Everyone seems to accept that Los Matadores are a bad idea. The WWE has taken a talented tag team in the form of Primo and Epico and saddled them with a gimmick that seems destined to fail. Surely in the modern day WWE there is no place for such cartoonish gimmicks?
Or so the story goes for many.
And yet there is a great deal of nostalgia for the “old days”. This might mean groups of fans lamenting the PG era and wishing that the WWE could bring back a little bit of “Attitude”. It might mean people online looking back to the 1980’s and 90’s WWF and fondly remembering the over-the-top characters and gimmicks that were a staple of the product back then. And despite the fact that internet darlings CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are in the midst of huge pushes (and in Punk’s case he’s been considered a genuine headliner for a good few years) and despite the fact that there have been more hits than misses on WWE pay-per-view in 2013, there’s a general feeling out there that things were better before.
But is that really true?
It’s a question that is impossible to answer in real terms. People will always have their own opinions on the relative aspects of different era’s of the WWE and there is nothing wrong with preferring previous times. The television and PPV ratings obviously tell a story, even allowing for the modern trend for streaming (often illegally). But to slavishly stick to the line that it was all better back then does the current product a disservice.
Brock Lesnar’s clash with CM Punk at SummerSlam was the best WWE bout of the year, for me anyway, and it stands up with anything brought to us in the “glory years” of Attitude. Despite the fact that the build up brought back the worst excesses of the late 80’s/early 90’s WWF, CM Punk and Undertaker assembled another classic at WrestleMania. We’ve had PPV cards such as Elimination Chamber, Payback and Money In The Bank which offered up thrills and spills from top to bottom and were a far cry from some of the anemic under-cards we’ve been served up over the years, even when business was booming. We’ve even had the novelty of the WWE taking the man getting the most raucous crowd reactions from the fans and pushing him into the main event when that man is about as far away from the stereotypical “WWE guy” as you could imagine. Although it is still very much a work in progress, attempts have been made to rebuild the Tag Team division and, hell, even the Diva’s division has given us a memorable feud and series of matches this year with the AJ/Kaitlyn series.
The WWE of 2013 is by no means perfect, but when you look back without the rose-tinted glasses, it never was. Nostalgia for past era’s shouldn’t blind you to the fact that the WWE are getting some things very right in 2013.
Which brings me back to our bull-fighting friends. The gimmick is nothing new; Tito Santana was saddled with the El Matador character in the early 90’s but that was treated a little bit more seriously. But is it really the end of the world? Whilst it might not be good for the “serious” career prospects of Primo and Epico, the characters bring some humour and entertainment to one segment of a television programme and in the tradition of the 1980’s can work great matches despite being saddled with strange gimmicks. The fact that characters like these, Fandango and Brodus Clay are about isn’t a sign of disaster nor should they be used as condemnation of the PG era. They’re just supposed to be entertaining gimmicks that take up a small portion of the show. Much in the same way the likes of The Godfather or Val Venis were never serious challengers for the World Title back in their day.
The PG era doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I would argue that it’s not the WWE PG era in of itself that is the problem. The WWE’s failure to create new stars with enduring appeal is not because Dolph Ziggler can’t bleed during a match or that Damien Sandow isn’t allowed to swear in a promo. And the five minutes a week we spend with Los Matadores is neither here nor there either. PG doesn’t equal failure anymore than TV-14 would equal immediate success.
– By Matthew Roberts