Say what you will about the current generation of WWE superstars and their ongoing story lines and personas, but there is little denying that there is one era that the company will forever regard as their greatest; that of the Attitude Era.
Initially born in 1997, the Attitude era of the-then WWF took the world by storm, presenting some of the strongest story lines in the history of wrestling and bringing forth troves of creative talent and on-screen stars who would forever be solidified in the halls of fame.
A day and age when Raw promised even more excitement than some of today’s pay-per-view events and fireworks aplenty week-in, week-out, we as an audience were privy to so many epic and unforgettable moments. Had there been the likes of Facebook and Twitter at the time, they would have essentially blown up with the buzz created by the WWE.
With a plethora of wrestling and charismatic prowess in the ranks, the Attitude era benefitted from such stars as The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker and so many more at the top of their game and ensuring there was immense progression from every corner. Factions such as D-Generation X, Edge & Christian and The Hardy Boyz made sure that the tag-team division was rife with exciting rivalries. Even Mr. McMahon was immersed in his own extreme activities.
To celebrate the sheer brilliance and insanity of this particular period in the WWE, what better way than to look back at those WTF moments that we will never forget…
10. Shane McMahon Buys The WCW
That’s right, in November of 1999, an episode of Raw treated us to a true shocker of a story line punch as the birth of the McMahon-Helmsley Faction was upon us. At the time, Triple H and Vince McMahon were at loggerheads and this was the ultimate case of gaining the upper hand.
Treating us to a video showing the aftermath of Stephanie’s bachelorette party, we bared witness to the marriage of her and Triple H, finalised with the superstar taunting new father-in-law Vince with jibes about consummating the marriage.
8. The Hardcore Title Goes 24/7
One of the most ambitious and totally crazy occurrences during the Attitude era is the story of the Hardcore championship. A once massively entertaining sector of the WWE, the Hardcore championship was often changing hands and serving up chaotic encounters, but when Crash Holly declared he would defend the title 24/7, it proved completely mental.
In one of those truly WTF moments that kicked things off, the Mean Street Posse would attack Crash in his hotel room in the hope of winning the title for themselves.
Needless to say, this would only pave the way for yet more out-of-the-ring instances in which superstars found themselves fighting for their lives for the sake of that belt.
7. Stone Cold Gets Run Over
Prior to his WWE Championship match at Survivor Series 1999, Stone Cold Steve Austin was seemingly coaxed into a chase with Triple H, ending up backstage at the parking lot.
While Road Dogg and X-Pac followed behind, what occurred soon after was a shocking moment in WWE history. With Triple H having escaped Austin, a speeding car would plough through the Rattlesnake and leave him lying on the floor unconscious.
It was a mystery as to who the driver was, but all was finally revealed on an episode of Raw in October the following year. As allegations of The Rock’s involvement came to a head, Mick Foley finally revealed that the man was in fact Rikishi. Cue crowd amazement and shock all round.
6. D-X Storm WCW, Army Style
One of the most iconic moments of the Attitude era came in 1998 as the personnel of D-Generation X – Triple H, X-Pac, Chyna, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn – took the fight to rivals WCW in a big way.
Dressed in their army camo gear and utilizing an army vehicle, D-X traveled to a local WCW Nitro filming and literally trashed their show, stamping a big fat WWE mark in the process.
At the time, the ongoing Monday Night War was unraveling and for these individuals to make such a bold move was a shock and a ballsy move that will never be forgotten.
5. Austin Turns Heel
There are some WWE superstars who you could never imagine for one second turning heel and taking some action that would ultimately turn fans against them. Such a wrestler was Stone Cold Steve Austin; forever a fan-favorite and constantly a thorn in the side of Vince McMahon for our pure entertainment – Austin was the man.
So when the Invasion pay-per-view came around, naturally Austin was regarded as the leader of men in the WWE camp, looking to quash the rebellious faction of WCW and ECW stars led by Shane McMahon. Clearly, something went wrong that night.
In the Inaugural Brawl that showcased as the main event at the PPV, all looked positive for the WWE as the closing stages hit, but then disaster struck. None other than Stone Cold turned on his brand and cemented the win for the enemy, turning heel and presenting us a whole new persona.
It was soul-destroying and shocking, but eventually would spawn not only his signature phrase, “What”, but also see the Rattlesnake head back to his old ways shortly down the road.
4. The Montreal Screwjob
Quite simply the most controversial moment in the history of the WWE, let alone this particular era, the Montreal Screwjob will live forever in the memory of wrestling fans worldwide.
The 1997′ Survivor Series will be remembered for this moment for all of time, with Bret Hart astonishingly screwed out of his title in favor of Shawn Michaels. With Michaels forcing his opponent into a Sharpshooter, Earl Hebner would be forced to ring the bell despite Hart not actually tapping out.
An order from Vince McMahon, this infamous decision caused such animosity that Hart would depart the WWE and join WCW instead, despite his mass fan appeal at the time. A truly incredible and jaw-dropping moment for the company.
3. Austin Brings The Beer – In A Truck!
If there’s one thing we’ll always associate Stone Cold Steve Austin with – it’s a few beers to wash down another successful victory. But while we were always used to Austin cracking open some beers in the ring, he did take things to the extreme at the expense of the McMahons and The Rock.
With The Rock having aligned with the Corporation, it would take the beer-swigging Texan to ruin the party as he entered in a beer truck ready to cause carnage.
After making a promise that he would prevail at WrestleMania, Stone Cold looked to share with the beers this time around and got out a hose to douse his rivals in a whole load of beer! JR went crazy, King let out his little trademark screams and we all shouted “Hell Yeah!”
2. Austin Vs Iron Mike
One major celebrity whose presence among the WWE superstars caused a huge spike in ratings was ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, and the moment in which he and Stone Cold erupted in the ring certainly packed its own hefty punch.
As an announcement regarding Tyson’s appearance in the WWE was set to be made by Vince McMahon, the Texas Rattlesnake waltzed down to the ring to set the record straight. While he respected Tyson, he did not agree with his notion of being the ‘baddest man on the planet,’ promptly sending a barrage of abuse his way.
Soon enough, this would get to breaking point, with Tyson and Austin swinging for one another and a whole host of personnel holding them back from one another. Two icons clashing on the WWE stage – unforgettable stuff.
1. Mankind’s Trip To Hell With The Deadman
While this list has been populated with specific segment moments within the Attitude era, the biggest instance of sheer shock and insanity can only be the Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind.
With the match immediately beginning with both men climbing the cell and the battle ensuing, you could only see this one ending in broken bodies and scintillating action. And boy did it deliver.
The first iconic scene came when the Deadman literally threw a helpless Mick Foley to his doom right into the announcer’s table. With this catastrophe seemingly ending the match rather promptly, the suicidal superstar would eventually head back up the cell, only to be driven through it with a deathly crash.
If that wasn’t enough, then out came the drawing pins, only to be driven into the body of Foley, drawing blood and leaving all body parts pierced with pins hanging out. It was brutal, sadistic and truly stunning wrestling that will never be forgotten.