Was this angle in the fall of 2000 a contributing factor to the early decline of the Attitude Era and mainstream popularity of wrestling? A lot of people use the Invasion as the main catalyst for the decline in popularity, but in my opinion it came several months before during this angle and time period.
The WWF was red hot in early 2000 frequently drawing 6 and sometimes even hitting 7’s in the ratings. By the end of the year, they were regularly drawing in the 5’s and even went as low as the high 4’s a few times in October. The August 21, 2000 edition of Raw drew a 6.2 and less than 2 months later on October 16, 2000 (the go home show for No Mercy, where one of the featured matches was Austin vs. Rikishi) they drew a 4.8.
I’m not saying that the WWF wasn’t still very popular at the end of the year 2000, but the decline in viewership and loss of casual fans had seemingly begun during this time.
My aunt and cousin also jumped on the wrestling boom bandwagon in mid-1999 and rode the wave ordering monthly PPV’s up until Unforgiven 2000 when they stopped. They soon stopped watching Raw altogether not long after as well.
Heel Rikishi came out of no where and was one of the lamest payoffs to a long term angle in wrestling history.
Come to think of it, fall 2000 WWF was pretty lame in general with a love triangle angle with Kurt, Steph and Triple H that did not have the best of payoffs. Mick Foley as face commissioner also seemed to be getting stale.
Do you agree or disagree in that this angle and fall of 2000 era gets understated in the decline of the mainstream popularity of wrestling and the end of the Attitude Era?