There is no time in wrestling that is more romanticized than The Attitude Era and looking up and down the rosters of the major wrestling companies at the time, there may be a good reason for that. Inducting a select few performers, tag teams and now factions into the WWE Hall of Fame has become a major part of WrestleMania weekend, which many fans look forward to. We can safely assume that the theoretical hallowed halls of wrestling’s best known historical institution will be inundated with people who performed between 1997 and 2002 in years to come.
Whittling down the list of potential inductees to make our list was a difficult task. It pained us to not include Bam Bam Bigelow for instance, a man whose incredible look and agility for a man his size made him stand out. Diamond Dallas Page may have deserved the moniker of the People’s Champion and his efforts in helping other retired wrestlers are admirable but he never truly earned a slot at the top of the business or our list. On the other hand, performers like Kane and The Big Show were a lot easier pills to swallow, they deserve the distinction but neither performer has given us much to be excited about in years.
Like the WWE, we considered wrestlers who hold a distinct place in wrestling history that particularly make them deserving of the honor. Tag Teams and Factions were very much up for inclusion taking up a single slot. With our rules stated and a few standout acts that didn’t make the cut mentioned let’s get down to business.
10 The Hardy Boyz
Real life brothers who created a true connection with the fans, The Hardys bring in ratings to this day. Remembered best for their legendary feud with The Dudleys (who barely missed our list) and a couple of Canucks, they were more than willing to sacrifice their bodies for our enjoyment. Two-thirds of Team Extreme with Matt’s then girlfriend (and Hall of Famer) Lita, they were dynamos at the merchandise stands for good reason.
9 Chris Jericho
A man who has plied his trade in rings across the world, he spent the Attitude Era wrestling in both WCW and the WWE after a short tenure in ECW. Never given a fair shake during his time under Eric Bischoff, despite some incredibly entertaining promos, for example, his never ending list of moves he performs, he finally was allowed to shine in the fed.
8 Molly Holly/Ivory/Sable/Stacy Keibler/Torrie Wilson/Victoria/Jacqueline
Alright, alright, it may be a bit of a cop out to group together so many women but we think that speaks mostly to the way in which women have been historically used. Every year the WWE picks one women to make the cut in comparison to many more men which is a shame but so many more than that deserve to find themselves behind the podium.
Sable was arguably one of the biggest stars the company had during its peak after she easily stole the spotlight from her husband while valeting for him. Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler, a duo of transplants from WCW, like Sable were brought in largely due to their looks became long lasting stars for the company whose assets put asses in seats.
7 The Hart Foundation
It is just a fact that all wrestling fans know that Owen Hart should be enshrined amongst his peers which would have happened by now had his wife not strongly opposed it. Luckily for us, he was a member of a faction consisting of men who’ve all made a monumental impact on the industry which could and should be inducted, circumventing the problem. Bret Hart, the team’s leader, is already inducted and obviously deserves to be there. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, was imperative to Bret’s climb to the top of the company and an accomplished tag team wrestler. The British Bulldog, an incredibly powerful man, gained huge fame alone and alongside The Dynamite Kid, especially in his home country. Finally, Brian Pillman’s loose cannon character kept everyone guessing what would happen next due to his propensity to go places no wrestler had been before.
6 Kurt Angle
To us, nobody has ever taken to the unique world of Sports Entertainment better than this former Olympic Gold Medalist. Winning the European and Intercontinental belts (which he rechristened the EuroContinental Championship) King of the Ring and WWF Championship early on his career, he took the company by storm. Arguably the best indicator of how important he became was the decision to place him into a love triangle with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, which resulted in incredible television.
5 Edge & Christian
The WWE is quickly running out of headliners for their yearly event so it is a no-brainer for beloved characters like Edge to follow in Ric Flair’s footsteps and be inducted more than once. Christian his long-running partner and best friend absolutely deserves the distinction on his own merit but it seems clear that Vince McMahon has always been blind to his charms. With that said we are more than happy to see E & C added as a duo since their years together were massively entertaining and frankly, we loved it.
Consistently called The Franchise in WCW, Sting started out as a happy go lucky surfer type but it was when he underwent a huge change that the people began to see him in a different light. Spending the majority of the Attitude Era standing in opposition to the all-consuming nWo, it serves as a testament to the way he was seen that this one man stood strong against such a massive organization. Spending months on end in the rafters observing as the company he loved was overrun with a new type of villain; once he descended to the ring with his trusty bat the audience would become unglued.
3 D-Generation X
A group that took the ethos of the era they were created in and ran with them, DX pushed the boundaries almost every time they appeared during their heyday. With Triple H being deigned the heir apparent to the WWE an insanely popular group consisting of some of his best friends seems far too difficult to deny their place. Chyna, despite her achievements, would almost assuredly be excluded but Rick Rude, an often forgotten early member of the team, could also be included which we’d love.
2 The Rock
Dwayne Johnson, a former football player and a member of a wrestling family, may just be the most famous wrestler in the world these days. Acting as franchise Viagra again and again on screen, he packs them in wherever he goes but if he’d never done anything on a film set his place would still be cemented. Initially reviled for his over the type good guy antics, he took the disrespect that was shoveled on him and turned it into some of the best promos we’ve ever seen. No heel turn has ever been so well executed and more beautifully explained.
1 The Undertaker
From all accounts, there is no man who has ever held more respect in the locker room than The Undertaker and that holds true amongst the audience as well. Debuting all the way back in 1990 and wrestling off and on to this day, Taker’s staying power is unrivaled and somehow the man just got better with age. Adopting an even more gothic, cult leader style persona during the Attitude Era, his followers like Bradshaw, Farooq, Viscera and Mideon had their careers forever altered due to the power of Taker.
Undefeated at WrestleMania during his first 21 appearances, his matches though often not for any title became arguably more important to the biggest WWE event every year. His run of Mania matches against Batista, Edge, Triple H and most of all Shawn Michaels are amongst the best of all time. His two battles against HBK are especially magnificent and an easy choice to show the uninitiated why we love professional wrestling. The Undertaker is a once in a lifetime performer who took an outlandish character and made it mean something more than ever could have in another man’s hands. He will be greatly missed when he hangs his boots up but getting to join in as he is embraced by the company, fans and industry he helped build will lessen the sting.
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