'WWE 13' brings back Attitude Era

When I think back to WWE's Attitude Era, one moment immediately flashes to mind.

The Rock was fighting Ken Shamrock when The Great One busted out a steel chair. Now, I'm used to The Rock smashing people over the head and across the back of opponents by now, but this night was different. He swung the chair and struck Shamrock across the face.

It was the first time I'd ever seen a wrestler take a chair to the grill.

A few weeks later, I saw The Rock backstage when the WWE hit the Bay Area, and I asked if he meant to hit him dead-on like that or if the face shot was an accident.

"Shamrock asked me to do it," Rock said. "He thought it would make him look tough."

I thought it made him look crazy.

Then again, WWE's Attitude Era had a one-upmanship of violence the likes that had never been seen before in the squared circle. Whether it was Mick Foley getting thrown off and then through the roof of Hell in a Cell or the time Brock Lesnar and Big Show made the ring collapse from the superplex felt 'round the world, every Monday night, every pay-per-view had a must-see TV vibe to it, captivating and shocking millions as people tuned in to see just how far these muscle-bound badasses would go to cross just about every line in the book.

While WWE today is looking to attract a younger audience with its more PG-friendly storylines and characters -- not to mention the elimination of chair shots to the head, let alone face -- THQ is bringing the Attitude Era back in the form of the new video game "WWE 13."

The game includes such violence as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin tossing Mankind through the ring barrier and the ability to collapse the ring when the biggest of big men, such as Mark Henry and Big Show, pull off a polygon-pulverizing move from the top rope. "WWE 13" will even feature a single-player storyline focused on eight Attitude Era stars as gamers try to relive the magic that was once known as the Monday Night Wars between WWE and their then-rival, WCW.

In addition, the development team promises some huge advancements in terms of the game's audio and presentation elements, including enriched sound effects and crowd participation. Throw in the second year of the game's Predator Technology system, including new animations and smoother transitions, and we might finally have a game that flexes the right amount of slobber-knocking action to go along with all that attitude.

If only I could get started designing my Ken Shamrock character.

The Rock is hoping to lay another smackdown on that virtual jabroni's face, and I have just the steel chair for the job.