From Attitude to Ruthless: the evolution of WWE

Taylor Jensen, Editor-in-Chief

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The late 90’s and early 2000’s of the WWE were perhaps the best years in the history of the business but in many people’s eyes, the Ruthless Aggression Era, which started in 2002, was historic as well.

The Ruthless Aggression Era began when the Attitude Era ended in late 2002.

It was no longer about Steve Austin performing stunners on every person he confronted and then pouring multiple cans of beer on them as they lay on the mat “stunned.” It was no longer about the sexual tactics that The Godfather and his “ho’s” and Trish Stratus portrayed on live television. It was also no longer about who The Rock was going to roast with his quick-witted promos that would get the crowd worked up in a frenzy.

The Ruthless Aggression Era introduced new stars such as John Cena, Batista, and Brock Lesnar. They all came up from Ohio Valley Wrestling and quickly made an impact in the world of WWE.

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Lesnar was a physical specimen and the fiercest athlete that any wrestling fans have ever laid their eyes on. He started out by throwing the Hardy Boyz around in the ring, which caught everyone’s attention that this man was serious.

It didn’t take long until he was on top of the Smackdown brand. He won the 2003 Royal Rumble and headlined WrestleMania 19 the very same year with Kurt Angle to become the WWE Champion only a year after his debut.

Speaking of Kurt Angle, he bared witness to John Cena when he asked for anyone in the backstage area to fight him. Cena, a newbie, was the one to challenge Angle. The crowd that night, if they weren’t familiar with OVW, were clueless of who he was.

When Cena got face-to-face with Angle, Angle, very confusingly, asked who the hell this new guy was and what he possessed. Cena’s first words in the WWE are infamous. He declared that he was going to bring “ruthless aggression” to WWE.

The rest is history with Cena as he became one of the biggest superstars in the business.

Batista was a scary and silent man when he came alongside Reverend D-Von on Smackdown in 2002. He instantly earned the name “The Animal” because of his brutality and his muscular 300-pound frame.

Batista and Lesnar both have impressive physiques which is why a lot of fans today still want them to have a match against each other.

“The Animal” became part of the faction “Evolution” in 2003 and that’s when his career took off. The faction consisted of Triple H, Ric Flair, and Randy Orton and Batista eventually turned his back on them so he could chase Triple H’s world title.

Triple H vs. Batista became one of the greatest rivalries in the Ruthless Aggression Era due to their incredible chemistry. Each match they had, for example, at WrestleMania 21 and the Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance, were both bloody wars that left the fans in awe of the intense hatred they had for each other.

This era was different compared to the Attitude Era because it was more focused on the wrestling aspect of the business and not so much on the things that were mentioned at the beginning.

It was still an incredible time to be a fan of the superb entertainment because we witnessed the rise and fall of factions and superstars between the unforgettable years 2002 and 2007.

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