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The Law
April 18th, 2013, 10:33 PM
In the end, stories are my favorite part of wrestling. There are really a few basic stories in wrestling that we see told over and over and we've come to love them. I wanted to talk about some of my favorites:

-The invincible hero versus the monster. This has been done so many times and it almost always works. The earliest version I can think of on a big stage would be Hogan vs. Bundy at Wrestlemania II. Bundy was the first guy to destroy Hogan, and it was a big deal when it happened. Andre vs. Hogan is probably the most crowning example, but the list goes on and on-Cena vs. Khali, Cena vs. Umaga, Austin vs. Kane, Hogan vs. Undertaker. When done with a credible monster, this always works.

-The Ultimate Challenge. The two biggest babyfaces in the company colliding to see who the best is. Warrior vs. Hogan is obviously the best example and execution. It really seemed like a once in a lifetime battle. Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle from No Way Out 2006 is an excellent example, as the only storyline was that they each wanted to prove they were the best. Austin vs. Undertaker from Summerslam 1998, Bret vs. Shawn from Wrestlemania 12, Cena vs. Batista from Summerslam 2008. Always a good time.

-The guy who has the other guy's number. It's always interesting when one wrestler just can't beat another: Raven and Tommy Dreamer probably did this better than anyone else. They fought over and over for years and Dreamer never beat Raven until their final match before Raven left for WCW. CM Punk was the guy Cena couldn't beat for several years, up until he finally beat him on Raw in February. Orton vs. Christian was a fun combination of this and the slow descent into insanity on Christian's part.

-The former rival returns. I always like when someone wins the title and their first title defense is against someone they had trouble with in their past. When Warrior won the title, his first big defense was against Rick Rude because Rude was the only guy to have pinned him on TV. When Undertaker won the title in 1997, his first defense was against Mankind because Mankind had repeatedly beaten him the previous year. Piper vs. Hogan in WCW was a similar version of this, although it wasn't Hogan's first defense. Piper was his biggest rival and the one guy he had never been able to beat, and Piper showing up was a nightmare for Hogan. They did the same thing with Warrior, though it proved to be a disaster.

What are your favorite wrestling stories? What stories have you not seen that you would like to? What are the best and worst examples of particular stories?

Psycho666Soldier
April 18th, 2013, 10:43 PM
The Former Rival Returns is one of my all-time favorite stories, and it's a reason why I stress continuity and NOT over-doing matches so match. Rude/Warrior is something that always comes to mind as a feud that did everything right. It made Warrior look vulnerable while ultimately making both men look great and drawing fans in with emotion.

mr sabu
April 18th, 2013, 10:58 PM
randy Orton and peoples bags

Mills
April 18th, 2013, 11:09 PM
I love the revenge factor too. Like Orton versus Michaels after Orton punted him off of TV for months or Jericho/Michaels 2

Cewsh
April 18th, 2013, 11:10 PM
You name a lot of the best core ones. The two stories that I always go back to that are sort of perfect distilled storylines for me are Lex Luger vs. Tatanka and Taz vs. Sabu.

The first is the story of Luger and Tatanka, babyface friends, who have a wedge driven between them when a ton of suspicion starts to fall on Luger about wjether or not he would be joining the Million Dollar Corporation. At the time, this was the height of heeldom, and for guys like Luger and Tatanka, you might as well stab a baby as join Dibiase's team. As the weeks go by, Luger's behavior begins to seem more and more suspicious, and Dibiase seems more and more smug and Tatanka starts to get seriously suspicious and angry that his friend might be betraying him. Finally, Tatanka can't take anymore, and even though Luger swears that he's not joining Dibiase, Tatanka challenges him to a match at Summerslam so that he can beat some sense into his friend. Summerslam comes, and they have the match, and Luger swears to his friend that he would never betray him like that. Down comes Dibiase and the fans are rabid for Luger to explain himself, but before he can, Tatanka jumps him from behind, beats him down, shakes Dibiase's hand and shoves the classic hundred dollar bill in Luger's mouth.

It isn't just that it's a great betrayal story, and an amazing heel turn, it's the way that the story is crafted to make you need to follow it, even if you didn't care about either guy before. For young fans, (including me,) who loved Luger, Tatanka or both, this was serious anxiety inducing stuff, and even with all of the hints, you never even consider the possibility that Tatanka is the one who has sold out. It's one of the most perfectly formed feuds in wrestling history as far as I'm concerned.

As for Taz and Sabu, I really hate ECW. Like, I have a visceral repulsed reaction to most of it. But Taz and Sabu was something special. The storyline of the tag team partners who never liked each other to begin with was good, and Taz's transformation into a perpetually furious badass while out on injury was even better. And then when it came time for the feud, the most brilliant aspect of it was that they had Sabu desperately try to avoid the fight. It's really interesting to see the babyface in a match do everything he could to avoid the confrontation, and it set up Taz as a terrifying entity stalking Sabu at every turn, mocking him and getting in his face. Finally, at the November to Remember PPV, Taz declared that he wouldn't leave the ring until Sabu faced him. ECW owner Tod Gordon tried to reason with him, and Taz choked him out. Paul Heyman tried to reason with him, and Taz gave him the Tazplex and went to choke him out, and then lights out. Sabu finally appeared and the match was on. And Taz went on to beat Sabu just like he said he would, and then shake Sabu's hand out of respect.

Two very different feuds about friendship and respect and all that jazz. Love it.

The Law
April 18th, 2013, 11:42 PM
Summerslam 1992 with Warrior and Savage, and the "Who Sold Out?" storyline is very similar to Luger/Tatanka. Basically, Flair and Perfect offered their services to the highest bidder in the Warrior/Savage Summerslam WWF Championship match. Naturally, both guys were suspicious that the other would take the offer. During the match Flair and Perfect attacked both participants at different points. In the end, it turned out that no one sold out and it was all a ruse to injure Savage. A couple days after the event Flair beat Savage for the title when Savage passed out in the Figure Four, selling the knee he injured at Summerslam.

The slow descent into madness is another favorite trope of mine. There are some different stories represented here, but they connect thematically:

-Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho. Jericho felt betrayed by Michaels. He began a quest to prove to the world that Shawn Michaels was actually a dirty liar, hypocrite, and overall bad person. His torture of Michaels drove Shawn over the edge, which culminated in Shawn just utterly beating the piss out of Jericho at Unforgiven. Of course, Jericho ended up substituting for Punk that night and winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Jericho's promo the next night on Raw is an all-time classic: He says he was right about Shawn Michaels being a bastard, and takes off his shirt to show the marks Shawn left on him when he beat him with his belt. Jericho, on the other hand, was an honest man who told the truth and was karmically rewarded as as result. This later mixed with the old rival returns when Shawn was awarded a shot at Jericho's title at No Mercy. Awesome feud, great matches. Especially the ladder match. No Mercy 2008 drew a really good buyrate too. Everyone was into that feud, especially once the belt got involved.

-Shawn Michaels obsession with ending Undertaker's streak. Everyone remembers it, so I don't need to recap it. The only unfortunate thing is that they didn't go all the way and have Shawn become a true villain. If it weren't Shawn's retirement match, he could have really heeled it up and played some mind games with Taker during the lead-in to the match.

-Christian being unable to beat Randy Orton. Great series of matches, and Christian just couldn't beat him. He lost on Smackdown, at Over the Limit, and at Capital Punishment. Finally, he snapped. The Money in the Bank match with Christian baiting Orton into getting DQed was another stroke of brilliance. Christian wins the title in the most humiliating way possible, with Orton kicking his ass. That sets up the final battle at Summerslam, with no DQs or count outs, and Orton gets the win. Fantastic feud. Almost made up for how terrible it was that Christian lost the title two days after winning it.

-Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio in 2005. Now, the Dominic shit was awful. But the storyline that led to it was amazing. Eddie is jealous of Rey. They're longstanding rivals going back to WCW, and Eddie has always struggled against Rey. So even though they're tag team partners, Eddie challenges Rey to a match at Wrestlemania 21 to prove he can beat him. And he loses. So they do a re-match at Judgment Day. And he loses again. And he loses on Smackdown. So he loses his mind and destroys Rey. He fights him at Great American Bash and loses again. He loses the Dominic match at Summerslam. Finally, he manages to beat Rey in a cage match on Smackdown to earn a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Eddie cut a great promo before that match talking about how he didn't care anymore because he had lost everything: his championships, his dignity, his family. The Eddie/Batista storyline was shaping up to be very good too.

Another great one I forgot to mention: the protege turning on the mentor. Larry Zbyszko and Bruno Sammartino is the greatest example. Bruno trained Larry and he debuted in 1973 as his protege. Larry wrestled with success for years, but never really shed the label of being Bruno's project. Finally, Larry got fed up with it and challenged Bruno to a match in 1980. The match featured Bruno dominating until Larry got frustrated and beat Bruno with a chair. This was the days before that ever happened. Larry was so hated in this time that he was repeatedly physically assaulted by fans-cabs he was riding in were attacked and flipped over, he was beaten with a metal pole, and stabbed in the ass during a riot. Finally, him and Bruno faced off at Showdown at Shea in 1980. Bruno came out on top and justice prevailed. Carlito and Flair did a very short and half-assed version of this that was still pretty entertaining back in 2007.

Andy
April 19th, 2013, 12:08 AM
I love a good "whose side is he gonna be on" even if it's told within a few minutes.

Various Taker/Kane confrontations, Trips coming out when Austin and McMahon are beating down The Rock after WM17, Austin at Backlash 2000, Stephanie at Fully Loaded (2000?). Loads more.

Rancid_Planet
April 25th, 2013, 5:17 PM
- The I have to feud with the Undertaker because the front office is scared shitless of what off the cuff remarks I might make about John Cena in front of the "I only watch RAW during wrestlemainia season" casual fans.

Its one of my fav types of stories. Basically you try to convince the new face of your company (Whether you like it or not. The fans have spoken) and stick him in a blood feud with taker (which means he wouldn't be going over even if it wasn't at wm) so he can feel a little special all the while keeping his skinny, tatooed, non-musclehead face off the poster and off the radar.

RAW already sucks without CM.

VHS
April 25th, 2013, 5:27 PM
The NWO coming into WWE only to be swiped aside so Hogan could feud with Rock, which was what everybody wanted to see. You can never unhear the sheer epicness having Rock and Hogan stare each other down face to face, marveling at the aura that surrounded the building.

The Undertaker/Manking HIAC match itself told my all time favorite story. Everything about it had me gripping my seat with anxiety.

Rancid_Planet
April 25th, 2013, 5:30 PM
That IS a good example of the wwe actually knowing when to derail an angle that's going nowhere. God that was a huge moment indeed.

Matthew
April 25th, 2013, 5:37 PM
lol

JRSlim21
April 25th, 2013, 6:38 PM
I'm shocked Cewsh didn't mention Devon vs Dinero in TNA, where Devon didn't want his sons to be influenced by his tag partner's ways.

I've always liked the ascension to a major player with the World title storyline. It was interesting with Orton. The best model was Batista. You can even toss in Goldberg if you want.

Kneeneighbor
April 25th, 2013, 8:04 PM
You name a lot of the best core ones. The two stories that I always go back to that are sort of perfect distilled storylines for me are Lex Luger vs. Tatanka and Taz vs. Sabu.

The first is the story of Luger and Tatanka, babyface friends, who have a wedge driven between them when a ton of suspicion starts to fall on Luger about wjether or not he would be joining the Million Dollar Corporation. At the time, this was the height of heeldom, and for guys like Luger and Tatanka, you might as well stab a baby as join Dibiase's team. As the weeks go by, Luger's behavior begins to seem more and more suspicious, and Dibiase seems more and more smug and Tatanka starts to get seriously suspicious and angry that his friend might be betraying him. Finally, Tatanka can't take anymore, and even though Luger swears that he's not joining Dibiase, Tatanka challenges him to a match at Summerslam so that he can beat some sense into his friend. Summerslam comes, and they have the match, and Luger swears to his friend that he would never betray him like that. Down comes Dibiase and the fans are rabid for Luger to explain himself, but before he can, Tatanka jumps him from behind, beats him down, shakes Dibiase's hand and shoves the classic hundred dollar bill in Luger's mouth.

It isn't just that it's a great betrayal story, and an amazing heel turn, it's the way that the story is crafted to make you need to follow it, even if you didn't care about either guy before. For young fans, (including me,) who loved Luger, Tatanka or both, this was serious anxiety inducing stuff, and even with all of the hints, you never even consider the possibility that Tatanka is the one who has sold out. It's one of the most perfectly formed feuds in wrestling history as far as I'm concerned.


I love this story line. And its great that it can go 3 ways. A turns B turns or no turn and none of them are forced.

chatty
April 25th, 2013, 8:23 PM
I loved Eddie v Brock feud - it was so simple and only lasted a month but I thought it was great. You had the big beastly dickhead heel going up against the lovable underdog, the guy who nearly blew his career and battled through to get his chance. They told the story perfect as well with Brock just being a cocky arse the whole time, underestimating his opponent and taking things for granted. Eddie played up the little man story, looking vulnerable and having to climb a mountain to beat him.

The match was great as well because of the pay-off, character wise they could have Eddie cheat and still be a face whilst the interference didn't hurt him one bit. They had Brock beat the shit out of him for ages until he start using his technical skills to break him down, Brock battled through though and had to take a spear of Goldberg and a shot with the belt before keeling for the three.

The ending might have been somewhat spoiled by the news of Brock leaving a bit but no one seemed to care beacuse Eddie was getting the rub and it was a nice celebration at the end. Hell, even Brock was putting in marvellous mic performances in this feud, the sombrero one was a classic.

DaSaintFan
April 27th, 2013, 6:07 AM
I gotta go with two old-school ones (of course, you had to follow kayfabe)..

1) JYD/Freebirds and the infamous hair cream blinding story. What I didn't remember at the time was that the entire story came about because of a Paul Orndorff-Ken Mantell story (and I honestly don't remember how the hair cream got 'included' in the JYD-Robley vs. Freebirds title matchy). But everyone in EVERY story played off of the JYD blindness story. Didn't matter where your feud was, you were either an ally of JYD and your storylines parlayed off that situation, or you were a Freebirds "pal" and milked the situation to piss off the fans and the "face" wrestler.

2) Lawler/Eddie Gilbert - When an entire city wants to literally kill the heel wrestler for attempted murder of their favorite local hero..you know they're doing something right. Eddie is running roughshod as the heel in USWA, so the promoter (Jerry Jarrett at the time I think?) fired Gilbert. Gilbert has to be escorted out of the building by same Mr. Jarrett, and word gets back to the locker room that Gilbert is beating the living you-know-what out of Jarrett outside the arena. Lawler goes to help his friend, and Gilbert leaves the area "in fear", and as Lawler checks on Jarrett, you hear the car engine and then... BOOM!! Attempted vehicular manslaughter.

And it was emphasized by the fact that Gilbert had even confessed to idolizing Lawler as a wrestler at some point prior to the incident, and basically Gilbert implied he'd run over his mentor if that's what it took to get back with USWA.

From what I remember, they were supposed to stretch the story out even further than they did, but Eddie was getting some death threats for killing Lawler, and people were so worried that someone was going to follow up on those threats, that Jerry had to come on some of the local tv shows to show he was okay.

They've tried the vehicular assaults at times since then (Rock/NWO, Rikishi/Austin), but they've never had the feel of that Gilbert-Lawler story.