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?