The 25th Anniversary Edition of Monday Night RAW is chockfull of returns, including many names who helped WWE thrive over the years, such as Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. But how would some of the superstars of the past fare today under PG guidelines?
Professional wrestling constantly evolves to reflect current societal trends and remain relevant. The 1980s were a time in which flamboyant, over-the-top acts such as ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage soared. The 1990s called for violent, edgier characters and WWE programming drifted toward a mature rating.
Today’s wrestling is largely based on more authentic in-ring performances as well as a juxtaposition of kayfabe and reality. For WWE, all of this has to remain family-friendly too. A character such as Val Venis would never gain approval and crowds would resort to grading his in-ring skills, which aren’t always top-shelf quality, to determine his merit. Likewise, there are many superstars returning for RAW who may not have found success within the confines of PG.
As The Ringmaster in 1996, Steve Austin found himself in a situation similar to Cesaro’s, where he was a sound in-ring technician, but he hadn’t found that one character to bring him closer to the brass ring. Then after a fateful cup of tea, he came up with the ‘Stone Cold’ tag, one that would send him to unparalleled heights.
While we all remember the crimson mask as he passed out to Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter at WrestleMania 13, the first moment Austin truly shined was at King of the Ring. There, he uttered the famous words, “You sit there, and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn’t get you anywhere. Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16 . . . Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!”
Although he solidified his character with those words and pushed countless pieces of merchandise with the new moniker, there is no denying Austin’s most famous speech is highly blasphemous. In the New Era and the land of TV-PG, the promo would be scrapped entirely. Imagine him today trying to get over without being able to use 3:16 at all? Not to mention what ensued afterward: the cursing, the mudhole stomping, the beer drinking, and Stunning of many female stars including Linda McMahon. PG guidelines would prohibit almost all of the quirks above, which in essence, would reduce his entire persona back to Ringmaster levels.