Top Ten Professional Wrestling Rivalries of All Time (EVER!)

I've really been slacking from my responsibilities as the guy who posts all things non-pure-sports-related on the site. I could tell you that I've been gone because I was underground as the target of a mass government conspiracy because I was the sole possessor of top secret classified information that could bring the country down.

But I'd just be lying. It's laziness, pure and simple.

For my triumphant (second) return, I thought I'd revisit the strange world of professional wrestling. I'm quite a fan of the "sport," after all, and I don't bother hiding it.

I noticed a rather piss-poor list of the top 50 wrestling feuds of all time. The idiot who compiled them included nothing but rivalries that occured within the WWE empire, and they were such weird, unheard of feuds as Bob Backlund VS Bret Hart or Harley Race VS Haku. Now, no disrespect to any of those guys (especially Bret) but those rivalries hardly set the wrestling world on fire. Have any of you ever heard of them?

Because I'm lazy (as I said earlier), I've only complied a list of the top ten pro wrestling rivalries, but even with only ten, it's a far better representation of the best feuds ever. I'm sure there'll be one or two I left out, but at least what is here definitely deserves it.

And here we go...

10) Rob Van Dam VS Jerry Lynn -- It was an RVD/Jerry Lynn match that initially hooked me on Extreme Championship Wrestling. There was little story behind this rivavlry, and there didn’t need to be. Van Dam and Lynn were so out-f***ing-standing in the ring, they didn’t NEED any stupid, sissy storyline. Okay, there was a bit of a story behind the battle: Lynn wanted to make a name for himself. That’s it. And he succeeded. These guys main evented ECW shows for the better part of a year, and people never left unsatisfied. In fact, they'd keep going back anytime the two were booked against each other.

9) Raven VS Tommy Dreamer -- This was probably the feud that ECW was built on. For three years, Tommy fought and fought to defeat his childhood nemesis, but he could never get that elusive victory. It wasn’t until Raven jumped ship for greener pastures in WCW that Tommy finally got his victory in their final match together (until Raven returned from WCW sometime later). Too bad for Tommy that Jerry “the King” Lawler showed up from WWF after the match ended and caned Tommy in the balls.

8) Bret Hart VS “Stone Cold” Steve Austin -- This feud was the beginning of Steve’s rise to world fame, and the beginning of the WWE's (then WWF's) famous Attitude era. Steve’s later battles with Vince McMahon and the corporate office catapulted him to superstar status, but his battles with Bret proved what a badass he was in the ring.

7) Ric Flair VS Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat -- Here we have a WCW rivalry that no one will remember if they haven't seen Ric Flair’s DVD. Flair has said he probably wrestled Steamboat a thousand times, and nearly every match was a good one. While Hulk Hogan posed and strutted through arenas while 80’s rock & roll played, Flair and Steamboat tore the house down with exciting wrestling clinics hardly seen these days.

6) Ric Flair VS Sting -- Yet another WCW rivalry few people other than the die-hard fans like myself and older generations will remember. Flair and Sting battled for five years or more, and they were always awesome. This is the rivalry that really made Sting’s career, much like every young star that feuded with Flair in those days. In the days before Hulk Hogan appeared in WCW, this was WCW's top rivalry.

5) Edge & Christian VS The Hardy Boyz -- This was another rivalry that lasted longer than most others did in the Attitude era. The most amazing part of it was the fact that it started when the Hardyz were literally no-namers. They became the replacements for Edge and Christian in the Brood faction--which is usually a death knell for any performer--but they were so amazing in the ring that fans couldn’t get enough of them. And their tag team ladder match for Terri Runnels’ personal services was a-freakin’-mazing--although I can’t understand why anyone would work so hard for Terri’s services.

4) “Stone Cold” Steve Austin VS The Rock -- Like most rivalries during the Attitude era's peak, this one was spawned from the ongoing feud Steve had with his maniacal boss and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. However, unlike a lot of those rivalries, this one last for nearly four years. Rock and Austin went toe-to-toe several times, but people just never seemed to get tired of it. Even with Vince out of the picture toward the end, people still wanted to see these men beat the hell out of each other.

3) Hulk Hogan VS Andre the Giant -- Love him or hate him, Hulk WAS pro wrestling in the 80’s, and no one made a bigger (har har) or badder nemesis for him than the behemoth that was Andre. While the WM 3 match wasn’t exactly a five-star classic, the buildup was huge. Everyone wanted to see if Hogan could actually bodyslam the giant. And he did. Screw the fact that the match was forgettable. Hogan bodyslammed a human being that weighed well over 500 pounds, something that had never been done (on national TV anyway) before.

2) New World Order VS World Championship Wrestling -- The nWo and their rebellion against WCW was a big factor in changing the wrestling landscape. And, like the Austin/McMahon feud on the other channel, everything in WCW tied into this epic battle. Sure it ran too long (way too long), but at it’s peak with “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan VS Sting, it was phenomenal. Not only that, it kicked Vince’s proverbial ass in the ratings and proved that Vince WASN’T the king of wrestling. Anything that does that is okay in my book.

And now the number one rivalry in professional wrestling...

1) “Stone Cold” Steve Austin VS Vince McMahon -- I've mentioned it several times already. It was the biggest part of WWE’s (then WWF’s) success and a major part of the Attitude era. Everything about the show somehow tied into it. The good guys were all the rebels refusing to conform, and the bad guys were all the corporate ass-kissers. In the end, the feud's main drawing power was one thing: everyone has or had a boss they want to beat the hell out of.

So there you have it. The top ten. I'm sure some people can think of others, but I think we can all agree (those of us who like pro wrestling, anyway) that these feuds deserve their spot one way or another.


Anonymous said...

how about rock and foley, matt? they had a great feud, including a match here in the STL seen by me (survivor series '98).

also they had the empty arena match during halftime of super bowl 33. i think the wwf should have won some sort of award for "most obvious editing of a previously taped match."

Hollywood said...

I actually thought about Rock and Foley, and if this were a top 20--or meaybe even just a top 11--they would've been mentioned.

I saw their Last Man Standing match in Memphis where they double KO'd each other with simultaneous chairshots, prompting a heated and well-deserved "Bull$h!t" chant from the crowd.

Good rivalry, but I stand by my choices! :)

Anonymous said...

Kind of ironic; One of my best friends from college is a 'professional' wrestler now...'Mr. Elite Jake Manning' (real name Jake Feurbach). He does shows in some of the WWE's minor leagues (I know there's a better word for their minor league, but I have no clue). I got a call from him yesterday and he said he had a show where he wrestled some former WWF wrestler that had one leg.

Hollywood said...

Nah, minor league is pretty appropriate.

Sounds like he wrestled Zach Gowen. How big of a dork does it make me to remember that guy?