10 WWE Superstars that were precursors to the Attitude Era
When pro-wrestling fans think of WWE's famous Attitude Era, certain names are likely to come to mind. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Mankind, Kane, The Undertaker, and Mr. McMahon were just a few of the period's top-level acts, but many mid-card talents also became major stars like The Godfather, Val Venis, the New Age Outlaws, and Trish Stratus.
One aspect about this ultra-popular time period is that although it didn't begin until late 1997, many other WWE Superstars had shown their proclivity for 'attitude' well before then.
Believe it or not, some examples of Attitude precursors could be found as far back as 1992, during the latter stages of Hulkamania. The majority of the others, however, came during WWE's New Generation era, a period that lasted from 1993 through roughly most of '97.
But of all the Superstars that came through the promotion during the mid-90s and foreshadowed what was to come at the end of the decade, these 10 personalities stood out the most.
Undoubtedly, the most controversial character in WWE history was, at the time, Goldust when he debuted in late 1995. Previously known as Dustin Rhodes, the son of legendary wrestler the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, Goldust stepped out of his father's shadow when he returned to WWE as the wicked, bizarre wannabe-actor obsessed with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
More so than Goldie's obsession with old movies, the trait that sent some fans into a tizzy was his androgynous nature. Walking a line meant to trigger homophobia, Goldust's in-ring taunting of other male wrestlers, including some questionable physicality, was not something suitable for children, or so many viewers thought.
This lead to many parents calling and writing in complaining about the nature of the character. Goldust himself believes that his character was one of the major factors responsible for the start of the attitude era.
While WWE pulled back on the controversial persona by the end of 1996, even turning him babyface, the forthcoming Attitude Era welcomed this type of attention.