WWE The Top 25 Rivalries In Wrestling History review

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As a fan of WWF/WWE for more years than I care to remember (my first memory is of a Wrestlemania IV VHS!), The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History is a fascinating overview of the best feuds from times gone by. Not only is it a trip down memory lane but it also serves as a great introduction to wrestlers of the past for those newer fans out there. There are many who only know Hulk Hogan by reputation alone or the Verne Gagnes and Nick Bockwinkels of this world, names that are only mentioned in passing around the Hall of Fame but formed the foundations of wrestling today as we know it.

Of course, with any ‘list’ released on DVD or otherwise, there will always be debate as to who makes the cut. How can there not be with decades of match ups and numerous companies to choose from? Especially now when WWE own so many different libraries, the possibilities are endless. There will be the obvious ones that everyone will agree on – The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart for example are two that are hard to argue against – but there are others you’ll see on this release and be reminded of just how good they were, especially some of the ECW and WCW feuds.

These are rivalries for the ages, the ones that have been replicated time and again but never bettered. The heights of the Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr McMahon rivalry where Austin did everything we can only dream of doing to our bosses is a tried and tested formula that many General Managers have been involved in since. Every time WWE celebrate a Raw anniversary or hark back to the Attitude Era, you’re guaranteed to see a clip of Austin driving the Zamboni to the ring and interrupting McMahon’s title presentation, or the McMahons suffering a beer bath. Even though you may have seen the clips a hundred times over, the quality and energy of the feud makes them watchable every time. Hear the crowds roar and you’ll know just how popular the rivalry was at the time.

The key to many of the rivalries in this collection is just how personal they were. The Undertaker vs. Kane is a family feud that has been on and off for over 15 years now, where they can be the best of brothers or the worst of enemies. In fact The Undertaker ends up in some of the most personal battles on the list, whether it be trying to bury Mankind alive, or the spirit of competition between himself and ‘Mr Wrestlemania’ Shawn Michaels. Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero is another that drags family into the wrestling environment, even resulting in a Ladder Match for the custody of a child! There’s certainly some questionable moments along the way, but most of the time the wrestling speaks for itself.

Many of the WWE Legends you see turning up on TV from time to time are present here in their prime – Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat to name a few. Before CM Punk ever dropped a pipebomb, Piper was hitting people over the head with coconuts and running his mouth like nobody’s business. You can see where Cody Rhodes got his wrestling talent from, and how the high flyers of today are influenced by Steamboat. If you ever wondered how Ric Flair became ‘the man’ to beat, then he is at his best here in a number of grudge matches. The 1980s may have been a time for growth before the explosion into the mainstream, but they were also home to some of the best in-ring feuds of all time, and home to the most flamboyant personalities ever seen in wrestling.

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There is also a nice mixture of wrestlers at the top of their game – Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage, and CM Punk vs. John Cena – alongside feuds between those trying to break through that glass ceiling to the main event scene, such as Triple H vs. The Rock, a classic feud that carried both stars through the mid-card Intercontinental Championship right through to the World Title. For pure wrestling action there’s Gagne vs. Bockwinkel and Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar, while tag teams are represented with The Von Erichs vs. The Fabulous Freebirds and the more hardcore action of Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz. Speaking of hardcore, if your tastes lean more towards the extreme then Tazz vs. Sabu and Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven will be right down your street.

This set is one of the better countdown style releases that WWE have produced, with some great analysis from wrestlers not directly involved in the feuds. It’s always interesting to hear wrestlers comment on the work of others, showing respect and admiration which is not something that you generally see on television. The documentary portion is certainly the strongest offering in this 3-disc set, with discs 2 and 3 dedicated to rarer matches in the rivalries. This is nice for those who already have a lot of other sets, but does result in some of the weaker matches from feuds being used.

No doubt once you’ve watched this set you will have a lot of opinions as to the inclusions on the list and their order, but on the whole it’s an enjoyable and informative representation of wrestling history. The Blu-ray as usual includes a few extra matches and TV segments, but due to so much of this set being in standard definition it’s not a vital purchase and you will enjoy the DVD set just as much. If you’re looking for a substantial overview of the best wrestling in major companies over the past few decades then this is an essential addition to your collection.

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1 Comment

  1. Joe says:

    Great review! This has convinced me to buy the set!

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