Sometimes wrestlers have the option to choose their teammate. Other times, creative is responsible for putting folks together because they complement each other, have common enemies, or to put it bluntly, have nothing else going wrong. There are teams with hall of fame careers who were childhood friends and teams who were put together at the last minute and made the best out of a bad situation. There is no guaranteed recipe for success when it comes to forming a great tag team.
One would think if you were going to be involved in a tag team in professional wrestling, it would make the most sense to pair up with your best friend. Somebody who you don’t mind spending your time in the spotlight with. They need to be able have each other’s back in the ring and on the microphone. In addition to that, they tend to travel together, room together, and due to wrestling’s all-encompassing schedule, do just about everything else together. If they want to be successful, they have to click.
There have been times where wrestlers have been able to fake it, putting on great matches, only for them to be at each other’s throats as soon as they step through the curtain. Sometimes, their hatred for each other is from the start, other times it’s been building gradually until it all comes out. Needless to say, these teams hardly last and stories of their combative nature tend to outlive their partnership.
Here are eight tag teams who, for one reason or another, despised, detested, and abhorred one another. And, just to prove friendship can triumph over all, seven teams who are the best of friends in and out of the ring.
15 Hated Each Other - The Rockers
Ah, the “Tale of Shawn and Marty.” There is a lot to learn from the time Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty spent together. These lessons include: “Proper road etiquette,” “Second chances,” “Backstabbing,” “Third chances,” and “Forgiveness.” The Rockers’ first stint in the WWE was short-lived as they were quickly fired for their excessive partying (and this was the ‘80s!). They were soon given another shot and went on to wrestle acclaimed matches against the likes of The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, The Brain Busters, and The Hart Foundation. A monetary dispute between The Rockers and Vince McMahon lead to their split both in-ring and behind the scenes. The two, who had been very good friends, would also get involved in a hotel fight that Roddy Piper instigated after stating that he believed Michaels to be only one with talent. One Sweet Chin Music and broken window later, the Heartbreak Kid was born. After many shots at redemption, both feuding and teaming with Michaels, Jannetty would never achieve his former partner’s level of success.
14 Best Friends - The Dudley Boyz
When it comes to title wins, achievements in multiple promotions, and longevity, there is no team more successful than Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley. With a career spanning 20 years, the highly-decorated tandem has won Tag Team Championships together 25 times for six different companies. They might play half-brothers on TV, but they might as well be full-blooded siblings. You would have to be great friends with someone to be able to travel the globe with them two decades and not want to rip each other apart. Their friendship has also spawned a successful business partnership. In 2007 Bubba and D-Von opened the Team 3D Academy of Professional Wrestling and Sports Entertainment which operates out of locations in Kissimmee, Florida and Danbury, Connecticut. Right now, D-Von continues to work for WWE backstage and Bubba is in Ring of Honor, but we’re pretty sure they still call each other from time to time just to say, “Wassssssup?!”
13 Hated Each Other - William Regal & Tajiri
When writing articles like this, I always prefer to get the facts from the people involved. It’s called journalistic integrity. Which is why I watched the WWE Network’s Storytime. For research. Swerved is for pleasure. Storytime is for business. Once I saw that Season 2, Episode 4 of the animated series contained a chapter called “I Hate Him,” I knew it had to be included on this list.
During the mid-2000s, there was not a better team of mismatched wrestlers than William Regal and Tajiri. Their differences really complimented each other, providing great comedy in backstage segments as well as amazing wrestling chemistry with their combination of striking and grappling. Who would have thought Regal had such contempt for the Japanese Buzzsaw? According to Regal, “I hate him with an absolute passion.” The brawler from Blackpool’s rage that emanates from being in a car with Tajiri who insisted on driving in total silence, claiming to be afraid of music. Miles and miles on the road without a peep is enough to drive any sane person mad. One of Tajiri’s other fears? Spam. The canned “meat-product,” Spam.
12 Best Friends - Gallows & Anderson
Although they were originally only paired up so the newly formed Bullet Club could be represented in both blocks of New Japan’s 2013 World Tag League, it was easy to see just how brilliant of a decision it was. After winning the entire tournament, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows would go on to have a tremendous run in NJPW, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship three times and helping to establish Bullet Club (or Biz Cliz as they call it) as a worldwide phenomenon. Their drunkenly hysterical behind the scenes antics could be heard on the raucous “Talk’n Shop” podcast, which is thankfully resurrected by Chris Jericho from time to time. Even though the Good Brothers don’t get the respect they deserve in ring, their comedic chops can be witnessed in the form of Tex Ferguson and Chad 2 Badd. As the meta wrestlers, they starred in WWE’s Southpaw Regional Wrestling and recently popped up on a Halloween edition of Monday Night Raw.
11 Hated Each Other - Axl & Ian Rotten
You would be hard pressed to find a duo that enjoyed punishing other teams, in addition to each other, more than the Rottens. Made up of kayfabe brothers Axl and Ian (who I regrettably left out of my previous article), the Bad Breed were known for their incredibly violent matches against teams like the Pitbulls and Public Enemy, as well as even more gruesome matches against each other. One example being their ridiculously NSFW “Taipei Death Match” from ECW’s 1995 Hardcore Heaven. It must have been pretty cathartic for Axl to get some shots in on Ian, as the former called the latter “everything that’s wrong with the business” in a shoot interview with Title Match Wrestling. Ian developed a reputation for being one of the most untrustworthy promoters in the business, often refusing to pay talent. One of the strangest allegations, and “pot calling the kettle black” moments, from the aforementioned shoot was when Axl claimed his “brother” would “bleed for the sake of bleeding,” with no respect for his craft.
10 Best Friends - The World’s Greatest Tag Team
Before being called up to the main roster, both Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas had been involved in separate tag teams. Benjamin was part of the Minnesota Stretching Crew with a young Brock Lesnar and Haas had teamed with his brother Russ for many years. The teams didn’t last as Lesnar was always destined for a solo career and Russ tragically passed away not long after he and Charlie signed their WWE contracts. Charlie and Shelton had never teamed together before joining SmackDown as “Team Angle,” but it wouldn’t be long until they were WWE Tag Team Champions, living up to the name “The World’s Greatest Tag Team.” Proving that they didn’t just tag together for a paycheck, after both being released from WWE, the duo reformed in Ring of Honor as “Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team” and won even more gold from the smaller promotion. Like many entries here, Benjamin went on to be the best man at Haas’ wedding solidifying their brotherly bond.
9 Hated Each Other - Kawada & Misawa
During the 1990s, there were no bigger Japanese wrestlers than Toshiaki Kawada and Mitsuharu Misawa. Before even going pro, the two were standouts on the same high school wrestling team where they shared a friendly rivalry. After wrestling for All Japan Pro Wrestling for a few years, the duo teamed up to defeat Terry Gordy and Steve Williams (who had the greatest tag team name of all time: The Miracle Violence Connection) for the World Tag Team Championship. While still teaming with Kawada, Misawa went on to win AJPW’s Triple Crown Champion. Not to be outdone, Kawada became number one contender for his partner’s title. Around this time, things got heated when both men began to feel that they should be the main star of the promotion. There were many instances of the two not only arguing, but getting into full-on fist fights backstage, having to be pulled apart by fellow wrestlers. Kawada and Misawa would go on to have some of the most legendary and highly rated matches of all time. One of which has been retroactively been awarded a Six-Star Rating from Dave Meltzer. In 2000, tired of the constant back and forth, Misawa abandoned AJPW in favor of the new Pro Wrestling NOAH.
8 Best Friends - The Godfather & D’Lo Brown
The Nation of Domination was an incredible combination of established talent and up-and-coming youngsters with The Godfather and Faarooq teaming up with The Rock and D’Lo Brown. When the group disbanded, D’Lo became the first person to ever hold the European and Intercontinental Championships simultaneously and The Godfather became one of the most over babyfaces of the “Attitude Era.” When their singles careers began to fizzle, Brown and WWE’s resident pimp daddy once again began to team on a regular basis. Their most prominent match came in the form of the opening bout of WrestleMania 2000, where they were defeated by Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan. After a run in-ring and behind the scenes for TNA that ended in 2013, Brown headed west to Vegas where his partner was waiting for him with a job. The former NOD members now work together at “Cheetahs,” a gentlemen’s club managed by The Godfather. The job certainly isn’t easy, but I’m sure it’s better with your friends.
7 Hated Each Other - The British Bulldogs
Made up of real-life cousins Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid, The British Bulldogs were one of the best examples of combining power and high-flying abilities to create an impressive team. They found success wherever they went, being big draws in Stampede Wrestling, AJPW, and winning the World Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 2. However, it wouldn’t be long before the pair had a falling out while away from the WWE. Dynamite had an “explosive” temper and bad attitude that began to affect both cousins’ reputations. While under contract with All Japan, Davey decided to return to the “Land of McMahon,” deserting Kid. To make matters worse, Smith had trademarked “The British Bulldog.” This meant Dynamite could no longer use the name, even though he was credited for its creation. This caused an irreversible rift between the two that lasted up until Davey’s death in 2002.
6 Best Friends - The Acolytes
Sometimes all it takes are a few common interests to form a bond that will last forever. In the case of Faarooq and Bradshaw, those interests are kicking ass, playing cards, and drinking beer. Before teaming up, both men were no strangers to being part of a team. Bradshaw had already formed The New Blackjacks with Barry Windham and Faarooq was the original leader of the Nation of Domination before being ousted by The Rock. Once these gimmicks had been milked for all they were worth, with little to nothing to do, the two were put together. Originally portraying occultist brutes, it wasn’t until they formed the Acolyte Protection Agency that they truly clicked. Acting as guns-for-hire, the APA was finally able to incorporate their shared hobbies of cigar-smoking, beer-chugging, and gambling into their characters. According to an interview with Ring Rust Radio, Bradshaw calls the honor of inducting his best friend into the WWE Hall of Fame, “one of the greatest moments of his life.”
5 Hated Each Other - Arn Anderson & Paul Roma
Despite looking like everyone’s uncle, Anderson is known for being one of the hardest hitting and technically sound wrestlers to ever grace the squared circle. Between the Minnesota Wrecking Crew and the Brain Busters, Arn Anderson can lay claim to being part of two of the greatest tag teams of all time. Then there’s the time in 1993 he teamed with Paul Roma. During an ill-advised and oft-forgotten face run, the Four Horsemen allowed the former Young Stallion into their ranks. He was paired up with Anderson, in hopes he would rise to the level of his accomplished partner. Alas, Roma was never able to live up to the symbol of excellence set by the Horsemen. Both Anderson and Flair have stated that Roma is one of the biggest missteps made by the group. Roma, on the other hand, claims the older members of the stable were jealous of his youth and impressive physique. Call me crazy, but I’m going to side with the Horsemen here.
4 Best Friends - Edge & Christian
The majority of the entries here, especially the ones that LIKE each other, didn’t meet until they were in the wrestling business. Some met while training and others were put together by creative. Only Edge and Christian, who have been best friends since meeting in grade school, set out to be a tag team from childhood. Even the British Bulldogs, who were cousins, initially had no interest in pairing up. After training together in Canada, the duo who “reeks of awesomeness” made their foray into the Great White North’s independent scene before both signing to WWE in the late-90s. In addition to putting on some of the all-time classic tag team matches against the likes of The Dudleys and Hardy Boyz. E&C’s natural ability to play off one another on the mic really helped set them apart from other tag teams of the era. Their friendship has truly withstood the test of time and can now be witnessed by all via the podcast “E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness.”
3 Hated Each Other - The Eliminators
Perry Saturn is one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time. He could brawl, fly, and tap wrestlers out like it was nothing. If Saturn is underrated then I don’t know what consider John Kronus. To put it simply, not enough people talk about the 6-foot-4, 260-pound man that could pull off 450 splashes with the greatest of ease. Together, they were the Eliminators, a dominant force in the ECW tag team division who brutalized their opponents with their signature move “Total Elimination.” During their time working for the Philly-based promotion, they held the ECW Tag Team Championship three times. Despite functioning as a cohesive unit during matches, their real-life relationship couldn’t have been any different. Kronus, known for a laissez-faire attitude, always left the business aspects of their lives for a less-than-enthused Saturn to handle. Saturn believed his partner didn’t take wrestling seriously and wasn’t interested in elevating his career to the next level. This led to Perry harboring a hatred for John and soon left for WCW. Since Kronus’ death in 2007, Saturn has been able to reflect more on the good times they shared.
2 Best Friends - Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Move over Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens has a new best friend! It’s about time we are able to see these two real-life best friends team up on television. Sure, they’ve won gold together in both Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, but ever since Owens debuted in NXT absolutely wrecking Zayn, we have haven’t seen the them on the same side. After hearing real stories of them traveling the world together, Sami acting as Kevin’s best man at his wedding (and vow renewal in 2017), to them getting signed by the WWE years apart it’s heart-warming to finally see the two on the same page in such a high-profile angle. Although they are currently together on SmackDown as thorns in the side of Shane McMahon, we all know it’s only a matter of time before these two are back to being rivals, putting on epic matches while the crowd chants, “Fight forever!”
1 Hated Each Other - Rated-RKO
When you’ve won tag team championships with six different superstars, you’re bound to not get along with one of them. Even though Edge and Randy Orton’s Rated-RKO was initially a welcome addition to the tag team division, proving to be an excellent foil for the reunited DX, not everyone was thrilled with the pairing. Edge had already been a 10-time tag team champion and was ready to continue his run as the top heel in the company. The Rated-R Superstar loathed being paired with Orton, who had yet to grow up and was constantly getting in trouble for various Wellness Policy infractions. Edge didn’t want to be admonished for his new partner’s bad attitude. Since breaking up, the duo was able to let any bitterness go and went back to two of the winningest singles careers the WWE has ever seen.