Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat, Shawn Michaels vs. the Undertaker. These are the a few of the greatest grudges in pro wrestling history.
What makes them so? Hulk Hogan is by no means a great technical wrestler, even in his heyday. Ricky Steamboat's promos didn't really set the world on fire. Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker were well into their 40's when they collided in consecutive WrestleManias.
While each of these rivalries have factors that can be nitpicked, they all possess a majority of the essential elements needed for a dynamic feud. For an angle to develop, it needs a spark. What possesses two men (or two women) to step in the ring and resolve their differences with aggressive gladitorial behavior?
A feud needs a strong back story. Great wrestlers develop a story within the ring. Their moves are crisp and effective. There is ring psychology. This is the stuff that star ratings are made of. Considering that most angles are only resolved once or twice in the ring, it's absolutely important that both superstars not only maintain their conflict, but escalate with out of the ring action, whether that be promos, interviews or how they choose to affect their opponent's outcomes while they're wrestling other people.
Speaking of Hulk and Andre, it's incredibly helpful to have superstars with pre-existing popularity to bring people to the table (and slap down the money for a pay per view buy).
Finally, and possibly most important, is the payoff to the feud. Significant time is invested into seeing two superstars get in the ring and having one walk out the victor. Who won, what methods did they employ to win and what type of match (or championship opportunities) are questions that solidify a feud as a great one.
Over the course of this slideshow, these five factors will be graded: back story, in ring action, out of ring action, pre-existing popularity and payoff. These grades will then be averaged, and the feud will be given a grade.
For the first installment of this article series, it was important to highlight a feud that was recent and that was (seemingly) resolved. The actual physical feud lasted about two months, but the build to the feud had started eight months prior. Read on to see the grade for The Miz vs. Alex Riley!