When you study and think about history, certain time periods are normally referred to as eras. An era normally lasts for hundreds, sometime thousands of years. The history of pro wrestling is also split into eras but thankfully they don't tend to last as long as the original definition of the word usually dictates - the Attitude Era for example. Although the exact start and end points of what was arguably the most affluent time in the industry are hotly debated, even at its very longest it didn't last any longer than seven or eight years. While there have been a few different eras in WWE such as Ruthless Aggression and The Reality Era, it is the aforementioned Attitude Era that will be the focal point of this article.
The Attitude Era was a far cry from what the WWE landscape looks like today, despite most of the promotion's current stars growing up watching wrestling during that time. WWE's back was against the wall and they needed to push any boundary they could find in order to attract viewers to their product over WCW's. Blood, nudity, profanity, plus let's be honest, above all else the strongest roster of Superstars that we have ever seen in wrestling from Stone Cold to The Rock to The Undertaker and so that is truly just the tip of the iceberg.
A return to the Attitude Era in the present day is not only not feasible, but it's a down right terrible idea. Repeating history is rarely a good idea. What the current WWE product could do with though is a small dose of what made the Attitude Era great. Now they will be getting a small does of it when half of the roster from back then returns for next week's Raw 25th anniversary show, but what we mean is a small dose that will be around for more than just the one night. Everyone feels so cookie cutter nowadays and everyone follows the script and is afraid to step out of line. A few stars need to go rogue and hark back to what made WWE great during the late '90s, and a man who is clearly prepared to take the lead with something like that is Kevin Owens.
It is no coincidence that Vince McMahon has taken a personal interest in Kevin Owens recently. For those of you who do not believe he is being used correctly by WWE then we would like to refer you back to his jaw dropping segment with the chairman on SmackDown Live in 2017. The boss does not take a beating like that for just anybody. Even during the Attitude Era it was only really Stone Cold who got the privilege of beating up his boss on a regular basis and the segment between McMahon and Owens felt like it was lifted right out of the bygone era in WWE.
Delivering a vicious and violent beat down to his boss isn't the only reason that KO feels like a WWE Superstar who would have fit right in to the Attitude Era locker room. He is also one of the best heels on the roster right now. Owens knows how to make a crowd hate him. Yes he may have an in-ring arsenal that wins over the more hardcore fans, but many of those he shares a locker room with could learn a thing or two from how he treats and reacts to the fans. It wasn't too long ago that Owens landed himself in hot water after telling a young fan that he doesn't deserve to wear his t-shirt. The mother of the fan wrote an open letter WWE complaining about the incident. There's no way of knowing, but we imagine WWE actually loved that behind the scenes as it was a sign that Owens was doing his job better than any other heel in the company.
Social media is a real hang up right now also. Superstars who are bad guys on TV but posing with colleagues that they are supposed to hate. It really isn't that hard to keep those worlds separate. Owens is very present on social media and keeps up the persona he plays on TV. The only time he shows affection on Twitter is when he is talking about his family, and that just adds to his character. He does all that he can to get ahead in WWE and that's because he is trying to do the best he can by his family. You won't find KO with his arm around Shane McMahon on his Twitter feed any time soon.
From the protection of his character to the way he treats his fans to the violence he can bring to the ring when called upon, Kevin Owens truly would have ticked all the boxes if he had been presented to WWE during the Attitude Era. While it's a shame he wasn't around at the time, we are extremely pleased that he is around for us to enjoy today. If WWE lets him off the proverbial leash even more who knows what we could see from him in 2018.