WWE's Attitude Era will forever be heralded as its Golden Era and one that will never be replicated. Not only did the Attitude Era bring forth the edgiest programming in WWE history, but during its tenure the company was in a white-hot competition with WCW for ratings.
The Monday Night Wars supplied fans with a serious dilemma on Monday Night's (except at 8PM, as only WCW's Monday Night Nitro would be airing) from 9 PM to 11 PM. To this day WWE fans still clamor for the product to resemble what it did during the Attitude Era. Moreover, that late 90s period is one many fans often confuse as being flawless.
The pros of the Attitude Era far outweigh its cons. Yet, not acknowledging that the Attitude Era had cons is unfair and unreasonable. Here, we take a look at tens pros and five cons of the Attitude Era.
18 MISS: The Vulgarity
In today's PG Era hearing a superstar call another superstar a b***h is shocking and unexpected. Instantaneously, the promo now comes off as more realistic and gravitating to the audience. In the Attitude Era cursing was a commonality, not a rarity. Recently, in a November 2016 episode of Smackdown, the "Irish Lass Kicker" Becky Lynch referred to Suicide Squad's Harley Quinn stunt double, Alexa Bliss, as a b***h in a backstage segment with Renee Young. The crowd responded with a rousing "ohhhhhhhh" due to the unexpectedness of profanity on today's programming. The usage of profanity allows for a character to express a more serious tone and emotion. Today's characters do not have the same luxury as those of the Attitude Era and as a result their promos usually come off as weaker when contrasted with those from the Attitude Era.
17 MISS: Hardcore Championship
Who doesn't enjoy a little violence? Who doesn't enjoy unpredictability? Who doesn't enjoy violence and unpredictability? On November 2nd, 1998, Vince McMahon revealed a new title by the name of the Hardcore Championship. The Hardcore Championship followed a no holds barred premise as one could be pinned inside or outside of the ring, there were no disqualifications or no count outs. This created a good amount of chaos but once Crash Holly won the belt the chaos really hit its peak. Holly introduced a 24/7 rule that initiated that the belt would be defended on a strict twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week basis. As a result, there would be a number of shocking pin falls such as each member of the Mean Street Posse winning the belt at WrestleMania and one of the Godfather's Ho's also winning the belt.
16 DON'T MISS: Terrible Gimmick Matches
Vince Russo was running wild during the Attitude Era, and he was booking gimmick matches left and right - some good, but most, horrible. The worst one? The Kennel From Hell match.
At the 1999 Unforgiven PPV that took place at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Big Bossman faced off against Al Snow in a Kennel from Hell match for the Hardcore Championship. The competitors faced off in a steel cage which was surrounded by the Hell in a Cell structure that had dogs in it as well. A winner would be declared upon one escaping the structure as a victory by submission or pin fall wasn't grounds for a W. The premise of the dogs was to scare Bossman and Snow but they did little to intimidate. Instead, the dogs proceeded to go number one, number two and even hump throughout the matchup. Needless to say the Kennel From Hell match ended up being a colossal failure and it never took place again.
15 MISS: D-Generation X And Their Crazy Antics
In today's wrestling landscape, there's WWE and everyone else. In the Attitude Era, WCW was able to provide WWE with ample competition and one of the most shocking moments was when D-X showed up on WCW's own turf on April 27th, 1998. WCW Monday Night Nitro was set to take place in Norfolk, Virginia at the Norfolk Scope, but ironically, it was their competition that hijacked their own show. Venturing into enemy territory, Triple H, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, X-Pac and Chyna showed up outside of the Norfolk Scope on an army tank as they rallied those outside to chant for them as well as for the outsiders to engage in chanting negative statements about WCW. If there was ever an example of "bringing the fight to them", this is at the top of the list.
14 Miss: The Catchphrases
At 1996 King of the Ring, Stone Cold Steve Austin delivered one of the most memorable promos in WWE history that went a little something like this: "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". This was the birth of the Austin 3:16 phrase. Who can forget Triple H and D-X's popular, "If you ain't down with that, we got two words for ya... suck it!" How about The Rock's "Know your role and shut your mouth"? What about Vince McMahon's "No chance in hell"? Catchy catchphrases were synonymous with wrestlers of the Attitude Era and remain synonymous with them in present day as well.
13 DON'T MISS: WCW Leaking WWE Raw Results
During the Monday Night Wars, WCW Monday Nitro was a live program whereas WWE Monday Night Raw was a taped show. As a result of Raw being taped, the results of what was to air was already known. WCW commentator Tony Schiavone would famously reveal the results of Raw almost instantaneously as WCW would air. However, how does the saying go? Oh yeah, karma's a b***h. On January 4th, 1999, Mankind was to win his first WWF Championship and Schiavone let the cat out of the bag as Eric Bischoff believed the revelation would have viewers tune out of Raw. The strategy epically backfired. An estimated 600,000 viewers flipped from WCW to WWE to watch Foley's win and this was just the stinging blow. From this point forward, WCW never garnered higher than a 5.0 on the ratings scale as its ratings plummeted significantly in 1999. Moreover, its days of being a threat to WWE were a blast from the past.
12 MISS: Blood
The mere presence of blood in a match enhances it as viewers now believe that the combatants involved in the matchup aren't the best of friends. In the Attitude Era blood wasn't uncommon and fans even see WWE Chairman Vince McMahon bloody on multiple occasions. However, while WWE welcomed blood with open arms in the Attitude Era, it is frowned upon in today's WWE. A perfect example of this is Samoa Joe and Finn Balor's matchup at NXT TakeOver: Dallas in April of 2016. Joe had been oozing blood almost as soon as the bell had rang and trainers outside of the ring would check on Joe throughout the match to see if he needed medical assistance. The fans were appalled and chants of "b******t" and "f*** PG" reigned throughout the matchup.
11 MISS: Great Factions
In recent years WWE fans have seen a number of terrible factions such as the League of Nations and Social Outcasts. On the contrary, the Attitude Era had quite the collection of great factions such as D-X, the Corporation, the Ministry, the merging of the Corporation and the Ministry as the Corporate Ministry, and the Nation of Domination. These factions maintained a proper hierarchy as it was established who the upper echelon talent(s) of the group was, who the mid-card talent(s) was and who played the role(s) at the bottom of the card. This allowed for feuds such as Triple H (D-X) versus The Rock (Corporation), the New Age Outlaws (D-X) versus The Acolytes (the Ministry) and power struggles such as The Rock versus the McMahons during his time in the Corporation.
10 DON'T MISS: The Women's Division
Today's Women's Division features the likes of Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Bayley, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. The Women's Division of the Attitude Era featured the likes of Sable, Debra, The Kat and Tori. Granted, the Attitude Era also brought fans women wrestlers who could hold their own in the ring such as Chyna, Ivory, Jacqueline, Lita and Trish Stratus. However, with the exception of a Lita and Trish Stratus matchup, did any combo of those five ladies intrigue the masses? Better yet, were the women able to do what today's women are doing? Sasha Banks and Bayley made history by fighting in the first ever women's Ironman match in NXT and Banks competed in her first Ironman match on the main roster versus Charlotte Flair in 2016. Banks, Charlotte and Lynch can lay claim to having competed in the best match at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, Texas. Today's women are captivating audiences and making history; they are leaps and bounds ahead of the women from the Attitude Era.
9 MISS: The Rock's Promos
He's the self-proclaimed "most electrifying man in sports entertainment history" and before Enzo Amore proclaimed himself as being "Smack talker Skywaylker", the Rock was captivating audiences with his mic prowess. No one was immune from the Rock's verbal assault on the mic as backstage interviewers such as Michael Cole (prior to when he moved to commentary), Kevin Kelly, Lillian Garcia and of course Jonathan Coachman were ripped time in and time out when the Rock was present. The Rock once threw his own t-shirt on Cole while he was interviewing him and proceeded with the interview. The Rock once made Kelly pick his nose during an interview. Garcia was frequently taunted for wanting the "Great One's strudel". Coachman, was demanded to sing "Copa Cabana" as the Rock berated him. Let's not even get started on the Rock's verbal assault towards fellow wrestlers.
8 MISS: Steve Austin vs Vince McMahon
The Attitude Era had a number of compelling feuds such as Steve Austin versus the Rock, the Rock versus Mankind and Triple H versus Mankind. However, while the forenamed feuds were indeed almost always must watch tv, you'd be hard pressed to find a time where a Austin and McMahon segment wasn't must see tv. The feud was one many fans could relate to with Austin playing the role of a disgruntled employee who was sick and tired of his boss. However, unlike most disgruntled employees, Austin would actually lash out at his boss physically. Some of Austin's most entertaining and downright ballsy antics against McMahon include him dressing up as a doctor and attacking his boss in a hospital room and spraying him with a beer hose from a beer truck. Austin versus McMahon wasn't feud of the Attitude Era; it was the feud of the Attitude Era.
7 DON'T MISS: The Oddities
The Oddities just may very well be WWE's worst faction of all-time and you won't find many, if any, that would say they can't lay acclaim to that title. The Oddities gimmick was that they were, you guessed it- odd. The masked Golga inexplicably brought out a plush doll of everyone's favorite South Park character (with respect to Butters) Eric Cartman. Kurrgan was deemed odd because he was a towering seven footer. Yet, this didn't make the likes of Kane or The Undertaker odd (well at least not odd in terms of deterring them from the main event scene). The same could be said for Giant Silva. The group lasted just eight months from May 1998 to January of 1999 with no member claiming any title. Surprise, surprise!
6 MISS: Career-Defining Wins & Feel-Good Moments
On January 4th, 1999, Mankind won his first WWE Championship. The moment was supposed to be a truly feel good moment as Misses Foley's baby boy, Mick, had finally reached the pinnacle of the sport. Mankind didn't exactly have an imposing physique nor a build that Vince McMahon was fond of. As a result, Mankind winning the WWF Championship wasn't something that was expected, rather it was surprising. However, WCW tried to put a damper on the feel good moment by revealing that Mankind was winning the title on the taped episode of Raw. The move backfired on WCW as viewers switched the dial to watch Foley win the belt. Before Daniel Bryan became WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XXX, Foley became the lovable underdog to hold the company's greatest prize.
5 MISS: Monday Night Wars
Billionaire Ted aka Ted Turner had a checkbook that easily surpassed that of Vince McMahon's during the Attitude Era days. As a result, Turner was able to lure away upper echelon WWE stars such as Scott Hall, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash. This not only allowed WCW to further strengthen its roster but to kill two birds with one stone as it was depleting WWE's roster. WCW proved to be fierce competition for the WWE as it defeated the Stamford, Connecticut based company for over a year and a half for 84 weeks straight. Both brands offered compelling storylines and characters that fans were invested in. WCW had the likes of n.W.o. Hollywood, n.W.o. Wolfpack, Goldberg and DDP. WWE had the likes of D-X, Steve Austin, the Rock and the Undertaker. Since the two promotions were in direct competition with each other they aimed to put out the best product each Monday night to defeat the other in the ratings war and this is what led to such memorable television that is talked about until this day.
1 DON'T MISS: Watching A Human "Broken In Half"
Ever wonder how Mankind was donned the "Hardcore Legend"? Watch his Hell in a Cell match against 'Taker at King of the Ring in 1998 and you'll have your answer. The match was intriguing from the get go as it started on top of the Hell in a Cell and not inside of it. The Deadman hurled Mankind off the cell as Mankind plummeted into the commentary table. Foley would then be put on a stretcher in order to prevent further damage. But, Foley wasn't having any of it as he reentered the cell. This proved to not be the wisest decision as while on top of the cell, 'Taker delivered a chokeslam to Foley as he plummeted down to the ring. The match helped define Foley and cement his legacy as one of the toughest SOBs to compete in WWE's squared circle; but, no one, including Foley himself, would like for anyone to experience the type of prolonging pain he still feels today as a result of this match.