Click here for Part 1

    Welcome to the second part in our alternative list of 25 awesome wrestling rivalries. As laid out in part 1, this is meant as a companion piece to the official DVD/Blu-Ray title released earlier this year (and available at which the WWE did a stellar job of compiling. Here we’re shining the spotlight on a further 25 memorable disputes not included on the aforementioned home video presentation and recapping the key points which made these battles so great.
    Before we get started with the rest of the rundown from numbers 15 to 1, here’s a quick recap of the feuds discussed last time out: Numbers 25 to 16:

    25.) Mike Awesome vs Masato Tanaka
    24.) Edge vs Kurt Angle
    23.) Diamond Dallas Page vs Macho Man Randy Savage
    22.) Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat vs Ravishing Rick Rude
    21.) Chris Benoit vs Kevin Sullivan
    20.) Dean Malenko vs Eddie Guerrero
    19.) The Rock vs Ken Shamrock
    18.) Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs Ravishing Rick Rude
    17.) Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit
    16.) Lita vs Trish Stratus

    So there you go, we’re up to speed. As you’ll see we’ve added in a quirky DVD Chapter to identify a specific match from the feud history worthy of special mention that you may want to search out as though watching a proper compilation of these great rivalries. Of course other match choices are available. Now, on with the show…..

    15.) Rob Van Dam vs Jerry Lynn

    Without a doubt, this is a prime example of opponents whose styles perfectly complimented each other. These two guys just clicked. Combining hardcore ECW brawling with solid mat work and aerial combat made for a mesh of styles which worked brilliantly. Always incorporating a lightning quick exhibition of moves, reversals, holds and counter holds, the often imitated Mexican stand-off spot during their matches definitely became a trademark of theirs in battles over both the ECW TV and World titles.

    They wrestled on numerous pay per views from 1999 to 2001 before closing the show at Guilty as Charged, the last ever pay per view of the original ECW run in January 2001. This was the ultimate doff of the cap to these performers for their truly sterling matches in the years prior, however they weren’t finished there. Reigniting the rivalry (albeit for one match only) the pair clashed again in the WWF on an August 2001episode of Sunday Night Heat which, despite being heavily edited for TV, was certainly a joy to watch. If nothing else it served as a great reason for the uneducated to look up their earlier, much more explosive contests. ECW’s greatest ever series of matches.

    DVD Chapter: RVD vs Jerry Lynn (ECW TV Title) – ECW Hardcore Heaven ‘99

    14.) The Ultimate Warrior vs Macho Man Randy Savage

    From 1989 to 1992, these memorable characters repeatedly crossed paths. Originally squaring off in Madison Square Garden and other high profile arena shows in a series of Champion vs Champion bouts just before Wrestlemania 5, it was obvious right from the outset that they had an electrifying natural chemistry with each other bonded by an intensity rarely seen since. Kept apart for most of the intervening 18 months, they continued ploughing their own furrows until The Warrior was given the responsibility of replacing Hulk Hogan and carrying the company as it’s new figurehead. With victories over other upper-card heels like Ted DiBiase, Mr Perfect and Rick Rude, it was obvious that Warrior’s next challenger would be the now “Macho King” Randy Savage.

    However company plans soon changed and Hogan vs Sgt Slaughter was chosen instead to headline the upcoming Wrestlemania. The wheels were set in motion for this change of plan when with the aid of Savage, The Warrior was toppled by Slaughter which proved the main impetus for him to seek revenge on his rival in a career ending match. The resulting clash proved to be one of the WWF’s artistic highpoints of the early 1990s, eclipsing just about everything else on the card (including Hogan vs Slaughter, which was a washout) and standing forever after as both the best match of the Warrior’s entire career and Savage’s greatest creative achievement (he laid out the entire match, move-by-move, beforehand). Soon after though, mixed fortunes saw Warrior depart the company (only to eventually return mere months later) and Savage pick up the slack left from Hogan’s decision to leave, rewarded with a WWF Title victory over Ric Flair.

    The two eventually found themselves on a collision-course once again though, this time both as firm fan favourites. Clashing at Summerslam 1992, the match sadly failed to live up to the lofty standards of their WM7 battle and was blighted by an inconclusive ending which the WWF incorporated as a means of advancing Ric Flair’s involvement in the title hunt. Although even this unsatisfying epilogue to their feud couldn’t diminish the fond memories of their earlier battles as two of the greatest superstars from the WWF’s golden age.

    DVD chapter: Warrior vs Savage (Champion vs Champion) – WWF in MSG, March 1989

    13.) Shawn Michaels vs Marty Jannetty

    In an era when tag teams rarely split up to feud with one another, this was one of the first such instances of a regular combo actually having a full blown break-up. Before this and even for some time after, almost every team either stayed and eventually left the company together or were just dissolved and sent their separate ways. Michaels and Jannetty however were the first team since Martel & Santana’s Strike Force to split-up acrimoniously and what a meltdown it was. Brilliantly played out over a number of weeks, the split began to materialise when slight miscues would happen during the course of tag matches where either Michaels would accidentally run into Jannetty or Shawn would suffer a wrongly-timed punch, costing them a victory.

    With the TV commentary teams playing it initially as though their expert timing was off rather than any dissention was brewing, viewers were left wondering whether the once-flawless teamwork of The Rockers had run its course. All the uncertainty surrounding the duo was hyped up on TV until ultimately they appeared on the interview segment which became famous for what was to happen next. The phrase “thrown through a barbershop window” became an expression synonymous with teams breaking up when Michaels did just that after blasting his partner with a wicked superkick on the set of Brutus Beefcake’s interview spot and spent the rest of the year making a name for himself as the hot new heel on the block before becoming Intercontinental Champion. For Marty though, the first in a string of poorly timed (real-life) suspensions was quashed and he re-surfaced in late 1992 to challenge his former partner for the I.C strap, engaging in an inconclusive brawl at 1993’s Royal Rumble. Sadly though, as became a recurring pattern, Jannetty’s personal issues got the better of him once more and he was dumped from the booking plans meaning we were again denied the payoff to what surely could have been one of the greatest in-ring series of the early 90’s.

    The stop-start nature of the feud meant that no proper traction could be maintained, badly affecting the emotional connection fans could invest in the program. Further Jannetty returns did of course happen, at one point with him even overturning his former partner in a cracking tussle for the title but it meant little by this point; the heat generated from the initial break-up had dissipated too much for an appropriate conclusion to happen. Whilst a couple of good TV matches did take place, the issue never really rose above mid-card attraction, which was a terrible shame. This could’ve been so much more memorable had the erratic Jannetty’s personal issues not resulted in such a stop-start series but it is still supremely relevant as being the platform on which Shawn Michaels’ legendary career was built upon.

    DVD chapter: Shawn vs Marty (IC Title) – WWF Monday Night Raw, May 1993

    12.) Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart vs ‘Mr Perfect’ Curt Hennig

    If ever there was a prototype for the perfect wrestling rivalry then this would have to be it. Both second generation grapplers; the cocky, gum chewing Hennig and the cool, understated Hitman were tailor made for one another as opponents and that was evidenced almost right from start of Mr Perfect’s run in the WWF. Immediately after his Wrestlemania 5 victory, Mean Gene suggested to Hennig that the sharpshooting Hitman might be competing in fewer tag bouts and could maybe even have “The Perfect One” in his sights. That indeed proved the case as throughout 1989 the two butted heads on the house show circuit even wrestling a rare TV match on Prime Time Wrestling in November that year.

    As the 90’s dawned though, the experimental split of the Hart Foundation was patched up and both found themselves in the hunt for and eventually wearing championship gold. Hennig’s status as the company workhorse was solidified with a lengthy I.C title run (but for 3 months at the end of the year) whilst Bret captured the tag team straps once again with Jim Neidhart at Summerslam ’90. Eventually conceding the tag titles with The Anvil at the subsequent Wrestlemania though, the path was made clear for Bret to go solo properly and he never looked back.

    With Hennig still going strong as IC Title holder also, the stage was set for their memorable encounter at Summerslam ‘91 where Perfect did his absolute best in elevating Bret before dropping the strap to huge fanfare. But the history between them doesn’t end there. After Perfect’s alliance with Ric Flair turned sour the following year (resulting from The Hitman’s shock WWF Title win no less) the pair even teamed up to face The Nature Boy and Razor Ramon and latterly Razor & Lex Luger in a series of tag matches around the circuit. Bumping heads in the KotR semi-finals in 1993 en route to Bret’s crowning as king they once again put on a fantastic, underrated bout and were even matched-up in the rings of WCW throughout 1998 on Nitro and on pay per view. Another example of two guys who were great pals behind the curtain but exceptional opponents in the ring. An excellent…. and perfect professional rivalry.

    DVD chapter: Bret vs Perfect – WWF in Toronto, April 1989

    11.) Macho Man Randy Savage vs Jake The Snake Roberts

    Who could ever forget the awesome heel turn by Jake in late summer 1991? After spending the preceding weeks aiding The Ultimate Warrior to get over his haunting encounter with The Undertaker in a series of macabre vignettes, Jake turned full blown bad guy at the wedding reception of the newly married Savage and Miss Elizabeth after Summerslam’s Match Made in Heaven. Concealing a “venomous” king cobra inside a wedding gift, Jake gate crashed the party alongside The Undertaker before being fought off by newcomer Sid Justice.

    The heat was intensified further at the culmination of Savage’s subsequent bid for reinstatement whereupon after learning that an injury to Sid Justice had forced his removal as team captain of a foursome to oppose Jake’s quartet at Survivor Series, The Macho Man was goaded by Jake into accepting an impromptu challenge on Superstars of Wrestling. This led to one of the most memorable images in WWF/E history when Savage, tied up in the ring ropes ended up with Jake’s king cobra gnawing on his arm as Vince McMahon yelled “My God, this was not supposed to happen!”

    Taking in further chapters at Survivor Series where both stars were podium-interviewed by Gene Okerlund, the subsequent Tuesday in Texas pay per view match where the heat was certainly at fever pitch for their first 1-on-1 clash, a face-off at the epic 1992 Royal Rumble and ultimately a feud-ending Saturday Night’s Main Event clash, this was certainly the most memorable dispute from my childhood and early-WWF fandom. Truly a five-star scorcher and as Jake himself once coldly said to fellow TWM writer Matt Roberts and myself: “That was A LOT of fun”

    DVD chapter: Savage vs Jake – WWF This Tuesday In Texas

    10.) The Ultimate Warrior vs Ravishing Rick Rude

    Talk about a program engineered to prep someone for the main event level! With Hulk Hogan’s head being turned by ventures outside of actual wrestling, Vince McMahon saw The Ultimate Warrior as his ideal replacement. Colourful, marketable and increasingly popular, the only problem lay in his lack of competence between the ropes. So after a series of plodding mid-card rivalries the WWF decided to put him in the ring opposite a truly exceptional worker to polish him up in preparation for that top spot.

    Not to discount the work done by the likes of Hercules and The Honky Tonk Man before him, but Ravishing Rick Rude was the perfect choice to teach the still-green and clumsy Warrior the finer points of working. And all things considered he did a fantastic job. Starting off their I.C Title rivalry at Rumble ‘89 in a glorified angle, their “Super Posedown” set the stage for one of the most high-profile I.C Title matches ever at Wrestlemania V. Unseating his war-painted rival to further the dispute and after a long program which lasted throughout the spring and summer months, Rude eventually dropped the gold back to The Warrior in an equally as well-hyped rematch at Summerslam ‘89. The match was far superior their initial bout and showed just how far The Warrior had come after the abundance of TV and house show battles they’d fought. But classes didn’t end there.

    After the scheduled passing of the torch at Wrestlemania VI, Warrior hardly set the world on fire as the new champion (thanks in no small part to Hogan even in defeat, stealing the spotlight). So, it was left to Rude again to kick-start the new champion’s string of title defences and again try and hide the cracks in his armour. Now with short hair and embarking on a series of all-business training promos, Rude became a much more convincing challenger to the WWF Title than he ever could have been as the old “Ravishing” character. Squaring off at Saturday Night’s Main Event in July 1990 and again in their famous Steel Cage Match at Summerslam the following month, it’s fair to say that Rude did perhaps more than anyone else to get The Ultimate Warrior ready for his run as company figurehead.

    DVD chapter: Rude vs Warrior (IC Title Match) – WWF Summerslam 1989

    9.) Shawn Michaels vs ‘The British Bulldog’ Davey Boy Smith

    Whilst by no-means as well-documented a rivalry as Shawn vs Bret, these two still had an entertaining history. Unseating Davey Boy seemingly out of nowhere for the IC title in October 1992, HBK was definitely fast-tracked on the way to the main event, however this was the last we would see of The Bulldog in a WWF ring until 1994. On opposing teams at the Survivor Series that year they picked up right where they left off as though the intervening years had never even happened. Once again battling as the final two in 1995’s Royal Rumble match, Michaels outsmarted Davey Boy to literally hold on and win the match. Shawn once again held the upper hand with a March 1995 win over The Bulldog in a highly rated main event match on Monday Night Raw but in the aftermath of a loss to new figurehead Diesel at Wrestlemania 11 and with his popularity on the increase, a face turn was a mere formality for HBK. But so too, was a Davey Boy heel turn.

    With challengers for Diesel in short supply, The Bulldog hopped the fence just days before Summerslam 95, turning on Big Daddy Cool in a tag team match. After the subsequent loss to the champion then and despite being on opposite sides of the face/heel divide, Davey Boy and HBK actually teamed at Survivor Series ‘95 for the innovative Wild Card match, surviving together no-less alongside newcomer Ahmed Johnson. Fast Forward then to spring ‘96 and after Michaels dethroned Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 12 and turned over the challenge of former best friend Diesel at In Your House 7, who was the next man to pose a threat to the new champion?

    None other than England’s greatest ever export to the WWF. Taking in two consecutive PPV main events firstly at In Your House 8 and then in an absolute cracker at KotR ‘96, these guys cemented their success-rate of working together to produce memorable matches galore. And that’s without even mentioning their red-hot European title match at the sold-out One Night Only PPV in Birmingham in September ’97.

    DVD chapter: HBK vs Davey Boy – Monday Night Raw, March 1995

    8.) Bret Hitman Hart vs Owen Hart

    The seeds were sewn for an Owen heel turn after he repeatedly fell afoul of The Hitman’s main event opponents. Owen’s “baby brother” act who always needed saving was as brilliant in it’s simplicity as it was in it’s execution. First suffering a beat-down at the hands of Razor Ramon prior to his Royal Rumble title shot against Bret in January then getting caught up in the family’s feud with Jerry Lawler, where discord began to rear it’s head. At Survivor Series in 1993 as the only member of the Hart Family team not to survive, Owen threw an almighty tantrum and stormed off from ringside as his victorious brethren celebrated.

    In the weeks that followed though, the siblings cast aside any sense of friction and Bret & Owen found a fresh harmony with the former committing his career from then on to tag team competition with his beloved younger brother. However it was during the duo’s Tag Team Title match against The Quebecers at Rumble ‘94 where Bret suffered a (storyline) knee injury subsequently falling victim to the championship-defending pinfall loss and shattering any dreams Owen harboured of wearing WWF gold. Seizing his chance to finally escape the “shadow” of his older brother, Owen attacked Bret, kicking his injured leg out from under him and left the arena to a chorus of boos.

    Memorable clashes followed then at Wrestlemania X, Summerslam ’94 and on numerous episodes of Monday Night Raw from 1994 into ‘95 and even beyond. Indeed, these two kept crossing paths periodically until the memorable reunion of The Hart Foundation in 1997 and on every occasion they clashed the brothers produced a classic match.

    DVD Chapter: Bret vs Owen – WWF Wrestlemania X

    7.) Sting vs Big Van Vader

    In the eyes of many fans, Big Van Vader is the greatest big-man in wrestling history and during his days in WCW he found his greatest ever foe in Sting. The mega-popular company figurehead and lead babyface was the perfect counterpoint to Vader’s hard-hitting, brutal bad-guy in battles over the WCW World Title throughout 1992 and 1993. Solidified his status as the ultimate monster heel , Vader overturned Sting at The Great American Bash in July ‘92 to capture the gold but it was their super-stiff and awesomely believable matches at Starrcade ’92 and Superbrawl 3 which remain the undisputed high-points of their feud.

    Taking in numerous other singles, tag team, 6-man and even 8-man matches, the pair squared off many times at Clash TV specials and other pay per views including captaining the opposing teams in the War Games match from Fall Brawl ’93. During the course of their series, such names as Ric Flair, Ravishing Rick Rude, Davey Boy Smith and Sid Vicious to name a few were dragged into the mix, proving that this pre-Hogan era WCW had more than it’s fair share of memorable match-ups and big-name personalities. Sadly though, throughout 1994 an influx of ex-WWF mid-carders were enlisted to beef up the roster and give Hogan some familiar faces whom he could pal around with backstage.

    Naturally this spelled the end of the hard-hitting WCW style pioneered by the likes of Sting and Vader and rather than providing a gripping alternative show, with Hogan and his cronies on board, they instead turned WCW into watered down version of the WWF circa 1989. Before all this though, there’s no denying that Sting and Vader contested perhaps the most criminally underrated series of the last 25 years. One of WCW’s best ever programs.

    DVD Chapter: Sting vs Vader (King of Cable Tournament Final) – WCW Starrcade ‘92

    6.) Hulk Hogan vs The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase

    “Greed is good” was the catchphrase from Oliver Stone’s movie Wallstreet and it perfectly fit 1980’s America. So what better storyline to end the decade than a greedy, mega-rich bad guy battling the hard working, clean cut, fan favourite champion? Right from the outset of his WWF tenure, The Million Dollar Man was intent on buying everyone and everything in the Federation so it was only a matter of time before he flashed the cash at Hulk Hogan and tried to buy the champion’s WWF Heavyweight Title Belt. However The Hulkster’s refusal to sell only served to make DiBiase even more intent on purchasing his coveted prize.

    Enlisting the help of Andre The Giant to wrestle the title away, DiBiase was indeed successful in his bid to buy the Championship when Andre won the gold and cashed it in immediately. However this heinous act would never prove to be a licence to hold the belt for too long as WWF President Jack Tunney ruled the title vacant with the winner of a title tournament at Wrestlemania IV being declared undisputed champion. Enter Randy Savage then as the new champ, ultimately defeating DiBiase in the final amidst all sorts of shenanigans involving Hogan and Andre. The two sets of allies would then square off in a mega-match tag team main event at the inaugural Summerslam but this was only the start for Hogan and DiBiase.

    Continuing to find themselves on opposite sides of the ring on and off for the next 2 years, they collided at live events, Saturday Night’s Main Event specials and at 3 consecutive Survivor Series events in 1988, ’89 and 1990 where Hogan pinned DiBiase in the Grand Finale match. Hell, they even butted heads one more time at the woeful Wrestlemania XI over the tag team titles. But not even that could put a damper on this all-time classic good guy vs bad guy morality tale.

    DVD chapter: Hogan vs DiBiase (WWF Title Match) – Saturday Night’s Main Event, October 1989

    5.) Bret Hitman Hart vs Jerry The King Lawler

    This dispute between Bret Hart, winner of the inaugural King of the Ring tournament and the self proclaimed “King of Wrestling” Jerry Lawler was off to a flyer right from the outset. Already hated by WWF fans due to his heel commentary on Monday Night Raw and Superstars of Wrestling, Lawler gate crashed the Hitman’s coronation at the aforementioned pay per view, brutally assaulting Bret and slamming the King’s throne down onto The Hitman.

    As summer continued, the feud intensified further with Lawler on one occasion even targeting Hart’s parents in attendance during Monday Night Raw and mocking them as Bret battled Bam Bam Bigelow. Taking the feud to another level on the heat scale, with the two set to do battle at Summerslam ’93, Lawler tried and failed to dodge the match but ultimately came out on top after Bret’s quest for revenge in the name of his family cost him the bout. Forfeiting victory by inflicting sustained punishment on his foe, Bret conceded defeat when Lawler was declared the winner by disqualification. Heading into the planned feud-ender at Survivor Series with Jerry Lawler and his “Knights” facing a Hart Family quartet captained by Bret, the buzz was most certainly killed as Lawler was removed from TV due to certain indiscretions in his personal life leaving Shawn Michaels to fill in at the last minute. Michaels made an admirable effort in his role as you can imagine, but the heart (pardon the pun) had definitely been ripped out of the feud.

    Lawler returned some six months later but by that time, Bret had been earmarked to carry the WWF Title and a run as his number 1 contender was not what the company had in mind for The King and so, the dispute merely fizzled out. Until approximately 18months later in the aftermath of The Hitman’s Wrestlemania XI win over Bob Backlund. During Bret’s next program against Japanese newcomer Hakushi, Lawler began to intimate that the results of a popularity poll between Hart & Hakushi were rigged, as votes from Japanese fans were discounted, leading Lawler to brand Hart a racist. Renewing their feud, Bret actually pulled double-duty at the inaugural In Your House when he overturned Hakushi in a fantastic, forgotten gem before once again losing to Lawler.

    The ultimate payoff though, came at King of the Ring ’95. Exactly two years after their original altercation with Hart literally forcing Lawler’s own stinking, unwashed foot down his own mouth in a much-hyped Kiss My Foot match to officially put the issue to bed. A sub-plot involving Lawler’s “royal dentist” who treated The King’s death-breath and mouth ulcers (resulting from chewing on his own nasty foot) and subsequent matches at Summerslam and on Monday Night Raw inside a steel cage saw Lawler heavily involved running interference but is of little interest really. However it is still noteworthy of mention, on account of the Isaac Yankem character being the introduction to WWF screens of the man behind one of the WWF’s most enduring gimmicks, the massive Glen “Kane” Jacobs.

    DVD Chapter: Bret vs Lawler – WWF Summerslam 1993

    4.) Triple H vs Batista

    Quite possibly the greatest storyline in recent memory. The slow-burn build up from stable mates within Evolution into Championship rivals was an undeniable success. The seeds were planted for a Batista title chase after he won 2005’s Royal Rumble, ensuring a future shot at the championship of his choice, with HHH regaining the gold against his original upstart challenger Randy Orton earlier in the show. As “The Animal” served as Triple H’s interference runner throughout his dispute with Orton, the rivalry began to take shape on the Feb 8 edition of Raw after Triple H defeated Edge to retain the World title.

    Due to Batista’s interference the two celebrated with the big man raising Triple H’s hand in victory and getting a close look at the World Championship before staring Triple H down. Fearing his pal might be thinking of challenging HIM for the World Heavyweight Title instead of WWE Champion JBL, Triple H began to concoct an elaborate scheme to deflect Batista’s interest, creating a potential dispute between his right-hand man and the Smackdown champion instead. However this only served to generate even more animosity between the two as Batista ultimately uncovered Hunter’s plot to run him over in JBL’s limousine, after overhearing the Evolution kingpin and his crony Ric Flair’s far from flattering comments backstage. During the much hyped contract signing where Batista would decide which championship to challenge for, his face-turn was secured.

    Choosing the contract to battle his former pal, Batista pretended to sign with the SmackDown brand, giving Triple H and Flair the “thumbs up” before turning it into a “thumbs down” (alluding to the way Randy Orton was kicked out of Evolution after winning the world title at SummerSlam 2004) before powerbombing Tripper through the signing table. The subsequent Wrestlemania match ended with a new champion however the dispute continued on into the Backlash and Vengeance shows where Batista again scored consecutive wins over his former mentor.

    DVD chapter: Batista vs HHH (World Heavyweight Title Match) – WWE Wrestlemania 21

    3.) Macho Man Randy Savage vs Ric Flair

    Thrown together as rivals in the build-up to Wrestlemania 8, after Flair’s planned opponent Hulk Hogan expressed a desire to leave the federation, the key dispute revolved around Flair’s insistence that he was once the love interest of Savage’s wife Elizabeth years before. With Savage becoming incensed and vowing revenge on The Nature Boy for his slanderous, lecherous comments about Liz, the stage was set for perhaps the most soap-opera style WWF Title feud ever up to that point.

    The addition of Elizabeth as the main catalyst for the match to take place added a whole new dimension to a match which, without it was obviously a last minute make-weight due to Hogan’s departure. It is therefore a testament to their amazing storytelling and natural abilities that both men were able to put on a compelling tale centred around Savage defending the honour of his wife whilst The Nature Boy tried every dirty trick in the book to retain his WWF title. Inevitably losing their Wrestlemania showdown however, Flair continued to be a thorn in Savage’s side throughout the spring and summer of 1992, before inevitably capturing the belt back from him in September until all sorts of main-event shake-ups took place with Bret Hart unseating Flair as champ and Flair then falling in a loser leaves town match to his former wing-man Mr Perfect.

    The Savage/Flair feud was eventually re-ignited in WCW in the mid-1990s though and played out numerous times, most notably after Flair dropped Savage to capture the WCW World Title at Starrcade ’95 setting in motion all sorts of antics involving Miss Elizabeth being welcomed into Flair’s Horsemen camp and forcing legal proceedings against Savage demanding divorce settlements and the like. Indeed, rather than seen as a lame re-hash of their WWF feud, the WCW story actually took their dispute to another level and even eclipsed their 1992 run. Getting back to the intial scrap though, what is sometimes lost in historical re-appraisals of Wrestlemania VIII is just what a dream match Savage vs Flair was seen as back in 1992. Whilst Hogan vs Flair would have been promoted as the two business figureheads of the 1980s clashing, Flair had far more in common, in terms of his in-ring standards and work ethic, with Savage, and to fans ‘in the know’, these two going at it truly was a mouthwatering prospect.

    DVD chapter: Savage vs Flair (WCW Heavyweight Title) – WCW Starrcade ‘95

    2.)Sting vs Ric Flair

    The nWo’s importance to the overall success and profitability of WCW cannot be overstated. However it is this feud which undoubtedly defines WCW better than any other. From 1988 right through to the company’s close in 2001 these perennial rivals repeatedly crossed swords and their history together is easily the most glaring omission from WWE’s official list of the top 25 rivalries ever. From the time limit draw they wrestled to open up the first ever Clash of the Champions TV special to Sting’s first World Title victory over Flair at the underrated Great American Bash 1990 pay per view, throughout all their battles against each other over the title in 1990/91 to that final match on the last-ever WCW Monday Nitro; these men were without question the two names most synonymous with the much missed Atlanta based group.

    Upon Flair’s return to WCW after his 18 month WWF run, they occasionally teamed up against the likes of Vader and Rick Rude however it wasn’t long before they began trading wins and championships once again, until Hulk Hogan crashed the party in 1994 to stake his claim as the number 1 babyface in the company. There’s no denying Sting took a backseat to Hogan during this time. He HAD to, but it’s also true that Sting and Flair were still always going to be butting heads along the way. Wrestling at further Clash specials and on pay per view, notably in the classic 3-way dance at Starrcade ’95 where “Naitch” outlasted both Sting and his other perennial WCW foe Lex Luger to earn a shot and ultimately unseat Randy Savage to once again become WCW Champion.

    Throughout all this history and in teaming against common enemy the nWo in the latter days of WCW, friction always existed between The Stinger and The Nature Boy. It was only fitting then that the two did do battle one more time. Forgetting all the legal nonsense that he had to endure in the last 2-3 years of WCW, Flair rolled the years back with Sting one final time in the closing match of the last ever WCW Nitro. How fitting it was then, that such an iconic rivalry between these two legitimate legends was chosen to kiss-off the last episode of (in some fans’ eyes) the most influential TV program in the history of pro-wrestling. Just what would today’s landscape look like, had WCW Monday Nitro never hit the airwaves to compete with Monday Night Raw?

    DVD Chapter: Sting vs Flair (NWA World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Great American Bash ‘90

    1.)Bret Hitman Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

    People always credit Vince McMahon’s heel turn following the Montreal screwjob and his subsequent dispute with Stone Cold as the beginning of the attitude era. But for me, the real genesis of the WWF’s change in direction came towards the end of 1996. It was obvious that with Bret Hart off the radar following his loss to Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12, WWF crowds had embraced the renegade Stone Cold character for it’s anti-hero nature. Tiring of clean cut good guys and villainous bad guys, the line between the two had gotten blurred and we all thought it was cool.

    Fans cheered in greater numbers week after week as Austin went on a one man crusade of destroying The Hitman’s legacy in the WWF, repeatedly calling him out and belittling his accomplishments for weeks prior to their match at Survivor Series. Their clash at the November supershow was just the start of it all, as for the next 9 months the dispute grew and grew to the point where it became, to my mind the greatest storyline dispute in wrestling history. As Austin’s “Stone Cold” persona essentially stayed the same during this time despite it’s snowballing popularity, the Hitman character subtly changed from the fan favourite role-model he had always portrayed, becoming bitter and resentful towards the fans’ approval of Austin and his take-no-prisoners attitude.

    His growing disappointment at the fans’ preference of Austin intensified at the 1997 Royal Rumble when Austin last eliminated Hart amidst controversy galore only for the cool, calm Hitman to go off the deep end in the weeks after, exploding into full-on hatred of the fans and indeed of the Federation itself who, in his mind had engineered the whole thing. Of course, while this storyline materialised on screen, it was the off screen uncertainty stemming from the original plan of having a Bret/Shawn rematch which fuelled the Hitman’s resurgence. Expecting the Heartbreak Kid to return the favour from the previous year and put him over, Michaels whiny story about ‘losing his smile’ resulted in yet another hiatus, and paved the way for an extension of the Hart/Austin hostilities in the form of a Submission Match.

    Much has been written about this bout, and whilst contemporary fans are more inclined to judge the many Austin vs Rock and (more recently) Michaels vs Undertaker matches as being the best in WWF/WWE history, there is no doubt that, from a purely creative standpoint, there has never been a better-booked contest in a wrestling ring. Everything about the match; the performances of Austin and Hart, the camera angles used to intensify both the wrestlers’ faces and the violence of the match, the expertly-booked double turn and Ken Shamrock’s oft-forgotten role as the guest referee giving ‘the fight’ a real life flavour means that it still thrills like no other match I know of when viewed today. Broadening its scope further still in the aftermath of their Wrestlemania clash, the feud took on another twist to include several members of Hart’s ‘family circle’ and spinning off into the awesome US vs Canada war, culminating with the classic ten-man tag team main event of the Canadian Stampede In Your House show in July 1997.

    Today seen as the feud that made Stone Cold Steve Austin the most thrilling figure in company history, the consequences of the dispute for Hart were to prove very different, as his heel character put paid to his babyface standing within the company and paved the way for his inevitable exit after Survivor Series 1997. Austin then went onto five immensely successful years as the WWE’s franchise player, whilst Hart saw out his career with a whimper rather than a bang as a mid-card fixture of the failing WCW. In that respect, there was truly a winner and a loser in this awesome feud.

    DVD Chapter: Bret vs Austin (No Holds Barred) – WWF Wrestlemania 13

    – By Dave Green