Many WWE fans remember when the Attitude Era was blazing hot. In fact, most longtime fans will tell you that the Attitude Era was the best time in wrestling history. The WWE was a much different place in the 1990s. The Divas didn't mind showing off their "goods," and the wrestlers cursed regularly during their promos. Aside from the controversial programming, the WWE roster was loaded in those days. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and The Undertaker were all in their prime during the Attitude Era. The wrestling business was cutthroat in those days, and certain cliques were formed in order to control the company behind the scenes.
Vince McMahon appeared regularly on Monday Night Raw. His presence was always felt. Each wrestler felt the pressure as the chairman of the board watched on intently. The working environment was tense, but the wrestlers were much better performers back then.
Combining controversial storylines with some of the best performers of all time helped to make the Attitude Era the most memorable time in sports entertainment history. While today's roster is much weaker, there are currently some superstars who would have fit in during the Attitude Era.
The entries on this list were carefully chosen. Wrestling ability and promo skills were very important, but intangibles were also considered. For one, a WWE Superstar's physique is sometimes just as important as wrestling ability. Don't believe me? Just take a look at the Ultimate Warrior or even Hulk Hogan. While they are both legends, neither Hogan or the Warrior could hold a candle to Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels. Of course, neither can Roman Reigns. Nonetheless, some of the entries on this list may surprise you.
An honorable mention goes out to CM Punk, who is only excluded from this list because he's no longer a wrestler. CM Punk's promo skills would have carried him a long way in the Attitude Era. Could you imagine CM Punk and the 1997 version of Shawn Michaels in a promo together? Or, how about CM Punk against Stone Cold? Punk would have been the perfect heel, and his squeaky clean lifestyle would have earned him a lot of hatred from the WWE fans. The Attitude Era was the best time to be a wrestling fan, and it's truly unfortunate that CM Punk did not get to participate in the wild festivities of the late 1990s.
Nonetheless, there are still plenty of current stars that would have done just fine in the Attitude Era.
Paige is already one of the best on the roster, but her character would have fared even better in the Attitude Era. She has a distinct look, which would have separated her from the parade of tanned blondes during the Attitude Era. She has a unique and incredibly sexy look and she seems like the kind of performer that doesn't mind pushing the envelope. That's what the Attitude Era was all about and while Paige is capable of wrestling a great match, she would have have been the best all around performer in the Divas division back in the day.
14 Cody Rhodes/ Stardust
Cody Rhodes comes from a long line of wrestling greatness. His father, Dusty Rhodes, was one of the greatest performers of all time. In this case, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Cody is one of the best wrestlers on the current WWE roster. Unfortunately, the bookers at the WWE aren't giving him the right push, and it's definitely hurting his career. Nonetheless, Cody Rhodes is a true superstar, and he could be much more than just Goldust's brother.
Cody's wrestling ability and mic skills would keep him afloat in the Attitude Era. He would probably be a mid-high card performer similar to Owen Hart. I'm not quite sure if his Stardust persona would be well received by the fans, but I do think he would eventually find the right persona to help him get over.
13 AJ Styles
Although AJ Styles may be a new addition to the WWE roster, he is in fact a pro-wrestling veteran. Styles has competed in basically every wrestling organization. Thankfully, Styles has found his way to the WWE, and he has already received a tremendous amount of love from the fans.
Styles has worked almost exclusively with Chris Jericho thus far. They have had great matches together, and they are expected to rock WrestleMania 32. The fact that the fans are loving this feud is a clear indicator that pairing these two wrestlers together in the late 1990s would have led to even better results. Jericho debuted in the WWE during the peak of the Attitude Era. Styles and Jericho would have been able to cut edgier promos and have more violent matches. AJ Styles would have unquestionably made it in the Attitude Era.
The Bulgarian brute is one of the most hated heels in recent memory. Unfortunately, it seems that the WWE creative has forgotten that, and it looks like Rusev's push has been slowed considerably since his debut. Nonetheless, Rusev's hatred for America would have garnered him a lot of heat from the WWE fans in the Attitude Era. With Lana at his side, Rusev would have been in a comfortable position in the WWE's product during the late 1990s. He is a talented performer who cuts decent promos. It's safe to say he would be a solid mid-card superstar in the Attitude Era.
11 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is one of the best wrestlers that the WWE has today. While, Ziggler may oversell a bit too much, he is still a very talented performer. Sadly, Vince McMahon has mismanaged this young man's career. With the right angle, Dolph Ziggler could be a huge superstar. With that being said, I believe Ziggler would have been a great addition to the Attitude Era. First of all, Ziggler can hang with the best of them in the ring, and he can also hold his own in a promo. Actually, the Attitude Era might have been the perfect time for Ziggler to say and do whatever he wanted. Maybe the Attitude Era would have unleashed a completely different side of Dolph than we are used to seeing in the PG era.
Charlotte is the daughter of the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, and it seems that his wrestling ability was passed down through birth. When it comes to the WWE Diva's Division, Charlotte is unquestionably the best female competitor in the WWE today. With her father at her side, Charlotte Flair would have definitely fit in during the Attitude Era. She would probably still be a heel, and she would have been the perfect opponent for Trish Stratus. The Flair's are known for cheating and beating the system. I think it's safe to say that Charlotte would have been a major asset to the WWE in the late 1990s.
9 Roman Reigns
A lot of you may hate me right now for placing Roman Reigns on this list, but just hear me out! I agree that Reigns isn't the greatest wrestler or talker. However, he is a big guy who is athletic. He also has the look as well. But, in order to get him over in the Attitude Era, Roman Reigns cannot speak! Reigns would've been a great enforcer for the Corporation. Also, since The Rock was a member of The Corporation, he would have been able to help out his verbally challenged cousin. With the right circumstances, I could see Roman Reigns as a mid-card draw in the Attitude Era, but I don't think that he would ever be able to hold a title.
When it comes to brute strength, Cesaro is definitely one of the strongest individuals that has ever competed in the WWE. He is also one of the most athletic as well. While Cesaro is a solid performer, his mic skills aren't quite there yet. However, not everyone in the Attitude Era was the best talker or wrestler for that matter. Ken Shamrock is the perfect example of a powerhouse that lacked promo skills. But, I happen to think that Cesaro is a much better performer than Shamrock ever was. With that being said, I don't think it's that hard to imagine that Cesaro would find a comfortable position in the middle tier of the Attitude Era.
7 Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt is one of the most popular WWE Superstars on the current roster. He has competed against many of today's elite superstars such as Dean Ambrose, John Cena, and the Undertaker. Wyatt is a gifted wrestler, but his promos are what really sets him apart from the competition. Bray Wyatt is almost a hybrid of Mankind and the Undertaker. I believe that Wyatt would have been able to hold his own against the likes of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, or a prime Undertaker. Bray Wyatt is a talented individual. With the right guidance, I think that Bray Wyatt fits in the Attitude Era just fine.
6 Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is truly a unique and rare superstar. I can't remember another WWE performer who was just as fat and athletic as Kevin Owens. This man pulls off incredible moves that would seem to defy gravity. Aside, from being a great wrestler, Kevin Owens is also very talented on the mic. Could you imagine a feud between D-Generation X and Owens? Shawn Michaels and Triple H would mock Owens' physique in hilarious fashion. But, I think that Kevin Owens wouldn't have a problem bringing up the size of Hunter's nose or the Playgirl magazine that Shawn shot a full spread for. It's a shame that we don't have a time machine to find out what would have actually transpired in the WWE during the Attitude Era if Kevin Owens was a part of it.
5 Randy Orton
"The Viper" is one of the most talented superstars in the history of the WWE. Orton is a third-generation wrestler, and he has starred in some of the best and the bloodiest matches of all time. Aside from being a great in-ring performer, Orton is skilled on the mic as well. His ruthlessness would take him far in the Attitude Era, and I believe that he would've been a huge superstar in the late 1990s. There are a few superstars who would have thrived in any generation, and I believe that Orton is one of those individuals.
4 John Cena
It's hard to deny that John Cena is the most popular WWE Superstar of the last decade. He has been a part of countless high profile matches, and he usually came out on top. Although he may be sidelined due to injury, John Cena is still an asset to the WWE. While he may be a controversial addition to this list, I believe that Cena would have great success in the Attitude Era. However, I do think that the current persona that Cena portrays on camera would've been ripped apart by the fans of the Attitude Era. But, I actually think that his gangster character from the mid 2000s would have gotten over big time in the late 1990s. Also, whether you'd like to admit it or not, John Cena can hold his own against the likes of Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and The Rock.
3 Dean Ambrose
The "Lunatic Fringe" is one of the most popular wrestlers on the current roster. Ambrose is willing to put it all on the line each and every time that he steps into the ring. His match against Kevin Owens at the recent Royal Rumble was a hardcore classic. Like other entries on this list, I think that Ambrose would benefit from the loose rules of the Attitude Era. Dean Ambrose would be able to push the limits, and wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Cactus Jack, and Jeff Hardy would help him do it. The Lunatic Fringe would have been just fine in the Attitude Era, but the huge talent pool of the time would have probably kept him at a mid-card level.
2 Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins turned his back on his Shield brothers long ago, but it was undoubtedly the best thing he ever did. Rollins is by far the most skilled performer in the WWE right now. His match against John Cena at last year's SummerSlam was an instant classic. The amazing triple threat match between Rollins, Cena, and Lesnar at the 2015 Royal Rumble may have been the greatest triple threat match of all time.
When it comes to in-ring performers, most people regard Shawn Michaels as the best ever. With that being said, I feel that Seth Rollins is very close to the level that Michaels set the bar to. Not only is Rollins amazing in the ring, but he's also incredible on the mic. Seth is the quintessential heel, but the fans still love him. The Attitude Era would have been even better with the addition of Seth Rollins. In fact, I believe that Rollins would have been in the main event on most of the pay per view cards of the late 1990s.
1 Brock Lesnar
The Beast Incarnate was on a tear in 2014, but his lack of a regular schedule seems to have hindered his push. In 2014, he became the first man to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania. He also destroyed John Cena at the following SummerSlam to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Today, Lesnar no longer has the championship belt around his waist, but he still hasn't been pinned in recent years.
Placing Brock Lesnar in the Attitude Era would have changed the entire landscape of the time. Lesnar is a freak athlete, and he c
n do almost anything in the ring. Brock would be a huge star in the late 1990s, and he would've had an incredible group of athletes to work with. The Beast would've fit in just fine in the Attitude Era.