In professional wrestling, there is one thing that is more important than the wrestlers themselves and that something is the feuds that said wrestlers often engage in.
Without in-ring feuds, there are no storylines and as a result, wrestling would be nothing more than two or more guys wailing on each other with no purpose at all. Without a feud to drive them, storylines are destined to fall flat. Even winning a championship belts means so much more after one has fought his/her rival tooth and nail to obtain it.
Many feuds simply come with the business. A current champion feuding with his No. 1 contender (i.e. Randy Orton vs Christian) is an example of such a feud.
Often times, it blows over within a few months with each competitor capturing the title once or twice. But other times, things get personal. And then, the title's purpose becomes simply to amplify the rivals' personal feelings towards each other.
Triple H vs Stone Cold Steve Austin is an excellent example of a title feud exploding. Both men already had a deep and intense rivalry with one another that seemed to draw in friends and family like a black hole. Both Jim Ross and Stephanie McMahon were assaulted as a result of these two men being unable to tolerate each other.
Randy Orton vs CM Punk and Triple H vs Legacy are also good examples of title feuds growing out of control.
The art of feuding is one of the greatest parts of professional wrestling. Some of the greatest matches of all time have stemmed from classic rivalries that were just as great as the matches they produce.
Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant, Randy "Macho Man" Savage vs Ricky Steamboat, Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart, Chris Jericho vs Shawn Michaels and countless other feuds have been keeping viewers glued to their seats for decades now.
However, as timeless as the feuds mentioned above are, there are some feuds that are even greater.
What makes these feuds truly transcend time are the competitors involved in them. When two great superstars collide, a great feud is bound to occur. But when two massive stars collide, the game is completely changed.
When the Mega Powers imploded, two truly "mega" wrestlers began a rivalry talked about even to this day. Hulk Hogan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage are absolute icons and despite all of the other all-time greats, one could argue that these two were the pillars of the WWE (then WWF).
Decades later, another pair of charismatic superstars would become the two big names of the WWE. And those two men were Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. While the two had considerably bigger rivalries with various other superstars, when they came together, the result was pure magic.
The two battled at WrestleMania only three times, yet each bout was easily one of the most hyped of the evening. And it was because the two were the icons of their generation.
And finally, when Austin and The Rock said their goodbyes to full-time wrestling, the WWE needed another two high-profile warriors to clash. And those two warriors were named John Cena and Randy Orton.
These two men are easily the biggest names in wrestling and have been since they began their on-again-off-again feud back in 2007. From then until 2009, the two had a massive feud. Every time these two had a match with one another, it was hyped to the moon and back.
And this past Monday, on the 2011 Slammy Awards, the WWE Universe was given a glimpse at another rivalry that could be placed along the feuds mentioned above: Dolph Ziggler vs Cody Rhodes.
These two young men hold the two secondary titles in the WWE are favored by both WWE Creative and by the IWC. They both have the charisma, the in-ring talent and the crowd following to be major players in the future of the WWE.
The seeds for dissension between the two have already been sown and are just waiting to be nourished. They are both currently secondary champions, both have been tag team champions, both have risen far above their respective former tag team partners and both have feuded with DX.
However, Dolph is the only one of the two who has won a world title.
Like the members of the classic rivalries above, the two have vastly different personalities that could easily come into conflict with each other.
Overall, the feud practically writes itself. During the infancy of the feud, it would likely be easier for Ziggler to play the face. With only a slight tweak to his character (and the eminent separation from Vickie Guerrero), Ziggler could be a very likable face and the perfect foil to Rhodes' considerably more pessimistic and dark persona.
The only thing really stopping this from being a classic rivalry is the fact that Orton and Cena are still in the WWE. The two are also both pretty young, so it is difficult to determine if there will ever be another chapter added to the Cena/Orton feud. And even if the two never feud again, their star power will likely overshadow Rhodes and Ziggler for the foreseeable future.
However, for now Rhodes and Ziggler are in a good spot. Their popularity is on the rise and, barring any injuries, they have quite some time to start a rivalry that can only be described as epic.