WWE Smackdown Superstar

WWE Smackdown Superstar
The Great Khali

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The New Generation

In response to the steroid trials, the WWF decided to go in a new direction. In order to bolster it's repuation amongst the public, the company came up with it's "New Generation" tagline. In an effort to distance itself from the muscle-bound theatrics of the "Federation Years", the company chose to push smaller, more agile performers whose focus was primarily upon their technical prowess and their athletisim as opposed to their looks. Performers such as Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Diesel and others emerged in this newfound spotlight. However, the business had begun to experience a lull, partly due to the popularity of the WWF fading as well as WCW not quite managing to take advantage of the WWF's weakening fortunes.
During 1991 and 1992, wrestling's popularity suffered as bland storylines and over-the-top gimmicky characters turned many fans away. The WWF's poor direction was strongly criticized as uninteresting and not in touch with the current times. WCW themselves were in a position of evolution, yet they failed to capitalize until late 1993-early 1994 when Eric Bischoff became Executive Producer of WCW's creative product. However, once WCW begun to innovate and evolve their product, the WWF failed to view them as a threat and subsequently lost ground.
Fans had also grown tired of the WWF's familiar faces. Acts such as the Ultimate Warrior had begun to outlive their welcome. Hulk Hogan was slowly becoming boring and stale, his reputation damaged by the steroid scandals. The larger, less mobile workers had become passé compared to the newer, quicker, more athletic performers. The industry had begun to experience a change in it's popularity and fortunes.
Soon, WWF performers such as Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall emigrated to the growing WCW empire. Incentives such as a lighter schedule and a higher guarantee of money (while performers earned less of a guaranteed wage in the WWF, the incentive structured payment scale meant some wrestlers could actually earn more. However, the performer tends to work more in order to earn the money) helped convince performers of the benefits working in WCW would hold.
Starting near the end of 1996, the WWF began to experiment with edgier content, throwing in more adult themes and more hard-hitting bouts in an attempt to try and claw back their fanbase who had been slowly pulled over to WCW's programming. WCW had begun to gain traction due to the growing nWo and the influx of a edgier, more brash product. Quicker, more agile superstars from Japan, Mexico and Europe had raised the bar, while the edgier stories and cliffhanger endings of the shows had viewers eagerly anticipating the next show. The WWF continued to lag behind, but they slowly gained on the competition through employing similar tactics and edgy content.

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