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.
10. Diamond Dallas Page and Scott Steiner
The top wrestlers in WCW typically had drama going back and forth at all times during the Monday Night Wars. WCW top stars had massive contracts and that led to egos continuously expanding. One incident of drama going too far saw Scott Steiner and Diamond Dallas Page get into a fight backstage. They always got along well until Steiner started to develop his new unpredictable personality.
Steiner insulted DDP’s wife, Kimberly Page, and allegedly threatened her backstage. The next move by Steiner saw him cross the line by running down both Kimberly and Dallas during a live promo. DDP confronted him backstage, leading to a fight where Steiner absolutely destroyed him. Wrestlers there to break it up have claimed Steiner could have killed Page if he wasn’t stopped. Steiner and DDP understandably don’t speak to each other following that incident.
9. Alberto Del Rio and Sin Cara
The Mexican wrestling scene typically sees the wrestling style of Lucha Libre. Despite the style being very entertaining and of its own genre, most of the wrestlers in Mexico hope to make it to the United States earning a WWE contract. Two wrestlers made it there at the same time and actually ended up hating each other instead of uniting.
Del Rio and the original Sin Cara had issues back in Mexico when the former WWE Superstar worked as Mistico. That led to Del Rio getting stiff with him in the ring on multiple occasions. You could tell the two clearly hated each other, especially on Del Rio’s end. They tried to make peace when both left the WWE and ended up back in Mexico. That could not last and the two are once again at odds, likely to continue hating each other with their large egos in play.
8. A.J. Styles and Dixie Carter
Most wrestling fans would easily select A.J. Styles as the greatest TNA wrestler of all time. Styles gave his all to TNA, but they typically chose bigger names with past success over him such as Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Sting. Despite frustrations, Styles remained loyal to TNA until they asked him to take a drastic pay cut.
Dixie Carter was the head of TNA and all of the big decisions came back to her. Styles refused to sign a new contract until the money offer improved and he would ultimately walk away. Carter and Styles were viewed to have had a close relationship, but the ugly end to his time there saw that end.
Styles vented all of his frustrations with how TNA was ran and went on to have huge success in New Japan, Ring of Honor and he’s now the WWE World Champion. Dixie is being exiled from TNA in the same time frame. Everything works out for the best.
7. CM Punk and Hornswoggle
CM Punk has one of the strangest personalities in wrestling, making it tough to be his friend. Only a handful of wrestlers have been able to keep a friendship with him going through the years without having an ugly falling out. Punk made a lot of friends in the WWE, but lost most of them when leaving the company in dramatic fashion.
One of his friendships to end saw Punk cut Hornswoggle out of his life. The two were close in the WWE, but Punk apparently felt disrespected and ended the bond. Hornswoggle stated he asked for the phone number of a mutual friend after he lost it and Punk considered Hornswoggle to be using him. It is hard to envision Hornswoggle or anyone repairing a friendship with someone that ends it for such a lame reason.
6. Hulk Hogan and Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner had a good relationship with Hulk Hogan and the two considered each other friends for a short time period. Steiner’s big singles push started by joining the New World Order and working alongside Hogan for quite some time. However, Steiner has revealed that he always noticed Hogan and Eric Bischoff abusing power to hold others down.
This resurfaced in TNA when Steiner and Hogan worked together again. Hogan was now officially in charge of running the company with Bischoff. Steiner left TNA and started trashing Hogan on Twitter. The combination of bringing Brooke Hogan into the company, insulting longtime employees and just making poor decisions were all called out by Steiner. Hogan claimed Steiner actually threatened his wife at an airport. Steiner went on the record to say the only Hogan he’s threatening is Hulk. The two clearly can’t be in the same room together anytime soon.
5. Randy Orton and Mr. Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy’s ascension in the WWE during 2005 saw him look like a future main event star. Kennedy defeated the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Booker T and The Undertaker in his first few months to build up credibility. Injuries and bad luck ruined his chances of finally moving into the World Title picture on multiple occasions. Then, Kennedy saw his WWE career end in shocking fashion.
Randy Orton snapped at Kennedy during a tag match following a botched suplex. According to Kennedy, Orton complained to management backstage about Kennedy being reckless and it led to him being fired from the company. Kennedy moved on to TNA and failed to fulfill his potential. The fact that Orton is responsible for Kennedy losing his dream job and wallowing away in obscurity for the rest of his career broke this former bond.
4. Nikki Bella and Maria Kanellis
The original season of Total Divas was rumored to feature The Bella Twins, Maria Kanellis, Kelly Kelly and Maryse all returning to the WWE to be the stars of the reality show. Rumors indicated that they all held out together to get a better offer from the WWE, before The Bellas turned their backs on their friends to take a bigger contract without telling the other three.
Brie and Nicole saw their success and fame rise dramatically from their first run thanks to the reality show. Maria publicly railed about Nikki Bella, specifically for blocking the others from joining the show. The insults being thrown around got very personal with Kanellis referencing Nikki using her relationship with John Cena to get ahead. Maryse returning to WWE saw the drama get referenced on this season of Total Divas, proving the story had credence from day one.
3. Matt Hardy and Edge
One of the most controversial endings to a friendship featured the love triangle between Lita, Matt Hardy and Edge bleeding onto the on-screen product. Hardy and Lita dated for many years until it was discovered that she was cheating with fellow wrestler Edge. This would have been bad under any circumstance, but things were made worse due to the fact that Edge and Matt were extremely close.
Everything imploded when Hardy found out and made the information public on the internet. WWE fired Matt to avoid more, drama but fans started chanting “We Want Matt!” at Lita and Edge every week, forcing it to become a storyline. WWE hired back Hardy to feud with Edge in a very intense storyline. The two have seen their hatred end, but they will never be friends again. Edge and Matt praise each other for their time working together in classic ladder matches, but they’ll never be on speaking terms as friends again.
2. CM Punk and Colt Cabana
CM Punk and Colt Cabana always had one of the best friendships you could find in the wrestling business. They trained together in Chicago as they started to make their names in independent wrestling and Ring of Honor. Punk blossomed into a massive WWE star and Cabana struggled to get a chance in the biggest wrestling promotion, forcing him to return to his independent roots.
The two friends stayed close through it all, with Punk referencing Cabana on WWE television. Following his WWE departure, Punk stayed silent until appearing on Colt’s Art of Wrestling podcast to give his side of the story. The number of listens and downloads were staggering, but it led to a WWE doctor suing both for defamation of character. Cabana visiting friends at a WWE show during the lawsuit caused Punk to end the friendship. One of wrestling’s best stories of friendship ended for the silliest of reasons, leading to them no longer speaking.
1. Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan
The evolution of the WWE from another wrestling promotion into a mainstream entity started with both Vince McMahon’s vision and Hulk Hogan’s star power. McMahon ushered WWE into the future with his belief of it becoming a global brand. Hogan was the face of the company that the fans and media bought into. They achieved huge goals together to help get WWE to where it is today.
The egos of both men unfortunately led to them clashing numerous times through the years. Hogan would have an ugly falling out with McMahon every single time, until the recent ending where Hogan did it to himself. A sex tape reveal with a racist tirade saw Hogan shamed and the WWE made him hit the bricks. McMahon definitely wasn’t loyal to Hogan after all the bad blood. The two may do business again, but they’ll never be friends or on speaking terms due to their broken relationship.