ALL talk of WWE returning to men v women wrestling seems to have died down.
Last month a venue in Jonesboro, Arkansas advertised a Nia Jax v Dean Ambrose “inter-gender special attraction” match at a WWE house show.
But a WWE spokesman later told Post Wrestling that the match wasn’t happening after all and the advertisement was “outdated”.
Was WWE testing the waters for a return to men v women matchups? Did it changed its mind or get pressured into scrapping the match by sponsors? Or was the information simply wrong?
That story came after Nia Jax had entered herself into the men’s Royal Rumble and exchanged blows with Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler, and Mustafa Ali.
Nia also had face-to-face confrontations with Ambrose the next two weeks on Raw. It fuelled speculation that Nia would face and defeat Ambrose before he left WWE.
Inter-gender action was a staple of the far more extreme Attitude Era, when Chyna competed against men and the Dudley Boyz would regularly smash women – including the seventy-something Mae Young – through tables.
But it would have been a mistake for WWE to revert to some aspects of the rose-tinted Attitude Era. The modern product has moved way beyond it – and is better off for doing so.
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WWE also pushed the boundaries earlier this year with two segments on consecutive episodes of Raw and SmackDown.
On the January 14 Raw, a runner burst into Alexa Bliss’s changing room to find her undressed – for absolutely no other reason than quick titillation.
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The following night, a scantily clad Mandy Rose tried to seduce Jimmy Uso in a hotel room.
Both scenes were also reminiscent of the Attitude Era, when female performers such as Trish Stratus, Terri Runnels, Sable, and Debra were paraded around for cheap sexual kicks.
The segments notched up huge hits on social media.
Alexa’s topless interruption has had 6.7 million YouTube views so far and Mandy Rose’s hotel seduction 4 million views.
Thankfully, WWE hasn’t produced more backstage segments like this (well, not yet at least).
Right now the top angle from the women’s division – the Becky Lynch v Ronda v Rousey v Charlotte Flair saga – is the hottest thing happening in the company.
Those segments of scantily clad female superstars only undermined the progress that the women’s evolution has made.
And not the manufactured progress of WWE bleating on about “first time matches” and “glass-ceiling breaking” moments, but the genuine progress that’s been made in how the fans view and connect with the female superstars.
(Longtime fans who go all the way to the Attitude Era could never imagine the day when a woman would genuinely be WWE’s top star.)
The same goes for inter-gender wrestling.
While it’s popular in some sections of the independent scene – and Nia Jax can get away with matching the guys for stature and strength – the concept sits uncomfortably in the family friendly WWE.
The Attitude Era is much beloved, but it’s not something the modern product should be living up to.
What was happening at the top of the card back then was red-hot – Stone Cold v Mr McMahaon, The Rock, Mankind, DX – but a lot of it was nonsensical, car crash TV and nowhere near as good as you remember.
Though exciting at the time, it was a product of its era – when the extremes of Jackass, South Park, and Jerry Springer ruled the airwaves – and is best left in the past.
Between NXT brands and the incredible roster on both Raw and SmackDown, the in-ring action in WWE has never been better.
And while the product can be bloated and inconsistent from storyline to storyline, the best stuff happening right now is as good as anything WWE has done since the days of Attitude.
Don’t be fooled by the constant grumbling from the never-satisfied, nostalgic fans online.
WWE is making more money than ever. It’s proof that the modern product is working. It doesn’t need the Attitude.
WRESTLEMANIA 35 – How can you be there?
ALL rise for The Showcase Of The Immortals!
WWE’s annual showpiece WrestleMania takes place on April 7 from the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, but when can you get tickets for it?
And what is the best way to get there from the UK?
Click here to find out all you need to know so you can start planning your trip.