Attitude Is Everything: Before They Had Attitude

sideshow Before Attitude

While looking back at the Attitude Era, I remember all of the things that made this point in time great. The language, the innuendo, the half naked (and sometimes actually naked) women, the danger… But what made the attitude era shine was the talent.


Each week we saw pimps, rednecks, demons, degenerates, psychopaths, and more. I know that sound like most family reunions but, not even my family was this dysfunctional.


One advantage the Attitude era had was that it attracted a whole new audience. An audience that was unfamiliar with many of these superstars’ backgrounds. That was a very good thing, considering some of your favourite Attitude Era stars’ pasts.


Stone Cold Steve Austin


One of the most iconic figures in wrestling history, Stone Cold Steve Austin was a beer drinking, bird flipping, rule breaking, redneck. We loved Stone Cold because he did as he pleased and he stuck it to the man. We watched every week as he feuded with his own boss. He said things to Mr. McMahon that we all wished we could’ve said to the people setting the rules.


Austin was who he was and he wouldn’t change for anybody.


Before he had attitude…



He was the million dollar champion, the Ringmaster. The Ringmaster was the strong, silent type. With the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase as a mouth piece, who needs to talk? Looking back it seems crazy to put Austin in a situation where he didn’t do any talking.


And before that…


He was Stunning Steve Austin, one half of the Hollywood Blondes.

Hollywood Blondes


Flyin’ Brian would later pull a gun on Austin on Raw and drop a few “F” bombs to boost his cool factor.



Kane 98

The Kane we know now is more of the comedic relief of the WWE but during the Attitude era he was scaring the hell out kids all over the world.


Kane was the masked brother of the Undertaker, brought to the WWF by Paul Bearer to destroy the Deadman. You see, back then Kane wore a mask to hide his horribly disfigured face. He didn’t speak and no matter what you threw at him, he kept getting back up. Think of Kane as the Jason Voorhees of the WWF. Heck, Jason was once played by a guy named Kane.


Before he had attitude…


He was another frightening character… a DENTIST!

Isaac Yankem

In June of 1995 Jerry Lawler introduced the world to his private dentist, Dr. Isaac Yankem.  Yankem’s job was to rid the WWF of Bret Hart. After losing to Hart on several occasions, Yankem became a jobber to the stars.


After Scott Hall and Kevin Nash jumped ship to WCW to form the NWO, Kane became the new Diesel. Joined by Rick Bognar as the new Razor Ramon.

Diesel and Fake Diesel

Yeah, they weren’t fooling anybody

Razor and Fake Razor


They became one of the most poorly received gimmicks in history.

Next to the Gobbledy Gooker.




Rikishi was a giant Samoan in a thong who stuck his ass in people’s faces. How much more “attitude” can you get? We loved Rikishi because he could kick ass, make us laugh, and as a member of Too Cool, could bust a move with the best of them.


He added a little more “attitude” to his persona when he made his heel turn in 2000 after running down Steve Austin at Survivor Series.


Before he had attitude…


He was Fatu, one half of the Headshrinkers.



Fatu and Samu were a pair of savages who didn’t feel any shots to the head. (Because they had “head” in their name, I guess.)


Fatu was later repackaged with a mask as The Sultan, managed by the Iron Sheik.



I imagine the re branding came out of a board room and sounded something like this:

Guy 1: So this whole Fatu thing isn’t working anymore. I was thinking we could go with the Middle East bad guy angle again.Guy 2: Yeah, we can call him the Sultan… But don’t you think people with know its Fatu?

Guy 1: No, we’ll put him in a mask.

Guy 2: Brilliant! But what about when he talks?

Guy 1: I got it! The Sultan’s tongue was cut out so he can’t speak!

Guy 2: But how will he cut a promo?

Guy 1: We’ll get The Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund to manage him. They’re both batshit crazy, it’ll be perfect!

Guy 2: Perfect! Let’s go get frozen yogurt!

Note: this is not an exact transcript.


Mr. McMahon

McMahon Belt

There has never been a more hated bad guy than Mr. McMahon. He was the epitome of everything we wanted to rebel against. He was the boss that made you work weekends, the teacher that gave you extra homework, and the grown up that just simply didn’t want you to have any fun.


The McMahon vs. Austin rivalry is one of the greatest in history. And he made the words “You’re Fired” cool, long before Donald Trump claimed them as his own on Celebrity Apprentice.


Before he had attitude…


He was Vince McMahon, the play by play announcer of the WWF. His job as commentator was to call the matches down the middle while his colour commentator was the voice of the heels. (Jesse Ventura, Bobby Heenan, and Jerry Lawler)


Oh yeah and he did this