The Top 10 List: Wrestling's Greatest Rivalries
Welcome to another edition of The Top 10 List with yours truly. This week we will focus on the greatest rivalries wrestling has ever seen. Remember this is my opinion, and good constructive criticism is welcome. Saying “damn dude, The Outsiders? No way!” is good with me. But saying “Did you fall and hit your head on a rock?” is stupid, and it makes you look stupid.
When a guy takes time to write his OPINION in an article, you have every right to voice your OPINION back. If you agree or disagree, whatever it may be, but saying negative things towards the writer and not the article is a joke. Anyway, I needed to get that out of the way, as I know many agree with that statement, and it goes for everyone’s articles.
Now onto the list, yes it's called The Top 10. But I do include 15, five extra. No explanation on why that five is there, they’re just put in to show who almost made the list.
NOTE: These opinions of mine are about impact just as much as they are about entertainment.
15) KANE vs. UNDERTAKER
14) RIC FLAIR vs. DUSTY RHODES
13) BRET HART vs. SHAWN MICHAELS
12) THE HARDYZ vs. THE DUDLEYS vs. EDGE & CHRISTIAN
11) BRET HART vs. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
10) HOLLYWOOD HOGAN vs. GOLDBERG
Notable Match: WCW Nitro, WCW World Heavyweight Championship, 7/6/98
Rookie Bill Goldberg had an undefeated streak going, and was hotter than hell. Nitro was notorious for putting on pay-per-view, and this case WrestleMania/Starrcade, caliber matches.
Amazingly Goldberg ran through Hollywood Hogan and won the WCW Championship. An amazing experience for the wrestling fans. Goldberg blew up super fast, went straight to the top and helped garner WCW’s five and six scale ratings. Pitting the young, unstoppable force against the most well-known famous heel was a given. The fact that it happened on free television is a topic that is still argued to this day.
Personally, I liked the idea, I didn’t have to pay out the $29.99 for the PPV. A great feud nonetheless and key point in the Monday Night Wars.
9) TRIPLE H vs. SHAWN MICHAELS
Armageddon, World Heavyweight Championship, Three Stages of Hell match, 12/15/02
Real life best friends and Shawn Michaels only four months back from an over four year absence from performing, many wondered if he could handle the dreaded Three Stages of Hell match. Which consisted of three back to back to back matches with no breaks in between. A street fight, a cage match and a ladder match.
HBK performed just as he knows how and The Showstopper stole the show. Although he came up short to the Game, the match was great. All of their matches were great together. Michaels back from injury he trusted HHH to work with, thinking he would only have one last match, at SummerSlam the same year. HHH did his job proving that HBK could still go, and go damn hard for that matter.
After the successful and amazing angle, HBK stayed on full time and has been since. Another prime example of how best friends work so well together, as they put everything they got into it, and their love for the business bleeds between them.
8) HOLLYWOOD HOGAN vs. STING
Notable Match: Starrcade 97, WCW World Heavyweight Championship, 12/28/97
In the world of wrestling, opposites attract and they attract very well. Back in 1997 Hulk Hogan, now known as Hollywood Hogan was in full heel mode as the head leader of the New World Order (nWo) super stable.
When it seemed that the nWo had completely taken over WCW and wiped out all of it’s wrestlers, an old, familiar face appeared in the rafters. The man was Sting. Sting who used to sport a short, spiked blond haircut and a clean shave, with bright color trunks and face paint designs, had been reinvented.
Now donning all black, with long black hair, and white face paint covering his entire face, he seemed like a man possessed. Playing mind games with Hogan and the rest of the nWo Sting would watch in the rafters of the building, occasionally sending a vulture down to spook the nWo, but just a blank stare with his black eyes was enough to eat away at Hogan.
The rivalry and build-up to their Starrcade ‘97 match was over a year long. Never wrestling each other until their, and barely even coming in physical contact, the idea was red hot. Everybody wanted to see Sting take out the loud, flamboyant Hogan. Although the match itself had a botched ending, the feud was impeccable and so original that it will be remembered forever.
7) THE UNDERTAKER vs. MANKIND
Notable Match: King of the Ring, Hell in a Cell, 6/28/98
When the third Hell in a Cell was announced, the anticipation started immediately. Although it happened over 10 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. Anybody and everybody who knew wrestling, knew who Mankind was and what he was capable, or should I say willing, of doing to himself.
And the Hell in a Cell with Mankind, destined to be a classic. Named by many as the best HiaC of all time, these two beat each other senseless. Taking falls from the top and through the top. The buildup was overly exciting, as both Undertaker and Mankind were masters of mind games.
With the Attitude Era underway, this was another part of the Era that made it unique. More weapons and more blood. A match and rivalry that set the standard for all hardcore-style matches to come.
6) HULK HOGAN vs. ULTIMATE WARRIOR
Notable Match: WrestleMania VI, WWE Championship/Intercontinental Championship, 4/1/90.
When you think Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan, you think back to WrestleMania VI and the huge passing of the torch. As the almighty, immortal Hulk Hogan put Warrior over clean. This event was so huge, it shocked the world and shook it’s very foundation . Considered one of the most famous matches in history, billed as “The Ultimate Challenge.” Although things didn’t exactly go so well with Warrior following the event, but that is an entirely different story.
5) HULK HOGAN vs. ANDRE THE GIANT
Notable Match: WrestleMania III, WWE Championship, 3/29/87
Hogan/Andre, WrestleMania III, an attendance of 93,173, the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America and the largest paying crowd in the history of professional wrestling. The kickoff of the 1980s wrestling boom. The contenders were huge, the match was huge, the crowd was huge.
The “slam heard around the world” when Hogan scooped slammed Andre and hit the leg drop for the win. An event still talked about today, more than 20 years later, and will be talked about for another 20 years. This event proved that professional wrestling is here, and it is here to stay, whether the public liked it or not.
4) RIC FLAIR vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT
Notable Match: Wrestle War, NWA World Heavyweight Championship, 5/7/89
A rivalry that lasted over 15 years, and produced some of the best matches in 80's wrestling. These two had magic together, simply magical. Even so, a lot of people would say that their '89 Wrestle War match was the greatest match of all time. Now, that’s saying something.
Any older or classic fan will tell you they remember Flair/Steamboat and they will tell you they loved it. This brought rivalries to a whole new level. Two of the hardest workers of their time, they put their heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears into their matches and they were amazing to say the least.
3) STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN vs. MR. MCMAHON
Notable Event: WWE RAW, “Easy way/Hard way”speech, 3/30/98
Because I’m such a mark for the in-ring wrestling, this comes in at No 3. Where it could be argued as No. 2. And if impact didn’t play such a huge and important role in this list, it could even be at No. 1.
The WWE was getting beat down severely by WCW and kicked off the best period in wrestling; the Attitude Era. The episode of RAW that aired the night after WrestleMania 14, McMahon presented Austin the title and gave his “Easy way/Hard way” speech.
McMahon stated that Austin needed to follow rules better and be a better employee. Austin responded with a middle finger and a Stone Cold Stunner to the boss. Kicking of and ushering in the Attitude Era in the process. The Attitude Era was a giant, steaming Locomotive and Austin/McMahon was it’s Conductor. The rivalry was known as the Austin/McMahon feud..
These two together were the sole performers that carried the WWE through it’s fight. Anytime Vince and Austin were in the same ring, you could absolutely feel the electricity. This feud is the epitome of wrestling chemistry.
At the risk of sounding repetitive; week after week after week after week millions and millions tuned in to RAW is WAR to see what would happened next between these two. The typical evil boss vs. the rebel employee. An amazing feud that will never ever be duplicated, copied or topped for as long as wrestling lives.
2) THE ROCK vs. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
Notable Match: WrestleMania X7, WWE Championship, 4/1/01
Two men that invigorated and revamped the wrestling world. The best rivalry in history. The two biggest names in wrestling. Wrestling was at it’s peak and the WWE was reigning king after just defeating and purchasing rivals WCW and ECW. Rock and Stone Cold headlined three WrestleMania’s together. A classic each time.
Ask any wrestling fan who was a fan in the past 10 years and nine out of 10 will say the best rivalry? Stone Cold vs. The Rock. They had great in ring chemistry and great promo and mic chemistry. These two were destined to wrestle and hit their peak at the same time. When we are older, in our '60s, '70s, even '80s if we look back and think wrestling memories, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin will for sure come to mind. Now that is and impact, and that is what wrestling is all about.
1) WWE vs. WCW
Notable Event: WWE/WCW Simulcast, The Final Nitro, 3/26/01
One thing Vince McMahon has is balls. This feud was more between Ted Turner and McMahon. Turner and McMahon Sr. crossed paths in the past and never got along too well. But on a day referred by the wrestling world as Black Saturday ignited the fuel. It was the day McMahon and the WWE took over the Saturday night time slots on Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) that had been home to Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW).
After a stint in court between McMahon and Turner, McMahon decided to sell the company back to Jim Crockett and Turner bought it from him. Turner named his wrestling company WCW. Determined to take out his rival, Vince McMahon, Turner created a WCW show and put it head-to-head with WWE on Monday nights WCW began beating WWE, and dominated them in the ratings for 83 weeks straight. An event that almost put the WWE out of business forever.
But McMahon is one tough guy and he fought back against the billionaire. What made this so great was the company’s were fighting so hard and putting 150% into their respecitve products. And the wrestling world sat back and got to enjoy it all. Enjoying the best period in pro wrestling history, every week were two amazing shows, as both were really fighting for their place.
The world went crazy for this '90s wrestling boom. Eventually, the WWE started dominating the WCW and only got better and better and better. McMahon had the last laugh as in March of 2001 he purchased WCW and became the Czar of Wrestling.
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