Feud Of The Year – HOWIE Awards 2020

Our third HOWIE award will go to the best feud of 2020 in AEW, WWE, NXT, NJPW etc. Read our writer’s choices and make your pick.

Feud Of The Year

Welcome to the first annual HOWIE Awards – celebrating the very best in wrestling in 2020. Read our writers picks and vote on an overall winner.

Today we ask our team to nominate their feud of the year.

Over December we will be presenting our staff writers choices for ten different awards in association with Wrestle Merch Central. At the same time we will offer you, our readers, the chance to vote on your pick from our shortlist. At the same time, we hope you offer your alternatives via Twitter. Join the conversation by tagging us on @HO_Wrestling and using the hashtag #HOWIES20.

You can see the already announced categories to review and vote HERE. We will announce the overall reader voted winners on New Years Day.

Paul Benson, Hooked On Wrestling Tribal Chief

Shortlist Pick: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley

Sasha Banks & Bayley
Photo Credit: WWE

There were some seriously strong contenders for this. Primarily Edge vs. Randy Orton, Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston and Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page. I’m going with Bayley vs. Banks though because of how wonderfully it played out. The tension simmered for months. We knew the split was coming but the two always just pulled back from the brink of animosity…until they didn’t. Great storytelling, incredible use of title belts in a feud and wonderful matches. This is as good as it has ever gotten in North American women’s wrestling in this contributor’s opinion.

Cameron Bennett, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: John Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston

Jon Moxley Eddie Kingston
Credit: AEW

Yeah, this was short and only really encompassed 1 PPV but hot diggity was it special. Born out of necessity due to an unfortunately timed positive Covid-19 test (Not that they can be fortunately timed but you get my point) The match was wonderful and the promos, oooo lordy the promos. Bellissima.

Chris Napier, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Pat McAfee vs. Adam Cole & The Undisputed Era

Adam Cole & Pat McAfee
Credit: WWE

It’s not been a great year for overarching feuds and those that have stood out have mostly done so by overstaying their welcome (looking at Rollins vs. the Mysterios here.) Despite the evidently worked set up, McAfee vs. Cole produced one quality match, another I’m keen to see (this being written before War Games) elevated talent and it’s not even over yet.

On This Day in Wrestling History...26th July

McAfee clearly gets wrestling better than 99% of celebrities who appear on wrestling shows and his match with Cole was much, much better than it had any right to be. The fact that the angle continues with McAfee recruiting a squad to take the Undisputed Era down a peg makes perfect sense, elevates the underrated Burch & Lorcan, brings Pete Dunne back to NXT with something to do and gives new life to an Undisputed Era act that could arguably have been growing stale. What’s not to love?

Chris Hatch, Hooked On Wrestling Editor

Shortlist Pick: Randy Orton vs. Edge

Randy Orton vs Edge
Credit: WWE

When Edge returned, I was salivating about all the new feuds that had opened up for the Rated R Superstar. Daniel Bryan! AJ Styles! Seth Rollins! As it turns out, the right choice wasn’t a fresh new buck, but one of his most storied rivals!

The feud between these two was just incredible. Old school, simple and fuelled by a really believable hate. It was such a shame their two main matches took place in ‘The Warehouse Era’ and Edge’s injury cut short his return, but when he returns, I no longer want a fresh new feud. I want more of this.

Liam Happe, Hooked On Wrestling Features Editor

Shortlist Pick: Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston

It wasn’t supposed to be such a big program on Dynamite but necessity brought two of the best brass-tacks talkers in the game together and the rest was so enjoyable, so intense, it was easy to forget that hardly any fans could attend.

Ash Rose, Editor, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso

Roman Reigns Jey Uso
Credit: WWE

Who would have guessed this would even be a thing at the start of 2020? Boy what a story these two have told. Its easily Roman Reigns’ best work of his WWE career and they’ve made a new star in Jey Uso. Their match at Clash of Champions was meant to be a one and done, but thus was the interest in their story and the raw emotion it evoked that it turned into the essential storyline thread on Friday nights. It’s been a masterclass in storytelling and we’ve still got plenty of chapters to come too. The Tribal Chief has arrived.

If Fusient Bought WCW #147: Good Friends, Better Enemies

James Dee, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso

Call it recency bias if you want but this feud was amazing for everyone involved, Roman Reigns returned at SummerSlam and soon captured the Universal Championship. At Clash of Champions, Jey lost to Reigns by technical knockout, when Jimmy came down and threw in the towel for him. Jey was given another title shot against Reigns in an “I Quit” match at Hell in a Cell.

At the event, Reigns, unable to make Jey quit, attacked the injured Jimmy Uso threatening to end his career thus making Jey say “I quit”, Roman knew the Uso’s only real weakness is each other which not only makes Roman look cunning and ruthless it ALSO makes the Uso’s look unbreakable and threatening as a team, that’s efficiency in storytelling!

But the feud is about so much more than the matches (which were stellar), the dialog exchanged between the two cousins was excellent with Roman telling Jey to “lie down and take the payday” and Jey saying to Roman “you know what people say when they meet me? ‘Which one are you?'” every word out of their mouths was believable and like something out of a proper Hollywood gangster movie.

Then there’s Paul Heyman.

Heyman’s role is far different than his role with Lesnar. In Lesnar it looked like he had found something of a kindred spirit, they seem more like friends, Paul is AFRAID of Roman Reigns like Roman chose him because Roman knows how good he is at what he does and Paul can’t say no. Just look at the difference in how Paul looks at Brock compared to how he looks at Roman. With Brock he’s focused but jovial, with Roman he has fear and reverence in his eyes. It’s another masterclass in character work and storytelling from a man that has a whole semester’s worth of them. All this in two months while building Jey as a singles superstar, I struggle to think how it gets any better.

Justin Czerwonka, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley

Yes, these two only broke up and fought for a couple months. But the subtle hints throughout the summer that were there is what made the eventual breakup so great. Bayley constantly threw Sasha out there to do her dirty work and you could tell Sasha was getting frustrated with it. That’s what makes a great feud. You can see the tension building up and when it does it still makes it that much better. Sasha has regained the swagger she once had because of this story and Bayley continues to be a strong character on Smackdown. The matches and promos between these two were top notch and you could tell they gave it their all.

On This Day In Wrestling History...28th July

Gary Tait, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Randy Orton vs. Edge

This one took me longer than expected. I seriously wanted to give it to Reigns vs Jey Uso, as the feud cemented Reigns as a heel, but it did not go on long enough for me. For that reason, I am going with Orton vs Edge. It had everything involved. The emotion, the mic work was stellar, and the matches were brutal.

Lewis Brown, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Pat McAfee vs. Adam Cole

I was very close to putting Jon Moxley vs Eddie Kingston in here because the promos and the matches and just the whole storyline was fantastic. But for me it just didn’t go on long enough to be feud of the year. Alas, I’m going to go with Pat McAfee vs Adam Cole. I’ll be honest, I marked out for this because that initial interview. I thought it was a shoot, as did a lot of people. We got worked though, goddammit, and the match itself they had was better than most people’s expectations.

This poll is no longer accepting votes

What was the best feud of 2020?

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