Tag Archives: Top 10 Attitude Era Wrestlers

Top 10 Matches in the Attitude Era

There are only three things about the Attitude Era that everyone should definitely watch; the storytelling that was a significant improvement over the New Generation Era, the segments/promos that were incredibly entertaining, and the matches had were so varied and physical than any other time in the WWF. Because crash tv in  the late 1990’s was so popular, WWF had to final stick with the times to survive in rivalry with WCW. It is considered one of the most dangerous times of being a wrestler because of all the stunts and bumps they all took, but because they made its audience so vicarious and entertained, it left all of us a huge impression. So huge in fact that it was more historic than anything that the WWF could ever do nowadays and still remains timeless. Many wrestling fans cherish these moments of the Attitude Era so passionately because there never was a better time of wrestling where finishes were creative, the action going on keeps us on the edge of our seats, and the storytelling in the match always feel different in each and every one of those matches. All of the sudden we’ve gotten a brand new audience who never watched wrestling before now wanting to see these matches. There were so much exposure to the WWF/WWE product during this era because nobody in mainstream television was doing all the things that they were doing. It was not just strategy of how to win the match that’s now in play, but how much pain and punishment could they endure when the hardest bumps and so many foreign objects hits you. If there’s one thing that the Attitude Era avoided perfect, they avoided repetition. All of the matches from King of the Ring 1996 to Wrestlemania 17 were different and 100% watchable, if not entertaining. And these are the ten best wrestling matches that exceeds my love for the Attitude Era as a whole!

Honorable Mentions

Over The Edge: Dude Love vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

The match was a fantastic brawl that had an incredible ending perfect as it gets with multiple referee bumps and outside involvement, and it certainly went over the top. This is the reason why I miss the Attitude Era so much because they always come up with a creative finish and the finish was perfect! Austin pinned Dude Love by slapping the lifeless hand of Vince McMahon to the mat three times that allowed him to retain the WWE Championship to the roar of the Milwaukee crowd. This match worked because no one involved took it too seriously. Bodies flew everywhere, and Austin one-uped Vince McMahon again.

Unforgiven 1998: Undertaker vs. Kane – Inferno Match

The gimmick of fire surrounding the ring takes so much attention off the quality of the in-ring work. And that’s why it’s perfect for a brotherly feud between Kane and Undertaker. After Kane screwed Undertaker from the first Hell in a Cell match, they kept fighting each other non-stop throughout 1998. After coming so close to defeating Undertaker at Wrestlemania 14, Kane wanted to go beyond winning over Undertaker, he wanted to burn him alive. Each time someone slams on the mat, the fire burst out. It’s insane that they even took the fight outside of the ring because the level of hatred couldn’t hold them from the heat coming in the ring. One of the most dangerous matches perfect for the darkest of wrestling angles.

Armageddon 2000: 6-Man Hell in a Cell

I’m not a huge fan of over-booking in a singular match, but this is an exception because these 6 men were the attitude era’s biggest fishes and they given one of the most memorable Hell in a Cell matches of all time! No way was this match going to be kept in the Cell so we were definitely treated with brawls in, out, and on top of the Cell. Hell, Even Rikishi was tossed off the top and landed on a truck that Vince brought in to tear up the Cell. And what’s a huge surprise of all, is that Kurt Angle won this match! If you love matches that are very chaotic, look no further than this match! Was it the right booking decision, maybe, but with 6-men involved its hard to believe that the WWF Champion retained his title with all the odds against him.

No Way Out 2001: Trish Stratus vs. Stephanie McMahon

Let’s not forget that the women wrestlers were just as part of the Attitude Era as any of the guys. Trish was definitely the hottest woman in WWE history and during this time she was smoking hot. And what made her hotter was her feud of bitches with Stephanie. It was incredibly to see that these two made their rivalry look so fiery and they did so many sexy moves that it made it one of the best Divas matches of all time. Trish getting spanked, water poured, and even the bumps that they’ve took looked effective. Too back the finish could have been better if there was a clean victory.

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Number 10.  –  Breakdown: The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock vs. Mankind – Cage Match

A while ago I said it’s a shame that Ken Shamrock never went as far as he could have been in the Attitude Era and I think it’s because of this big loss in this match. Nevertheless, we haven’t seen a cage match this good since Owen vs. Bret at Summerslam 1994. It’s ashamed that this match is forgotten over the years, but it’s certainly one of the Attitude Era’s most hidden gems. The fact that this cage match was also triple threat show how much hard it is to get out of the cage or win with a fall. There were so many bumps made in the ring that felt like a real physical match. Each of these men really knocked each other out. I still remember Mankind took a high risk elbow drop from the top of the age and just crashed like crazy. I definitely love the finish of the match were Mankind brought in a chair and sacked it out of Ken Shamrock’s head. Just as Mankind was climbing up the cage just place both feet on the floor, The Rock pinned Shamrock for the victory. It was a creative finish that had a very incredibly worked match happening in the cage. If there’s one forgotten match from the Attitude Era that you need to see, look no further than checking out WWF Breakdown 1998!

Number 9.  –  Wrestlemania 14: Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin 

This was the match that set the standard of what the Attitude was all about. Shawn Michaels was infamous for being responsible for the Montreal Screwjob and he had no sympathy for what he has done to Bret Hart. The only man left that was worthy of facing The Heartbreak Kid at a Wrestlemania main event was the man who did not tap out when he face Bret Hart in last year’s wrestlemania; Stone Cold Steve Austin. Because Austin showed how much of a badass he was when he passed in the sharpshooter and started to piss Vince McMahon since, got his popularity rising up and this was the match that he needed to forever establish himself as the all time great! Austin set himself for trouble when he got the whole D-Generation-X, Vince McMahon, and even Mike Tyson to go against him, how’s able to win this match? The answer, do what Stone Cold does best. Shawn Michaels was also in some serious shit when he injured himself in that Casket Match against the Undertaker at Royal Rumble 1998 and it didn’t look like he was going to last very long in this match. Surprisingly enough, he managed to keep up with the match and did his best to keep Austin down. For a man with an injured back, Shawn was able to move just like he normally did. Still, Austin gave Michaels a beating of a life time and the crowd was cheering with all their might for Austin to win. It was insane that Triple H and Chyna interfered in the match to save Shawn but was sent out of the ringside area to continue their one on one fight. The moment Stone Cold hit the stunner on Michaels, Mike Tyson came in the ring and fast counted for Austin’s victory having Jim Ross shouted “Austin! Austin! Austin! The Austin Era has begun!” and right he was. Shawn represent the New Generation Era and the times had to continue with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the face of the company. 1998 was the year of Austin and McMahon as their rivalry really brought back the audience to tune back into the WWF’s product. The best part of the whole match was the aftermath when Shawn got back to call betrayal to Mike Tyson only to get punched square in the face and lie flat on the floor. This was the right booking for the right winner and it was certainly one hell of a memorable Wrestlemania moment! And to say that this is the second greatest Wrestlemania main event and it’s only number 9 shows how awesome the attitude era really was!

Number 8.  –  King of the Ring ’98 / RAW 6/29/1998: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane

My favorite time of being a WWF fan was 1998 when we had only four major stars tearing each other up; Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Mankind, and Kane (and possibly Vince McMahon if you believe that). Though this was Austin at his prime, this was also Kane’s prime as well were we had an actual horror-like monster as a wrestling persona that happened to be one of the best mystique characters of all time. He’s had a an awesome debut interfering the Undertaker’s match with HBK in the first Hell in a Cell, nearly this close to finish Undertaker at Wrestlemania, Tombstone Pete Rose (twice), and even even took his rivalry with Taker in the most dangerous match, the Inferno Match! It really built his character all the way to a WWF Championship against Stone Cold. And quite frankly, I’m putting two matches in two consecutive nights in this very list!

Sure, everyone thinks it’s blasphemy that I put this match over the King of the Ring Hell in the Cell match between Mankind and Undertaker, but the match between Kane and Austin is what truly defined the Attitude Era more-so than that match! It’s really cool to see a first blood-match but pretty obvious of who’s going to loose because Kane had his mask on, but it didn’t matter because this very match this match threw everything on the table to make it recognize it as Attitude. We’re talking about taking the fight to the crowd, interferences with Taker and Foley, close-call finishers, many attempted murders (pouring gasoline on Ref), and even bringing the Hell in the Cell down making it a gimmick match that was damaged earlier (Mankind vs. Undertaker). But that nasty chair shot that Taker did on Austin was some of the most effective and it gave Kane his title. That was some of my favorite heel victories of all professional wrestling because it left us asking for more!

And more is what we got because the following night on free TV, we were given a rematch between the two as main event of Raw is War. Thought it probably could have been better, this was a fantastic climax between the two that captures fan satisfactory! It we’re judging on fan reactions for this match, there was no bigger fan reaction than seeing Austin win the championship on free TV. The way he stunnered Kane for that victory was some of the most brutal that I’ve ever seen from any stunners that Austin gave to his victims. Many say that it wasn’t fair that Kane only had his championship in less than 24 hours and they should have made that title-reign longer, but I doubt we’re ever going to see the same Kane from the 1990s because his mystique is completely gone. Nevertheless, this was some of my favorite moments in the WWF and each time I look back at it, it reminds me why I’m still a wrestling fan!

Number 7.  –   Backlash 2000:
The Rock vs. Triple H

The Rock and Triple H has been rivals even before they were both leaders of Nation of Domination & D-Generation X. It’s a fierce rivalry that was a backbone for the Attitude Era that delivered so many matches with them together. They had an iconic Ladder Match at Summerslam 1998, they main evented the very first Smackdown episode, and so much more. They both pushed each other to the limits; racing each other to their prime. But I wouldn’t say all of their matches together were great because the Wrestlemania 16 main event left a horrible taste in my mouth and this match needed to deliver. The build up towards this match was that Stone Cold Steve Austin was coming back to end the McMahon-Helmsley Era and help The Rock capture the WWF title once more. This is the match that should have main evented Wrestlemania 16! These two were physical as ever and it was clearly a heel vs. babyface storyline at its best. The Rock had all the odds against him where Vince and Steph cheap shotting at ringside, Shane, Paterson, & Brisco were Special Guest referees, and the Rock only had only Austin left to save him. The match throughout was amazing to watch with both men giving off the most physical match of this whole era. The Rock never gave up the fight and each moves pulled here from both men caused a great impact and effect while watching. I still will never forget The Rock gave a double Rock Bottom to HHH & Shane on the announcer’s table. Just when Brisco and Paterson came in to gang up on Rock, Austin’s music hit and the whole audience roared! This was the best comeback to a wrestler who’s had a long absence having Austin knocking out all of Triple H’s allies with a chair. His return cause so much carnage to all of Rock’s enemies leaving the Rock giving HHH the People’s Elbow for the WWF Championship. If there had to be one of the best title changes in the WWF Championship’s history, The Rock winning it from Triple H at Backlash has got to be the best one! It was a great victory having Austin and Rock drinking beer for this victory. This should have been the finish and main event to Wrestlemania 16 and because this was booked after Wrestlemania is why it’s forgotten. Go ahead and go see this match to see how good this match really is!

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Number 6.  –  Bad Blood ’97:  The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, Hell in a Cell

This was the very first Hell in a Cell match in the WWF and it still is one of my favorite matches that the promotion has has delivered. At Bad Blood in 1997, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker faced off for the chance to battle Bret Hart at Survivor Series for the WWF Championship. Before we had that infamous screwjob in that Pay Per View, we were given a taste of what would the WWF be heading to in the Attitude Era. Undertaker was quick to bring the fight to Michaels during the beginning of the match with Michaels mostly unable to mount an offense of his own. Taker was so brutal and unforgiving that he even woke up from a Sweet Chin Music-Super Kick from Michaels and brought the match outside of the cage. At one point in the match, both men were fighting on top of the cell and Michaels was knocked off. With Michaels dangling helplessly, Taker stomped on his fingers forcing him to let go and fall through the spanish announce table. To my surprise, he fell off from the cage to the table a year earlier than the Mankind incident in King of the Ring ’98 in the same match-type from the same opponent. Some of you are wondering why I didn’t put the Mankind vs. Undertaker match in the list of the greatest matches of the 1990s. Well, I have full respect to that historic event, but the match was too real and when there’s no wrestling going on, it simply tested my patients. The match between Michaels and Taker was so much better and more real than that other Hell in a Cell match. In fact, this match was so damn real that when Shawn Michaels was dripping blood from the top of the cage, the camera man who was below them had Michaels’s drops of blood landing on him and he shouted “Ah shit!” Once the two made it back into the ring, Taker was ready to put Michaels away… until the debuting Kane hit Taker with a Tombstone Piledriver, ultimately handing the win to Michaels. That debut of Kane was some of the most exciting, surprising, and epic debuts that any professional wrestler has ever had! It was the biggest turning point that I’ve ever see in in a wresting match but it was one hell of an impression! This still is the best Hell in a Cell match that I’ve ever seen and that’s all thanks to the non-stop action that kept going throughout!

Number 5.  –  St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon – Cage Match

No, this match didn’t have any good in-ring work or any spectacular moves (which is why it didn’t enter my Top 10 Wrestling Matches of the 1990s), but what this match had is one of the best build-up from a full year of great story telling and delivered with fantastic in-ring storytelling. That’s what matters and the whole point of even watching wrestling in general (in-ring work secondary). Everyone knows how fantastic the rivalry between Austin and McMahon really was and there weren’t a whole lot of matches with them together. This feud started all the way from 1997 and since then McMahon tries his damnedest to keep Austin down. Since he won the WWF Championship in Wrestlemania 14, McMahon and Austin’s hatred with each other just went rampant. So many segments had each of them getting back at each other, they kept shooting each other non-stop, and so many schemes from both men were set to win over each other. For the longest time we just wanted these two face each one-on-one with a clear victory. After Vince McMahon won the 1999 Royal Rumble match, it was clear that we needed to have a match with just these two on the road to Wrestlemania 15. Even before the match even started it was began telling a fantastic story with Austin beating Vince out of the cage and threw Vince off the top of the cage to the announcer’s table. Just when the medics were about to let Vince leave the building on a stretcher, Austin grabbed the mic and said the bell didn’t ring so the match hasn’t started. Instantly Austin grabbed Vince out of stretcher and sent him to the cage. Already Vince was hurting like hell, but each time Austin was about to leave the cage for the victory, Vince kept flipping the bird just to make sure he doesn’t win the match, like he rather be beaten to death rather than having Austin win. As soon as Austin was about win, Big Show making his WWF debut to helped Vince beat Austin. Just when you though Vince was going to win the cage match, Big Show tossed Austin to the cage door and it open having Austin win with both feet on the ringside floor. I love the Attitude era so much for making so many creative and unpredictable finishes and this one here is one of the best ones because it’s Vince’s biggest humiliation and Austin’s biggest victory. Though the rivalry continued after this match, I consider this a highlight of the whole feud.

Number 4.  –  Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boys vs. Dudley Boys –  Triangle Ladder Match, TLC (SummerSlam 2000), TLC 2 (Wrestlemania X7)

If rivalries were to have the right amount of rematches, it would have to be a trilogy of matches. It’s amazing that the tag team division was able to deliver one of the best trilogy matches ever and what’s even more amazing is that they were all rookies in the WWF!  For a debut Wrestlemania match for all three of these tag teams, and see them gave us their all shows how awesome this match really was. At first we were looking into this match like a ladder match with a lot of wrestlers involved, but suddenly because of the Dudley Boyz (may favorite tag team) being so obsessed with tables and hardcore wrestling, this all of the sudden turned out to be a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.  I kid you not that way they used the ladders and then suddenly turned out to be more hardcore when the tables and chairs got involved.  I remember Edge took a diving spear on Jeff Hardy from the ladder, Buh-buh Ray gave Christian a cutter from the ladder, Matt Hardy power bombed to the table and the Swanton Bomb from that Jeff Hard did just to take the Buh-Buh Ray away. The finish of this match was some of the most epic moments ever as Jeff sacrificed his body to land on Buh-Buh out of the ring through the table. Edge & Christian were the last ones left facing D-Von and Matt Hardy as they raced to grab the tag team championships. The survivors were emotional just to win this carnage. As Matt and Christian were fighting each other on top of the table held by two ladders, Edge came to the rescue and pushed Matt off to the table below and won the tag team championships. What a beautiful finish to a match to a bunch of small stars that all became big names after the match.  All three of these tag teams has gone through a lot just to have a Wrestlemania match like this one and because of their fantastic display of wrestling, this has made the tag team division so important!

We were absolutely amazed that these 6 rookies could do so much at Wrestlemania 16, so they had a rematch with the same teams calling it Tables, Ladders, and Chairs at Summerslam 2000!  The match had a lot of moments where guys are falling off ladders, taking chair shots or going through tables making you say “ouch” with everyone. Bubba’s full nelson bomb on Christian off the ladder was a sick spot early on. Then there was Jeff Hardy getting shoved off the ladder by Edge, only to land on a prone ladder that ended up slingshotting into Matt’s face while he was on the ground. There were parts of the match where Edge was creaming the Dudleys with really stiff chairshots (those aren’t even allowed today), but they barely get a reaction because it seems like nothing compared to the Hardy’s legdrops off the ladder or Christian getting tossed off the top landing on Edge while he is sandwiched in between a ladder. Towards the end, Bubba climbed the “20 foot ladder” in the middle only to be shoved off over the top rope all the way to the stacked tables on the floor. So then Matt gets to climb, but D’Von pushes the ladder back backwards into some tables on the other side of the ring in another sick landing. The finish came when E& C knocked down Jeff Hardy while he was hanging from the titles, unable to pull them down and the champs made the climb to retain after 19 minutes of pain. That one was really dangerous. There were plenty of title matches and great moments between these teams over the course of a couple years, but this match is always going to stand out in my mind as one of their best moments.

Then the three of the teams had their last battle with the 6 of them together at Wrestlemania 17. This match between Edge and Christian, Dudleys, and Hardies is not only better than their previous Wrestlemania match, but perhaps one of the best ladder matches that the WWE has ever delivered. It’s crazy to see all six men risking everything [again] in the same style of match-up, but do it much more radically! Everything seen from previous matches is doubled here in this match. You want to see Jeff Hardy take a top ladder leap, you have twice of those! You want Buh-buh Ray power bomb through tables, you got twice of the amount! You even want a better spear by Edge done in this match, you certainly got yourself the best spear in wrestling. You get the picture! This match saw many different risks that were taken and when Edge hit Jeff Hardy, who was hanging mid-air from the belts, with a spear, it became one of the most jaw-dropping moments ever in the history of Wrestlemania. Just when you thought it wasn’t enough Spike, Rhyno, and Lita came done for interference to save the team they’re routing for, only to as well get involved with the collision everyone’s taking in this match. Because this match was filled with so many risk-taking things, it is obviously seen as one of the most hardcore/extreme matches the WWE has ever put on. If Wrestlemania 17 really was the end of the Attitude Era (which certainly isn’t) they certainly left us one hell of an impression of everything appealing and exciting about this era of wrestling into one singular wrestling match. What’s amazing is that Edge and Christian won all this trilogy of matches  and it embodies why it takes to win a ladder match!

Number 3.  –  Royal Rumble 1999:
The Rock vs. Mankind: I Quit Match

Heading into January of 1999 and the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, The Rock was on top of the world. For the first time since debuting a little over two years earlier, it appeared as though the third-generation Superstar was living up to his potential. It was perfect for the I quit match stipulation given to the fiercest rivalry in the Attitude Era: Mankind & The Rock. Since The Rock screwed Mankind at Survivor Series for the WWF Championship, these two had so many great matches together pushing The Rock to fame and changing babyface Mankind into a lovable hardcore individual that can’t be easily defeated without seriously damaging him. With that in mind, The Rock would have to show a different side of himself. He would have to wrestle Mankind’s type of match. This is the best “I Quit” match of all time where the Rock evolved from a cocky and arrogant heel to a performer who could be as vicious and cold-hearted as any on the roster. These two beat each other like no other wrestler in the roster at the time. Weapons were smashes, Mankind fell on the power generator that caused a black out, The Rock sang on the microphone… everything about this match was so much fun!  After nearly 20 minutes of slamming one another into just about anything and everything but the inside of the ring, a handcuffed Mankind passed out on the entrance ramp. The Rock, taunting, the fans and his opponent just to create even more drama in the storytelling of the match. Foley was an absolute punching bag in the match and may have taken more offense here than any other match. As The Rock  bash his head in with twelve consecutive steel chair shots while handcuffed, making even the most hardcore wrestling fan cringe, it became apparent that The Rock was capable of playing the ruthless S.O.B. when necessary. I’ve never known how to feel about the unique ending to this match.  A sound clip of Foley saying “I Quit” was played by the Corporation while The Rock held the microphone to the lips of an unconscious Mankind. The funny part was Mick Foley never said the words “I Quit” it was played through audio recording just to give The Rock the victory.  The Rock would win the match via less-than-honest means, but the result was not what mattered. The match, in one night, established two characters in just the manner WWF needed. The Rock was the cocky-yet-sadistic asshole—Mankind was the never-say-die, loveable babyface that never really figured out when to stay down. It was a contrast of styles, a contrast of characters and it made for one of the most memorable matches in the Attitude Era, one that was immortalized in the documentary Beyond the Mat.

Number 2.  –  Raw 7/22/97/Royal Rumble 2000/No Way Out 2000 Cactus Jack vs. Triple H

Like I said in the number 4 pick, if rivalries were to have the right amount of rematches, it would have to be a trilogy of matches. None could have been a better trilogy match than Cactus Jack and Triple H. Sure Mankind had his fair amount of battles with Triple H, but when Mick Foley changes his alter ego to Cactus Jack, he certainly puts Triple H to the limits. It all started when Triple H (with Chyna at ringside) was scheduled to wrestle Dude Love, but Dude Love made a quick interview with Mankind, together on screen mind you, telling each other that neither of them could damage Hunter as the other Mick Foley alter ego. Then finally all on the same screen, Cactus Jack made his debut on WWF television and gave Triple H an ECW style brawl. Their first match together is one of the best matches on free television and a historic episode of Raw history. Jack used all of his signature stunts seen from WCW and ECW right here on television like diving elbow off the ring, use every object as a weapon, and so many more. Before when Triple H was called Hunter Hearst Helmsley, many of his matches were boring as hell, that was until Cactus Jack gave Triple H that aggressive edge in this match that definitely changed the direction of his career. The match gotten so crazy that he even knocked out Chyna and piledriven Helmsley through the table on the ramp for the 3 count victory. What a way to bring back an abandoned character in wrestling and surprised all of his long time fans.

I must admit, Triple H wasn’t in his prime in their first match together and the match could have done more to be legendary. Thankfully, the writers and bookers remembers how great Cactus Jack and Triple H’s match on Raw was so they had to perfect it. At the time when they had their rematch, Triple H married Stephanie McMahon and owned the WWF in the McMahon-Helmsley Era putting all wrestlers like The Rock and Mankind down. Triple H was unstoppable until Mick Foley brought back Hunter’s worst nightmare back to haunt him. Once more, Cactus Jack’s return got fans to see this rematch at Royal Rumble 2000. It was certainly better than their original match together where brutal fight between HHH & Jack were more balanced and violent. This time around, it was just these two one-on-one (no Chyna involved) and they had to do everything to keep each other down. It would take a lot more for Cactus to go down that easily where they’ve We got one of the classic matches of the last decade, with a level of brutality rarely seen in a WWF ring. It cemented Hunter as a real star, and gave Foley one hell of a final great match to go out on (at the time). Foley brought out the barbed wire baseball bat, mallets, steel chairs, and more. Triple H may have been out of his element compared to the sadistic Cactus Jack, but it never takes the “Cerebral Assassin” long to adapt. Triple H, while bloodied, managed to stay in control as the match entered it’s final moments. He back -dropped Foley on the very tacks he poured in the ring then delivered the Pedigree, but to his shock Cactus Jack was not finished. He kicked out at two! Jack got up and charged “The Game” again, but got kicked in the gut and ate another Pedigree for the finish.

It was completely barbaric to see a stunt happen like that but yet, the rivalry finally ended at Now Way Out 2000 in a Hell in a Cell match. I have to say not only was this my favorite match in the whole Cactus Jack vs. Triple H trilogy, but this is my favorite Hell in a Cell match ever. I know a lot of people considers Mick Foley’s Hell in a Cell match with Undertaker-Mankind iconic, but the HHH-Cactus Jack Hell in a Cell match went non-stop and it certainly topped Mankind’s Hell in a Cell match.  The two would fight with everything from steel chairs to a flaming 2×4 wrapped in barbed wire from in, out, and on top of the Hell in a Cell. After breaking through the cell wall, the two men carried their fight to the top of the cell. Once more, Cactus Jack feel off the Cell and landed on the table. Though it wasn’t as iconic as his drop from Undertaker in ’98, Cactus just didn’t waste time and got back up on the top of the Cell. Jack attempted a piledriver, but Triple H reversed it sending him through the cell roof to the ring below, where the ring would buckle. A pedigree to Jack immediately after gave Triple H the win and ended Foley’s career (and NO Mick Foley’s Fatal Four Way match at Wrestlemania 2000 never existed!) There have been a lot of rivalries over the years that was over dramatic, but none displayed the amount of hatred with each other than three of these matches. I can go back and watch these trilogy of matches just to see how they both evolved as wrestlers and barbaric fighters. This was a way to start the new millennium for wrestling which unfortunately never got better than this. 

Number 1.  –  Wrestlemania 13:  Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin Submission Match

Let’s make this loud and clear, [the Attitude Era began when Stone Cold Steve Austin made his first swear after winning King of the Ring 1996], not when Vince announced it on an episode of Raw on Dec. 15, 1997. Since then, wrestlers were able to make their matches physical and more violent (and perverted) than ever before. It was time for the WWF to change in order to survive from losing to WCW. The only wrestler that couldn’t stand many of the changes happening to the WWF was Bret Hart. It is crazy to see Stone Cold playing as a heel somehow catching everyone’s attention and cheer for him, while the traditional babyface like Bret Hart are getting despised for not being as awesome.  Though Bret was sorrow for losing to Shawn Michaels in the Iron Man match at Wrestlemania 12, he has redeemed himself by putting on a much better Wrestlemania match with his best rival Stone Cold Steve Austin.  Now if you want to talk bloody matches, here’s one for you. It would be on this night that Austin would truly become “Stone Cold” and begin his march to the top of the WWF. This match would be one much different than their Survivor Series battle. In the fact this was less of a wrestling match and more of a street fight. Bret Hart came in as the face and Stone Cold was the heel, but after this match, which Bret Hart was declared the winner, their roles switched and made Stone Cold Steve Austin the star that he is today. This match was filled with the use of outside objects used to ram each other and Austin was cut open and bleeding from his head like a stuffed pig. This match was certainly not Hart’s specialty, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the match. “The Hitman” was just as ruthless and cold as Austin on this night, eventually leading to the unforgettable Shapshooter that would leave “Stone Cold” unconscious and bloody in the middle of the ring.  Although Austin never said the words “I quit,” he passed out from the pain and loss of blood, so referee Ken Shamrock declared Hart the winner. Austin may not have won the match, but his performance made him the new top guy in the company. Everyone respected Austin passing out in the puddle of his own blood rather than giving up. This match sparked the ‘Attitude Era’ and was the birth of Stone Cold Steve Austin as the face of the company. I still regard this as one of the best wrestling matches I’ve ever seen. If there’s one wish that I would love to see come true is if Bret Hart stayed with the company longer to make many more memorably moments in the Attitude Era.  But whatever the case, this is the one match that certainly opened door to this beloved era of wrestling and since then we honor this match for allowing the WWF giving its fans many more like this one many years to come!

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Top 10 Wrestlers of the Attitude Era (late 1990s/early 2000s)

There was never a better time to be a pro wrestling fan than during the period from 1996-2002, when WWF was in the midst of its legendary Attitude Era. This era of wrestling made it in number 4 of the best things of the 1990s and still to this day I can go back and watch any episode, segment, or match from the Attitude Era and remind myself why I am a wrestling fan. Though I do have a very soft spot for the New Generation Era, it was important for the company to change from the family-friendly image to keep up with the times. TV ratings were at an all-time high, it was cool to be a fan and you could find a good wrestling product on TV just about any time you wanted to.  Sit through one three-hour episode of Monday Night Raw, and you’ll be longing for the old days, even if you weren’t a wrestling fan in the old days. This era captures everything that I truly miss about wrestling; proper storytelling, amazing in-ring work, varied match stipulations, and outrageous character that definitely felt bigger than life.  Outlandish things were happening, but there was always a reason behind them, and the stories were most often very interesting.  These are not just story lines, these were epic sagas that was happening in wrestling and never again did we ever felt the same with the media again. If that’s not enough, the matches in this era took risks. In the Attitude Era, WWE climbed back to the top of the wrestling world by taking chances.  People got hit with chairs, set on fire, thrown off the top of gigantic structures and run over by cars on a weekly basis. All of these things kept my interest and mixed that up with a good story, you’re presented with the most awesome moments in life! Sure, The Attitude Era ripped off Extreme Championship Wrestling’s hardcore wrestling phenomenon, but for the fact that this single era brought the highest ratings that the WWE has ever had should tell you about the success and reception it deserved. And who do we have to thank for all that was given to us in the Attitude Era? None other than Vince McMahon. Sure, the man has done some of the most questionable decisions in the business, but starting this trend in wrestling was the best thing he’s ever done for the company and wrestling itself. This was an era of wrestling that was so innovative, captivating, and so entertaining, that it’s always worth coming back to. Wrestling fans to this day are still waiting for another era like this but unfortunately since WWE went back to the times of PG, not giving two shits about telling good stories, and over enthuses on pointless in-ring work more-so than anything else. As a result of seeing wrestling getting worse and worse, it makes going back to the Attitude Era a lot better than we remembered. And these are the ten wrestlers that are responsible for making the Attitude Era so great!

Number 10.  –  Ken Shamrock

UFC legend Ken Shamrock came to the WWE in 1997, debuting on Monday Night Raw in February of that year to referee a submission match between Steve Austin and Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13. Afterward, he began to wrestle full-time, engaged in various feuds, won the 1998 King of the Ring tournament and captured the Intercontinental and World Tag Team Championships. It’s not just his accomplishments that made him in the list, it was his ruthless attitude that’s aways entertaining to watch whenever he snaps and goes berserk. There really no wilder character than “The Most Dangerous Man in the World.” I really dug the Ken Shamrock character because he was the wildest babyface of all time! With a character like that, you would of’ve think that he gone far in his wrestling career. Unfortunately, that was not the case because the bookers didn’t really give him a whole lot of TV time, he was shoved in too many mid-card feuds, and we never really had an Austin vs. Ken Shamrock match, that would have been a chaotic fight!  After he left the WWE in 1999, Shamrock returned to MMA and UFC. He also made appearances in Ring of Honor, TNA and Juggalo Championship Wrestling. Today, he still has the occasional fight, with his last bout being in 2010. Would Ken Shamrock been a big wrestling star? He would have because nobody had the temper like he did and whenever he snaps, get ready for the ride of your life!

Number 9.  –  The Dudley Boys

 This the best Tag Team of this era. This is the only Tag Team that won the WWF Tag Team Championship, World Tag Team Championship, WCW Tag Team Championship, ECW Tag Team Championship, and TNA Tag Team Championship. The two “brothers” from Dudleyville are the most decorated tag team within recent years, having won 23 tag team championships within every organization they’ve been in. Anything that you want to see in Hardcore wrestling in the Tag Team division, the Dudley Boys always deliver! The Dudleys are the most famous wrestlers to make use of tables during their matches as part of their gimmick and being part of the historic double TLC matches for the WWF Tag Team Titles at SummerSlam 2001 and Wrestlemania X-7 against the Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian. Let’s not forget that they’ve created the created Tag Team finishing maneuver called the Dudley Death Drop (3D) that still can’t be matched. The Dudley Boys are completely impulsive but we love them for being responsible for brining life back to the Tag Team division and no other tag team has lasted long together as these two!

Number 8.  –  The Undertaker

One of the best things of the Attitude era was that they took the dead man gimmick and update him to a much darker and more demonic direction before the gimmick became an outdated Halloween spook. It all made the tables turn when Undertaker faced Shawn Michaels in the first Hell in a Cell at Bad Blood ’97 and his brother Kane debuts and cost him his match. The back story of the Kane character is that Undertaker set his family house on fire as child leaving all of his family members to burn, except that Kane survived and wanted nothing more than revenge. Throughout 1998, Kane and Undertaker had a fierce rivalry together at Wrestlemania 14, having two Hell in a Cell matches, an Inferno match, and so many wars together that went on and off as brothers. It was the second biggest rivalry of the company in 1998 only right behind Austin vs. McMahon. Hell, he even threw Mankind off the Hell in a Cell twice and made history! Of course the darkest part of the Undertaker character was when he began his own faction called the Ministry of Darkness. In 1999, Undertaker was the biggest heel of the WWF and wanted to destroy McMahon and Austin. Part of the reason why I can’t put Undertaker higher on the list is because that Ministry of Darkness storyline went too far by having him to be in a weak Hell in a Cell match with Big Boss Man at Wrestlemania 15 and having Vince McMahon as the higher power of the Ministry of Darkness into the Corporate Ministry was bar-non-stupid. It pushed him into mid card status and became tag team champion with Big Show. And yet the worst part of all is…

…(sigh) his American Badass Biker gimmick. I’m not at all a fan of Biker Undertaker because all of the mystique of a deadly character made tremendous storytelling and as a biker, why keep the name “Undertaker” who buries his victims, not become a member of a Harley Davidson bike gang. It would take four years after this immediate change to bring back the “Dead Man” because I did no like this character trying to compete against Stone Cold Steve Austin’s badass character.

Number 7.  –  Chris Jericho

One of WCW’s most talented stars never made it outside of the mid-card zone, but when Y2J made it to the WWF, the bookers pushed him as far as they could. After Shawn Michaels retire, we never could imagine another wrestler could match up to his stature, but Jericho delivered everything that we’ve waited from WCW. Jericho just had the attitude, charisma, and flying-technical skills that made him one for the millions.  The moment when he made his WWF debut during the millennium countdown was some of the best debuts ever in company. Jericho didn’t disappoint his potential. He kept giving off some of the hardest hitting matches, craziest technicality, and cut the wildest promos. He was a despicable heel (reminiscing to Rowdy Roddy Piper) but was a lovable babyface. He knew how to control people’s emotions and almost every impact he delivers causes a huge reaction. I especially love it when he constantly mocks Stephanie McMahon making it a fierce rivalry between rebel and spoiled brat. Chris Jericho’s rebellious behavior and undying ego got his popularity rising to the top faster than any mid-carder in this era. And to even add more credibility to Chris Jericho’s resume, he was the first ever WWF Undesputed Champion (winning the WWF Championship and WCW World Heavyweight Championship) from The Rock and Austin. I can’t imagine a harder working wrestler than Chris Jericho. He started as the lion heart into Raw is Jericho that ran rampant throughout the years!

Number 6.  –  Kane

Kane, back when he used to have mystique, was some of the most fierce and feared competitors of the whole roster. At one point in time, he really was scarier than the Undertaker reminiscing to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. When Kane wore his mask and hides his burned face, you know something terrible is going to happen. At one point in time (1997-2001) Kane was just an unstoppable monster that had only very little wrestlers could take down. Scariest part is that he’s the brother of the Undertaker (kayfabe). It’s the scariest backstory that any wrestler in the history of wrestling where the two brothers had a rough childhood, and Kane was horribly burnt in a fire. He had to wear a mask and a full bodysuit because of the scars that covered his body. No wrestler in their right mind would want to face him. At Wrestlemania 14 he was the very first opponent that was this close to end the Undertaker’s streak. Hell, he had an undying hatred for Undertaker that they would go far as to burning each other in an Inferno Match. He was the devil’s favorite demon, and capable of annihilating his opponents while showing no sign of remorse… and then they became tag team partners more times than not. Kane, even though he was incredibly mysterious and disturbing, had a lot of memorable moments such as teaming with X-Pac as a tag team and ended up in betrayal, taking Stone Cold’s WWF Championship (for a single day), and so many more. I would love to put Kane higher, but Kane today lost a lot of credibility since he took off his mask and did an awful miscarriage storyline with Lita, Matt Hardy, and Gene Snitsky. It’s because we really miss the mystery of Kane so much that it made going back to attitude era so worth it all.

Number 5.  –  Kurt Angle

It’s not every day that we get an athlete from different sport enter the wrestling world and make it his new profession. After winning a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics — with a broken neck, no less — celebrated amateur wrestler Kurt Angle would find his way to WWE in late 1999. Clad all in red, white and blue, Angle attributed his success to his “Three I’s” (intensity, integrity and intelligence), all the while lambasting members of the WWF who did not live by his example. Remember, this was the era where wrestling is filled with so many tough guys and hardcore wrestlers willing to bash anyone’s heads, and then Kurt Angle came along and made himself an idiotic character who thinks America still wants their hero to be patriotic, standards, and believe in the American dream. He’s one of the most lovable wrestling characters I’ve ever seen in wrestling where it just made himself look gullible and laughable. Angle was frequently responsible for some of the most humorous moments of the era, including his association with Edge & Christian (as a member of “Team ECK”), strumming the ol’ guitar with Austin, getting annoyed when the crowd chants “What?,” and his Texas Rattlesnake–esque milk truck assault on The Alliance in 2001. But as much as you like to laugh at his character, remember we’re dealing with an olympic gold medalist here. Kurt Angle reintroduced the technicality that once was lost in the WWF since they departed their ways from the New Generation Era. Even though Kurt Angle stole the moves from the likes of Ken Shamrock, he delivered physical moves that no other wrestler in the roster was doing; suplexes, german suplex, choke holds, dynamic slams, and so many more that categorize to the technical side of wrestling. Because he was so damn talented it pushed him a lot faster than any other wrestler at the time winning the Intercontinental Championship & European Championship (as EuroContinental Champion), King of the Ring, and even the WWF Championship within just a year since his wrestling debut. Not that many rookie was went as far as Kurt did and he still stands as one of the top stars in the wrestling world. There is no individual that deserved as much as he did and still to this day he put a good name in professional wrestling.

Number 4.  –  D-Generation-X

I simply couldn’t choose just one of these wrestlers in this faction to be in the list so I decided to just place all of the members into one list… except for Shawn Michaels. A lot of people considers D-Generation X as rip-offs of the WCW’s New World World, but what DX has over NWO is the right amount of members that all are stars in their own right. In a matter of fact, each of these members were big stars instead of being overshadowed by rank. Admittedly, this faction started just to save Shawn Michael’s ass from losing since the Kliq were no longer around. But after Shawn Michaels retired after Wrestlemania 14, Triple H was left bringing back X-Pac from WCW and made the New Age Outlaws a big deal. Meanwhile, Chyna became a bigger star instead of just being Hunter’s bodyguard and made history of becoming the first Woman to be Intercontinental Champion. DX ever some of the best parts of watch Monday Night Raw because of their over the top segments and shoots that were perverted, surprising, and extreme. In a matter of fact, let’s take a look at each of the members.

Triple H – No longer was he that stupid Hunter Hearsh Helmsley high clansman character, he was a top notch badass who done a better job as leader than Shawn Michaels ever did. What became a faction for Shawn’s ego turned into an iconic stable of Attitude where he lead and kept the groups strong and united. Being the master genius that he always is, he not only made DX popular in the ring, but also outside of the ring as well! Who can ever forget their trip to New York City, Invading WCW, and shouting “Leeets Get Ready To Suck It!” It’s crazy that he wasn’t just living in the times, the times was living with him. He made this sexual revolution a reality by starting small when Shawn Michaels left into a pop culture phenomenon and there’s a reason why he’s the CEO of the WWE today!

Chyna – The 9th Wonder of the World isn’t just a nickname, it’s a reputation earn by the hardest working woman in the wrestling world. She did what no other woman wrestler accomplished since and after. First woman ever to win Intercontinental Champion twice, enter the Royal Rumble, and wrestle so many men and beating them. She was extremely reminiscent to Xena and once she broke out that persona of just being Triple H’s bodyguard and lover, she became an unstoppable force. Not only that, she made muscular women accepted to the public where she can be jacked-up while looking sexual at the same time. It’s definitely hard for male wrestlers and audiences alike to not focus on the garments that she wore, but it was part of her feminine dominance that ran full force in her wrestling career. It’s funny that she’s still continues the D-Generation X ways today by becoming a pornstar… If you ain’t down with that! We got two words for ya! SUCK IT!!!

X-Pac – If there’s any member of D-Generation X that was not only as loyal, but the spirit of this entity, it has to be X-Pac. This character change was so much better than his 123 Kid gimmick and his Syxx character in the NWO. Even when DX broke up in Wrestlemania 15, he still continues the cross chops and kept the intro music with New Age Outlaws and Kane. Even today, since he hasn’t came back to the WWE roster, he still carries the essence of DX and I never seen anyone that is reluctant to the changes in the wrestling world today like Shawn Waltman. He does more cross chops, shouts “Suck It”, and even X-Factor & Bronco Buster his opponents more than anyone in the faction and without him, DX would have faded away and never have a reunion.

New Age Outlaws – These are are arguably the best tag team in the WWF and are suitable for this team than anyone else in the roster. As stated, D-Generation X made the mid-card a special attraction in the Attitude Era and these guys are responsible for it. Their “oh you didn’t know?” catchphrase popped crowds across the country, and fans chanted along with the pre-match spiel of “Road Dogg” Jesse James each and every night. 

D-Generation-X was the sexual revolution of professional wrestling doing that iconic DX-chop and broken so many rules that television refuses to air.  Even when Triple H disbanded the faction at Wrestlemania 15, X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn continued the DX tradition; keeping fans aware that the faction’s popularity is still alive and well. And we finally got D-Generation-X back when Triple H married Stephanie McMahon and begun the McMahon-Hemsley Era (just without Chyna around). D-Generation-X was the biggest thing in Attitude Era, and it wouldn’t’ the same without them.  They’ve made mid-card and main events special whenever they’re involved in these shows. If you ain’t down with that we got two words for ya! SUCK IT!!!

Number 3.  –  Stone Cold Steve Austin & Vince McMahon 

I just can’t separate these two because they were really made for each other than any other rivalry in wrestling history. These two are responsible for bringing back the WWF from being defeated by WCW in the Monday Night Wars by simply putting the most intense rivalry ever seen in television. Ever since Vince McMahon screwed Bret in the Montreal Screwjob, the whole world knew how big his ego is. It was genius for him to face the consequences and exploit that ego to create controversy. And for an individual that could push that ego into full force was the new face of the WWF, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin did what Bret Hart should have done, and that’s break every rules that McMahon created and Austin not only did that, but he made it extremely personal. Stone Cold is the polar opposite of Vince where he swears, fights dirty, and drinks constantly making Vince lose all of his temper to wage war on Stone Cold since he was incapable of putting him caged up from being so reckless. Austin always foiled Vince’s plans and rarely does Vince reign supreme. They are the most important feud in WWF history because it was everything we hate about our bosses and have Stone Cold to represent the common man who stands up against the higher ranks. These two have so many damn memorable moments that it’s worth going back to watching them grind each other’s gears from 1997 all the way to 2000. Austin’s rebellious behavior is what made the Crash TV movement so popular, not just WWF. And night after night after night Vince would just love to piss off fans and Austin comes back to get even. Sometimes a feud is not just about the matches they have, but the segments and events that they’ve done together. The chemistry between the two is the ultimate measuring stick of what makes a wrestling feud great. Sure you can place Austin as his own spot on the list as the greatest of all time, but all of his other feuds didn’t make him an all time great, his hatred and battles with Vince McMahon did! That’s why they’ both made it in the list together. For two consecutive years these two were recognized as the best rivalry of the professional wrestling world and still to this day we get a chance to see Austin to continue to ruin Vince’s life. People still pay money to see it and it never get old! No other rivalry can ever say the same thing.

Number 2.  –  Mankind

I’m so much of a Mankind fan that I just went crazy for this character. It was genius to make what once an extremely dark character into a gullible hardcore nut that had so much brain damage. Wether if you like Mankind, Dude Love, or Cactus Jack, Mick Foley brought ECW hardcore wrestling style to the New Generation Era that lowly evolved into Attitude. He became a huge attraction of the WWF when he took the hardest bumps and faced the most violent matches. Without him, this Crash TV image that the Attitude Era needed wouldn’t’ get so many audiences tune in and bring out their vicarious behavior. Part of what made Attitude work is that it showed that anyone can be a star and Mankind accomplished that dream. The reason why I put Mankind over all of Mick Foley’s characters is because the Mankind persona was iconic, gullible, and lovable all at once. We all feel sorry for Mankind who had a heart of gold to damage his body but we love him for doing it for our own entertainment. Who can ever forget all the times he knocked people out with Mr. Socko, being the first ever Hardcore Champion, tossed off the Hell in a Cell with Undertaker twice, Rock This is Your Life (highest rated episode of Raw), and taking more high risk moves and crash landed harder than any one else in the ring? He was the happy-go getter of a roster filled with badasses. He was the most different of all the wrestlers, appearing like a human Crash Test Dummy! Sure Austin vs. McMahon got people tuning into the product and Austin started the Attitude Era in King of the Ring 1996, but the night that Mankind won the WWF Championship was when WWF started beating WCW in the ratings! Without that historic episode of Raw is War, who knows how would WWF beat WCW in the Monday Night Wars. And yet, he didn’t even stop the gaining ratings when he did the Rock This Is Your Life segment that still stands as the highest rated episode of Raw history! Not even Stone Cold Steve Austin drew as much money as Foley did! Mankind  is one of the most important figures of the whole WWE product and WCW would probably destroy WWF without his involvement of the company. We sympathized, we laughed, we were in awe, and we amazed with almost everything Mick Foley succeeded and it’s a darn shame people forgot about that. Nobody has ever took as many stunts and bumps as Mankind and for that we honor Foley as God for never giving up after all the beatings that he has received for the WWE!

Number 1.  –  The Rock

There was no doubt in my mind that The Rock had to be number 1 on this list. Sure a lot of fans would have argued that Stone Cold Steve Austin is a better wrestler, but Steve Austin wasn’t the best of his time. There were too many big fishes in the pond and The Rock did a lot more for the Attitude Era as whole than Austin ever did. Austin’s whole purpose was to fight Vince and he went absent in mid 1999 leaving the Rock to carry the company. And The Rock not only had the Attitude era right behind him, but also became the biggest star that the WWE has ever had. The Rock started out as an outdated smiling babyface that was behind the times, became a member of the hated Nation of Domination, became the corporate champion when he won The Survivor Series 1998 tournament, teamed up with Mankind as Rock n’ Sock Connection, and broke free as the greatest single wrestler since Hulk Hogan. You simply can’t argue with all of the iconic aspects of the Rock’s character like him raising his eye brows, raising his right fist in the air as he stand on the mid rope, mocking his opponents, and shouting “If You Smell What The Rock… Is Cookin’!” That is single handedly the best catch phrase in all of wrestling and none after it could even come close. And whenever he cuts promos, he makes it like he’s the resurrection of Muhammad Ali. He’s not all talk, he’s also brutal in the ring. The Rock had some of the best move sets as well like his iconic Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow that still continues to raise people off their seats and yell for Rocky! The way The Rock moves is incredibly where he keeps jumping back to his feet and sometimes when he gives someone a pump, he poses out with reaction.  While a lot of the characters in the Attitude Era look like trash hardcore wrestlers, The Rock dressed with class while still with the crash tv times. Everything that the Rock does is purely entertaining and very little wrestlers out there could ever match up to him. Even though Vince McMahon brought the best out of Stone Cold, The Rock brought the best out of everybody else and still managed to beat many of them. The Rock also has a talent for everything that can keep everyone interested no matter what, that’s why he’s a big Hollywood movie star today. Not only that, but almost everything he does creates as significance to the WWF product. If you disagree, how about the term Smackdown he used a lot that became a word in the webster’s dictionary and a secondary weekly show to compete against WCW’s Thunder? Almost everything that the Rock did is memorable and it’s the reason why he’s so famous around the world. If anything The Rock deserves all the credibility given to him and he deserves nothing more than to be the best wrestler of the attitude era and possibly the best WWE wrestler of all time!

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