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The Attitude Era Podcast interview

August 16, 2013

1. Can you give us a quick run-down of what the Attitude Era Podcast is?

AEPodcast is a chronological review podcast covering the period of wrestling between 1998 and 2001 known to wrestling fans as "The Attitude Era". The format is a roundtable discussion with myself, Adam Bibilo and Billy Keable going through the main pay per views during this time. We're kind of unique in that we've all got different levels of experience with these shows; Myself who's seen it all (probably twice), Adam who saw some of the shows growing up and Billy, who had never seen anything from this period from before we started.

 

2. What is it about this period in professional wrestling that attracted you to it?

It's probably the most talked about period in wrestling ever. It's easily the most controversial! While the current WWE product is PG and for all intents and purposes; family friendly, the Attitude Era is unabashedly envelope pushing.

Because the WWF were trying to outdo their rivals WCW, they were not afraid to have a man supposedly fall to his death on television, or have an 80 year old woman give birth to a hand on television, or even show Val Venis getting his penis apparently chopped off by a sinister Yakuza boss with a Katana as revenge for sleeping with his wife on television.

There's also a massive nostalgia factor. If you're aged 21 or over, you've probably watched at least a bit of wrestling back in this period. It was insanely popular back then and way more mainstream. I think every adult male in UK watched Royal Rumble 2000 on Channel 4. So as a fan of modern wrestling, I always hear from non-wrestling fans "Oh man, it was so much better back in 98-01". We really were interested in seeing if these shows stacked up still if they were revisited or if it was just the case that people look back at this period with rose tinted glasses. The release of the last WWE game, which had a whole mode dedicated to the Attitude Era meant that the nostalgia had intensified if anything.

I also really wanted to subject my friend Billy Keable to this period and see his reaction. He's a unique wrestling fan in that he's only been watching religiously since 2012 but he's got obscure tastes. He watches 9 hour tournaments from Indy companies like Chikara, Bruiser Brody matches on youtube and documentaries about Ric Flair. But he'd never even heard of Gangrel, The Godfather or Goldust. He had to see this!

I had also come into a massive collection of these ppv's on DVD following the frankly tragic closing down sale of beloved WWE video distributor Silver Vision.

 

3. What’s the response been like since you started the show? Wrestling fans are notoriously vocal about what they like and dislike; have you had to contend with that?

The response has been pretty overwhelming so far. We really weren't expecting any sort of reaction, positive or otherwise, mainly as the market for wrestling podcasts is so over-saturated. There are literally thousands, so I really believed we'd get lost in the shuffle. We got some great help early on from established sites tweeting out our debut episode etc. After a few weeks we got picked up by Glasgow based wrestling radio network called Inside the Ropes who gave us great exposure. After around 5 episodes we got contacted by internet famous person Maffew Gregg, creator of Botchamania to be a part of his site (resulting me in having something akin to a joyous panic attack), so we got massive exposure pretty quickly. We get really great feedback from the listeners – we rarely have gotten anything that you'd associate with the typical cynical grumpy wrestling fan.

The only place where I've gotten negativity is on reddit, where for a period of time posting our shows there was about as effective as "pouring smoke through a keyhole" as Jim Ross would say.

Although my favourite comment I ever got was a tweet saying "lol attitude era neva cumin back you gay"

4. What have the highlights of the show been so far?

The first real highlight in my mind was discussing the little know 3rd "invasion" of WCW by adolescent humour enthusiasts D-Generation X. They had shown up to WCW in a tank in 1998 in a pretty blazon act of viral marketing. As I've been watching all the episodes of Raw is War from this period (for ehhhh… research), I was shocked to see a second invasion the following week on raw where DX went to the CNN centre and further bamboozled to see HHH get into a fighter jet on the 3rd week.

In a fittingly "attitude era" moment, we later see stock footage of a man in a jet. HHH's voice is then heard claiming he was in the COCKpit. Possibly the least witty remark ever said on television ever.

And these have been the real highlights – the stuff which hasn't been included on WWE's many DVD compilations for one reason or the other. There's so much stuff that has happened that has simply been forgotten about or simply ignored. Undertaker seemingly slitting his wrists on live tv and making a man drink the blood really should be common knowledge. As should the time Mick Foley gave Kurrgan financial advice backstage or Jeff Jarrett had a couple of lads dressed like John Virgo on "Big Break" accompany him to his matches.

A real highlight also has been Billy's reactions to seeing things for the first time. It's rather unpredictable. He decided after our first episode he hated Road Dogg and Bad Ass Billy Gunn (The New Age Outlaws). But he loves Luna Vachon. It can't be explained.

 

 

5. Complex Magazine recently ran an article (read it HERE) on how Wrestlers influenced fashion. What’s your take on this?

As a man who's been trying (and failing) to get Zubaz for the last 6 months, I can safely say I fully support the influence of wrestling on fashion. Recently I saw a whole lot of people wearing tie-dye in Dalston Junction. I can only assume they're all massive Dude Love fans.

I am quietly hoping however that Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie don't inexplicably influence street wear anytime soon. I'm not ready to see people wearing half shirts and daisy-dukes on the high street just yet.

 

6. Finally, greatest wrestler of all time?

Stone Cold Steve Austin

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by SeanM