People love to look back and remember the Attitude Era in WWE. That era is remembered for risque storylines, hard-hitting action, a lot of blood, cursing, and adult-oriented moments. However, while that is something people talk about missing in today's WWE world, that is not what made the Attitude Era great.
What made the Attitude Era the best era of professional wrestling history is the storylines themselves, where even mid-card wrestlers seemed to have a purpose and there were numerous main event stars who could carry any show. However, for fans who want the Attitude Era back, here are 10 of those classic Attitude Era storylines that WWE could never get away with in today's world.
10 CORPORATE MINISTRY
There was a faction war in the Attitude Era that pitted the Corporation, led by Vince McMahon, against the Ministry of Darkness, led by Undertaker. However, soon the two sides merged with Shane McMahon turning on his dad and joining up with The Undertaker.
It was an exciting moment, with Undertaker's dark minions like Viscera and the APA teaming up with Shane's lackeys like Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock. However, this angle was as dark as it gets. There was even a moment where they sacrificed Stephanie McMahon and hung her on a cross. That would never work in today's WWE and would have sponsors pulling ads instantly.
9 VAL VENIS
Val Venis was a gimmick in the Attitude Era that seems very similar to today's gimmick wrestlers. Think about guys like Fandango, whose entire gimmick was dancing before and during his matches. Look at Adam Rose and No Way Jose who have the same gimmick of coming to the ring with a party. However, in the Attitude Era, the gimmick was that Val Venis was a porn star and came to the ring in his bath towel.
For today's WWE fans who think that gimmicks like these doom a wrestler from the start, look back to the Attitude Era and see that Val Venis was a gimmick character who held multiple titles. Of course, a porn star gimmick would never work in today's WWE nor would the embarrassing feud with Kaientai that ended with an attempted castration.
8 THE GODFATHER
Now, Godfather still comes out to this day for special appearances with his Ho's, but that is just for nostalgia purposes and WWE and their sponsors let it slide because the guy is an Attitude Era legend. But, don't think for a second that this Attitude Era storyline would work in today's WWE world.
The gimmick was interesting because most of the ho's that The Godfather came to the ring with were selected from a local gentleman's club in the town that Monday Night Raw took place in. Now, there were some exceptions, such as the fact Victoria made her WWE debut as a "featured ho" before becoming a women's champion.
7 KISS MY A$$ CLUB
There are a lot of things wrong with this Attitude Era storyline and they can all be summed up by the fact that it is impossible to show any of Vince McMahon's more infamous moments in a photo that is not NSFW. The angle was simple. Vince McMahon is an egomaniac and wants everyone to know how great he is.
As a result, he wanted everyone to join the "Kiss My A$$ Club," which meant that Vince would drop his pants in the middle of the ring, bend over, and have someone kiss him on the butt in order to keep their job. It was humiliating when people like Jim Ross had to do it but went way over the line when someone like Trish Stratus was forced to kiss the boss' derriere.
6 BRIAN PILLMAN/STONE COLD ANGLE
The feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Brian Pillman is one of the best Attitude Era storylines because it had so many people convinced they were watching something dangerous and real. However, there is no way this could ever work in today's WWE because of the connotations involved.
The biggest moment came when Austin showed up at Pillman's house and busted in the front door, looking for his nemesis who was at home injured and doing an interview with WWE. When Austin busted in, Pillman pulled a gun on him and threatened to kill him while everyone screamed for help. WWE apologized for the storyline.
5 MAE YOUNG AND MARK HENRY
Mark Henry had a great WWE career, which is surprising since he was so green when he started but he eventually developed into a top tier WWE superstar. However, there was one gimmick in his career that might be better left forgotten, and then is when Mark Henry became "Sexual Chocolate."
Forget about the ridiculous nickname, as well as him trying to romance Chyna, and move on to his storyline with Mae Young. The 29-year-old Mark Henry romanced the 77-year-old Mae Young. He then somehow got her pregnant, she took a splash from Viscera and ended up giving birth to a hand. Add in Henry battling his sex addiction and this is an Attitude Era storyline better left in the past.
4 HAWK SUICIDE ATTEMPT
If there is one angle that WWE will never, ever use again in professional wrestling, it is one that even hints at suicide. After a number of stars took their own lives, including the recently passed Ashley Massaro, WWE knows to stay away from these Attitude Era storylines like the one with Road Warrior Hawk.
This was honestly a storyline that was a mistake even in the Attitude Era. Hawk, at the time, was struggling with abuse issues and WWE used his disease to create a storyline where a new member of the Legion of Doom named Puke was trying to enable Hawk's addictions to get him to commit suicide so he could take his place. This led to Hawk "attempting suicide" on Monday Night Raw. Hawk and Animal both quit the company after this storyline.
3 THE NUDITY
During the Attitude Era, WWE loved to incorporate adult storylines into their shows and this included sexual content that often bordered on nudity. WWE was very proud of their partnership with Playboy Magazine as the two worked together to have WWE Divas appear nude in the pages of Playboy as cover models.
Sable, Chyna, and Torrie Wilson were all major WWE Divas who had their various Playboy cover appearances revealed on Monday Night Raw and everyone seemed very proud of these reveals. Not only has Playboy moved away from female nudity but with the push of more family-oriented entertainment, this will never happen in WWE again.
2 BRIAN PILLMAN AND GOLDUST FEUD
Abuse of women is something that is not tolerated in any form today. While it is still an important part of fictional works in movies and television, it has to be handled sensitively or it will get buried fast. When it comes to WWE, there was a lot of angles that did nothing but embarrass a woman -- mostly just to put over a male wrestler.
Vince McMahon had Trish Stratus kiss his butt and later had her on her knees barking like a dog. However, that pales in comparison to the Brian Pillman and Goldust feud that had Pillman win the rights to Goldust's wife Marlena, who he then turned into his own sex slave. That would cost WWE most of their sponsors if they tried that Attitude Era storyline today.
1 VIOLENCE TOWARD WOMEN
With all the humiliating angles that degraded women in the Attitude Era storylines, WWE went one step further at that time and had outright brutal attacks against women on a regular basis as well. With women like Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and others proving that women are athletes that girls can look up to and inspire to be like, the way the Attitude Era treated women would never fly today.
The biggest example of the violence toward women came at the hands of Bubba Ray Dudley. He powerbombed a 70+-year-old Mae Young. He powerbombed a 130-lb Stacy Keibler. Triple H even assaulted his own wife Stephanie McMahon including his infamous angle where he drugged her and drove her to Vegas for a quickie wedding. Out of all the Attitude Era storylines, the violence toward women in that era would never fly today.