Friendships are hard to form in the wrestling business. Everyone is competing with each other for the top spots in the industry. Many veterans claim you'll be lucky if you complete your career with a handful of friends. Some of the friendships end due to the world of politics pitting the talent against each other. The instability of wrestling could also a friendship to stop existing due to someone moving to a new promotion. A wrestler going from working with the same people every day to a completely new locker room changes life and often ends prior friendships.
There have been a few friendships to stand the test of time. We'll take a look at some of the surprising pairs to still have a tight relationship today. Some of these friends have been buddies for decades with no friction ever tearing them apart. Others have had their personal issues create drama, but they’ve found their way to friendship at the end of the day. Both sides will be examined as we discuss just how close these wrestling stars are today all these years later. These are fifteen pairs of wrestlers you’d be surprised to realize are still friends today.
15 Scott Steiner & Buff Bagwell
The fact that this friendship still exists between the two former WCW stars is shocking for many reasons. Scott Steiner hates everyone. Everyone knows the personality of Steiner sees him have a short fuse that has made many enemies over the years. Buff Bagwell is equally controversial with his prima donna attitude making him a generally hated figure in wrestling.
Both men somehow found a way to have a soft spot for the other. Steiner and Bagwell teamed together in WCW as members of the New World Order. They clearly enjoyed working together and got to know the other. Bagwell and Steiner are among the only wrestlers in the industry that can still stomach the other. Their friendship is still strong today often sitting together at conventions. Both men still live in Atlanta and Bagwell made the trip to the grand opening of Steiner’s Shoney’s restaurant.
14 Kane & Daniel Bryan
An unlikely friendship formed in WWE actually started in a storyline forcing Daniel Bryan and Kane to become friends on screen. Kane and Bryan worked together in a successful tag team revolving around their comedic friendship. Bryan revealed in his autobiography that Kane genuinely became one of his best friends in real life as they grew close working together.
One of the strongest claims came from Bryan referring to memories with Kane as his favorite times in WWE. No one would have predicted this pairing to become memorable best friends both on screen and off screen. Kane and Bryan helped each other at the job, debated politics backstage and played pranks on the road. Bryan has referenced texting Kane in recent months and the two remain close following their semi-retirements from the wrestling business.
13 Trish Stratus & Lita
Trish Stratus and Lita were such great rivals and polar opposites as characters on screen, so much so that you would never believe they're still close friends. The two retired within a few months of each other back in 2006. Lita has revealed she was going through depression and was absolutely miserable following the ugly love triangle with Edge and Matt Hardy. Stratus retiring saw Lita lose her best friend and you have to believe it impacted her retirement as well to get out of the spotlight.
Following both ladies ending their careers, they have become even closer. Stratus and Lita actually refer to their friendship as “Team Bestie” proving each views the other as her best friend. Lita was named the godmother to Trish’s son Max. Stratus inducted Lita into the WWE Hall of Fame and Lita made sure to appear for Trish’s induction as well. This is a very rare case of a friendship growing outside of the business.
12 Batista & Titus O'Neil
The pairing of Batista and Titus O'Neil is not a friendship many wrestling fans are aware of. Batista grew close to O’Neil during his most recent run with the company back in 2014. Both men shared common interests and each understood the hard work that comes with being a father in the wrestling business. Batista goes out of his way to reference O’Neil in interviews as the most underrated star in WWE that the company is dropping the ball with.
O’Neil was suspended back in 2016 for roughhousing with Vince McMahon and Batista publicly insulted WWE for the decision. Batista actually revealed he suggested his friend should quit the company due to the disrespect shown by the company. O’Neil didn’t follow Batista’s advice but the two are still tight with the occasional social media reference to the each other.
11 Chris Jericho & Raven
RAVEN is hilarious!! He proves it NOW on #TalkIsJericho! We discuss his top ten #SaturdayNightLive cast members, the top ten funniest wrestlers, the Useless Trivia Triumvirate with us & #Konnan, the #WCW comedy team of #Raven, #BrianPillman & @steveaustinbsr, the #DrunkenFourHorsemen with us, #CurtHennig & #MongoMcMichael, the time he got hit on by an 85 year old, #JordacheJeans wearing lady on a motorcycle, the origin of #TheFlock and why they were nicknamed #TheGangThatCouldntShootStraight, how #EricBischoff let him write his own angles, having heat in the @wwe and the secret to not having chops hurt! All this and more on podcastone.com/Talk-Is-Jericho NOW!
The mid-card scene in WCW was a depressing time for most of the talented wrestlers. WCW often buried them and treated them poorly in comparison to the veterans in the main event picture. One positive to come out of it was the friendships formed out of shared frustration. Chris Jericho and Raven is a friendship to last the years through both men jumping around from company to company.
Along with Konnan and Disco Inferno, Jericho and Raven used to have debates and conversations about everything pop culture related. The friendship still lives on today with Jericho giving Raven his very own podcast on The Jericho Network. Jericho made sure to hook one of his friends up with the gig thanks to his position of power. Lance Storm, Cyrus, Konnan and Disco all also received shows thanks to Jericho being a good friend.
10 Melina & Mickie James
Mickie James and Melina once had a bitter backstage rivalry that turned into a friendship over many years. Both women were the top prospects in WWE developmental trying to fight their way to the main roster. Melina gained the reputation as being one of the biggest drama queens in WWE history and it all started with her disdain towards Mickie.
The drama between the two finally saw peace made later in their WWE years. Rumors circulated that they were actually friends nowadays after earning each other’s respect working together. Many years later outside of WWE, Melina and Mickie have been seen sharing smiles and laughs at conventions. Melina has spoken glowingly about her admiration for James as a legend in women’s wrestling. It proves your enemies can easily become your friends if you get to know them.
9 Bret Hart & Ric Flair
The wrestling talents of Bret Hart and Ric Flair made them two of the all-time greats of their era. Unfortunately, they didn’t like working together and viewed each other as being overrated. Flair and Hart started taking shots at each other in the media for many years before rekindling the mutual respect to form a friendship.
Hart’s niece Natalya and Flair’s daughter Charlotte working together in WWE is what brought the two legends to make peace. NXT advertised Natalya with Bret in her corner versus Charlotte with Ric in her corner leading to a classic match. Hart and Flair grew close following that experience of their loved ones working together to create magic. They have nothing but wonderful things to say to each other today and consider themselves friends after all of the drama.
8 Shane McMahon & Pete Gas
The Mean Street Posse getting hired during the Attitude Era to play Shane McMahon’s entourage actually followed suit to their real life friendship. Pete Gas and Rodney were friends of Shane back in Connecticut and WWE thought they were athletic enough to get signed for the roles along with independent wrestler Joey Abs. Gas was one of the best friends of Shane in real and that friendship still exists today.
Most would assume the two stopped talking at some point during the years. Gas left the wrestling industry shortly after his WWE career ended. Shane walked away from WWE for many years as well. The two however stayed in touch and are still tight. Gas was spotted sitting with Shane and Shane’s kids at a NXT live event in New York City last year.
7 Mick Foley & Stephanie McMahon
Another McMahon with a friendship that follows on-screen stories is Stephanie McMahon. The storyline revolving around Stephanie and Mick Foley’s friendship actually had real elements to it. Foley and Stephanie are very close friends outside of the ring. Strangely enough, Foley has revealed to having a terrible relationship with Vince, but has never had ugly times with Stephanie.
Foley has gone out of his way to commend Stephanie on his blog for being a good person with a great heart. Most fans are skeptical of such claims but Foley wants to defend his friend from critical comments. One of the main reasons Mick took the job as Raw General Manager was to be involved in a storyline with Stephanie. Foley’s podcast appearance on Talk is Jericho also revealed Stephanie went to bat for his ideas at times when Vince tried to shut him down.
6 Torrie Wilson & Stacy Keibler
Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler made the jump from WCW to WWE playing best friends. They were often rivals or tag team partners through the years and became very close due to it. Neither were impressive wrestlers like Trish Stratus and Lita, but they succeeded in gimmick matches together. Torrie and Stacy remained close following the end of their wrestling careers.
The two close friends have been spotted together having dinner, working out and just hanging out in California. Wilson revealed on Jim Ross’ The Ross Report podcast that they still keep in touch talking quite often. If WWE ever decides to induct one or both of the ladies, you can bet the other would be the inductor. A friendship lasting through WCW, WWE and Hollywood is very impressive.
5 AJ Lee & Big E
#CrazyIsMySuperpower Tour Week 3. You just never know what's gonna happen at these book signings. Last night as I signed my brain baby birthed from my brain womb, I was delighted by the sight of my ACTUAL BABY BOY birthed from my wrestling womb! I was sure he was just going to break my sternum again while demanding the months in child support I owe, but he actually just came to surprise and support me! Like the goddamn marshmallow he is. Thanks @wwebige, I'm the proudest Momma. - AJ
The odd pairing of AJ Lee and Big E on WWE television seemed like two people that would have nothing in common given their characters. However, they ended up becoming very close friends working together. AJ speaks very highly of Big E in her recently released autobiography calling him a great person and one of her best friends. The two share a similar sense of humor that contributed to becoming pals.
AJ revealed she once pranked Big E following a wrestling spot that saw him accidentally hit her too hard. Big E felt awful and she played it up to make him feel worse until revealing it was a joke and she was okay. The two were recently spotted hanging out together showing the friendship has lived on in AJ’s retirement. Fellow retired women’s wrestling star Kaitlyn is also a close friend of the two that still is close with each Superstar.
4 CM Punk & Kofi Kingston
Another interesting pair that sort of matches the AJ Lee and Big E friendship is AJ’s husband CM Punk and Big E’s New Day partner Kofi Kingston. Punk and Kingston grew close coming to the main roster around the same time. They were the top two young stars making names for themselves on the roster and they traveled together for many years. Punk and Kingston bonded over their shared love of video games and a genuine passion to improve in wrestling.
Most of Punk’s wrestling friendships have ended following his retirement. Punk actually ditched his longtime best friend Colt Cabana. Kingston is one name that is still close with Punk following the falling out of love with wrestling. Punk admitted one of the last times he watched WWE television was to see New Day upon Kingston’s request. Kofi also has nothing but great things to say about Punk despite the ugly ending with WWE.
3 Bret Hart & Shawn Michaels
The bitterest rivalry in WWE history ended up forming a friendship after over a decade of resentment. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart absolutely despised each other in the 90s when battling for the top spot in WWE. The two often exchanged very personal insults in the ring and tried to sabotage each other behind the scenes. Hart held a grudge for many years following the Montreal Screwjob ending his WWE career in the worst of ways thanks to Michaels.
The decision of Bret to return in 2010 saw him finally make peace with his prior enemies. Michaels and Hart hugged in the middle of the ring in his first night back for a very heartwarming moment. They formed an actual friendship and put all of the negative history behind them. Hart greeted Michaels with a hug backstage following his retirement at WrestleMania XXVI. The former enemies actually text message and keep in contact today as friends.
2 Hulk Hogan & Ric Flair
Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair are the two biggest wrestling legends of their era. Everyone remembers the iconic moments of Hogan and the legendary matches of Flair from the 80s. The two rarely worked together until Hogan joined WCW during the Monday Night Wars era. Flair and Hogan often butted heads due to the political landscape of the company. Both men were trying to get the top spot and had completely different philosophies in wrestling.
Flair and Hogan still managed to take shots at each other in interviews for years following the end of WCW until working together in TNA. They became extremely close as the legendary names trying to bring eyes to the new version of the TNA product. Their friendship is still strong today. Flair revealed Hogan was one of the first people to reach out to him after his son Reid died and he considers him one of his best friends.
1 Steve Austin & Brock Lesnar
One of the surprising friendships in wrestling has to be Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar. They barely worked together considering Lesnar’s career started right around the end of Austin’s run. The huge age and generational gap also would give reason to believe they’d never hit it off. Apparently, a passion for hunting and combat sports formed a friendship between the two.
Lesnar is a very antisocial person and hates interacting with others. It appears he's very content not having many friends, but Austin is one of them. Austin has discussed texting with Brock on numerous occasions and hanging out anytime both are at the same WWE show. Going back to Lesnar’s UFC career, Austin would occasionally show up to his fights to offer support in the crowd. The friendship is still going today much to everyone’s surprise.