attitude_Era&oldid=1030169474