The best period in the history of the WWE was probably the Attitude Era. If you don’t believe that just listen to people like Vince McMahon where he basically waxes nostalgic about how great things were in the Attitude Era compared to how they are now in the WWE PG era. There were a lot of good things, from the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin to the formation of Degeneration X and the entire U.S. vs. Canada storyline that can never be replicated.
However, as the new WWE DVD release, Attitude Era: Volume 2 proves, there was a lot of crap in that era as well. It seems strange to me that, as the WWE keeps preaching about how great the Attitude Era was, and how they keep trying to use it as a selling point for the WWE Network, this DVD release does so much to remind viewers of how bad that era really was once you got past the hot storylines.
What will fans learn when they watch Attitude Era: Volume 2?
First of all, volume 1 had a great documentary that really showcased what was great about the WWE. Volume 2 just has moments, with some talking heads in between remembering anecdotes about things that happened in that era. This is a three-disc set with six hours of material, so it is well worth the money if you loved the Attitude Era. Sadly, this also provides a lot of reasons why memories might be seen through rose colored glasses.
The first disc opens with a swimsuit competition between Sunny, Sable, Marlena, and the Funkettes. Sable won and this was the start of her rise in the WWE, where the DVD reminds us that she was as popular at the time as Stone Cold Steve Austin. Yep, the Attitude Era was all about sex.
Up next was a great match between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart, where Owen actually got a title shot. The match ended in a DQ finish and that is a theme from this Attitude Era set. The matches almost never ended cleanly and almost always involved a screw job finish or a run in. It was just ridiculous after a while. The next match between the New Age Outlaws and Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) also ended in DQ.
We get the match where Ken Shamrock thought he beat The Rock for the IC title only for a screwy finish to see the referee reverse his decision. The new-look Legion of Doom teamed with Owen Hart to lose to Triple H and the New Age Outlaws thanks to Chyna’s interference. Then, a Kane vs. Mankind match ended in a no-decision when Kane unmasked to show he was Undertaker.
That was followed by Sable winning a bikini contest when she was topless except for body paint and then we get the infamous (and still offensive) angle where Taka Michinoku turned on Val Venis and they decided to “choppy choppy his pee pee.” Yeah, those were their exact words. This is why, even when the WWE was at its most popular, people laughed at fans of the business.
The DVD finished off with Al Snow beating Sgt. Slaughter, Edge losing a six-man match for the European title when Christian made his WWE debut and distracted him, and X-Pac losing a WWE title match to The Rock when Shawn Michaels turned heel. The idea here is that no WWE match in the Attitude Era seemed to have a real ending.
The second disc started off with the rise of The Godfather and the Ho’s, and one of his early matches. It moved on to Triple H beating Edge quickly while Edge was still a youngster and part of The Brood (and ended with Road Dogg getting a bloodbath). Kane took on Steve Austin in a match where Kane and Chyna lost their job if Kane lost the match, and it ended in a NO CONTEST (seriously, it’s becoming comical).
Hardcore Holly and Billy Gunn are on here with the Hardcore title on the line, if for no other reason than to show a renegade Jim Ross with his makeshift announcer’s table and Dr. Death as his bodyguard.
A Big Show handicap match against Triple H and The Rock was next (which ended in, you guessed it, a DQ) and then Godfather was back and using his Ho’s to buy his way into an IC title match, which he actually won. After this was a nice little surprise as we got to see a very young Hardy Boyz take on a very young Edge and Christian before they were main eventing a year later. Test beat Jeff Jarrett in a IC title match next thanks to interference.
With one disc left to save this set, we start off with the APA and how they saw backstage and drank beer while playing cards, unless they were kicking butt in the ring for money. This led into the match where the APA lost their tag titles to Kane and X-Pac.
Up next was the Mark Henry Sexual Chocolate gimmick, his sex therapy sessions, and his relationship with Mae Young. Remember, this led to her giving birth to a hand. Ugh…
Then things really pick up with Chris Jericho arriving in the WWE. We get some talk about his debut promo with The Rock, a triple threat match with Jericho fighting Kurt Angle and Tazz, and an IC title match with Jericho beating Angle. It is proof that, through all the crap from the first two discs, there was some great wrestling in the Attitude Era when you looked for it.
Speaking of great wrestling, Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko was next. It was too short, but these two guys could carry a great match in their sleep. An intergender match was next as Kurt Angle teamed with Stephanie McMahon to take on The Rock and Lita. The match had a screwy ending as McMahon was hurt and the match broke down after that into a brawl on the floor.
A three-way women’s match was next between Lita, Ivory and Jacqueline. Yeah, the women were much better wrestlers in those days, even if the matches were still horribly short.
A Hardcore title match between Crash Holly and Gerald Brisco was next and Brisco won the title. That was bad enough, but then Pat Patterson challenged Brisco to try to win the title in a freaking Evening Gown match, and while the old guys were fighting, Crash Holly ran in and won the title back. This is why the Hardcore title became such a joke.
The final match on the 2-disc set was another intergender match with The Rock and Lita taking on Triple H and Trish Stratus. Lita hit the moonsault on Trish to win a nice match and one of the better ones on the DVD.