While thinking about something to write, I began to think of the big-time feuds these days. There really aren't many and certainly none of them are change-the-face-of-wrestling-big.
So I thought—why not touch on some of the best feuds from the last 15 years? Now, before anyone goes on a rant, these aren't in any particular order. So if you think a certain feud was spoken of too early, I'm just writing these as I think of them.
Without further ado...
ECW: Taz vs Sabu
For those who remember this, Paul Heyman did the greatest job of build up possible. The hatred grew and these guys didn't even set foot in the ring together for almost 18 months.
And who can forget the lights turning out, signally Sabu's arrival, only to have Sabu and Taz facing off alone in the ring when the lights finally came back up?
Not to mention their first encounter at Barely Legal '97 was a tremendous match that set the tone for future endeavors, including Taz knocking out Sabu and covering himself with Sabu's lifeless body to give Sabu a win and ownership of the FTW title, leading to Sabu proudly wearing it, albeit with a piece of tape over Taz's name and "SABU" written in sharpie.
This feud was just one of the many reasons ECW became a cult favorite.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Vince McMahon
Arguably the single most important feud in wrestling history. The WWF was on it's heels because of the immense popularity of the WCW. A perfect storm occurred in which McMahon's screw-job of Bret Hart led to the creation of the Mr. McMahon character, and Austin's anti-hero persona was gaining tremendous steam.
This feud would set the tone for 1998 and catapult the WWF back into the ratings lead. But more importantly, this was the feud that managed to capture the attention of the casual fan. Who couldn't relate to Austin? Everyone has wanted to punch their boss in the mouth at one time or another.
More importantly, this put Austin into legendary status and made him arguably as big as Hulk Hogan was during his heyday.
If it weren't for Austin and this feud, the WWF might not be in business today.
WCW vs nWo
This is the greatest faction war ever and the angle that brought WCW to the big time. It's also the angle that revitalized a stagnant Hulk Hogan's career.
I remember seeing this from the beginning, being stunned that Hogan would ever be a heel, and seeing the destruction the nWo would leave in their wake. You never knew who would join them or what they would do to get their way.
Though WCW made the classic mistake of letting this run far, far too long, the original nWo run ('96-'97) was epic and made for highly entertaining programming.
This ties into the next feud...
Sting vs nWo (1997/98)
Along with Taz/Sabu, this was the most excellently built feud. To recap: With the nWo running amok, the WCW begins to doubt Sting's loyalty as the nWo parades a fake Sting. The Stinger shows his loyalty, saving his WCW cohorts in War Games before telling them to stick it.
Sting disappears for the latter part of 1996 and most of 1997, sporadically appearing in the rafters sporting a new black and white attire. Speculation arrises that Sting really has joined the nWo, until the silent figure begins an epic string of attacks on the nWo.
Sting appears mostly to signal he is after Hogan and his WCW title, culminating in what I believe is the beginning of the end for WCW at Starrcade 1997, with an extremely controversial decision leading to a Sting title victory.
The tension and build up was amazing and anytime Sting appeared to save the day, the roof blew off and this wrestling fan marked out about as hard as anyone could.
ECW: Sandman vs Raven
This is one of the feuds that made Raven what he is today and allowed us all to see Paul Heyman's genius.
For those who didn't follow ECW at the time, Raven and Sandman began feuding. Raven then turned Sandman's own son and estranged wife against him, having them join his "flock."
This angle played on the emotions of the fans, especially when it appeared that young Tyler Fullington (Sandman's son) was ready to go back to dad, only to help Raven set up another brutal beating.
Perhaps more infamously, this angle also lead to the crucifixion of the Sandman, an act that actually cost ECW the services of Kurt Angle.
Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels
Everyone knows about this one by now. Fueled by genuine real-life dislike for one another, these two had tremendous matches up and down North America, culminating in Bret's final match in the WWF--the Montreal Screw Job.
This feud is perhaps more known for what happened outside of the ring rather than inside it. From Michaels supposed refusal to work with Bret at all, to Bret's refusal to drop the title in his home country of Canada.
This is the feud that crossed the blurred lines of fantasy and reality and truly brought the fans behind the curtain. It also helped change the fortunes of the WWF, helping spawn the Mr. McMahon character that would feud with mega-face Steve Austin for most of the next four years.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock
This is a feud that spanned almost seven years, beginning with a tremendous Intercontinental Title feud in 1997. After Austin exploded onto the main event scene, the two met up again at Wrestlemania 15, this time for the WWF Title. Austin would be victorious then and for most of 1999.
Rock blossomed while Austin sat out with a neck injury and eventually the two would cross paths again in 2001. Austin, coming off his third Royal Rumble win, was set to take on the Rock in the Astrodome in Houston for Wrestlmania 17.
After a great match and the unexpected alliance of Mr.McMahon and Austin, Stone Cold once again reigned victorious.
The feud would finally be settled in 2003, fittingly at Wrestlemania 19. In what would be Austin's last match, the Rock finally managed to defeat his nemesis on the grandest stage.
These two would combine for many great moments, promos and matches during their long and historical feud. They also had arguably the most entertaining feud ever from a promo standpoint.
That's about all I have for now, with a few honorable mentions being Rock/Mankind, HBK/Razor, Wolfpac/Hollywood, Austin/HHH, HHH/Rock and Taker/Kane.
Here's hoping that another great feud is on it's way that will make us remember it as fondly as we remember these.
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