Lists are a funny thing – they’re always so subjective. One person’s top 5 Beatles albums could be very different from someone else’s’. The top 101 best written tv shows of all time chosen by TV Guide could be very different from a list compiled by Entertainment Weekly. Which makes the notion of choosing The Top 25 Greatest Rivalries In Wrestling a hard one – every fan has their favourites. Luckily for WWE, who recently released a Blu-ray/DVD by that very title, they managed to cover some of the best moments in wrestling history.
Hosted by Canadian Renee Young (we knew her as Renee Paquette on The Score, but WWE wants to own everyone’s names), this nearly three-hour countdown is a literal trip through the amazing history of professional wrestling, covering organizations like WWE, WCW, NWA, AWA, ECW and WCCW – really, the most important wrestling companies of the past fifty years. Each rivalry is discussed by a talent, be it wrestler or referee or commentator, each of whom bring their own insight into talking about what a given rivalry meant to the industry as a whole.
For instance, referee Tommy Young is chosen to talk about the legendary Ric Flair/Ricky Steamboat rivalry. At first I wondered why Young, but then we’re told that he was the referee both Flair and Steamboat wanted to officiate their various match-ups, thus giving Young an incredible insight into the feud. Other stand-outs include Flair talking about the Von Erich/Fabulous Freebird matches, and William Regal looking back at the amazing matches from the early 2000’s held between The Hardy Boyz, The Dudleys and Edge and Christian.
As a longtime fan, I was so pleased to feel as thought I was actually learning things about the history of professional wrestling while watch the Blu-ray. While it may be WWE centric, the producers made an excellent attempt to cover the gamut of feuds from throughout the years. As I was watching, I couldn’t help but think that The Top 25 Greatest Rivalries In Wrestling would be the perfect introduction to pro wrestling, and why it’s been so popular for so many years. It’s that mix of soap opera storytelling and athleticism that you just can’t find anywhere place. And kudos to the constant references to “wrestling” throughout the countdown. While sports entertainment in the phrase of choice these days, this set is about the history of wrestling, and you couldn’t have it without using the term.
For hardcore fans and new ones alike, The Top 25 Greatest Rivalries In Wrestling comes highly recommended. You can order it online here.