Author Topic: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?  (Read 470 times)

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Online Sty Guy Kamala

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Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« on: January 20, 2020, 08:23:40 AM »
This debate is happening on Wrestling Twitter rn and I thought I'd take it to TSM.

So were WWF's most successful era-popularity wise, its best years? Or do we view them with Dude Love colored glasses?

Offline AA484

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2020, 08:25:33 AM »
I'm not sure if it was better or worse in ring than, say, the early 1990s.  It kept me entertained on a weekly basis and that's all you can really ask for.

Offline Harley Quinn

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2020, 08:35:41 AM »
Currently been re-watching Raws from 1996 (just entering 1998). Obviously the in-ring stuff won't compare to most eras, probably, but characterization and angle wise it's really, really hard to touch.

You had the top tier e.g. Bret, HBK, Austin's meteoric rise, Rock, Mankind, Triple H's new DX, Undertaker, etc. but (and some of this may totally be nostalgia talking) I've even enjoyed the minor stuff. You have the New Age Outlaws cementing themselves as arguably the best WWE tag team going until really 2000/2001 when the Edge & Christian/Hardys/Dudleys overtook the division.

Also as bad as Vince Russo was in WCW, you can probably name a crap ton of angles and feuds from 1997-1999 that had his fingerprints on them nevermind the good stuff WWE was doing in 2000, 2001, and 2002 towards the tail end of the Attitude era.

The DX/Nation feud is one of the better stable feuds in wrestling history for that 5-9 month run it happened. Austin/McMahon is one of the best long term storylines on television period, nevermind wrestling. The insertion and evolution of Mankind, The Rock, Triple H and the continual development of those characters was great stuff eventually getting into Test/Stephanie and Austin/Angle and the memorable Love Triangle stuff.

Undertaker/Kane is fantastic stuff. The constant Paul Bearer promos were a little tiresome after a while upon re-watching them but Kane's eventual arrival and the build up to WrestleMania 14? Top notch stuff.

Even the underneath stuff surprisingly holds up really well. D'Lo and his Chest Protector. The Marc Mero/Sable stuff made Sable into a massive star... her pops were ginormous for the era. Val Venis coming onto the scene and his eventual feuds with people like Ken Shamrock I'll still point to as fun mid-card level stuff that served its purpose. Later on you'd get Al Snow's goofy character with the European Title. The creation and quick evolution of the Hardcore Title was great stuff and gave a lot of guys a good role to play as champion or competitor in 2000 and 2001.

Offline Avid Warehouse Enthusiast

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2020, 08:37:37 AM »
I voted yes (seems I'm alone there), but only because not every year of the era was 1998 or 2000. 1999 happened. It was, overall, shit. The best things about the Attitude Era were commonplace in ECW by the middle of 1995, for example, and we've had better overall products since (ROH 2004-2007 jumps to mind right away).

Still, though, there was a magic surrounding how cohesive its best parts were, and how unique it really was for having so much legitimate star power together all at once. Austin, Rock, Foley, Taker, Michaels, Hart, HHH, Jericho, Angle, the Hardy Boyz, Edge & Christian...it really is insane to think that they were all active on WWF programming and doing some of, if not, their best work in just a brief 2-3 year span.

Offline AA484

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2020, 08:45:28 AM »
Speaking of which, what are everyone's start and stop points for the era?

Generally speaking, mine are Austin's KOR victory speech and Vince's purchase of WCW or Austin's heel turn.

Offline Harley Quinn

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2020, 08:58:23 AM »
Speaking of which, what are everyone's start and stop points for the era?

Generally speaking, mine are Austin's KOR victory speech and Vince's purchase of WCW or Austin's heel turn.

The above two you mentioned are the "easy" answers IMO. With that said, I kind of see the WWE/WCW "feud" after Vince's purchase kind of being the end of the Attitude Era in part because it didn't have that... spark to it all. The actual purchase teased something big but the lack of legitimate star power/dream matches just had such a thud that WWE was kind of forced into a new era.

For me the start of it really is Survivor Series 1995 and the Bret/Diesel main event match which would have fingerprints immediately on the 1996 matches to come (see HBK/Mankind at Mind Games as an immediate to mind example).

Some of the 'cartoonish' elements were still there in the undercard but it was clear that things were already starting to shift by early 1996. Undertaker, Diesel, Bret, Shawn were all undergoing pretty extreme more serious character shifts even when WrestleMania rolled around. Vader and Austin debuted with more serious characters and Mankind, who would've probably been cartoonish in 1993/1994, came in as a serious albeit weird character ala Goldust. Triple H had some semblances of the 'snob' element still but was swiftly morphing away from that too by the middle of the year.

Online Sty Guy Kamala

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2020, 08:59:59 AM »
I think most common/easiest timetable for Attitude Era (and one I agree with) is it starting with the Montreal Screwjob and ending with WrestleMania X-7.

I'll also accept the premiere of RAW is War in March 1997 as start date. Not flexible on the end date.

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2020, 09:09:14 AM »
98 starts off really bad with a terrible roster (look at some of those raw lineups) but gets really good from a storyline perspective around WM and stays quality til around after Survivor Series.

1999 is pretty trash all around and 2000 is great until September. I voted overrated because I was more into WCW, but the highs are so much better than now. Weirdly enough I think I have more wwf nostalgia for those shitty new generation years.

Edit I wasn't counting 97 when I voted so that changes things.

Online Sty Guy Kamala

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2020, 09:23:15 AM »
I think Survivor Series '97 and premiere of actual Attitude Era commercials is as good of an official start point as any.

I know HQ went off on a tangent about how many Attitude era elements were present in '95-'96 WWF but there were a lot of New Generation era elements in '97 WWF.

Saying Austin winning the KOTR is start of the Attitude Era is like saying that The Warriors drafting Steph Curry in '09 was the beginning of their dynasty. I guess you could argue that's true but they had to cut through a lot of chaff to get to the wheat in process.

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2020, 09:28:48 AM »
Yes and no.  I was not a fan at all of the 1997-1999 period.  1997 and 1998 did have a great main event scene, but the undercard and minute long matches were a major turnoff.  1999 was just abysmal all around.  2000 I thought was fantastic.  Maybe the best year in the company's history.

But today, I think it is more nostalgia than anything else with maybe some appeal to the worst members of society.  When I think of the Attitude Era, yes I think about Austin/McMahon which was brilliant.  But I also think of X-Pac dressing in blackface, "Choppy Choppy Your Pee Pee," homosexual jokes, transsexual jokes, constant abuse of women, and so much more that I just find absolutely appalling.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2020, 09:32:46 AM »
It isn't overrated, even though there are a lot of really bad angles.

It was the last time that booking overall made cohesive sense on a week to week basis.


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Offline AA484

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2020, 09:51:25 AM »
Also, perhaps the last time that they really gave free reign for guys to write their own promos and develop their own characters.  Outside of a few outliers like Cena and others, that really hasn't happened since, at least not consistently.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2020, 10:04:03 AM »
I would say the Attitude Era ended when Stone Cold left. The booking also never recovered from that and that's when Vince started to go way off the rails, leaving us with the senility that we now see on a weekly basis. It's also easy to pinpoint that as the moment HHH became a cancer that would ruin basically everything. Vince gave him the creative power to run his own shit while booking everything else himself, and for the most part things have never recovered from this. There's been good spurts, but attendance and ratings have been in decline since then for a good reason.


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Offline AA484

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2020, 10:07:45 AM »
The reason I date the Attitude era earlier than Montreal is that the Stone Cold character and DX were pretty developed by the time of the screw job.  They were probably the two biggest lynchpins of the Attitude era (with Rock coming along a little bit later).

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2020, 10:19:16 AM »
I feel like the attitude era was the precursor to what we would become as a people today... it laid the foundations down to what are attention spans would eventually become in this era of screens and more screens as attention spans become more extreme like everything else where you might only be interested in something for a 7 second clip/gif and then you become engrossed for hours in things that are trash to 95% of other people. Vince Russo was the catalyst to this the beautiful crash tv era we got to enjoy and if something sucked so bad you had to change the channel to the other promotion you never got to know it sucked. Just like today when we chat and talk and barely pay attention to a 4/10 show or movie we would've been smart enough to stop watching in the past because we just coulda changed the channel to the competition.

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Offline Saints_Fan_H

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2020, 10:23:20 AM »
Man it's hard to look at it objectively but I'll approach from this angle:

I was born in 81, started watching in 1991. In the early 90s I could watch it in the living room and hear my parents squawking out "Fake" during All American Wrestling, et al but it was harmless.

By 1997 I was self conscious about watching it in the living room and mostly watched it in my bedroom and cringed on a lot of segments had they walked in. Things weren't much better during Ruthless Aggression with acts like Eugene hanging around.


Another angle:

In 1991-95/6 no one in my friend group or other same age classmates were wearing WWE or WCW shirts to school. They talked about it, had the action figures, and the video games but that was it. By 1998 almost every dude in my high school had a shirt for at least one wrestler, faction, or company minimum. Even a lot of our girlfriends (and not just the redneck girls) were doing the "BANG" in the hall, wearing t-shirts, going to shows, etc.

By the time I was 16 I was seeing a young lady who had a wrestler in the family (small time indy) but he smartened me up 100% (I mean seriously I "knew" but he confirmed a shit ton other stuff) so I don't know if it was because of that friendship, my maturation (lol), or a combination of both. I started noticing things like work rate, match lengths, etc... For better or for worse, WMXII set a major milestone for me as a fan with the one hour iron man match. I rented the tape from Blockbuster as soon as I could and loved it. Obviously it has flaws, but to see that length and talent between stars was outstanding. And not long after that we suddenly were "treated" to Russo booked 5 minute matches between "stars."

I'll give the attitude era this. Jobber squashes still exited, but instead of boring, generic, plain guys they were colorful and had the illusion (to me) that they might have a shot in any given match. But they were still boring squash matches with colors, lights, and pyro. But if you're a work rate fan, not a lot of that.

Indicative of any attitude era stuff, I'd suggest tearing apart the Pay-per-views more than the weekly television product. The TV was trying to compete with Nitro. If you feel the Pay-Per-View matches were hot garbage moreso than good, I think the answer lies there. WMXIV was probably the best Wrestlemania of the Attitude era, depending on if you rank X7 as the end of the era or the beginning of the new era. That's not for me to debate. I just know XV and 2000 were major let downs for Wrestlemanias and the window dressing for the other big PPVs generally left a lot to be desired across the whole cards. There were some huge quality main events sprinkled throughout, and even our lower tiered favorites had stuff to do, but holy shit some of it was bad then, and doesn't hold up now.

Fun topic, thanks for posting it.

Offline LaParkaYourCar

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2020, 11:14:43 AM »
I'll get back to you in a couple of years once I've reviewed all the Attitude Era PPVs on my blog. I think once I reconcile my nostalgia with my current view, I can give a definitive answer.
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Offline JHawk

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2020, 11:17:30 AM »
I voted for overrated.

1998 had some great storytelling (Survivor Series 1998 is the still the best stuff Russo has ever done) but many of the PPV matches fell flat compared to the buildup.

1999 is largely horrible and I honestly watch as little of that as I can.

Offline strummer

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2020, 11:50:46 AM »
Late 98/basically all of 99 is tough to watch. Rock Bottom 98 is one of the worst ppvs in company history that nobody really mentions.

I was so sick of Undertaker and Kane in this era as well. They seemed to be in every segment on Raw

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2020, 12:30:21 PM »
The in-ring product (which people never talk about when this era comes up) was always dogshit and quite a few of the wackier angles (Mae Young giving birth, Mark Henry and Sammie, Beast Satan Undertaker) don't hold up at all but the excitement factor along with an always hot crowd and more leeway for wrestlers to be themselves and use whatever language they want is what made the era especially exciting. For that alone, I don't think that era as a whole is overrated. Everything is so micromanaged these days and too many people within the company are handcuffed to sponsors and stockholders and that kills the excitement for a lot of people. Couple that in with there being no real competition and thus no real initiative to try hard.

For me, the era was always ushered in with the Montreal Screwjob and lasted until the end of the Invasion. I won't fault anyone though for listing WMX7 as the end as a strong argument could be made there but the conclusion of the Invasion solidified WWE as the only game in town and that we were truly in a different era.

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2020, 12:31:24 PM »
Survivor Series 1998 is the still the best stuff Russo has ever done

Agreed 100%.

Offline The Valeyard

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2020, 12:40:21 PM »
I'd start around King of the Ring at earliest. Foley was killing himself, Austin cut that promo, and Pillman debuted right before. Otherwise it's 100% the Pillman gun angle, full stop.

End for me WM17, but I can see going up to the name change.

I said yes just because 1999 is awful. Good was very good, but the bad was too overwhelming. It's like how a show you like has a shitty season that drains your enthusiasm before an awesome season, but you gotta watch all of them because you gotta.

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2020, 01:31:45 PM »
The in-ring product (which people never talk about when this era comes up) was always dogshit and quite a few of the wackier angles (Mae Young giving birth, Mark Henry and Sammie, Beast Satan Undertaker)

While the above is correct, people still remember it. I can't remember anything that happened last week.  I loved the Attitude Era because of the dumb angles.
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Offline Saints_Fan_H

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2020, 02:00:41 PM »
Royal Rumble binge watch 2019: 1999 edition caused me to nearly rage quit the entire task. I don't know why it only registered to me 20 years later just how bad it was.

Offline geniusMoment

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2020, 02:33:51 PM »
I voted no, and if you re-watch it and judge it that way it's BS in my opinion.

It has to be judged in it's time and place.  At the time I loved it.  Also, if you go back and watch something knowing all the outcomes of all the angles it won't be the same.  You're basically judging the in-ring work only.  As knowing all the outcomes ruins a significant portion of the experience. 

To me, the more relevant question is how did you feel about it at the time?  And in that time and place did you enjoy it more than you currently enjoy wrestling?   As it wasn't created for people 20 years later.  It was created for an audience in that time and place.
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Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2020, 03:28:40 PM »
Loved it at the time. Never once felt bad about turning the TV on every week.

Royal Rumble binge watch 2019: 1999 edition caused me to nearly rage quit the entire task. I don't know why it only registered to me 20 years later just how bad it was.

I was there. At the time it was good until the finish.


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Offline CookieMueller

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2020, 05:35:10 PM »
I said 'yes' not because it's bad but because it IS overrated. Some people act like it was just this endless goldmine of wrestling. And those people are very vocal about expressing this opinion. I've tried to go back and watch some of those Raws all the way through and it's brutal. There's 5 segements of gold but the rest can be unbearable Oddities vs Truth Commission type bullshit. Nitro for virtually its entire run was full of "so bad it's good" moments but Raw veers into "so bad it's BAAAAD" territory far too often for me to make it through a 1999 Raw episode for instance.

Offline Sabre

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2020, 08:59:35 PM »
100% Yes.  It only has fond memories because of the main event scene.  The rest of the show was the drizzling shits.

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2020, 12:03:31 AM »

Royal Rumble binge watch 2019: 1999 edition caused me to nearly rage quit the entire task. I don't know why it only registered to me 20 years later just how bad it was.

I was there. At the time it was good until the finish.

Even at the time watching it live (likely via one of those unscrambler box things) I fucking hated the 99 Rumble.  I couldn't stand how the match and everything happening in the ring was basically treated like an afterthought.

100% Yes.  It only has fond memories because of the main event scene.  The rest of the show was the drizzling shits.

That's generally how I feel.   I would watch more Nitro than Raw on most weeks, but I'd definitely watch the Raw main events way more often than Nitro, because their main event scene was so dull.

Online Sty Guy Kamala

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2020, 05:40:25 AM »
This settles it.

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2020, 06:11:24 AM »
He also looks like Mark Ruffalo if the Hulk went on a 3-week bender.

Count me in for preferring Nitro over Raw most weeks on the undercard alone. Raven, Jericho, DDP, Booker T, Roots Genoa, Malenko...hell yeah.

Offline Gary

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2020, 06:29:11 AM »
Hey, I'm late again.

I voted overrated. I think Kahran said it better than I could-some of the people who go on about missing the Attitude Era are likely the same people who whine about "PC pussies" or whatever. They miss something that couldn't be recreated today, and for the most part because of very good reasons. I remember me and my friends talking about how much we loved it, but I was also embarrassed of the fact that I was watching something so gross because of my family. It was impossible to defend.

I'd argue it started KOTR 96. There had been blueprints before (Golddust and Diesel's heel turn) but the "Austin 3:16" promo was unlike anything in the company at that point. Afterwards it was there but not as big yet (Shotgun Saturday Night and Mankind doing the kind of bumps nobody else was doing), but it really didn't blow up until after the Montreal Screwjob. As a whole though I'd say KOTR 96.

When it ended? I'd argue around 2003 or 2004. Things like Billy and Chuck, HLA and Katie Vick were awful attempts at trying to bring that kind of thing back, but nobody really wanted angles based on necrophilia and endless T&A was starting to feel like old hat. There's still vestiges of it, but usually for the worst like the recent stuff with Rusev and Liv Morgan (poor Liv) vs Lashley and Lana. The wrestling industry has mostly moved on, and tons of women have fought hard for women's wrestling to be something to be taken seriously, yet Vince and Heyman are still stuck in the same kind of mindset people hate.

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Re: Is The Attitude Era Overrated?
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2020, 06:33:10 AM »
Big moments were actually big and didn’t feel manufactured