WWE fans tune in every week because wrestling is simply entertaining. Take extremely athletic and dedicated wrestlers, strong yet beautiful Divas, and storylines that rival any daytime soap opera, and these are just a few of the things that make the WWE so great and one of the top sports and entertainment events in the world. However, few things are better than seeing a good rivalry between top Superstars.
Even before it was known as the WWE, professional wrestling has always had rivalries that build up a juicy storyline and end with an exhilarating match between the two (or sometimes more!) foes. To be great, a rivalry has to have the combination of great wrestlers that the fans either love or love to hate, an engaging storyline, and a believable match or two, usually set at one of the company’s Pay-Per-View events. Every main event erupts from a rivalry that is shown throughout the weeks on shows including Raw and SmackDown before blowing up into a huge match that may or may not resolve the issue.
Some rivalries continue on until it’s time to move on to the next big challenge. In 2015, wrestling fans have already seen some of the best rivalries in recent years, and we have 10 of the best feuds of the year for your enjoyment.
10. A Talk Show Host Battles the Future of the WWE
It seemed like an unlikely pairing, but the feud between Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and heel Seth Rollins made for good entertainment. The feud began when Rollins called Stewart out in a video, calling him a “corporate monkey.” Stewart used his show to fire back at Rollins, who made an appearance. Stewart also player party-crasher, showing up at WWE Raw. This feud was more lighthearted than most, but this wasn’t the last the WWE Universe would see of Stewart. The comedian and host crashed WWE’s Summerslam, allowing Rollins to defeat John Cena to obtain the U.S. title in addition to the WWE Heavyweight title. On the following episode of Raw, Stewart explained that he didn’t want Cena to beat Ric Flair’s record. Cena responded by slamming the much smaller man to the ground.
9. Family Versus Family: The Wyatts and Two Brothers
This rivalry all started when Bray Wyatt began cutting the strange, cryptic promos he is known for. Eventually, it was revealed that the Superstar he was targeting was Roman Reigns, even threatening Reigns’ young daughter and setting up rooms with photos of Reigns with gouged-out eyes. Wyatt and Reigns went head-to-head at July’s Battleground event, where Wyatt was the victor. The two met up again at August’s SummerSlam in a tag-team match featuring former member of The Shield Dean Ambrose paired up with his “brother” Reigns and Luke Harper working with Wyatt. Ambrose and Reigns took this match and as of September, the two families are still feuding, with the new Wyatt Family addition of the monstrous Braun Strowman.
8. Paige Stands Up to the Bullying Bellas
Paige is not only the youngest Diva to win the championship title, but she’s also made waves throughout the WWE Universe for being different from Divas in the past, shunning self-tanner and revealing clothes for blue hair and black leather. Paige began her feud with Divas champ Nikki Bella and her twin sister Brie back in January. Highlights of this feud include Paige teaming up with now-retired Diva A.J. Lee, the Bellas spray painting Paige’s skin on stage, mocking and bullying her for being so pale, and a Divas Revolution. Fed up with the Bellas running things, Paige took action, which caught the eye of Stephanie McMahon. Wanting to increase the competition in the Divas Division, McMahon brought in new meat from NXT, including Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair.
7. Rusev Goes After Dolph Ziggler for Stealing Lana
After months of mistreating his girlfriend Lana, the couple broke up in front of a live audience and millions of viewers at home in May. Lana wasn’t one to sit on the sidelines scorned. Instead, she returned to the ring as Dolph Ziggler was cutting a promo directed at Sheamus. As she entered the ring, the two smiled at each other and then kissed in front of a roaring crowd. As of September, the duo continue to be hot and heavy in the ring, much to the chagrin of Rusev, who turned his attention to Summer Rae. The rivalry has included Rusev beating Ziggler with a crutch, fiery catfights between Lana and Summer Rae, and a storyline full of jealousy, romance, and heavy-hitting matches.
6. Randy Orton Turns on The Authority
An attack by Seth Rollins put Randy Orton on the sidelines with an injury. Upon his return, Rollins was scared about how Orton would react. Surprisingly, Orton fell right back into his role as a heel with The Authority. However, as weeks passed, Orton’s behavior was arousing the suspicions of J&J Security, Rollins’ security team. Orton even went on stage and made fun of The Authority, and then quickly laughed it all off as a joke. Just as Rollins became comfortable, The Viper decided to strike. While in a 2-on-1 handicap match against Roman Reigns, Orton stepped back when Rollins moved to tag him into the match, allowing Reigns to defeat Rollins. However, that wasn’t the end of the story, as Orton delivered one of the most brutal beatings seen in recent years, laughing at Rollins for believing he’d ever forgive him for injuring him. This rivalry continued for several weeks, with Orton delivering plenty of RKOs out of nowhere to Rollins before moving on to a feud with Sheamus.
5. Kevin Owens Moves On from NXT to Rivalry with John Cena
Kevin Owens has been on the radar for many years, most recently for betraying his friend Sammi Zayn to win the NXT championship title. However, the NXT belt just wasn’t enough for Owens, who took advantage of John Cena’s open challenges to try to claim the U.S. Championship. After defeating Cena in a non-title match, the face of the WWE and the WWE’s newest heel had an ongoing rivalry full of incredible matches and some of the best promos of the year. It all came to a head in July, when the two faced off at Battleground. Cena got Owens to tap out to retain the title, which was later taken at SummerSlam by Seth Rollins. The rivalry between Cena and Owens has died down, but Owens is now a regular fixture in WWE mid-card events.
4. Rivalry in The Authority
Seth Rollins has been proclaimed to be “the future of the WWE” by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, leaders of The Authority. As he has been given more advantages to advance through the ranks, Rollins has let his ego get the best of him. This has been especially difficult for Kane, the Director of Operations. Despite helping Rollins get to the top spot in the organization, Kane has been repeatedly disrespected, even being brutally attacked and insulted by Rollins after getting beat by Brock Lesnar. Tension has been building all year between these two, and while they’ve tussled a little bit, Kane always seems to be reined in by The Authority. The Demon Kane returned with a vengeance at Night of Champions, but they played it off like nothing happened the next night on Raw. This is one bizarre feud that’s building up to a great climax.
3. Sheamus Does the Unthinkable to Dolph Ziggler
Fans of the WWE were surprised when baby face Sheamus made a return after an injury. However, that surprise quickly turned to shock as Sheamus, rocking a huge red Mohawk and a long beard with beads, pulled off a brutal beating on Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan. He simply said, “I’m back” before dropping the mic and leaving the ring. Fans have now taken to chanting “You look stupid” throughout Sheamus’ rivalry with Ziggler, including an unforgettable Kiss My Arse match in 2014 where loser Sheamus rubbed his backside all over Ziggler’s face. The feud eventually died down, and as of September, Sheamus has moved on to a new feud with The Viper Randy Orton.
2. Rusev Can’t Crush John Cena’s Spirit
Rusev, the Russian who just couldn’t be stopped, had an incredibly entertaining rivalry with baby face John Cena. Rusev took it too far with Cena when he began to blatantly disrespect the United States. Cena promised to get the United States Championship back, and he delivered. At Wrestlemania 31, Cena defeated the powerful brute to win the belt. At the WWE Payback Pay-Per-View, Rusev attempted to get the title back and failed during an “I Quit” match. During Cena’s reign as U.S. Champion, he offered an open championship each week, allowing up-and-comers like Sammi Zayn and Kevin Owens to get more exposure. He lost the belt to Seth Rollins at SummerSlam in August when comedian Jon Stewart interfered in the match.
1. Undertaker Gets His Revenge on Brock Lesnar
At Wrestlemania 30, the WWE Universe was stunned when Undertaker’s 21-0 streak changed to 21-1 following a defeat by the Beast Brock Lesnar. In July, Undertaker made an appearance during Lesnar’s match on Raw, seeking his revenge for his loss. After weeks of a highly-publicized match, Undertaker got his revenge at SummerSlam 2015, but many fans called foul on the way he won the match. Lesnar got Undertaker to submit. However, the ref didn’t see it. The timekeeper, however, did see, and as the two argued, Undertaker went in for a low blow, then immediately reacted to get Lesnar to submit, a move that the ref did see. As of September, this appears to be the end of the rivalry between the Beast and one of WWE’s greatest legends.
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