The Shield vs. Evolution and 7 Greatest Stable Feuds of All Time
The Shield are edging toward war with the reformed Evolution, a rivalry that has the potential to become as memorable as the best stable-versus-stable feuds pro wrestling has ever seen.
As a collision between the two groups at Extreme Rules nears, fans' minds naturally drift toward great stable battles of the past. Memories of nWo invading WCW and The Von Erichs tangling with The Freebirds come bubbling back up the surface.
The top stable feuds in wrestling history have featured a bounty of classic matches and moments, held the audience's attention for sustained periods and made a lasting impact on the industry itself.
The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family, as red hot as it was, ended after only a few rounds. For Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns' rivalry with Evolution to surpass that and to be talked about the way folks do the feuds on this list, it is going to have to be much longer.
Extreme Rules has to be just one enthralling chapter in an extended narrative.
In what might sound a lot like the story of the Nexus splitting into The Corre and a CM Punk-led Nexus, two versions of Los Infernales battled beginning in the late '90s.
Satanico left the original group, brainwashed a few partners and a thrilling Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) feud was born. Steel cage bouts, unmasking and betrayals highlighted the story.
Los Infernales vs. Los Nuevo Infernales doesn't make the list proper mostly because it wasn't as sustained a rivalry as those ranked above it. There was a lot of shifting of membership and realignments of the group, including Los Nuevo Infernales becoming Los Guerreros del Infierno.
S.C.U.M. vs. Ring of Honor just misses the cut as well.
Kevin Steen constructed a team of heels set on taking over ROH. Executive producer Jim Cornette represented the company as he and wrestlers like Jay Lethal and Eddie Kingston tried to hold S.C.U.M. back.
The matches were often excellent and featured a number of big moments, including S.C.U.M. turning on Steen and a Steel Cage Warfare match ending the villainous group for good.
It didn't make as much of an impact on the industry than other feuds largely because it happened on a smaller stage. ROH fans know just how compelling a story this war was, but it has failed to reverberate beyond the diehard part of the wrestling fanbase.
7. D-Generation X vs. Nation of Domination
Beyond that, this was a feud powered by tension which often exploded onscreen. Their matches were more bursts of chaos than wrestling contests. Triple H and The Rock's bouts elevated both stars, furthered the animosity of the rivalry and entertained on a regular basis.
The groups' battles didn't produce the kind of classic matchups as the top-ranked feuds on this list, though.
It was a red-hot feud at its peak, but didn't last nearly as long as The Von Erichs vs. The Freebirds, for example. Thank the Nation of Domination falling apart for that.
The Godfather broke away, Owen Hart left to become The Blue Blazer and WWE saw a megastar in The Rock and set him free from the stable.
6. D-Generation X vs. the Hart Foundation
Steve Austin often gets a healthy portion of the credit for kick-starting the Attitude Era, but D-Generation X vs. The Hart Foundation was its catalyst in many ways.
Shawn Michaels and Triple H's irreverence riled Bret Hart who called them "degenerates," giving them their name. Crotch chops, "suck it" and other Attitude-era staples began with the Harts watching.
It was Michaels and Hart who provided the best matches in the rivalry, such as their showdown at Survivor Series 1997 which ended in the infamous Montreal Screwjob.
As exciting as this was at its peak, the two groups weren't focused in on each other enough to fully capitalize on it. The Hart Foundation was just as busy taking on Steve Austin and members of D-Generation X tangled with Mankind a ton as well.
Higher-ranked feuds saw the groups zero in on their animosity more.
5. Misawa and Co. vs Tsuruta and Co.
On match quality alone, this is the best stable feud of all time.
The bouts between Mitsuharu Misawa and Jumbo Tsuruta's crews were often classics. The established legend Tsuruta teamed with Akira Taue and Masanobu Fuchi to take on the rising star Misawa, who found allies in Kenta Kobashi and Toshiaki Kawada.
Masterpieces came frequently when those squads met.
The rivalry didn't have the kind of memorable moments that we saw later from nWo's takeover of WCW. This All-Japan Pro Wrestling feud, like much of Japanese wrestling, did more of its storytelling on the mat.
The biggest effect that Misawa and Tsuruta's squads had was to elevate Misawa, Kobashi and Kawada as megastars. As important as that ended up being, other feuds had more of an impact on wrestling history, by way of innovation or influence.
4. The Four Horsemen vs. The Road Warriors and The Super Powers
The Four Horsemen, the greatest foursome in wrestling history, left an enduring mark on wrestling history with their compelling battles against The Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff.
Ric Flair led a team of arrogant, well-dressed wrestlers, who each held championships at one time. Rhodes and company were there to oppose them, in a classic good versus evil collision.
Their most memorable meetings saw them locks horns in the War Games match. The teams were perfect for their new format, filling the two cages with hatred and star power. Those classics combined with moments like The Horsemen breaking Rhodes' arm made this unforgettable feud.
Only three feuds with even more animosity and even better matches top this one.
3. UWF vs. New Japan
Universal Wrestling Federation stomping its way into New Japan Pro Wrestling was the godfather of the pro wrestling invasion storyline.
Akira Maeda brought along members of the UWF roster to challenge Antonio Inoki's New Japan. That would be like Ring of Honor wrestlers today showing up on an episode of Raw and battling WWE stars. The result was a captivating series of battles between two groups.
Classics came often during this feud.
Among the most memorable of those bouts are the five-on-five elimination match in 1986 and the UWF vs. New Japan tournament later that year. Only the most hate-filled stable feud ever and the one that this battle inspired tops it.
WCW would shine a brighter spotlight and make more of an impact with their story. Before that, The Von Erichs and The Freebirds topped UWF vs. New Japan with sheer intensity.
2. Von Erichs vs. Freebirds
It would be an impossible task to find a more perfect set of rivals than The Freebirds and The Von Erichs.
The Von Erichs were the clean-cut and rule-abiding local boys. The patriarch, Fritz Von Erich, owned and ran WCCW and was a beloved star in the Dallas area.
Enter The Freebirds, the brash and showy outsiders.
The contrast in personalities helped create a dynamic on which a bitter feud was built. Fans roared whenever The Von Erichs ever got a chance to chop down the confederate flag-waving braggarts.
Their matches delivered again and again. Among the classics, their Fourth of July brawl in 1984 stands out the most, showcasing just how much these two groups hated each other, and how much the audience loved to see them fight. Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded it Match of the Year.
1. nWo vs. WCW
Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left WWE, joined forces with Hulk Hogan and kick-started a war with not only the WCW roster, but against WWE in the battle for ratings.
The storyline became the centerpiece of the company. It was red hot at its peak and forced WWE to up its game or go out of business.
From Hogan's shocking heel turn, to the group spray painting its name over WCW property, the feud created a wealth of big moments and memories.
The feud changed shape over time, becoming a battle between nWo factions or a fight to keep WCW out of the invaders' control. Throughout, animosity raged on and rivals produced many excellent matches.
Even though this feud has less classic matchups to offer than what fans saw from stable clashes in Japan, it's ability to control ratings and latch onto our consciences makes nWo vs. WCW the best of its kind.