The wrestling industry is getting so competitive and hectic that wrestlers have to be able to travel 24/7 to not only do the taped shows that air on TV, but also please other audiences through the live events that are becoming more and more popular with each passing day. This turns out to be extremely stressful for the common wrestler, who can barely spend much time with their family or friends and have to look towards each other in order to have a buddy to spend time and travel with. This often leads to a long-standing, solid friendship between these guys who are around each other almost all the time.
Those who start out together tend to grow very close, while some of the “good guys” tend to be everyone’s friend when they arrive in the company. The WWE itself has a weird habit of having wrestlers who are real-life friends get into heated rivalries, as they tend to perform better when they are wrestling against someone with whom they are close. But sometimes the weirdest of friendships are created through the hectic schedule of the WWE.
It’s shocking to learn that certain in-ring foes are actually real-life buddies. When two wrestlers are embedded in a vicious, long-standing heated rivalry you can expect them to be the best of pals outside the squared circle. Here are 15 pairs of wrestlers you wouldn't believe are friends.
15 Dolph Ziggler and The Miz
It’s rather startling to discover that “The Showoff” and “The A-Lister” are buddies outside the wrestling ring, because their gimmicks and characters are completely opposite to each other with Ziggler being the fan-pleaser and Miz being the arrogant heel who couldn’t care less about what the fans think. But they have been close for quite some years now, as they both made their way up the ranks in the WWE together and kept close through their development as well. The Miz has stated in interviews how he’s pretty close with Ziggler, as they also attend various events and games together, with both of them being from Cleveland. Dolph was also present at The Miz’s wedding ceremony, and their friendship could also been seen in an episode of WWE Network’s “Ride Along” where they crack jokes like best pals and seem to have a blast together. Even though they're currently feuding wth each other, these two are like youngsters together and have developed a solid bond over the years.
14 Shawn Michaels and Funaki
Now this is probably the oddest addition to this list, as Michaels and Funaki were almost miles apart on the WWE food chain when they grew close to each other. Funaki was a definite Shawn Michaels mark before he joined the WWE, and when he did join the company, he saw himself get to face his idol and also become friends with him. Not only this, but Funaki also helped Michaels through his time of difficulty when HBK became a born-again Christian and Funaki being a Christian himself, helped Michaels with his faith and the two bonded over that time. Funaki would get fired from the WWE a month after Michaels had officially retired from it, and even moved to Michael’s hometown of San Antonio, Texas in order to live near him. Funaki would later also become a trainer for Michael’s wrestling school and continues to be close to him, often encouraging young superstars to watch and learn from Michaels' old matches.
13 Mick Foley and Terry Funk
Remember when we mentioned that friends tend to have the bloodiest feuds? Case in point: Mick Foley and Terry Funk. Their matches would be the most devastating because of the friendship they shared in real life, as this bond was probably the reason they didn’t hold back when wrestling against each other. And they didn’t just wrestle in any normal wrestling match, but in the most extreme matches possible as they travelled around the world wrestling in Death Matches, matches with barbed wire as ring ropes and other horrible violent matches in which they caused unimaginable pain to each other. But when it came to their personal life, they never held any grudge against each other and always hung out with each other, planning more unimaginable extreme spots and trying to improve each other. Funk was there when Foley took the iconic fall from the Hell in a Cell against the Undertaker, and must’ve been proud of his friend's achievements, as they both helped each other become two of the most iconic extreme wrestlers in the history of wrestling.
12 CM Punk and Kofi Kingston
It’s rather baffling to discover how someone like CM Punk is best buddies with someone like Kofi Kingston, but the two still maintain a good friendship which was at its peak when they were both in the company. Kofi credits Punk on helping him blend in to the WWE when he arrived in the company, with Punk once stating in an interview on how Kofi was his “road wife” and how he instantly just instructed Kofi to start travelling with him and they hit it off since then. Kofi and Punk have been quite vocal about their friendship in many interviews in the past few years, in which one Punk told a hilarious road-story where they were almost apprehended by police officers, while they’ve also participated in various events during their time in the WWE. In spite of Punk having left the WWE, he still regards Kofi as his pal which is also true for Kofi who now rolls with the New Day, but will definitely cherish his amazing times travelling around with Punk.
11 John Cena and Michael Cole
Another rather odd-ball of a pair, John Cena and Michael Cole are apparently the best of pals backstage and often hang out with each other. Cena and Cole also apparently travel around together for televised WWE events, as both accredit themselves to have an influence on their development in the WWE. Cole has also stated on his liking for John, by saying: “John is the most wonderful human being on the planet. He’s one of these guys, I’ll preface this by saying he’s one of my closest friends in the business” in an interview on the Busted Open Satellite Radio Show. Apparently Cole had some sort of influence on Cena’s “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” gimmick and was quite into it for a while helping Cena get over with it, and they’ve remained close ever since. Inspite of having numerous skirmishes in the past where Cena even beat up Cole, they seem to be great pals and always look to help each other improve in some way or another.
10 The Undertaker and Kane
Of course the Undertaker and Kane aren’t actually “brothers”, as the Brothers of Destruction are only a thing in the WWE. But the two maintained a strong friendship while together, with both respecting each other’s work very much and having much love for each other. The Undertaker and Kane are both very quiet in their personal lives. Speaking on the Undertaker, Kane had this to say in an interview : "Undertaker’s helped a lot of people, myself included," he said. "I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m at if it wasn’t for him. He’s a stabilizing force backstage and he’s always helping the young guys out and passing on his knowledge and his expertise. So I’d say so but, I’d also say that I’m not the only one he’s a mentor to." The Undertaker holds Kane in high regard, even offering Kane to end his WrestleMania streak but the Big Red Machine declined it out of respect for the Deadman.
9 Batista and Titus O’Neil
Batista and Titus O’Neil were buddies way before Titus was in the WWE, as they were close friends from a long time back with Batista actually encouraging Titus to try his hand in wrestling and persuading him to start training in FCW (now NXT). Titus stated on how Batista’s encouragement was the reason he became a WWE superstar, and both of them have been quite close ever since with Batista often hanging out with Titus inspite of his busy schedule over the past few years and has been sticking up for him every time. Batista was especially ticked off when Titus got suspended for “shoving” Vince McMahon and stated on how they “double- f*****” Titus by suspending him before WrestleMania 32 and encouraged Titus to leave the company. Titus decided to stay on and honor his contract, but the two still remain best buds often going to various events together and spending some personal times together with each other’s families as well.
8 Daniel Bryan and Ryback
Daniel Bryan is the ultimate good guy in the WWE, inside and outside the ring and he’s someone who literally gets along with anyone in the company. That includes the self-centered, pompous Ryback who made it a point in an interview that he’s a lone wolf of sorts and doesn’t like travelling or spending time with anyone else. But in the interview he did state on how he was good friends with Daniel Bryan, as both of them travelled around cities for events together for about two years. Bryan himself had some interesting yet questionable stories about Ryback, who he regarded as his “Road Wife” and stated of a story where Ryback was lifting a 35lb kettle but couldn’t handle it and ended up getting a black eye when it hit him straight in the eye. Ryback might have left WWE some time back, but Bryan is one of the guys he’ll keep in contact with as both of them developed quite a friendship in the years together.
7 Raven and Shane McMahon
Raven was quite the gothic, mystical guy when he was in the WWE, as he looked pretty terrifying as well as being a legitimate threat with his liking for the extreme. So it’s confusing to discover him being pals with Shane McMahon, the son of the boss of the WWE who seemed to be full of himself in his early days. Well that wasn’t the case personally, as Raven and Shane were pretty close when Raven was still in the company, to the extent that Shane would go drinking with Raven which would last up to 3 AM and it obviously didn’t go that well with Vince. Shane apparently used to call up his dad when he got drunk and talk trash on him, and Vince really didn’t like him hanging around with Raven. Raven would later on get fired from the WWE, but we’d assume that Raven still maintains a good relation with Shane who probably doesn’t hold any grudge for all the moments he spent with Raven.
6 Mick Foley and Melina
The Hardcore Legend in Mick Foley has a lot of friends because of his stature and because of his good-nature in his personal life, but his friendship with Melina is really perplexing considering how Melina is widely known to be this backstage brat during her time in the WWE. But they were really close during Melina’s rise in the WWE around 2006, when Mick Foley became one of her closest friends. Pictures of them hanging around surfaced online and Foley continued to sing praises of her in his blog. Mick also states a lot of praises and love for Melina in his third Autobiography, The Hardcore Diaries. This friendship was turned into a story-line by Vince McMahon, as Mick volunteered to join McMahon’s “Kiss My Ass” club to save Melina’s job, after which Melina responded by low-blowing him in the middle of the ring. This ending to the segment made no sense, much like this friendship itself.
5 Trish Stratus and Lita
Two of the most dominant women in the WWE in the last decade, Trish Stratus and Lita had some amazing matches and heated feuds as they clashed for the position of the top female in the WWE in the 2000’s, but outside the ring were the closest of buddies. Trish and Lita both rose in the WWE together and spent a lot of time working together, and in this time created a bond which will probably remain for the rest of their lives. They might have been the worst of enemies in the WWE, but remain as BFF’s in real life as both hang around each other whenever possible. Stratus also spoke about her closeness to Lita, saying how Lita was around for Stratus son’s baptism and how they always hang out when Lita comes to Toronto(where Stratus now resides in). They even had their own “Team Bestie” tour two years back around America as they both dazzled together and even though they are in separate places right now, they’ll forever remain close together.
4 CM Punk and Joey Mercury
Though they share little history together in the WWE, CM Punk and Joey Mercury are true friends to each other and have helped each other throughout the course of their WWE careers. Mercury has a history of being addicted to drugs and alcohol and it spiraled out of control in 2007 when he was travelling with Punk. Punk tried to get him clean but was unable to do it and Mercury was fired by the WWE, and found himself in a dire situation financially. Mercury’s house was getting foreclosed on, but Punk bought it to save Mercury from losing his home. Mercury would repay this debt by getting clean and rejoining the WWE in 2010, when he’d share some-time with Punk as part of “The Straight Edge Society”. In 2011, Mercury was the one who convince Punk to reconsider leaving the WWE, which would be so crucial as Punk would go onto have “The Summer of Punk” later. They say true friends always look out for each other, these guys are example to that.
3 Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar had one of the most memorable rivalries in the 2000’s, as they were both so good technically and such good workers that it was instant magic when they were inside the ring. Angle and Lesnar had so many memorable matches, with the match at Wrestlemania 19 probably standing out for obvious reasons. But even though they were so stiff and hard-hitting in the ring, both of them had the utmost respect for each other and were the best of buddies when in the WWE together. Later on in Interviews, Angle has gone onto say how his biggest rival will remain Lesnar, with the Beast Incarnate also stating his respect and love for Angle’s achievements. Angle also spoke about their time at New Japan Pro Wrestling, and how Brock himself demanded Angle to defeat him in NJPW. Both have spoken their love for each other, as they still remain buds whenever they meet each other.
2 The Kliq
The Kliq was probably “THE” backstage team in the WWE in the 90s, as the set of superstars in Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac were a menace during their time in the WWE and were very controversial as well. The Kliq’s personal friendship is amazing, as it has remained strong as ever throughout the years with all 5 remaining extremely close to each other even after most of them retiring from wrestling altogether. They keep on travelling to events and shows together now that Nash, Hall and X-Pac are on WWE legends contract and even though Michaels lives a relatively remote life, he joins in on reunions whenever possible. The Kliq always looked out for each other, when Triple H got married to Stephanie and the guys even helped out Scott Hall and X-Pac getting sober and back on their feet whenever they were down. The Kliq’s legacy will forever remain because of those of the superstars themselves, as this group will never break because of the bond each share with each other.
1 John Cena and Randy Orton
Most People will probably be shocked to discover that John Cena and Randy Orton are friends in real life because of the nature of their heated rivalries over the years, with Orton punt-kicking Cena’s dad during one feud. Cena and Orton have had gone through some wars during their time in the company, but they are quite close friends in real life who rose up the ranks together in the WWE. They both were part of Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and trained there together and grew close back in the day, with both travelling together and training together to make it big in the WWE. And even when they did, they still kept on hanging out with each other as many pictures has surfaced over the years in the internet showing them hanging out with each other. Cena has also praised Orton for being “The Best Performer of Our Generation” in the past and in Orton’s documentary “Randy Orton: Evolution of a Predator” we can see them together as the top two guys of the last decade of the WWE seem to be pretty close outside the ring.