As one of the few holdovers from the Attitude Era, Big Show remembers a time where in-ring psychology was the most important thing in the wrestling business. In a recent interview on Busted Open Radio, the future WWE Hall of Famer discussed some of the differences between today's era and the company's golden age.
The Attitude Era was defined by the high-quality storylines and rivalries that were featured from the bottom of the card all the way up to the main event. Big Show noted that there was more motivation for lower-card superstars back then because they had to fight to get equal pay as main-event superstars. He feels today's wrestlers aren't as driven to improve their status on the card.
"It was a different time back then. You have to figure, I think our business was more competitive back then because where you were on the card had a direct relation to how much money that you made so it was a shoot in respect of, if you were the champion, if you were a tag champion, if you were working towards the latter-end of the card you made more money so yeah, if there were guys that were working after you towards the end of the card making more money than you, yeah, you didn't like them," Big Show said. "You were pissed off at them, it wasn't the whole everybody gets along, you know what I mean? You had an opportunity and you had to get an angle to go over to be able to work live events to get a better position on live events to make more money. I think the biggest thing that bothers me in today's wrestling is that everybody is too nice to each other. They are all way too nice. It is all too chummy, chummy."
A common criticism of today's era is the lack of storytelling and in-ring psychology. Most of today's product features random matches that have no story behind them, and thus they become a back-and-forth of each wrestlers move-set before someone gets a finish. Big Show thinks there is still a large portion of the wrestling audience that prefers to have more storytelling.
"Today, it feels like you do your stuff, I'll do my stuff, and you do your stuff. Zero to hero, hero to zero. I get it: maybe the audience has changed. Maybe it is more action-packed. Maybe people don't want drama, which I disagree that people don't want the drama," he said. "I think they do want the drama, and when you give people the time of when something is done right, people get into it. They get a chance to absorb it, but when it is one move after another move and nobody isn't selling anything and doesn't mean anything and if it doesn't mean anything why are you doing it? Don't throw 50 punches when 2 will do."
Big Show said he wishes today's superstars were more motivated to make a name for themselves. He said there is more opportunity in the business than ever, but wrestlers aren't taking advantage of it.
"Maybe today's product has changed, but I just can't put my finger on it yet. There's never been a better time in my opinion to be a WWE superstar as a wrestling entertainer. You have so much worldwide access and exposure that we never had when we first started. I mean, I can remember being a WCW world champion and then when I went to WWE we went on a tour to Germany and they had no idea who I was, you know what I mean? I was starting all over again," he said. "Now, because of social media, because of all the websites, because of Busted Open Radio people have more exposure. People know more about the product and learning about the superstars so there is a chance to distinguish yourself from the rest. I think that is my point is with all of this opportunity I am begging some of these younger guys to distinguish themselves from everybody else."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Busted Open Radio
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.