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WWE in the 1990s: 10 iconic, era-defining photos and the stories behind them

  • Ten unforgettable images from one of the most iconic eras in wrestling, and the facts behind each and every one
Matty Paddock
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 21 Jan 2020, 07:56 IST

Two of WWE
Two of WWE's biggest 90s stars, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker met at Summerslam in 1998

The 1990s are, for many fans, the definitive decade in professional wrestling. From the dawn of the Attitude Era to the peak of the war with WCW, it was the decade that had it all.

Comparing the ringing in of 1990 to the final days of 1999 draws arguably the biggest contrast of any period in the industry as the slow, deliberate, and exaggerated style so famed in the 1980s gave way to a higher-paced, athleticism-based product that now so clearly defines the decade.

In WWE or, as it was in 20+ years ago, the WWF, the 1990s produced some of the most thrilling matches, compelling stories, unforgettable moments and, sadly, some real tragedy. It was the decade that gave us The Undertaker, Bret Hart, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the ten-year span that saw wrestling once again enter the mainstream thanks to celbrities like Mike Tyson and huge acts like D-Generation X and the aforementioned Steve Austin.

Trying to surmise an entire decade so steeped in history into just ten photos has been no easy task, but for the ideal trip down memory lane, here is a selection of snaps that will have you dining out on nostalgia for the rest of the day.


#10 Brother vs. Brother

This clash opened arguably the greatest Wrestlemania of the 1990s and, perhaps, of all time.
This clash opened arguably the greatest Wrestlemania of the 1990s and, perhaps, of all time.

As WWF Champion for long spells in 1994, 1996, and 1997, it would be fair to say that Bret Hart's status as the premier wrestler of the 1990s is unquestioned. Despite his various victories and memorable encounters, however, Hart actually features various times in our ten-image collection in losing efforts - not least here, against his own brother, Owen.

Owen Hart, Bret recalled many years later, had been considering retiring from wrestling in 1993 after failing to really establish himself in the company. Bret would convince Vince McMahon to pair the two in a 'sibling rivalry' storyline that would go on to produce some of the best stories and matches of 1994 and beyond.

This image shows Bret and Owen opening the show at Wrestlemania X at Madison Square Garden, the birthplace of WrestleMania. Thanks to an ingenious pinning combination after his elder brother had attempted a victory roll, the youngest of all the Hart siblings picked up what would be the biggest win of his career. Owen would, of course, tragically pass away at the end of the decade after an accident at a pay-per-view event. This is one bout for which he'll be forever remembered.


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Published 21 Jan 2020, 07:56 IST
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