Some people view going from a grandfathered Advanced class to a current Extra would be a downgrade.
All the old Advanced questions (except those dealing with regulations that were changed) were put in the Extra pool. Yes, the code tests went away, but for ten years (1990-2000) you could get any class of US license with no more than a 5 wpm code test and a medical waiver.
I have a "current Extra" - it was issued in 1970 and been renewed ever since. It's not a downgrade from the Advanced - which I got in 1968.
The reason the test seemed so hard for some folks is that they took it when they had a lot less experience.
73 de Jim N2EY