Pro Wrestling Countdown: Top 10 Rivalries of the Past Decade
The greatest wrestling top 10 countdown and the greatest slide show column on the Bleacher Report has finally returned! ...and the Bleacher Report will never.....everrrrrr...be the same...again!
I decided to revamp my "Top 10" column and rename it the "Pro Wrestling Countdown." I like the name better. Hope everyone enjoys the improvement:
A wrestling show cannot be complete without a story. An in that story there must be some type of confrontation or disagreement. These are called rivalries.
An there always good rivalries, like the ones you will see in this edition of "Countdown", but there are also some bad ones too. Remember that whole Katie Vick angle back in 2003?
To have a good rivalry you have to have several things. First off, you have to have some skill on the microphone. You can't just walk out and punch someone in the face without telling us fans why.
Second, you have to be able to have great matches and great chemistry with the person.
Or else we will have a great build up to a not-so-great match. Finally, you have to be able to keep the fans engaged and make everything that happens it the feud feel important.
All of the following 10 feuds have taken place in the past decade and these are the best of the best.
John Cena and Edge
Mick Foley and Triple H
Trish Stratus and Mickie James
10. Fighting Amigos
In what would become one of Eddie Guerrero’s last feuds, he battled one of his closest friends in one of the most personal rivalries on this list.
It all began around Wrestlemania 21 when Eddie’s nephew got into his uncle’s head and convinced him that he could not beat Rey, even if he wanted to.
“Latino Heat” went on to turn on his partner and began making accusations that Rey’s son, Dominic, was actually Guerrero’s child.
The two luchador warriors had some fantastic matches throughout the summer leading to the battle for Dominic’s custody in an epic Ladder Match. Mysterio prevailed in the end.
This feud really brought out Eddie as a good heel character. Unfortunately, we never got to see much more of the heel Eddie Guerrero.
9. Bitter Degenerates
In a true story of good friends making better enemies, Shawn Michaels returned to the WWE in 2002 after suffering a nearly career-ending injury four years earlier.
Triple H welcomed back his best friend with open arms and wished to reform DX, or so Shawn thought.
After fans everywhere saw the double-cross, it was apparent what had happened. Triple H was refusing to live in HBK's shadow again.
The two fought in a Street Fight, in a Hell in A Cell match, in the Elimination Chamber, in a Three Stages of Hell Match, and finally in a Last Man Standing Match. These bitter rivals spent nearly a whole year trying to destroy one another.
The rivalry was so great that no true winner can be declared. Eventually the two reunited for real and spent their time making Vince McMahon's life a living hell.
Personally, I much rather see them fight each other.
8. Three Fearless Tandems
In what I consider to be the greatest tag team rivalry since the Midnight Express and The Rock n Roll Express, Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boys, and The Dudley Boys spent the later part of the "Attitude Era" breaking each other in half with tables, ladders, and chairs.
Sure it may not have have the most interesting story behind it, but the three teams where hungry for success and made all of the fans care about the Tag Team Champions.
They made the titles feel important again. That's something no other group of tag teams have been able to accomplish since.
From No Mercy 1999, to Wrestlemania 2000, to Summer Slam of the same year, to Wrestlemania X7, the three teams gave every ounce of energy they had to make the Tag Team Championship worth something and boy did they accomplish it.
This awesome tag team rivalry truly spoiled wrestling fans. So much so that every tag team after them have been dismantled because the fans are still comparing every tag team to Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boys, and the Dudley Boys and what managed to accomplish back in the "Attitude Era."
7. The Olympian vs. The Next Big Thing
Brock Lesnar had only been in the WWE for a few months when he won the WWE Championship. Lesnar had done the impossible.
At 24 years of age, he was on top of the WWE. Or at least he was, until he met a man named Kurt Angle.
At the time these two men were considered to be the best athletes in the WWE and were having some of the most entertaining and intense matches on Smackdown.
These two were so good that their feud made Smackdown the “A Show” of the WWE with help from the ever-talented Paul Heyman, of course.
Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar made Smackdown feel important. In their matches they brought the “Main Event Feel” that the new brand needed.
From their infamous Wrestlemania XIX match to their hour-long Iron Man Match on Smackdown, this feud was truly epic in every way. Both were so determined to be the best, it was awesome to watch them work together.
6. The Animal is a "Deadman"
Before this feud, many thought a Batista-Undertaker rivalry was nothing more than a unlikely dream. That was, until the 2005 draft where the new World Heavyweight Champion joined the Smackdown brand.
After cleverly avoiding each other for a good two years, The Undertaker won the 2007 Royal Rumble and would Main Event Wrestlemania 23.
After picking Batista to be his opponent at the “Grandest Stage of Them All” the two heavyweights spent the next two months leading into Wrestlemania building up the suspense.
Whether it be a double cross in a tag team match or a cheap shot during a mid-ring confrontation, they really made you want to see this match.
At Wrestlemania 23, the two clashed for the very first time in one of the most brutal matches in Wrestlemania history.
They took everything each other had and more. However it was The Undertaker who prevailed and won the World Heavyweight Championship.
The Undertaker became the first person ever to beat Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship.
After a follow up match at Backlash and a Steel Cage match on Smackdown, that saw The Undertaker lose his title to Edge, The Deadman was sent to the injured list we thought we had seen the last of these two.
However, at Cyber Sunday The Undertaker and Batista meet again where “The Animal” was finally able to rid of the monkey that was on his back. He finally beat “The Deadman.”
Big men rarely have good feuds together but this was an exception to that rule. The Undertaker truly brought out the best in Batista.
5. A Love Triangle with an Edge
After Lita cheated on her real-life boyfriend, Matt Hardy, with Edge she began receiving negative feedback from the fans. After joining Edge on screen the couple where blindsided by a very pissed-off Matt Hardy.
Thus began this emotional roller-coaster ride that would see Matt Hardy and Edge tear each other limb from limb all because of Lita.
After months of harassing Edge, Matt Hardy finally returned to the WWE to gain retribution at SumemrSlam. Unfortunately, after a brutal match, Matt lost after the referee called it off after Matt was unable to defend himself.
Matt was determined to get his revenge on Edge and Lita after they destroyed his life. At Unforgiven, Matt not only beat Edge, but got revenge against Lita as well.
However, it would be Edge who got the last laugh as he sent Matt Hardy to Smackdown after a brutal no holds barred match on Raw’s return to the USA Network.
It was an intense feud that, in my opinion, helped make Edge one of the best heels in the WWE today.
4. The Heart Break Kid and Lion Heart
Just last year, we saw two of WWE’s greatest stars face off in one of the best feuds the company has seen in a long while.
It all started when Y2J questioned whether Shawn was really injured during a match with Batista. These leads to several confrontations were Shawn came out limping on his leg.
After Jericho pushed HBK to the limit, Shawn superkicked him to prove that he indeed was not injured.
By now Jericho had became a heel again. In fact he became the top heel in the company.
With the feud becoming more personal after every turn from Jericho injuring HBK’s eye to the point where he almost left wrestling to Summer Slam, we we saw Y2J punch Shawn’s wife, Rebecca.
After months of feuding it came full circle at Unforgiven where Shawn Michaels defeated Jericho in an “Unsanctioned Match;” this was the end of the long feud, or so we thought.
After we thought we had seen it all, Jericho came out during the WWE Championship Scramble match and won the World Heavyweight Championship.
Y2J’s title win led to the last epic encounter between HBK and Y2J. At No Mercy, Shawn and Chris put on one of the greatest Ladder Matches of all time that saw Jericho walk away from the greatest feud of his career as World Heavyweight Champion.
3. The Monday Night War
After nearly six years of competition, WCW and WWE were coming to a turning point in their Monday Night War.
Following their 82-week loss in the ratings, Vince McMahon’s Monday Night Raw slowly gained an advantage over Nitro.
Though WCW had some of the biggest names in the business at the time including Hogan, Savage, Nash, Steiner, Booker T, and Sting, it was not enough to top WWE’s new cast of rising stars in Triple H, Kurt Angle, The Rock, and importantly “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.”
It seemed that WCW was getting desperate. Doing anything and everything they could to make fun of the WWE and even going so low as to give away Raw’s prerecorded results on the air.
But after nearly eight long years, the WWE bought World Championship Wrestling when it was on its last leg from Time Warner and emerged the winner of the most heated battle of two wrestling companies trying to take over the American wrestling scene. Well, one did: the WWE.
2. A Rebel and His Boss
This has to be one of the most revolutionary feuds to take place in the last decade. In the late 1990s, the wrestling fans had seen a lot of awesome stuff.
From the rebirth of the tag team division to DX, if you were a wrestling fan during this time, then you were treated to the “Second Golden Age” of pro wrestling.
The rivalry that made the Attitude Era had to be when Austin and McMahon spent nearly two years trying to make each other’s life hell. During his many confrontations with McMahon, Austin did some very outrageous things.
A prime example would be the “Beer Bash” in which he came to the ring with a beer truck and soaked McMahon and company. Classic.
The best part about this feud was that they didn’t even have to have a match for this feud to works so well.
Every person in America has had a boss that they hated, and in turn, they immensely enjoyed watching Austin embarrass his boss.
I'm sure they also enjoyed watching McMahon try everything in his power to try and stop Austin from achieving success.
Then when Austin defied the odds it made the victories even sweeter. Ahh how I miss those days.
There is only one feud that could possibly top this one...
1. The Epic Story of the Bull and the Snake
When The Rock and Steve Austin were feuding, the WWE had reached an all-time high. The Attitude Era was in full swing and the company had found the next generation of superstars with Austin and The Rock at the top of the mountain.
Both men were pure gold on the mike and knew how to work the crowd. The Rock could either make the crowd love him or hate him with no problem at all. Austin knew exactly what to say to get the crowd to go wild.
The Rock and Austin just plan hated each other. The feuded off and on for about five years and each time they meet again all they had to do was look mad at each other.
We all knew the storied history. The Rock would come to the ring and talk s*** about Austin. Then Austin would come out and talk s*** back. Then they brawl and before we know it we are watching Austin vs. The Rock again. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
The two men had such good chemistry in the ring together that every time you saw them in the ring together, it felt memorable and important. That is something very difficult to achieve.
No feud of the past decade can top The Rock vs. Steve Austin. The electricity in the air every time in they were in the ring together is unexplainable. They just worked so well together.
It is just not possible to top the greatness that Austin and The Rock achieved in the long-storied rivalry which lasted for most of their later careers.