Betrayals in wrestling happen all the time. It’s the only way WWE knows how to breakup tag teams and stable. A perfect example of kayfabe betrayal in wrestling would be Hulk Hogan betraying WCW and joining the New World Order. Another famous betrayal would be Andre the Giant turning on Hulk Hogan and joining forces with Bobby Heenan. Lastly, another memorable wrestling betrayal occurred when Matt Hardy brained Jeff Hardy with a steel chair at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in 2009.
However, those are just examples of storylines breakups. There are some instances where real life friends betray each other for their own personal benefit. Whether it be that they’re trying to further their career or they’re downright evil, there have been several real-life wrestling friendships that have ended.
Some friendships have begun as soon a wrestler has joined a company. Some wrestlers began learning how to wrestle at same place. And some wrestlers were made by the promoter. Unlike most athletes, wrestlers don’t have an offseason, therefore, they grow closer to each other while on the road.
Here are 15 wrestling friendships that featured an unfortunate betrayal.
15. Colt Cabana And CM Punk
Colt Cabana and CM Punk were trained by Ace Steele. Both guys are from Chicago. Both men have had time with WWE, however Punk’s time was obviously more memorable. Colt Cabana gave CM Punk an opportunity to speak his peace after he left the WWE in early 2014. Shortly after WWE and their doctor sued both Colt Cabana and CM Punk.
Their friendship took a hard hit when Cabana went to a WWE event despite being sued by them. This caused Punk who isn’t the easiest guy to be friends with to stop talking with Cabana and who could blame him. Apparently, the two are no longer friends and haven’t been on speaking terms.
14. Rikishi And Scotty 2 Hotty
This relationship is more known as it was made clear and public to everyone. Rikishi was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015 despite a subpar career. Rikishi was inducted by his sons The Usos and began his speech. A speech that failed to include two of the guys that helped make his career in Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay.
Fans on Twitter began to recognize Rikishi’s failure to bring up either man and a tweet was sent out by one half of Too Cool. Scotty took to Twitter to express his displeasure with Rikishi. To end his speech, Rikishi added more salt to the wound by doing the signature Too Cool dance with his sons. It is unknown if the two have made up or will ever make up.
13. Vince Russo And Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon listened to Vince Russo’s ideas and for that Russo deserves some credit for winning the Monday Night Wars. However, he claims that he is the only one responsible and that simply isn’t true. The friendship was put to the test when Russo left to attempt to fix WCW. As we all know, he failed at doing so.
Meanwhile, Vince and the other WWE writers kept the WWE going well and eventually put the WCW out of business. Russo was signed by the WWE after The Invasion and after the Brand Split which not many people know. However, he was given the cold shoulder immediately by Vince’s daughter Stephanie McMahon and chose to get out of his contract. The two are still not on speaking terms.
12. Triple H And Shawn Michaels
These two are obviously close friends now and that is well-known by all wrestling fans. As soon as Triple H joined the WWE he was a member of the Kliq, which Shawn Michaels was obviously a member of. For those who don’t know, before turning his life over to God, Michaels had many personal demons.
He was addicted pills and was hardly ever in the right state of mind. Michaels once showed up to a WWE event noticeably under the influence. Triple H had Michaels sent home because of his outrageous behavior. Michaels didn’t speak to him for over a year. During this period, Michaels got his life together and the two have obviously reconciled. Michaels might have initially thought that Triple H had “betrayed” him but it worked out well in the end.
11. Bob Holly And Steve Austin
During the mid 90s, the wrestling business was in bad shape. Hardly any wrestler drew any money. However, wrestlers in the WWE remained a close knit group with “Kliqs” thrown in here-and-there. So it should come to no surprise that a wrestler at the level of Steve Austin is friends with Bob Holly.
The two got started in the WWE around the same time and more than likely traveled together. According to Holly, once Austin became the legend that we all know him as, he became a “big shot”. He forgot about him and stopped interacting with him. Austin began getting away from the close knit ideology and began to become his own guy. Holly is still sour over Austin and is not a fan of the Texas Rattlesnake.
10. Jim Cornette And Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman’s first appearance on this list shows his true personality. That personality that shows how underhanded and dirty he was. Paul Heyman and Jim Cornette were the managers of the Original Midnight Express and the New Midnight Express respectively. Those tandems feuded for much 1988 and 1989. Cornette and Heyman had a Tuxedo Match at the Great American Bash of 1989.
When the two went their separate ways, both were high members of upstart companies. Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling and Heyman’s more known ECW. The Gangstas were an over act in SMW and Heyman wanted the two. In an underhanded business move, Heyman had New Jack and Mustafa jump to ECW without any forewarning.
9. Mr. Kennedy And Randy Orton
Mr. Kennedy and Randy Orton were together for a short time in development. From there they carried a friendship over to the main roster. Injuries and suspensions derailed Kennedy’s place on top of the card. Meanwhile, Randy Orton was clearly a top star for years to come. On one of Kennedy’s many returns, he was featured in a big tag team match. A match that is known for one thing.
Kennedy accidentally dumping Orton on his head. You can see Orton was visibly frustrated from the botch and apparently had Kennedy fired from the WWE. Orton went to Vince and had Kennedy fired from the WWE. His career would obviously suffer as TNA had no idea what to do with him and he now works on the Indies.
8. Matt Hardy And Paul London
Matt Hardy and Paul London had somewhat similar careers in WWE. Both were members of loved high-flying tag teams. And both dated Ashley Massaro. This one is the second Matt Hardy love triangle that ruined a friendship. Hardy dated Massaro after his former real-life girlfriend cheated on him with Edge. Massaro then cheated on Matt with former Cruiserweight Champion Paul London.
Both men are very bitter towards each other even today. When asked about a match involving the two, London replied “All I remember is that I hate Matt Hardy”. London was fired from WWE in 2008 after receiving massive heat by the company. Matt Hardy recently made his return to WWE, which was the highlight of WrestleMania.
7. Alberto Del Rio And Sin Cara
Both Sin Cara and Alberto Del Rio are of Mexican descent. When they both made it to WWE, they surely had to have been travel buddies as they made it to WWE almost one after the other. However, the two had different WWE careers. Del Rio was pushed to the moon and Sin Cara became a meme because of his numerous amounts of mistakes. They had a match on Raw in 2013.
Before the match started, the two began attacking each other. Sin Cara went for a Suicide Dive and broke a finger. He called for the ref and Del Rio began to get frustrated as Sin Cara was calling for the ref to end it. He legitimately kicked his back and brutalized him with a chair. Both men are no longer with WWE as Sin Cara is being played by a different man.
6. Marty Jannetty And Shawn Michaels
Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels were collectively known as the Rockers. In the late 80s and early 90s, the two wrestled all over the US. The duo has one of the most infamous kayfabe splits in wrestling history. It came on an episode of Brutus Beefcake’s show the Barber Shop. Michaels delivered Sweet Chin Music to Jannetty and sent him crashing through glass.
Their friendship in real life would take a turn for the worse as well. Jannetty and Michaels lived very similar lives in the 90s. Both like to party a lot which took a toll on their well-being. The only difference is Shawn got his life together and Marty still hasn’t. Marty is still forced to take bookings on the indies.
5. Shawn Michaels And Bret Hart
Once again, the WWE was a close-knit group in the 90’s. Because of traveling all over the world, wrestlers had no choice but to be close with one another. The same went for Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart who all wrestling fans believed to be mortal enemies from the start of their careers until their on-screen reconciliation in 2010.
For wrestlers as talented as these two are, it’s a shame they battled and argued with each other. The betrayal came at the infamous Montreal Screwjob. Not the act itself but Michaels lying about his knowledge of the incident. After the match, Hart asked Michaels if he knew anything about it. Michaels said no which was an obviously lie and admitted it years later.
4. Hulk Hogan And Randy Savage
Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were two of the most iconic wrestlers for the WWE’s Golden Era. Vince McMahon decided to pair them in an almost surreal tag team. They were known as the Mega Powers. Savage was one of the craziest wrestlers outside of the ring. He was extremely protective of his deceased ex-wife Miss Elizabeth.
According to many wrestlers, his over protectiveness was shown often in the locker room. Savage accused Hogan of having an affair with Elizabeth which WWE used in their buildup to WrestleMania V. Savage also dissed Hogan heavily in his rap album “Be a Man”. Almost every song features a dig at Hogan.
3. Edge And Matt Hardy
Edge and Matt Hardy helped to redefine tag team wrestling. Edge and Christian and the Hardy Boyz had many memorable moments for the WWE during the Attitude Era. When Matt was released from the WWE, Edge was paired with Lita, Matt’s girlfriend. Their on-screen relationship turned into an off-screen one as Lita cheated on Matt with Edge.
Matt was genuinely hurt and told the whole world over the internet. Hardy was re-signed by the WWE for a feud that should have been magical as it featured real-life heat. Sadly, the matches were never anything special and Matt Hardy quickly became an afterthought once again.
2. Tommy Dreamer And Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman’s run as the owner of ECW is a long story. Heyman was known as a perpetual liar to the people that worked for him. He wrote bad checks and was unable to pay his talent. One man that remained loyal to Heyman and that man was Tommy Dreamer.
Dreamer was made by Heyman and worked extremely well as a sympathetic face. Dreamer literally put his blood, sweat, and tears into ECW. His body endured an incredible amount punishment for ECW. Heyman put his friendship at risk when he showed up on Raw to replace Jerry Lawler. Heyman left Dreamer with a dying ECW and it closed that same year. Luckily it looks as if all is resolved as the two did a special on the WWE Network on ECW.
1. Hulk Hogan And Vince McMahon
Hulk Hogan is Vince McMahon’s most iconic creation. More than Rock, Austin, and Cena. Hulk Hogan went out every night and perfected Vince McMahon’s vision. Hogan was a clean-cut babyface loved by everyone. Then everything fell apart between the two. Hulk Hogan left the WWE to go to the rival company WCW. WWE mocked Hogan and Macho Man with parodies mocking their age.
Hogan refused to go back to WWE for the Invasion angle. Hogan left the WWE in 2003 because of creative differences. Hogan went to TNA in 2010 to help create a competitor against WWE. He obviously ultimately failed. Vince had Hogan removed from the WWE’s record books after a tape leaked of him saying inappropriate things. Both men have betrayed each other and they have gotten back together so it is safe to say it won’t be long until Hogan is back with WWE.
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