The Attitude Era is considered one of the best periods in WWE history. With larger-than-life stars like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, a less restrictive TV-14 rating, and some legitimate competition from WCW, the late 1990s and early 2000s are home to many wrestling fans fondest memories.
In WWE, specifically, there was a fresh take. Stories were more dramatic, the characters were darker and weirder, and there was something big almost every week. But what were the best tales told in the Attitude Era? Well, that's a tough question to answer, but we're going to do our best to try.
10 Team Extreme Vs E&C vs The Dudley Boyz
In a rare form of long-tail storytelling, the triple threat ladder matches including the Hardyz, Edge and Christian, and the Dudley Boys is simple. There was less drama and more action as the three teams fought to decide who is best. That's not to say the rivalry was completely devoid of drama, however. In fact, this rivalry dates back to when the Hardyz were managed by Michael Hayes while Edge and Christian were in the Brood. Eventually, after some place-swapping, the two teams met in a ladder match at Judgment Day 1999 for the services of Terri Runnels. Following that legendary bout, Team Extreme found themselves at odds with the Dudley Boyz. They solved their issues in a Tables Match.
That's when it clicked. The Dudleys specialize with tables, The Hardyz love ladders, and Edge and Christian use chairs. Put them all together and you have a trilogy of matches that are unforgettable, in a feud about who is the best.
9 Bret Screwed Bret
With Bret Hart's final match taking place at Survivor Series 1997 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Hart walked into the arena as WWE champion and he refused to lose to Michaels, whose backstage antics made it impossible for Hart to agree to a loss. McMahon decided to screw Hart in the match, causing backlash from fans and wrestlers alike.
In an attempt to save face, McMahon sat down for an interview on a subsequent Raw and pulled the curtain back just a little bit, putting the blame on Hart. The memorable line from this was "Bret Screwed Bret", which unintentionally turned the owner of the WWE heel, launching the company into a new era.
8 The Black Wedding/Greater Power
Undertaker, who claimed to work for a Greater Power, kidnapped Stephanie McMahon during Backlash 1999. The following night, we learned the Lord of Darkness wanted to use the boss' daughter as leverage over McMahon in an attempt to gain control of the WWE. For whatever reason, Undertaker decided to skip out on the contract signing to become the owner of the company, and decided to marry/crucify Stephanie instead. This prompted Vince McMahon to appeal to Austin to help him save his daughter. Reluctantly, the Texas Rattlesnake agreed.
It turns out, Mr. McMahon created the whole scenario just to prove a point to Austin. He will put his family in danger to one-up his rivals.
7 Marc Mero Won't Let Sable Show The World Her Puppies
Look, the Attitude Era had some, pretty dumb storylines, and this might be the stupidest, but at the end of the day, it got the crowd going, so we guess it was successful. Marc Mero was married to Sable, who had puppies Jerry Lawler and the fans wanted to see. But her husband didn't want her showing them off. Sable eventually became so popular, that Mero noticed, becoming consumed with jealousy.
The feud actually resulted in a pretty solid match where Sable and Edge took on Marc Merro and Jaqueline, where the young Canadian and the centerpiece of the women's division came out on top, making for a compelling bit of drama.
6 Test & Stephanie McMahon's Love
When Stephanie McMahon declared her love for Test, her brother Shane did not approve. He felt as though Test wasn't good enough to date a McMahon, and with some newly found power, he decided to set his sights on Test. Since this is wrestling, however, Shane didn't have a sitdown with his sister to tell her why he doesn't like her new boyfriend. Instead, he challenged Test to a "Love Her Or Leave Her" match.
The match itself was actually pretty good, and in the end, love won. Test toppled the evil McMahon and was able to date Stephanie unobstructed until Triple H drugged her and married her in a Las Vegas drive-through chapel.
5 Mick Foley Finally Wins Gold
Foley's championship storyline may be remembered for the end result, but there was a lot of long-term builds including multiple factions resulting in a fantastic long-term story that paid off perfectly. To start our tale Mankind visiting McMahon in the hospital but quickly turned sour when the boss collaborated with The Rock to screw the underdog out of a title. So when giving Foley another shot, McMahon ensured shenanigans ensued. But Foley had a backup plan. D-Generation X (who consistently ran into both The Rock and McMahon) came to his aid helping him beat the WWE Champion and capture gold.
4 Kurt Angle/Stephanie McMahon/Triple H Love Triangle
After Triple H and Stephanie essentially took over WWE, another man entered the picture — Kurt Angle. The Olympic Gold Medalist couldn't be more different than Triple H either, he was goofy, drank milk, and was more of a comedy act, while Triple H was more of a cool, denim-clad butt-kicker.
Somehow, it appeared Angle caught feels for McMahon, and it looked like the feeling was mutual. After kissing an unexpected Stephanie, however, he admitted his feelings and caught a beatdown for his troubles by The Game. It was an intriguing storyline that really kept the fans guessing what will happen next.
3 Someone's Trying To Kill Steve Austin
After Steve Austin was hit by a car, the most interesting "who done it" in wrestling. All signs pointed to Triple H, who was caught on camera in the area of the incident. This caused a needless altercation when the Texas Rattlesnake finally returned.
Eventually, we learned the real man behind the incident was Rikishi, a large man known for shoving his butt in his opponent's faces. He tried to murder Austin the help his cousin, The Rock. In this one storyline, WWE attempted to create another main eventer, and while that didn't quite work out, this story was a reason to keep tuning into WWE in 2000.
2 The Rise Of The Rock
There was a point in time when The Rock debuted as Rocky Miavia and was booed out of the arena. Fans would chant "die Rocky die" and he took note. So, he bided his time, waiting for the opportunity to shock the world. That time was with the Nation of Domination. The faction, led by Ron Simmons, took many young African American stars and gave them a platform to show off their skill, but no one took off like The Rock.
In a speech, The People's Champ revealed the chants by the fans and that he wanted respect. His attitude changed, his persona was different, and eventually, he took out the leader of the Nation and became a megastar.
1 Undertaker's Long Lost Brother
When things went sour between the Deadman and his manager, Paul Barrer, he discovered he had a long lost brother who he thought died in a fire he accidentally started as a child. After weeks of teasing that he's found, Kane finally made his debut by ripping off a cell door and attacking his brother. Undertaker insisted he would not fight his flesh, but eventually, he was backed into a corner and did just that. While Undertaker almost always got the best of his brother, there was something about Kane that not only made him endearing but also threatening.
Despite their animosity, however, they're still brothers, and when Kane was placed in a situation that would see him be set on fire, Undertaker came to his aid. This created one of the most formidable duos in wrestling history.