The “Attitude” Era saw a lot of wrestlers take the wrestling brand to new heights with their stunners, five-second poses, marker-smeared sock puppets, and eyebrow-raising behavior. They made it the most chaotic and controversial time in WWE history, and fans went nuts for it.
From The Undertaker, to Randy Orton, Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin, these are just a few of the wrestlers that truly defined this era of sports entertainment.
A lot of time has passed since then though and many of the wrestlers that we grew up with have either retired, such as Mick Foley and The Rock, or only wrestler part-time now, such as The Undertaker and Triple H.
Here are 20 wrestlers we grew up watching in their prime and how they look now.
20 The Acolytes Protection Agency (APA)
In the late 90s, Bradshaw and Faarooq teamed up under the name The Acolytes. Once their manager, The Jackyl, left the WWF though, they were reintroduced as members of Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness.
Unfortunately, The Undertaker suffered an injury that would later break up the Ministry.
According to wwe.com, Bradshaw and Faarooq were then reintroduced as The APA, The Acolytes Protection Agency, beer-swilling mercenaries who other wrestlers could hire as bodyguards for a price.
19 Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon took the biggest step of his career during WWE Raw on October 26, 1998, when he finally stepped into the light and out of his father’s shadow.
According to wwe.com, Shane proved that he is willing to put his body on the line when needed. Displaying incredible athleticism, cat-like reflexes, and quick-thinking skills, Shane was able to defeat some of WWE’s top superstars such as X-Pac, Big-Show and Kurt Angle.
Goldust was truly a “unique” wrestler, but it’s because of his uniqueness that fans loved him.
According to wwe.com, Goldust confused his opponents constantly by not only his stranger attire, but his freakish and unpredictable behavior. Using twisted mind games to overpower his opponents, Goldust was able to win 11 championships in WWE.
17 The Dudley Boyz
When The Dudley Boyz left ECW and came to WWE in 2000, they made sure to bring their savage behavior with them, making them the most dangerous tag team in the WWE, as well as becoming fan favorites among the WWE Universe.
According to wwe.com, after their WWE debut, they participated in the first-ever Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at Summerslam in 2000, facing off against Edge & Christian and the Hardy Boys.
16 Bret “Hitman” Hart
In the later 90s, WWE started to move in a new direction, a direction Bret didn’t agree with. Instead of embracing the changes, he decided to vocalize his disdain, something that would later backfire on him.
According to wwe.com, when news spread that Bret was leaving WWE for WCW, Vince McMahon was not happy and orchestrated the biggest betrayal of Bret’s career, resulting in Bret losing the WWE title.
15 Kurt Angle
After winning a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics, with a broken neck, by the way, Kurt Angle made his way to the WWE where he cemented a successful legacy based of Three I’s, Intensity, Integrity, and Intelligence.
According to wwe.com, in the early 00s, Angle won the European and Intercontinental Title, as well as King of the Ring and the WWE Championship, making him the most impressive rookie in WWE history.
14 Team Xtreme
Many superstars put their bodies and careers on the line during their time in the WWE, but no two people more than the Hardy Boys.
According to wwe.com, the Hardy Boys were known as risk-takers, doing anything it took to reach their goals, break new ground for the Tag Team division continuously during the Attitude Era.
13 Stephanie McMahon
During her time in WWE in the 90s, we were able to watch Stephanie McMahon transform from an innocent doe-eyed little thing to a cold-hearted manipulator in the blink of an eye.
According to wwe.com, after her marriage to Triple H, Stephanie went on to capture the diva's division and win the Women’s Championship. From there, her thirst for power would only grow though and now she is the CBO of the company.
12 Big Show
Big Show made his debut in 1999 during the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre episode, and boy was it a debut.
According to wwe.com, the Big Show tore through the ring canvas in order to attack Stone Cold during his Steel Cage match with Vince McMahon. From there, he became an unstoppable angry giant, performing many imposing feats.
11 Edge & Christian
Edge and Christian not only had fashionable wardrobes and cool personalities but also were two of the most sound and talented members of the tag team division.
According to wwe.com, mixing match-based proficiency and high-impact aerial attacks, the pair were able to flourish in a highly competitive tag-team division, even winning the first two TLC matches at Summerslam 2000 and Wrestlemania Seven.
10 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho was another member of the WWE division that was known for his talent and flashy attire.
According to wwe.com, Chris debuted in the WWE on August 9, 1999, and right away was known for being able to get under anyone’s skin, even calling out The Rock. For a decade, he became known as a microphone master, laying waste to any of his opponents with acidic insults.
The Big Red Monster made his WWE debut in 1997 during the Bad Blood: In Your House PPV when he attacked his brother, The Undertaker, during the first-ever Hell in a Cell match.
According to wwe.com, the first half of Kane’s WWE career involved him seeking retribution against his brother for setting a fire that left him scarred physically and psychologically. It’s the unhinged personality though that made him such a fan favorite.
8 The New Age Outlaws
“Oh, you didn’t know?!”
Starting as Roadie and Smoking Gun, Road Dogg and Gunn reinvented themselves as the rough-and-tumble New Age Outlaws back in 1997 after joining forced during Shotgun Saturday Night.
According to wwe.com, the pair rose to stardom on November 24, 1997, after they defeated the Legion of Doom for the titles. From there, they remained champions by bending the rules in ways only befitting for “outlaws” like themselves.
7 The Undertaker
The Undertaker became a legend the moment he debuted in the WWE.
According to wwe.com, The Undertaker broke new ground on a weekly basis all through the late 90s and the early 00s by accomplishing feats such as: creating an undefeated streak at WrestleMania and wrestling in the first-ever Hell in a Cell and Inferno Match.
He will truly go down as a legend in the WWE.
6 Shawn Michaels
When it comes to The Attitude Era, Shawn Michaels is known as one of the founding fathers.
According to wwe.com, Shawn did many things during his time in the WWE. From helping form D-Generation X to aligning with “Iron” Mike Tyson at WrestleMania XIV, he truly paved the way for so many Superstars that came after him.
5 Mr. McMahon
D-Generation X might have had two words for us, but Vince McMahon also had two words he loved using, “You’re Firrrrrred!!!!” Two words that he used quite often back in the day.
According to wwe.com, Vince is known for running things backstage, but once a feud started with the one and only Texas Rattlesnake, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, he became a whole new unforgettable part of Monday Night Raw.
4 Mick Foley
If there was a contest for who sacrificed their bodies more for the company, Mick Foley would win hands down.
According to wwe.com, from surviving a 20-foot drop off a Hell in a Cell cage at King of the Ring in 1998 to being beaten and slammed on thumbtacks, all to fulfill his life-long dream of being WWE Champion.
3 Triple H
When Triple H first debuted back in 1995, he debuted as “The Connecticut Blueblood,” Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. The WWE Universe was far from impressed as he paraded himself down the ramp to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” all while wearing luxurious robes.
According to wwe.com, it wasn’t long before he embraced his inner rebel though and teamed up with Shawn Michaels to form D-Generation X, one of the most controversial factions in sports-entertainment today.
2 The Rock
“Do you smeeeeellll, what..the..Rock..Is..cooking?!”
The Rock didn’t become a fan favorite until after he started to lash out and take out his frustrations on the WWE Universe.
According to wwe.com, The Rock is now known for being “The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment,” and he got that way by not only being one of the most captivating wrestlers in sports-entertainment but also for his amazing talent with a microphone.
1 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
“Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your a**!”
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin might have lacked a flashy wardrobe and high-flying theatrics, but he made up for it all with his personality.
According to wwe.com, Austin began a revolution at King of the Ring back in 1996 that would forever change the face of sports-entertainment. With a “I don’t care attitude,” and having no respect for authority, he would later become an inspiration for an entire generation of new Superstars.