The World Wrestling Federation Attitude Era-A Golden Age for a Generation of Wrestling Fans
The Monday Night Wars that ranged from 1995 to 2001 was perhaps they
time to be a wrestling fan. The battle waged with the World Wrestling
Federation's Monday Night RAW on the USA Network and World Championship
Wrestling's Monday Nitro on TNT had countless wrestling fans glued to
their television and pretty much an imprint of their remote control on
their hands, as they flipped back and forth from channel to channel. It
was interesting times to be a fan of the noble fake grappling
combination of sports and entertainment that is wrestling.
World Championship Wrestling had fired the first big shot in the
war, with the formation of the New World Order Wrestling Stable. At Bash
at the Beach 1996, Kevin Nash, formally Diesel, of the World Wrestling
Federation, and Scott Hall, formally Razor Ramon, had declared war on
the company and were set to face three of WCW's top stars, Sting, Lex
Luger, and “the Macho Man” Randy Savage. They were to have a mystery
partner and it would be a shocking surprise. That shocking surprise
turned out to be Hulk Hogan, who strolled down the rampway, acting as if
he is going to save his long term friend, Randy Savage, but he attacked
Savage and turned his back on the fans. It was shocking, but a well
welcomed change, as Hulk Hogan had been worn down as a good guy or
babyface, and there needed to be many changes.
The New World Order grew to insane heights, with many more people
joining them in 1996, including real life Executive Vice President Eric
Bischoff, who gave the group the power to go along with its muscle.
World Championship Wrestling was the hot thing to watch in 1996, with
the New World Order storyline, not to mention great technical wrestling
between the likes of Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Steven Regal, and Eddie
Guerrero, and the high flying cruiserweight action with the luchadores
from south of the border like Rey Mysterio Jr, Juventud Guerrera, and
Psicosis. WCW as the brand to watch in 1996.
While WWF was still lame and cartoonish in 1996. There were a few
bright spots such as Shawn Michaels on top as WWF Champion with great
main event matches, the insane feud between the Undertaker and Mankind,
and the rise of a gentleman by the name of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin,
who had won the 1996 King of the Ring.
Top stars like Razor Ramon,
Diesel, 1-2-3 Kid, and Jeff Jarrett had left the company, with Bret Hart
looking at retirement. Gimmicks like TL Hopper, the wrestling plumber,
the Goon, the wrestling hockey player, and Who, a gimmick based off of
the famous Abbott and Costello Who's on First Skit.
In 1997, the New World Order was at fever pitch, as Sting, who had
exiled himself to the rafters of the arena after the rest of WCW had
thought he had turned his back on the company when the New World Order
offered up an imposter version of Sting, was set up for a match with
Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade 1997.
Diamond Dallas Page, who was a long
time midcard competitor, made a successful babyface turn, and was set up
for a successful feud with Randy Savage. Roddy Piper stopped by to
renew his old feud from 1985 with Hulk Hogan. Ric Flair was back in
business after spending a good chunk of 1996 with a shoulder injury and
the cruiserweights were putting out many insane matches week after week.
Meanwhile, WWF really started to turn things around a little bit.
Bret Hart was back, making a heel turn, while Steve Austin turned
babyface and began to continue his rise to super stardom. The Undertaker
was the WWF Champion but there were whispers of a dark sorrid secret
from the Undertaker's past.
Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith had a pretty
good reign as WWF Tag Team Champions and the legendary Hawk and Animal,
the Legion of Doom, returned to the company. A young man by the name of
Rocky Maivia made his debut and another young man by the name of Hunter
Hearst Helmsley was beginning to gain traction, with his bodyguard, an
Amazon looking woman named Chyna.
The feud between Steve Austin and Bret Hart, with the Hart
Foundation of Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, Davey Boy Smith, and Brian
Pillman, perhaps gained some interest in the World Wrestling Federation,
although they were still a few steps behind in the ratings and
apparently on track for a money losing year. Shawn Michaels lost his
smile, got it back, and then took his ball and went home after a
backstage fight with Bret Hart, as their feud outside of the ring in
real life had prevented them from following up on their feud in the
The night of November 9th 1997 would be the flashpoint in WWF to
begin what would be known as the Attitude Era. Bret Hart would put his
World Wrestling Federation Championship on the line against Shawn
Michaels in Montreal at the Survivor Series. There were many rumors
floating around, about the future of Bret Hart and by that night, many
speculated that he was on the way to World Championship Wrestling and
that he refused to drop the title to Shawn Michaels in Canada, due to
the very real backstage heat both men had.
November 9th 1997, Montreal, at WWF Survivor Series 1997, a night
that no one who has ever followed wrestling would forget and would
change the entire face of wrestling forever.