One of the most amazing parts about professional wrestling is the narrative in which they create between two wrestlers and their feud they have with one another. Watching the raw and unadulterated hatred these people have against one another and the dastardly things they will do to each other for the sake of entertainment is truly compelling. What makes for some of the best moments on television within professional wrestling is when the wrestlers within the feud actually have huge and binding respect for one another. Some of the worst enemies and best feuds in professional wrestling business happen between people who are best friends in real life.
One of the best examples of this day and age belongs to New Day and The Usos. In the ring, the New Day is the hated heel faction, bent on using underhanded tactics and brutish moves to take down anyone while The Usos are the family based babyface tag team. New Day and The Usos have been engaged in a lengthy and entertaining feud over the WWE Tag Team Championships. And it is evident that their chemistry within the ring to not only tell a good wrestling story, but to deliver an awesome and entertaining match is matched by very few.
Now The Usos and New Day hate each other on television, but as we have seen on WWE's YouTube gaming channel, Up Up Down Down, that all of them are friends outside of the ring. Jimmy Uso is one of the regulars on the channel, constantly participating in Austin Creed's (aka Xavier Woods) various video game tournaments.
People who are friends outside of the ring often create the best matches because of the respect and trust they have in one another. It is this kind of team camaraderie that makes for an effective showing on television.
In the newest feud over the NXT Women's Championship, Bayley and Carmella are now engaged in a friendly feud. This one is very recent considering Carmella had just won a women's battle royale on a recent NXT taping to become the new number one contender. So far, the interaction on screen between the two of them has been friendly, with hugs a plenty and no animosity between the two (yet). In real life though, Bayley and Carmella are attached at the hip. One of the newer shows on WWE Network, Breaking Ground, shows that Bayley and Carmella are inseparable, as they travel together and Bayley stays at Carmella's house before big trips. They've even came up with a name for their pairing in Baymella. Hopefully, this relationship is explored more in the ring with a storyline element.
14 Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens
Within the ring, these two despise each other, playing off of their real life friendship, with the NXT Championship as the prize. After Sami finally won the coveted championship, Owens came out, first in a congratulatory sense, only to Powerbomb Zayn onto the apron. Before Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens came to be in NXT though, they were world travelers in the realm of professional wrestling. Known famously as El Generico and Kevin Steen respectively, they became tag champions together, feuded over singles championships together, and became two of the best friends one could be with another person. There have even been rumors that both men were each other's best men at their respective weddings. In the interest of kayfabe and a potential dream feud down the line, almost all remnants of each other's weddings have been stricken from the internet.
13 Eddie Guerrero/Chris Benoit
Eddie Guerrero had two really close friends that he also had some heated rivalries with. One of those best friends was Chris Benoit. Latino Heat and The Rabid Wolverine were part of a group called The Radicalz, which had crossed over from WCW into WWE. A couple of their most memorable rivalries came when both of them were vying for the Intercontinental Championship in WWE and when they were on opposing sides with Guerrero being part of the Filthy Animals and Benoit being part of the Revolution in WCW. One of the most defining moments within their friendship, both in kayfabe and in real life, was when both had become Heavyweight champion of their respective shows in WWE (Benoit for Raw and Guerrero for Smackdown) and proceeded to celebrate in the ring. A crowning moment indeed.
Edge and Christian are two Canadians kids who came up together through the ranks of professional wrestling to finally cement themselves in the annals of WWE history as one of the greatest, and one of the most entertaining, tag teams to ever walk this earth. But WWE saw an opportunity for the two best friends to have it out over a singles championship and create awesome television. Enter the Intercontinental Championship. Edge (the Champion) would get betrayed by Christian and they would fight over the title for quite a while, switching title holders every so often with Edge eventually coming out on top as the IC title holder. This was a great feud in its time and it showed that best friends make the best enemies to create perfect television.
11 CM Punk/Colt Cabana
Before CM Punk ever made his jump to the big time, he received his training from Steel Domain and their head trainer, Ace Steel. There he met one of his best friends for life, Scott Colton, now known as Colt Cabana. It was widely known that the duo were very close friends and so when they entered into a feud within their wrestling promotion at the time, people knew that there was going to be instant classics and flawless chemistry in the ring. He would feud with Cabana over the Heavyweight championship within that promotion several times, with the match being requested many times over from different cities. It gained so much steam that someone finally came a-knockin' in the form of Ring of Honor. Both men eventually made it into the promotion and when CM Punk had his farewell match, he had it against Cabana. This is what a feud is suppose to do for two wrestlers, especially those who are friends. It should elevate them to bigger and better heights. And though Cabana never made it as high as Punk did, they both elevated greatly from their time feuding with one another.
10 Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio
Latino Heat and The Ultimate Underdog were best friends growing up, learning the Lucha Libre style of wrestling down in Mexico. They've gone all the way up through the ranks, from small promotions in Mexico to WCW all the way to WWE. Leading up to the end of Eddie Guerrero's storied life, he was a WWE Tag Team Champions with Rey Mysterio, with Mysterio calling on Guerrero to take on the Basham Brothers when all of the other partners Mysterio had gotten to fight the brothers failed in his attempt to take the titles of them. Mysterio and Guerrero won the titles, but it was a match at WrestleMania in which Guerrero and Mysterio began a feud where Gurrero was getting increasingly frustrated that he could not beat Mysterio in singles competition. This led to a very personal and intense onscreen feud, which included a match that was for custody of Mysterio's son, Dominic. Before the feud could get to its final crescendo, Guerrero unfortunately passed away and Mysterio, who trusted Guerrero with all of his heart, especially with a feud as personal as this, dedicated nearly an entire year's worth of wrestling matches to him.
9 Kurt Angle/Brock Lesnar
When The Wrestling Machine and The Beast crossed paths in WWE, you knew this feud was going to be one of the most impressive feuds you'd ever see. With a friendly rivalry (anybody remember the 300 push up challenge?) that turned into something much fiercer, Brock and Kurt put on incredible matches over the WWE Championship, flip flopping the title between each other over 2003. Their rivalry reached to the point of having a traditional 5 on 5 Survivor Series match one year. The greatest thing about these two was that though they were fierce rivals and amazing wrestlers in the ring, they were also best friends outside of it as well. Kurt even mentioned in a more recent interview that he views Brock and Big Show to be his best friends in wrestling. As shown time and time again, the best of friends make for the best feuds in wrestling.
8 Lita/Trish Stratus
During the high point of women's wrestling, two women were considered to be the two top Divas in any professional wrestling brand and WWE was lucky to have them both. We're speaking, of course, about Lita and Trish Stratus. Lita and Trish are two of the most talented women wrestlers ever to grace any roster and the fact that they were in the same promotion means they were going to get into a feud with one another. And they did over the Women's Title where it constantly switched hands like a game of hot potato. Outside one of the most famous Diva feuds in all of history, Lita and Trish are known to be great friends with Lita even being the godmother of Trish's son. Through all the dastardly things they did to one another in the ring, you only trust those you care about the most to do those things.
7 John Cena/Randy Orton
Probably the most prolific feud ever to come out of the PG era, John Cena and Randy Orton feuded and fought over the WWE Championship countless times. The latest incarnation of this feud came when Cena and Orton merged the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship to create the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Outside of the ring, Cena and Orton have an extremely tight friendship. Being brought up in the same wrestling class from Florida Championship Wrestling, they had to spend a lot of time with one another, honing each other's skills to become the best. During a documentary that was done on Orton, it's shown that Orton's toddler daughter at the time was very excited to see Cena backstage and Orton greeted Cena with his only daughter as if he was her uncle. An adorable moment indeed.
6 The Undertaker/Kane
The Brothers of Destruction did not start out this way, of course. Wrestling history shows that the entirety of how Kane was "created" was because of The Undertaker, which started one of the creepiest and macabre feuds ever to be shown on television. The story goes that The Undertaker left baby Kane and his family within a burning house. The parents died, but Kane was able to survive and became horribly scarred, hence why he wore a mask. Kane came for vengeance against The Undertaker, promising to be The Undertaker's end. Outside of this dark feud, Mark Callaway (Undertaker) and Glen Jacobs (Kane) are two of the best friends. Callaway considers Jacobs to be such a close friend to him, that Callaway offered for Jacobs be the one to end his streak at WrestleMania. Jacobs, considering how close Callaway is to him, refused this honor.
5 Triple H/Shawn Michaels
After Shawn Michaels came back to wrestling, an intense feud was started with his best friend, Triple H. Triple H and Michaels have done some evil stuff to one another, including Triple H burying a sledgehammer into the back of Michaels which (kayfabe) paralyzed him for quite a while. With betrayal, backstabbing, jealousy, and the title being switched between them, this was one of the more violent and personal feuds ever to be shown on television. As we all know though, these two are incredibly close friend outside of the ring. Breaking kayfabe for each other has never seem so natural between the two and constantly being at each other's side is pretty normal. This friendship almost defines wrestling as being a show because only in this line of work can people still be friends after hitting each other in the back with a sledgehammer.
4 Mick Foley/Terry Funk
Mick Foley and Terry Funk are hardcore legends. Two guys who pioneered blood and guts wrestling and brought the crowd to its feet with the amounts of hardcore wrestling. It only made sense that at some point during their careers, they would clash in some hellacious feuds that involved their signature style, right? Damn skippy and they took it to each other like the other one spat in the face of their children. In the IWA, the promotion had a "King of the Death Match" tournament in which Foley and Funk were feuding and met in the finals of. Each round consisted of a different dangerous gimmick match that the wrestlers had to perform under. The match that Foley and Funk were in? A "barbed-wire rope, barbed-wire and C4 board, time-bomb death match." Yeah, they were hardcore and they were hardcore rivals as well. But outside of the ring, Foley and Funk were the best of friends. Before Foley's infamous Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker, Foley and Funk were conversing with one another to come up with dangerous spots for Foley to perform to create a memorable match. This is where the dangerous idea of tossing Foley off the top of the cell came from. Only the best of friends would ever trust each other with coming up with something so insanely dangerous...
3 A.J. Styles/Christopher Daniels
The Phenomenal One and The Fallen Angel... The reason that this feud is so high up is because of the absolute quality of both the feud (how personal it was) and the matches they had with one another. Since the establishment of the match rating system, there have only been 78 matches across all promotions to have been declared a five star match by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The triple threat match between Styles, Daniels, and Samoa Joe is one of those distinguished few. Aside from the quality of the matches Styles and Daniels had, it was one of the most intense rivalries you will ever come across, especially with TNA's outrageous match concepts, having destroyed each other through hardcore matches and singles matches, using power moves, high flying moves, and all the other moves in the wrestling book they knew. Like all of these wrestlers, outside of the ring they are best friends with Styles even naming his eldest child's middle name after Daniels' real name, Daniel. It's only appropriate that two of the best wrestlers in the world would be best friends outside of it.
2 Ric Flair/Roddy Piper
In the 70s and 80s, there were two men who were masters on the mic and just as good in the ring. Two people who could talk your ear off, convince a nun to go on a date with a rabbi, and then twist you into a lock so quickly, it'd be as if a whirlwind of loud noises and fists came in, sucked you in, and spat you out. Before Flair and Piper ever made it into WWE, they feuded across many wrestling territories across the USA, vying for many different championships and kicking each other's butt day in and day out (with Piper winning a US Championship against Flair). Where their feud really took off was in the major promotions of both WWE and WCW, with their feud being explored in both promotions to its fullest, having the history angle being played deeply each time. Outside of the ring, Piper and Flair were two peas in a pod. One notable event after their glory days were over, was when Piper was chosen to be Flair's partner during a Cyber Sunday event and though Piper had Hodgkins Lymphoma disease, he decided to participate in the match anyway. He did it for the fans, sure, but Flair had a lot to do with that decision as well.
1 Stone Cold Steve Austin/The Rock
One of the most talked about and famous feuds in all of professional wrestling history, was when Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock headlined the Attitude Era. They were responsible for putting so many butts in the stands, Vince should donate over his fortune to them both because of how much money they made him. In the ring, the two superstars were bitter rivals to one another. Both of them, within the story of kayfabe, knew that the other star was rising just as hard and just as fast as the other. So when these once in a lifetime superstars clashed in the ring, you knew magic was going to happen. And by God, did these characters hate each other. Being the only rivalry to headline WrestleMania on three separate occasions because of their extreme distaste for one another and/or their pursuit of the gold, the Stone Cold/Rock feud is the best in WWE history. And it was only that great because outside of the ring, Stone Cold and Rocky were best friends. Both being excellent in ring performers, they grew to respect, love, and trust one another to be the entertainers they believed themselves to be and to elevate each other. Their friendship made it to such a degree that Stone Cold would only have his final run with WWE be against The Rock and finish it off at WrestleMania. If any of you folks have seen Stone Cold's documentary, you know The Rock and him shared a very special moment after The Rock won that match. And The Rock also cleared the ring because he knew that it was Stone Cold's final match and for him to have the spotlight one last time. Now if that isn't friendship and respect, I don't know what is.
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