In the long and rich history of pro-wrestling. there’s been two instances where pro-wrestling at one point was considered mainstream. First time was during The Golden Era (1982-1993) and second time during the acclaimed Monday Night Wars (1995-2001).
The death of WCW meant a huge blow to the popularity of pro-wrestling and to this day, the effects of WCW’s death are still felt.
One of the biggest questions experts and fans ask is, Can pro-wrestling be mainstream again?
Modern wrestling has the potential to be as mainstream and as popular as the other periods previously mentioned. Modern wrestlers are as talented than ever in terms of in-ring work.
NJPW and AEW are the two promotions with the most potential to bring pro-wrestling back into a mainstream status. Both promotions deliver an interesting product that could become mainstream.
WWE in the other hand feels as stale as ever and the desperate change people ask is not going to come any time soon. WWE is very far from becoming a mainstream product.
What wrestling is lacking for it to become mainstream is that one major star The Golden Era and The Attitude Era had with Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin respectively.
It Takes Time
Wrestling fans are known for not having patience at all. If we analyze wrestling Twitter, a good portion of people like to call AEW a failure and that is running out of business despite that’s far from reality.
For a product to become “mainstream” it takes time. The Golden Era and The Attitude Era didn’t become mainstream in just one day. It took time for the products to evolve and for the right moments to make wrestling mainstream.
For example, The Marvel movies didn’t become mainstream after the first Iron Man movie, they become the pop culture Juggernaut they are after the first Avengers movie. The first Avengers movie had a build up and the rest was history.
The Attitude Era Template
A portion of the wrestling fandom thinks that the key for wrestling to be mainstream again is if they go back to the booking and feel of The Attitude Era.
The Attitude Era was very different from The Golden Era and that was the key of its success. Another aspect was that The Attitude Era was a reflection of that period of time in pop culture. Bringing back The Attiude Era to today’s society would be the worst move to do and it would be out of a place in a world that has evolved from that already.
What Modern pro-wrestling needs is to find its own identity to grow and in time it will become mainstream once more.