The wrestling business is one of the more difficult industries to find friendship in. Everyone is competing with each other for the top spots. You have to outshine and outperform your peers to move up the rankings. That can make a professional relationship turn into a personal rivalry. Most wrestlers enter top promotions wanting to have a solid working relationship and potential friendship with most of their co-workers. That rarely plays out, with drama and pressure of the competitive atmosphere causing issues between wrestlers.
This was especially true during the eras of past rosters. Scott Hall often said wrestling was “show business, not the friendship business.” Most wrestlers fell under that belief, leading to friendships falling apart. The ugly drama to come from the politics and personal animosity in wrestling are enough to cause two people to never want to speak to each other again.
Times have changed and wrestlers appear to be more cordial these days, but the ugliness still finds a way to resurface. Former friends and colleagues turn into enemies over the years with the bond being unable to reform. We’ll look at some of the high profile instances of friends turning into enemies with the fifteen pairs of wrestlers that are forever broken.
15. CM Punk and Jeff Hardy
CM Punk and Jeff Hardy had one of the best WWE feuds of the past decade. They used elements of reality with Hardy’s controversial lifestyle and Punk’s straight edge beliefs being mixed into the storyline. Punk evolved into WWE’s best heel by tapping into the real belief he held about Hardy’s issues. The two reportedly always got along in the WWE before this program got personal.
Hardy and Punk exchanged verbal blows on the microphone that caused real life tension between them. Following his departure from the WWE, Hardy released a video online insulting Punk for being a judgmental nerd. Punk had some unflattering remarks about Hardy as well, showing the two sides both equally disliked each other. Considering Punk will likely never work for the WWE or TNA again, there will be no scenario where he makes up with Hardy.
14. Michael Cole and Tazz
The resurgence of SmackDown as a brand following the brand split this year is similar to the first year of the original split back in 2002. Michael Cole and Tazz emerged as a fun commentary team on the blue brand, developing great chemistry. They became close friends with Cole helping Tazz in his new career as a broadcaster following his retirement from the ring.
Cole and Tazz actually branched out together, hosting a radio show on Sirius XM for a short time period. The friendship seemed like it would last forever, but that wasn’t the case when Tazz parted ways with the WWE. According to Tazz via his CBS radio show, Cole no longer speaks to him and stopped answering phone calls or texts from his former partner. The two are no longer in communication with Cole essentially cutting all ties with Tazz.
13. Vince McMahon and Vince Russo
Vince Russo is rightfully viewed as a desperate pundit searching for relevancy and attention in the form of hot takes via his podcast. Before turning into a joke within the wrestling business, Russo did play a large role in the writing of the WWE shows during the Attitude Era. The bitter ending of him walking out with no warning for a higher paying job in WCW ended a lot of his relationships.
Everyone credits Vince McMahon for filtering out Russo’s bad ideas. The two Vinces had a good relationship during Russo’s time as the head writer. McMahon invited Russo to his home and they spent a lot of time together trying to put together a compelling product. It all ended when Russo left. McMahon stopped speaking to him. Russo claims he has sent personal McMahon emails through the years during holidays trying to rebuild the bond and McMahon only replies with “thx.” Ice cold.
12. Steve Austin and Bob Holly
The toughness of Steve Austin and Bob Holly each made them have a respect for one another in the early stages of their careers. Both were hard workers trying their best to make it in the world of professional wrestling. Holly said Austin rode with him and Billy Gunn during Austin’s first years in WWE, as they struck up a good friendship.
Austin’s rise allegedly led to his attitude changing according to Holly. His ego grew and Austin no longer viewed himself on the same level as Holly and Gunn. Holly clearly doesn’t care about sparing feelings and outed Austin as aself-centered and egotistical after becoming the biggest star in the WWE. Austin isn’t one for criticism from his peers these days and we likely won’t see them on speaking terms again.
11. Paul London and Matt Hardy
Paul London and Matt Hardy always had a lot in common. Both men loved the wrestling industry and achieved their lifelong dreams when joining the WWE. Hardy and London each were regarded for their superb in-ring skills. So, it made sense that they struck a friendship when working together on the SmackDown brand during the original brand split. That changed when a love triangle made things complicated.
Hardy’s relationship with Ashley Massaro ended and she moved into a relationship with London shortly after. According to London, that caused Hardy to start treating him poorly and attempting to make him miserable. London posted videos trashing Hardy after he left the WWE, as he was able to speak his mind. The two went back and forth for months. London claims he turned down a ROH storyline to work a match with Hardy a few years ago proving the beef is still there.