Top Five Wrestling Storylines

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Jamie Lithgow, Padraic Toolan, Craig Wilson and Brian Damage

Let’s have the final Top Five of 2018, shall we? In today’s instalment we look at the best storyline in Wrestling history.

Jamie:

I do…love this storyline.

5. Billy & Chuck: 
I loved this storyline then and I still love it. Whether intentional or not, WWE trolled a bunch of people here and I thought it was great! When exactly did either Billy or Chuck express that they were gay? It never happened. It was entirely left to our imaginations to assume that they were, based on the stereotype that all camp or effeminate men are homosexual. There was a fair amount of homophobic heat and even GLAAD got involved to praise WWE. I mean, seriously? It was a little naïve of anyone to truly think that all is what it seemed here. It’s pro wrestling and there’s a wedding angle, come on folks! Of course, it was a publicity stunt (in kayfabe and in storyline) and of course, shit went down with the reveal of Eric Bischoff and 3 Minute Warning at the ceremony. Good stuff from start to finish in my book.

4. The Higher Power
I am going to excuse the payoff to this storyline because other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I may be looking at it through rose-tinted glasses though, as this was the big angle right as I was getting back into wrestling in 1999. Everything to do with The Ministry of Darkness, The Corporate Ministry, The Rock, Steve Austin and damn near everyone on the roster fed into this story at some point. The seeds were planted so early too, with Taker making references to a ‘Higher Power’ a good five or six months before the reveal. Albeit said reveal was Vince McMahon. Aw, son of a bitch!

3. Stephanie McMahon marries Triple H
This whole storyline worked so well for me because I did not for a second consider that Stephanie would turn heel. She was engaged to Test but Bulldog accidentally hit her with a bin to give her a dose of amnesia, thus postponing that wedding. In hindsight, I wonder if this bump on the noggin is what turned Stephanie evil? Fast-forward to the rescheduled wedding and Triple H chimes in to reveal that he married Stephanie first. Then fast-forward to Armageddon and the unthinkable happens with Stephanie turning on her dad. With that, we were off to the races with the McMahon-Helmsley era. This was a total soap opera ridiculousness, but I loved it.

Paul Berarer had told The Undertaker, and viewers, for months that Kane was alive before the Badd Blood PPV

2. The Introduction of Kane
This was essentially just a series of back and forth promos between Paul Bearer and The Undertaker but it was fascinating stuff, especially in hindsight. We basically heard an origins story for Bearer, Taker and Kane leading up to Kane’s debut at Badd Blood 97. To this day I consider Kane more like a comic book character rather than a wrestler purely due to how he was introduced to us before we even cast eyes on him.

1. Owen vs. Bret
Owen gets jealous and pissed off at the Survivor Series, they make up, but at the Royal Rumble Owen makes his move by kicking Bret’s leg out from his…leg?! So simple and as a younger brother myself I got this storyline straight away, even though I was only 8 years old at the time. Feuding through Wrestlemania into Summerslam and beyond, the only thing missing from this story was Owen winning the title from his brother.


Padraic:

5. The Higher Power
Like Jamie said, just ignore the payoff. This was captivating and legitimately scary.

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in happier times

4. The Mega Powers Explode
The lead up to Hogan-Savage at WrestleMania V was amazing. Savage was jealous over Hogan’s attention towards Elizabeth and was positioned as the heel, while at the same time you could totally identify with why he was upset. Terrific psychology and an unforgettable story.

3. Bret screwed Bret
Using the Montreal Screwjob in the storyline was genius, and created the Mr. McMahon character that served and the biggest heel of WWF/E’s most prosperous era. It was one of the first times I remember the lines being blurred between kayfabe and reality.

Vince takes one of the many Stunners that he has received

2. Stone Cold vs. Mr. McMahon
Still the hottest storyline ever, and to this day they are still forever trying to recapture the magic of this feud. It will never happen.

1. Kane
The backstory and introduction of Kane is still the best and most creative storyline the company has ever done. Kane scared the hell out of me as a kid. And I wish he was still never unmasked. And Paul Bearer provided everything this story needed to catapult it to the top of my list.


Craig:

5. The Higher Power
Not much to really add to what’s been said but this was a slowly built programme over several months that created a power of intrigue and involved all of the big players of the time. Just a shame at the end reveal. Still, least it wasn’t a storyline that saw Rikishi as the payoff…

Bret and Owen tangle in the cage during their excellent bout at SummerSlam 1994

4. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
1994 is one of my favourite years in WWF history – I’m probably going to embark on watching it as part of the blog’s content next year. And this feud was definitely part of what made the year so good. Starting at the previous year’s Survivor Series through to a steel cage match at SummerSlam 94, via Bret having his legged kicked from under his leg, this was a blistering feud based on two guys having great chemistry together. Furthermore, the matches were excellent. Owen’s face at WrestleMania X when his older brother has just won the WWF title – wow!

3. The debut of Kane
Having watched 1997 WWF TV a few years ago for the blog, I got to witness this blow by blow as the year progressed. Sure, I know the storyline but getting to watch it happen was great. It’s a really strong slow-build programme that has such an outstanding payoff. The Undertaker, who largely looked untouchable, getting laid out by his younger brother as Shawn Michaels looks on terrified was a quite remarkable visual

Heels in America but babyfaces everywhere else.

2. Canada vs. USA
Another feud that involves the Hart brothers but this time they are back together, after a fairly emotional – for wrestling of that era – reuniting on Raw. This feud was ace. The Hart Foundation loathed in America and loved everywhere else rallying against America. The best match? The 5 vs. 5 match at Canadian Stampede. Find me a better crowd reaction for a match. I’ll wait…

1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon
After ditching the over the top announcing role in favour of an evil on-screen figure, after the Montreal Screwjob, the programme between McMahon and the anti-hero Austin propelled the WWF in the late 90s back once again to a global phenomenon.


Brian:

Raven and Dreamer lock horns during their famous feud

5. The Tommy Dreamer/ Raven Feud
This bloodbath of a feud started with a storyline in ECW and became one, if not the greatest rivalries in ECW history. Dreamer and Raven were childhood friends who became bitter rivals as adults over a woman. That woman being Beluah McGuillicutty. The feud would last for years with Raven continually getting the upper hand. The war ended after Raven decided to leave ECW and Dreamer finally won a match against him.

4. The Student Betrays the Teacher
We have already covered the actual angle where the student Larry Zbyszko betrayed his mentor Bruno Sammartino on this blog. It was one of the WWE’s greatest storylines from their past history. So good, that WWE have tried to recreate it several times over the years. Not nearly as successful as the original angle.

3, Ted Dibiase wants to buy the WWF championship
This was truly a great story with The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase making Hulk Hogan an offer he couldn’t possibly refuse. He wanted to buy Hogan’s WWF title from him. It culminated with Hogan refusing to sell his title in typical babyface fashion…but Dibiase would purchase the contract of Andre the Giant to win the belt for him. He would pay off a referee who looked exactly like referee Dave Hebner (His twin Earl) and Andre won the belt in screwjob fashion. Ultimately relinquishing his newly won belt to Dibiase after the match. Great story telling.

Sting ditches the surfer character in favour of the Brandon Lee inspired version of Sting

2. Sting becomes the Crow
WCW really got it right with this storyline. Here was Sting the franchise of the company, who felt like everyone in WCW turned their backs on him and accused him of joining the NWO. He disappears for a while and returns with a whole new darker look to him. He doesn’t speak or wrestle for a year. It was a low, methodical build for a match with Hulk Hogan. The match itself was a train wreck, but the storyline was one of the very best in recent memory.

1. Stone Cold Vs Mr McMahon
Not much I can really add to this other than it catapulted the then WWF to its greatest heights and made Austin the man of that particular era.


You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.


5 thoughts on “Top Five Wrestling Storylines

  1. The Higher Power angle made no sense at all. None. McMahon feuds with Austin for nearly a year and a half and then inexplicably turns face to feud with Undertaker and the Ministry. McMahon and his henchmen have matches against the Ministry every week for months only to reveal that they were in cahoots the whole time. What was the point of that? What did pretending to be enemies for months accomplish?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Top Five Worst Wrestling Storylines | Ring the Damn Bell

  3. “The Outsiders” and the lead up to the Hogan Turn.

    Kane/Undertaker

    Hogan/Andre

    Austin/McMahon

    Brett/Owen.

    Mega Powers, Crow Sting in the rafters for a year, Goldberg Streak, and Piper/Hogan lead to WM 1 all deserve mention.

    Liked by 1 person

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