Stables are a staple piece of pro wrestling storytelling. The device allows for a number of wrestlers to present a common identity. Groups often elevate less established stars by affiliation with top guys, or offer a heel trying to find his or her footing the backup to legitimize a new push. Factions can also offer kayfabe and real life mentorship situations, like when Ric Flair and Triple H took Randy Orton and Batista under their wing in WWE’s Evolution group.
Over the years, WCW leaned into stables full tilt. There was the traditional, arguably most influential of the groups—The Four Horsemen, led by Ric Flair over a variety of incarnations in the 1980s and 1990s. There was the New World Order, too, shorter lived, but perhaps even more important to WCW’s business as the dominant storytelling device of the company’s last five years. Perhaps spurred on by the nWo’s success WCW embraced a particularly high volume of stables in its latter stages. Some, like The New Blood, Millionaire’s Club, and Magnificent Seven were genuinely important to the main event landscape. Others, like the Filthy Animals, No Limit Soldiers, and West Texas Rednecks didn’t have so much clear direction or purpose in the long term.
Fans tend to associate men and women from the same stables with each other. In some cases, that association is quite valid. The guys were either put together because they were real life friends or else grew close out of having worked together. Other times, however, familiarity bred contempt. Whether working closely created, or worsened existing tensions, not all stablemates wound up friends. This article looks at eight former WCW stablemates who hated each other, and seven who are best friends.
15. Hated Each Other: Hulk Hogan And Bret Hart
Bret Hart wrote about his feelings on Hulk Hogan a fair bit in his book, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. Hart wrote of respecting Hogan and looking up to him when he was the top draw for WWE in Hart’s early days with the promotion. It’s clear that Hart resented Hogan when he returned to the WWE fold after a sabbatical, though, and promptly usurped the world champion spot The Hitman earned in his absence.
The tensions bubbled up again when both men were in WCW. Despite coming in hot and heavy, WCW quickly squandered Hart’s momentum, making him just another guy on a stacked roster. The company’s booking included Hart getting absorbed by Hogan’s New World Order in what never felt like a very organic fit. Working together did little to bring them together, as Hart held that Hogan politicked to get his way and stay on top. While Hogan has generally been less bitter toward Hart, he’s among the number of Hart’s contemporaries to suspect he took himself too seriously.
14. Best Friends: Ric Flair And Arn Anderson
Over the years, a number of wrestlers found their way into and out of the ranks of The Four Horsemen. The one constant was The Nature Boy Ric Flair at the fore of the group. The next most consistent member was The Enforcer Arn Anderson, who was Flair’s constant backup, and a steady tag team or secondary championship contender. The two were excellent workers, and it’s clear from interviews that they thought the world of each other.
Anderson may have never more clearly proven his loyalty to Flair than when he stood up to the much bigger Sid Vicious for badmouthing his friend. The bar room argument escalated to a full fledged fight, complete with stab wounds, upstairs. It’s clear that Anderson had Flair’s back at all times.
13. Hated Each Other: Kimberly Page And Tammy Lynn Sytch
After the smashing success of the New World Order, WCW fell into the habit of leaning into large scale stable angles that included two or more supersized rosters feuding and largely dominating the show. One of the most notable saw The New Blood—a crew of mostly up and coming, less experienced heels—trying to usurp the better established faction of The Millionaire’s Club.
The New Blood had more than its share of members, and included Kimberly Page and Tammy Lynn Sytch working in mostly valet roles. The two purportedly didn’t get along. In a rumored incident, Page publicly accused the manager formerly known as Sunny of drug use. Things escalated when Sytch claimed innocence, and Scott Steiner took up to defend her. The disagreement led to Steiner physically going after Kimberly’s hubby, Diamond Dallas Page, and left a bad taste in the mouths of everyone involved.
12. Best Friends: Rick And Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner isn’t exactly known as the most cordial man in sports entertainment. He was allegedly a bit of a bully early in his career. Later, his outspoken Big Poppa Pump character didn’t seem to be so different from his real life identity, and he’s known for violent outbursts and high profile beefs with other stars and promoters from throughout the wrestling industry. Among his established enemies? No lesser names than Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Hulk Hogan, and Dixie Carter.
It may be little wonder, then, that Scott’s closest known ally in the wrestling world is none other than his older brother Rick. The two spent many years as a tag team across promotions, and in the latter stages of WCW, after feuding, allied themselves under the New Blood banner. While Rick has acknowledged his brother’s hot headed nature in some interviews, he’s also made it clear they’re close and have a lot of affection for one another. Rick is by far the guy closest to Scott with the least public friction between them.
11. Hated Each Other: Eric Bischoff And Vince Russo
When The New Blood stable got started, it was under the auspices of Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo. Bischoff was the head executive largely credited with WCW s rise to prominence via the Monday Night War. Russo got a lot of praise for his creative contributions to WWE’s Attitude Era. His early efforts in WCW undermined his reputation, though, as he struggled to find his footing creatively, and was exposed as a prolific outside the box thinker who nonetheless needed someone to rein in his ideas.
Bischoff and Russo seemed like something of a dream team behind the scenes, and wound up casting themselves as leaders of the new heel faction, The New Blood. Before long, Bischoff and Russo realized they didn’t get along well. Yes, they had creative differences, but more importantly they suffered from political conflict as they vied for power, and Russo—officially beneath Bischoff in the pecking order—undermined his would-be partner in crime.
10. Best Friends: Rey Mysterio And Eddie Guerrero
The Filthy Animals were an oddball stable that sought to cash in on the tweener style that had come into style in the late 1990s. It was an era when the top babyface in the wrestling world was a foul-mouthed alcoholic named Steve Austin, and the hottest heel stable, the New World Order and D-Generation X moved incredible amounts of t-shirts despite ostensibly working heel. So came the Filthy Animals, a faction made up of underutilized, gifted athletes. Their gimmick was to behave in a juvenile fashion and cause trouble for faces and heels alike.
Included in the group were Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, who had in many ways grown up in the business together. The pair had risen through the lucha libre ranks before getting increasingly mainstream opportunities on the US wrestling scene. The two had a special bond, and it bespeaks their talent that they would each later become world champions in WWE.
9. Hated Each Other: Hulk Hogan And Scott Steiner
As the New World Order storyline wore thin, there came an eventual kayfabe transfer of power in the group. Hollywood Hogan stepped away from the ring for a time, and appointed Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner as the group’s new leader. This transition might suggest to the casual fan that these two were closely allied. In reality, Hogan’s endorsement was mostly, if not entirely a storyline move.
Particularly in the years to follow, Steiner made no bones about thinking Hogan was a selfish, politicking jerk. It’s unclear when the animosity started or if it were always mutual, but there’s little doubt Hogan doesn’t like Steiner now. On top of badmouthing The Hulkster, Steiner went so far as to pursue a confrontation with Hogan’s wife at an airport just a few years ago.
8. Best Friends: Dean Malenko And Chris Benoit
Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit stood alongside a dying breed of wrestlers in the mid-1990s. They had taken a traditional route of traveling to different territories and even countries to learn different styles of wrestling and hone their craft, and arrived as some of the very best in ring performers of their generation.
It’s little coincidence that Malenko and Benoit shared space in The Four Horsemen and later the Revolution stable. Besides representing similar wrestling aesthetics and ring styles, the two were very good real life friends, based on years of working and traveling together. Sadly, WCW undervalued them. They’d go on to bigger and better things—particularly in Benoit’s case—when they defected to WWE as two fourths of The Radicalz with fellow friends Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn.
7. Hated Each Other: Ric Flair And Lex Luger
Ric Flair and Lex Luger shared stable space as part of three separate stables. The first go round saw them as Horsemen, working an angle of the group exploiting Luger to set him up to eventually challenge Flair. The story never played out in full as Flair reportedly took a stand against dropping the world title to the Total Package, citing that Barry Windham had better earned that opportunity. The result was hard feeling between the two, and Flair leaving the company altogether to work for WWE for a year and a half.
So, it wasn’t on the best of terms that the two rekindled their kayfabe alliance in The Millionaire’s Club and The Magnificent Seven, not to mention a superstar tag team billed as Team Package. At the end of the day, Luger and Flair were simply opposite kinds of performers—a guy who was a gifted in ring performer and talker (Flair), and a guy who had a killer physique and charisma (Luger). They ought to have been great complements. It was, however, rare for them to really get on the same page.
6. Best Friends: Scott Hall And Kevin Nash
Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were famously a part of The Kliq in WWE—a band of real life backstage buddies who traveled together and, according to some, politicked as a unit. With big money offers on the table, they both jumped to WCW in 1996. The pair was promptly positioned as charter members of the New World Order and their careers were intertwined ever after.
Hall and Nash are very different men. Hall’s struggles with substance abuse are well documented, besides the more recent revelation of him suffering from PSD after killing a man as a bouncer before his wrestling career took off. Nash, by contrast, is notably stable—a workhorse and reliable wrestling mind who earned his way into not only five world title reigns in WCW, but also a position as head booker for a time. The oddball pair always had each other’s backs and are known to be friends to this day.
5. Hated Each Other: Arn Anderson And Paul Roma
In 1993, Ric Flair came home to WCW after a brief foray into the world of WWE. With his return came the reemergence of the Four Horsemen stable. By most accounts, the faction was to include not only Flair and Arn Anderson as traditional members, but also Tully Blanchard. However, a failed drug test put the kibosh on his WCW contract. In its infinite wisdom, the powers that be subbed in Paul Roma.
Roma was a competent enough worker with some name value from his WWE work and a good look. The trouble is that he didn’t have the kayfabe credentials, technical proficiency, or charisma to really hack it as a Horseman. While he spent several months teaming with Anderson and even winning tag old, Roma never really clicked as a Horseman. Since then, he has vocally criticized the guys, and most notably Ric Flair for “being jealous” of him. Anderson has only spoken about Roma in terms of disgust for a guy who didn’t have any business raising the four fingered salute.
4. Best Friends: Paul Heyman And Madusa
It has become one of Paul Heyman’s calling cards that he has an eye for talent and getting the most out of potential stars. His track record of success includes giving opportunities and offering sound guidance to talent ranging from Steve Austin to CM Punk to Brock Lesnar. It’s become in vogue for someone to say he was a “Paul Heyman Guy.” Few have claimed to be “Paul Heyman Girls” but one of them is Madusa.
In Madusa, Heyman saw a unique combination of athleticism, commitment to craft, and good looks. He reportedly championed her becoming a member of his Dangerous Alliance super group in WCW and was a terrific sounding board and advisor during their partnership. Moreover, Heyman eagerly put her over in intergender fights to follow. The two each attest to remaining friends right up to modern times.
3. Hated Each Other: Buff Bagwell And Scott Steiner
A lot of WCW talents were a part of the New World Order at one time or another, but few performers saw their enrollment in the stable so thoroughly reinvent their personas as Scott Steiner and Marcus Alexander Bagwell. Steiner morphed into the loud mothed, bleached blond Big Poppa Pump, while clean cut young Marcus turned into sleazy heel Buff Bagwell. The two were often paired off together early in their heel runs, but word is that the two big personalities and big egos didn’t actually get along so well.
Rumor has it that Steiner resented having around someone whose physique could, at all compete with and detract from his own. Bagwell has indicated it was silly, because he would readily cede that no one had muscles like Freakzilla. Still, that quality and each man’s tendency to be outspoken created enough friction for WCW to ultimately send them in different booking directions to keep the peace.
2. Best Friends: Curt Hennig And Rick Rude
The Montreal Screwjob most famously exiled Bret Hart from WCW, but the controversy also compelled Rick Rude to make a surprise defection to WWE’s rival company, out of disgust for how they’d treated Hart. Back in WCW, Rude couldn’t actually wrestle out of an unknown combination of injury, or at least collecting on an insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London that mean he shouldn’t have been getting in the ring. So, he joined the New World Order in a non-wrestling role, primarily backing up Curt Hennig.
Pairing Rude and Hennig was a natural fit on many levels. Both were very well respected veterans who’d achieved greater fame under the WWE banner. Neither were going to get in to the main event mix proper at that stage for WCW, but sent off to work together, they made sense as a mini-group within the larger nWo. Better yet, the pairing kept both men happy because they were not only wrestling chums, but legit childhood friends, all too happy to be reunited with one another.
1. Hated Each Other: Hulk Hogan And Randy Savage
Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage had careers that intersected in a number of interesting ways. They went from casually feuding in the early days of Hulkamania and the Macho Man’s start in WWE, to forming an iconic tag team that gave way to an iconic rivalry in the late 1980s. In WCW, they revisited these dynamics, more often than not playing allies, but allies who openly didn’t trust each other as faces, and got involved in power struggles as heels sharing space in the nWo.
It’s widely agreed that Hogan and Savage’s on air dynamics were similar to their real life ones. Savage was considered himself the greater talent than Hogan, and was resentful (some would say jealous) of Hogan’s greater notoriety, and accused him of using political machinations to stay on top.
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