Throughout one’s lifetime, friends come and go like the seasonal winds of change; caught within a strong breeze, friendship can be blown South and never seen again. And the older a person gets, the harder it becomes to make “friends.” Many faces are simple acquaintances, those to whom we wave “hello” and ask “how are you doing?” but we really couldn’t care less.
The very essence of friendship is purity. The purest form of camaraderie comes with trust and loyalty. Those who fight alongside you, even if your big-mouth-arrogance was the cause of the brawl. Those who know the little old man behind the curtain pulling the strings. The old man who the rest of the world has never seen because to them, your true self is the person on stage.
Professional wrestling as a whole can be a very cut-throat kind of industry, where wrestlers look out for number one and do whatever is necessary to advance their careers. The higher you are on the card, the more money you stand to make. Nobody can buy a mansion if they are only working dark matches. The business is full of sleaze and swine which is why finding friends within the industry is no easy task.
Backstage politics are the common cause of tension among professional wrestlers. The stories of Hulk Hogan refusing to put anybody over are abundant. The tales of Shawn Michaels and his behind-the-scene antics are infamous. However, both Hogan and Michaels have managed to climb to the top of their profession. The wickedness of having backstage influence can lead to the demise of great charters and gimmicks.
The following article will not cover any of that political slime but instead will take a look at a few cases of true fellowship. Believe it or not, genuine friendships do occur from time-to-time within the crude world of professional wrestling.
These are the top 15 real life wrestling friendships:
15. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens (real name: Kevin Steen) and Sami Zayn (real name: Rami Sebei) may hate each other on NXT programming but in actuality the two men go way back and the stories about their past which have been incorporated into their angle are truthful.
Steen and Sebei have rolled together through the independent circuit – sometimes as allies and other times as foes. Either way, the pair of Quebecers have come a long way from small-time venues to WWE Developmental.
14. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
Dean Ambrose (real name: Jonathan Good) and Roman Reigns (real name: Leati Anoa’i) once made up two-thirds of the justice-seeking name-taking faction known as The Shield. The group have since disbanded but Good and Anoa’i remain friends on-screen while in character.
In real life, Good and Anoa’i are backstage buddies and traveling partners – a couple of best friends who hit the long stretches of road together and burn rubber down the wrestling highway as the WWE roams from town-to-town.
13. John Cena and Randy Orton
John Cena and Randy Orton come from the same WWE class. Cena and Orton would both debut in 2002 and in the years that followed would both rise to major superstar status, having won fifteen and twelve WWE Championships, respectively.
While John Cena and Randy Orton have been involved in one of the best feuds of the past decade, a rivalry filled with personalty animosity and hatred, nothing can be farther from the truth as John Cena and Randy Orton are tight in real life.
12. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are two of the most loathed men in all of professional wrestling, as both have essentially spit on tradition in some capacity. Lesnar with his lack of commitment to the profession and Heyman with his alternative-thinking brand of hoodlums that was ECW.
Therefore, it was only fitting for these two to find common ground. Paul Heyman serves as The Advocate for Brock Lesnar while on camera at WWE, but away from the sideshow, Heyman is not just a mouthpiece for The Beast, but a friend of the Wild Animal.
11. Ric Flair and Roddy Piper
Ric Flair (real name: Richard Fliehr) and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (real name: Roderick Toombs) go a long way back, coming face-to-face in the ring for many years before winning the World Tag Team Championship together later on in their careers.
Toombs not only stood as the best man at one of Fliehr’s weddings (there have been four), but the men have participated in Celebrity Wife Swap where Fliehr and Toombs traded off lives for a while all for the sake of reality television.
10. Bradshaw and Faarooq
John “Bradshaw” Layfield and Faarooq (real name: Ron Simmons) were once collectively known as The Acolytes or The Acolytes Protection Agency. Either way, they were bad men coming to take you down.
When Layfield decided to get married, it was Simmons who stood along side him as his best man. When WWE made the decision to place Ron Simmons into the Hall of Fame, it was John Layfield who inducted his real life best friend.
9. Rob Van Dam and Sabu
Rob Van Dam (real name: Robert Szatkowski) and Sabu (real name: Terry Brunk) were both trained by The Original Sheik (real name: Edward Farhat) who is the uncle of Brunk. The two daredevil performers would quickly become close friends.
While working for Extreme Championship Wrestling, RVD and Sabu would function as a tag team for a while but what the fans really wanted was to witness RVD and Sabu compete against one another – which would eventually happen, leading to an outstanding and long-lasting feud.
8. The Hardy Boyz and Shannon Moore
Matt and Jeff Hardy and Shannon Moore were first introduced as children in North Carolina. When the Hardy brothers began running their own backyard wrestling “promotion,” Moore would participate in the brothers “organization.”
When Matt and Jeff began wrestling professionally, they would train their longtime friend and help Moore develop his own set of skills in order to build a career and become a professional wrestler – which did happen for Moore.
7. Stone Cold and Jim Ross
Stone Cold Steve Austin (real name, Steven Anderson) and Jim Ross had formed a bond many years ago that holds true to this day. Ross played an instrumental role in the career of Anderson, as he rose to the top of the WWE.
The real life friendship between Anderson and Ross has been used several times in WWE storylines – with the Stone Cold character playing the role of hero most of the time and saving Ross. However, there have also been cans of whoop-ass fed to Jim Ross.
6. Mick Foley and Terry Funk
Mick Foley and Terry Funk are a pair grizzly-looking old hardcore fighters who found common ground in inflicting pain onto one another as opponents. Two men who would much rather be wrapped in barbed-wire than a warm blanket.
Foley and Funk would team up for a while in WWE as Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie, two deranged characters hellbent on misery. When Terry Funk was selected to join the ranks of the WWE Hall of Fame, it would be Mick Foley who would induct his old buddy into the halls.
5. CM Punk and Colt Cabana
CM Punk (real name: Philip Brooks) and Colt Cabana (real name: Scott Colton) first met while training to become professional wrestlers; two young men with a lot of promise and dedication to the craft who would eventually wrestle each other all over America, developing a buzz in the process.
Brooks and Colton would obviously end up on different levels of the success scale but such a circumstance would never alter their friendship. While working for WWE and during the now famous “pipe bomb promo,” Brooks would acknowledge his friend on camera.
4. Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero
Rey Mysterio (real name: Oscar Rubio) and Eddie Guerrero had something that is hard-pressed to find in professional wrestling: a true admiration and sincere love for one another. While many other names could have been attached to Guerrero, we choose Mysterio out of history.
They worked together for years both as a tag team and as bitter rivals. No mater the situation, magic would happen when these two met in the ring. In 2006, Mysterio would win the World Heavyweight Championship and dedicate the biggest victory of his career to his fallen friend.
3. Trish Stratus and Lita
Trish Stratus (real name: Patricia Stratigeas) and Lita (real name: Amy Dumas) were once involved in a longstanding rivalry that could put to shame many of the so-called “feuds” that are produced today in the WWE.
Outside of the high-voltage world of professional wrestling, Stratigeas and Dumas remain very close friends. Stratigeas inducted Dumas into the WWE Hall of Fame while Dumas is the Godmother of Stratigeas’ son.
2. Edge and Christian
Edge (real name: Adam Copeland) and Christian (real name: William Reso) are lifelong best friends who growing up in Canada and just wanted an opportunity to perform in front of the live WWE audience – a dream which became a reality in 1998.
Copeland and Reso are known as one of the greatest tag teams in the history of professional wrestling. They have held the WWE Tag Team Championship on seven different occasions and have both gone on to become multiple-time World Champions.
1. The Kliq
Shawn Michaels (real name: Michael Hickenbottom), Razor Ramon (real name: Scott Hall), Diesel (real name: Kevin Nash), Triple H (real name: Paul Levesque), and 1-2-3 Kid (real name: Sean Waltman) were once formally refered to within WWE as “The Kliq.”
The Kliq held a strong position backstage and would influence the way angles were booked, mainly to favor their own elite group. The Kliq were not always the most popular men in the locker room but nothing seemed to matter as nothing would change their attitude towards the industry.
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