The recent change in WWE has fans thinking back to how much they enjoyed the Ruthless Aggression Era as a time of the company shifting towards something new. WWE was at a crossroads between their past success of the Attitude Era and the future needing new stars. Names like John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar started their legendary careers in this time.
The atmosphere of WWE was created by Vince McMahon wanting talents to show that “ruthless aggression” needed to break out. Many interesting stories took place during this time, with some standing out more than others. WWE had the following behind the scenes tales become fun afterthoughts since they are barely known today.
10 Randy Orton Standing Up To DX For Umaga
The reputation of Randy Orton changed backstage in WWE as he moved into a bigger role. Orton was viewed as immature until the latter half of the 2010s when he grew into a respected figure backstage by the rest of the locker room.
One story saw Orton speaking up on behalf of Umaga when Triple H and Shawn Michaels were upset at him. Michaels was specifically livid that Umaga wore similar colors to Triple H, but Orton went out of his way to defend Umaga since he wouldn’t get punished for it.
9 Maria Kanellis Came Up With Mr. Kennedy Gimmick
Paul Heyman has stated multiple times that Maria Kanellis is one of the smartest minds he worked with in the wrestling industry. Maria was training at OVW developmental when Heyman ran the show, and he often picked her mind for ideas once he believed in her creativity.
Mr. Kennedy’s gimmick was an idea from Maria when he messed around with his ring introductions for fun. WWE called up Kennedy faster than most other top prospects due to his gimmick impressing the decision makers.
8 WWE Released Rikishi For Not Losing Weight
The ups and downs of a larger wrestler using that as part of their gimmick can make things chaotic. Yokozuna showed how fast the decline can come if weight is not lost. WWE felt the same thing about Rikishi towards the end of the Ruthless Aggression Era.
Rikishi missed some time due to injuries towards the end of his run to ruin the momentum as a popular Attitude Era face. WWE felt that Rikishi was not taking their request for him to lose weight seriously and fired him for that reason.
7 Lita Yelled At Candice Michelle For Locker Room Etiquette
The WWE locker room was still known for the veterans policing the younger talent with things like Wrestlers’ Court or general hazing. Most of the stories are discussed from the male locker room, but the women also had those moments taking place.
Candice Michelle shared a story about Lita yelling at her in front of everyone for sitting by Lita’s locker. The young Candice had a lot of heat on her for the Diva Search background and Vince McMahon instantly loving her. Lita was at the end of her career and utilized her veteran status, according to Michelle.
6 The Nasty Boys Got Heat For Roughing Up Drew McIntyre In Tryout Match
An underrated aspect about the Ruthless Aggression Era was WWE bringing back legends for one more run in smaller roles. Road Warrior Animal, Jim Duggan and Tatanka were all hired around the same time to add the depth and locker room presence.
The Nasty Boys were two other names mentioned when WWE brought them in for a tryout dark match before the show. Drew McIntyre and Dave Taylor were their opponents, but the Nasty Boys received heat for working stiff with McIntyre due to his younger age. WWE did not show any interest in signing them after this failed tryout match.
5 Torrie Wilson’s Dad Asked To Use Vince McMahon’s Limo
Torrie Wilson became a huge part of the Ruthless Aggression Era essentially as the top female performer on the Smackdown roster. WWE got a bit bolder with the storytelling when Torrie’s father Al Wilson entered a romance angle with her rival Dawn Marie.
Interviews from Torrie detailed a funny story that she absolutely hated at the time about her father trying to interact with Vince McMahon. Al asked if he could use Vince’s limo after a show before Torrie stepped in to end the conversation before it grew more awkward.
4 Triple H Tried To Get Henry Godwinn Hired
Triple H started to gain more influence in the bigger picture of WWE towards the latter half of the Ruthless Aggression Era. Henry Godwinn grew close with Triple H during their time working together in the ridiculous New Generation Era feud.
Many fans were shocked to read the live reports of Henry receiving tryout matches in 2007 at the age of 43. WWE hired Godwinn to join the developmental roster, but they eventually released him with no logical path to the main roster. Triple H tried his best to give an old friend a chance even with the odds against him.
WWE moving Tazz to the Smackdown commentary team with Michael Cole changed his career forever. The plans for a brand split coming led to WWE wanting to find an ideal commentary team to separate the shows to make them feel different.
Tazz slowly worked with Cole before they started a lengthy run together for most of the Ruthless Aggression Era. It often gets overlooked that WWE was considering other names as well. Ron Simmons and Raven were other options, but Vince McMahon saw more potential from Tazz growing in the role.
2 Bubba Ray Dudley Was Upset About Stacy Keibler’s Manager Tactics
WWE found a lot of success from Stacy Keibler joining the company after WCW went out of business. The Invasion storyline introduced Stacy, and she eventually received a noteworthy role as the manager of the Dudley Boyz.
Fans cheered Keibler louder than any male wrestlers she managed for just about every chapter of her career. Bubba Ray Dudley revealed that he grew frustrated with Stacy taking attention away from the match by playing to the crowd and demanded she start playing a heel.
1 Rob Van Dam Yelled At Triple H For Making Jokes About Him
Triple H was arguably the most controversial figure of the Ruthless Aggression Era due to his infamous reign of terror and backstage moments. Rob Van Dam was one of the few wrestlers to stand up to him when having an awkward interaction.
Paul London shared a story about Triple H making fun of Van Dam’s general attitude. RVD snapped back yelling at Triple H in front of the other wrestlers claiming they weren’t friends for him to be making jokes like that. The story escalated to Van Dam asking Triple H if he wanted to fight before Triple H claimed he was just trying to have fun.