Professional wrestling slogan.
The success of WWF Attitude pretty much mirrored the success of professional wrestling in the late 90s. Out of Attitude came Stone Cold Steve Austin, Degeneration X, The Rock and Vince 'Mr' McMahon. Attitude became the byword for the edgy, sexual, violent, racy programming that the WWF provided to millions of fans. Attitude took the WWF from 1.8 ratings against WCW's competing Monday Nitro programme to 9.2s with The Rock at the height of his powers.
Fast forward only two short years, and the WWF has become the sole survivor in the wrestling turf wars. WCW is dead - Vince bought it and systematically destroyed it in the horrible 'Invasion' storyline. ECW is dead - Vince, in the words of Paul Heyman - 'stole their wrestlers, stole their ideas, stole their legacy' - and for what? RAW garnered a 4.1 the week before the feud-ending Survivor Series blowoff. That's less than half the fans that tuned in back in that wonderful spring of 1999.
So what next? One answer might be Desire. Amongst the horrible hotshot booking, lazy wrestling and ratings spirals, there is one thing that the WWF still does better than any other sports or media organisation in the world - video promos.
I wish there was an archive of WWF promos somewhere, because I would never need to watch another show ever again. The seamless blending of amazing, rousing music - from Limp Bizkit to Also Sprach Zarathustra, punishing sound effects, colour and video motion effects, and of course the amazing soundbites together into the most powerful vignettes ever put out there.
The Desire promos are no different. Taking some of the most evocative tracks from some of the biggest names in WWF-demographic music, from the amazing My Sacrifice by Creed to the nothing short of tear-jerking Lonely Road Of Faith by Kid Rock, Desire is the WWF's first real gesture towards acknowledging the rich history of the business beyond the accepted Thesz/Rogers/Sammartino dynasty. Of course, it's much easier to do that when you are the only show in town :)
The first Desire spot used My Sacrifice as its backing track, and at the time was possibly the best video montage that the WWF team had ever put together. It showed the greatest moments of the last two years in the WWF - the high spots, the impact moves, the personalities, the pain, the glory, the love and the fear - building to a climax showing the epitome of the WWF work ethic: Triple H, walking out of the arena where he had just ripped apart his quadriceps entertaining the fans.
However, for most WWF fans, especially those who immerse themselves in wrestling further than Raw and Smackdown every week, the Desire video introduced by Ric Flair in an attempt to stop Vince McMahon from bringing in the nWo was one of the most powerful markout moments in wrestling history. It begins with a shot of Vince McMahon, Sr. and a montage of some of the famous faces of the old WWWF from the days before Hulkamania ran wild - Bruno, Pedro Morales, Chief Jay Strongbow, Gorilla Monsoon, Andre The Giant, The Valiant Brothers, the Briscos, through to the early days of the Rock'n'Wrestling Connection - 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper smashing 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka with a coconut; Hulk going throug the curtain to win the WWF title for the first time; Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson winning the tag belts; Bob Backlund submitting to the Iron Sheik to end his mammoth title run ; Andre slamming Big John Studd at Wrestlemania.
The montage continues into the boom years of the '80s - Randy Savage, Rciky Steamboat, Ted DiBiase, 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan,Sargeant Slaughter, The Ultimate Warrior, Koko B. Ware, and builds to a huge climax as the graphic proclaims "WWF: The New Generation", heralding the appearance of Bret, Owen, Shawn, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Bulldog, Undertaker, 'Blue Blood' Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Doink and Kamala. As the music takes a sinister turn, we are treated to images of the Monday Night Wars - the nWo, Madusa dumping the WWF Womens' Belt in the trash...and then the infamous screwjob at Montreal - complete with Vince and Shane waving an ironic goodbye to Bret Hart.
As the music blasts into a typical Kid Rock nu-metal rap segment, we see the graphic for WWF Attitude. The screen explodes with DX crotch chops, Mike Tyson, Goldust, Godfather, Val Venis, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Chyna's ass, Stacy Keibler, Stephanine McMahon getting stinkfaced and Taker crucifying Stone Cold, before the rousing climax builds into a montage bringing all the eras together - from Savage, Michaels and Angle spinning around to Moolah, Alundra Blayze, Chyna, Lita and Trish Stratus to the three generations of the Maivia family, and all the great champions from Sammartino to Chris Jericho. Finally the promo ends with Vince's face blending into that of his father's, and the message still burned into the watcher's mind: If it looks good, you'll see it; if it sounds good, you'll hear it; if it's marketed right, you'll buy it; but...if it's real, you'll feel it.
Desire isn't meant to change the face of wrestling like Attitude, but it sure made me mark out - not for a wrestler, or a spot, or an angle - but for the entire business. In that two minute clip is condensed the entire reason why myself, the other members of EPWNCOD, and every other true wrestling fan worldwide love this business.
What in the blue HELL has this node got to do with this softlink? Frickin' mentalists.