Wrestling fans still look back on the Attitude Era as being the golden age where seemingly nothing could go wrong. Thanks to the new attitude that the WWE (or WWF at the time, if you prefer) was bringing, it ended up putting WCW out of business. People fondly remember acts like Stone Cold, The Rock, The Undertaker, Mick Foley and many others that ushered in the late 1990s mainstream boom of wrestling.
What a lot of people forget when they look back on the Attitude Era with nostalgia goggles on, though, is that there were a lot of terrible gimmicks. The early 1990s is frequently panned by critics and fans for some of the worst gimmicks ever created, but the Attitude Era had almost as many. The difference was, that the Attitude Era had plenty of legitimate superstars that covered up all of the bad gimmicks unlike the early 1990s. Another thing is that while the gimmicks of the early 1990s were just plain awful, a lot of the ones from the Attitude Era were completely offensive. It wasn’t a kid-friendly product at the time, but that didn’t stop kids from watching.
A lot of the Attitude Era was throwing a bunch of stuff out there and seeing what would resonate with the audience. D-Generation X's antics stuck with the crowd. Stone Cold driving out on a Zamboni or beer truck clicked with viewers. The Rock turning from a white meat babyface to a member of the Nation of Domination gave the fans the chance to boo him as much as they wanted, and The Rock ran with it. Vince McMahon playing the evil boss was a stroke of genius following the 1997 Survivor Series fiasco.
Stuff like the Big Bossman hanging from a cell and Road Warrior Hawk being suicidal on screen did NOT stick.
There are some things though, that were either offensive at the time, or some that didn't seem so bad back then, but haven't aged well when looking back at them. Some of the gimmicks from the Attitude Era might be completely forgettable for you, while others were fairly big mid-card names that were more offensive than you remember. Here are the 10 most offensive gimmicks ever produced by the Attitude Era.
10 Chris Kanyon
9 Kai En Tai
8 The Oddities
6 The Minis
5 Val Venis
4 The Godfather
2 PMS and Meat
1 Beaver Cleavage
Chaz Warrington had a successful run with the WWE as Mosh of the Headbangers. The Headbangers even won the Tag Team Championship at one point before Glenn Ruth (Thrasher) suffered a knee injury in 1999 to end the group. Warrington was still healthy, so he had to come back with his own gimmick. What the WWE came up with was Beaver Cleavage, a character that’s supposed to be like the main character from “Leave it to Beaver”, except with incestual overtones that included drinking “mother’s milk”. Gross. The gimmick only lasted a month as Warrington came out as Chaz and said the gimmick was stupid before getting into a feud with PMS and Meat. What a combo.
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