The Beginning of the Attitude Era

Grothesk's picture

"Stone Cold" gives his iconic "Austin 3:16" speech: King of the Ring 1996, only on WWE Network

So, wrestling is fake and fucking gay, but it's a part of my past and it certainly helped shape me as a neck-beardy teen.  As with comic books and movies, professional wrestling goes through cycles and "eras" (for lack of a better word), and in June of 1996 a phenomena was sweeping through the World Wrestling Federation that would soon break into mainstream pop culture.  Throughout the 80's and 90's there have been multiple charismatic superstars in the WWF such as Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and Randy Savage, but they were marketed as either full on "faces" (code for very obvious good guys) or as full on "heels" (code for very obvious bad guys) who were larger than life and glamorous.  


Due to the nature of professional wrestling the writers really don't "script" anything that the wrestlers actually say but instead they are simply told to hit certain selling points such as, "I'll face Jake the Snake Roberts this upcoming Sunday at the Royal Rumble live on pay-per-view".  In this legendary video Stone Cold seemingly goes off-script and controversially berates his opponent's Christian beliefs, infamously stating that he "talk about your John 3:16...Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!"  At the time, Steve Austin was just another vanilla wrestler who had no interesting backstory and just wanted to get the belt, but this new dynamic of him slightly mocking Christianity while also being a total badass made fans both love and hate him, making him the bad guy that fans loved to cheer for.  He's not the first anti-hero in professional wrestling by any mean, but his natural charisma and excellent ring work made him a star who brought rebellion to the forefront for youths in the mid-90's and beyond.

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GloomStick's picture

Wrestling was so fun as a kid :3. Stone Cold is still awesome. Wish he got a bit more famous in movies.

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