Re: Analyze this: Rivalries that built wrestling
I have to give a shoutout to Taz/Sabu in ECW. IMO, this rivalry (which stemmed from real life heat) gave ECW that much needed push into being arguably on the level of WCW & WWE. At a time where ECW would lose guys like Raven, who remained a focal point of the company since his debut, it allowed ECW to focus elsewhere and was the initial seed that grew into the Jerry Lawler/ECW feud. This rivalry lasted for nearly 4 years, until Taz signed with WWE and Sabu took another hiatus.
Another one from ECW is RVD/Jerry Lynn. IMO, this rivalry put RVD on the map but also created a buzz for Jerry Lynn. Entire basis for this feud was going out and stealing the show, which these guys did at 2 consecutive PPV's and countless episodes of Hardcore TV. It made RVD somewhat of a household name and arguably the only ECW guy to debut in WWE and receive ovations on par with some of WWE's top names. Also, it broke ECW away from the stigma of being labeled a "blood & guts" promotion.
Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart took wrestling in a different direction and made one question what was a work or shoot. Started off as just a simple, competitive rivalry that turned into a real life beef between the 2 men. It was that big win at WM 12 that put HBK at the top of the company and made him into 1 of the top performers of all time and giving him the nickname of Mr. Wrestlemania. It also had a few spinoffs develop that changed the face of wrestling as we would know it, with Bret/Austin, HBK/Undertaker, HBK/Austin and Vince/Austin. Looking back, you can argue that the previously mentioned 4 feuds all stemmed from the HBK/Bret rivalry.
Last but not least, Sting/Hogan. Hogan, arguably the biggest WWE star of all time, signed with WCW in 1994. Sting, who was WCW's franchise since 1991, soon saw the spotlight more devoted to Hogan. Now, that has nothing to do with the rivalry but the idea to turn Hogan heel was instrumental in giving both men a change of character to fit with the times. Another perfect way to build up to a big match (eventhough the actual match was a letdown). Shortly after the formation of the NWO, Sting took a hiatus, followed by making early appearances, in which he showed no allegiance to either WCW or NWO. And through out all that, from the time Nash/Hall debuted, to even before that when Sting was always WCW's top guy, fans maintained the hope that Sting would be the guy to dethrone Hogan. All of this together provided dominant ratings wins for WCW, which later largely thrived off the impending Sting/Hogan showdown.