Monday, May 28, 2012

WWF Attitude Era Series Prologue

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 ring.

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.

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