Most people tune in to wrestling to see the actual wrestling and in-ring action, but also the bitter feuds, rivalries, the animosity and tension that gets sparked between certain individuals. All of this makes for compelling viewing, and adds to the storylines and overall razzmatazz and anticipation of wrestling events. It also means that when two enemies face each other in the ring, everything just gets heightened, and more often than not, a fiery – but awe-inspiring – matchup ensues. This all makes wrestling great – whether it’s due to storylines or real-life bitterness – but sometimes you get a couple of wrestlers who believe in love and not war - this can make for equally exhilarating nights of entertainment.
Some guys come into the industry and spend their entire careers rubbing people the wrong way, not gaining any friends or close companions - it’s kind of sad if you think about it and must be one lonely existence. But sometimes you get two characters who just hit it off, become best buddies and have a ball together while spending life on the road as professional wrestlers. Sometimes you'll also see pairings on television that just seem to hit it off and you can sense there's a real-life bond between the two.
These are 15 bromances in wrestling history.
15 Rocky Johnson - Tony Atlas
The origins of this bromance can be dated back to the early 1980s, when Rocky made his foray into the big leagues of WWE. He joined forces with fellow bodybuilder Tony Atlas, and the duo instantly hit it off. They complemented each other in the rings and developed a close bond away from the cameras. This all translated into in-ring success – they became tag team partners and quickly created history, becoming the first Afro-American pair to hold the coveted World Tag Team Championship; thus “The Soul Patrol” was born.
After losing the title, Rocky ‘s appearances became increasingly more sporadic, and he eventually retired. Atlas didn’t find much success without his best buddy in tow, and his career quickly went downhill. This was a short-lived in-ring bromance, but one that continued to prosper after The Soul Patrol became defunct.
14 Chris Jericho - Kevin Owens
This is a very recent entry onto this list, but the pairing has been so enjoyable over the past couple of months, that it deserves a spot on our list. At first the pairing of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho felt pretty random, but it has since blossomed into perhaps the most entertaining portion of RAW. Chris Jericho's done some amazing work acting as KO's biggest cheerleader. He often shouts and brags that he is Kevin Owens' best friend and seems to do whatever it takes to help his friend out.
It's a shame that Y2J will eventually take another hiatus from WWE because his work with Owens has been nothing short of brilliant. Who would've thought that Jericho would make a simple line of 'my best friend, Kevin Owens' so enjoyable?
13 Chris Jericho - John Cena
Chris Jericho was already an established pro in the industry and had achieved plenty before John Cena came along in 1999. Jericho also understood how the wrestling business worked; he wasn’t one of these arrogant guys who wanted to keep new talent down in order to further himself in the industry. He gave credit where credit’s due, and when Cena entered the pro ranks, he knew that he was a superstar in the making.
Most of those on the WWE roster at the time didn’t give Cena the time of day, but Jericho helped him learn about all aspects of life as a top pro and helped mold him into the man he is today. Needless to say they became close friends; they worked together regularly and both had a tremendous amount of respect for one another. This close friendship was evident for all to see but it was revealed and came from the horse’s mouth when Cena made an appearance on Jericho’s talk show.
12 The Rock – Mick Foley
Unlike a lot of the others who make this list, The Rock and Mick Foley didn’t hit it off from the get-go. In fact, they were actually fierce rivals – ever since the 1998 Survivor Series where they faced each other in the final of the Deadly Game tournament. The Rock prevailed in that instance, but the fact Vince got involved and ordered the referee to stop the contest angered Mankind – Foley’s gimmick at the time – further and just served to exacerbate the rivalry. They were to face each other several more times for the WWE Championship, before things simmered down.
The Rock 'n' Sock Connection was formed in 1999 when The Rock and Mankind were challenged to face The Undertaker and The Big Show. They prevailed against all odds – this marked the beginning of their bromance, which just blossomed on screen, making for some good-natured fun and very entertaining TV.
11 CM Punk - Colt Cabana
Unlike CM Punk, Colt Cabana never really prospered with WWE. He had a mediocre time of it and was out the door within a couple of years, whereas Punk reigned supreme – the longest reigning champion of the so-called Modern Era.
Cabana’s first interaction with Punk was when he faced him at Ring of Honor. They faced each other a lot in those initial ROH days – there was no real animosity there though – before they went on to form the stable - Second City Saints.
At that stage their bromance was beginning to blossom, which it did over the next 15 years. They have – or had – each other’s backs, but sadly, it appears as if the bromance was recently ended. Earlier this month, Cabana went backstage on an episode of RAW, and his actions at the event were apparently detrimental to Punk’s defense of a lawsuit that had been issued by a WWE physician. Let’s see if they rekindle their bromance in the future.
10 Kane - Daniel Bryan
“Team Hell No” was another WWE tag team; Kane and Daniel Bryan teamed up for a period of nine months, but in this period, plenty ensued - their relationship quickly developed into an epic bromance.
Kane and Bryan together – that’s certainly an odd duo, but that’s what made it work a treat. They started out as rivals, vying for AJ Lee’s affections; there’s a lot of background to this storyline, but simply put, things turned violent, and AJ Lee – general manager at the time – sent them off to anger management classes. This is where they began to form a close bond. They participated in a “Hug it Out” match, went to win the Tag Team Championship and became a cohesive unit in the tag team division.
They’ve since turned against each other, but we’ll always remember their bromance for what it was – truly bizarre but hugely entertaining all the same.
9 The Miz - John Morrison
The Miz and John Morrison had a kayfabe friendship, but this spilled over into life away from the cameras – they formed a real-life friendship that remains strong to this day.
Before they formed an allegiance, they weren’t the best of buddies as they both had the ECW Championship in their sights. But when they got together a month later in November 2007, they tasted success straight away, winning the Tag Team Championship by defeating Matt Hardy and MVP. A couple of years later, they had tasted enough success to feel justified in naming themselves the “Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century.”
Away from the ring they spent a lot of their time together, building themselves up and trashing opponents. The Miz also credits the formation of the tag team for saving his WWE career: “If it wasn’t for John Morrison I’d have been fired within a year.”
8 Ric Flair - John Cena
Ric Flair returned to WWE in 2001 and certainly made an impact. After an eight-month hiatus from in-ring action, he was welcomed back with open arms and developed plenty of friendships with management and those on the roster. One of these friendships was with John Cena, who had shown promise in his two years in the industry but was still an up-and-coming talent. Ric Flair worked with plenty of guys during the course of his long and illustrious career, but one of his favorites was John Cena. He’s told numerous tales about howthey used to party together after WWE events, but still remained professional when it came down to business.
The world came to know how deep the friendship actually was when Flair made reference to Cena in his retirement speech.
He’s also recently been very vocal about wanting Cena to be the man to tie his title record and win a 16th World Title: “I love John and think the world of John Cena as a man and person – he’s a great guy and a great ambassador.”
7 Kurt Angle - Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar’s a guy who, let’s be honest, doesn’t have many friends in the industry. He’s a fierce athlete – he knows what he wants and he gets it – but he often tramples on people along the way; he’s deemed brash, arrogant and someone who follows his own agenda and doesn’t adhere to the rules. But “The Beast” certainly has an ally in Kurt Angle.
Angle’s gone on record numerous times to say that he’s really tight with Brock Lesnar. The basis of their close friendship is simple; they traveled together, shared accommodation together, ate together, trained together and ultimately triumphed together in the world of wrestling. It wasn’t a crazy bromance – there were no wild nights out or anything like that – they just felt comfortable together and at ease with one another which translated into a real-life close friendship. Perhaps their similar amateur backgrounds are what brought them together. Lesnar was an NCAA heavyweight champion, while Angle was an Olympic gold medalist.
The two were in WWE together, traveled the world together and went to New Japan Pro Wrestling together too. They’ve wrestled against each other numerous times, but there’s never been any animosity there – it’s all been strictly business and they respect each other tremendously.
One story shows how close they really are: while in Japan, the management wanted a new title holder, but Brock Lesnar – who was the champion at the time – refused to lose the title to anybody. He pushed to make Angle the title holder, and that really touched Angle. That's just one the highlights of Angle’s career and their friendship.
6 Chris Jericho – Christian
This one’s certainly one of the biggest bromances in WWE history; in fact, it was so epic and realistic, many actually mistook Jericho and Christian to be real-life siblings – kudos to the duo for their acting prowess.
It all began in 2002 when Jericho and Christian teamed up during an episode of Raw. They participated in a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team TLC Matchup for the Tag Team Title, lost, but won the championship a week later. They had each other’s backs; there’s that famous incident where Christian dressed in Jericho’s customary ring attire as a means of a distraction so that Shawn Michaels could be eliminated from the Royal Rumble contest.
Although the duo’s bromance ended in bitter circumstances later that year, it was still an epic bromance – albeit short-lived – and finds a deserved place on this list.
5 DDP - Jake Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts owes Diamond “Dallas” Page one hell of a lot, as DDP can be credited for helping him get his life back on track.
Today, DDP’s famous as much for his yoga health program as he is for his wrestling feats. He formed the concept of DDP Yoga back in 1998, and it soon took off and helped many people from all walks of life rectify various health issues. One such person who benefited from DDP Yoga, was Roberts. Roberts was in a downwards spiral, consumed with alcohol and drug addictions, and sought DDP’s help. DDP took him into his home, and helped him overcome his addictions – in addition to numerous other health issues – over the course of an 18-month period.
This was far from just business. When DDP was first learning how to become a wrestler, Roberts was his mentor. Over 20 years later, the protege helped his mentor and their longtime friendship grew stronger and stronger. DDP was more than just an instructor and helper – he was a real friend to Roberts in his time of need.
4 Rey Mysterio - Eddie Guerrero
The two Lucha Libres participated in some truly awesome matches against each other, and it seemed as if they both felt real hate towards one another. This just goes to show how different relationships in front of the cameras can be from real-life friendships.
Their bromance was so strong, they were actually planning on going over to Mexico together and taking over the wrestling scene in their home country, selling out arenas and stadiums with WWE. They were close throughout their wrestling careers and their families grew up alongside each other too, spending a lot of time together away from the cameras.
Eddie’s death hit Mysterio hard. His tear-jerking speech at the time of his passing is something that we’ll all remember; he even has a tattoo in remembrance of his great friend – that’s true bromance right there.
3 Christian – Edge
This Canadian duo are real-life best buddies – it certainly showed when they first teamed up together in WWE. It looked like they were having one hell of a time - they resembled a couple of college kids running around the place wreaking havoc just enjoying the exuberance of youth. At one stage the two were deemed to be actual brothers, such was the closeness of their friendship. They’re actually childhood friends, a friendship that goes way back to their Canadian wrestling days. They teamed up several times during the course of their careers, until Edge retired in 2011.
They still get together and make sporadic appearances at various WWE events, and host their own WWE Network show, but they’ll forever be remembered as one of the best – and most entertaining and comical – tag teams of all time. Sometimes real-life friendship is evident and translates to in-ring success.
2 Stone Cold – JR
Steve Austin’s stone cold attitude – his arrogance and anti-establishment stance – meant that “Stone Cold” became a permanent fixture at the start of his name. Despite the tremendous amount of respect he deservedly demanded and received, it also meant that he didn’t have a ton of friends in the business. But one of his closest friends in the industry – and in general – is legendary announcer, Jim Ross – affectionately known as JR.
JR played a big role in Austin’s wrestling career and their respective careers developed together, pretty much simultaneously – Austin’s in-ring success reached its prime when JR had become known as the best commentator of all time. JR was also involved in talent relations for a period of time, during which he helped air out and rectify any of Austin’s grievances with the company. They’ve helped each other throughout their careers and remain close to this day. When Austin married Debra in 2000, Ross was the only person from WWE at the wedding, serving as Austin's best man.
1 Triple H - Shawn Michaels
This is perhaps the biggest bromance in wrestling history and therefore finds a deserved place at the top of this list.
Their bromance began to form when Triple H first came to WWE and joined The Kliq. When they founded D-Generation X, the friendship grew stronger. One incident illustrates their friendship – the “Curtain Call” incident. They broke kayfabe and scandalized the company’s management by all group hugging and raising their arms aloft together. This was a huge incident at the time and just goes to show how close they were – they were willing to ruin their careers just to show a sign of solidarity.
They remain best friends to this day. Triple H was one of the only wrestlers who stayed in touch with Shawn Michaels throughout his drug problems and never left his side. Any time these two get together, you can tell right away that they're like brothers.