The Attitude Era of the WWE was and is still known as the best era in the history of the industry. It was entertainment at its best. Each Monday night consisted of backstage and parking lot segments, edgy promos, hardcore matches, and sexuality.
In 1996, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin gave his infamous “Austin 3:16” promo. This slogan became what was the WWE because it was on almost every sign in the crowd and shirts. The fans were fond of this slogan and it gave them a sense of attitude.
Fast forward one year, 1997, D Generation X, a faction made up of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna, utilized their humor and bullying tactics to “get over” with the audience. Their unique personalities brought upon a different fan base. Some fans came to the show shirtless and showed off their inappropriate signs.
1997 was the same year Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H became main eventers. Due to that fact, these three guys all had a hand in ushering in a new era, the Attitude Era.
Austin was the definition of attitude because he cared less what people thought of his actions, even the boss himself, Vince McMahon. Austin flipped birds, drank beer, and went against authority. In 1998 when he performed his finisher, the “Stunner”, on the boss, he stamped his place in history as the one who kick-started the Attitude Era himself.
WCW, World Championship Wrestling, was another wrestling company around at the same time and were the WWE’s competition each Monday night. Both sides had a rating war which coined the term, “Monday Night War.” WCW had the upper hand throughout 1997 and 1998, but in 1999, their rating streak came to an end when WWE beat them for a higher rating. WCW’s product became a joke.
1999 was a turning point for wrestling because WWE had begun to take over because of their off-the-charts entertainment.
The year 2000 went on to become the best year ever in WWE. Each superstar under contract was an attraction. Not only did they get record number ratings each night, they sold out arenas, showcased themselves on talk shows, sold merchandise at multiple stores, and books written by the superstars became New York Times bestsellers.
Unfortunately, in 2001, Vince McMahon purchased WCW which meant the end of the rating war and the absolute best entertainment out there. 2001 was the year of the invasion of WCW on WWE but in 2002 a new era arose: the Ruthless Aggression Era.