Top Five Best Feuds/Rivalries in Pro Wrestling

https://ringthedamnbell.wordpress.com/

Padraic Toolan and Brian Damage

This week’s top five is looking at the top five greatest feuds and or rivalries in pro wrestling history. What feuds grabbed your attention and made you glued to your seat whether at a venue or watching at home?


Padraic

I’m sure there are terrific feuds from the 60’s and 70’s and even the 80’s that I’m missing because I didn’t really become a wrestling fan until the early 90’s, and I didn’t get to experience those earlier feuds as they were happening. Based on what I’ve watched in real time, on the network, and have heard about ad nauseam from wrestling fans and historians, here’s my top feuds and rivalries of all-time.

Honorable mention: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano

5. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart

Following the double turn at WrestleMania, this was so perfectly executed, and it made it even better with the number of shows they had in Canada where Bret would be the face and Austin the heel. Their matches were gold; two guys at the top of their game with a tremendous understanding of in-ring psychology and how to build up to a match.

4. Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair/The Four Horsemen

They f’in broke Dusty’s arm!! Thankfully this led to the first-ever War Games match where Dusty would get his revenge. The Four Horsemen had such incredible heat, while Flair and his limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’ ways were the perfect foil to “The Common Man” and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.

3. Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man

The build to WrestleMania V was a year in the making. Hogan was supposed to be the supportive friend and partner. Savage was protecting his marriage. Who was the good guy? Who was the bad guy? NOBODY KNEW FOR SURE! Elizabeth played such a pivotal role as well. Every interaction between the two leading up to this match seemed to be meticulously planned so that you could get behind either guy. Wrestling has long been face vs. heel, but this feud between the top two faces in the company worked incredibly well.

2. Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority

I feel like there’s never been a better build to a WrestleMania moment that the lead up to Daniel Bryan’s win at WrestleMania XXX. I’m pretty sure I cried a little when he won. I remember freaking out during Occupy Raw when HHH agreed to wrestle him, then I knew what was coming next, and my anxiety waiting for it was through the roof: if Bryan beat HHH, he would be inserted into the Main Event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The “B+ player” had an A+ run to the title. When you have terrific heels like HHH and Stephanie who don’t give two shits about being hated by the audience trying to hold down a guy who everyone could relate to with his size and perseverance, you have a perfect feud.

1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon

This is the feud that every company, including WWE on multiple occasions, has tried to recreate over and over for the last 20 years. If not for this feud, we may be watching PPV’s on Ted Turner’s WCW Network right now. Ok, WCW fucked up a lot too, so this isn’t the sole reason, but I digress. EVERYONE wanted to be Stone Cold, throw up their middle fingers, and beat the shit out of their boss. Hulk Hogan was the hero that everyone admired, but Stone Cold was the hero that everybody wanted to be. This feud was the embodiment of the entire Attitude Era. Often imitated, never duplicated, the greatest feud of all-time.


Brian

Like Padraic, I mostly chose feuds that I have watched and experienced on TV or at an arena myself. There were many great feuds and rivalries that I wish I got to witness…but most of the ones I selected are the feuds that got me glued to my TV and made me buy a ticket to an arena show.

5. Hulk Hogan Vs. Paul Orndorff

Many fans will look to Hogan versus Andre the Giant as one of the Hulkster’s top feuds. While it was certainly one of the most visible, I absolutely loved this feud between Hogan and Orndorff better. Orndorff turned on Hogan in a slow, simmered build and then after he brutally attacked Hulk…took Bobby ‘the Brain’ Heenan as his manager. Not only that, but Orndorff also started using Hogan’s entrance music as his own and mimicked all of Hulk’s gestures. All of their matches were consistently solid.

4.Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven

I can’t say enough good things about this feud and how it all played out over the years. This to me was ECW’s all time greatest rivalry. The matches were often bloody and violent and took several twists and turns. Raven would usually always get the upper hand in matches…until his last night in the company when Dreamer finally pinned his “childhood enemy.” Really good stuff by Paul Heyman and all involved who booked it.

3. Bruno Sammartino Vs. Larry Zbyszko

This was a feud that I didn’t experience live, but I absolutely loved the story they told behind it. Zbyszko was Bruno’s understudy who became jealous and frustrated playing second fiddle to his trainer. After a friendly exhibition match…Larry turned on Bruno and made him a bloody mess. Their feud culminated at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York…inside of a steel cage. Many bookers have tried to emulate their story with their own Star vs Protege type storyline. None of which were as good as this feud.

2. Eddie Gilbert vs. Jerry Lawler

Here was another feud that I didn’t see unfold live because it was out of my area at the time. I did watch this feud on VHS tape after the fact and loved it. It had all the ingredients of a classic rivalry. It was violent and the two wrestlers involved genuinely seemed to hate each other. At times, they really did dislike one another which made this rivalry that much more watchable. It even had a spot where Gilbert hit Lawler with a car and the cops were legitimately called.

1. The Von Erichs vs. The Freebirds

To me, it didn’t get any better than this feud right here. It took place in World Class Championship Wrestling and went on for years with different players thrown in at various times. It was red hot and had the Dallas Sportatorium sold out on a consistent basis.


You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.


6 thoughts on “Top Five Best Feuds/Rivalries in Pro Wrestling

  1. For me, and this based on New Generation/Attitude era as this was based on the period that I grew up on.

    1. Rock vs. Austin-their WrestleMania trilogy remains some of the best matches I’ve seen
    2. Bret vs. Owen-They were the high-water mark for me in terms of technical wrestling during the early 90s as they put on a clinic.
    3. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels-From 1992-1997, the hate they had for each other only made their matches feel more real.
    4. Hart vs. Austin-This was the feud that made me become a fan of Austin as I realized that he wasn’t just some typical heel but something different as I was torn because I loved Bret but I found myself connecting with Austin on a personal level.
    5. Edge/Christian vs. the Hardys-Tag team wrestling taken to new heights as it made me enjoy tag team wrestling all over again.

    Honorable mentions: Sting vs. Vader, Cactus Jack vs. Vader, Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko, DDP vs. Randy Savage, Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer, Undertaker vs. Kane, Austin vs. Undertaker, Sandman vs. Raven, Kenny Omega vs. Okada, Okada vs. Tanahashi, and Bullet Club (AJ Styles era) vs. Chaos.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon
    2. The Von Erich’s vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
    3. Dusty Rhodes vs. The Four Horsemen
    4. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
    5. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
    Honorable mention: Lita vs Trish Stratus; Charlotte vs Sasha Banks; Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage, Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin; Sting’s Squad vs. The Dangerous Alliance

    Like

  3. 1. Austin vs. McMahon
    2. Austin vs. Hart
    3. Sting vs. Nwo
    4. Hhh vs. Rock
    5. Dusty vs. Four Horseman
    Honorable mention: Bret/Owen, Sting/Flair, Savage/Hogn, Ddp/Savage, Austin/Rock, Funk/Flair, Hbk/Hart

    Like

  4. The rock vs triple h…and the undertaker vs mankind…was a huge fan of the dead man as a kid growing up… loved it everytime whenever he killed Mick Foley lol

    Like

  5. Hayabusa vs Mr. Gannosuke in FMW. Friends went to dojo, one gets picked to be semi-main eventer while other toil in midcard. One leaves because he follows his sensei who also left. The one who was in midcard gets picked as next ace of FMW. Two years later the friend returns to FMW angry he didn’t follow him thinking they were friends. I lead through years of matches between those two til the fateful in-ring accident leaving Hayabusa paralyzed and FMW would shut down months later. They would re-start the feud with him insulting even attacking wheelchair bound Hayabusa at WMF til that fed shut down.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.