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Friday, September 21, 2018

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Eyes On Attitude Era: 5 Classic Matches From 1998

By @TrueGodImmortal

The Attitude Era was special. It was a special time in wrestling and it gave the WWF the biggest boom period it had seen thus far. Stars were made, legends were born, and the WWF would prosper beyond belief. So, it is interesting to at times look back at the biggest era of wrestling and reflect on the matches that made it special. Today, we revisit 5 classic matches from the Attitude Era that have turned 20 this year. Which matches make the list? Let's find out.

*Kane vs The Undertaker
(Wrestlemania 14)

-So, the stage was essentially set. Kane, the long lost brother of Undertaker was ready to take his sibling out for good at Mania. The story had been building up for quite some time, with Kane debuting at the Badd Blood 1997 PPV and dismantling Taker. There would be a moment where Taker would be hesitant to fight his brother, but with enough pushing, Kane finally got what he wanted, or at least what he thought he wanted. Taker and Kane would go at it for 15 minutes, giving each other everything they had. In the end, Taker would end up with the victory, but at a huge cost. Taker remained undefeated at Mania and Kane was still a strong monster who it took three tombstone piledrivers to finally beat.

*Triple H vs The Rock
(Summerslam 1998)

-In terms of the main event scene, this was probably the best match of the year, as Rock and Triple H put together a near classic match that showcased their talents and continued to fuel the bad blood they allegedly had for each other. With a Ladder in place, a beef between Chyna and Mark Henry, along with a few other elements including DX vs The Nation, this match had the potential to be a classic and it was just that. Rock would end up winning over the crowd more and more as the match went on, and the action was top notch overall. Rock hit the People's Elbow on the ladder, Triple H hit the pedigree and would eventually climb the ladder and win the IC Title away from The Rock. This was the beginning of the new era in wrestling that will have have effects later.

*Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels
(Wrestlemania 14)

-Austin and HBK had impeccable chemistry. I sometimes wish we got more from the two, because they would only have two big one on one matches on PPV, one at King Of The Ring 1997 and this battle that headlined Mania. This match was the perfect storm and could have been the biggest classic we had seen. Mike Tyson was the special guest enforcer, which was a nice touch for this match. HBK was limited due to injury, but he still managed to put on a good show with Austin. This was the best match of the biggest show in WWF for the year, and it started the Austin run and momentum, so it is a must we discuss that match and moment in time.

*The Undertaker vs Mankind
(King Of The Ring 1998)

-So, with The Undertaker and Mankind having such a brutal rivalry, one that went through a Boiler Room Brawl, betrayal, and many other things in between, it was only right their last big PPV battle culminate in hell. While many would look at the match as one of the best Hell In A Cell contests, what I remember this match as is the match that put a few years on the career of Mick Foley and likely was a big factor in him retiring in 2000 for a few years. Simply put, Foley was taken through enormous pain and damage for this match and then some. With the loss of a tooth, the huge falls off the cage and through it, as well as the iconic moment where Foley is smiling through the pain, this match is easily one of the most important matches of the year and the entire Attitude Era.

*Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Dude Love
(WWF Over The Edge 1998)

-At the time, Austin was the man in the company and he was running the era essentially. Because of this, Dude Love was turned heel and sided with Vince McMahon in this pretty entertaining feud. The feud would lead to a match with Vince as the special guest referee stacking the deck against Austin, but Stone Cold would make it through just fine. Add in the physicality of the match, the Undertaker appearing and Stone Cold retaining and you have a near classic that resonates with many fans of various eras, much like the others here.



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