Feuds in professional wrestling have always been one of the major crowd pullers alongside divas, knockouts or women wrestlers. More often than not, such feuds tend to annoy even the most faithful fans thanks to their doltishness. World Wrestling Entertainment is no exception as they have made us sit through physically and mentally excruciating feuds such as Bipolar Kane versus Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler versus Rusev (to name a few), while also helping us witness top-notch feuds that can mainevent any wrestling show from any generation (courtesy of the involved wrestlers’ mic skills and in-ring abilities).
WWE announced that they had been deemed a PG television rating by their network distributors halfway into 2008 and have refrained from suggestive dialogues, coarse language, sexual situations and violence drastically. Though it was a brilliant move for the future of the business, they have gotten a lot of heat from their fanbase, with the keyboard warriors regularly going nostalgic over Steve Austin’s middle finger moments, bikini contests, the amount of blood shed on the wrestling mat and of course, Sable’s flashing segments. In the place of bra and panties, first blood and heterosexual matches, WWE have made us watch The Great Khali kiss random women from the crowd with the current creative head Ranjin Singh orchestrating the scenes.
Even though hardcore fans of Attitude Era lambast the creative team of WWE for lacking the emotions and exuberance of the yesteryears, the Connecticut-based company still ousts every other wrestling promotion when it comes to storylines and feuds, undeniably. In the past few years, we have seen many swashbuckling feuds that managed to keep even the sternest professional wrestling disparagers on the edge of their seats.
One honorable mention we have to go with is Sasha Banks/Charlotte/Becky Lynch. The Divas division seemed to be the wane, but by the looks of things, these three wrestlers look equipped to not just recuperate it but also take it to the Lita-Trish heights. The tussle for Divas Championship will likely turn out to be one of the best PG Era feuds, provided the trio continue to impress with their talent. Let us just hope Ric Flair does not plant kisses forcefully on another lass.
However, the following article lists only the top PG era 15 feuds that had (or have) set the four-sided ring alight and will bear testimony to the greatness of the wrestlers of this generation.
15. John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Despite the fact that WWE has overused the John Cena versus Randy Orton feud, it continues to be one of the most exciting feuds of the PG Era. It is surprising how the duo has still not managed in-ring chemistry despite feuding regularly, but Cenation will one day look back at this feud as one of the most thrilling feuds they had grown up with. Despite wide criticism, this feud featured an exciting I Quit Match (that Super Cena won, of course), an Ironman match (which Super Cena had to win again) and the unification of WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship. They briefly rekindled the rivalry after the unification of the title, with the Champ emerging the victor.
14. Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio
Though this feud lasted only three pay-per-views, it featured one of the most defining moments of modern wrestling – Rey Mysterio being unmasked at Extreme Rules (2009). Chris Jericho reinstated himself as a top heel during this period, and the skirmishes between the savior and the Mexican high-flyer sure augmented the significance of the Intercontinental Championship. Though this feud culminated in a rather notorious fashion with the Ultimate Underdog putting on two masks in a mask versus title match, it is one of the most entertaining feuds of PG era.
13. AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn and AJ Lee extricated Divas division from becoming eye candies again as their rivalry contained admiring athleticism and strong buildup. This rivalry also saw in-ring contract signing for the Divas Championship for the first time in history. AJ eventually would dethrone her former best friend and would embark on a title run of 295 days. Had AJ not retired and Kaitlyn not moved onto other projects, they would have gone on to become Lita and Trish Stratus of this generation of wrestlers.
12. The Nexus vs. WWE
The Nexus announced themselves to the WWE Universe by launching an unexpected attack on CM Punk and John Cena during a title match, thereby kickstarting a feud with the leader of Cenation. The group soon found themselves feuding with the biggest stars on the main roster. Comprising ‘rookies’ from the first season of NXT – Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Skip Sheffield and others – the stable would continue to be a dominant force even after earning their WWE contracts. This feud helped WWE introduce current main-eventers like Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan to their fanbase.
11. LayCool vs. Mickie James
LayCool literally bullied Mickie James for five-odd months, and WWE, as it traditionally does, allowed the babyface to take home the Championship belt eventually. The feud contained backstage politics, strong involvement of Beth Phoenix (who aligned with neither), name calling (Piggie James), parody videos, impersonation, a pig-shaped cake and a faux bout between Michelle McCool and Layla, who dressed up in a fatsuit and pig mask. Though it often looked lame, it eventually gave the heels their comeuppance.
10. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
Turning on a friend is a popular storyline in professional wrestling, but the former Shield teammates took it to the next level with their stellar in-ring work backed up with brilliant story telling from WWE creative team. Though the feud ended with Seth Rollins retaining his title at Money in the Bank, we may witness these two men taking the limelight sometime soon thanks to the marketability of their story and their undoubted spontaneity with the microphone and in-ring chemistry.
9. The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
Though a lot of WWE fans prefer not to remember The Undertaker for his feud with Brock Lesnar, it continues to be one of the most profound moments in the history of WWE as it brought the Phenom’s legendary streak at WrestleMania to an end. The Texas-born legend “won” a rematch at SummerSlam in a messy ending, but ultimately could not avenge his loss as the Beast defeated him again at Hell in a Cell after delivering three F5s.
It was a brilliant move from Vince as the upset victory got the media and fans talking about WWE incessantly for days. This feud is also the biggest reason why Lesnar is the most over star on the roster and now fans go nuts for him whenever he comes back.
8. Randy Orton vs. Christian
Christian finally got his much-deserved title run, albeit only brief. Both men brought the best out of each other during their promos and matches. The Canadian’s pleas for rematches sometimes made him look weak as if the disqualification victory at Money in the Bank (2011) that had earned him his second World Heavyweight Championship did not cut the mustard. WWE could have opted against making Randy Orton look like Super Cena as he defeated the Captain Charisma week after week. However, this feud ranks among the most celebrated feuds in Christian’s career.
7. Randy Orton vs. Triple H
Here is a feud that got personal along the way, with Randy Orton launching a kiss on Stephanie McMahon-Levesque as Triple H helplessly watched after punting his in-laws. The Game, however, had his revenge, invading the Viper’s (kayfabe) home in St. Louis but was eventually put behind the bars (by developmental wrestlers). Though many WWE faithful expressed their unrest over their WrestleMania XXIV showdown, stating that the match should have dragged a little, this feud comes across as legendary and takes credit for bringing the Apex Predator to superstardom.
6. Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
This feud initially started as the battle for the best-in-the-world crown but soon mutated into a personal rivalry when Chris Jericho brought CM Punk’s alcoholic father and drug-addicted sister to the scene to put stains on his straight-edge persona. Jericho even went to the extent of dousing the Chicago-made wrestler in whiskey on Raw in the wake of his unsuccessful bid to claim the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXVIII. At Extreme Rules the following month, Punk avenged the psychological demolition with a win in a Chicago Street Fight.
5. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
Before the pipebomb became a thing in WWE, it was with this feud that CM Punk announced himself to the WWE Universe. The current UFC fighter embraced the character amazingly, and the WWE creative team should be acclaimed for making the best use of Jeff Hardy’s real life drug problems (though it was a bit uncomfortable for some fans). Despite being staged on SmackDown, this feud often headlined PPVs, most notably SummerSlam that saw both men main event the show in a TLC match. The Extreme Enigma bid adieu to the WWE Universe in a subsequent career threatening cage match on SmackDown, but his feud with the self-proclaimed best in the world is still talked about.
4. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Starting with Chris Jericho being the special referee at Backlash in a match between Batista and Shawn Michaels, this feud panned out to be one of the greatest feuds of all time as it involved everything that a professional wrestling would never fail to cheer and jeer (for the right reasons) – Y2J rightly spotting Michaels’ fake injury, punching his wife, throwing him through the Highlight Reel television, two knockout victories (one apiece, fittingly) and Lance Cade turning on his former trainer in HBK. Though this feud initially played second fiddle to HHH-Randy Orton and Edge-The Undertaker feuds, it eventually got gold involved as Jericho defeated Michaels to retain the World Heavyweight Championship – which he had won at Unforgiven – in a ladder match at No Mercy, 2008.
3. Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority
Daniel Bryan taking on The Authority unquestionably is the best storyline WWE has come up with in a long time and to think they were initially skeptical about its outcome. The feud saw Randy Orton, John Cena, Triple H, Kane and The Shield involved only to make the bearded one the face of the company. Brie Bella locked horns with Stephanie McMahon while the ‘indie darling’ finally won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania after an unconvincing end to the Royal Rumble. ‘Yes’ chants explain the success of this feud.
2. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
Here is the feud involving arguably the two most marketable and legendary superstars of their generation. While their WrestleMania XXV bout fixated on the in-ring details, their return fixture at WrestleMania XXVI had sentimental value in plethora as it marked the end of an era – HBK’s retirement. From the Shawn Michaels interference that cost the Deadman his World Heavyweight Title at Elimination Chamber 2010 to the moment they braced after the pin, every moment was pitch-perfect; the five-star rated matches only stressed upon what these two veterans could pull off, defying the protocol of senescence.
1. CM Punk vs. John Cena
Many fans remember it fondly for the pipebomb promos while the others cherish their Money in the Bank 2011 match (that saw respected professional wrestling critic Dave Meltzer give a whopping five stars). This feud undeniably is on the same page as the Stone Cold Steve Austin-The Rock feud from the Attitude Era. In addition, it also made those who had given up on Vince McMahon’s ideas watch WWE again. Right from in-ring chemistry to promos, WWE could not have done it any better, and it easily tops our rankings.
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