What the Attitude Era was all about - The Birth
by, 12-19-2011 at 07:47 PM (5234 Views)
Two Fallen Heroes, The Rise of Anti-Authority, Gang Warfare, Crude Behaviour and downright crazy stuff were just some things that summed up the attitude era.
1997 was a rapidly changing time in wrestling. Suddenly WWF was blown out of the water and was an inferior product to the once corny looking alternative version of WWF for most wrestling fans, WcW. Wrestling began to hurdle towards another peak time, one that would prove vastly different to what had brought wrestling to the wider audience. It was not a long time from the start of 1997 until pandemonium took over.
Throughout the 90's, an era dubbed the new generation was coined, and out of it, two men shone particularly bright; Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Hart was the catalyst for the WWF's bold new direction, and Michaels was the stardust sprinkled over it. They had their era defining match at WrestleMania XII in a legendary Iron Man match. This was the end of an era.
Michaels' run with the WWF title was lacklustre, having a not at all very over face as the figurehead of the once proud company was completely trounced by the creation of the nWo based in WcW. The new guy was invisible compared to the outlandish behaviour of the supposedly dead weight in Hulk Hogan and his show controlling cronies. There would be highlights in Michaels' reign but they lacked in comparison to what was going on down south. Hart was welcomed back with open arms once again as "THE GUY" towards the end of the year but the slow silent rise of a rattlesnake would change things forever. Survivor Series in 1996 was one of the most important Pay Per Views ever for WWF.
Austin 3:16 may have been born at King of The RIng, but it became a bulldozer at the 1996 Survivor Series. The Austin character was thuroughly entertaining that by the time HBK lost his title to Sid (who was the cheered heel), the Bret Hart comeback of comeback's wasn't really about Bret Hart at all.
In 1997 things completely changed. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, the two stars of WWE started a downslope out of memory. The Undertaker held the title for much of the time that the war with WcW was ongoing, a true show of the dependable nature of the phenom, the rock of the WWF at that time, and still now. The rise and rise of Austin culminated in an unprecedented full heel turn for Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels backstage pull and "degenerate" ways had become the worst kept secret in WWF. Hart playing the heel was a real boost to aid the Rattlesnake's soon to be unrivalled popularity at the forefront. This heel turn also brought factions to the fore.
There were not many factons in WWF in previous years. the Heenan Family was dominant for a very long time and was eventually replicated in the Million Dollar Corporation. The MDC was a good idea, but would have been best served when Ted DI Biase was an active wrestler trying to get the gold. The first true faction to emerge in late 1996 was completely different - The Nation of Domination. Led by Faarooq, The NOD was a group of the Black Panther variety, and very grim but most importantly noticeable in the grand scheme of things. When The Hart Foundation was formed, WWF had their first ever as they call it in the business, Super Group. WWF tried copycat with WcW down the line introducing stables galore with undercard stables like Los Boricuas and Desciple of Apocalypse. When Shawn Michaels became relevant again as one member of Degeneration X flanked by the now known Triple H along with Rick Rude and Chyna, the new era had all the pieces to come in place. Degeneration X were the definition of rude and crude I alluded to above, complete softmore antics that meshed excellently with everything around it. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the only man who stood completely alone, and thus allowed the focus to remain on him. In November 1997 at Survivor Series the WWF had it's most crucial Pay Per View, that completely changed the wrestling landscape.
The Screwjob, we've all heard of it, we have our own opinions and we've heard every opinion under the sun. This event was the downfall and shocking exit of the iconic Hitman, the beginning of the descent for the heartbreak kid, and the foundation for the greatest evil madman the WWF has ever seen, one Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
In the months that followed, things completely changed. When Stone Cold Steve Austin became the man at WrestleMania 14, Shawn Michaels followed the other cornerstone of his peak era out of the WWF, Bret Hart, who departed just 4 months prior, a new dawn was emerging.
After WrestleMania 14, Attitude was on. Attitude was definitely on.
I have blabbed on enough, but late 1996 and 1997 as a whole were the ground that the greatest era was born out of, and were important to the success story.
The Attitude era entailed the following:
A foul mouthed redneck/quote machine who did absolutely whatever he wanted when he wanted no matter what was in his way, becoming the most popular figure to ever grace sports entertainment.
The embodiment of the evil boss, sadistic and underhanded at any time and the perfect counterbalance to the everyman hero that dared to be his own man.
A demonic beast who exudes confidence in his own death and the fear of death in all others.
A quite hilarious, quite mad and all too often quite batshit crazy masked man who had not only one, but two extra personalities to boot.
A group that revelled in telling anybody they wanted to SUCK IT, pissing on motorbikes, riding tanks, mooning, coercing women to flash tits, making fun of anyone they wanted as well.
A crazy insane destructive f*@#%!g monster terrorizing EVERYONE who was in his near proximity. Every.Single.Week!
The ultra cocky former good guy with a bad attitude that people just ate up and who unexpectedly became Mr Catchphrase.
And many many able supporting characters.
And the above only relates to 1998. There is much more to come.
Up next and hopefully soon, What The Attitude Era was all about - Characters