Given the somewhat younger demographic here, as well as casual wrestling observers that probably mostly watched at its most popular, I have a feeling I know which poll option wins out. However, I still think this is good discussion fodder. The subject line covers the basic question...which era of wrestling is your favorite?
Warning: my write-ups for the first couple will be WWF-centric because I only started watching WCW around 1996. I've gone back and watched some shows before then, but I have far more knowledge of WWF during that time. I'd love for others to fill in the blanks on what I'm failing to give props to.
The Moorobot Era: Pre-1985
Yeah this is too early for me, I started watching in 1989 so my knowledge is mostly relegated to reading about the old-timers and looking up old Ric Flair matches. I'll let our resident historian (I seriously think he should get an undertitle like "wrestling encyclopedia") speak to the greatness of this time, as he can do it better than me.
The Golden Era: 1985 (The Inaugural WrestleMania) - 1993
Hulk Hogan. Jobber squashes. Randy Savage. Hugely meaningful title changes. Andre the Giant. Picture-in-picture promos. The Ultimate Warrior. Ric Flair. Ricky Steamboat. Mr. Perfect. Ted DiBiase. Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
For those of you who know my loud and annoying opinions, I'm sure it will come as no surprise that this era gets my vote. Just the big four PPVs a year with the occasional Saturday Night's Main Event sprinkled in, and these shows were glorious. Hulk Hogan was the perpetual world champion during these first nine WrestleManias, and while I wasn't a huge fan of his even as a kid, his feud with Savage was what first got me into wrestling. I liked the way this era was booked far more than I've liked anything since, and it happened during my formative years, so that undoubtedly influences me in a significant way.
Highlights: Savage vs. Steamboat, a match so great that 25 years later we still have it in the back of our minds for greatest match of all time. Hogan vs. Andre, which was unbelievably huge and brought wrestling to a new interest level. Ted DiBiase tries to buy the world title, and buys off one of the Hebners in nearly making his dream happen. Savage rises to glory and wins the big belt in the WrestleMania IV tournament. The Mega Powers (Savage and Hogan) form and then explode in a feud that was mapped out brilliantly for a full year. The Ultimate Warrior gets over massively, and Hulk Hogan puts him over completely cleanly at WrestleMania VI. A lull is hit in the main event scene thereafter, but the Intercontinental Title hit its absolute peak at the same time. Hennig to Von Erich to Hennig to Hart to Bulldog to Shawn Michaels, from shortly after WrestleMania VI to WrestleMania IX, was an absolute joy to watch. Hell, an IC title match MAIN EVENTED a SummerSlam (Hart vs. Bulldog) on a card that did have a world title match. Meanwhile, the main event scene got really good again when Ric Flair won the 1992 Royal Rumble to capture the vacated heavyweight belt and then went on to have an amazing feud with Randy Savage. As this era drew to a close, The Undertaker was beginning his run as one of the all-time greats, turning face against brilliant heel Jake Roberts and establishing himself in the main event scene indefinitely.
When Ric Flair put Bret Hart over for the WWF title in 1992, this era quickly drew to a close. A new guard took over.
The New Generation: 1994-1997
The New Generation wasn't the most profitable era in wrestling, but it certainly had a lot of good stuff. Bret Hart was the household name, and Shawn Michaels rose to the top as well. The personal animosity between these two was very real, and helped make it one of the all-time great feuds.
WrestleMania X was the first one without Hulk Hogan, and given his dominance over the last period it brought a whole new feel. And, for my money, WrestleMania X is one of the greatest of all time. The Bret vs. Owen ahd HBK vs. Razor Ramon matches are both all-time classics that both happened on the same card. I vaguely recall other matches being on this card and Howard Finkel getting a toupee from Sy Sperling or something, but those two matches were what really defined the night.
Entertainment value in general took a downturn when Kevin Nash was given the opportunity to make a run with the WWF title for nearly a year, which was enough to start making me tune into WCW to start exploring other options, and the reformed Four Horsemen with Flair, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit and Brian Pillman was awesome. Flair finally convincing Sting after weeks of begging to tag with him just so he could double-cross him was more compelling than any angle I remember the WWF doing during this era. Just beautifully executed throughout.
This era marked the end of belts being truly meaningful. After this, they started getting passed around like hot potatoes, and that trend has never really stopped.
The Attitude Era/Monday Night Wars: 1997-2001
Things just fell into place perfectly to cause the biggest wrestling boom of my lifetime. Ted Turner opens up his pocketbook and lures Scott Hall and Kevin Nash away to WCW. Their simultaneous arrival gives birth to arguably the biggest angle ever, the nWo. Hulk Hogan turns heel to put that angle over HUGE. The pendulum of power in the wrestling world swung hard to WCW. They nearly bankrupt Vince McMahon and the WWF. However, Vince McMahon screws Bret Hart in Montreal on his way out the door, leading to the birth of the Mr. McMahon character and giving rise to Steve Austin and The Rock as two of the very greatest stars of all time.
The Monday Night Wars were epic, and gave us a solid four hours of great TV every Monday night. Great angles, great action, crowds that were on fire...this stuff was absolutely fantastic. And that doesn't even make mention of a little indy company called ECW, which was highly entertaining in its own right.
(...there was more great Shawn Michaels...)
Unfortunately WCW begins to completely suck after a while, their ratings go into the toilet and Vince buys them up. Thus endeth this era.
The Post-Attitude Era: 2002-2005
Most of the WCW greats come on up to Stamford, CT and join Vince McMahon's company. Chris Jericho had already come along and become a big star, but Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero come follow his lead and become huge as well. Kurt Angle comes into his own as one of the most amazing superstars of the decade. Triple H was awesome at this time as well, before he fully started making us all hate him.
Sadly the invasion angle that could have been huge is botched. Interest in wrestling dies down and the boom clearly ends. But there was a lot of great action during this time, with the workers I named above leading the charge. The Rock and Steve Austin play out the rest of their careers before Hollywood lures Rocky away and injuries force Austin out of the game.
(...Shawn Michaels returned from injury and was as awesome as ever...)
The PG Era: 2006-Present
John Cena, once a foul-mouthed rapper, becomes a PG superhero. Randy Orton dominates as well. The Miz and CM Punk rise to prominence. Well...this era doesn't warrant as much description, because it's on right now. It may not be our favorite era, but we just can't help but watch it and I think we all still basically enjoy it.
(...you guessed it; more great stuff from Shawn Michaels, though this is sadly the last era we'll get to say that about...)
Golden Era and Attitude era were awesome. You knew every time you watched you were seeing something special with Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Flair, etc and later with Austin, Rock, Taker, NWO, etc.. Now we have Cena, Orton, Punk, and when we look back it won't feel special which I think is sad. Hopefully eras come back like the GEs and AEs.
I voted Attitude Era as my only exposure to the Golden Era is through stories and Youtube videos. The period right after the AE had some really, really sick matches and storytelling as well, though. It was a tough decision for me, but I went with Attitude Era as it was just so memorable.
While part of me thinks we're waiting for another special talent at the level of Steve Austin or The Rock to emerge, I think a lot of the problem is bad booking and writing. John Cena is a very talented guy, really really good on the mic and not even too bad in the ring (though his non-existent selling ability is a big liability). Unfortunately his promos are AIDS most of the time because he's being put on a script and a really bad script at that. Given the right material, we simply would not see him as one of the weakest faces of the company that the WWF/WWE has ever seen.
As it is, I think he probably leads the company as effectively as Bret Hart did (though I vastly prefer Bret personally), which is to say that (1) he does a good job, but that (2) if a viable alternative emerged on TNT and TBS, the ship would go down with him as the face of the company.
Man I wish we could get some real competition in the wrestling industry again.
I'm a little on the fence with this one. No question I love the attitude era, there was just so much good stuff to consider. There were the best stars Rock and Austin and week to week the Monday Night wars stuff was gripping. I remember at the time I couldn't wait for wrestling to be on television. People were talking about wrestling everywhere I went, it was so hot at the time.
Then there's the part of me who longed for the days of kayfabe. I really enjoyed watching wrestling when it was presented as real and I'm sure a lot of older fans would feel the same. Something is definately lost in today's wrestling environment. In a sense the kayfabe era wrestling is what MMA is today.
I never got to see anything pre Wrestlemania 1 (1985ish) but I would've loved to have been able to experience the territory days and when wrestling was presented as it should be. I think I'll really love the new WWE network. Finally get a chance to see some of the older stuff.
Man I wish we could get some real competition in the wrestling industry again.
This is the reason why I despise TNA with every fibre of my being. When they signed Hogan and went head to head with Raw that Monday night, TNA had the talent roster to actually do something. Imagine having Hogan, Flair, Jeff Hardy (who was one of the hottest stars at the time), Kurt Angle, AJ Styles!! and guys like Beer Money, Motor City Machine Guns and a ton of others to fill out the roster and with Spike's backing that they didn't even make a dent in becoming somewhat competitve with WWE. This doesn't even begin to descibe what an epic fail this company is with their booking. You can put a janitor in charge of TNA's creative booking team and they would've done a better job that what TNA has done.
So the era that is named after me is my 3rd favorite era, after the two popular picks of Golden and Attitude. But I'll talk about a few very good elements of the era listed as the 'Moorobot era'.
First, a wide variety of options on TV. In the early 80s a ton of different wrestling shows were regularly on TV, run by different companies with different writers/bookers with different philosophies. On Saturday you could watch wrestling almost all day.
Second, fresh faces in wrestling organizations. Wrestlers would frequently leave one organization for another, and all wrestling fans know how exciting returns and debuts can be, and how some wrestlers can get stale. Furthermore, talent was often just shared, with Flair traveling all around, Dusty Rhodes stopping in for a feud in the WWF, etc.
Third, with all these different companies, more ideas were tried, and more wrestlers got chances and second chances. For example, when Hulk Hogan was fired by the WWF in 1980, the AWA decided to bring him in. With some training from Verne Gagne, he was able to become incredibly popular, and of course even more over when Vince Mcmahon Jr. took over the WWF and brought Hogan back in.
It wasn't all positive, of course, but the system had some advantages.
is this even a question? lol. The Attitude era was the not nly the best thing to happen to wrestling but it was by far the best thing on TV at the time....Everyone was watching it have MILLLIONS of viewers.....it was insane!....RIP
It's hard for me to pick. I actually missed pretty much the entire Attitude Era (my entire family would watch Raw starting in early 1997 but the Val Venis character ended that as my conservative mother didn't want her elementary school aged kids watching guys like him). I've since gone back and seen everything of note from late 98 through about SummerSlam 2002 and obviously Rock and Austin are amazing. I quickly lost interest around this point, however, as my three favorites were gone (Rock, Austin, andddd...)
My favorite wrestler throughout my entire childhood was Hulk Hogan. I was 100% a Hulkamaniac even though I was way too young to enjoy his prime. My first PPV was Royal Rumble 1991 (a pretty awesome show fwiw) which was capped by a Hogan Rumble win. I was actually brought to tears when Undertaker beat Hogan at Survivor Series. These feelings have since evaporated (yay smarkyness!) but nostalgia is still powerful.
My favorite year is 1997, my favorite wrestler is Steve Austin, and my favorite show is WrestleMania III... I can't pick one era over another.
The best quality wrestling matches that have ever existed are happening in the "PG era", they just arent happening in big arenas in America which is why the "attitude", "post attitude" and "PG" options are flawed.
I mean the storytelling in the attitude is undoubtedly the best, but if i want to watch storytelling id watch an actual show and the reality is the match quality in the attitude era basically created the mold for the current **** we get shovelled at us weekly.
So the answers are either attitude era or PG era but not cos of the WWE depending what you are looking for.