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Update time:2021-06-16 15:16Tag:

Pro wrestling experienced a massive boom in the 1990s, pushed to the stratosphere by epic rivalries that defined the decade.

By Eric Rhodes

Published 5 days ago


Stone Cold vs Vince McMahon Mankind vs Undertaker

In 1988, Jim Crockett and the NWA sold their company to Ted Turner and WCW was born. The early nineties belonged to the heroic legend of Hulkamania and WWE while the middle of the decade was about Hollywood Hulk Hogan and the New World Order. But those weren¨t the only names that helped define the decade.

RELATED: The Best Match At WrestleMania Each Year In The 1990s

Rivalries of all shapes and sizes helped define the 1990¨s and across three different promotions and several different countries! While the WWE would eventually be the only company left standing, the brutal rivalries were across all three major companies, WWE, WCW, and ECW, and they defined that decade.


Bret Vs Shawn

As the decade began, The Rockers and The Hart Foundation were two of the premier tag teams in the world. Very quickly on the path to greatness, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were establishing themselves as the premier singles wrestlers in the world.

It was only a matter of time before they collided, first in a ladder match, followed by their match at the 1992 Survivor Series and of course the 1996 Iron Man match. Tensions rose between the two both in the ring and out only fueled both superstars¨ passion to be the very best, and their real life hatred, which peaked with the Montreal Screwjob in ’97.

nWo Vs WCW

When Scott Hall waltzed into Monday Nitro interrupting a match and declaring a war, it sparked the revolution that WCW needed to begin to overtake WWE in the ratings. The nWo was born and slowly but surely it was apparent that WCW was in the midst of a hostile takeover.

RELATED: WWE’s New World Order, Explained

Hall, Kevin Nash, Syxx, Hollywood Hogan and nearly every ex-WWE guy that crossed over helped try to destroy WCW and in the age before the widespread Internet, it seemed very real and captivated fans around the world.


Rey Vs Eddie

Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero were both first introduced to American wrestling fans in their appearances in ECW. But it was in WCW where they both gained national exposure. Both Rey and Eddie feuded with each other and several other Cruiserweights over that title and helped establish the division.

The two came together at Halloween Havoc 1997 for a match that was pure magic. Both before this match and afterwards, the two legendary wrestlers worked great bouts whenever they wrestled each other.

Austin Vs McMahon

The Attitude Era might have been created with guys like Shawn Michaels in mind, but it was claimed and ignited by The Texas Rattlesnake and the evil Chairman. The notion was simple – the beer chugging, hard working, anti-establishment ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin would be riding his wave of popularity.

Trying to stop him from succeeding was his evil boss, Vince McMahon. No matter how much and how hard Vince McMahon tried to stop him, Austin would wreck more vehicles and stun anyone and everyone Vince would throw at the Rattlesnake, including himself. It was a rivalry that defined the Attitude Era and the business as a whole.


Cactus Vs Triple H

A rivalry that spanned several years began when Mankind took on Hunter Hearst Helmsley. But it wasn¨t just Mankind that brawled all over buildings with The Game, Dude Love would try his hand as well. When that failed too, a Street Fight against Helmsley on Raw from Madison Square Garden, Mrs. Foley¨s baby boy¨s most deranged creation, Cactus Jack was reborn.

The feud would start the early part of the next decade as well when Cactus would again return to face Triple H, in a Royal Rumble Street Fight for the WWE title before Jack¨s last stand at No Way Out 2000 in a Hell In A Cell. While it spilled over into a post-Y2K era, this rivalry was defined in the ’90s.

Mankind Vs Taker

Few matches in the history of wrestling evoke the immediate recognition of fans when you say,?^Hell In A Cell. ̄ Despite over twenty years having passed, Hell In Cell still means one brutal and gory match between Mankind and The Undertaker at King Of The Ring 1998.

But the two monsters¨ entire feud was brutal and violent. From the Boiler Room to Buried Alive matches and all points in between, the battles between these two helped establish Mick Foley as a true force in WWE.



Eric Bischoff¨s grandiose vision for WCW¨s success was differentiating himself and the company from WWE. Not only did it work, but it created The Monday Night War, and for the first time in wrestling history, it seemed like there was a true war between two wrestling promotions for the very first time.

RELATED: Monday Night War: 5 Times WWE Almost Lost (& 5 Reasons WCW Lost)

The pilfering of talent and the rule breaking of the ^unwritten rules ̄ that promotions had for one another helped bring the audience levels to new heights and propelled the business to unprecedented heights.

Raven Vs Dreamer

The island of misfit toys that was known as ECW had several big battles and rivalries during the company¨s history. But none better or bigger than the childhood camp friends turned bitter rivals – Tommy Dreamer and Raven.

For years, no matter how hard he fought to defeat him, Raven and members of his Flock did all they could to make sure Dreamer would never beat Raven. On Raven¨s last night in the company before he left for WCW, Dreamer finally achieved the victory he sought out.


Bret Vs Austin

Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and Steve Austin crossed paths in the ring more than a couple of times, achieving greatness each time. The rivalry between the two that extended to rest of The Hart Foundation and turned the babyface hero Bret into a whiney crybaby heel.

RELATED: Every Steve Austin Vs. Bret Hart Match, Ranked

Their classic match at WrestleMania 13 is still regarded as one of the best in WrestleMania history. This was arguably the feud that propelled Austin to main event status, and positioned him as the face of WWE’s most successful era.


Hulk Vs Warrior

The very first WrestleMania of the decade featured the first ever babyface vs. babyface main event in WWE history. That match was between The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan,?and while it was not an extended feud, that one match shook the promotion to its core.

After years of dominance, another man emerged to talk Hulk Hogan’s spot at the top of the card. It was unimaginable at the time, with fans torn between both men. This bout helped establish?WrestleMania?as an event of big moments and thrilling matches.

NEXT: 10 Family Members Who Wrestled In Different Companies At The Same Time



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About The Author

Eric Rhodes

(661 Articles Published)

As a writer and commentator by hobby, this die-hard wrestling fan was taught how to see things from a critical point of view at Queens College.

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