In the early '90s, the World Wrestling Federation's image had taken a beating. A steroid scandal had rocked the promotion, and even though Vince McMahon was acquitted, the bad press had damaged his business. What's more, his main attraction, Hulk Hogan, had left the WWF, eventually signing with rival World Championship Wrestling. With Hulkamania and the Golden Era now over, McMahon decided it was time for a new generation of wrestlers to take the stage. Thus began the WWF's New Generation Era.
Younger talent like Bret "Hitman" Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Razor Ramon, Diesel, and Lex Luger would be pushed into the spotlight. It was around this time that the WWF also launched what would become their flagship television series, Monday Night Raw. It was also coinciding with the golden age of the Gimmick; a character each wrestler would try to get over. A great number of whom were silly, and sometimes arguably more cartoonish than the golden age characters back in the 80's, but still featured a bunch of memorable names like Papa Shango, Yokozuna, and Doink the Clown.
However, even with these changes, the WWF's recovery was slow: As a result of many of the old guard leaving the company and diluting the main event, it meant that the world title scene was often extremely shallow as the true workhorses (Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels) were often stuck with odd gimmick storylines from The Ace s from other companies, or guys Vince made poor bets on, like the failed Lex Luger or Diesel runs at the championship where the runs with the belt rarely lasted long or in some cases never even got off the ground because they'd been hot-shotted into the title picture. And yet more trouble was on the horizon, archrival WCW launched their own Monday night show, triggering the Monday Night Wars. Later, the WCW pulled the trigger on the nWo, which would become one of the hottest angles of the time and would secure a ratings domination for WCW for the next two years. More and more WWF talent would defect to the WCW. And another promotion, Extreme Championship Wrestling, was making waves and snatching even more market share from the WWF. And even worse...Bret Hart, his well-beloved heart of the New-Generation, was becoming a financial drain thanks to his life-time contract.