The history of the WWE is written by all the great rivalries it has had over the years. The rivalries between superstars is what keeps fans coming back, and with every generation of wrestlers, new rivalries are born. Let’s take a look at what I believe to be the best rivalries the WWE has ever seen.
10. Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Jake the Snake Roberts
This rivalry is a little before my time, but I grew up listening to my uncles’ talk about the match pictured above. Jake the Snake released a cobra on Macho Man on Saturday morning wrestling, traumatizing a generation of children. After watching Jake Roberts on Joe Rogan’s podcast a while back, it seems like this rivalry extended outside the ring. Roberts seemed to not enjoy Savage’s over the top persona, which was not just an act in the ring. Savage didn’t care for Roberts because he was a threat to his belt. The night before the infamous snake bite match, Macho Man approached Roberts and forced him to prove the snake was not venomous, he thought Roberts would try to poison him so he could get his belt, I’m 90 percent sure Savage thought wrestling was real. The was one of the most venomous (pun intended) rivalries we’ve ever seen and has its place in WWE history.
9. John Cena vs. Randy Orton
The intensity these two men brought to every one of their run-ins is what earns them a spot on this list. At times it seemed like they were actually trying to hurt each other, showing no regard for their own health. This intensity along with these two being the biggest superstars in the WWE made this must watch TV.
8. Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
This rivalry came to a head when Savage beat Hogan down in the locker room after their tag team match against the Twin Towers. Hogan had been getting too friendly with Miss Elizabeth, Savage’s girl, and Savage lost control. This led to Hogan looking to get revenge, which he got at WrestleMania V. This wasn’t the pair’s last bout, but definitely the most heated.
7. Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat
These two titans had many bouts over the years, but none better than in 1989. From February until May, a trilogy of matches happened between these two, that some have called the greatest matches of all time. The first match was won by Flair, defending his title. The second match, was won by Steamboat, taking the title from Flair. The third and final bout saw Flair winning his title back. Although many wanted a forth match, Flair wanted no part in it. Fans wanted to see Steamboat take the title back because he was the more popular of the two, he was the humble family man, while Flair was the cocky ladies man.
6. Kane vs. Undertaker
This is one of the first rivalries I remembered being enamored with. Put aside that these were two massive human beings fighting, THEY WERE BROTHERS. Okay they weren’t really brothers, (I just recently learned this some 17 years later), but they were pitched as brothers. Undertaker at first refused to fight Kane, but finally agreed to fight him at WrestleMania XIV. After three Tombstone Piledrivers, Undertaker defeated Kane. These two would flip-flop between friends and rivals over the years, but we can all agree them being rivals made for better programming.
5. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
The rivalry that started it all. These two superstars are responsible for the sport of wrestling being as popular as it is today. They had fought 16 times before 1987, with Andre winning them all. Leading up to WrestleMania III, the two were friends, but Hogan becoming more successful, and full of himself, began to annoy the Giant. Finally Hogan and his manager demanded a title shot, angering Andre. Hogan Their bout a WrestlMania III, broke new grounds for tv viewership, reaching a whole new audience, helping the sport grew.
4. Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes
Flair defeated Dusty to win his first NWA championship in 1981. This led to a long, fierce rivalry between these two legends. They both had a lot of charisma and swagger, but were also very different. Flair was a cocky, boisterous prick who would do whatever it took to be at the the top. Rhodes was your every day, blue collar American. This can be seen in Dusty’s “Hard Times” promo in 1985, directed at Flair after he injured Rhodes. Dusty would end Flair’s two year reign as champion in 1986 at the Great American Bash, which was voted match of the year that year.
3. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Two of the biggest stars of 90’s wrestling, were also the biggest rivals. This rivalry ran deeper than most of these on the list, this bled into real life. This rivalry began at WrestleMania XII, where Michaels defeated Hart in a Iron Man match. In 1997, Hart was set to leave the WWE for the WCW, but refused to give his belt to Michaels. This set of a chain of events leading to the infamous “Montreal Screw Job”, in which Vince McMahon crossed Hart and stole his belt to give to Michael’s. These two were eventually able to bury the hatchet outside of the ring. Although they’re not best buds, they are able to be friendly to each other.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon
The rivalry that every knows and loves, that helped define an era of wrestling. I distinctly remember watching Stone Cold fill McMahon’s car with cement as a kid, and I thought Stone Cold was the biggest badass ever, which you can make an argument he is. Austin was an anti-authority figure, and constantly rebelling against his boss, McMahon. Whether that was spitting beer on him, flipping him off, or hitting him with Austin’s signature Stunner, it was always great, family-friendly programming, (it’s hard to display sarcasm over text, but that last line was sarcasm).
Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar
Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz
Undertaker and Triple H
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dwayne the Rock Johnson
In my opinion, these are the two greates wrestlers of all time. Maybe I am biased because I grew up watching them every week, but an argument can be made for both of them. This rivalry headlined Wrestlemania three times in five years, always pitched as one of the best matches of the year, and you were never let down. These two talked pure trash to each other, and went as after each other like rabid dogs in the ring. The worst part of this rivalry was I never knew who to cheer for, I loved watching both of them wrestle. This rivalry came to a head at WrestleMania XVIIII where the Rock finally pinned Austin after three Rock Bottoms.
Writing this article was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, I started over like three times. Trying to narrow down all the great rivalries the WWE has seen to just 10 spots is very hard to do. If you enjoyed it, please leave me a like, or if you disagree with any spots, leave me a comment! Also check out other great articles we have here at GCSN, thanks!
Featured photo courtesy of WWE
Would you like to advertise with Game Changer Sports Network? We have the perfect opportunity for any and all businesses please contact Jake at Info@GameChangerSportsNetwork.com to discuss potential advertising space with us!