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WWE and TNA: Ten Top Rivalries

Tyson JonesSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 13, 2017

WWE and TNA: Ten Top Rivalries

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    Over the past 10 years, we've seen superstars come, go, evolve, and reach heights of stardom perhaps only a few of us saw in the beginning. Along that road, they've met some stiff competition, some more often than others. Oftentimes, they've met competition that has not only challenged them, but brought out the best in them.

    From such legendary feuds as Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, to more modern feuds such as CM Punk and Jeff Hardy, IMPACT Wrestling and WWE have given us some of the most entertaining and exciting rivalries in years, and in this slideshow, I'll give a list of the top 10 rivalries in both promotions.

    Now, this doesn't mean that the two may have had a long, lengthy feud, but these are partially based off some of the things I've noticed, such as similar booking, placing on the card, move-sets, and when they do get in the ring, they generally always deliver.

Edge vs. John Cena

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    Edge and John Cena are two of the best the WWE has ever produced. A total of over 20 World Championships between them, and it's arguable that these two "made" the PG Era. These two rivals had some of the best matches with each other under a variety of circumstances, ranging from MiTB cash-ins, to TLC matches and each time, both men delivered.

    The mic and the ring were the tools these two (in the beginning) underrated stars used to craft a masterpiece of a rivalry that spanned for years. These two, even when there was no story, would put on great matches night in and night out.

    It's very likely right now, that these two would still be very much in contact had the Hall of Famer; Edge not had his career cut short, but in the years we had with him, Edge did not disappoint, especially when he had a rival like John Cena.

John Cena vs. Batista

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    Batista and John Cena were both, at one time, "The Man" as far as their respective brand was concerned with both men having nearly parallel careers, defining moments, and equally difficult opponents during their their time as the  go-to-guys for the WWE.

    Both multiple-time World Champions, both Royal Rumble winners, and both the powerhouses of the RAW and Smackdown shows respectively, it only seemed fitting that one of these men would end up being the final feud for the other, as far as WWE goes.

    Not terribly long ago, during arguably his best run in the main-event scene ever, Batista feuded with John Cena leading up to WrestleMania, where Cena won the coveted prize and would subsequently begin the fall of Batista until finally putting him away at Over The Limit, before The Altered Animal quit the next night on RAW.

    While neither is a genius in the ring, the two put on some pretty good matches with each other, and have had some incredible matches with other top talent, and the fact both weren't half bad on the mic also helps the case for this to be a defining rivalry.

Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels

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    "And the worst...is yet...to come..."

    Powerful words uttered the night Chris Jericho, who had returned to "save us" turned heel, after putting his former friend Shawn Michaels face through the Jeri-Tron during what was to be the last episode of the Highlight Reel.

    Arguably one of the best moves Jericho could have made for his career, he developed a new standard for how good Jericho should be as a character as he developed the character that popularized the phrase "Best in The World" and went on to great success under the guise.

    Not to say Shawn didn't play his role to perfection as well, (but then again, that was typical of Shawn). Where Jericho brought some of the best qualities of a heel to the feud, Shawn brought the emotional attachment that should be invested in a face to this feud from the injury angle to Jericho punching Shawn's wife.

    Of course, this was only the second time these two had a feud, but that's neither here nor there.

    Honestly, it's one of my favorite feuds to look back on, and considering it had two of the best in the business in it, is there any reason it wouldn't be yours? 

Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan

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    Probably my favorite rivalry on this list, if only for the matches, and for me that's saying something. Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan are two favorites of the IWC for good reason. Both are great wrestlers, both can talk, and both have pretty good gimmicks going for them.

    Cody and Daniel have proven on several occasions that they can deliver in the ring, and honestly, some of their matches have been the highlights of the night, and it's been pretty cool to see the rise of both of these Superstars throughout their time in the WWE.

    It wasn't terribly long ago that these two were mid-carders who'd be lucky to get the one-hour main-event on Smackdown. Fast forward and look at both Superstars now.

    Daniel Bryan: Former Mr. Money in The Bank, former United States Champion, and former World Heavyweight Champion.

    Cody Rhodes: Former Three-Time World Tag Team champion, former WWE Tag Team champion, and of course, Two-Time and current Intercontinental champion (how often do we really get to say that these days?)

    Along with that, considering how well they've been booked, things could end up getting better for one, if not both men and who's to say that this custom-made graphic for Cody Rhodes taking on Daniel Bryan at the main-event of WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight Championship isn't just serving as a cool way to foreshadow the main event...of say maybe Mania 30? 31, maybe?

A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels

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    TNA enthusiasts regard these two as not only pioneers of Impact: Wrestling, but also as two of the best wrestlers in the world, and seeing these two in action, when given enough time, they can put on match of the night on any card they want. 

    From best friends, to bitter enemies, tag team champions, stablemates, these two have been through it all to the point that they've named their children after each other. 

    Winning the tag titles on two occasions, multiple X-Division Championships, and the admiration of fans around the world are testaments to the ability of both men, not just against each other but against other stars.

    That said, whenever both are on the roster, Impact can't help themselves when it comes to making these two feud for one reason or another.

    I find that hurts Christopher Daniels, because no matter what they do, it seems they never have anything to do unless it involves Styles in some way shape or form when Daniels could be doing a lot more.

    Still, you've got some good promo ability there and some great wrestling ability, so I can't complain too much about Styles vs. Daniels.

John Morrison vs. The Miz

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    This rivalry began a bit indirectly, when both men were fighting to take the ECW Championship from then-Champion CM Punk, and over the course of this the two did the unexpected in taking the WWE Tag Team Championships from another feuding duo in MVP and Matt Hardy, before their Triple Threat match at that year's Survivor Series.

    Afterwards, however, the two would become closer and gel well as a team becoming the self-proclaimed (not without reason) "The Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century" feuding with other teams such as The Colons, CM Punk and Kofi Kingston, Cryme Tyme, and Degeneration-X while having one of the funniest web shows in recent memory in The Dirt Sheet.

    However, the two truly became rivals when Miz was drafted to RAW in 2009, ending his Bromance with JoMo with an impactful "Reality Check." JoMo was subsequently sent to Smackdown and turned face later, where the two would have limited interaction until Bragging Rights and a year after his partner was drafted, Morrison would come to RAW as well.

    The two would continue to have an one-off matches, with Miz usually coming up the victor, including a WWE Championship match to kick off 2011.

    Arguably one of the most underrated rivalries in recent years, this had a lot of potential to be a feud to span for years to come, but Morrison's thinking changed things, as he has since chosen to take some time off from the WWE with a likely return somewhere down the road.

John Cena vs. CM Punk

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    John Cena has had some great rivalries in WWE and Cena/Punk was no different. As usual, Cena was able to silence those who doubted his ability when it mattered most in one of the biggest events to happen to the WWE in sometime.

    It's an event that is still felt to this day, by the fact that it launched the challenger CM Punk to a new level of stardom when he defeated John Cena at Money in The Bank in his hometown of Chicago to win the WWE Championship, and subsequently "ran off" with the title.

    It was a rivalry the IWC had been talking about for some time. The WWE poster-boy John Cena and the Indy Hero CM Punk going on one, and WWE did a marvelous job of building this up as one of the greatest feuds in the history of the business for its ability to blend realism with kayfabe by using the contract dispute of Punk and his (and many of the IWC's frustrations) with the product to create a new Superstar for the WWE.

    And the best part is that it all delivered. Not taking away from Punk who's always good on the mic, but Cena took it to a level he seldom is forced to use when he battled with Punk on the mic. From putting him over, to his altercations with Vince McMahon, Cena was simply cooking on all cylinders in this feud and the match? Well, the match speaks for itself.

    Critically acclaimed, this match was what Rock vs. Cena was to this year's Mania. Simply put, Cena and Punk sold Money in The Bank--on a night where everyone took it to another level from Bryan, to Del Rio, hell even Show/Henry got good marks--but let me clarify when I say Cena AND Punk sold Money in The Bank.

    For all the hate Cena gets about being lazy, you cannot deny that it takes two to tango, and on that night Cena and Punk made Chicago their dance floor and left it all in the ring and then some.

    Truly, I believe this is one of the key rivalries going forward, and we've seen hints of it since then and even before then, but I seriously doubt anyone will ever complain about these two going at it again any time soon.

Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money Inc.

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    As of late, between TNA and WWE the world of tag team wrestling is in dire straits with most teams being alliances as of late.

    That said, a lot of people who are fans of tag team wrestling can still find some fond memories when thinking back more recently on the tag team division of Impact Wrestling and arguably its best tag team feud: Beer Money Inc. vs. Motor City Machine Guns.

    In the short time Beer Money had been together as a real team they cemented themselves as one of the best teams in the history of pro-wrestling along such marquee names as The Dudleys, The Hardys, Edge and Christian, Demolition, Legion of Doom, The Rockers and the list goes on.

    Speaking of The Rockers, Beer Money found a long-time rival in the team of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin--a team very similar to The Rockers in style, and as such after a while, it became clear that these two teams were probably the best in the world at the time.

    Sabin and Shelley brought the speed and the agility, while Roode and Storm brought the power and smash-mouth style people love to see and when those teams met in the middle of the ring, you could bank on a match of the night candidate right then and there, as their Best of Five Series would attest to.

Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles

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    The best thing about this feud, I think, is the dynamic here. For all the flack A.J. and TNA gets, there's one thing you cannot deny: he's one of the best wrestlers in our generation and one of the best wrestlers in the world.

    Kurt Angle is a man who needs no introduction. His feats speak for themselves. Multiple-time World Champion, not just here in America, but even in Japan. Olympic Gold Medalist, and another man who's been called The Best in The World.

    These two have gone at it several times in TNA's history, and I think what's been developing through all this is great. The fact we can sit back and say someone like A.J. Styles, someone who's come from relative obscurity, can be a legit rival to someone like Kurt Angle who's been to the top of the mountain on so many occasions is what I like best about this.

    Of course, throughout the years, these two have developed some of the best chemistry to date, which serves as a testament to how good Angle is to move like he is, and also how good A.J. is.

    Say what you will about Impact as a company, but they do have a lot of great talent, and A.J. has shown, several times in his matches with Angle, to be among the best going today.

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

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    If there was ever a great rivalry, I think it would have to be this. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels had not one, but two of the greatest matches in history. The accolades of these two have made them legends in this industry.

    Over the course of this list I',ve noted that several guys on this list have been described as "The Best in The World." However, these are the only two people who could be described simply as "The Best." From their gimmicks, to their mic skills, they've never been in serious question.

    As such, it was to be expected that these two would put on great matches, but perhaps overshadowing that would be the build-up itself.

    The kind of buildup that would be indicative of two guys who've been at this for decades, and I doubt that I could come up with enough words to describe the greatness that these two put on at not one WrestleMania, but two. 

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