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Top 10 WWE WrestleMania Feuds of the Millennium

Since 2000, there have been some of the most memorable feuds in pro-wrestling history, but what are the top ten WrestleMania feuds of the millennium? WrestleMania is the event where the best and most anticipated matches of the year come to a head, but without interesting feuds to back them up, the matches can only deliver so much.

Just look at Shane McMahon versus The Undertaker and Triple H versus Roman Reigns from this year, the matches will probably be outstanding, but the build-up has been lacklustre, hurting anticipation for the event.

This top ten is based predominantly on the feud in the lead up to WrestleMania and NOT on the match itself. The match still has a small impact on the placings as match quality can affect the feud itself.

Before the list, a few honorable mentions to Randy Orton versus Triple H from WrestleMania 25 which missed out for being a little too over the top. Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon which missed out because Bret never being cleared to wrestle tarnishes it as they still, falsely, booked him as a wrestler and The Undertaker versus Edge misses out because it was the very start of the feud that went on to become amazing.

  1. The Undertaker versus Triple H – WrestleMania 27 and 28

The Story:

Triple H’s feud with The Undertaker was more or less a continuation of Undertaker’s feud with Shawn Michaels, whom he retired at the previous WrestleMania. A lot of the feud revolved around Triple H having done everything possible in the business, except breaking The Streak, and thinking The Undertaker was at his end and needed to retire. Undertaker would win at WrestleMania 27, but Triple H beat him so badly, Taker was unable to leave without assistance. The story for 28 was The Undertaker wanting revenge for being beaten so badly, but Triple H not wanting to take the match. This led to the famous End of an Era match.

The Matches: WrestleMania 27: A, WrestleMania 28: A

The Best Moment:

The underlying theme of this entire feud was Triple H wanting to show he could do what Shawn Michaels couldn’t, but it took The Undertaker point-blank telling Triple H that he wasn’t as good as HBK in order to get the rematch made.

The Significance:

This extended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak to 20-0 in the grandest possible fashion. It can’t be understated how incredible that winning streak is.

  1. Triple H versus Batista – WrestleMania 21

The Feud:

This one was a long time coming and was really the perfect end goal for the Evolution stable when it first started. Surely if you could go back in time to the beginning of the four-man-group and say that in the end, you’ll have Randy Orton winning the World Title and feuding with Triple H and then have Batista ascending to the top of the card at WrestleMania against Triple H, you’d say Flair and Hunter succeeded. The guts of the feud revolved around Triple H not even wanting to fight The Animal, trying to pawn him off to SmackDown initially, but from there it really broke down into a highly entertaining war between Batista, an unstoppable juggernaut, and Triple H, a man who knew he probably couldn’t beat Batista in a clean fight. It was personal, well put together and patiently built up.

The Match: B

The Best Moment:

The best moment came on the Raw after the Royal Rumble when Batista made the decision to face Triple H rather than move to SmackDown and go against JBL at WrestleMania. Batista officially turned face, putting Triple H through a table and announcing that he was facing him at WrestleMania. This still remains one of the best Raw main-event segments to this day.

The Significance:

The significance of this was the five year career Batista had as a main-eventer and one of the top faces in the company being launched from here. This was Batista’s first title run and while he didn’t really become established until a year later against The Undertaker, this was the beginning of what would be the era of Batista (SmackDown) and John Cena (Raw).

  1. CM Punk versus Chris Jericho – WrestleMania 28

The Story:

Punk came into WrestleMania 28 as the champion and the leader of a new generation of main-eventers. Jericho came in as the cocky heel he portrayed so well in 2008. This feud was based around two things. Firstly, Jericho accused Punk of stealing his mantra in saying he was the best in the world, meaning this match was built as two men fighting to prove who was the best in the world. However, the second part of the feud is what made this so memorable. Punk’s Straight Edge lifestyle has long been a part of his character, but it’s always been used in a heel fashion. This time, they flipped the script and had Jericho abusing Punk’s family for their substance abuse issues and trying to expose Punk as an alcoholic waiting to be revealed. The fact that we also had two of the best promo cutters of all time involved in this feud made it that much better.

The Match: A

The Best Moment:

This feud gave us one of the best matches of the year, but Jericho’s promo where he talked about Punk’s family was one of the best of all time and is certainly worth looking up if you haven’t seen it.

Significance:

This was Punk’s first big title defence as WWE Champion and the match that really solidified him as someone who belonged in the big matches at WrestleMania. He would go on to hold the title for 434 days and a lot of that momentum came from this feud with Jericho.

  1. Ric Flair vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 24

The Story:

This one was pretty simple. In November of 2007, Vince McMahon announced that the next time Flair lost, he would be forced to retire. A nice, simple plot that makes every match he’s in important. Flair would pick up memorable wins over the likes of Orton, Umaga, Triple H and even Vince himself. Then, Shawn Michaels announced that Flair would be going into the Hall of Fame and the match was set. Flair initially seemed like he wanted it to be Michaels who retired him at WrestleMania, but soon, the competitive drive kicked in and he wanted to win and continue his storied career. The subtleties of this feud and the sheer significance of Flair’s retirement make this one of the most memorable feuds in recent times.

The Match: B+

The Best Moment:

The iconic moment that will stand the test of time is Shawn Michaels muttering “I’m sorry, I love you”, before delivering the finishing blow to Flair. It was a brilliantly crafted moment to cap off a wonderful career and a great story.

Significance:

The significance of this feud is the retirement of one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. It also very-indirectly led to one of the best feuds ever between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho.

  1. The Undertaker versus CM Punk – WrestleMania 29

The Feud:

In one of the more controversial feuds in recent wrestling history, CM Punk predominantly used the death of Paul Bearer in order to try and get The Undertaker angry enough to get him disqualified or off his game and thus ending the streak at WrestleMania. A lot of people found this feud distasteful and Punk certainly pushed it right to the limits, but that’s the point of it all. They wanted you to viscerally hate Punk and they succeeded in not only that, but in making you think that Punk could actually be the one to end the streak. Punk went to extreme lengths to tarnish Paul Bearer’s memory and upset The Undertaker and that made the payoff of Taker winning even sweeter.

The Match: A+

The Best Moment:

This feud had two standout moments. The first was actually the very beginning of the feud with Punk’s music hitting while ‘in memory of Paul Bearer’ was on the titantron and The Undertaker was in the ring paying his respects. The moment Punk’s music hit, interrupting the respectful silence, was brilliant. The second moment was Punk hitting Undertaker in the back of the head with the urn and going straight into the pin. For a brief moment, many people thought that was the legitimate end of the streak.

Significance:

In hindsight, this will go down as CM Punk’s final WrestleMania match and it was an absolute classic. This match will be listed in The Undertaker’s top five matches of all time and one of the more memorable feuds of all time due to the controversy surrounding Paul Bearer.

  1. The Rock versus John Cena – WrestleMania 28

The Feud:

Any feud between the two icons of their respective generations that gets, literally, a full year of build-up should make the top 10 of this list and this does. What made this feud special was how deeply personal it was at its core. You have the guy who had been with the company for 12 years, but is widely disliked by a portion of the fan base going against a guy who disappeared for nine years, but those same fans love and their clashing ideology mixed in with probably the two best promo cutters of all time made for an amazing feud. Of course, WrestleMania 29 is not here because twice in a lifetime doesn’t quite have the same appeal, but the build for 28 made the match feel as special as it should.

The Match: B+

The Best Moment:

This may be a controversial selection, but the best moment in the build-up of this feud was the return of the Dr of Thugonomics for one night when old school Cena cut a rap on The Rock and absolutely took him down. Even the strongest of Rock supporters and Cena haters had to admit that Cena had The Rock’s number on this night, even though ‘The Rock Concert’ later that night was also great.

Significance:

The Rock faced John Cena at WrestleMania. That’s significant in itself. It was also The Rock’s first singles match back with the company and really the climax of what would end up being a three year feud.

  1. Steve Austin versus The Rock – WrestleMania 17

The Feud:

This feud began with Austin winning the Rumble and going after The Rock’s championship. Neither man were heels so it really required a lot of outside interference from the likes of Kurt Angle and Vince McMahon to get Austin and Rocky turning on each other. Stone Cold’s wife was even brought in to add some heat between the two men. This feud had a lot of great storytelling that really focused on the fact that this was a match between the WWE’s two biggest stars, for the company’s biggest title and in Austin’s hometown.

The Match: A

The Best Moment:

It’s rare that the most iconic piece of storytelling happens after the bout, but when Stone Cold Steve Austin shakes the hand of Vince McMahon, nothing else can compare. To some, this was the moment they stopped watching wrestling altogether as it scarred them that badly.

Significance:

While this wasn’t their first encounter, this match felt like the high point of the two biggest starts in the company at more or less the top of their game. It was certainly the best of their three matches too. Austin wrestling in the main-event of WrestleMania in Texas was something unforgettable too.

  1. Brock Lesnar versus Kurt Angle – WrestleMania 19

The Feud:

Brock Lesnar versus Kurt Angle was booked as the money-match of Paul Heyman’s run SmackDown across 2002 and 2003. It was a feud that ultimately begun after Lesnar dethroned The Rock for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam and carried the brand right through to September of the following year. Going into WrestleMania, Angle was the heel who aligned himself with Brock Lesnar’s then-ex-manager Paul Heyman to make sure Brock couldn’t get a title shot. Angle would then do everything in his power to avoid having to fight Brock, but when Lesnar won the Rumble, the match was inevitable. What made this feud so great was simply the competitive drive between both men who constantly tried to one-up each other. Heyman perfectly crafted the story to keep Lesnar as a babyface, but not make him seem like an underdog, while Angle was the bad guy, but everything he said made sense. It was one of those feuds you have to experience to realize how great it was on a week to week basis.

The Match: A

The Best Moment:

The best moment of this feud was Angle’s heel turn. After winning the WWE Championship from The Big Show with help from Lesnar, Angle ‘hired a manager’ to deal with his affairs. That manager was Paul Heyman. He then cancelled the match with Lesnar that he promised him. It was the beginning of a great feud that really transcended everything around it.

Significance:

This was the feud that carried SmackDown in its early days as a separate brand. Lesnar and Angle held the championship between them for virtually all of 2002 and 2003 and even though WrestleMania was really only the first chapter of the rivalry, it was the rivalry that put Lesnar on the map as a solidified WrestleMania main-eventer.

  1. Daniel Bryan versus Triple H – WrestleMania 30

The Feud:

It’s amazing how WWE created possibly its best storyline ever unintentionally. They certainly never wanted Bryan to face Triple H let alone bookend WrestleMania. That came from a combination of CM Punk leaving the WWE and overwhelming crowd support that reached insane levels in early 2014. This story’s brilliance comes from its simplicity. Bryan was universally loved by the crowd, but the WWE didn’t see him as their guy, instead thinking Randy Orton versus a babyface Batista should main-event WrestleMania. Orton’s reign as champion began with The Authority forming and costing Bryan the title at SummerSlam. From there, it was a simple matter of converting the real life frustrations and fan outcries into a worked storyline for Bryan who had to go through Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton in order to get his hands on the WWE Championship. It was the ultimate underdog story and probably in the top five WrestleMania moments ever.

The Match: A+

The Best Moment:

A best moment is hard to pick precisely as this wasn’t your textbook feud. Technically, it started at SummerSlam with Triple H turning on Bryan, but it didn’t officially begin until well after the Royal Rumble. Really, you could probably name 10 events over three years that made the crowd angry and love Bryan even more. The best Daniel Bryan moment that summed up this incredible feud was during John Cena and Randy Orton’s Championship Ascension Ceremony where the entire crowd hijacked the show with the loudest Daniel Bryan chants you’ll ever hear, wanting him to be a part of the match and not Cena or Orton. They actually derailed Triple H’s promo entirely.

Significance:

Due to crowd reaction, the WWE caved in and changed their main-event of WrestleMania. The significance of that cannot be understated. Bryan winning is a moment in time that can never be taken away from him and with Daniel retired now, the moment almost gets even more special.

  1. The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25 and 26

The Feud:

This was one of those feuds that was born out of the match itself. Undertaker and Shawn’s match was that far ahead of everything else, a rematch had to be booked. In fact, most of HBK’s final year with the company was spent hunting The Undertaker down for a rematch, but he refused on multiple occasions. In the end, it would take Shawn costing The Undertaker the World Heavyweight Championship to the man Michaels hated more than anyone else, Chris Jericho, to get The Undertaker to accept. However, he only accepted on the condition that if Shawn lost, he would be forced to retire which set up an epic rematch with The Streak taking on the 20 plus year career of Shawn Michaels in a match that, no matter the outcome, had massive ramifications.

The Match: WrestleMania 25: A+, WrestleMania 26: A+

The Best Moment:

Shawn appearing inside the Elimination Chamber, superkicking Taker and costing him the World Heavyweight Championship is hard to top, but the big promo before WrestleMania where Michaels stated that if he lost to The Undertaker he “had no career”, was one of those amazing lines that brought the build-up to a focal point.

Significance:

The career of Shawn Michaels versus a streak spanning two decades… It doesn’t get any more significant.

Will any match from WrestleMania 32 make this list in future years? Do you agree with this list? Comment below or tweet @CamelClutchBlog and @NicNegrepontis with your top 10’s.

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