Where Does Roman Reigns, Bloodline Storyline Rank Among All-Time Great WWE Angles?

Erik Beaston February 14, 2023

Where Does Roman Reigns, Bloodline Storyline Rank Among All-Time Great WWE Angles?

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE history is made up of some of the most epic storytelling in pro wrestling.

    It has produced years-long programs that have pitted two individuals against each other, featured best friends become sworn enemies, and sibling rivalries tear families apart.

    It is currently home to an engrossing program featuring the The Bloodline's Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn and The Usos.

    It's the best storyline of the last decade, but where does it rank among the greatest in WWE history?

7. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

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    Chris Jericho tried to tell us that Shawn Michaels would stoop to any low to win a match, but no one wanted to listen.

    HBK was everyone's favorite, a good man fresh off of retiring his childhood idol, Ric Flair, at WrestleMania 24. He would never deceive anyone.

    And then he did, scoring an underhanded victory over Batista at Backlash 2008.

    A dismayed Jericho took it out on his own childhood hero, throwing Michaels face-first through the Jeritron and igniting a rivalry that would rapidly become one of the best of the 2000s.

    It became an intensely personal feud, with Jericho attempting to end the career of Michaels by damaging his eye. He would sink even lower, throwing a punch at HBK that instead struck his rival's wife, Rebecca.

    The darker edge and personality he adopted led to Jericho developing one of the great heel personas of the new millennium and Michaels being as sympathetic as ever.

    Their clashes, concluding with a brilliant ladder match at the No Mercy pay-per-view, were physical and violent. They captivated audiences and created one of the great stories in WWE history.

6. 'That's Gotta Be Kane!'

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    Paul Bearer's shocking betrayal of The Undertaker in 1996 set in motion a rivalry between them that would escalate the following summer with the revelation by the former that Kane, The Phenom's long-believed deceased brother, was still alive.

    Fast-forward to October 1997 and Bearer proved it, leading The Big Red Machine to the squared circle. He ripped the door off the Hell in a Cell structure, stood face-to-face with an Undertaker and delivered a Tombstone piledriver.

    No matter how often Kane threatened Undertaker, The Deadman stayed true to the promise he made his mother and father, refusing to fight his brother. After a momentary alliance, though, another betrayal of 'Taker was the final straw.

    Undertaker accepted a match against Kane at WrestleMania 14 and defeated him, but not without needing three Tombstones to do so.

    The year-long storytelling was as epic as anything WWE had accomplished. It made use of the supernatural elements of the characters while telling the story of a family-centric feud that was easy to understand and left fans waiting to see what would come next.

    The answer? Years of messy storytelling that retconned some of what we knew and added elements we wish we never had, which hurt the original impact of the program and knocked it a spot or two down on our list.

    Still, that original story and its execution was simply phenomenal and proved what can be accomplished with a little patience, forethought and investment by everyone.

5. Mick Foley: From Monster to Champion

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    Is there a more underrated storyline in WWE history than Mick Foley's journey from masked madman to heavyweight champion?

    There are individual moments touted as some of the most memorable in WWE history, but the overarching story of the Hall of Famer is as good as any the company has produced.

    Beginning with a series of pre-taped interviews with Jim Ross, Mankind gave fans a look behind the mask and at the man underneath the scars. He was likable and a misunderstood monster, the wrestling equivalent of Frankenstein's monster.

    Even as he snapped and applied the Mandible Claw to Good Ol' JR, fans felt they had a better understanding and respect for Mankind than ever before.

    Then came the emergence of Dude Love and a partnership with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin that was revealed to be one-sided eventually. Austin never cared about Mick Foley, the man behind the gimmick.

    Ditto Vince McMahon, who manipulated him, used him as a pawn in his war with Austin and dumped him the moment he got the corporate champion that he wanted in The Rock.

    The people did not give up on Foley, though. They loved his passion for pro wrestling and his willingness to put his body on the line in the name of entertaining them.

    That is why his victory over The Rock on the January 4, 1999 episode of Raw was that much more special. Yes, the audience erupted for Austin's arrival and ass-kicking of The Corporation, but the noise that greeted Foley's victory and the realization of his childhood dream was equally special.

    It was the culmination of a story that began over a year and a half earlier and gave fans one of the true feel-good moments in wrestling. Not because it was scripted or expected, but because it involved a character that they genuinely cared for.

    There are a lot flashier stars on this list, whose stories have been told ad nausea, but Foley's journey from those segments in the summer of 1997 through to that first title victory was special.

4. Austin vs. McMahon

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    Take one megalomaniacal businessman, book him opposite an anti-authority rebel with a penchant for raising hell and drinking beer, and the result was pure magic.

    The Attitude Era saw the rise of Steve Austin to the top of the industry, the undisputed most popular star in professional wrestling. He was a finger-flipping badass who would not be told what to do by anyone, most of whom the self-serving Chairman of the Board who did not see the bald-headed Texas Rattlesnake as the face of his company.

    At the height of their rivalry, Austin and McMahon had millions of fans tuning in to see how the former would antagonize the latter and how the the boss would respond. Their rivalry created magical moments and historic television ratings.

    The storyline has also proved timeless, with Austin and McMahon rekindling their rivalry as late as WrestleMania 38, when Stone Cold delivered an ugly Stunner to the WWE chairman.

    The simplicity of the story captivated fans, and the understanding of what the audience wanted (and still does) helped establish their feud as one of the best in the history of pro wrestling.

3. The Mega Powers Explode

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    In 1988, Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage formed a team known as The Mega Powers.

    Together, they would combat heels such as "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Andre the Giant, Big Boss Man and Akeem. They were a seemingly unbeatable pair of major stars the like of which that era of WWE would never see again...until egos and paranoia got in the way.

    Savage repeatedly accused Hogan of having lust in his eyes for Miss Elizabeth, taking exception to how close The Hulkster and his manager had become.

    When Hogan tended to a fallen Elizabeth, leaving Savage to fend for himself against the massive Boss Man and Akeem, the team reached its breaking point.

    Savage confronted Hogan backstage and then sneak-attacked him, setting up a massive WrestleMania V main event.

    The storyline began a year earlier with Hogan saving Savage from a beatdown and culminated a year later on the grandest stage known to wrestling. It was the first truly great example of long-term storytelling in WWE and a program that helped elevate Savage to the top of the industry.

    It gripped professional wrestling and further established the company as the preeminent in the industry.

    We have seen friends become enemies (Jericho and Kevin Owens), but few have done it on the scale or with the success of The Mega Powers.

2. The Hart Sibling Rivalry

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    "Under no circumstances will I ever, absolutely not ever, fight my brother."

    It was as definitive a statement as Bret Hart could make when faced with the prospect of battling younger brother Owen amid a jealous outburst by the youngest of the Hart kids.

    Owen was dismayed at becoming the only Hart brother to be eliminated from their tag team match at Survivor Series in 1993 and took out of his frustrations on Bret, claiming he was tired of living in the shadow of his older brother.

    A reunion over the holidays and an opportunity to dethrone The Quebecers for the tag titles brought them back together, until perceived selfishness on Bret's part as he gutted through a knee injury en route to a referee stoppage infuriated Owen.

    The shocking betrayal of Bret led to Owen becoming the biggest heel in the company and set up a showdown between them at WrestleMania X, which was won by the younger sibling. Bret had the last laugh, though, and celebrated another WWE Championship win by night's end as his brother watched from the aisle.

    The two would feud for the rest of 1994, with Owen recruiting Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart as support. In November, he tearfully convinced his mother, Martha, to throw the towel in on behalf of Bret, ending his title reign.

    They would battle countless times, with their matches often being the best thing on any show by far.

    The believability of it all and its simplicity helped the audience invest emotionally in what played out before them. It strengthened Bret's status as the most beloved babyface in the company and established Owen as a bona fide main event star at a time when WWE desperately needed one.

    It also netted some of the best matches of the decade.

1. The Tribal Chief, The Bloodline and The Honorary Uce

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    The Bloodline storyline is the greatest in WWE history.

    That is saying a lot given the others on this list. There have been legends of bygone eras who have been responsible for gripping the audience, but few tales have encompassed the time and the intricate details that the ongoing Bloodline saga has.

    From Reigns returning with a new attitude as The Tribal Chief in August 2020, to an intensely personal feud that saw him establish himself as the unquestioned Head of the Table during a feud with his cousin, Jey Uso, it started hot and featured some of the best work of either man's careers.

    Jey's "which one are you?" line in regards to fans' reactions to him and brother Jimmy was as impactful a line as any.

    Jimmy's return and the dominance over WWE that Reigns and The Usos established helped create an all-time-great heel faction that rivals those of the past.

    Few could have imagined the impact that the seemingly short-term addition of Sami Zayn would have. What started as a few silly backstage segments transformed into an epic second chapter that saw him win over Jimmy and Jey and potentially loosening the grip Reigns had on them.

    The Master Strategist sowed division within the group that became apparent when Jey walked out rather than participate in the beatdown of his friend at the conclusion of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January.

    Sprinkle in some Kevin Owens here, Drew McIntyre there and even a little Solo Sikoa to really heighten the personality and you have a story that built around the ongoing feuds that had been crafted for Reigns since last summer.

    And it's not over yet.

    The story will write its latest chapter on Saturday at Elimination Chamber, but there is infinite potential for it to extend beyond then, with the continuation of Zayn's plight, the uncertainty surrounding Jey and the ultimate downfall of The Tribal Chief all to be resolved.

    Modern times may call for a shorter attention span, but fans have welcomed the epic tale of the dominant empire, fractured by the ultimate outsider.