Earlier this year, I came across some tweets that at the time, blew my mind. A couple of people I follow had said the Attitude Era was overrated. Yes, the highly-acclaimed Attitude Era was called overrated. See, Twitter is now ALL about hot-takes. Everyone is always tweeting something to ruffle feathers/go against the grain, and I’m guilty of this myself. But, this tweet was the hottest of all takes for me. However, when I looked into the reasoning and arguments made against the Attitude Era, I was left with nothing to say.
Nostalgia is one of the greatest feelings ever. It is human nature to look back on times we felt our lives were great. We reminisce about the “good times.” But, it is this reminiscent feeling that clouds our objectivity when it comes to certain things… the Attitude Era being one of them. I did not grow up during the Attitude Era, but my older brother always told me stories of how wrestling was back then. I was a child during the Ruthless Aggression Era, and I have lived my teenage years under the current PG Era, so maybe I am not qualified to say this. But, the real reason people say the Attitude Era is so great, is purely off of Nostalgia only.
When looking at professional wrestling from a technical ability standpoint, it is clear that WWE Superstars today are MUCH better wrestlers than WWE Superstars during the Attitude Era. How many great Raw and Smackdown rematches do fans recall from the Attitude Era? Not many. Just this year, we have seen countless classic battles on Raw with Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Seth Rollins all going at each other at some point. On Smackdown, we just had a great triple threat WWE championship match between AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler, and Baron Corbin. Let’s be honest now: Stone Cold and The Rock were not great wrestlers. Wrestling is also in a much better place today. Countless wrestlers have died from PED abuse and other health issues that probably came because of their time in WWE. When watching the infamous IQuit match between Mankind and The Rock at the Royal Rumble, Mankind took 14 unprotected chair-shots to the head. Each and every chair shot makes the viewer cringe harder. WWE today protects their superstars today a lot better than they did then.
The Attitude Era is better than today’s PG Era in three areas: Star Power, Promos, and Storylines. The wrestlers of the Attitude Era were great on the mic, and were able to evoke great emotion from the crowd. Every fan loved Stone Cold because of his storyline angles with the boss, Vince McMahon. Every fan lived vicariously through Stone Cold; they could not fight their boss and get away with it, but they enjoyed seeing Stone Cold do so. The Rock is a mega-movie star today, and just how movie fans love seeing “Dwayne” on the cinema screen today, wrestling fans loved seeing The Rock back in the late 90s. The Attitude Era also had better storylines. But even then, many of these storylines are very dark and cringeworthy. Human sacrifices from the Ministry of Darkness, cross-chops, and the treatment of women would not hold over well in today’s political and social climate. Society has evolved to a point where WWE would look stupid if they were to continue such storylines.
In conclusion, the Attitude Era is still GREAT. It helped propel WWE to all-time heights, and it was the reason WWE was able to win the Monday Night Wars against WCW. The main-event scene was full of superstar talent that could carry the company off of their charisma and aura on the mic and within storylines. With that being said, it is still important to note that we should not allow feelings of nostalgia cloud our sense of objectivity. The Attitude Era is still overrated.