The WWE fittingly works like Evolution--an old wrestling faction-- once did.
With new Eras and times changes comes the need for change. Triple H, in a promo, said what he does better than anybody else is adapt. Luckily, his father-in-law, Vince McMahon has done just that.
We've seen the WWE go through so many different Eras, with different styles, promos, storylines, and characters. But perhaps the two that stick out most to fans are the Attitude Era (1997-2001) and the Ruthless Aggression Era (2002-2007).
Both eras brought WWE to other levels, and without a doubt, they were the best times the company has seen. With so much star power and an ever-growing audience tuning in weekly, McMahon created a global powerhouse phenomenon with both of these Eras.
Once the Attitude Era ended, it's clear that many of the old-timer WWE fans were shocked, and perhaps had no faith that any form of wrestling would ever top the Attitude Era.
But that couldn't be further from the truth. As it turns out, the Ruthless Aggression times were much better and more entertaining for fans and the company. Now those are the days that long-time wrestling fans want to come back.
Even though the Attitude Era ended the Monday Night War with rival company, the Ted Turner-owned WCW, it's the Ruthless Aggression Era that put WWE over the top, compared to any other wrestling promotion known to mankind.
With that, let's examine the reasons as to why the Ruthless Aggression Era was better than the Attitude Era.
15 Brand Split
Though WWE SmackDown! was implemented in 1999, during the Attitude Era, its height of popularity and power came with the new Era.
Though SmackDown! isn't as popular as it used to be, and no way as cool as Monday Night Raw nowadays, it was just as monumental for the company. Throughout the Ruthless Aggression Era, fans got to tune in twice a week to watch Superstars.
With Undertaker, JBL, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Kurt Angle, and Brock Lesnar on SmackDown!, Raw had competition every week.
14 The Divas Division
Pardon my born-in-the-mid-90s ignorance, but aside from Chyna, was there another incredibly big-named Diva in the Attitude Era? Because she's the only Diva name that seems to get mentioned prior to the new millennium.
The Ruthless Aggression Era gave fans way more: All-time legend Trish Stratus, Hall of Famer Lita, Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, Victoria, Gail Kim and so many other huge names.
The WWE has not come anywhere close to rebuilding the Divas division since the Ruthless Aggression era ended; because it was ridiculous how many talents existed during these times.
13 New Faces Emerged
While The Rock and Steve Austin were barely part of the Ruthless Aggression Era, they still remained as the the two most iconic names in the history of WWE programming. No question about it.
Still, the WWE was able to bring in plenty of more wrestlers who wound up having tremendous careers: Randy Orton, John Cena, Edge, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, and so many more.
Speaking of one of those names.
12 John Cena
Say what you want about the man, but no one has been a bigger face to the WWE since John Cena was chosen as its right-hand man back in 2005.
In terms of money-making, putting crowds in seats and creating a fan base of millions, John Cena has put his name in with the likes of Rock and Austin as the greatest wrestlers ever.
Cena has been able to put his name on the map like the other legends, and he became a breakout Superstar in the Ruthless Aggression Era. With Orton and others joining him, the big names in the Era were able to rival that of Rock and Austin.
11 Better In-Ring Action
When I watch old WWE highlights on the WWE Network, the only thing that seem to come up are D-Generation X making fun of Vince McMahon, Rock or Austin embarrassing their boss, or simply just Rock vs. Austin stuff.
The Attitude Era was great, don't get me wrong. But it seems like all of the worth-watching products weren't even the actual wrestling parts. In the Ruthless Aggression Era, we saw so many great in-ring performers.
There's no questioning that after the Attitude Era, the actual performances from the wrestlers drastically got better.
Like I said, large portions of the WWE lacked creativity, like their rivals from WCW, who relied on the nWo to just beat up wrestlers over and over again each night, leading to bankruptcy.
The Ruthless Aggression Era gave fans much better storylines: Triple H with Evolution, the nWo coming over to "take over" Raw, Undertaker's undefeated streak, JBL's long championship run, and so much more.
McMahon being embarrassed or forced to do humiliating things seemed to be what most of the Attitude Era was about, which can only be fun to watch for so long.
9 Attitude Era Was Sometimes Disturbing
I personally am not bothered by most of the featured segments of the Attitude Era, but there were some things that were just...no.
The constant sexual and swearing content is not something your grandparents would want to see, nor your little kids. Obviously, this appealed to many teenagers who grow up with this type of humor.
But still, there's a large audience of people who don't want to see what the Attituda Era featured.
8 The Cruiserweights
WWE in the Attitude Era was exactly what WCW was during the nWo times: Only the big names got the screen time and significant attention, and that can only be exciting for so long.
The Ruthless Aggression Era brought a much more high-flying type of wrestling by implementing the Cruiserweights. Rey Mysterio, Spike Dudley, Eddie and Chavo Guerrero, and smaller, quicker wrestlers brought a bunch of entertainment to the table.
Every time you turned on WWE during the Ruthless Aggression times, there literally wasn't a much you wanted to miss.
7 More Superstars to Work With
The Ruthless Aggresion Era had countless wrestlers that fans would pay money to see. Seriously, the lineup of wrestlers was absolutely incredible:
Undertaker, Kane, Cena, Orton, Lesnar, Triple H, Edge, Jericho, Batista, Mysterio, Big Show, Angle, Guerrero, JBL, Booker T, RVD, The Hardy Boyz, and way more.
The Attitude Era? Rock, Triple H, Mankind, HBK and Austin. Yay.
6 The Alliances
D-Generation X may be the biggest reason why the Attitude Era was successful. I understand that.
But they also returned for the Ruthless Aggression era, giving fans one of the greatest reunions ever. But what about Evolution, Rated RKO, JBL's Cabinet, and Team Angle?
The alliances that this Era had were greater in variety, quality, and entertainment. Even the nWo's short-lived reunion on WWE gave us some great rivalries. On that note...
5 The Rivalries
There are so many rivalries that I could list that happened in the Ruthless Aggression Era. Let me try to give just a few, so you get the idea:
-Lesnar vs Angle
-DX vs the McMahon Family/Spirit Squad
-Batista vs Undertaker
-Big Show vs JBL
-Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
-Evolution vs. the rest of Raw
Whereas in the Attitude Era, it was constantly McMahon vs. the biggest faces of the company. By the way, I only listed a few of the amazing rivals we saw in the Ruthless Aggresion Era.
4 Attitude Era Was Losing Appeal
The Attitude Era often relied on the same performers to come out each week and help take on WCW.
Sometimes, the product was just becoming boring. Sure, DX, Rock, and Austin started to win WCW fans over, but after a while, fans wanted to see more wrestling and less babbling on the microphone.
The Ruthless Aggression Era kept changing its storylines and never stopped being fun.
3 The Attitude Era Was Partially Around
The Ruthless Aggression Era didn't entirely abandon the values of its predecessor.
In fact, much of that Era was built around what the Attitude Era had brought around to the table. They still had wrestlers come out and embarrass or beat up McMahon and they still had some sexual and vulgar storylines for the folks that appealed too.
For the brief time he was around in the new Era, Austin's character didn't change. Neither did Rock's. The Ruthless Aggression Era kept most of the old days in tact. Except, it was better.
2 Matches Improved
Once WWE shifted gears to the Ruthless Aggression Era, we started to see more interesting match types take over, more frequently.
Instead of the normal matches, fans were treated to more Hell in Cell matches (even though the structure was introduced in the Attitude Era) as well as the introduction of the Elimination Chamber.
During this period, the Ladder match would take on an identity of its own and was featured more prominently.
1 WrestleMania Got Better
Think about the greatest moments in WrestleMania history. Besides Hulk Hogan beating Andre the Giant, just about every epic moment you could think of at the Grandest Stage of Them All happened in the Ruthless Aggression Era.
Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania became a huge storyline. Brock Lesnar beating Kurt Angle despite a real-life botch. Guerrero and Benoit embracing at WrestleMania XX as World Champions?
Batista and Cena each becoming World Champions at WrestleMania 21. Hulk Hogan and The Rock at WrestleMania x8.
The largest WWE Pay-Per-View got way better and more exciting once a new Era arrived.
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