- The Attitude Era
The Attitude Era was a period in the
World Wrestling Entertainment(Then known as the World Wrestling Federation or WWF) and professional wrestlinghistory that began as a direct result of the Monday Night Warsand culminated with the conclusion of the Wars in 2001. Similarly to the 1980s wrestling boom, the Attitude Era was a surge in the popularity of professional wrestling in the United Statesfrom the late 1990s to early 2000s, as television ratingsand pay-per-viewbuy-rates hit record highs. In contrast to the more traditional, family-friendly content that was common in WWF programming, the Attitude Era sought to attract the young adult demographicby transforming the product into an edgier and more controversial " shock value" form of entertainment similar to the "Trash TV" genre popularized in the 1990s.
The most notable wrestlers associated with the Attitude Era were
Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and D-Generation X.
In the midst of the
Monday Night Wars, a ratings battle between the World Wrestling Federation's "Monday Night Raw" and World Championship Wrestling's "Monday Nitro", which WCW was winning, the WWF would transform itself from a family-friendly product into a more adult orientated product.
This era was spearheaded by
Vince McMahonalong with head writer Vince Russo, who drastically changed the way professional wrestling television was written. Russo's booking style was often referred to as Crash TV - short matches, backstage vignettes, and shocking television. Vince McMahon would also use the real-life controversial events of the Montreal Screwjobto flesh out his character of the selfish, manipulative, and self-centered "Mr. McMahon", an evil-owner caricature who would routinely "screw" faces in order to ensure the dominance of his hand-picked heel champions. This in turn led Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon to enter a feud that would launch the WWF into prominence.
In the weeks leading up to
WrestleMania XIV, McMahon announced that former boxing champion Mike Tysonwould be the special guest enforcer in the WWF Championship main event at WrestleMania. Austin entered and won the 1998 Royal Rumble, lastly eliminating The Rock.cite news|title=2007 Wrestling Almanac & Book of Facts|work=Wrestling’s Historical Cards|pages=100] The next night on "Raw", Austin interrupted McMahon in his presentation of Mike Tyson over the objection of McMahon referring to Tyson as "the baddest man on the planet." Austin flipped off Tyson, which led to Tyson shoving Austin and the two fighting until being separated and subdued by Tyson's and McMahon's security. This resulted in an irrate McMahon to publicly disapprove of the prospect of Austin as his WWF Champion. For the following weeks, Tyson aligned himself with D-Generation X, a group led by Austin's opponent at WrestleMania, WWF Champion Shawn Michaels. It was only after WrestleMania that Tyson's intentions would be revealed. Throughout the WWF Championship match, Tyson bickered with both Austin and Michaels, who was upset that Tyson wasn't doing everything possible to ensure that Austin would be unsuccessful. In the closing moments of the match Austin countered Michaels' finishing Superkickand executed his finisher, the Stone Cold Stunner. Austin then covered Michaels, which was followed by Tyson himself counting the pin-fall. With this, Tyson turned on Michaels and D-Generation X as Austin became the new WWF Champion. Following the victory, a distraught Michaels confronted Tyson, who then knocked out Michaels with a right handed punch as Austin celebrated and the Attitude Era was officially ushered in.
Austin vs. McMahon
On the "Raw" after Austin won the WWF Championship, Mr. McMahon presented him with the newly designed WWF Championship belt and informed Austin that he did not approve of his rebellious nature and that if he didn't conform to society and become his image of what a WWF Champion should be, Austin would face severe consequences. Austin gave his answer in the form of a Stone Cold Stunner to McMahon. This led to a segment a week later where Austin had pledged a few days prior in a meeting to agree to McMahon's terms, appearing in a suit and tie, with a beaming McMahon taking a picture of himself and Austin, his new corporate champion. The entire thing was a ruse by Austin who in the course of the segment proceeded to tear off the suit, telling McMahon it was the last time he'd ever be seen dressed like this. Austin punched McMahon in the "corporate grapefruits," and took another picture with McMahon grieving in pain.
The following week on
April 13 1998, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon were going to battle out their differences in an actual match, but the match was declared a no contest when Dude Love interrupted the entire thing. On that night "Raw" defeated "Nitro" in the ratings for the first time since June 10 1996. Meanwhile, several popular characters emerged on "Monday Night Raw" that would establish consistently high viewing from fans: The Rock, after not winning over the fans as the face Rocky Maivia, was making a new name for himself as a member of the Nation of Domination, and later as a singles performer, and Triple H, who after Shawn Michaels left due to back injuries took control of D-Generation X and recruited the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac, who had just returned to the WWF after his two years tenure with WCW as a member of the nWo, into his new "D-Generation X Army".
The DX Army and The Rock
With the newly formed "DX Army", D-Generation X participated in numerous segments causing chaos and leaving wreckage wherever they went. On
April 27 1998"Nitro" was held at the Norfolk Scopein Norfolk, Virginia, while "Raw" was held nearby at the Hampton Coliseumin Hampton, Virginia. With the ongoing war between the WWF and WCW, the DX Army decided to initiate an immediate "invasion" of "Nitro". The DX Army drove to the Norfolk Scope in an army Jeep, challenging WCW head Eric Bischoffto come out and face them or to let them in. The fans outside the arena for the show began chanting "DX" as they joined the DX Army, helping them attempt to enter the arena and invade the "Nitro" broadcast. Soon after, the DX Army even appeared at CNNTowers to call out WCW owner Ted Turner. Like Austin, D-Generation X were embraced by fans, with their mischievous antics and defiant attitude, as their popularity continued to grow.
Perhaps the only individual to rival Steve Austin in popularity during this time was The Rock, a third-generation star who was originally introduced to fans as Rocky Maivia and pushed as a major face upon his debut. The fans began to turn against Maivia, as they didn't appreciate him being constantly overemphasized as a good guy and forced into the role. Aggravated by the fans' extreme dislike for him and feeling under appreciated and underestimated, Rocky himself turned against the fans and began to verbally insult them on a weekly basis with various
trash-talking promos while referring to himself in the third person.
Through his in-ring abilities and tremendous skills on the microphone, like Austin, The Rock gained a huge fan base as he continued to grow immensely popular despite every attempt The Rock made to be a heel, even interrupting fans as they repeated The Rock's
catch phrases in unison with him, reiterating "This isn't sing-a-long with The Rock!" With his increasing popularity, The Rock became one of the biggest stars in the WWF.
March 10, 1997- " Monday Night Raw" officially became " Raw is War"; the show introduced the TitanTron, the pyro openings and the Raw is War banners over the ring.
September 22, 1997- During this episode of "Raw", Vince McMahon receives his first Stone Cold Stunner from Stone Cold Steve Austin.
November 9, 1997- at the 1997 Survivor Series, with the match between Shawn Michaelsand WWE Champion Bret "The Hitman" Hart for the WWE Title, when Michaels locked Bret Hart into Bret's own submission, The Sharpshooter, Vince McMahon, who was at ringside, order referee Earl Hebnerto ring the bell. The post-match events came under fire of controversy the fact that in the storyline, Bret did not tap out when locked into submission and was not suppose to lose at all. Due to the fact it took plae in Montreal, Canada, the event has been dubbed as The Montreal Screwjob. This was also known to be Bret Hart's last match in the WWE.
December 8, 1997– During this episode of "Raw", Stone Cold Steve Austin knocks off WWE Chairman Vince McMahon off the ring, thus entering the Austin/McMahon saga.
March 28, 1998– The Undertaker beats Kane at WrestleMania XIV, making Kane the seventh opponent whom Taker had beaten. Before the match, Pete Rose, who was about to introduce the 'Taker vs. Kane match, insults the home base ball team, which this WrestleMania was taking place in Boston. However, Kane comes out and delivered a Tombstone piledriver to Rose. Later that night "Stone Cold" Steve Austin wins the WWE Championshipfrom Shawn Micheals
March 30, 1998 – With Shawn Michaels out because of back injury, Triple H calls himself the leader of DX, which he adds the New Age Outlawsand X-Pac to the group.
April 6, 1998: DX goes to "war" with WCW when they invaded a " WCW Monday Nitro" show in the Scope in Norfolk, Virginia.
May 11, 1998: – D-Generation Xactually invades WCW headquarters.
June 28, 1998 – At the 1998 King of the Ring, Mankind loses against The Undertaker in the third Hell in a Cellmatch. What makes this match so famous is Mankind being both thrown off and then through the top of the cage. In the opening moments of the match, the Undertaker threw Mankind off the roof. The match kept going after Mankind refused to quit and rescaled the cage. Almost immediately the Undertaker chokeslammed Mankind through the roof. This, however, was accidental.
July 27, 1998 – Triple H and X-Pac face each other for the first time in a Triple Threat Match, against The Rock.
October 5, 1998 – On this episode of "Raw", Mankind visits an injured Vince McMahon. During this segment, Mankind introduces Mr. Socko, a hand-drawn sock puppet. Mr. Socko became so popular, that it became part of the Mankind gimmick. A few moments later, in another segment, Stone Cold Steve Austin impersonates a doctor and starts attacking McMahon.
November 23, 1998 – After his return, Shawn Michaelsturns on D-Generation X and joins Vince McMahon’s Corporation after hitting X-Pac with Sweet Chin Music.
January 4, 1999– Shawn Michaels turns against The Corporation and rejoins DX. After rejoining DX, the Corporation attacks Michaels, indicating he is definitely out. Later that night, Mankind won his first World Title from The Rock.
*January 25, 1999 – Chyna turns on X-Pac and joins The Corporation.
March 28, 1999 – The Undertaker defeats Big Boss Man in the fifth Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania XV, making Boss Man the eighth opponent whom Taker beaten at the pay-per-view event. After the match, Taker (kayfabe) hung Boss Man from the cell. It is also the same WrestleMania that Triple H turns against X-Pac and joins The Corporation
May 2, 1999 – Billy Gunn turns on X-Pac in a tag team match and goes solo.
May 23, 1999 – At the 1999 WWF Over the Edgeevent, Owen Hart, who was going under the name The Blue Blazer against The Godfather for the IC Title, Owen fell to his death when he was lowering himself from the rafters, but released himself too early. WWE was criticized for going on with the show, even after then-"Raw" announcer Jim Rosshad said that Owen died.
July 25, 1999 – X-Pac and Road Dogg defeat Triple H and Billy Gunn for the rights of D-Generation X.
August 9, 1999 - "Y2J" Chris Jericho makes his first WWE appearance.
September 23, 1999 – Road Dogg and Billy Gunn reform the New Age Outlawsto win the WWE Tag Team titles from the Rock 'n' Sock Connection.
September 27, 1999 – In this episode of "Raw', Mankind hosted the famous " This is Your Life" segment, for The Rock. The episode is considered to be the highest rating, 8.4, to date.
November1999 – August 2000: Triple H left DX when he "married" Stephanie McMahon, Billy Gunn was soon kicked out, and Road Dogg and X-Pac soon split up after a brief time as a tag team.
April 1, 2001– The Undertaker beats Triple H at WrestleMania X-Seven, making him the ninth opponent Taker had beaten at WrestleMania. Stone Cold Steve Austin turned heel by defeating The Rock with the help of Vince McMahon. This event is considered by many to be the last day of the Attitude Era.
April 2, 2001- Steve Austin and Triple H shocked fans by becoming allies, along with Vince McMahon, to form the Power Trip, mainly teaming against The Rock.
History of professional wrestling in the United States
Monday Night Wars
* [http://www.wwe.com WWE.com]
* [http://fans.wwe.com/wweattitudeera "Attitude Era" WWE Fan Nation on WWE.com]
* [http://fans.wwe.com/attitude4ever "Attitude 4 Ever" WWE Fan Nation on WWE.com]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.