The Icon That Can Still Go
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern New Jersey
Re: Best year for the Attitude Era?
You really can't go wrong with either 1997 or 2000. Both years were great, albeit for different reasons. 1997 was more of a shock for fans when WWF went from being a kid-friendly, family-oriented program to more of an edgy, 18-30 year old oriented programming.
Gone were the gimmicks of clowns, garbage men, and plumbers. They were replaced with guys who actually had more than one layer to their character. Guys like Shawn Michaels who went from a babyface pretty boy (and completely marketed incorrectly in 1996, as even he would say, he didn't want to do the boyhood dream storyline) to a character that was alot more based on the guy he truly was at that time, an unruly degenerate who pretty much did what he wanted to do.
Then you had Steve Austin, who went from The Ringmaster to a guy who was a beer-drinking, ass-kicking, rebel who didn't take any crap from his boss. The character development with the Austin character to a guy who wasn't a "good guy" or a "bad guy" (which is how all us young fans from back then were programmed to either cheer or boo), but a guy who had some admirable qualities within himself (would never quit [WM 13], was tough, wouldn't take crap from anyone) and some not-so-admirable qualities about himself (profanity) finally showed us a wrestling character who was just like any human being. He wasn't strictly "good" or strictly "bad." He had alittle bit of both, which is what all of us are in society. Lots of shades of grey.
The character development in 1997 of guys like Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Undertaker from where they were 1996 to where they had developed by mid 1997 is incredible. We finally saw these guys go from cartoon characters that they were in early to mid 90s (Bret the pure babyface hero which no one bought anymore), (Shawn, the babyface boyhood dream champion, which got stale, and the guy himself didn't even want to play, but was forced to because of Vince) Austin (from Ringmaster to "Stone Cold"), and Undertaker (who we found out in 1997, actually had a brother, and a family, and was actually human).
1997 means to me character development, which was the most important thing, because that allowed the company to transition from a cartoon to a more adult, mature program, in which real people (not cartoon characters) had issues with eachother. This doesn't even take into account all of the great matches of 1997, including two of the greatest of all time with Austin/Bret at WM 13, and later in the year, HBK/Taker at Badd Blood.
If I had to choose, I would choose 1997. Because it was the start of the changing of the product that coincided with the changing of the times. 2000 was great because it was a very consistent product all year long, and by that time, the company had already found itself and gotten into a groove. But again, I would go with 1997, because to see the start of the character development of all of these guys I mentioned above was awe-inspiring.
Last edited by ShowStopper; 11-15-2012 at 02:38 PM.