WWE's Attitude Era was a defining moment in the company's history, with adult-orientated characters, storylines, and content hitting our television screens with unashamed force.
The likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, The Big Show and Triple H became household names, or enhanced their reputations, as the WWE shifted from an organization that was stagnating to a serious, high octane wrestling production.
The Attitude Era may have drawn criticism from some quarters due to its brash nature but Triple H, speaking to fellow veteran Chris Jericho recently on his podcast, gave an insight to fans as to just how Vince McMahon and co decided to shake things up in the late 1990s.
"I remember (Vince) saying, 'Clearly the company needs a change of direction and momentum and I want opinions," recalled Triple H of a mid-90s trip to Indianapolis to visit the WWE's long-standing CEO.
With others such as high-flyers Kevin Nash and Scott Hall also in attendance, Triple H described attempts to leave the big names to talk, citing his young age as a reason why he felt out of place when talk turned to the WWE's future.
McMahon however insisted on Triple H sticking around:
"I started to go out the door and Vince said, 'Hey, where are you going?' and I said, 'This is not my place. I'm going to go…' and Vince was like, "No, no, no…You're in it now. Get in here.'"
McMahon asks for advice
From there it appears that Vince McMahon, after having handed out the then WWF roster to the trio, asked them to list their ideal wrestling roster - keeping those they felt had a future, and crossing off others who were not in the right vein.
"What would your team be and what do you think is wrong with the product? Not sayin' that we're going to do it; I just want to know what everybody things," Triple H recalls McMahon as saying.
The anecdote is a great insight into how the WWE (or WWF as it was then) was able to evolve as it did, with Vince McMahon taking decisive action to ensure that the company could thrive again as television audiences became increasingly important.
As we know, the Attitude Era was soon to follow this meeting and Triple H went on to define the Indianapolis spit-balling session as a key moment in that process:
"In my mind… the first spark of the Attitude Era that I ever saw was in that room. Because the conversation…was based on reality.
"'Why do we have Doink the Clown? Basketball players just wear basketball uniforms…Why can't we just be wrestlers? Why do we have to be firemen or cops or doctors? What can't it be just be more real? Let's stop insulting intelligence and get rid of the camp.' And Vince was really into the conversation."
Attitude and Beyond
The Attitude Era certainly included no clowns, unless you count the macabre comedy of Mick Foley. What it did allow for however was an increase in a carefully tuned product which allowed WWE Superstars to perform at an elite level both in the ring and on the mic.
In recent times McMahon has again seen fit to shift the emphasis of the WWE with a move to a more PG friendly atmosphere key in helping the company expand yet further.
And with Triple H now holding the position of Chief Operating Officer we are pretty certain he will have most likely find himself in another pivotal meeting with the WWE's future up for discussion.
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