by Amish Patel - May 24, 2011
Writer’s Note: My oh my, I am pooped today. I just got out of work about an hour ago, and it’s really late. So, today’s post is going to be a re-post. It’s been an entire week since I visited the The Lost Golden Age series, so to get you guys juices flowing for it again, here is the prologue and the first part to it. Tomorrow expect the Chris Benoit part to it. Until then, have a good one mah peeps!
The last Golden Age, known by most as the “Attitude Era” ended in approximately early 2002 after the failed Invasion angle and purchase of WCW. Shortly after this wrestling went into what most just call a period in between Golden Ages. These periods typically last between two and five years.
From 2002-2005, we had the Triple H era. I call it that because if you go back, you’ll see that he absolutely dominated the WWE on the company’s A show. During this time frame we seen nothing but Triple H in the main event scene. He was the equivalent to John Cena back then, only heel.
Come WrestleMania 21 and the WWE starts to prime itself for the following period. They were desperately oiling the machine in preparation for what they expected to be the next Golden Age. Most knew it would take a good two or three years to get the machine we all love back up and running, but it never formulized.
During the stretch between 2004 and 2007 MANY things occurred that has since put the company back years. Some of these things were HUGE. Others not so much. Nevertheless, they all played a part in pushing it to the point that WWE took drastic measures and thus went PG in July of 2008.
Over the next couple of weeks we are going to take a look at the many ways that pushed the WWE back a few years, and at the end, we will take a look at how the next age may be shaping up. For those of you who can’t wait here’s a few teaser’s from this series:
– Brock Lesnar leaves for NFL
– Chris Benoit Double Murder-Suicide
– Mr. Kennedy flop
– Year long title reigns
– William Regal missed opportunity
In 2004, Brock Lesnar made the decision to pursue a career in the NFL. At the time he was set to face Bill Goldberg in what many considered a dream match. That wasn’t the case, though, as the WWE put little into the feud knowing that both men were on their ways out of the biz.
Around the beginning of 2002, Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash all signed exclusive contracts that allowed them to only work TV and PPV tapings. Many within the locker room at the time hated that decision. As we all know, many superstars get burnt out from being on the road 365 days a year. Those same superstars get bitchy when other older stars come in and work half the schedule for double the price. They feel betrayed to say the least.
Anyways, back on track, Brock quickly ascended the ladder during the summer of 2002 and by the time SummerSlam rolled around he was able to defeat The Rock for the WWE Championship. He was billed as the next big thing.
Fast forward to 2003 at WrestleMania XIX and Brock has just re-gained the WWE title from Kurt Angle in a match of the decade contender. At that same time, Bill Goldberg signs an exclusive contract to work only TV and PPV tapings. Brock on the other hand is still going through the grind of being on the road 365 days a year. Throw in the fact that Vince is making his then girlfriend Sable go through a rather PG-13 storyline with himself. Can you see where Brock may be feeling a bit betrayed or overlooked as the money machine he supposedly was?
Let us fast forward all the way up to early 2004. Brock, the then WWE Champion is being asked to put over the same star that works have the schedule for double the pay in Bill Goldberg at the upcoming WrestleMania XX. You got to think that was the last straw for Brock. It must have been as he announced shortly thereafter that he was going to go ahead with plans to enter the NFL.
The impressive thing of the whole matter is how he goes off to train for three months for football, and he was able to make it to the final days before getting cut. That is a huge accomplishment. I’m not kidding you, if he was to stick with that dream and train and train for the following year, there’s no question in my mind that he would have not only MADE a team, but he would have MADE a team. I’m not kidding here, that guy, if he stuck with it, could be the NFL’s top Defensive lineman from then until now.\
I’m getting side tracked, though. What I am trying to say here is that Vince and co. severely fucked up their handling of Brock during those two years. They built him up as a star, the next big thing, and the guy who would be the star of that next generation. Yet, they let him go unhappy and never allowed him time off. Not to mention he was a three-time champion in only his first two years in the company. That instantly took away most everything for him set forth as goals.
Brock Lesnar was the first of many cases that led to there being no Golden Age during 2007-present.
Brock would have played a crucial role during the last six years. John Cena was the guy that led the company as the “guy”. He had little to support him like Austin had Rock, HHH, and Undertaker. Batista was constantly injured, while Randall Orton was knocked down notches with his struggles with drugs, and the constant creative fuck-ups. Instead, we got Triple H, once again, as a top guy next to Cena. Now, now question, Trips is a great star, and I am in no way burying him, but he has been apart of the “Top Guns” for almost 13 years now. Throw in the fact that he could have played the cocky veteran heel to perfection over the last five of it and you got yourself a travesty.
Brock would have been John’s counterpart over the years. They could have met up once or twice a year and those PPVs would have instantly got WONDERFUL buy rates just because of it. He would have prevented John from becoming stale as the top face, as it would have opened the door for Cena to turn heel. I mean that type of rivalry would’ve never ran dry. The creative pit just never ends with the likes of them.
Brock Lesnar (heel) vs John Cena (face) @ WrestleMania 22
Brock Lesnar (face) vs John Cena (heel) @ WrestleMania 24
Brock Lesnar (face) vs John Cena (face) @ WrestleMania 25
Throw in better booking with Randall and better luck for Batista and you would have yourself great TV over the past 5 years. Ah, what could have been…
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Coming Tomorrow: The Lost Golden Age – Chris Benoit
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