The Attitude Era was undoubtedly the shining light of WWE, as it is what started the second real wrestling boom and is what inevitably won WWE the Monday night wars. Just in 2001 alone, the total pay per view buy rate was just over 8 million in total. It is also widely acknowledged that the marque WrestleMania from this era, WrestleMania X-Seven, is the best WrestleMania in history. Nowadays people are often complaining about the product that WWE puts out and wish that the company would revert back to the good old days of The Attitude Era.
One of the key reasons that The Attitude Era was so successful was the incredible Superstars and characters that were on the roster. People like The Rock and Stone Cold would be a good enough reason to tune in to Raw and that's without all the other fantastic characters that were around. While there have been many comparisons between many superstars on the current roster and the superstars of yesteryear, there has never been a scenario imagined where the superstars of The Attitude Era were to début in today's time. While some of these wrestlers are actually still on the roster, we already know who they are from The Attitude Era. Here, we'
So without further ado, here are the top 15 superstars of the attitude era and how they would cope today.
15 Team Extreme
Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy and Lita were loved by fans all over for their death defying moves and classic matches with The Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian. While Team Extreme were never known for their mic skills, with even JR saying Matt could improve, that didn't seem to hinder them in getting over in The Attitude Era. It just goes to show they're still wrestling with TNA and are over, years later. Matches with the likes of The Usos and The Lucha Dragons would be very exciting to see, especially with extreme stipulations. It would also be interesting to see Lita in today's Women's landscape, as she would offer an extreme alternative to the Women today.
14 Edge and Christian
While their in ring skills were very good, what got Edge and Christian over was their incredible mic skills and charisma, particularly their annoying (but great) habit of playing other superstar's themes with kazoos. Nowadays tag teams won't get as much microphone time, meaning that possibly Edge and Christian wouldn't be as over a team due to not standing out as much, though New Day seems to be the exception to this rule. However with a good singles run for each competitor and adequate mic time, they would thrive.
13 The Dudley Boyz
The Dudley Boyz were famous for their use of Tables and as unfortunate as it may be, this may not be enough in today's WWE. When The Dudley Boyz first showed up in WWE, the use of tables was a revolutionary thing, but the average viewer today is likely a lot desensitized to violence than they used to be. If you combine this with the already less violent PG nature of today's product, it means that tTe Dudley Boyz wouldn't have as much of an opportunity to stand out with the crowd. Bubba Ray has proven himself to be a useful heel though, so at least he would have some chance to shine there.
12 Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon has made a career out of doing extreme stunts and has earned the respect of many despite his status at the boss' son, even being awarded the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year in 1999. It showed when he made his return this year, as fans responded very well to him putting his body on the line. Even though he never was a world class wrestler, he had the skills to make it through. If he was to debut today, fans would be in awe at how he was willing to go through anything to get that win. He also makes a very useful general manager of Raw and can be a good thorn in Vince's side.
11 The New Age Outlaws
These two superstars were put together when creative had nothing to do with them, but at one point had the 3rd highest merchandise sales, only behind The Rock and Steve Austin. Unlike Edge and Christian, The New Age Outlawz would be able to use their mic skills to get over, with their entrance being very catchy, as well as their catchphrases making them a must see act (think Enzo Amore and Big Cass), however some of the PG era conditions would stifle them a little, as well as their limited wrestling ability.
10 Bret Hart
'The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.' While Bret Hart did play a more prominent role in the era before The Attitude Era, he did play a big role in establishing many superstars at the beginning of The Attitude Era before switching to WCW. Bret Hart in today's WWE would be similar to Cesaro, in the sense that he has limited microphone skills but amazing technical wrestling abilities. What would get Bret Hart over today would be the quality matches he would put on with opponents, such as Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Seth Rollins. The only thing that would hinder him would be his mic skills.
9 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho has gone on the record saying that he thinks today's product is better than Ehe Attitude Era, especially in terms of actual wrestling and Jericho can put on a wrestling clinic with just about any wrestler on the planet.When you add that with his ability to hold his own talking to the vast majority of superstars, this should equate to Jericho being over in pretty much any generation. He is also one of the best true heels in the history of the business with everything he does to get heat, something which is a rarity in today's WWE.
8 Shawn Michaels
If the 2002 Shawn Michaels had started in today's WWE, he would be loved by fans all over the world, respected by everyone he worked with and would undoubtedly be a success. However if the pre-2002 Shawn Michaels had made his debut today, with all his backstage politicking and drama, the same could not be said. WWE are very public with their anti-bullying campaign and would obviously be outraged if they saw it occurring within their own company. Just from a performers stand point though, he is one the greatest wrestlers of all time and that should be enough.
Kane unfortunately is everything that Vince McMahon thinks a main event WWE superstar should be: A big strong giant. Kane represents something of the old guard in WWE at the moment, as the big guys are going out and the smaller, more technical guys are coming in. He doesn't even have incredible talking skills that could potentially save his act. Unlike his 'Brother', The Undertaker, he doesn't even have the aura about him that would make him an intriguing superstar. His only saving grace is that he could be used to make some of the smaller guys look more impressive.
6 The Undertaker
Unlike Kane, The Undertaker has a supernatural superstar aura about him, which keeps you tuned into anything to do with him. His promo skills are very good, as they're short and sweet and even though he really has the same move set as Kane, everything he does somehow looks more devastating. However, if The Undertaker was to debut today, it seems unlikely that he would have the WrestleMania streak that he did, with Creative not really thinking that long term any more. This could potentially damage the longevity of his career due to him not being the WrestleMania draw that he is today.
5 Triple H
Triple H has said that today's product could be more creative and 'a better show'. Nowadays Triple H is more involved with the behind the scenes of WWE, but if he was to debut today, it would be a different story. He has always been a very underrated technical wrestler and his ability to cut a promo has always been recognized. However, many people think that Triple H's success is only due to his position in the company and he certainly would not be able to marry Stephanie if he made his debut today. It seems unlikely that he would rise as high as he did without as much backstage support as he did, but his skills would still get him over.
4 Mr McMahon
Note: This is if the on screen character of Mr McMahon was to début today.
If Mr McMahon was to appear on screen today, it would be assumed that the evil authority figurehead had not been seen before on the wrestling scene (we'd have to assume WCW hadn't done it either here), meaning it would be incredibly fresh if seen today. Vince McMahon has always been an incredible talker and he has always been a guaranteed heat magnet with the crowd. Some of the most popular angles in WWE history have been centred around Vince and would it would be possible to recreate these today.
3 Mick Foley
Mick Foley is one of the most unique superstars in professional wrestling history, however, like other superstars he is not a fan of the current WWE product. The Hardcore Legend doesn't rate the WWE's ability to create new stars or to listen to its fans. Mick Foley really should not have got over in The Attitude Era with his very strange Mankind gimmick, but it did not stop him then and he ended up being a three time WWE Champion. His hardcore style and insane stunts would surely make him adored by fans all over, combined with the fact he looks like 'one of us', providing a nice contrast to some of the big muscular superstars. At the same time, today's PG Era would mean he needs to dial it back a little bit.
2 The Rock
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is a true success story. When he made his debut, he famously had $7 to his name. He then rose to be a true icon in professional wrestling and a global superstar. What made The Rock so successful and loved was his amazing promo skills, including his million catchphrases and a lot of his microphone success was due to the freedom he was given in his script. However, a worry today would be that with the heavily scripted nature of today's WWE promos, The Rock would not be able to get himself quite as over as before. Given the right freedom and feuds though, he would be the superstar he has the potential to be.
1 Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold is undoubtedly the most iconic superstar of The Attitude Era and is certainly among the top two of all time. This is the man who defined the whole era and set the bar for what a major superstar should be. While some of his antics today would be a little limited due to PG restrictions, his brawling style would still be popular and his Stunner's coming out of nowhere (much like an RKO) would make fans go crazy. He would redefine the role of an anti-hero, feuding with any authority figure present at the time. Much like Mick Foley being one of the people, Stone Cold is even more so one of the people; a guy that drinks beer and hates his boss. That will never get old.
Verdict: Would still be the superstar of the era and would again be up there with Hogan.
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