Throughout the history of the WWE, we’ve seen many eras take place. When considering which of these eras were the best, many hardcore wrestling fans would maintain that the Attitude Era bested any other time period. It featured countless feuds between legendary entertainers, like The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, and became one of the most popular sports in the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
When it comes to deciding which superstars belong at the top of the list, one must consider many things. The wrestler must have made an impact on the brand during that time and should also have been a world champion at one time or another.
As I mentioned before, feuds were a huge part of that time period and help advance a lot of these guys’ careers, further solidifying their place in WWE history. Taking everything into account, there are a handful of guys who truly deserve to be at the top of the list, many of whom shouldn’t surprise.
Mick Foley, a man of many gimmicks, was a big part of the Attitude Era. From Cactus Jack to Dude Love to his most famous character Mankind, Foley always held a strong connection with the crowd and even won a couple of titles along the way.
His most memorable victory came when Eric Bischoff gave away the results of Monday Night Raw’s championship match featuring him and The Rock. Over 600,000 people switched WCW’s Monday Night Nitro to watch Foley capture his first world title.
Foley’s wrestling career was ostensibly ended by Triple H following their Hell in a Cell match at No Way Out in 2000, but he later returned by request of Linda McMahon to wrestle in WrestleMania 2000 for the world title.
Triple H was one of the most decorated athletes during the Attitude Era, and he was an integral part of it for several reasons. One of those reasons being Degeneration X, a rebellious heel faction that he created along with Shawn Michaels and Chyna.
DX took over Raw almost every week and created their own lane to the top of the wrestling world at that time and was later taken over by Triple H. He became a big part of the main event scene when he linked up with Stephanie McMahon circa 2000.
Their relationship was referred to as the McMahon-Helmsley Faction and set him up for several title reigns. Hunter Hearst Helmsley held numerous championships throughout the Attitude Era; from the European title to the WWE title, Triple H held them all and even garnered King of the Ring honors in 1997.
As if The Undertaker’s legacy and reputation doesn’t already precede him, it should come as no surprise that he ranks in the top five of the Attitude Era.
‘Taker took part in several legendary matches during that time period, including a series of Hell in a Cell contests. From debuting Kane in his match with HBK to tossing Mankind off the top of the cage, The Dead Man had several memorable times inside of the cell.
He also had a very important feud with Vince McMahon that ended up being one of the most popular of that time, although he’s likely most recognized during that era for his back-and-forth, ongoing battle with Kane.
They later became a tag team known as the Brothers of Destruction and wreaked havoc week after week before picking up their feud once again.
His persona as WWE’s resident phenom was built well before the Attitude Era and will be remembered long after, but one could argue his best years were in the late '90s.
The Rock was one of the most prominent figures during the Attitude Era, and his feud with Steve Austin is one of the best in WWE history.
For a brief time, he was also one-half of arguably the most entertaining tag team of that era, The Rock ‘N’ Sock Connection. Besides the three tag team titles he captured with partner Mick Foley, the most electrifying man in sports entertainment also won a number of world titles.
The pop that the Brahma Bull drew from the crowd whenever his entrance music played was deafening; he truly was the most electrifying man in sports at that time. If he was able to overthrow the next man on this list, then The Rock would have been considered the best of that time period without a doubt.
Stone Cold was the unrivaled face of WWE’s Attitude Era. His feud with Vince McMahon fueled the progression and growth of wrestling in the late 1990s, and he was essentially the father of the Attitude Era—it’s even called the Austin Era by some.
Stone Cold’s sagas with superstars like The Rock, Bret Hart and even Mr. McMahon made for the most entertaining feuds and truly drove what is largely considered the best times in wrestling history.
Austin was named PWI’s most popular wrestler from 1997-99 and again in 2002. He was also named its Wrestler of the Year in 1998-99 and in 2001. He was a six-time WWF champion during that era, a two-time intercontinental champion, King of the Ring winner and also was the winner of three Royal Rumbles.
There is no shortage of accolades in Austin’s career, and the large majority of them came in the Attitude Era. He was, is and always will be the face of that time period in WWE history.