The Attitude Era was a very special time in the history of wrestling that will never be duplicated. It was the hottest time period in WWE history with stars like Steve Austin and The Rock connecting with the mainstream audience on a level never seen before. WWE set ratings records every Monday with Raw bringing in millions of viewers to keep up with the product. A deep roster with guys like Triple H, Mick Foley, The Undertaker and Chris Jericho working under The Rock and Austin gave us star power that would never be matched.
There were many factors for the success of the company, but the talent deserves the most credit. Everyone was at the top of their game fighting to make a mark in the competitive field. Many of the Attitude Era stars are or will eventually enter the WWE Hall of Fame with legendary reputations behind them. Through the years, friendships have survived and some have actually formed bonds after tough times working together. Being a part of something that special will surely create a connection. We’ll look at some of the pairs of memorable Attitude Era wrestlers that are still good friends today.
15. Shawn Michaels and Triple H
Let’s get an obvious friendship out of the way with the bromance between Triple H and Shawn Michaels standing the test of time. Michaels saw something special in Triple H and made him a part of The Kliq with Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman. The latter three left the WWE leaving Michaels and Triple H alone with the rest of the locker room hating them.
Michaels and Triple H formed D-Generation X becoming one of the hottest acts of the time. It helped make Triple H a star. Fast forward almost twenty years later and the two are still quite close. Michaels chose Triple H to induct him into the 2011 Hall of Fame. Triple H recently talked Michaels into taking a job at the WWE Performance Center helping to teach the young talents train. The original DX tandem is still considered to be the best of friends today.
14. Mark Henry and Kane
A pair of friends no one ever wants to piss off would be Kane and Mark Henry. As two of the most physically intimidating men on the roster, Kane and Henry have been with the WWE for two decades. They are two of the rare talents still active today from the days of the Attitude Era. WWE Network’s Table for 3 showed Henry, Kane and Big Show discuss their friendship over the years.
Henry and Kane both currently serve as veteran presences on the Raw and SmackDown brands respectively. They’ve been through it all together and now each basically has the same role on the two WWE shows. Kane and Henry have had many matches together causing them to earn respect for the other and form a lifelong friendship.
13. Trish Stratus and Lita
The majority of female wrestlers during the Attitude Era weren’t actual wrestlers. Women like Sable, Terri Runnels, Debra and The Kat couldn’t wrestle a competent match but were used on television weekly for their looks. Two future legends desperately wanted to change the women’s division for the better. Trish Stratus and Lita completely shook things up towards the end of the Attitude Era when joining the company.
WWE hired Stratus to be the manager of Test & Albert due to her fitness background and great looks. The same job duties were expected of Lita as the manager of Essa Rios and later The Hardy Boyz. Trish and Lita started to become popular and used that to showcase their athletic skills as arguably the two greatest women’s wrestlers in WWE history. The retired legends are still tight these days spending lots of time together and referring to themselves as “Team Bestie.”
12. JBL and Ron Simmons
Not all tag teams are close friends and most actually don’t enjoy each other’s company outside of the ring. A rare case of tag team partners being put together and becoming best friends is the story of the APA. JBL and Ron Simmons were regarded as two of the toughest men in the industry and the locker room enforcers in the WWE. Naturally they made a great tag team fixture in the division for many years.
Bradshaw and Simmons spent all of their time together as travel partners that loved to frequent the local establishments. They became best friends and it’s lasted to this day. Simmons choice of JBL to induct him into the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame was an obvious one and JBL will likely return the favor when it’s his time. The APA wrestlers still spend time together and hold a close friendship.
11. Kurt Angle and Big Show
Kurt Angle and Big Show both entered WWE around the same time from completely different worlds. Angle was brand new to the professional wrestling industry coming off a 1996 Olympic Gold Medal for the United States in amateur wrestling. Show made the jump to WWE following a couple of years in WCW. Both would become players in the WWE adding great depth to the Attitude Era.
Angle worked close with Big Show for many more years into the original brand split and the Ruthless Aggression era. Many of Show’s best matches were against Angle. It only made sense that they became close friends. In an interview, Angle revealed Show and Brock Lesnar were the two wrestlers he’s considered his best friends in the wrestling business. The lovable giant and the Olympic hero remain close despite Angle leaving the WWE over a decade ago.
10. Jim Ross and Steve Austin
The close friendship between Jim Ross and Steve Austin played a huge role in both of their careers. Everyone associates the voice of Ross with the memorable moments of Austin’s career, during his best years in the Attitude Era. JR is regarded as the greatest play-by-play announcer in wrestling history and Austin is often selected as the greatest star of all-time. They each benefited from the relationship on-screen and off-screen.
Austin selected Ross to be his best man during his wedding with Debra. The marriage failed, but his friendship with Ross lived on for years. Austin has become a very popular podcast host with his show The Steve Austin Show on Podcast One. JR joined on when Austin pulled some strings with Podcast One to bring The Ross Report to the site. They often chat on each other’s shows and are quite close despite both retiring from the WWE life.
9. The Hardyz and Dudleyz
One of the most underrated things about the Attitude Era was the tag team division. Three tag teams emerged from the era as the faces of tag team wrestling for the time period. Edge & Christian, The Hardyz and The Dudleyz had classic matches against each other with the use of tables, ladders and chairs in various forms. The TLC stipulation was born to give it an official match and they stole the show every single time.
Edge and Christian split to have singles careers without ever reforming the team in an official capacity. The Dudleyz and Hardyz have had their time apart, but remained tag teams at different points over the years. They remained close and had a special moment recently. D-Von is a full-time WWE producer and had his retirement match teaming with Bubba against Matt and Jeff Hardy at House of Glory. It was a special moment, as his final match took place with some close friends.
8. Shane McMahon and Pete Gas
— Kazeem Famuyide (@RealLifeKaz) November 17, 2016
The friendship between Shane McMahon and Pete Gas existed before wrestling and lived through it. Gas was hired to be a member of Shane’s Mean Street Posse based off the reality of them being close friends in real life. Along with Rodney and Joey Abs, Gas did the lackey work for Shane and the rest of the McMahon family, typically being used as comedic jobbers.
Following his eventual departure from the WWE, Pete continued to work at independent shows, but found a career in another field. Pete and Shane remained in touch over the years. They were recently spotted sitting together with Shane’s children at a NXT live event in New York City. It was cool seeing the Attitude Era on-screen friends still being close these days by hanging out at a wrestling show.
7. X-Pac and Billy Gunn
D-Generation X formed many friendships that still exist today. One of the closer friendships between former DX members features Sean “X-Pac” Waltman and Billy Gunn. The two men joined DX following Shawn Michaels’ 1998 retirement along with Road Dogg and did an outstanding job taking the faction forward. Waltman and Gunn have been in and out of the WWE doghouse for many years but remained close.
Independent promotion Chikara brought them together to win a tag team gauntlet in mid-2016 and fans loved it. They both expressed their enjoyment of having a public match together again. Gunn made a rare podcast appearance on X-Pac’s show for one of the better wrestling interviews of the year. The Attitude Era brought them a lot of money and the legacy of DX, but the friendship is what is most valuable. Gunn and Waltman also remain close with fellow DX member Road Dogg.
6. Mick Foley and The Rock
The Rock and Mick Foley demonstrated incredible chemistry during the Attitude Era in various forms. They were great opponents with numerous classic matches against each other during the height of the Attitude Era. Foley and also managed to form a hilariously entertaining tag team known as The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection. Wrestling fans were happy every time The Rock and Foley were on-screen together.
No one could deny how well they played off each other. They were close friends behind the scenes as two of the rare wrestlers of the time with no controversy surrounding them. Foley and Rock were easy going guys loving the ride of the Attitude Era. Both men still speak glowingly about the other and keep in touch. Mick has revealed that his daughter Noelle Foley has become good friends with The Rock’s daughter and that’s how the dads keep in touch most these days
5. Chris Jericho and Edge
Chris Jericho and Edge were two of the most successful Canadian wrestlers of the Attitude Era, bringing pride to their country. Jericho was a singles star from day one showing great charisma and in-ring skills that would eventually take him to the top of the WWE. Edge had a thriving career with tag partner Christian during the Attitude Era, but ultimately broke out to become a huge singles star.
Both men had a lot of things in common aside from their Canadian roots. Jericho and Edge shared an interest in rock music and hockey. The music interest especially brought them together following their years in wrestling. Jericho and Edge have attended The Rock & Roll Music Hall of Fame induction show together in past years. Edge has appeared on Jericho’s podcast numerous times giving us a glimpse into how close they are.
4. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels
One odd friendship features two former Attitude Era stars that despised each other more than any other pair in WWE history. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were rivals in and out of the ring. Hart loathed Michaels’ disrespectful attitude and it led to them getting personal on the air in the early days of the Attitude Era.
Bret eventually found his way out, leaving the WWE due to Vince McMahon claiming to not be able to afford his contract. It all culminated with The Montreal Screwjob. Following years of hatred for Michaels’ role in the horrible moment, Hart made peace when returning to the WWE. Michaels apologized for all his wrongdoings and the two strangely became friends. Hart and Michaels text occasionally and have officially buried the many years of hate.
3. Triple H and William Regal
A long lasting friendship to benefit the WWE features the close relationship between Triple H and William Regal. Triple H had a horrible time in WCW, but Regal was one of the people he enjoyed working with. When Regal came to the WWE during the Attitude Era, he had a friend in Triple H there. The friendship evolved over time.
Triple H went to bat to have a storyline with Regal in 2008, but a poorly timed Wellness Policy violation ended it. Luckily, Triple H continued to believe in Regal and we see that unfold today. Regal is the lead talent scout and one of Triple H’s right hand men in the running of NXT and the Performance Center. Triple H trusts Regal to do what’s “best for business” and it has been a huge success for the two friends.
2. The Undertaker and Kane
Kane’s legendary WWE career will always be associated with The Undertaker. As brothers on the show, Kane and Undertaker had many feuds with one of the greatest rivalries of the Attitude Era. The Undertaker believed in Kane and did a lot to help establish him as a monster heel. Many stars in The Undertaker’s position would have refused to put over an unproven new character the way he did.
The two become close during their matches against each other and eventual tag team. Kane considers The Undertaker a mentor that looked out for him during the days of everyone trying to backstab each other in the Attitude Era. Kane lasting almost two decades would have never happened if The Undertaker didn’t respect him. Both men will likely be the best choice to induct each other into the WWE Hall of Fame.
1. Edge and Christian
Perhaps the greatest friendship in the history of the wrestling business would be the story of Edge and Christian. They were childhood friends coming together through a mutual passion for the wrestling industry. Edge and Christian trained together and eventually made it to the WWE during the Attitude Era as a tag team. Playing brothers on screen, they managed to win the Tag Titles seven times in a few years.
Christian went on to have a successful singles career in both WWE and TNA, while Edge achieved a bit more success as a WWE legend. Despite the changes each man went through in their lives, they always remained extremely close. Edge and Christian are still like two children making jokes together while sharing their passion of wrestling. You can watch it play out on their WWE Network show. WWE having Edge and Christian play brothers made perfect sense considering their friendship is a tight brotherhood.