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Nemeses and Archenemies

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#1 DMJ

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:18 PM

One of my favorite pop culture writers is Chuck Klosterman. In one of his best pieces, he writes at length about how important it is to have a nemesis and an archenemy - and goes on to explain how these two people are not the same. Full text here


Basically, your nemesis is a bit like your rival - you are constantly in competition with this person and want to beat them, but you harbor begrudging respect for them, maybe even secretly appreciate them. Your archenemy is someone you loathe. 


According to Klosterman, Larry Bird's nemesis was Magic Johnson. They were the leaders of their respective teams at a time when their teams were competing to be the best team in the NBA. However, Bird's archenemy was actually Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons, a guy who notoriously insulted Bird by questioning whether his popularity had more to do with his skin color than his, y'know, averaging a double-double each of his first six years, winning three championships, etc.



So...how is this wrestling?


I thought it'd be fun to discuss who someone's nemesis/archenemy is. 


For example, John Cena's nemesis is Randy Orton. Their careers have been intertwined for over a decade and they're arguably the WWE's version of Rock/Austin (more on them below) for the 2000s. They've faced each other countless times, but even in their most intense battles, there has always been an underlying respect between them. Cena's archenemy is Edge, though, the guy that cost him his first and second WWE World Championships, building his career as The Cena Spoiler.


Back to Rock and Austin. Austin may have hated the Rock...but the Rock was a wrestler, a worthy challenge. The Rock was Austin's nemesis. Vince McMahon was Austin's archenemy. 


Now, as Klosterman goes on to explain, this doesn't always work both ways. Austin's archenemy was Vince McMahon, but McMahon's archenemy wasn't Austin - it was Ted Turner. Austin was McMahon's nemesis, but even at the height of their feud, McMahon was always somewhat open about wanting the Rattlesnake to join him as his corporate champion. McMahon wanted Turner to die penniless. 


Finally, Klosterman posits that if you don't have a nemesis and an archenemy, you can't truly be great.


I'm not sure this is the same in wrestling. I mean, Sting had a nemesis (Flair) and an archenemy (Hollywood Hogan), but I wouldn't call him any greater a character than the Undertaker (who only had a nemesis - Kane) or even The Ultimate Warrior (who only had an archenemy - Rick Rude). 




ANYWAY....I'm hoping others will join in on the fun.


Who was Ric Flair's nemesis? Who was his archenemy? What about the Hulkster? Was Bret Hart's archenemy Vince or Shawn or was it really Triple H all along, the one guy he, to this day, has never said even a halfway respectful word about? 

#2 ...TG

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 08:03 PM

Ric's nemesis is pretty obviously Ricky Steamboat, the Bird to his Magic. Archenemy is a bit tougher, because there's Hogan and Dusty who fit the mold. I want to go with Hogan because of what they represent culturally, but Dusty and Ric's rivalry behind the scenes feels important too. 

#3 El-P

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 06:03 AM

Flair's nemesis : Steamboat

Flair's archenemy : Hulk Hogan


Ricky Steamboat's nemesis : Ric Flair

Ricky Steamboat's archenemy : Randy Savage


Randy Savage's nemesis : Hulk Hogan (way too many times on the same side of the track despite real-life loathing)

Randy Savage's archenemy : Ric Flair


Raven's nemesis : Sandman

Raven's archenemy : Tommy Dreamer


Misawa's nemesis : Kobashi

Misawa's archenemy : Kawada

#4 gordi

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 09:53 AM

I might argue that Misawa's Nemesis was Jumbo.

Ice Train's Nemesis: Scott Norton
Ice Train's Archenemy: Diamond Dallas Paige

Bastion Booger's Nemesis: Bam Bam Bigelow
Bastion Booger's Archenemy: Luna Vachon

Fred Ottman's Nemesis: John Tenta
Fred Ottman's Archenemy: That piece of lumber propping up the set of "A Flair for the Gold."

#5 El-P

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 01:47 PM

Fred Ottman's Nemesis: John Tenta
Fred Ottman's Archenemy: That piece of lumber propping up the set of "A Flair for the Gold."


This is so right ! :)


Ozaki's nemesis : Dynamite Kansai

Ozaki's archenemy : Chiggy


Megumi Kudo's nemesis : Combat Toyoda

Megumi Kudo's archenemy : Shark Tsuchiya

#6 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 05:00 PM

This is tougher than it seems. 


Steve Grey


Nemesis -- Johnny Saint (?)

Archenemy -- Jim Breaks? Zoltan Boscik (?)


El Dandy


Nemesis -- Negro Casas (?) Angel Azteca (?)

Archenemy -- Satanico (?)


El Hijo del Santo 


Nemesis -- Espanto Jr (?) Blue Demon Jr (?)

Archenemy -- Negro Casas (?)


Tito Santana


Nemesis -- Randy Savage (?)

Archenemy -- Greg Valentine (?) Rick Martel (?)


Rey Mysterio Jr. 


Nemesis -- Psicosis (?) Eddie Guerrero (?)

Archenemy -- JBL (??) 


Chigusa Nagayo


Nemesis --  Lioness Asuka (?) Mayumi Ozaki (?)

Archenemy -- Dump Matsumoto

#7 cad

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 12:17 AM


Nemesis: Lizmark

Archenemy: Dandy


Blue Panther

Nemesis: Atlantis

Archenemy: Love Machine


Emilio Charles Jr.

Nemesis: Atlantis

Archenemy: Dandy

#8 gordi

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 01:16 AM

This is tougher than it seems. 





This means I'm gonna agree with you twice in one day... but yeah, it totally is. 


Look At Bret Hart, It's pretty obvious who his archenemy is... but you could make a more-than-reasonable case for Austin as his nemesis... but for someone like me who was most into following Bret from his Stampede days up until  the Hart Foundation became champs The Dynamite Kid is at least as good a choice. 

#9 Johnny Sorrow

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 01:34 AM

Jerry Lawler:
Nemesis: Bill Dundee
Arch Enemy: Jimmy Hart

Jimmy Valiant:
Nemesis: Jerry Lawler
Arch Enemy: Paul Jones

Magnum TA:
Nemesis: Nikita Koloff
Arch Enemy: Tully Blanchard

#10 gordi

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 09:10 AM

Magnum TA:
Nemesis: Nikita Koloff



I think that might be the best example pro wrestling has to offer of a Closterman-style nemesis relationship. Good call. 

#11 Microstatistics

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 05:39 PM

Jushin Liger


Nemesis: Shinjiro Ohtani

Archenemy: Naoki Sano

#12 peachchaos

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 01:08 PM

Mick Foley


Cactus Jack


Nemesis: Terry Funk

Archenemy: Vader (90's), Triple H (00's)




Nemesis: Triple H

Archenemy: The Undertaker


Dude Love


Nemesis: Stone Cold

Archenemy: Mick Foley


(my three faces of foley idea really fell apart there)

#13 flyonthewall2983

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 11:48 PM

Hulk Hogan


Nemesis: Randy Savage

Archenemy: Ric Flair

#14 Gutenberger


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Posted 26 August 2016 - 02:54 PM

Vince McMahon


Nemesis: WCW

Archenemy. The WWE fans (I refuse to say Universe)

#15 ...TG

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 06:04 PM

Stan Hansen:

Nemesis - Giant Baba

Archenemy - Bruno Sammartino


(I'm way off on that one, I know. Kobashi is a good fit too, maybe.)

#16 flyonthewall2983

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 11:04 PM

Bruce Prichard


Nemesis: Dave Meltzer

Archenemy: The key to a more accurate Jim Cornette impression

#17 flyonthewall2983

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 01:47 PM

Bobby Heenan


Nemesis: Hulk Hogan

Archenemy: Gorilla Monsoon

#18 TonyPulis'Cap

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 04:54 AM

Bobby Heenan


Nemesis: Hulk Hogan

Archenemy: Gorilla Monsoon


I think Heenan's perhaps works the other way round, but as people have pointed out, it's tough with a number of people to do this with a lot of blurred lines.


Like for example The Rock, I want to say...


Nemesis: Austin

Archenemy: Triple H


...but think a case could be made to flip those as well.

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