Some would say that WWE's Attitude Era had several stars that were the backbone of a very impressive roster that included The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Mick Foley and Undertaker. Perhaps, the name that most people forget was that of former Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock.
Shamrock was, to many, the Brock Lesnar of his day, coming in from an MMA background and was one of the few legitimate fighters on the roster. Shamrock's short WWE career is still fondly remembered, and it was surprising that he left the company at the height of the Attitude Era in 1999.
Jim Ross, on Grillin Jr, revealed Shamrock still had the 'MMA' in his system and was offered a lot of money to go back to MMA fighting in Japan. He also said that they couldn't bankroll him while he was training for his fights. He explained:
"He wasn't through fighting. He didn't have the MMA out of his system. And because, he had some time on WWE television, which built his profile, built his own personal business and awareness. He was offered some very lucrative money for two or three MMA fights and I believe they were in Japan"
Despite it not working out, Jim Ross believed that Ken Shamrock would have been at the 'Top of the Mountain' had he not left WWE and believed that he had the ability to be a top star. He explained:
"I said it many times. If Kenny Shamrock had stayed in WWE when he was just getting rolling and had not left to go back to Mixed Martial Arts, he could have very easily have been at the top of our mountain. I've always believed that Kenny Shamrock had the ability and the mindset and the look and the 'believability' to be a top star but he didn't get the MMA out of his system."
Jim Ross also said that the door was always open for a Shamrock return, but it never worked out for whatever reason. It's interesting to think what would have happened if Ken Shamrock had stayed in WWE.
In retrospect, Shamrock was the bridge between the UFC and WWE, alongside Dan Severn, bringing a needed, realistic edge that became the foundation of the Attitude Era.
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