When pop culture became the only culture. note
"We're the MTV generation. We feel neither highs nor lows."
"What's it like?"
"Eh, it's ok."
The Nineteen Nineties: The decade when the world was just getting over the Cold War
and starting to fear Y2K
. All of the kids (of whom the older ones were of the cynical and disaffected Generation X) listened to grunge
bands, wore flannel
or a Jennifer Aniston
haircut while watching Friends
and The X-Files
. Or they listened to Gangsta Rap
, wore their baseball caps sideways
and routinely "capped" people who "dissed" them, or they were beaten up by police and taped. Everything was neon, colorful, and Totally Radical
The world at this time was awash in radical changes and catastrophes on a global scale. The Soviet Union collapsed in a Great Politics Mess-Up
(resulting in more than a couple ethnic wars between the newly independent states), Nelson Mandela was finally freed from prison, Iraq invaded Kuwait
, and Margaret Thatcher
hung up her handbag.
exploded into savage sectarian genocide, while Liberia
and Sierra Leone
faced a deadly civil war that was frustratingly difficult for other nations to stop, provided that they even cared. Radicals revolted against corporations in Seattle
at the beginning and end of the decade. Germany
reunites after decades of post-World War II
division, Czechoslovakia splits up and Canada
comes within a hairsbreadth of doing the same. Japan came to terms with the end of its economic bubble and settled in for the long, frustrating stagnation of the Lost Decade. "Made in Japan" was replaced by Red China
as the big outsourcing villain. HIV awareness grew, as its notorious pandemic spread among the heterosexual population of Africa finally killed the "Gay Plague" stereotype of the disease even as effective drug regimes finally were developed to fight the disease. There were riots in Los Angeles
and the OJ Simpson chase/trial/circus
. The younger tropers might have been born at this time — possibly in the back of a white SUV. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan pressured Mullah Omar's Afghanistan to extradite a dissolute Saudi nobleman, Osama bin Laden
, who was holed up in the newly radicalized Afghanistan. It was almost as if he was planning something big...
The Reagan/Thatcher/Gorbachev era ended with a bang as "greed is good" got replaced by the 1987 Wall Street Crash and postwar recession ennui through the early 90s. In the U.S., Ross Perot led a political revolution of pissed-off independent voters; dissatisfaction with The Man
became the norm and Conspiracy Theorist
talk radio became the rage. Bill Clinton
got elected thanks to Gulf War
Syndrome, then impeached. Seattle coffee culture was all the rage as a Starbucks opened up on every street corner, driving fear into the hearts of Hipsters
everywhere, who sought solace in post-hardcore
, and other things with "post-" and "-core".
Modern culture's obsession with electronics was born in The Eighties
and became dominant in the Turn of the Millennium
, but it really came of age in the last half of this decade as people switched out computer models every other year. Dolly the sheep was cloned. GPS became operational. Cell phones became smaller and more common. Home computers that were actually easy to use instead of requiring a degree in programming hit the market and everybody wanted one, and this, coupled with the invention of the World Wide Web note
, inevitably led to the explosion of the Internet note
, which opened the floodgates. Porn
, gifs of kittens
, jokes about the Clinton
sex scandal and evil overlords
, and porn involving Clinton
were widely accessible for the first time. Bulletin Boards
hooked up, moving from dial-in systems to the web. People began to band together to discuss their opinions of Star Trek
and Star Wars
, the original "message board" system. Soon, other people joined in
to talk about other shows, too, and thus the seeds for the birth of this wiki
were planted. So while in 1990 teenagers who "spent time on computer message boards" were nerds, by 1999 it was a social stigma among teenagers if you didn't have an e-mail address.
On the business side of the internet sensation came the Dotcom Bubble of the late 90s, powering the biggest economic boom of the 20th century, putting even the best years of The Roaring Twenties
, The Fifties
, and The Eighties
to shame, meaning people had more money than ever to spend on all the exciting new technology, while at the same time ironically having less cash in their pockets than ever thanks to another exciting new technology, digital banking. ATM machines appeared on every street corner and allowed people to withdraw as much money from their accounts as they needed anywhere at anytime 24/7 without having to deal with asshole bank employees. In store debit often eliminated the need for cash at all, and the credit card was never more widely used (partly because more places than ever were accepting them, and partly because people didn't quite grasp the long term consequences of their overuse and abuse yet). Some even predicted the end of paper money all together.
As the Web Browser was invented, garage entrepreneurs sold content-free websites
for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Nineties also saw the largest government budget surplus in American history.
The Ford Explorer became the first SUVnote
, and the GM EV-1 became the first electric car. The Explorer would be successful, while the EV-1 would not for the same reason as the Sega Game Gear
of the same decade, as indeed was a problem for many of the decade's portable devices, the incredible new technology drained batteries too fast
, as GM insisted it be fitted with the same lead-acid batteries as all its cars
. The Lithium batteries that would power the cars and electronics of future decades were still in their infancy, and still far too expensive and unproven for most manufacturers or consumers to bother with. The gas crisis of the next decade
had its origins in the short-sightedness of a decade when gasoline was much cheaper. Cars from this decade are easy to spot thanks to a cartoonishly curvy
look, moving beyond the unaerodynamic box-on-wheels design that dominated The Seventies
and The Eighties
, thanks to computer-aided drafting and design, but still not quite like the more aerodynamic angular cut corners look that dominated in the Turn of the Millennium
and The New Tens
Electronics under went a similar change in design from depresingly boxy to cartoonishly curvy, culminating in the first iMac, and from analog to digital for exactly the same reason. In terms of media technology, this was the decade of Cable TV and the First (huge) backyard TV satellite dishes.
Movies ran on VHS or in Multiplex theaters with digital sound systems. DVD was in its infancy and ridiculously expensive. Music came on CDs or cassette tapes in the very early 90s, to a more CD dominated culture until the invention of Napster.
Internet dollars gentrified the inner city, turning what had been viewed as an irredeemable wasteland
into a playpen for the rich
. Every building, sneaker, and coffee shop was painted in pastel colors with the black lights at the rave club making them all glow, along with that mustard stain you thought you got out weeks ago.
Everyone attended music festivals like Lollapallooza or Lilith Fair — or at least, claimed to their friends that they did, as they were just as likely doing either "Lambada
" or "The Macarena
". In the US Grunge
dominated the real life soundtrack
for five years, before collapsing into an identity
crisis. Kurt Cobain continued chart-topping for two years after his death
, alongside Alanis Morissette
and Alice in Chains
, eventually replaced by pop music during the latter half of the decade. Across the pond, meanwhile, Britpop
and the Cool Britannia movement soared; Oasis
had their famous chart war, while the Spice Girls
became cultural icons. In academia, modernism was out and relativism
was in; the magazine Social Text
published a word salad hoax
by an angry physicist as the "Culture Wars" smoldered between scientists, anti-abortionists, and radical academicians. Raves and Ecstasy became huge, along with the Perishing Alt Rock Voice
. Boy bands
and girl groups
began to dominate the market, and two major Gangsta Rap
stars were killed within months of each other
following a war of egos between the east and west coasts.
CGI completely changed what you could see on the silver screen. Blockbusters like Jurassic Park
made full use of cutting-edge Visual Effects of Awesome
on their way to record-smashing box-offices. The first animated films created entirely in CGI also began their slow but steady takeover of the animated marketplace. On the other side of the spectrum, indie films became hot commodities as young, self-made filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino
, Kevin Smith
and Richard Linklater
used the advances in filmmaking technology to create unique, edgy films on shoestring budgets. For a whole year, America lost its collective mind in the woods of Maryland
over a film made on $20,000.
, after a shaky start in the '80s, shot to wild popularity. The Simpsons
redefined both animation and the family Sitcom
. Reality Television
started. The millennial decade's comedy superstars were getting themselves known on Saturday Night Live
, including future senator Al Franken
. MST 3 K got really good
, then was canceled twice
. After people got the answer as to who killed Laura Palmer
, Special Agents Mulder and Scully
chased aliens, monsters, and other creepy creatures, Buffy Summers
chased vampires, demons, and vampire boyfriends, while Hercules
and Xena fought the tyranny of the gods in ancient Greece. Surfing and going to the beach became even more popular thanks to Baywatch
. This was also the heyday of modern-era Star Trek
, with TNG
all airing in the same decade. Furthermore, that franchise finally got real competition from Babylon 5
and Stargate SG-1
hit it big in the mid-1990s; Strategy Sim
games with orthographic landscapes were invented. People bought games in boxes with elaborate supplements and funky midi music
. Or pirated off their neighborhood BBS
, along with the copy protect
page. "The 3D revolution" meant vector graphics, which meant "virtual reality
" and Wolfenstein
. Superman came back
(albeit with a horrible game
, Mortal Kombat
, and Pokémon
scared the Moral Guardians
, with Doom as one of the perpetrators that triggered the Columbine High massacre.
Games like the Super Mario RPG
, Chrono Trigger
, and the Dragon Warrior
and Final Fantasy
series introduced Western gamers to the concept of the Japanese Role Playing Game
, and with the arrival of Final Fantasy VII
in the latter part of the decade, the genre went mainstream: Pokémon
became a worldwide phenomenon of unprecedented scale; Square Soft
became a household name for any video game enthusiast, and their games came to exemplify the cutting edge of innovation in graphics, sound and storytelling in games for years to come.
Kids and adolescents played Street Fighter
in the arcade leading to a Fighting Game
boom led by Capcom, SNK, Sega and Namco. On the PC side of things, Doom
helped make the First-Person Shooter
mainstream and StarCraft
was starting to conquer Korea.
Oh yeah, and there was also this one guy
who came around who had blue hair
, was kinda like Mario, except faster, and he went through loops and stuff. He kinda disappeared around '95 though, and wouldn't return for three years in this one 3D game
for this one system
I can't remember, hmmmm...
, yo-yos, laser pointers and Beanie Babies were all the rage with kids. A Razor scooter and roller blades were invented and quickly considered two of the must have items, and the Discman began to replace the Walkman. In Japan, we saw a farewell to the Darker and Edgier Metal Heroes
and Kamen Rider
as well as Ultra Series
as they went through an ice age while Super Sentai
prospered and was beginning to be adapted for western audiences as Power Rangers
Michael Jordan reigned, retired, and returned
. Mark McGwire and other beefy dudes beat out Roger Maris as home-run king, totally legitimately
. The New York Yankees
"dream team" inspired Americans with good old-fashioned teamwork from 1997-2001. David Beckham became a star. The NHL
introduced a ridiculous new rule which they would abolish after it brought extreme controversy in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. FOX Sports
introduced a glowing puck for American audiences. This is also crashed and burned. The game's greatest player, Wayne Gretzky
, retired at the close of the decade.
The Dark Age
of comics was going strong, and Rob Liefeld
was at his peak of popularity, as comics became gradually Darker and Edgier
, culminating in the death of Superman
, before hitting the brick wall of the comics crash
, while the likes of Kingdom Come
killed the "Grim and Gritty" mid-decade.
, originally released in Japan in 1988, became a surprise cult hit
on home video in the West, ushering in an entire generation of anime
fandom and helping, along with The Simpsons
, to mount a serious offensive against the Animation Age Ghetto
. Following in its footsteps, Ghost in the Shell
, Princess Mononoke
, and Perfect Blue
would go on to grab the attention of serious film critics the world over and signal the arrival of Adult Animation
as an artistic presence. Meanwhile, Pokémon
redefined "Cash Cow Franchise
" for millions of children (and adults
) around the world. Sailor Moon
gave girls strong female heroes to idolize
besides Wonder Woman
." on the flipside, Dragon Ball Z
redefined "action cartoon", and would be responsible for more kids taking martial arts than anything since The Karate Kid
;* Ranma ˝
became the most famous and funniest show to never be able to be shown on US Television
and Record of Lodoss War
showed the D&D community that Japan was just as nerdy as we are
. Neon Genesis Evangelion
shook the anime world with its dark Deconstruction
of the medium; its unexpected success ushered in a torrent of imitators
attempting (with varying degrees of success) to copy its visceral mecha combat, trippy plot
, and unconventional
use of Judeo-Christian symbolism. The Toonami Cartoon Network
block was launched, bringing Anime
to the viewing options of The Nineties children en masse. Even though it took almost a decade for it to be widely accepted as "mainstream" media in the United States (it was already mainstream in Latin America
before that), and its influence should be obvious by now.
The Nineties politically started with the fall of the Eastern Bloc
in 1989, and ended on September 11, 2001
. Pop-culturally, it started with the release of Nirvana
's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on September 10, 1991 and ended with the rise of internet video and friending networks
in 2002-03, making this one of the longest cultural decades. To distinguish the era from the "Turn of the Millennium
", look for the original World Trade Center (Twin Towers) in establishing shots or title sequences of TV shows and films set in New York City
. Of course, this is also true for the 1970s, 1980s, and early 2000s.
Although one could argue
it ended with the quashed Seattle rebellion
of November 30, 1999; or the Great Internet Crash of March 11, 2000, which marked a jobless turning point for the new generation. Some take it all the way to September 11
, which left people so stupefied
that it functioned as something of a cultural reset button. Note that the word "Nineties" means a very different thing
in post-Soviet Russia, a thing much more cynical on the Sliding Scale of Cynicism Versus Idealism
Not to be confused with The Gay Nineties
, which were a century earlier. But these Nineties were probably just as gay
Because most media is Two Decades Behind
, expect most of fictionland to start appearing to be set in this decade some time between now and 2020; at time of this writing, it appears to be the late '80s there still.
See Also: The Edwardian Era
, The Roaring Twenties
, The Great Depression
, The Forties
, The Fifties
, The Sixties
, The Seventies
, The Eighties
, Turn of the Millennium
and The New Tens
Now has a totally fresh Useful Notes page
open/close all folders
Tropes associated with the 1990s:
Naturally, a lot of technology tropes due to the rapid pace of technology and the Internet:
- Adventure Games: All the rage prior to Doom and the triumph of the First-Person Shooter.
- All Animation Is Disney: The reign of Disney was in full force as such, a lot of animated movies ended up getting this.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: developed in the '90s.
- Award Bait Song: Disney just loved this about this time...
- Axes at School: This was the first time school shootings recieved national media coverage and was seen as an actual issue. While there had been school shootings in the United States every year since The Sixties, it wasn't until the tragedies at Paducah, Springfield, and especially Columbine, that it was considered a real issue by the public.
- Badass Longcoat: Became really popular towards the end of the decade and leading into the first few years of the 2000s.
- Bare Your Midriff: During the 90s is when this started shifting to a shorthand for 'teen girl'
- Bill Clinton - President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, he was essentially the patriarch of Nineties America.
- Blaxploitation Parody: It became acceptable in the Nineties to make fun of (and occasionally homage) the Blaxploitation films of the Seventies.
- Collectible Card Game - started with Magic: The Gathering in 1993, and now everything has a CCG (no matter how short-lived).
- Console Wars: The battle between the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis was Serious Business. But then Sony came along mid-decade and handily won the next one with the PlayStation, ending Sega's days as a console manufacturer and relegating Nintendo to "second-string kiddie-game maker" for about ten years.
- Covered in Gunge: Showed up in kids shows and cartoons a lot in this era.
- Cyber Punk Is Techno.
- Disney Renaissance: Coincided almost precisely with this decade, starting with The Little Mermaid in 1989 and finishing with Tarzan in 1999.
- Eternal September: the Usenet and online BBs reached the height of popularity thanks to AOL, before blogs and myspace.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: When Jurassic Park became a box office success and the huge popularity of Barney & Friends in the early '90s, everything from toys and books to underwear and television shows featured dinosaurs.
- When the NBA expanded into Canada in 1995, one of the new teams was named the Toronto Raptors, for exactly this reason.
- Everything Is Online
- Five-Token Band
- From Bad to Worse: Most of the communist countries did become way worse after the fall of communism. Somalia was the biggest victim.
- Gangsta Rap: The new rock n' roll of the early nineties, causing quite a moral panic, most memorably when Charlton Heston protested "Cop Killer" at the Time Warner shareholders' meeting.
- George H.W. Bush: President from 1989-1993.
- Girl Group: Girl groups almost out numbered Boy Bands in the 1990s to name a few TLC, SWV, Spice Girls, Envogue.
- The Golden Age Of Hip Hop: Arguably started in 1988 but its biggest impact was the '90s overall. Multiple styles, different regions outside of the east coast started to emerge. Plus a large array of successful indie hip-hop labels. Not to mention the proliferation of countless highly regarded albums.
- Goth: Became mainstream in the '90s thanks to The Crow, Trent Reznor, Tim Burton, Marilyn Manson, Anne Rice, and Dead Can Dance.
- Grunge: Exploded onto the scene in the early Nineties, then quickly collapsed onto itself and became Post-Grunge by the end of the decade. Nevermind was the biggest album of the decade.
- Hate Dumb: Most 80s kids hate this decade and think their childhood was way better. Most 90s kids have become like this to 2000s kids and soon 2000s kids will be this to 2010s kids.
- Hipster: Trope codification of early-'90s geek-chic, emulating beatniks and the Seattle culture
- The Internet Is for Porn: The Nineties may very well be the 2nd Sexual Revolution because of this!
- Intercourse with You:Many of the biggest hits of the 90s had sexual lyrics .
- It's A Small Net After All
- Kid Hero
- Kids Wilderness Epic
- Lighter and Softer: Due to the lack of a Cold War or a War on Terror and the general affluence of the era, the Nineties is remembered as a stable and peaceful time in America, in contrast to the decades before and after it.
- Maybe in America, but in most other countries it was way worse.
- Mascot with Attitude: Every annoying video game character made was this. Some of the best remembered include Crash Bandicoot, Jazz Jackrabbit, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Spyro the Dragon
- Merchandise-Driven: Everything in The Eighties was nothing compared to Pokémon's severe amount of commercialization; the 90s were all about this at this point.
- Memetic Mutation: Thanks to The Internet, it could flourish.
- Millennium Bug, in which people considered New Years 1999-2000 a set date for The End of the World as We Know It until it actually (failed to have) happened.
- The New Russia: After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, this pretty much happened. Yeltsin's administration in particular is often Flanderized into The Theme Park Version of this trope, which of course, ran the span of the '90s!
- Nineties Anti-Hero: this era and many of its comics are the Trope Namer
- Nineties Hair
- The Other Rainforest: Are you going to Seattle?
- Pop Up Video Games
- Postmodern Irony: The '90s were when irony went from an unheard-of artistic stance to become a Dead Horse Trope.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation: Disney in particular was having a string of major successes, but certainly wasn't the only animation studio to flourish during this era.
- Retro Universe: This happened to former Eastern Bloc countries. Since they missed out on previous cultural decades, their Nineties were culturally an amalgamation from The Sixties to the contemporary times.
- R&B:Most popular music genre from that decade .
- Salt and Pepper: Almost every 90s movie had this type of duo.
- Scatting: Always around, but it got a little boost in popularity.
- The Seventies: Nothing says the 90s more than nostalgia for the 70s. Bellbottoms came back in style for a brief moment. Dazed and Confused, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, That '70s Show, The Brady Bunch movies, Scooby-Doo jokes, etc.
- Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: Since the USSR officially ended in late 1991.
Many things were created or existed in the 1990s:
open/close all folders
- Spirou and Fantasio. Series began in 1938.
- Suske en Wiske. Series began in 1945.
- Nero . Series began in 1947.
- Lucky Luke. Series began in 1947.
- Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber. Series began in 1950. Ended this decade, in 1995.
- Jommeke. Series began in 1955.
- De Kiekeboes. Series started in 1977.
- Urbanus Series started in 1982.
- Doonesbury (started in 1970) and For Better or for Worse (started in 1979) both underwent Cerebus Syndrome in this era, signaling the rise of depressing comic strips. Doonesbury even did a strip about the sobering end of the 1980s for New Year's day, 1990.
- Zippy The Pinhead. First appeared in 1971, went from 1980s Underground Comics to become a mainstream comic strip in the 1990s, suitably enough.
- Calvin and Hobbes started in the 1985 and continued its run to 1995.
- FoxTrot. Started in April, 1988. Continued its run through the decade.
- Dilbert strips seemed to be taped on every cubicle in Corporate America. Debuted in 1989 and continued throughout and beyond the 1990s.
- Outland, the Sunday-only 1990s Bloom County's Spinoff. Both it and the 1980s strip were created by Berkeley Breathed. Debuted in 1989 and lasted to 1995.
- Baby Zoe was born Sunday, January 7, 1990.
- Over the Hedge. Started in June, 1995.
- The Boondocks. Started in April, 1999.
- 2 Cold Scorpio. Debuted in the 1980s, became one of the top high flyers in wrestling in the 1990s.
- Abdullah the Butcher
- Brian Adams/Crush. Debuted in 1986, arrived in WWE in 1990.
- Chris Adams. Competed in various Texas promotions and had a small run in WCW.
- General Skandor Akbar. Continued managing in Texas indies.
- Arn Anderson
- Kurt Angle. Made his WWE TV debut at Survivor Series 99.
- Lioness Asuka
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
- Mike Awesome. Debuted in 1989, made his career in Japan in the 1990s.
- Bob Backlund
- The Barbarian.
- Batista. Started as "Kahn" in 1997.
- Paul Bearer. The gimmick debuted in 1991.
- Brutus Beefcake.
- Chris Benoit
- The Big Show. Debuted as the Giant in WCW in 1995.
- Bam Bam Bigelow. Debuted in the 1980s, competed throughout the 1990s.
- Eric Bischoff. Started in the AWA in the 80s, rose to power in WCW in 1993.
- Steve Blackman. Started as a jobber in the 1980s. Officially launched his career in WWE in 1997.
- The Blue Meanie. Debuted in March 1994, the gimmick debuted in November 1995.
- Booker T
- Mike Bucci. Debuted as Super Nova in 1992.
- King Kong Bundy
- Colt Cabana. Debuted in 1999.
- Don "The Jackyl"/"Cyrus" Callis. Debuted in Canada in 1989, arrived in WWE in 1997.
- Chris Candido. Started in the 1980s, first made his name in ECW and SMW in the 1990s.
- Cheerleader Melissa/Raisha Saaed/Alissa Flash. Debuted in 1999.
- Christian. Debuted in 1995.
- Chyna. Debuted in 1995.
- Bryan "Adam Bomb"/"Wrath" Clarke. Debuted in 1990.
- Allen Coage/Bad News Allen/Bad News Brown. Continued competing in Japan and Canada and also worked as a TV announcer.
- Michael Cole. Debuted in 1997.
- Jim Cornette. Ran SMW from 1991 to 1995 and made his WWE debut in mid-1993.
- Christopher Daniels. Debuted in 1993.
- Nick Dinsmore/Eugene. Debuted in 1997.
- Doink the Clown - Gimmick debuted in October 1992.
- Shane Douglas
- Tommy Dreamer. Debuted in 1989, best known for his time in ECW in the 1990s.
- "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
- Dynamite Kid. Finished out his career in Japan, with his final match taking place in 1996.
- Edge. Debuted in 1992.
- Sid Eudy/Sid Vicious/Sycho Sid
- Ed "The Sheik" Farhat.
- Ric Flair
- Mick Foley
- Francine. Debuted in 1995.
- Jim Fullington. Debuted in 1989, best known for his time in ECW in the 1990s as the Sandman.
- Terry Funk
- Justin Gabriel. Debuted in his native South Africa in 1997 at the age of 16.
- Giant Haystacks/Loch Ness. Continued competing in Europe and had a 1-month run in WCW in 1996.
- Eddie Gilbert
- Glenn Gilbertti/Disco Inferno. Debuted in 1991, arrived in WCW in 1995.
- Glacier. Started in the late 1980s, gimmick debuted in 1996.
- The Gobbledy Gooker. Debuted, and died out, at Survivor Series 1990
- Goldberg. TV debut on September 22, 1997.
- Goldust. Started the gimmick in 1995.
- Chavo Guerrero Jr. Debuted in 1994, arrived in WCW in 1996.
- Eddie Guerrero. Started off his U.S. career in ECW in 1995.
- Scott Hall. Started in 1984, made his career with the Razor Ramon gimmick in 1992.
- Stan Hansen.
- Jeff Hardy. Debuted in 1993.
- Matt Hardy. Debuted in 1992.
- Bret Hart
- Jimmy Hart
- Owen Hart
- Shinya Hashimoto
- David "Vampire Warrior"/"Gangrel" Heath
- Gregory Helms/Shane Helms/The Hurricane. Debuted in 1991.
- Curt Hennig
- Mark Henry. Debuted in 1996.
- Chris Hero. Debuted in 1998.
- Paul Heyman
- Hulk Hogan
- Bob Holly
- Molly Holly. Made her national TV debut on Sunday Night Heat in 1998.
- Barry Horowitz
- Jimmy Jacobs. Debuted in 1999.
- Mickie James. Debuted in 1999.
- Jeff Jarrett
- Chris Jericho. Debuted in 1990.
- Kamala. Very active in Memphis, as well as Japan and in WCW.
- Kane. Debuted in 1992.
- Kanyon - debuted in 1992.
- Stacy Keibler. Debuted in WCW in late 1999 as Nitro Girl Skye.
- Billy Kidman. Debuted in 1994, arrived in WCW in 1996.
- Ron Killings. Debuted in 1997.
- Aja Kong
- Konnan. Helped establish AAA, later going on to ECW and WCW.
- Kurrgan. Debuted in 1989, competed a lot in Japan, Canada and elsewhere before arriving in WWE in 1997.
- La Parka
- John Laurinaitis
- Jerry Lawler
- John Bradshaw Layfield. Debuted in 1992.
- Jushin Thunder Liger
- Lita. Debuted in 1999.
- Steve Lombardi
- Low Ki. Debuted in 1998.
- Lex Luger
- Jerry Lynn
- Balls Mahoney. Earliest confirmed matches were in 1992.
- Dean Malenko
- Little Guido Maritato. Debuted in 1991, arrived in ECW in 1996.
- Rick Martel
- Beulah McGillicutty. Debuted at ECW Hostile City Showdown on April 15, 1995.
- Shane McMahon. Debuted as an on-screen character in 1999, though he had been an anonymous ref going back to 1990.
- Stephanie McMahon. Officially debuted as an on-screen character in 1999.
- Vince McMahon.
- Shawn Michaels
- Mitsuharu Misawa
- Miss Elizabeth
- Mr Fuji
- James "The Sinister Minister" Mitchell. Debuted in 1989, first break came in SMW.
- Carlene "Jazz" Moore. Debuted in 1998.
- Hugh Morrus. Debuted in 1990.
- Don Muraco. He was a 2x NWA ECW Heavyweight Champion.
- Rey Mysterio Jr
- Kevin Nash. Debuted as Master Blaster Steele in September 1990.
- New Jack. Debuted in 1992
- John Nord
- The One Man Gang
- Diamond Dallas Page. Started his in-ring career in 1991.
- Maxx Payne.
- Brian Pillman
- Roddy Piper.
- Terri "Terri Power"/"Tori" Poch. Debuted as a valet in 1988, made her in-ring debut in 1990.
- Al Poling/911. Debuted in ECW in 1994.
- Psicosis. Debuted in 1989, first made his name in AAA.
- CM Punk. Debuted in 1999.
- Mike Quackenbush. Debuted in 1994.
- Raven. Started in the 1980s, gimmick debuted at the end of 1994.
- William Regal. Made his US debut in WCW in 1993.
- Ron Reis/The Yeti/Reese. Debuted in 1994.
- Rhyno/Rhino. Debuted in 1994.
- Stevie Richards. Debuted in the first-ever ECW match on February 25, 1992.
- Jake Roberts
- The Rock. Debuted in 1996.
- "Playboy" Buddy Rose
- Jim Ross
- Mike Rotunda/Irwin R. Schyster
- "Ravishing" Rick Rude
- Vince Russo. Started writing for WWE in 1997.
- Sable. Debuted in 1996.
- Sabu. Debuted in the 1980s, became an icon in ECW and Japan in the 1990s.
- Tito Santana.
- Perry Saturn. Debuted in 1990.
- Randy Savage
- Ken Shamrock. Debuted in 1989, wrestled until he went to MMA in 1993, returned to wrestling in 1997.
- Iron Mike Sharpe
- Ron Simmons
- Sin Cara. Debuted in 1998.
- Sgt Slaughter
- Norman Smiley
- "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith
- Al Snow
- Jimmy Snuka
- Dan Spivey. Debuted in the 1980s, was a regular in All Japan Pro Wrestling and had a brief career revival in WWE in 1995 as Waylon Mercy.
- Ricky Steamboat
- Scott Steiner
- Devon Storm. Debuted in 1992.
- Lance Storm. Debuted in 1990.
- AJ Styles. Debuted in 1998.
- Joey Styles. Debuted in 1993.
- Kevin Sullivan
- Yoshihiro Tajiri. Debuted in 1994.
- Nobuhiko Takada. Got his fame peak in the 1990s.
- Masato Tanaka. Debuted in 1993.
- Tatanka. Started in the Carolina indies in the late 1980s, had his one significant run in WWE from 1992-1996.
- Genichiro Tenryu
- John Tenta
- Test. Debuted in 1994.
- Survival Tobita. Debuted in the 1990s.
- Manami Toyota
- Triple H. Debuted in 1992.
- Jumbo Tsuruta
- Ultimate Warrior
- Ultimo Dragon
- Umaga. Debuted in 1995.
- The Undertaker
- Daffney Unger. Debuted in November 1999.
- Luna Vachon
- Rob Van Dam. Debuted in 1990.
- Nikolai Volkoff
- Sean Waltman. Debuted in 1992.
- Koko B Ware
- Mikey Whipwreck. Debuted in 1994.
- Del "The Trooper"/"The Patriot" Wilkes
- Dr. Death Steve Williams
- Torrie Wilson. Debuted in 1999.
- Barry Windham
- Harvey Wippleman. Debuted in the 1980s, arrived in WWE in 1991.
- Yokozuna. Debuted in the 1980s, gimmick debuted in October 1992.
- Giant Silva. Debuted in the 1990s.
- Masakatsu Funaki: Debuted in the 1980s, gained his fame in the 1990s.
- The Corporation. Debuted in 1998.
- DeGeneration-X. Debuted in 1997.
- The Dudley Boys. Gimmick debuted in July 1995.
- Dungeon of Doom - Debuted in 1995.
- The Kliq. Formed in 1993-1994.
- Ministry Of Darkness. Debuted on the January 11, 1999 Raw.
- The Moondogs. Were very successful in Memphis.
- The Nasty Boys. Debuted in the 80s, were very successful in mid-90s WCW.
- The NWO. Debuted in 1996.
- The Public Enemy. Team debuted on September 18, 1993.
- The Road Warriors
- The Rock N Roll Express
- The Sheepherders. As the Bushwhackers in WWE and various other promotions.
- AAA. Established in 1992.
- CZW. Established in 1999.
- Dragon Gate. Established as Toryumon in 1997.
- Dramatic Dream Team. Established in 1997.
- ECW. Established in 1992.
- FMW. Debuted in 1989, but made their biggest impact in the 1990s.
- Juggalo Championship Wrestling. Debuted in 1999.
- Kaiju Big Battel. Established in 1996.
- Michinoku Pro Wrestling. Established in 1993.
- SMW. Established in 1991.
- Attitude Era. Started in 1997.
- Monday Night Wars between WCW and WWE
- It was during this time that The Howard Stern Show started to become nationally syndicated and eventually became highest rated nationally syndicated morning radio show in most major radio markets the United States.
- Chris Evan's (in)famous BBC Radio One Breakfast Show from 1995 until 1997. Initially credited with "saving" the station (the hugely-popular national station had suffered a drop in listeners following a serious shake-up under Matthew Bannister starting in 1993 in his attempt to re-position Radio One as a "youth" network following two decades of it being a "housewife's favourite"; Evan's show co-incided with an upturn in listener numbers) he increasingly became egotistical, dismissive of BBC and general broadcasting guidelines and often took what many thought was a bullying attitude to his on-air colleagues. Things eventually came to a head when he and the rest of his staff refused to come in for a Friday morning show leading to someone else having to cover for him. Evans was subsequently sacked and his career took a long, very slow nosedive which culminated in several flopped attempts at TV "comebacks" in the 2000s. He has now reached middle age, has regained much (if not all) of his former popularity and hosts the Radio Two Breakfast Show. He apparently regrets many of his past mistakes and behaviour.
- During this time, Rush Limbaugh became a nationally syndicated star of talk radio who gave the medium an ideological bent that was unchallenged until the middle of the next decade. (Limbaugh also was popular in the mainstream media for a period in this decade, including being given a television show that aired during President Clinton's first term.)
- This was the decade in which shock-jocker Howard Stern became the "King Of All Media" from his radio base in New York; he set the way for many imitators. (The radio show was also broadcast on TV for a time; something which even Limbaugh could not claim.)
- Neal Boortz began his show in 1993.
- The third installment of the Star Wars Radio Dramas, adapting Return of the Jedi, aired in 1996 after spending a decade in Development Hell thanks to Reagan-era cuts to NPR's funding.
- Says You! began in 1997.
- Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me began in 1998.
- Webcomics period, as the Internet first saw widespread use in the middle of this decade.
- Kevin & Kell. Started in September, 1995.
- Sabrina Online. Started in September, 1996.
- Goats. Started in April, 1997.
- Sluggy Freelance. Started in August, 1997.
- Newshounds. Started in November, 1997.
- User Friendly. Started in November, 1997.
- Coyote Ville. Started in December, 1997.
- The Cyantian Chronicles. The setting and original strip were created in 1998.
- The Class Menagerie. Started in January, 1998.
- Pokey the Penguin. Started in February, 1998.
- Freefall. Started in March, 1998.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures . Started in 1999.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures . Started in 1999.
- Women in Refrigerators. Started in 1999.
- The Funday Pawpet Show. Started in 1999.
- The Goddamn George Liquor Program, a 1997 cartoon series created by John Kricfalusi that was the very first cartoon made exclusively for the internet, and the very first to be made using Adobe Flash.
- Weekend Pussy Hunt, a 1999 Adobe Flash cartoon parody of the Film Noir genre, created by John Kricfalusi.
- The Legion of Net.Heroes, a superhero parody shared universe which is one of the oldest and longest-running online fiction projects.
- The LNH also led to the creation of the rec.arts.comics.creative newsgroup for superhero comics-inspired online fiction. It hosted several other shared worlds such as the Patrol, Omega and Academy of Superheroes. Other writing fora from this period include alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo and alt.pub.dragons-inn
- Neopets. First discussed in 1997, launched on November 15th, 1999.
- StarDestroyer.net. Launched in 1998.
Works set, but not made in the decade:
Anime & Manga
- Black Lagoon
- Blue Drop: Begins in 1999, manga started in 2004, anime aired in 2007.
- Koi Kaze: In one of the last episodes, a note on a 20-year-old says she was born in 1975. The technology in the show also doesn't appear to correspond to when the anime aired (2004).
- Black Hawk Down (made in 2001, set in 1993) sets the mood with a Stone Temple Pilots song.
- Blood Diamond (made in 2005, set in 1999)
- The Deal, partially (made in 2003, set between 1983-1994)
- The Debt, partially (made in 2007 and 2010, set in 1965 and 1997)
- Definitely, Maybe
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (made in 2007, set in 1995-1997)
- Escape from New York (made in 1981, set in 1997)
- Hotel Rwanda (made in 2004, set in 1994)
- The Fighter (made in 2010, set in 1993-2000)
- The Informant! (made in 2009, set in 1992-98 - although the ads made it look like it was set in The Eighties or even The Seventies)
- Into The Wild (made in 2007, set in 1990-1992)
- Invictus (made in 2009, set in 1995)
- Love and Other Drugs
- Jarhead (made in 2005, set during the Gulf War)
- The Queen (made in 2006, set in 1997)
- Metropolis, made in the 1920s and set in the year 1999. As could be expected, there's plenty of Zee Rust.
- Recess: School's Out (made in 2000, released in 2001, and takes place in the summer of 1998)
- The DTV sequel, Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade was released in 2003 and takes place in fall 1998.
- The DTV prequel, Recess: All Growed Down was also released in 2003 and takes place in 1997 or 1998 for the framing material and 1993 for the kindergarten flashback segment.
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Lost in Space, made from 1965-68, was set (apparently) in 1997.
- Several flashbacks in LOST episodes
- Several opening flashbacks in episodes of Psych, starting in Season 5 (2010).
- Mocked in Portlandia, which is set in the 2010s but is all about Portland living the dream of the 1990s.
- Space1999. Run from 1975 to 1977, set in 1999.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers represented the Nineties during the actual Nineties. Even now, much of their aesthetics are still in the recent seasons of the show.
- My Mad Fat Diary, made in 2013 and set (so far) in 1996
- Superego is set sometime in 1995, possibly June 1st.