The WWE has gone through several eras in it’s long history and each era has made an insurmountable impact over time. While we usher in the current PG era, several heads turn back to the Attitude Era which was arguably one of the greatest periods in pro wrestling era.
The Attitude Era helped the WWE be the brightest spot in the pro-wrestling map and it’s safe to say that the WWE would not be flourishing at the moment, had it not been for the iconic Attitude Era.
Spanning for around four years, the era helped the company overcome their arch-rivals and made the fans more invested than ever. So let’s take a trip down the memory lane to relish the top ten moments in the attitude era.
#10 RAW is Jericho (August 9, 1999; RAW)
The attitude era was known for the plethora of talent that emerged during the time span. One such example is Chris Jericho, who shipped his way over to the WWE after being frustrated at the lack of opportunities provided at WCW. The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla made his debut on the August 9 episode of RAW is WAR, interrupting The Rock.
Y2J made one of the most iconic debuts in the history of the business with a titantron countdown leaving the crowd at the Allstate Arena into a pinch of frenzy in the darkness. With the culmination of the countdown, out came Jericho to the iconic beats of Break the walls down to rescue the WWE from the plague of mediocrity, to enter a thrilling promo exchange with The Rock right away.
#9. Triple H reforms D-Generation X (March 30, 1998; RAW)
Factions are units of destruction that can take over the show to fight injustice or to create chaos, and while the WWE has seen loads of factions, one of those that stands out is the D-Generation X.
The faction was reformed by Triple H on the RAW after WrestleMania 14. The Game landed a jab on Shawn Michaels after the latter lost the title to Stone Cold after Mike Tyson switched sides.
Triple H recruited the likes of X-Pac and the tag-team champions Road Dogg and Billy Gun to the stable and proclaimed himself as the leader to officially announce the formation of the DX-Army which was “an army to take care of business that should’ve been taken care of right from the start.”
#8. This Is Your Life
The Rock and Mankind were entangled in on of the most intense rivalries over the gold in the early months of 1999. After the culmination of their feud, Mankind made an attempt to sort things out with The Great One. Despite winning the tag team championships twice, the duo never seemed to be on the same page.
Mankind pulled all the strings to make amends with The Rock by pulling off a segment on RAW. Mankind presented The Rock with “This Is Your Life” with confetti and balloons all over the ring while The Rock remained clueless.
Mankind proceeded to bring over several personalities from the Brahma Bull’s life including his sixth-grade teacher. The Rock went on to insult each guest before Mankind presented him a gift of his own. Rocky was presented with matching Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection jackets and a sweatsock named Mr.Rocko.
After the presents came the final guest which was Doink the clown who along with Mankind started to sing Happy Birthday to The Rock before the Brahma Bull revealed that his birthday is in fact in May.
The segment is the highest rated segment in the history of RAW till date.
#7. Wedding Crasher
Stephanie McMahon was a vibrant character in the Attitude Era with her involvement being certain in various angles. One such angle which led to several consequences turned out to be her on-screen marriage to Triple H.
On the 29 Nov 1999 episode of RAW, the chairman’s daughter was set to be hitched to Test before The Game appeared to show footage on the titantron which revealed camera footage of The Cerebral Assassin pulling down a chapel before ultimately leaving the site with an unconscious Stephanie in the passenger seat.
This led to a No Holds Barred battle between Triple H and Vince McMahon at Armageddon two weeks later with the condition that if the chairman is victorious, the marriage is to be annulled. While the Cerebral Assassin picked up the win, the post-match revealed a surprising twist with the Billion Dollar Princess embracing her husband instead of her fallen father.
#6. The Montreal Screwjob (Survivor Series; 1997)
Often known as the origin of the Attitude Era, the Montreal Screwjob created shockwaves that ended up being disastrous. Bret Hart, Shawn Micheals and Vince McMahon were the pivotal characters in this setup. With tensions rising in the locker room between HBK and The Hitman, the latter was on the verge to leave the company with a lucrative deal with WCW in sight.
Michaels had triggered the fuel between the two after accusing of Hart of having an affair with diva Sunny with the famous “Sunny Days” remark. Hart, having won the WWF Championship at Summerslam was scheduled to defend it against Michaels at Survivor Series at Montreal. The Hitman had informed that he is not on board with him losing the title in his hometown and had apparently agreed to lose it on RAW, the very next day.
While the original finish of the match was supposed to end in a disqualification, Vince McMahon appeared ringside and ordered referee Earl Hebner to ring the bell whilst Hart was locked by Michaels in a sharpshooter. The bell rang despite Hart not tapping which then led to utter chaos. Earl Hebner exited the ring instantly as the match finished while a disgruntled Bret Hart spat on the chairman at ringside and proceeded to destroy the equipment at ringside.
The scars from the night in Montreal was only healed after a decade after the Excellence of Execution got his revenge at WrestleMania 26 by making Vince McMahon tap to the sharpshooter.
#5 DX Invades WCW
Unlike today, WWE was matched by a rival company, which resulted in the two promotions trying to oust each other on a weekly basis in the Monday Night Wars. WCW, managed by Eric Bischoff had a surprise visit from WWE’s notorious faction, D-Generation X.
Triple H accompanied by X-Pac, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and Chyna invaded WCW Nitro’s site in Virginia on tanks and went on to chant “DX” and “WCW Sucks” with megaphones.
This only intensified the rivalry between the two organizations as Bischoff would later go on to claim that the move was arrogant, aggressive and ruthless.
#4 Beer Bath
After Stone Cold got his championship match against the Rock at WrestleMania 15, the Texas Rattlesnake got to his opponent in a unique way on the RAW before Mania. As the Brahma Bull took centre stage in the ring along with the corporate McMahon duo, Austin appeared with a truck to the ring much to the shock of the Corporation.
Without any hesitation, Austin proceeded to drench the entire ring with beer much to the joy of the crowd at Albany. Stone Cold has raised hell on several occasions but there are only few that can top this.
The image of the chairman of the company trying to swim his way through the beer remains one of the most iconic sights of the era.
#3 Mankind wins the WWF Title
The turning point in the Monday Night Wars came in the form of a major title change and a huge blunder from the rival promotion. The WCW screwed their own fate when it was revealed on their commentary feed that Mankind is set to win his maiden WWF title from The Rock. The impact was made instantly as reportedly 600,000 people changed their channels.
The No Disqualification bout between The Rock and Mankind was the main event for the night and the challenger found himself in constant trouble with repeated interference from the Corporation. To neutralize the Corporation, were the D-Generation X who got into a brawl after a chair shot by Shamrock on the challenger.
To add the icing on to the cake, out came Stone Cold Steve Austin to arguably the loudest pop in the history of the company. The Texas Rattlesnake proceeded to hit the daylights out of The Rock with a brutal chair shot before helping Mankind to pin the champion.
The reaction of the crowd, the jubilation after the match and the Corporation’s dirty looks make this a moment that is hard to forget.
#2 WWE buys WCW
The long-lasting bad blood between the two rival promotions came to a shocking conclusion after Vince McMahon managed to purchase WCW, right before WrestleMania 19. McMahon went on to gloat about this historic achievement and went on to declare himself as the ruler of Monday Nights.
Little did he knew, as his son Shane McMahon appeared on the titantron, live from a WCW ring in Florida to drop the bombshell, that he is the true owner of the WCW.
This went on to give rise to the invasion angle and more importantly buried the Monday Night Wars with the WWE not looking back since.
#1 Austin 3:16 is born
There are a very few promos that manage to make an impact deep down and with the microphone with him after the King Of The Ring finals, Stone Cold Steve Austin not only created an impact but used it to climb the ladder to greatness.
The Texas Rattlesnake defeated Jake “The Snake” Roberts in the final to be crowned as the King Of The Rin. The match was the second of the night for Austin after he had to visit the hospital to treat a busted lip. As his opponent laid the talk before the match with a quote from the Bible, Austin proceeded to get back after his victory with an iconic promo that would change the course of the company.
“Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16 … Austin 3:16 says ‘I just whipped your @SS!’ “
Austin 3:16 went on to become the poster for the Attitude Era as it elevated Austin from a regular mid-carder to a crowd adoring superstar.