Let’s Be Honest: WWE’s Attitude Era Is Actually Kind Of Terrible


The Monday Night Wars between 1995 and 2001 had been a captivating time for the World Wrestling Federation {and professional} wrestling typically. For the primary time, there was another person stepping as much as problem the then-WWF on a world scale in WCW, which was victorious within the rankings for over a yr.

During that point, although, the WWF launched what it known as the “Attitude Era” on the 1997 installment of Survivor Series. It was that present that was the sight of the notorious “Montreal screwjob” that noticed Shawn Michaels defeat a departing Bret Hart in the primary occasion. Then, on the December 17 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon made the daybreak of the Attitude Era official, for higher or worse.

“We here at the WWF think that you, the audience, are, quite frankly, tired of having your intelligence insulted,” he stated throughout a pre-taped section. “We also think that you’re tired of the same old simplistic theory of good guys versus bad guys. Surely the era of the superhero who urge you to say your prayers and take your vitamins is definitely, passe. Therefore, we’ve embarked on a far more innovative and contemporary creative campaign, that is far more invigorating and extemporaneous than ever before.”

While he was throwing round phrases like “invigorating” and “extemporaneous” to sound skilled, the message was clear: perspective, no matter which means, was right here to remain. With it got here breakout superstars like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, D-Generation X, Mankind, and a lot extra. These characters and WWE’s inventive course definitely helped the corporate rebound within the struggle in opposition to WCW, however reexamining it, it is exhausting to have fond reminiscences concerning the Attitude Era. Why? Well, as a result of it was largely terrible, particularly in comparison with right now’s skilled wrestling requirements.

It’s simple to look again on the interval between 1997 and 2002 as the perfect within the firm’s historical past. It was definitely the most well-liked, by way of mainstream acceptance {of professional} wrestling. In hindsight, although, it’s kind of shocking to me what this was the period that helped WWE come out of a downward spiral and reestablish their dominance. After all, somebody thought the character Beaver Cleavage–a lewd character primarily based on the TV present Leave it to Beaver that additionally lusted after his mother–was a good suggestion. This was earlier than Beaver was rechristened Chaz, by the way in which, in an equally-stupid try and get the previous Headbanger Mosh over.

In fact, that is the Attitude Era in a nutshell. For each D-Generation X invasion of WCW Nitro, there have been a couple of horrible moments, like Yamaguchi-san screaming “I choppy choppy your pee pee” earlier than taking a swing at Val Venis with a sword. Those are the kinds of issues no one ever needs or wants to see. In the Attitude Era, although, they had been a reasonably widespread incidence. From Mae Young giving birth to a hand to the Big Boss Man being hanged by the neck contained in the Hell in a Cell cage, the WWF’s aim to be “edgy” and, in Vince McMahon’s personal phrases, “innovative,” as an alternative led to crass and cringe-worthy moments which might be a pox on the corporate’s high-profile period of the late ’90s.

And that is earlier than you are taking the Divas into query. The Attitude Era was the reign of pudding bowl matches, Mr. McMahon making divas strip to keep their jobs, and–the final lowlight for ladies’s wrestling in that era–the bra and panties match, during which the aim is solely to tear off your opponent’s garments.

In 2019, when girls have their very own Royal Rumble and it appears unbelievable doable the Raw Women’s Championship match will headline Wrestlemania 35, trying again on the Attitude Era is hard. While it slowly acquired higher because of the likes of Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, and their friends, a lot of the Attitude Era’s therapy of feminine superstars is embarrassing. It’s the epitome of programming for a hormonal teenage boy and it has not aged properly in any respect.

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It wasn’t simply the ladies’s division and mid-card talent–raise a hand for those who bear in mind Naked Mideon–that had been the sufferer of being pushed by such absurd content material on Raw and Smackdown, although. The rubbish commonly contaminated the primary occasion. Yes, the Attitude Era gave us memorable moments like Steve Austin’s beer bath and the debut of Chris Jericho. However, it additionally assaulted audiences with the likes of D-Generation X wearing blackface to mimic the Nation of Domination and, maybe the worst angle of all time: The Katie Vick story.

Oh, you do not bear in mind Katie Vick? The yr was 2002, the tail-end of the Attitude Era as Kane and Triple H feuding for no obvious cause. Triple H advised the world he knew Kane’s “secret,” which was that Kane murdered his previous girlfriend, Katie Vick. Kane admitted that Katie was killed in a automotive accident whereas Kane was driving drunk. He swerved to overlook a deer within the rain, and all of a sudden his undoubtedly fictional girlfriend was useless as a result of the masked half-brother of the Undertaker, whose father was a supernatural mortician as a result of that every one is smart in wrestling.

As if this complete factor wasn’t in sufficient poor style, the storyline continued when Triple H dressed up as Kane in a pre-taped section and went to “Katie Vick’s funeral,” at which level he “had sex” with a model in a casket. This aired on primetime TV in 2002 and was, by far, the bottom WWE ever sunk to inform one if its weird tales. Kane, the drunk driving hero of our story, reacted in the one manner he may. He had his personal pre-taped section during which somebody wore a Triple H mask while getting rectal surgery. I’m not making any of this up.

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This complete fiasco in some way lasted a month and is absolutely the worst angle in WWE historical past. And it sums up the Attitude Era properly. Two extremely gifted performers like Triple H and Kane had been saddled with what was a very disgusting story to inform. Thankfully, each males would go onto larger and higher, however the Katie Vick story is a large stain on their careers and one which longtime followers will always remember.

That’s the issue with the Attitude Era. It’s exhausting to overlook the worst points of it. The factor about wrestling followers, although, is the rose-colored glasses are robust. So many look again on that time period within the WWE as cutting-edge and revolutionary. I defy those self same followers to leap on the WWE Network and sit by way of a couple of weeks of Raw from 1998. While there are moments which might be thrilling, they’re all slowed down by convoluted storylines, 90-second matches, and likes of “Marvelous” Marc Mero and the “Real Man’s Man” Steven Regal. Though, if I’m being sincere, The Oddities’ theme song stays a complete jam.

Listen, the Attitude Era was a product of a distinct time and whereas ’90s “extreme” tradition might excuse a few of it, it does not do any good to look again on it as skilled wrestling or sports activities leisure at its peak. I, for one, would a lot relatively have insanely aggressive matches between the likes of Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Finn Balor, and no matter member of The Shield is being pushed in the intervening time, versus a Kennel from Hell match. I’d relatively watch Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch tear down the home, than see them rolling round in an inflatable swimming pool stuffed with mud.

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Today’s wrestling product, not simply in WWE however in firms like Ring of Honor and the newly-announced All Elite Wrestling, flies excessive above what followers got on a weekly foundation throughout the Attitude Era. And whereas sure points of contemporary professional wrestling has clearly regarded to that time period for inspiration–What’s the Bullet Club with out a Too Sweet and a Monday Night Raw “invasion”?–the athleticism and expertise on show each single night time on any given wrestling present from any main firm is tough to compete with. Even Impact Wrestling is placing on entertaining exhibits with wildly proficient rosters, for those who can determine what the hell the Pursuit Channel is.

To put it merely, I’d relatively watch nearly any period of WWE than dwell by way of the Attitude Era once more. Except for The Brood’s entrance. Who do I’ve to speak to about getting that entire ring-of-fire elevator factor again on TV?

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