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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

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Top 5: Worst Angles Of The Attitude Era

By Chris Evans (@Cool_Calm_Chris)

The Attitude Era was without question one of the most successful periods in WWE history. It was during this time that the WWE had reached a boiling point in the Monday Night Wars for ratings supremacy against rival company WCW, as well as a period where stars like The Rock, Chief Operating Officer of WWE Triple H, and Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin would begin to carve out their legacy as some of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. While this era brought some classic angles such as the Corporation versus Stone Cold and The McMahon-Helmsley era, there were a number of angles and gimmicks that people would be happy to forget. During this time period infamous wrestling storyline writer Vince Russo had become head of the creative team in WWE, and while most of his ideas had to go through Vince McMahon, a lot of the bad ones still managed to surface. Today, we get a chance to look back at the five worst angles and gimmicks of this period.

5. Brawl for All

-During the 1990’s, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, aka the UFC, had become an underground phenomenon for its shoot fighting and blend of different styles. In response to this Vince Russo came up with the idea (according to John “Bradshaw” Layfield) to have his own version of the UFC tournament in the WWE. The tournament lasted through the summer of 1998 and like most ideas that stray away from the actual wrestling, wrestling fans were not very pleased by it. While Bart Gunn racked up a few knockout victories and “Dr.Death” Steve Williams scored a technical knockout in the first round of the tournament, the rest of it was rather boring. It was pretty much a tough man competition involving wrestlers that volunteered to be in the tournament that had no real actual fighting experience with the exception of Dan Severn, Steve Williams, and Marc Mero.

The tournament fell flat as Bart Gunn would eventually become the winner of the tournament by knocking out Bradshaw in the final round. The victory had no real meaning to it however, as Steve Blackman was unable to compete after winning in the first round, Dan Severn forfeited stating he had nothing to prove, and the guy who had been planned for a major push in Steve Williams was knocked out by Gunn. One of the true flops of the Attitude Era for sure.

4. Beaver Cleavage

-Poor Mosh, in 1997 the Headbangers had become one of the WWE’s most popular tag teams, even winning the tag team championship. With their grunge gimmick the two were able to connect with the young audience as carefree, sophomoric grunge heads. However, in 1999, one of the members of the team, Thrasher, had suffered a knee injury that kept him sidelined. In his absence his partner, Mosh, had his gimmick changed to be a young child by the name of Beaver Cleavage. He was accompanied by his “Mother” Mrs. Cleavage and during on-air promos and vignettes, the two would exchange very creepy, incestuous remarks. The gimmick was thankfully scrapped as Mosh would leave in the middle of a promo saying “I can’t do this”. He would later resurface as Chaz, having Mrs. Cleavage appear now as his girlfriend, Marianna Komlos.

The two would appear on television together for a few more weeks until Komlos would appear on TV with a black eye, implying Chaz was beating her. This would lead to constant beatings by the wrestlers to Chaz and screwjobs by the referees until Thrasher returned and revealed that Komlos had been lying about the incident. Chaz would later resurface as Mosh and the two would be reunited as a tag team until Thrasher left the WWE.

3. Terri Has a Miscarriage/P.M.S.

-Terri Runnels has been involved with so much during her career in pro wrestling, a lot of it for the wrong reasons. However, this particular angle was probably one of the worst things she can attach her name to. 1998 saw the debut of Val Venis, wrestling’s first pornstar, during this time he had been engaged in an on screen relationship with Runnels. Terri had just announced that she had been pregnant with Venis’ child and in pure Attitude Era fashion, he dumped her. Terri would later team up with Jaqueline Moore, formerly a valet in WCW and at the time a valet for Marc Mero.

The two women would form the duo the Pretty Mean Sisters (aka P.M.S) and begin an alliance with Mark Henry and D-Lo Brown. During a match, D-Lo Brown had hit the ropes while Terri was standing on the ring apron causing her to fall. She had announced that because of the fall she had a miscarriage, however weeks later the whole angle was revealed to be a lie. Why this had to happen still amazes me to this very day.

2. Kennel from Hell

-Vince Russo has always been known for ridiculous, over the top gimmick matches, but this one has to top the list for stupidest. In the summer of 1999, Al Snow and the Big Boss Man had begun a feud over the World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship. During this feud Al Snow (for some reason) had brought his dog Fluffy around backstage. Big Boss Man had a passionate distain for the dog and used it to goad Al Snow into a match for the Hardcore Championship. Snow obliged and Boss Man eventually beat him for the title, and then left with the dog. Feeling bad that he did not keep his word, Big Boss Man invited Al Snow to a hotel to apologize over dinner, only to reveal that he had killed the dog and turned it into the food Snow was eating. Al Snow would eventually fall off the hinges, spiraling into his old gimmicks such as Leaf Cassidy, until he would eventually set up the match against Big Boss Man at Unforgiven. The match would be a “kennel from hell” match, which essentially is a Hell in A Cell covering a steel cage that is surrounded by Rottweilers. To win the match one person had to escape both cages. The match altogether looked foolish and would be the last big hurrah for Vince Russo before he left to go destroy WCW. Both Big Boss Man and Al Snow however would finish off the year strong, as Big Show would be involved in a main event feud for the World Wrestling Federation Championship with The Big Show and Al Snow would become involved in a feud with The Rock n’ Sock connection.

1. The Blue Blazer

-Owen Hart was without question one of the most underrated wrestlers ever in the WWE. During his time in the WWE Owen was undoubtedly one of the top ten wrestlers on the roster each year and was a great guy on top of that. When Owen’s brother Bret had left for the WCW and the rest of the Hart Foundation were gone as well, Owen was an island to himself. Later adopting the “black heart” gimmick, Owen would join the Nation of Domination and later break away to team with Jeff Jarret and eventually win the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championships. While Owen had begun feuding with Ken Shamrock in the summer of 1998, Vince Russo wanted him to dawn the Blue Blazer gimmick again. Owen did not want to, but he willingly obliged, and at Over the Edge 1999 as he was about to descend from the rafters, one of the straps broke and Owen fell to his death. Still one of the scariest moments in professional wrestling history and a moment that could have been completely been avoided had it not been for the pestilence of one Vince Russo.

Did you enjoy this list? Is there anything I missed out on? Let me know in the comments section below.



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