WWE during the 90s and 2000s may go unrivaled in its greatness. The plethora of great wrestlers, stories, and bizarre moments created the perfect storm known as “The Attitude Era.” Greats like Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, The Dudley Boys, Edge, and even Vince McMahon created moments that have impacted millions of young people. I don’t want to sound old or nostalgic but I don’t think the WWE can ever be as entertaining as it was during The Attitude Era. There are some great guys now like John Cena, CM Punk & Randy Orton, but they still can’t compare to the insane amount of star power during the industries prime. Here’s my personal list of favorite wrestlers ever, all having a large effect on The Attitude Era. Take into consideration that I never watched WCW because they were the enemy.
5. Triple H
This guy has had an amazing career man. When he started as Hunter Hearst Helmsley coming out in a big robe with his huge nose stuck in the air in the douche-ist way possible. Then came the formation of one of the coolest wrestling posses ever with Degeneration X. A crew that was just anti-uncool and told everyone to suck it. So many of us have gotten in trouble because of it. Then he became “The Game,” and a championship contender, eventually winning 23 times, married Vince’s daughter and smashes guys with sledgehammers left & right. Plus, I’ve been Pedigreed in my life so I know how crazy that finisher is.
The Heartbreak Kid is on the top of many list and I get it. He’s had a great career and he’s given his all to World Wrestling Entertainment. He was the man before DX and his popularity propels after becoming it’s co-pilot. He’s only been champion four times but he was just such a crowd favorite that it didn’t even matter. And let’s not forget about Sweet Chin Music, one of the coolest finishing moves ever. I’m still trying to figure out how the get that kick so loud.
When I was younger this guy genuinely scared the crap out of me. During the 90s and into the 2000s he really sold that character better than anyone could. He had the slowest ring entrances ever (especially during PPVs), but you didn’t care because that’s what his role required of him and he played that role to the evil looking T. The fact that he would cause fire to shoot out of the turn buckle was the craziest thing as a child. He had the coolest purple gloves back in the day that helped differentiate between his other-self, and he could walk on the tight rope! That still amazes me. Even though I had a bunch of friends that could put their eyes in the back of their heads he was the best at it. His finishers were perfect, and the only problem was his little “American Bad-Ass” phase, but who cares the man is 21-0 at Wrestlmania.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
This was tough here man because Stone Cold is such a entertaining persona on top of actually being a great wrestler. I think number one and number two might change depending on the day. Stone Cold came into wrestling with hair and no real hook for his character. Soon he lost the blonde locks and became “The Rattle Snake.” Austin 3:16 became the most popular thing in wrestling because he didn’t care about anyone and was willing to Stunner everyone in his way. Remember when he fought both Undertaker & Kane in a Buried Alive Match, or the time he came with the Beer Zamboni and ruined Triple H’s championship ceremony. H could catch a beer better than anyone, and he beat up his boss more than he beat up other wrestlers. He defined “The Attitude Era” with his crazy antics and promo videos. He had the entire crowd yelling “WHAT!” after every sentence, and also him going to the hospital to beat up Vince. His interactions with Mankind, The Rock, and Kurt Angle were priceless and as I’m writing this its hard nor to consider him the greatest wrestler ever. Plus his entrance music is so memorable.
1. The Rock
The Rock was not the greatest wrestler, his finishers weren’t the most effective, but he was The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment. He transcended wrestling during The Attitude Era among so many great entertainers. He had the best stage presence and whenever he was near a mic and camera he had you hooked, He was always The People’s Champion and even when he had a stint as a bad guy you couldn’t still help but love him. He had hilarious storylines with Stone Cold and even a made a great tag team partner with Mankind. He was so good at one point that he even put out an album…. which I owned. I remember seeing him for the first time wondering who the hell “Rocky Maivia” was. He was fighting for the Intercontinental Championship for awhile as a member of the Nation Of Domination. Soon he was competing for the WWF Championship in some of the best matches I’ve ever seen. The rivalry between The Rock & Stone Cold was especially great because they hated each other while getting along. They even shared a few beers together in the ring. I think Dwayne’s huge movie career now is a testament to his charisma that was much larger than wrestling could handle. I was excited to hear his return and the memories from his wrestling heyday will live in my mind and the VHS tapes that I recorded every RAW & Smackdown on.