Brian Gewirtz believes modern-day WWE has surpassed the Attitude Era.
The period from 1997-2022 — the exact dates varying depending on perspective — is often glorified by fans and held up as WWE at its peak. The company was doing monster television ratings and many of the biggest stars in history were heading up shows every week.
For two decades fans have called on WWE to try and replicate this success, but in 2023, the company has found itself in the middle of a boom period by mostly doing the opposite. Gone are the days of sexually charged, and highly controversial storylines, in their place, largely family-friendly programming is increasingly slipping into the mainstream.
Speaking during an appearance on The Masked Man Show, former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz gave his thoughts on the recent progression. Gewirtz, who worked for WWE during the Attitude Era, said the company has now surpassed that high point, explaining that much of what’s happened outside the ring is what the company dreamed of while he was there.
“[The first] one, obviously, the money it’s bringing in [through] rights deals to television shows — it benefitted from the fact that even though viewing is just so much more segmented now, … WWE, like most live sports, is a show that you need to watch live … And not just in terms of television and rights fees, but the live events, [the] two nights of WrestleMania, [and] everything that they wanted … when I was there, is now a reality.”
The former WWE writer also highlighted the way the company now presents its female performers.
“It’s not even comparable to the way it was treated — and presented — in the Attitude Era. It’s not that the women in the Attitude Era … couldn’t do the things that the women today are doing … but the mindset at the time was the audience does not want to see the women in a cage match or … a ladder match … And that mindset has been a complete 180 now.”
Gewirtz added that the change between the early 90s and late 90s was dramatic, and the shift in presentation was immediately eye-catching, but in recent years the progression has been more gradual.
“[Current] WWE’s progression has been very gradual, … whereas [the differences between] Attitude Era vs. [the] Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, Doink the Clown, [and] TL Hopper era that preceded it, … was astronomical … And it’s the fact that you had between ‘Nitro’ and ‘Raw,’ an average, whatever it is, [of] 10 million people not only watching, but all watching at the same time … I don’t think [that mindset] can be replicated.”
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H/t to Wrestling Inc