WWE’s Attitude Era is considered by many to be the peak of professional wrestling. From 1997 to 2001, wrestling fans were treated to some of the wildest and most memorable television shows the company has ever produced.
From shocking debuts to electrifying matches and more, these are the 7 moments that defined the Attitude Era.
7. Chris Jericho Debuts (August 9, 1999)
Considered by many to be one of the greatest debuts in the history of pro wrestling, Chris Jericho showing up on Raw is War on August 9th, 1999 wasn’t a huge surprise. Heck, there were tons of “Jericho” signs in the crowd at the Rosemont Arena.
It was actually the fact that people knew Jericho was coming to the WWE that made them so excited. And that excitement could be felt via television screens all around the world.
6. Mankind Wins the WWE Championship (January 4, 1999)
Despite being a great match, this moment is perhaps best remembered for what happened on the other channel. Because this episode of Raw is War was taped, Tony Schiavone was able to spoil the finish of the match over on WCW Monday Nitro in what is now an infamous gaffe.
The plan, which was concocted by Eric Bischoff, totally backfired. Over 600,000 people changed the channel from Nitro to Raw to see Foley win his first-ever WWE Championship.
Talk about putting butts in seats.
5. D-X Invades WCW Nitro (April 27, 1998)
We’ll be honest. This particular segment might be a little overhyped. Nowadays, WWE likes to tell you that they drove an actual tank over to an episode of WCW Nitro and “invaded” the show.
It was actually a Jeep. And they did it in a way that would totally prevent any sort of confrontation.
But this segment captured the essence of D-Generation X perfectly. As a group, they were a huge part of making the Attitude Era a success. This moment is their magnum opus and has to be included.
4. WWE Buys WCW – the End of the Attitude Era? (March 26, 2001)
The debate of when the Attitude Era began and when it ended will go on forever. For us, this whole thing started at the end of 1997. When it ended, however, is much more clear: on April 1st, 2001 at WrestleMania 17.
Just 6 days before the greatest WrestleMania ever took place, the WWE purchased WCW—legitimately. While WCW was a shell of itself, it was still a moment that sent shockwaves through the wrestling world.
Most didn’t know it at the time, but it was also the beginning of the end. The wrestling “boom period” that was the late 90s/early 2000s was over soon after.
3. Steve Austin’s Drives a Beer Truck to the Ring (March 22, 1999)
Over the years, fans got to see Stone Cold Steve Austin drive everything from a pickup truck to a Zamboni to the ring. While Austin was quite the wheel man, none of his vehicular antics were as memorable as the time he got behind the wheel of a beer truck.
Not only did Austin drive said beer truck to the ring, but he sprayed The Cooperation (and plenty of fans in the front row) with actual beer. It doesn’t get any better than that.
2. Steve Austin and Mike Tyson Brawl (January 19, 1998)
During the buildup to WrestleMania 13, WWE decided to invest in Mike Tyson. Tyson, who was suspended from boxing at the time for having a snack during his match with Evander Holyfield, was available.
And while Austin was very much already on the rise, he was not quite the star he was about to be. This face-off, and eventually brawl, with Tyson truly launched him into the mainstream stratosphere.
After this segment, the crowd got louder and louder each time that glass shattered.
1. The Undertaker/Mankind Hell in a Cell Match (June 28, 1998)
While subjective, there are dozens of matches that took place during the Attitude Era that are better than this one. With that being said, this might be the most famous wrestling match of all time.
After all, what other match is also a meme?
Seriously though, this is one of those things that even non-wrestling fans can appreciate. Watching the very real suffering that Mick Foley went through to create one of the greatest moments in pro wrestling history is something that has stood the test of time.
WWE’s Attitude Era Will Always Be a Nostalgic Fan Favorite
If the WWE figured out anything during the Attitude Era, it was how to make fans jump up out of their seats and make lots of noise. And while the shenanigans were at an all-time high, it was a talented roster that truly made it all so special.
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