10 Reasons WWE's Best Era Is Secretly Its WORST Era

The stale stench of the Attitude Era will never lift.

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What was the best WWE "era"?

Fans are very enthused by this current 'Paul Levesque Era'. The fans in the buildings are yeeting away as the basic but effective formula stands in remarkable contrast to Vince McMahon's slop. He's a bit dry but very savvy, is Levesque. He knows that, with no off-season, wrestling needs to be a bit boring throughout certain periods. You can't do A-tier shows all year, otherwise they won't feel special. Promoting B-level shows in white-hot, under-served international markets is nothing short of a promotional masterstroke.

The Golden Era (around 1984 to 1989) is a majestic, almost naive vibe to watch back through a modern lens, but to be a modern fan you have to care somewhat about the match quality that is emphasised as a selling point by every major promotion - and you're not going to find that at WrestleMania II.

The New Generation was sublime in its forward-thinking long-term booking. The best matches were incredible. The tone was a bit naff, yes, but that is charming in retrospect. Todd Pettengill was a delight!

Less delightful was the vaunted Attitude Era...in virtually every conceivable way...

[Content Warning: loose descriptions of sexual assault follow.]

10. The PPV Undercards Were Abysmal

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The thing about wrestling is that it all has to end up in the wrestling ring at some point. 

Amid all of this endless, inescapable, tedious discourse, about storytelling and cinema and bangers and star ratings, wrestling has to be wrestling. It doesn't matter how good the build even is; if the action is bad, everything will be ruined. The Jey Uso Vs. Jimmy Uso subplot wasn't great, but the Bloodline saga was as well-received as any storyline in WWE history, and it didn't matter. The WrestleMania 40 match was so awful that everybody in the stadium forgot about their emotional investment within minutes. 

The action is important. The action is crucial. A charismatic wrestler will stay over if they're not great, much like Jey has, but there's a ceiling over what they can ultimately achieve. 

The action on Attitude Era undercards, more than half the time, was unwatchable in how dull and overlong it was. 

1998 and 1999, Christ almighty. It was the absolute worst. Showers upon showers of excrement. It was very much a soapy, TV-driven product. The action however was too offensively bad to be considered incidental. 

When it wasn't wall-to-wall colourless brawlers doing the most basic lumbering nothing stuff ever, it was a marginally more athletic brand of bland. People still hold an affection for Steve Blackman, but go back and watch his Over The Edge 1998 match with Jeff Jarrett, You'll make it to a minute before turning it off. It was bad.

And, at the time, you had to pay a lot of money for it. 

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Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and current Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!