Hi fellow WWE fans,
First of all The Attitude Era was a period in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and professional wrestling history that began as a direct result of the Monday Night Wars and culminated with the conclusion of the Wars in 2001. Similar to the 1980s professional wrestling boom, the Attitude Era was a surge in the popularity of professional wrestling in the United States from the late 1990s to early 2000s, as television ratings and pay-per-view buy-rates hit record highs. The Attitude Era was defined by a radical shift in programming content. In contrast to the more traditional, family-friendly content that was common in WWF programming, the Attitude Era sought to attract the young adult demographic by transforming the product into an edgier and more controversial form of entertainment. Heroic characters were replaced with disaffected anti-heroes and family friendly storylines were replaced with controversial stories based on shock value, similar to the "Trash TV" genre popularized in the 1990s.
And here this is how it originated
The Attitude Era was ushered in between Survivor Series 1997 on November 9, 1997, and March 29, 1998 when Stone Cold Steve Austin became the WWF Champion defeating Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV. It has been said that the era ended on April 1, 2001 at WrestleMania X-Seven, days after World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was bought out by the WWF. The Attitude Era's origin is attributed to events that took place in the mid 1990s. One of these notable dates was the 1996 King of the Ring when Stone Cold Steve Austin uttered the famous catchphase of "Austin 3:16" and began the WWF's transition to an edgier product. Leading up to the event, Jake Roberts was a fan favorite and considered the probable winner of the event as his character had successfully defeated alcoholism and drug addiction and was now trying to live life as a constructive member of society. Roberts was defeated by Austin, whose character was that of a heel redneck. With an upset victory over Roberts, Austin mocked his opponent for constantly referencing John 3:16, culminating in the phrase, "Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!" Austin's defiance of authority and social mores proved to be popular amongst the fans, and "Austin 3:16" became a marketing juggernaut for the WWF.
The dominance of anti-heroes and villains was further cemented by the Montreal Screwjob. Vince McMahon used fans' knowledge of the real-life politics behind the incident to create the "Mr. McMahon" character, a corrupt businessman fixated on destroying the lives of disobedient employees. The resultant feud between Austin, portrayed as a working class everyman, and Mr. McMahon became the central storyline of the Attitude Era, propelled by Austin's profanity-laded tirades against McMahon and McMahon's increasingly violent and corrupt retaliations against Austin. Against this backdrop, other adult-oriented stories and characters were introduced, including D-Generation X, a crew of lewd frat boys prone to innuendo and mischief, and The Godfather, a pimp who came to the ring accompanied by a variety of prostitutes.
The Attitude Era proved to be a huge marketing success for the WWF, drawing in a previously unaccounted for young adult demographic that allowed them to successfully cripple competitor WCW by defeating them in the ratings wars. Within two years, WCW had become so unsuccessful that it lost its primetime television deal. During this same period, the WWF had become so financially powerful, that McMahon was able to buy the company from AOL Time Warner at a dramatically reduced valuation. The Attitude Era effectively ended on the March 26, 2001 edition of WWF's flagship program, Raw is War during which McMahon announced in-and-out of character that he had purchased World Championship Wrestling (WCW). On the same night, WCW aired its final independent program, WCW Monday Nitro. From that point, the sexualized and controversial stories that had defined the Attitude Era were deemphasized in favor of a complex "corporate intrigue" story during which the real-life politics behind the acquisition of the WCW played out onscreen, and wrestlers competed in drafts to determine the fate of their careers.
- March 10, 1997 - Monday Night Raw officially became Raw is War; the show introduced the TitanTron, the pyro openings and the Raw is War banners over the ring.
- September 22, 1997 - During this episode of Raw, Vince McMahon receives his first Stone Cold Stunner from Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- October 5, 1997 - The Hell in a Cell match was first introduced at In Your House: Badd Blood at the Kiel Center in St. Louis, Missouri. It featured The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. In that match, the door was unlocked to allow the removal of an injured cameraman. This led to Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker fighting outside the cell, eventually climbing the structure and fighting on top of the cell. The fighting taking place outside of the Cell led to the first fall from the cell, when Shawn Michaels, hanging from the edge of the structure, had his hands stepped on by The Undertaker and fell from the structure, crashing into the table below. Also in that match, the goal of no interference was not achieved when The Undertaker's younger brother Kane made his debut, ripping the door off of the cage and giving a Tombstone piledriver to The Undertaker, allowing Michaels to crawl and pin Undertaker.
- October 13, 1997 - The group of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna give themselves the name D-Generation X in an episode of Raw Is War.
- November 9, 1997 - at the 1997 Survivor Series, with the match between Shawn Michaels and WWF Champion Bret "The Hitman" Hart for the WWF Title, when Michaels locked Bret Hart into Bret's own submission, The Sharpshooter, Vince McMahon, who was at ringside, ordered referee Earl Hebner to ring the bell. The post-match events came under fire of controversy the fact that in the storyline, Bret did not tap out when locked into submission and was not supposed to lose at all. Due to the fact it took place in Montreal, Canada, the event has been dubbed as The Montreal Screwjob. The match is remembered as Bret Hart's last in the WWF.
- December 8, 1997 – During this episode of Raw, Stone Cold Steve Austin knocks WWF Chairman Vince McMahon off the ring, thus entering the Austin/McMahon saga.
- March 29, 1998 – The Undertaker beats Kane at WrestleMania XIV, making Kane the seventh opponent whom Taker had beaten at WrestleMania. Later that night "Stone Cold" Steve Austin wins the WWF Championship from Shawn Michaels.
- March 30, 1998 – With Shawn Michaels out because of back injury, Triple H calls himself the leader of DX, which he adds the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac to the group.
- April 6, 1998 - For the first time since June 17, 1996, WWF Raw won over WCW's Monday Nitro in the ratings when on Raw, Stone Cold Steve Austin was supposed to face Vince McMahon for the first time, one on one.
- June 28, 1998 – At the 1998 King of the Ring, Mankind loses against The Undertaker in the second Hell in a Cell match. In the opening moments of the match, the Undertaker threw Mankind off the roof of the cage. Later that night, Kane won his first major title from Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- July 27, 1998 – Triple H and X-Pac face each other for the first time in a Triple Threat Match, against The Rock.
- October 5, 1998 – On this episode of Raw, Mankind visits an injured Vince McMahon. During this segment, Mankind introduces Mr. Socko, a hand-drawn sock puppet. Mr. Socko became so popular, that it became part of the Mankind gimmick. A few moments later, in another segment, Stone Cold Steve Austin impersonates a doctor and starts attacking McMahon. From this date until Nitro's last episode on March 26, 2001, Raw took the lead in the ratings war and was never beaten by Nitro since (except on Oct 26, 1998).
- November 23, 1998 – After his return, Shawn Michaels turns on D-Generation X and joins Vince McMahon’s Corporation after hitting X-Pac with Sweet Chin Music.
- December 7, 1998 - The Undertaker has his druids chain Stone Cold Steve Austin to his "Undertaker Symbol" and raised high into the arena in the entranceway. As it physically symbolized Austin being crucified, it was one of the most controversial moments in Raw history.
- January 4, 1999 – Shawn Michaels turns against The Corporation and rejoins DX. After rejoining DX, the Corporation attacks Michaels, indicating he is definitely out. Later that night, Mankind won his first World Title from The Rock. On Monday Nitro WCW gave away Mankind's victory at the beginning of the show resulting in hundreds of thousands of viewers switching over to Raw to see the title change. This was also the night of The Fingerpoke of Doom, an infamous match between Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash that many fans see as the beginning of the downfall of WCW.
- January 24, 1999 - Vince McMahon wins the Royal Rumble Match after drawing the number two position. He spent most of the match at ringside commentating and another large portion leading Stone Cold Steve Austin to a trap set up backstage. Eventually Steve Austin would gain the prize of a main event spot at WrestleMania XV and go on to face The Rock.
- March 28, 1999 – The Undertaker defeats Big Boss Man in the fifth Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania XV, making Boss Man the eighth opponent whom Taker beaten at the pay-per-view event. After the match, Taker (kayfabe) hanged Boss Man from the cell. It is also the same WrestleMania that Triple H turns against X-Pac and joins The Corporation. Also, it is the first time that Stone Cold Steve Austin faces off and defeats The Rock at WrestleMania for the WWF Championship.
- April 26, 1999 - The Undertaker tries to marry Stephanie McMahon in a black unholy wedding, in order to get the attention of Vince McMahon.
- May 23, 1999 – At the 1999 WWF Over the Edge event, Owen Hart, who was going under the name The Blue Blazer against The Godfather for the IC Title, fell to his death when he was lowering himself from the rafters, but released himself too early. WWF was criticized for going on with the show, even after then-Raw announcer Jim Ross had said that Owen died. As the Blue Blazer was seen as a family-friendly "superhero" that contrasted with the pimp Godfather, this tragic incident accentuated, in a way, the edginess and adult content present in the Attitude Era.
June 7, 1999. Vince McMahon is revealed to have sided with the Undertaker and so since he was behind the abduction of Stephanie McMahon. Linda McMahon resigned as CEO of WWF and hired Stone Cold Steve Austin as the new CEO. Linda and Stephanie McMahon gave their shares of the WWF to Stone Cold giving him half of the WWF ownership as there are four McMahons and each had 25% which the other half Shane and Vince McMahon had.
- June 27, 1999 Vince and Shane McMahon win Austin's WWF shares in a ladder match at the King of the Ring giving Vince and Shane Mcmahon total control of the WWF.
- June 28, 1999 Austin wins the WWF championship from the Undertaker on Raw is War.
- July 25, 1999 – X-Pac and Road Dogg defeat Chyna and Billy Gunn for the rights of D-Generation X. Stone Cold defeats the Undertaker to retain the WWF Championship in a first blood match and due to a contract signed by Austin and Mr McMahon Before the match . That stated if Austin lost the match he would never get another shot at the WWF championship, But if Austin won he would never see Vince McMahon again. This was the end of Steve Austin and Mr McMahon saga.
- August 9, 1999 - "Y2J" Chris Jericho makes his first WWF appearance.
- August 23, 1999 - Triple H wins the WWF Championship for the first time after defeating Mankind one night after SummerSlam. He would go on to become one of the most successful superstars in the WWF/WWE.
- August 26, 1999 - WWF Smackdown make its debut and became a weekly television series.
- September 16, 1999 - Vince McMahon returns to the WWF and wins the WWF Title from Triple H on Smackdown with help from Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- September 23, 1999 – Road Dogg and Billy Gunn reform the New Age Outlaws to win the WWF Tag Team titles from the Rock 'n' Sock Connection.
- September 27, 1999 – In this episode of Raw, Mankind hosted the famous This is Your Life segment, for The Rock. This segment alone garnered the highest rating for any professional wrestling segment on television (8.4) to date.
- October 17, 1999 - No Mercy: Chyna defeats Jeff Jarrett in a Good Housekeeping match to become the first-ever (and only) woman to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
- November 1999 – August 2000: Stephanie McMahon joins DX when she "married" Triple H, Billy Gunn was soon kicked out, and Road Dogg and X-Pac soon split up after a brief time as a tag team. Triple H and Stephanie's marriage began the McMahon-Hemsley Era, a storyline which would carry into the WWF until February 2002.
- November 14, 1999 - Survivor Series: Stone Cold Steve Austin is run down in the parking lot and taken out of the WWF for 10 months. The story was done to give Austin time off for legitimate surgery that was needed to repair long term damage to his neck, some of which related back to an injury inflicted by Owen Hart back in 1997 after a botched piledriver. Olympic Freestyle Wrestling gold medal winner Kurt Angle also makes his debut in a match against Shawn Stasiak which he won. Angle would go on to become one of the most popular and successful superstars in WWF/WWE.
- December 12, 1999 - Armageddon: The Kat wins the WWF Women's Championship in an Evening Gown in a Pool match; after the match she drops her top to expose her breasts on live TV, marking the first incident of intentional nudity in WWF television.
- January 31, 2000 - The Radicalz make their debut in the WWF. The group consisted of Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, future World Champion Chris Benoit and future WWE Champion and Hall Of Famer Eddie Guerrero.
- February 13 2000 - Amy Dumas debuts on Sunday Night Heat as "Lita", accompanying Essa Rios to the ring. After the match she performs a moonsault on Gillberg and would go on to become arguably one of the most popular divas in the company's history.
- March 19 2000 - Trish Stratus appears on Heat, scouting various wrestlers. She would go on to become one of the most famous women wrestlers in North America, along with Lita and currently holds the record of most reigns with the Women's title (seven).
- April 2 2000 - WrestleMania 2000: Vince McMahon turns on The Rock and helps Triple H retain the WWF title.
- April 30 2000 - The Rock defeats Triple h at Backlash after Stone Cold Steve Austin made a brief return to the WWF giving chair shots to Vince Mcmahon, Triple H, Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and Shane Mcmahon. Earl Hebner returns as a WWF referee as well.
- May 21, 2000 - Judgement Day: The Rock and Triple H compete in an hour long Iron Man Match for the WWF Title. Shawn Michaels serves as guest referee. The Undertaker returns during the match debuting his "American Bad-ass" gimmick that he would use through to the 2003 Survivor Series, and inadvertently costs The Rock the match and the title.
- June 26, 2000 - Steven Richards runs out to cover up Terri as she begins to strip following a match, thus beginning an angle with the Right to Censor stable, a group of conservative wrestlers looking to rid the WWF of "smut". The angle was created to parody the Parents Television Council who had been protesting about the sexual content and violence in WWF programming.
- August 27, 2000 - SummerSlam 2000: the very first Tables, ladders and chairs match takes place between the Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian and the Dudley Boyz for the Tag Team titles.
- September 24, 2000 - Unforgiven 2000: Stone Cold Steve Austin returns full time to WWF television to look for the man that ran him down at the previous year's Survivor Series.
- November 19, 2000 - Survivor Series 2000: Stone Cold drops the car Triple H is in from a forklift as revenge for running him over the previous year.
- December 10, 2000 - Armageddon 2000: The first (and only) six man Hell in a Cell match is held as the main event involving Stone Cold, The Undertaker, Triple H, Kurt Angle, The Rock and Rikishi.
- January 21, 2001- Stone Cold Steve Austin wins his third Royal Rumble last eliminating Kane. Steve Austin has a record of winning the most Royal Rumble's 1997,1998 and 2001.
- February 25, 2001- Triple H defeats Stone Cold Steve Austin in a 3 stages of hell match ending their long feud. The Rock becomes the first 6 time WWF champion by defeating Kurt Angle at No Way Out. Until October 2001 The Rock had been the only 6 time WWF champion.
- March 26, 2001 - Vince McMahon announces to the world on Monday Night Raw that he has acquired WCW. Later in the night during a live Raw/Nitro simulcast, Shane McMahon appeared on WCW Monday Nitro and (kayfabe) announced that it was he who had in fact purchased WCW and also voiced his intentions to go into competition against his father.
- April 1, 2001 - WrestleMania X-Seven: Stone Cold Steve Austin turns heel by defeating The Rock with the help of Vince McMahon. Also, The Undertaker beats Triple H, making him the ninth opponent Taker had beaten at WrestleMania, Shane McMahon defeats Vince McMahon in a street fight, Kurt Angle Defeates Chris Benoit, Edge & Christian defeat The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz to win the Tag Team Titles at TLC II, and the Iron Sheik wins a "Gimmick Battle Royal" co-siting of many outlandish WWF favorites from previous years. Within two weeks leading up to this event, WCW had been purchased by the WWE while Paul Heyman became a broadcaster after the fall of ECW just weeks before and both defunct entities were part of Wrestlemania for the first time ever. Because of this, WrestleMania X-Seven is considered by many to be the last day of the Attitude Era and one of the best WrestleManias of all time.
Vince McMahon, please bring back the Attitude ERA of WWE!! Ratings will boom
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!