WWE's Ruthless Aggression Originals - Where Are They Now?
Wherefore art thou, Linda Miles?
Ruthless Aggression is rightly held up as one of the most exciting eras in WWE history. Though rarely as romanticised as Attitude, it pushed WWE forward from the previous era's excesses, played host to the original brand extension, and birthed countless incredible moments, from Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero's emotional title wins to the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-views.
It all kicked off on June 24th, 2002.
Acquiring WCW and ECW the previous year left WWE bloated, and necessitated the roster's division into two separate brands. Raw and SmackDown made their picks in March, and three months later, in the aftermath of King Of The Ring, Vince McMahon delivered a spirited address to the red brand's stars.
20 men and women stood on the apron as McMahon demanded they mirror the 'ruthless aggression' that had driven his success in the Monday Night Wars. That was over 15 years ago, and while many were able to stand up and demonstrate Vince's favourite personality trait, others weren't so successful.
Some of these performers are still with the company today, while others were gone within a year.
What became of the Ruthless Aggression originals? Let's take a look...
20. Chris Nowinski
The first ever Harvard graduate to compete for WWE, Chris Nowinski was one of three finalists on the first series of Tough Enough.
He ultimately finished third to Maven and Josh Mathews, then started making appearances on the American independent circuit, before eventually signing a WWE contract and working in the company's developmental territories.
Nowinski had only debuted two weeks prior to McMahon's address, when he helped William Regal defeat Bradshaw in a European Championship match. He and Regal teamed together on the night Ruthless Aggression was born, and his affiliation with the Englishman endured for several months. Unfortunately, Nowinski was blighted with concussion problems throughout his career, and eventually retired from wrestling after suffering a full year of symptoms.
In 2006, Nowinski published a book entitled 'Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis,' recounting his career-ending injury alongside stories from other wrestlers and former NFL players. One year later, he founded the Concussion Legacy Foundation with the aim of raising awareness, and preventing other athletes from suffering the same fate as him.
He remains an outspoken voice against the dangers of head injuries, and continues to make regular media appearances on the subject.