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The W - Pro Wrestling - When did WWE "Jump the Shark"?
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The Vile One

Since: 3.1.02

Since last post: 5722 days
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#1 Posted on
Where did it all go wrong? I mean even now you have JR saying the shows suck, Austin is saying the shows suck, and the WWE seems to be reborn every week like WCW near the end. But where did this decline start? For those who do not know, the near cliche phrase "Jumping the shark" refers to the time on Happy Days where Fonzie literally jumped over a shark, and after that the show went downhill. So when did WWE "jump the shark" or peak so to speak?

Some might say early the first half of 2000. At this time the WWF was putting on some very entertaining shows usually with some better than average wrestling, even though the McMahons still ran rampant. HHH had a fun feud with Cactus Jack, the Radicalz weren't a total joke yet, HHH and the Rock had neat Iron Man match, and a feud with Jericho and Benoit started.

Storyline and direction wise, I'd say around Wrestlemania 17 (a show I attended). At this point WWF had some well built up feuds and matches and the final showdown between Austin and the Rock albeit with a bad finish. And right after this PPV storylines, matches, shows, and ppv's all went to shit hell and back again. I say WM 17 is where they "jumped the shark".

From a pure wrestling perspective, I think the last really great show for some good wrestling was probably Summerslam '01. I think you can find a lot of mistakes about the InVasion angle and other problems with WWE here, but wrestling wise it was an exceptional ppv. I don't think there's been a PPV with a better OVERALL card and matches since then.

What do you think?

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Polska kielbasa

Since: 3.1.02

Since last post: 5658 days
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#2 Posted on
Jokingly, when they didn't follow up on the Handbaby story.

Seriously, when Foley retired. he was the reason I started watching, and when he left, it became just another TV show. A lot of the excitement evaporated for me then.

I still watch because I need to watch something diverting once in awhile, and wrestling is close enough to comic books that I don't need to use all my brain power to follow it. It's sports without the stats, and drama without too much logic. Donuts for the soul, perhaps.

They still had some great moments after Foley left, but I'd prefer mediocre Foley to almost anything else. Hell, I even enjoyed his second run as Commissioner, apparently, more than he did.

The upside of not caring as much since he left is that I don't get nearly as upset when the shows don't measure up. Maybe that's why I'm not so whacked out about Unca Eric, although Stephanie has the potential to drive me away at times. I'm bothered by her being GM mainly because it was so obvious

Maybe Linda can come out next week and replace her with Foley.

later, Rudy
Tom Dean

Since: 30.8.02
From: New York, NY

Since last post: 4583 days
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#3 Posted on
I'll agree with Wrestlemania 17. The handling of the Austin/Rock match, which should have been a simple face vs. face "they're fighting over who's the better man, root for whomever you want" match a la Hogan-Warrior, really showed that the writing had gone into the toilet. Getting Debra involved, having her do nothing, and yanking her right back out was nonsensical. Then attempting to turn Austin heel in front of his own crowd was crazy. All it did was confuse people and piss them off. (Which is not to say that wasn't a fucking awesome match as a match... I personally don't feel WWE has had a better one since then.)

The only reason I can think of why they turned Austin heel was because they felt it had to be face vs. heel, and because Rock was making a movie. Neither was a good reason at all, IMO. And even if it DID have to be face vs. heel, the crowds were indicating pre-WM that they wanted Rock as the heel. And in Texas, that would be true 1000 times over.

Then, the next night they probably could have salvaged the whole thing by turning HHH face... again, very clearly what the crowd wanted... but no, they create the Two-Man Power Trip. Now you've got TWO guys who are heels and buddies for no good reason.

Also, at Wrestlemania, WCW really didn't get involved, which I think was another big mistake. After the dramatic and exciting final Nitro, they ended up sitting on WCW and not even mentioning it for a couple of months, which I think is a factor very often underrated. By the time the Invasion actually started, I think a lot of the old WCW fans had skipped town already. Even if they were trying to straighten out WCW affairs and contracts, they should have been hyping the hell out of Shane and the upcoming Invasion at every opportunity. Then once Invasion actually did start, they made all the mistakes that we've been over a million times, beginning with the "hey, Lance Storm is here... let's have him attack Saturn... he's here, after all" spur of the moment decision and just going from there.

Spur of the moment decisions... y'know, I am actually a fan of the person who was made the Smackdown GM, but the thing that irks me about it is that Vince (allegedly) wanted someone else, but that person didn't want to do it so Vince had to fall back on the person who in fact got the role. (Trying to avoid spoilers here.) How the hell can you go on the air on Monday and announce a big surprise for Tuesday when YOU YOURSELF DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS? How? How could you possibly, ever, do that? But that's exactly the type of thing that they seem to be doing every show now.

(The one time they did an angle that seemed to have advance planning was the Alliance. But it flopped because WWF wouldn't put anyone over, so it had to have the reset button pushed on it anyway [ECW invasion], and then it flopped again because, still, WWF wouldn't put anyone over.)

Anyway, that, I think, is the basic problem -- lack of any sort of a long-term plan for anybody -- and post-WM17 is when it became very obvious. I think I would rather have had well-planned, months-long epic plots about Doink the Clown and Battle Kat than have awesome wrestlers getting jerked around and shafted by the plots, which has been the story of the last year-plus.

(edited by T.R. on 17.7.02 0319)

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Since: 26.6.02
From: York, England

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#4 Posted on
For me, it was around the time of Austin's return. The WWF had consistently been putting on great shows and building up several characters until he turned up. I'm not having a go at Austin, I just think he slowed the momentum they had at the time.

Since: 3.1.02
From: Calgary

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#5 Posted on
Agreed... A WrestleMania 17 Dusty finish with The Rock cheating & turning heel only to lose to the triumphant face Stone Cold would've rocked the world over...and would've set up the whole Rock as heel. Imagine The Rock leading the Alliance and The Rock turning on the fans... It would've rocked! But, alas, that was not to be...

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Since: 26.6.02
From: York, England

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#6 Posted on
No chance of a Rock heel turn when there is a movie coming out. It might hurt the box office.
Tracheotomy Man

Since: 26.5.02
From: Oceanside, CA

Since last post: 5495 days
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#7 Posted on
Ah, I'd say that it all started to go down after Austin returned, Rikishi was revealed as the driver, and HHH no-sold death. Sure there's been plenty of great things since, but for me, the bad always outnumbers the good. If it wasn't for the internet and the ability to go online right after RAW ends so that I can see when the people I really want to see are going to wrestle, I probably wouldn't watch...

J. Kyle

Since: 21.2.02
From: The Land of Aloha

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#8 Posted on says:

When Shane turned heel, it killed the fucking InVasion and the WWF jumped the shark.

On a similar note, I miss the Lone Gunmen.

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Thirty Millionth Hit

Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
i think WWE starting going down hill was right after the last nitro...

they seemed to stop "hey, we won the monday night what?"

You can't fire a gun in a confined space! What are you tring to do, make us deaf?!"
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Since: 2.1.02

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#10 Posted on
When the love triangle between Triple H, Steph and Kurt ended with a whimper. Also when Austin returned right around the same time.

I guess it will offically jump the shark when Ted McGinley shows up.

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Bart Simpson

Since: 28.4.02
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 341 days
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#11 Posted on
It was me, Austin! It was me, all along!

They had a perfect storyline building with Vince's gradual face turn and Austin's reluctant acceptance of it, and they pissed it all away. That was the first misstep the WWF had made, storyline wise, in about two years.

Sure, there were great periods after that (early 2000, the month leading up to the Invasion), but that was when we stopped expecting things to turn out well.

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Since: 2.1.02

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#12 Posted on
Yeah, that was a pretty good storyline that backfired. It was obvious who was behind that mistake.

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Bart Simpson

Since: 17.7.02
From: Columbus, Ohio

Since last post: 5643 days
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#13 Posted on
The McMahon-Helmsley Error did it for me.

It started out fine. Steph's turn at Armageddon was ok by me. The idea of HHH, Steph, and Desperation X running roughshod over a helpless WWF had great potential. I was on board... for a while anyway.

But ever so slowly, the crap came to light.

Non-stop Test punk-outs for three months. McMahons-a-Plenty for WM2K. HHH winning at same, for little more than the swerve. The "Who-ran-over-Austin" debacle. HHH: The Nose that No-Sold Death. Austin's heel turn and ensuing madness. Blowing the Invasion. Blowing the nWo. Misuse of talent. The list goes on, and on, and on. I'm sure I've left out tons.

To me, if you want a moment when it peaked, look to the wedding angle.

Since: 26.6.02
From: York, England

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#14 Posted on
I'd say the peak was a little later than that - about January/February 2000. Cactus Jack vs Triple H, The Radicalz debut, the first few Dudley table breakings.

Since: 2.1.02
From: Houston Texas

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#15 Posted on
The Shark was jumped during the Angle-HHH-Steph love triangle that had only one logical ending. Of course we didn't get that ending and that was the beginning of the downward spiral. That was the signal that politics would reign over entertainment and logic.

In the match that ended with a low blow to Kurt and HHH taking Steph right back was the exact moment that the shark was jumped. The entire "night in Angle's hotel room" was completely ignored and the Helmsley-Steph era started going on strong.

January 4th 1999 - The day WCW injected itself with 10 gallons of Liquid Anthrax...AKA...The day Hogan "Defeated" Nash to win the WCW title in front of 40,000.

Since: 20.3.02
From: California

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#16 Posted on

    Originally posted by A-MOL
    For me, it was around the time of Austin's return. The WWF had consistently been putting on great shows and building up several characters until he turned up. I'm not having a go at Austin, I just think he slowed the momentum they had at the time.

I think this is definitely true to some extent. When Austin returned, in fact the very show where he returned, it was the first one that aired on TNN. A lot of fans were lost in that switch for many complicated reasons and that didn't help them any.

I still think the REAL "Jump the Shark" moment was WM2K, where WrestleMania, where the event that was supposed ALWAYS to give the fans what they want (Rock winning the title, in this case) didn't. WrestleMania, the flagship of the WWF, became no more than an In Your House PPV.

The "Greater Power" angle was probably where the Attitude Era lost its innocence. No longer could WWF fans have total 100% faith that the WWF could do no wrong. They were doing a great job with the whole Vince & Austin post-war angle, but then dropped it, because Vince wanted to still be the big bad guy (a trend which continues to this day) and that hurt the Attitude Era's progress more than anything. They eventually blew off Austin vs Vince in July '99, because they needed to move on.

Unfortunately, it seems as if "moving on" meant it was time to give Vince a new angle as opposed to Austin. When Austin returned, he was given a feud that no one really bought into with Rikishi (which helped slow down momentum), which eventually got placed onto HHH, where HHH finally got his chance to hurt Austin's character, which helped feed into the problems that plague WWE today.

They totally should have made either Jake "The Snake" or DiBiase the Greater Power.

Since: 1.2.02
From: Brooklyn NY

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#17 Posted on
gee, what's sad is that it's so hard to narrow it down to ONE moment ...

If pressed, I would say when WCW "owner" Shane introduced his god-awful sister as the new "owner" of ECW.

In an instant, not only did the Invasion angle go down the drain, but it also convinced me once and for all that McMahon Ego would never again ALLOW wrestling to be enjoyable.

And while I may check in now and then out of curiousity, I can promise you my PPV money will be staying safely in my wallet. Thanks but no thanks.


Since: 1.7.02

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#18 Posted on

'nuff said.
Polska kielbasa

Since: 23.2.02
From: New York

Since last post: 5670 days
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#19 Posted on
'Who hit Austin?' RIKISHI!

To me that's when they MOST DEFINITELY jumped the shark.

Worse.. They teased it might be Billy Gunn! So it could've been worse. But still, who was the genius who thought up that one? Remember Rikishi's promo?

"I duh duh.. fo dah Rock! I duh dit.. fo dah pee po!"


Then they fumbled the love triangle and things just continued to plummet to this very day.


Since: 8.5.02
From: San Diego, CA

Since last post: 2528 days
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#20 Posted on
    Originally posted by shea
    If pressed, I would say when WCW "owner" Shane introduced his god-awful sister as the new "owner" of ECW.

I agree with this, and... The "Two Man Power Trip"... Vince being the Higher Power... who ran over Austin... the catatonic Linda McMahon (who can tell the difference?)... the "Let's all be friends" ending to the HHH/Angle/Steph triangle... Buff Bagwell on a WWF TV show... Austin turning heel in Texas... the telegraphed Austin turn at Invasion... the obvious Angle turn on the Alliance at Survivor Series last year... the HHH/Stephanie divorce angle pushing the Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho, to supporting cast... the list is endless. It's really hard to pick just one spot when it happened.

(edited by mountinman44 on 17.7.02 1103)

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