The 8 Best Rivalries in Wrestling
The summer wrestling season in full swing after an exciting Money in the Bank in June, plus WWE’s Summer Slam heading to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in August. As the upcoming PPV event will feature some of the world’s best, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at some of the juiciest rivalries in World Wrestling history. Let’s take a look…
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
Over a three-year period, these two went at each other in some of the best matches of the early 2000s era. Arguably their best match was the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble 2003, when Angle had regained his status as one of the greatest in the Federation, and Benoit was looking for a coveted title win. However, it was Angle that took the title in 2003, along with famous victories at WrestleMania 17 and Judgment Day 2001.
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
You’ll find many articles that cite a WrestleMania XXV match between these two as the greatest match of all time. Brilliant matches like that one usually come out of brilliant rivalries and the Undertaker-Michaels Rivalry is certainly that. This bout in 2009 was the first time the two had met since facing each other three times in 1997. On screen, the two didn’t get along and, for a while, they didn’t get along off-screen either. But after storied careers for both – and the 12 years without a fight – they met during that WrestleMania, with Undertaker winning courtesy of his Tombstone Piledriver.
Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat
Rivalries in wrestling have always sold tickets but were especially important to the sport’s success during the 1980s. You’ll find many people that say Nature Boy and The Dragon had one of the greatest feuds in professional wrestling. What set this rivalry apart from most is that it spanned three decades, starting back in the 70s. After not wrestling each other for nearly a decade, the two met at Clash of the Champions in 1989, setting off one of the most electric, exciting matches of all time.
Undertaker vs. Triple H
This was another lengthy rivalry, spanning more than a decade. Taker and Triple H had three of the most memorable WrestleMania matchups to date. Back in 2001, at WrestleMania 17, Undertaker defeated Triple H, and did so again at WrestleMania 27. And the very next year, in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28, Taker had H’s number once again.
The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Anytime a matchup headlines WrestleMania three times in five years, you know it’s the result of a fantastic feud. The Rock and Steve Austin had just that. Two of the biggest household names in wrestling during the 2000s, Rock and Stone Cold were built for the bright lights. When they clashed, no one took their eyes off the ring. Many say that their best match was WrestleMania 19, where The Rock pinned Austin after a lengthy effort.
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
Hogan and Andre had a storied relationship throughout their careers. Once friends, then rivals, then friends again, the two faced off multiple times, culminating in a match at WrestleMania 3 that features a moment still replayed today. Even if you’re not a wrestling fan, chances are you’ve seen the clip of Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant – something that was no easy feat – to defend his title.
Undertaker vs. Kane
You have to love a sibling rivalry and there was no sibling rivalry quite like the one between Undertaker and Kane. After Kane’s debut in 1997 at a Hell in a Cell match, Undertaker refused to fight him until, finally, they met at WrestleMania 14 a year later. Taker defeated his brother with the help of multiple Tombstone Piledrivers. Over the next decade, the brothers spent time as friends and also as adversaries, making for one of the best rivalries in pro wrestling.
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Here’s another rivalry featuring two of the biggest stars of their same era. The Heartbreak Kid, Bret Hart, met Shawn Michaels multiple times throughout the 90s, but one of the most famous matches happened at WrestleMania 12 back in 1996. In that event’s Iron Man match – a 60-minute one-on-one match – the two took it all the way to overtime, with Michaels finally pinning Hart after nearly 62 minutes in the ring. After that, the Hart-Michaels rivalry went on for years, and into real life.
(Cropped image courtesy The All-Night Images via Flickr.)