What if it was possible to transport our favorite WWE Superstars back to the infamous Attitude Era? Which current WWE Superstar would be able to survive the TV-14 mayhem? Which Attitude Era wrestlers would you want to see that Superstar feud with?
“WWE Attitude Era: Fantasy Feuds” is a series that takes a look at five potential rivalries that could have taken place if a current WWE Superstar had been performing during the Attitude Era.
The Attitude Era was never given an official time interval, but for the sake of the article, we will say it lasted from 1997 to 2001.
1. Active members of the WWE roster cannot be used as an Attitude Era Superstar, unless they have specific dates (1997-2001) assigned to them.
Example: The Rock and Kane are not eligible to be Attitude Era Superstars; however, The Rock (1998) and Kane (2000) are.
2. Superstars who are retired (like Edge) or currently compete in other major promotions (such as TNA) are eligible to be an Attitude Era Superstar.
3. If an Attitude Era Superstar has been featured in a previous article, they can still be used again in the future. But they cannot be featured in two successive articles.
The third rule will prevent a current WWE Superstar from feuding with all of the top/main event wrestlers from the Attitude Era and will create the potential for better feuds in future articles.
The third installment of "WWE Attitude Era: Fantasy Feuds" stars the Apex Predator, Randy Orton.
Bret Hart made his WWE debut in 1984. After refusing to debut as a single's wrestler with a cowboy gimmick, he was able to join Jimmy Hart's heel stable known as The Hart Foundation.
At the end of his lengthy WWE career, Hart managed to capture five WWE titles, two Intercontinental titles, two Tag Team titles and a United States title. Aside from championships, the Hitman won the 1994 Royal Rumble and the King of the Ring tournament in 1991 and 1993. He is also a member of the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2006.
Randy Orton and Hart would have created a compelling feud in the Attitude Era, because they are both phenomenal technical wrestlers and would have been able to perform and create memorable matches.
Throughout both of their careers, Orton and Hart have dealt with many different forms of controversy.
Hart had a real-life feud with Shawn Michaels and was infamously "screwed" by Vince McMahon in what is known as the "Montreal Screwjob."
Orton has been rumored to have done some vulgar things when he was younger and has also been suspended multiple times due to failing the WWE's health and wellness policy.
These controversial situations make me believe that an Attitude Era feud between the two Superstars would have featured a lot of unexpected moments and a series of great matches.
It would have been a dream to see Orton and Hart in the same ring together.
Brian Pillman signed a WWE contact in 1996, but he was never able to reach his full potential after he shockingly passed away from heart disease in October 1997.
Even though he had a short WWE career, Pillman was the star in the infamous "Pillman's got a gun" angle which featured his good friend Stone Cold Steve Austin. It's a controversial angle that is still talked about today.
Although he never won any championships in the WWE, Pillman still had an impressive resume.
The Superstar known as "The Loose Cannon" won multiple WCW Tag Team titles with his partner at the time, Stunning Steve Austin. He also competed in a five-star match, was ranked the most underrated wrestler in 1994 and won Rookie of the Year in 1987 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Pillman and Randy Orton would have had an entertaining, unpredictable and exciting feud during the Attitude Era, because they are both known for playing mentally unstable characters on WWE TV.
Pillman was given the nickname The Loose Cannon because of the unusual promos he would give. He was famous for his worked-shoots that helped him create his unpredictable character/persona.
Of course, Orton has had some psychotic moments of his own. He once punted Vince McMahon in the head, did a spread-eagle after hitting an RKO and the first few words of his entrance music say "I hear voices in my head."
Both Orton and Pillman have over the top, mentally unstable characters, so anything they did during the Attitude Era would have been different and unexpected.
Kurt Angle made his WWE debut in 1999. Before he came to the WWE, Angle won a gold medal in amateur wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games.
During his time in WWE, Angle captured four WWE titles, a World Heavyweight title, United States title, European title, Intercontinental title and a Tag Team title. He also won the 2000 King of the Ring tournament.
As of today, Angle is a top star at TNA Impact Wrestling.
A Randy Orton and Angle feud during the Attitude Era would have been fun to see. Both Orton and Angle thrive as heels, but they do a great job playing the babyface character as well.
Preferably, I'd like to see Angle as the heel in this feud.
When it comes to wrestling, both Angle and Orton have a methodical approach.
Orton takes things slow and makes his opponents suffer with pinpoint punches and kicks, while Angle out-wrestles his opponents and seems to have a plan from the very start of the match.
In the WWE, Angle and Orton have met three times in singles competition. Angle has the edge with two wins over the Apex Predator. Also, it may be worth noting that Angle has made Orton tap out, something that Angle strives for in every match.
Orton and Angle have wrestled each other before, but the majority of their matches took place in 2006.
Between these two, who do you think would have been the more dominant Superstar during the Attitude Era?
After training with Dory Funk Jr. and being repackaged as a singles wrestler in 1998, Rikishi eventually teamed up with the tag team Too Cool.
Rikishi wrestled for the WWE from 1992 to 2004, but he didn't get his big break until 1998. Throughout his WWE career, Rikishi managed to capture three WWE Tag Team titles and an Intercontinental title.
Randy Orton and Rikishi would have created a great feud during the Attitude Era, because of Orton's experience when it comes to wrestling larger athletes. Also, Rikishi was mainly viewed as a tag team wrestler during that time, so a feud with Orton could have helped Rikishi establish himself as a singles competitor earlier in his career.
Orton is one of those wrestlers who can put on impressive performances against larger athletes. As the World Heavyweight champion in 2011, Orton had a surprisingly good feud with the World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry.
For a man who weighed 425 pounds, Rikishi was athletic and unexpectedly agile in the ring. When he would get clotheslined by a strong opponent, he would do a back flip and sell.
Aside from the 2004 Royal Rumble, Orton and Rikishi have never wrestled against each other. So, a Rikishi and Orton feud (or even just one match) would have been something fresh and new to see.
With Orton as a menacing heel and Rikishi as a fun, dancing babyface, these two Superstars could have had a special feud during the Attitude Era.
The RKO vs. the Stunner. The Texas Rattlesnake vs. the Viper.
If Randy Orton was feuding with Stone Cold Steve Austin during the infamous Attitude Era, the series of matches and promos between the two megastars would have made their rivalry an instant classic.
Austin made his WWE debut in 1995. Before arriving in the WWE, Austin competed in WCW and ECW.
During his time in WWE, he won six WWE titles, two Intercontinental titles, four WWE Tag Team titles, three Royal Rumbles (record) and is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. He also won the 1996 King of the Ring tournament.
A feud between Orton and Austin would be as intriguing as it gets. Both Superstars have similar finishing moves and have feuded with Vince McMahon and the McMahon family in the past.
To spark a feud, Orton could call out Austin and brag about the RKO being more powerful than the Stunner. Another way to start a feud is to have Orton bring back his "Legend Killer" persona and put his focus on the Texan.
Orton has been able to defeat (or RKO) some of the most well-respected WWE legends, but Austin isn't on that list.
The WWE Universe may never see a one-on-one match between Orton and Austin, but hey, that's what WWE '13 is for.
For the Next WWE Attitude Era: Fantasy Feuds
Which current WWE Superstar would you like to see star in next week's edition of "WWE Attitude Era: Fantasy Feuds"? Which five Attitude Era Superstars would he feud with? Let me know your suggestions in the comments box below.
Follow Adrian Fylonenko on Twitter to talk about wrestling, soccer, movies and all things sports/entertainment.