If you're a fan of long-term storytelling, the number one thing you're looking at come year's end is the best (and worst) feuds of the year. Some fans are perfectly happy to watch match-to-match, not paying much mind to the beats between. So if you're one of those, don't worry — we'll have a rundown of the best individual matches soon enough. For the others who get deeply invested in the characters and their story arcs, this one's for you. We're looking at the story, the characters, and how they unfolded in the ring. What made our top seven of the best feuds, and what about our three worst? Find out below!
10. Best: Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey
This one almost got left off the list on a technicality: if you never had a match, does it count as a feud? Maybe not, but we'll bend the rules for Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey's cutthroat back and forth.
Most of this feud happened on social media, which is both a testament to how much wrestling has changed. Lynch's social media work is on a whole other level — just take a look at her attack on the various people who have made the mistake to cross her, like Alexa Bliss or Seth Rollins. She knows this character in and out, and has never looked more comfortable in or out of the ring.
For Rousey's part, she's doing great work, though it seems odd that taking concussions lightly is suddenly a face move. She appears legitimately ticked off by The Man moniker, so her passion is really coming through. The second they had to take Becky out of the Survivor Series match, this became the money match at WrestleMania. Expect to see this on the best of 2019 list, too.
9. Best: Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
The moment Zayn pulled Owens off the table right before Shane McMahon crashed into him was priceless. It spurred a pretty interesting story that ended up involving Daniel Bryan and leading to his in-ring return at WrestleMania. This take on the typical authority vs. rebels program was refreshing. Although a lot of Zayn and Owens' complaints were valid, they were so insufferable that we all rooted against them anyway. It was also incredibly fun to see Owens and Zayn on the same page; their bromance came through in a way that had us smiling constantly.
8. Best: Velveteen Dream Vs. Ricochet
NXT is a breeding ground for great stories right now, and one of the best this year has to be Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet. Both of these guys are incredible performers on their own, and together they brought something really special to their feud. It's always refreshing when two competitors who don't seem to have much beef make their program feel personal. Velveteen Dream did just that, as he often does, but in subtle, indirect ways.
On the top of that list, coming out in a bonafide Prince Puma (Richochet's Lucha Underground character) gear. In fact, we're pretty sure those were Richochet's actual tights. It was a nod only a portion of the audience would understand, but that's part of what made it so good.
Dream was shooting on all cylinders.
7. Best: The Miz Vs. Daniel Bryan
Brayn's second mention on this list is, in all fairness, not really his doing. The Miz was the MVP of this feud as he has been for so many throughout his career. It's not that Bryan wasn't pulling his weight, it's just that The Miz always goes so above and beyond to tell an entertaining story.
This particular feud didn't even start in 2018, it started way back in 2016 on an episode of Talking Smack. When Daniel Bryan called The Miz soft, Miz lost his cool and delivered an impassioned unscripted promo on Bryan. At that point, most believed that we would never actually get to see it culminate in the ring due to Bryan's retirement. That's made it all the sweeter to see this play out.
The matches may have come in below expectations but this feud is far from over, so we will withhold judgment of the ring work from now. It's so exciting to think that we might actually see these two head-to-head at WrestleMania. To make it even better, the roles are reversed: The Miz will likely be the face in the program moving forward.
6. Best: Seth Rollins Vs. Finn Bálor
These are two of the strongest competitors WWE has on its roster. They have incredible chemistry, so it's no surprise they delivered over and over again. What was unique about this feud was how they never lost their camaraderie. Some might criticize it for the lack of consistency but we think it added to their feud. They clearly had quite a great deal of respect and admiration for each other no matter what. It also protected both of them as babyfaces because neither had to falter on their good-guy persona. Instead, this was friendly competition at its absolute best, with matches that consistently stole the show.
5. Best: Tommaso Ciampa Vs. Johnny Gargano Vs. Aleister Black
When you have a super hot feud in wrestling, there's always a concern that it'll jump the shark. One match too many and the story becomes stale and irrelevant.
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano may have been approaching that threshold, so the introduction of Aleister Black was ingenious. With him, they were able to take things to the next level, both physically and in terms of storytelling. Gargano has had a major year himself, and his story of redemption became so much more interesting when he accidentally handed Ciampa the NXT Championship during a match with Black. A less-well-told story would see Black forgiving Gargano and understanding it was a mistake, but that's not the path NXT took. They made it into a triple threat when they pitted Black and Gargano against one another, eventually leading to a stellar heel turn from Gargano.
4. Best: Becky Lynch Vs. Charlotte Flair
What a year Becky Lynch has had! There's hardly been a top 10 list that hasn't included her, and rightfully so. Lynch's rise to prominence at the end of 2018 started at SummerSlam against her best friend, Charlotte Flair. Sure, she's been massively over for years, but the spotlight wasn't fully on her until she kicked Flair right in the stomach.
The next two months were an epic back and forth between the two that left both of them beaten and battered. More than anything, this feud felt real. Everyone felt the way Lynch felt when Flair won the title. Her lashing out may have been larger than life, but at its core, it was a very human response to years and years of disappointment. This feud also culminated with a match of the year contender at Evolution.
3. Worst: Natalya Vs. The Riott Squad
It's not that WWE has ever been above using a real-life personal tragedy to get heat, it's just that this might be one of the laziest iterations of that concept. When they decided to make Natalya's feud with the Riott Squad all about Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, they stopped trying on all other fronts.
It could have easily been a program about the fact that Natalya has paid her dues for decades, and that these three just waltzed in. Or it could have been the fact that she has been a cog in the system the Riott Squad is looking to destroy. Instead, it's about sunglasses. Seriously? Sunglasses. All involved are really talented but even so, it's not enough to carry storyline so lazy and ridiculous. Surely Natalya, a seasoned vet who trained under some of the best in the world, could handle the mind games when they're this half-baked. The sooner we're done, the better.
2. Wost: Alexa Bliss Vs. Nia Jax
Will someone please rescue Alexa Bliss from storyline purgatory? Bliss is easily one of the best talkers in WWE and she has the potential to be the cornerstone of great storytelling in WWE. Instead, they keep parading her in these horrible "mean girl" programs that use none of Bliss' talents.
In this particular trainwreck, Bliss made a bunch of fat jokes and called Nia Jax pathetic, while Jax cut poorly-written promo after poorly-written promo. It ended with a match that may have been fine on its own, but we don't remember because all we remember is the promo Jax cut after winning the Raw Women's Championship. "Don't be a bully," she said, reciting the tagline of WWE's anti-bullying campaign, "be a star." Everyone let out a collective groan.
1. Worst: Aiden English vs. Rusev
It's heartbreaking to see Rusev on the top of the worst list. Rusev is a rare talent in that they can hand him rough gimmick after rough gimmick and he will spin it into gold. It's the age-old question: is the wrestler over because of the gimmick or is the gimmick over because of the wrestler?
Rusev is always the latter, and that was true of the Rusev Day movement. Until that is, they made it weird. This is not the first time they've tried to put Lana in the middle of a love triangle involving Rusev and someone else — it never goes well for them. Why do they keep trying? Even if you excuse the awkwardness of the home video, it doesn't make sense. There was no reason for Aiden English to implode their team. If anything, it should've been because English was jealous of Lana for having Rusev's admiration. This was doomed the moment they introduced the video, and everyone involved seemed to know it. Here's hoping they do right by Rusev next year.