Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mania Memories: Attitude!

Austin wins (WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I think Wrestlemania 15 may have very well been the peak of the Attitude Era for the WWF.  Wrestling was incredibly hot at the time, but because of the competition with WCW I feel like the product may have been damaged in the long term.  What?  How can I say such a thing, let me explain...

Obviously the big story out of 15 was Stone Cold Steve Austin regaining the WWF title from the Rock.  Rock and Mankind has ping pongee the title back and forth in the months leading up to Mania.  Rock won the belt at Survivor Series.  The title changed hands four times before his defense against Austin.  That in my opinion hurt the value of the title and showed fans that it was more of  a prop than a prestigious award for being the best in the business.  The title would change hands 7 more times that year after Austin won it at Mania, including a run with Mr. McMahon as champion and a one day title reign for Mick Foley.

Road Dogg vs. Val Venis
Need more proof about the chaos in the title situation?  Consider this then.  The Road Dogg defended the Intercontinental title in a fatal four way, beating Goldust, Ken Shamrock, and Val Venis.  That title ended up changing hands 11 times in 1999.  For some perspective, the IC title was won and lost 11 times over the first 8 years of its existence.  So you get the picture.  And let's look at the tag team title defense at Wrestlemania 15.  Champions Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett didn't defend against an established team, no way, not at the biggest show of the year.  Instead, they faced D'Lo Brown and Test.  Why?  Because the two were the last men standing after a battle royal on Sunday Night Heat to determine the new number one contenders for the belts.  Ugh.  Shane McMahon (nothing against him, but he wasn't really a full-time wrestler) was the company's European champion and beat X Pac to retain.

Undertaker vs. Bossman
The Big Show made his Wrestlemania appearance at 15, losing to Mankind by disqualification.  I think a lot of people had high hopes for the giant, especially after he made such an a strong first impression a month earlier at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.  Two big "better to forget them moments" from Wrestlemania 15 came when Butterbean knocked out Bart Gunn in about 30 seconds in their Brawl for All Match.  I think people expected it to be a bit more competitive seeing as how Gunn had beat legit tough guys like Dr. Death and Bradshaw to qualify for the match.  The other groaner of the night was the Hell in a Cell match between the Big Bossman and the Undertaker.  I don't remember a whole lot about it, but I do remember the Bossman being hung from a noose at the end of the match.

Tori vs. Sable
Sable beat Tori (not Torrie Wilson, but the former Terri Powers) to hold on to the Women's title, Hardcore Holly captured the Hardcore title, and Kane beat Triple H by disqualification in a match that saw Trips turn on his DX mates (along with Chyna) and join the corporation.

Six of the ten matches at Wrestlemania 15 were title matches, and only the world title changed hands that night.  The atmosphere that night was chaotic to say the least, and I remember actually thriving on that unpredictably as a fan.  It was what made Raw fun.  I know this post is somewhat negative toward the Attitude Era in general, but I do believe that the events 13 years ago have had a negative impact on the business today.  I also felt like the main event of Austin vs. the Rock was more about Austin's feud with McMahon than anything else.  Remember, I'm an old school fan.  I loved the long title runs for guys and a healthy diet of top contenders.  But no matter what era of wrestling, I have been and always will be a fan of it.

What are your thoughts?  Am I too harsh with my comments?  Share here or on our Facebook wall.


  1. I don't miss that era as much as some folk. The era I miss are the glory days of WCW.

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