wrestling / Columns

The 411 Wrestling Top 5 11.07.12: Week 194 – Top 5 Rock Feuds

November 7, 2012 | Posted by Larry Csonka

Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling’s Top 5 List. What we are going to is take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, plus up to three honorable mentions.

So, on to this week’s topic…


Todd Vote
5. Vs. The Hurricane – While it may not have been the best feud, or hell even middle of the road, and yes it was just something for The Rock to do until he faced Stone Cold, but a heel Rock taking the piss out of both The Hurricane and his S.H.I.T kept me laughing. I always had a soft spot for The Hurricane, and the Rock is probably my all time favorite, so this worked well for me.

4. Vs. Triple H (Nation vs. DX) – One of the first live shows I went to was a Raw taping back in 98 just before The Rock squared off against the H’s in a ladder match at Summerslam of the same year. I was able to watch a Nation vs. DX street fight at the taping. This faction vs. faction, and more specifically The Rock vs. Triple H produced some great in ring moments, including DX spoofing the Nation, and that ladder match at Summerslam.

3. Vs. Hogan – Was the match good? Not great, no, but it did have that certain something… that electric crowd that only these two icons could have created. The build wasn’t necessarily the greatest, but nobody can deny that the payoff delivered! That match in Toronto at WMX8 was off the charts if for no other reason than the crowd’s response to it.

2. Vs. Mankind – The feud that finally got me on board the Mankind bandwagon. These two guys swapping the title back and forth between The Survivor Series and Wrestlemania created some legit holy shit moments. Who can forget the chair shots to a handcuffed Mick Foley? What about Half Time Heat, and the empty arena match? Hard to believe this rivalry eventually gave way to one of my favorite “thrown together” tag teams in The Rock and Sock Connection.

1. Vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – A feud that covered several years, and two different titles, whether they were fighting over the IC title, or the WWE championship, these two at each others throats just seems like a license to print money. One moment that stands out to me, was during the build to the last time these two would face each other at Wrestlemania 19, when the two of them sat in the center of the ring and had a good old fashioned sing off. It was one of those things that they used a lot as the post Raw dark segment, that everyone had really hoped they would see. When we finally did, the segment did not disappoint.

Robert S. Leighty Jr
5. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan – This is a personal favorite of mine even if it was a rather short feud. Their match at WrestleMania X-8 still ranks as the most fun I have ever had watching a pro-wrestling match. This was the dream match of all dream matches at the time, and they delivered in spades. Hell, I could even accept that Rock apparently was able to forgive Hogan for trying to kill him in that ambulance.

4. The Rock vs. John Cena – They headlined the most purchased show in the history of pro-wrestling. Sure the build was hit or miss, but when they got it right it was fantastic. I actually enjoyed all the trash talking, and still crack up when I think of Rock singing “Little Johnny went to town riding on a pony, Rock stuck a feather up his ass and called him a jabroni.”

3. The Rock vs. Mick Foley – When you need someone to put over your hot new #1 heel just call Mick Foley. The series of matches these two had were just brutal affairs, and Foley did all he could to make Rock a threat to Austin heading to WrestleMania XV. Besides just the matches they had their chemistry outside the ring was just as great.

2. The Rock vs. HHH – I put this as HHH’s #1 feud a few weeks back, and it was definitely #2 for The Rock. They basically feuded with each other from the mid card to upper mid card and then finally to the Main Event. They were perfect foils for each other, and used each other to grow into the Main Event stars that they became.

1. The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – This is easily the #1 feud for the Rock as he and Austin did battle at 3 WrestleManias and had countless memorable moments. Their match at WrestleMania X-7 was probably the high point of the Attitude Era, and the hype video for that feud with “My Way” blasting still gives me goosebumps to this day.

Dimitri Dorlis
HM – The Rock vs. Stephanie McMahon – This kinda blends into the Chris Jericho feud, but god damn was it fun to watch.
HM – The Rock vs. Sacramento – Because Hollywood Rock was the best Rock.

5. The Rock vs. John Cena – Despite all the hate that the WWE got for the build of this feud, it really couldn’t have gone any other way, and what we’ve gotten so far has still been rather good. It’s almost impossible to do year-long feuds in this day and age, but the WWE managed to pull it off, with John Cena and the Rock being reminded of each other throughout the year, before finally ramping the feud up in the final two months before Wrestlemania. And, despite all the criticism of John Cena as a wrestler, he turned out to be the perfect partner to make the Rock’s return to the ring a successful one.

4. The Rock vs. Mick Foley – This one feels like a bit of a cheat, since the two ended up teamed for so long. But that was the brilliance of it, with Foley believing that they were true friends, while the Rock barely put up with Foley’s shenanigans. Prior to the Rock n Sock Connection, the two were embroiled in a blood feud that saw Foley win his first WWE Championship, and some of the most brutal chair shots in recorded history.

3. The Rock vs. Chris Jericho – This feels a bit biased, because Chris Jericho is one of my favorites, but when Chris Jericho first showed up on Raw to interrupt the Rock, you knew something special was going to happen. Too bad it took 2 years for the feud to finally happen, but it was one of the few bright spots of the Invasion angle, with the Rock and Jericho embroiled in a game of one-upsmanship. Jericho vs. the Rock was always one of the few feuds the WWE fell back on when neither had anything to do, and I’m really surprised they haven’t had any sort of interaction since the Rock’s return.

2. The Rock vs. HHH – The SCSA feuds usually took over during Wrestlemania, but throughout the rest of the year, HHH seemed to dominate the time. The two always had good chemistry in the ring, and throwing Stephanie into the mix always seemed to add to the proceedings. Plus, you have to give credit to the Rock here, as I can’t see HHH becoming as big as he became if the Rock hadn’t done his part in the feud.

1. The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Was there really an option for number one? Ok, there probably is but who cares. This feud made the Attitude Era, and frankly helped bring wrestling back in the late 90s. Two titans of the Attitude Era, the two had some memorable Wrestlemania matches (the build to Wrestlemania 17 especially was super-fun), and, remember, the end of the Invasion angle ultimately came down to The Rock vs. Austin. When Austin and the Rock locked horns, it was usually for huge stakes, so that’s why this gets top billing.

Gavin Napier
5. Triple H – These two men are beneficiaries of “right place, right time.” At no other point in WWE history was the promotion in greater need of a collection of young, hard working, charismatic talents that could feed off of each other and elevate each other. The Rock and Triple H (along with another guy we’ll discuss shortly) epitomized the Attitude Era. They were two men that took nothing for granted and would do anything to be number one. They were a picture of Vince dealing with WCW, and they would be big parts of why WWE rebounded. They built each other up through the years until they were viable alternatives to legendary names such as Hogan, Sting, Flair, Hall, and Nash.

4. John Cena – Is it my favorite feud? Nope. Am I huge fan of either guy at this point? Nope. This makes the list, though, for the significance and uniqueness of it. The feud was built by an overwhelming majority through social media and interviews that rarely saw the men face to face. For over a year, Cena and Rock built to a Wrestlemania showdown, and were rarely in the same room until a month before the event. Yet the crowd never lost interest. It was the face of the promotion squaring off against one of the greatest Superstars ever. This became the blueprint for how to book an “attraction.” Don’t be surprised if we see something like this used again. Just don’t expect it to be nearly as successful.

3. The Hurricane – This was The Rock’s greatest example of his versatility. Without The Rock, The Hurricane character wouldn’t have nearly the shelf life that it did. By being the typical condescending jock bully to Gregory Helms, The Rock made him a sympathetic character. There was a reason to pull for him in the match against The Rock. In the actual match, The Rock made Hurricane look fantastic, which allowed fans to take him seriously in spite of the comic book gimmick. Even in victory, The Rock looked like he had worked hard against Hurricane, which nobody would have expected. It was a star making program – albeit brief – along the same lines as Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy. Not his highest profile stuff, but some of his best, in my opinion.

2. Mankind – The Rock and Mankind are opposites in almost every way, with one key exception. The Rock is, as I mentioned above, the prototypical jock. People hang on his every word. He’s physically dominant. He can be a jerk, occasionally unknowingly, because he can back up anything he says. He has a natural swagger that borders on arrogance. Mankind is the portly outcast. He’s intelligent, but God didn’t deal him the same genetic hand that guys like The Rock got. He’s tough as nails, and he’ll fight until he can’t, but in a match up with The Rock, the deck is stacked against him. The thing these two men have in common, though, is an understanding of how to draw fans in and make them care. Through their partnership and feud, The Rock and Mankind drew people in, made them care, and made them want more. It would be in this feud more than any other that Mick Foley would become a true legend and superstar in WWE. The Rock put his legendary toughness to the test, both from a storyline perspective and legitimately. He battered Mick Foley from pillar to post, to the point that it was almost uncomfortable to watch at times. Along the way, though, there were title changes, star making performances, and some of the best verbal exchanges ever. Like his feud with Triple H, The Rock elevated Mankind, and vice versa.

1. Steve Austin – Rich vs. Sawyer. Race vs. Rhodes. Flair vs. Steamboat. Freebirds vs. Von Erichs. Raven vs. Dreamer. Hogan vs. Sting. Certain feuds define certain areas and promotions. The Rock vs. Steve Austin did that and much, much more. From the Intercontinental Title to Wrestlemania main events, The Rock and Austin defined the World Wrestling Federation for years. It is no accident that these two men would eventually become two of the greatest superstars of all time. They drove each other to it. The professional rivalry that Austin and The Rock shared consumed them, making them desperate to one-up each other with the ultimate goal of being the greatest. It’s splitting hairs when trying to figure out who came closer to that goal. These two men are responsible for so many iconic moments in WWE history that it’s hard to imagine what things would have been like without them. From the Intercontinental title going in the river to pagers that read “316”, from title changes to heel turns, from duets in the middle of the ring to the greatest Wrestlemania promo video of all time (My Way for Wrestlemania X-7), The Rock and Steve Austin crafted a masterpiece among wrestling feuds. For my money, this isn’t just The Rock’s greatest feud, it’s the greatest feud of all time in wrestling.

List your Top Five for this week’s topic in the comment section using the following format:

5. CHOICE: Explanation
4. CHOICE: Explanation
3. CHOICE: Explanation
2. CHOICE: Explanation
1. CHOICE: Explanation


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Larry Csonka