The PG Era: Why It Offends Me More Than Any Other.

I have had it. Last weeks RAW was the final straw. First let me say that this isn’t another ” I wish it wasn’t PG” rant most fans have had at some point. I don’t feel there is anything inherently wrong with having a PG product if it is done right. My problem is WWE clearly aren’t doing it right and not only does it hurt them but it hurts us (me) too.

The things that made me finally snap both involve CM Punk. Firstly he accidentally got his nose busted by Randy Orton and I was left feeling guilty for watching but also thinking were they about to stop the show or take it off the air or perhaps CM Punk would get in more trouble backstage and have to be punished just when he is coming into his own as a top heel. Supposedly Vince was furious about the whole thing which is kind of stupid considering it was clearly an accident. Some think Orton kicked Punk but it was an accidental headbutt a little before that. First off it wasn’t a big deal and luckily no one made it one but also no one in attendance seemed too bothered by the incident. I’ll get to that later.

The Second thing that pushed me to breaking point was when Punk revealed why he screwed Orton out of the title. It was because two years prior Orton and Legacy had beat him up and Orton punted him in the head forcing him to forfeit his title. This raised many issues. Punk said that he was justified in what he had done but Orton’s actions, like punting Husky Harris were ‘Indefensible’. The thing here is HE IS TOTALLY RIGHT. Orton is being paraded around as an Austin style guy who does what he wants, to whoever, whenever. The problem is that type of thing isn’t meant for a PG show. THAT WAS THE POINT!

Somehting WWE hasn’t dealt with or dealt well is that most of their product was designed for a mature audience. Not just the gimmick matches but also the wrestlers themselves. WWE and the fans are keen for guys like HHH, Y2J and Undertaker to return in the hope it will boost ratings and PPV buys. The problem is it won’t. Aside from their age guys like that can’t be who the fans want them to be. HHH can’t be the cerebral assassin and take guys out with his sledgehammer anymore. Undertaker is lame now and Jericho can’t be as funny. Even guys like Edge and Kane now seem like total shells of who they were. Their feud last year proved that. Because of this shift in direction, the workings of the machine have had to change what they do and who they were untill more or less nothing remians which is one of the many reasons the product sucks. You don’t hire Slayer, get them to play quiet acoustic numbers and expect fans to tune in and same applies here.

My biggest issue is with John Cena and Orton though. First let me say again on record that I don’t hate either of these guys. They have a job to do and seem to do it to the best of their abilities under hard circumstances. These two are the wrestlers worst off in this PG era or at least should be. The thing is these guys clearly aren’t PG. These two men have injured or retired more men than anyone else and some of that happened during this PG era. Again there is nothing wrong with that but what sickens me the most is why we have the PG era in the first place. The excuse given is because the target audience is now moms and kids. Okay. But what needs to be said is the moms and kids everyone is so afraid of offening don’t give a rats ass about the levels of violence as long as John Cena or Randy Orton are the ones doing it. If you disagree go watch any RAW or PPV from the last year or so and then try and say i’m wrong. They want to see it as much if not more than anyone. Just watch all the women barely contain themselves when either of those two men make an appearance. Then watch them when one of those guys tries to punt someone in the head or drop a bunch of metal on them. They love it. You can call me what you like but the WWE have noticed it and tailored things so those to guys can do whatever they like and get made to look like ‘ good guys’ and yet anyone else who does it or complains is seen as a ‘ bad guy’. Just listen to the commentary. Lawler constantly has to come up with half assed flimsy excuses for Orton or Cena’s actions whilst someone (normally Cole) points out how wrong the things they are doing are. Because Cole, Miz or Punk are heels the totally valid points get ignored. I bet you anything you want that if Cena had put Barrett in handcuffs during their chair match and delivered a dozen or so chair shots to his head, the crowd would have eaten it up. You can compare these guys to Austin or whoever all you want but the thing is guys like Austin, Rock, HHH/DX, Undertaker, Kane, Mankind were never held up as role models for kids and John Cena is. JR who loved Austin made it clear his actions were more understandable than justifiable. By trying to combine the Hogan ‘stay in school’ type message with Austins tough SOB, kick ass and take names WWE are sending out a worrying message to impressiionable children.

Ultimately I think this PG thing is doing more harm to wrestling and wrestlers as a whole more than anything else. This era seems to lack any sense of context or consequence. I believe almost any form of violence, nudity, sexuality or bad language is allowed if in the right context. An adult sporting competition would be that context. Unfortunatly the lack of things like blood turn the whole show into a video game or cartoon like Tom and Jerry. People get hurt all the time but just go off screen for a while then come back good as new. That is a dangerous mindset to have and one that should be changed. I have a confession to make. During my more stupid teenage years I went through a faze of liking hardcore/garbage wrestling. I brought loads of CZW, BJPW, IWA-Midsouth, FMW videos as well as watching backyard wrestling online. Naturally I thought I could do that so me and my friends did and filmed it. We smashed each other over the head with blunt objects, dove off ladders, went through makeshift tables, on thumbtacks and barbedwire and even got set on fire a few times. I thought that was cool and tough but it wasn’t IT WAS FUCKING STUPID. The fact none of us got seriously hurt or worse is either a miracle or dumb luck. The thing is I grew up with those bits on WWF TV where guys listed their injuries with the sombre music in the background. It seemed a bit dramatic but it stuck with me and kind of made me question what I was doing. You don’t get those type of things anymore. Instead you just get John Cena turning up and saying “Don’t try this at home”. That isn’t going to have the same effect. If the last decade has taught us anything it is that wrestlers are real people with real lives and families and need to be treated with respect. If everything wasn’t a gimmick match and blood was used when appropriate everyone could understand that a bit more and appreciate what they do. Instead what they do gets taken for granted and they are seen as nothing more than moving bits of meat that exist only for our amusement. We also have a world where it could be very easy for a kid to think it’s okay to punt someone in the skull or drop a ton of crap on them if that person hassled them or heaven forbid chucked a drink in their face. I’m not trying to deliver a PSA or anything but I do wonder when things like that happen and Cena or Orton get cast in such a good light what kids think.

In the end we shouldn’t be too suprised. It is no secret WWE’s moral compass normally only ever points towards dollar signs. I just find the hypocrisy far too annoying and insulting. If you are going to be PG then be PG but don’t do this thinly veiled half assed job of it. Either that or have a more mature product but book it better so things happen in a reasonable way and not the over the top, sexually charged, super violent way things used to be. Plus it would make TNA have to work even harder to get fans.

As usual thanks for taking the time to read this. I am interested to see what everyone else thinks so feel free to comment here or on Brady(PWI) on Facebook.

Vince Gillett

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