WWE News: 15 Wrestling Rivalries That Turned into Real-Life Hatred
Pro wrestling often features an eclectic mix of both real and staged feuds. The real-life heat between Hogan and Warrior, and now Melina and her newest legit (?) enemy Gail Kim, is cause for a celebration of an industry that in many ways can be defined by its own pettiness.
Given the staged nature of pro wrestling, one would think that pre-determined wins and losses don't count. However one's own string of wins and losses, or booking, almost always decides their ultimate career path and whether or not they will one day make John Cena money.
Booking is just one of many hot topics that have sparked real-life tension between co-workers in wrestling, with money, sex and ego all being top contenders.
Twitter has only amplified what has already been a rich history of real life feuds that captivate the attention of the Internet crowd like a Chyna sex tape (you know you watched it).
A while back I covered the five best real life fights in wrestling history, so consider this list somewhat of a sequel as many backstage incidents have been known to quickly degenerate into bona fide rivalries on a larger scale.
15. Booker T vs. Batista
Many already know the story. In 2006, Booker T and Batista started a feud that would eventually result in Booker T, then known as King Booker, dropping the World Championship to Batista.
During a photo shoot for WWE SummerSlam, a war of words between the two escalated until both agreed to take the argument behind closed doors.
Multiple accounts of the fight report that Booker T got the better of Batista as the two brawled in an empty room. The feud between the two was caused by Batista's perceived ungrateful attitude regarding his fast-track WWE superstardom.
Residual tension spawning the feud had also been caused by ill-will between Booker T's wife Sharmell and habitual feuder Melina.
14. Melina vs. Candice Michelle
Melina is only sweet enough to trick pro wrestling pundits into thinking she's sweet. Those who get the chance to interview the former Diva's Champion are often too frightened to ask her the tough questions.
There are too many negative stories from too many different sources for me to believe that she is as innocent as she comes off in softball interviews.
Often at the heart of any given backstage controversy in WWE, Melina's career in drama will far outshine anything she's done in the ring once her tumultuous career has concluded. In fact, the only thing that seems to keep her employed is her boyfriend John Morrison's potential, which dies a little bit every day.
Melina's arsenal of enemies, which had to be cut short for purposes of list diversification, includes former WWE Diva Candice Michelle, with whom she had a heated war of words with in 2007 over stealing moves.
Melina's affinity for animosity is said to date back to her days in WWE developmental, which would explain her status as a backstage headache, as she obviously was trained in the craft before making the main roster.
13. Melina vs. Mickie James
Melina's animosity towards Mickie James stems back to their days in OVW, where the two trained together.
Following a history of tension, James, one of few former WWE Divas who can match Melina in the drama queen department, Melina posted a long rant trashing the reigning TNA Knockout champion.
12. The Iron Sheik vs. Brian Blair
The Iron Sheik's epic promo on former WWE Superstar Brian Blair is enough to warrant inclusion on this list on its own merit.
The one-sided feud, where Sheik claims Blair was unappreciative of his forgettable WWE career, is defined by the craziest rant from a man who specializes in crazy rants during his post-WWE career.
What's most impressive is that amidst all of his overt homophobic taunts, Sheik has not had to attend one GLAAD seminar. See for yourself if you dare.
11. Ric Flair vs. Bret Hart
The feud between Ric Flair and Bret Hart continues to this day as the two legends have shared resentment for years.
Hart has criticized Flair for being a sub-par worker who is overrated, while Flair has claimed that Hart is a "legend in his own mind."
Flair and Hart have worked together in both WWE and WCW, where they were featured in a handful of high-profile matches, including a match for the WWE Championship in 1992 won by Hart.
10. Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley
The Foley-Flair rivalry started when Foley had some not-so-nice things to say about Flair in his first New York Times bestseller Have a Nice Day.
Foley was critical of Flair as a booker in WCW, and he often suggested that the former 16-time world champion was out to sabotage his career.
Never one to shy away from conflict, Flair would later respond by calling Foley a "glorified stuntman" in his own autobiography To be the Man.
The real-life animosity bled over into a feud between the two, during which a physical altercation reportedly ensued.
9. Ken Anderson vs. Randy Orton
Randy Orton has been known to be backstage poison both to himself and his peers. TNA Champion Ken Anderson will be the first person to support this claim, as his abrupt firing from WWE came shortly after an "All Star" tag team match during which Anderson suplexed the injury-prone Orton awkwardly.
Despite the All-Star match marking Anderson's return to action for the first time in months following injury, he was subsequently released following what he feels was backstage lobbying on the part of John Cena and Orton. Both world champions reportedly called Anderson dangerous in the ring.
Anderson has since moved on to TNA, where nobody cares, as the company's world champion. Following a recent shoulder injury to Orton at last year's Over the Limit pay-per-view, Anderson reveled in the accident with the following karmic tweet:
"I have one thing to say: Kharma is a M**********R!!"
8. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy feuded with CM Punk in what proved to be his last program in WWE to date. The feud was spectacular, highlighted by a scintillating TLC match between the two at SummerSlam 2009.
The basic storyline of the Punk-Hardy contrasted two completely different lifestyles despite the similarities the two shared in arm and neck tattoos.
CM Punk was hardcore straight edge. He didn't drink, he didn't smoke, and his only vice was Pepsi. Hardy, meanwhile, had well-documented issues with substance abuse that continue to this day.
Punk's scathing promos towards Hardy's real-life struggles with substance abuse legitimately angered Hardy who, along with his brother Matt, continues to harbor resentment towards the straight-edge superstar.
7. Mr. T. vs. Roddy Piper
Mr. T. and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper were at the forefront at the WrestleMania movement, as they were both featured in the main event of WrestleMania I.
The relationship between Mr. T. and Piper became salty when Piper became angered that Mr. T. had not paid his dues despite being prominently featured by WWE.
The real-life feud inspired a worked boxing match between the two at WrestleMania II, where Piper lost to Mr. T. by disqualification after body slamming the former A-Team star.
6. Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
The "Macho Man" Randy Savage's signature neurotic behavior stemmed from his impassioned love for former wife Miss Elizabeth.
Savage was said to be very protective of the legendary WWE valet, and she was heavily implicated in the eventual fallout of the Mega Powers both on and off camera.
Savage's hatred towards Hogan only seemed to intensify with time following the original breakup of the Mega Powers, even during the WCW days where the two would often work together side by side.
Hogan claimed that the two had begun to reconcile prior to Savage's untimely passing, with Savage reportedly paying Hogan a visit at a hospital following recent back surgery.
5. Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior, perhaps the greatest flash in the pan in WWE history, harbors bitterness towards Hogan based upon a slew of allegations which Warrior recently revealed about Hogan in a series of shoot videos.
Hogan and Warrior faced off at WrestleMania VI where Hogan claims Warrior "had an opening to put a bullet in Hulkamania."
The comment didn't sit well with Warrior, and he quickly unleashed a tirade of familiar, and surprisingly coherent, intensity aimed at the wrestling mogul.
The feud between Hogan and Warrior continues to this day, with Hogan threatening to sue Warrior for defamation before offering up a failed truce attempt.
4. Matt Hardy vs. Edge
Matt Hardy and Edge had one of the most personal and heated real-life feuds that WWE has ever seen. Unfortunately, the inevitable fake version of the feud failed to deliver, and was ended abruptly.
The feud was caused by an affair between Edge and Hardy's then real-life girlfriend Amy "Lita" Dumas. Hardy, a noted attention whore, took his frustrations to the media circuit and publicly voiced his outrage with Edge and Lita's actions.
Hardy was fired for his own unprofessional actions following the affair, and Edge would go on to reach heights that he may have never seen had it not been for his indiscretions: WWE superstardom in a microcosmic nutshell.
Hardy was brought back by popular demands, but never excelled to the heights that Edge or Matt's brother Jeff did. He now works for TNA.
3. Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon
I will always contend that there would have been more money, and longevity, in a reality show entitled "Everybody Hates Hogan" as opposed to the "Hogan Knows Best" reality show that was canceled shortly after Hogan's personal life spun out of control (mind you, this would have been ratings gold in "Everybody Hates Hogan").
Hogan's iconic status in wrestling lore is not without its enemies and detractors. Everybody from former stars to Internet nerds seem to have something bad to say about Hogan, and these sentiments certainly resonate at the top.
One of the age-old wrestling quandaries poses the question of who created Hulkamania. Hogan's namesake sold out a countless amount of live events and put WWE on the map. McMahon's decision-making and direction cannot be discounted in this process either.
Perhaps the two share the same relationship that Cthulu and Eric Cartman shared on an episode of South Park, from Season 14. McMahon, of course, would be the comparatively diminutive Cartman while Hogan assumes the role of the deathlord Cthulu, who did McMahon's bidding by breathing fire on all the territories.
Thanks to two legendary egos, however, that will never be the case in either McMahon or Hogan's mind.
Hogan and McMahon have fallen out multiple times over the years, only to patch things up when the opportunity to do good business presented itself.
The two have resumed resentment with Hogan now employed with the (distant) rival TNA promotion.
2. Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle
Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle engaged in a seemingly innocent feud for TNA back in 2008. The following year, Jarrett was to be engaged to Angle's ex-wife.
TNA has done an admirable job of getting their mileage out of an Angle-Jarrett feud that stemmed from real life circumstances.
The two just capped off a lengthy feud that lasted almost half of a year, with an emotionally charged, shoot-style, parking lot fight at the conclusion of last week's episode of Impact Wrestling.
The fight ended with Angle getting the better of Jarrett, who has since been exiled to Mexico where he now reigns as AAA World Champion.
Gosh, is anything simple in TNA?
1. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart
Since all great stories have a happy ending, it is only fitting that these stories of industry-wide animosity conclude with one of the few pro wrestling feuds to result in a happy ending.
Once upon a time, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels detested one another. The two exchanged harsh, personal attacks during a back-and-forth power struggle for WWE alpha male supremacy in the late nineties.
Their original feud ended in the iconic and infamous Montreal Screwjob, where a clueless Bret Hart was booked to drop the WWE Championship in his own home country. This would be Hart's last match in the WWE for over a decade.
When Hart agreed to make an unlikely return to a WWE ring in 2010, he publicly reconciled with Shawn Michaels on the opening segment of a historic RAW.
Michaels recently spoke of his relationship with Hart in an interview on the Busted Open radio show:
“It was very genuine. He and I, we had been texting each other. I can’t give you a time frame. Some time before that you know me and Tyson Kidd were talking…Holy Cow! This whole thing needs to end.
"Tyson had passed his number along to me. And he and I had been texting, but not getting in to any detail, but we were testing the waters, like ‘Hey, we can do this, it’s been a long time and it sucks and its time to end to end it.’
"We saw each other at Raw, we asked each other, but we didn’t talk about what we were going to do out there. But we did get to have a very long chat about everything and look the man in the eye and tell him I was sorry, for being a pain in his back side and it was very genuine.
"We have since texted one another, I think we will see each other again next week up in Stanford doing something. It’s been very nice and its been a great weight lifted off our shoulders….it was important to us and it was important to the people that saw it.”