Scott — been loving your stuff since the rspw days. Thanks for your continued unhealthy obsession with the art. You obviously have a great following, and that includes me!
I’ve been listening to Cornette’s rants, and he sometimes mentions the "rats". Since it came up in the past couple of days I’ll ask this two part question:
1) Were the pretty boy/rats connections really a southern phenomena. I grew up as a Minneapolis/AWA guy….I just don’t remember that in the crowd (how was Billy Robinson going to reverse the armlock! That is what we cared about). But I also don’t remember it in the WWF in the ’80s as well.
2) Was it a mistake to abandon the female audience at that time (my opinion)? Too much blood in the NWA, too much cartoons in the WWF. It has obviously all changed, but you watch the 80’s stuff and there was a paying market there, and why did it fade away in the 90s?
Randy Orton would argue there’s still plenty of rats around, I bet.
Just to be clear here, when wrestlers refer to "the rats" they’re not talking about the female audience in general, but rather the specific groupies who follow the wrestlers around backstage looking for action.
The whole "pretty boy team" thing really did seem to be a southern deal, especially for the Rock N Roll Express, but as we hit 88 in the Observer recaps, you can see that whole dynamic just suddenly drop off the face of the earth. Really, it didn’t return again that strongly until the Hardy Boyz in 1999 (and I can testify from my experience at TV tapings and house shows at the time that girls were LOUD in their support of Jeff and Matt).
I don’t think the NWA really abandoned the female audience, because they were desperately clinging to that group for as long as they could by putting Sting and Luger out there to appeal to them, but nothing lasts forever in wrestling anyway.