WWE's Attitude Era is considered one of the golden ages in professional wrestling. One of the edgiest and most entertaining periods of wrestling history, it gave birth to some of the most entertaining and incredible wrestlers/teams to be mimicked and used as reference for years and years to come. But which of these wrestlers, taken directly from this period in time, and dropped into the current world would succeed?
The Reality Era is a whole different monster in terms of professional wrestlers and their connection with the fans. Where kayfabe is dead and wrestling fans feel like they can write better television than WWE Creative, characters and gimmicks that worked during the Attitude Era may fall flat with today's audiences. Due to many people understanding that it's a show, the show is live, and these people are trying to put on a show under the guise of athletic competition, their suspension of disbelief barely ever comes into play. People have a hard time getting lost in the WWE's storylines nowadays because they know that if a person isn't acting real, they jump on it immediately and boo them until they're Blue Meanie in the face. So what does a wrestler have to do in the Reality Era to get over?
We look at the wrestlers who are very much over right now and those who are not. The wrestlers that are truly over with the fans are the one's who act as real as they possibly can. John Cena is probably the most over person in WWE just because he garners such a huge reaction from how he genuinely is in real life. Though his Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect moniker is about as over done as a hanging piece of meat in a Rocky movie, the fact that his wrestling persona and his real persona generate such a huge response every single time he comes out of that curtain, it accomplishes what most wrestlers dream of. So who among the Attitude Era wrestlers/teams, babyface or heel, would provide the biggest pops and sustain success in this smarter-than-you era of fandom?
Note: Any Attitude Era wrestlers who are currently wrestling in the Reality Era, like the Dudleyz or Big Show, won't be included.
This list will act somewhat as a rebuttal to this piece: Attitude Era Wrestlers Who Wouldn't Make It Today. Many of the entries don't overlap and are completely on the same page regarding their feasibility in the current landscape, though there are a couple that we're going to look at from a slightly different angle, like the first one on our list...
14 The Acolytes Protection Agency
12 New Age Outlaws
11 Edge & Christian
10 The Hardy Boyz
Team Xtreme set the bar for the most dangerous spots and their entertainment value in the ring being among the most....well...extreme. We got Swanton Bombs and Diving Leg Drops from atop 20 foot ladders along with some of the most beautiful tag team moves ever in history. It literally was Poetry in Motion with these brothers. Their high flying spots would fit in perfectly with The Lucha Dragons, The Ascension, and Prime Time Players. Their ability would also raise the bar for these teams.
9 Chris Benoit
8 Kurt Angle
7 The American Badass Version of The Undertaker
The reason why we think the American Badass Undertaker would fit in better with the Reality Era versus the Undead Undertaker is simply because kayfabe is dead. For wrestling fans as a whole to believe that an undead wizard who controls an army of druids, constantly comes back from the dead after being buried alive and set on fire, and shoots lightning at his whims in a live action setting is impossible. This is why kayfabe was so important to a character like The Undertaker, in that he needed kayfabe to protect his undead character and give him the aura of an undead warrior who (for reasons only known to him) wrestles for the WWE title.
6 Chris Jericho
5 Triple H
4 Shawn Michaels
2 The Rock
1 Stone Cold Steve Austin
Now, before a bunch of you go nuts into thinking because Stone Cold's character could never make it in the Reality Era because of the parameters set by PG Era that preceded it, why don't we look at Dean Ambrose's success in the Reality Era now? The only reason Ambrose hasn't stepped up into Stone Cold's status as the most popular superstar ever is because the writer's won't allow it, which is the logical concern and the reasoning behind Austin not making it in the article we featured at the start of this article...
However, imagine a character that did push all the boundaries and took now COO Triple H to the limit by doing dastardly things and raising all sorts of hell. You would love to see a rattlesnake come up and bite the boss in the ass and make him rue the day that they ever crossed him. Now, what do you think the company is more worried about when a person is garnering all kinds of attention to the product, good or bad, and creating more viewership? The parents who are complaining about their children or the gobs of money being poured into their machine because some beer drinking, ass kicking, loud mouth blue collar fighter is letting people live vicariously through him? That is the essence of what Stone Cold was and why people loved him so much.Now, could Austin live up to that persona in real life, which is required in this era? Oh, hell yeah.
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