If the WWE has taught its fans one lesson it's this: Don't get comfortable because you can't trust anyone. Right as fans become content looking up to a superstar, basking in that wrestler's light, the latter turns to the dark side and becomes a heel. The same can be said for a heel who has done everything to make themselves hated, but with one saving grace--usually by saving a "face," they suddenly become a fan favorite. And we can certainly say the same about tag-teams, which inevitably have a much shorter life span than individual talent.
Usually, wrestlers form groups to support each other. Sometimes they are new in the business or their storylines have begun to fade as individuals, so by teaming up with others in a similar situation they can reinvent themselves. For awhile it's good for business, but eventually members begin to clash. Dissention forms in the ranks and the group explodes in spectacular fashion usually in the form of betrayal.
For the most part this list deals with tag teams or groups, but it does have the occasional, lone wrestler. For these wrestlers, their betrayal is a little different from those who betray group members. Some have betrayed their family and others an entire universe of fans. In any case, fans feel the same way whether their wrestler has betrayed them or a group member. They are shocked, often disappointment, but sometimes excited.
In wrestling, the act of betrayal is exhilarating. It ends old storylines and begins new chapters in both wrestler's lives. Betrayal has ended careers and made careers, and you'll see on this list how many of your favorite superstars rose to new heights because they betrayed their partners.
18 Eddie Guerrero Betrays Rey Mysterio
Guerrero and Mysterio had captured the WWE Tag Team Championship from the Bashams at a No Way Out pay-per view. They defended their championship on a number of occasions; however, they did not defend it at WrestleMania, as is tradition. Instead they faced each other, which eventually set off the slow disintegration of their friendship. On the April 1st edition of SmackDown, Eddie refused to tag in and let Rey take a beating from MNM, which saw them lose their titles. The betrayal ended their friendship entirely and a long feud began.
17 The Mega Powers Implode
Hogan and Savage were two of the industry's biggest superstars and they joined forces to form The Mega Powers. Their manager was Miss Elizabeth, beholden to Savage. The Mega Powers had a number of impressive victories, but their partnership split during a match with the Twin Towers after Miss Elizabeth was knocked unconscious. Hogan carried her backstage to care for her, but left Savage in the ring alone. Although Hogan eventually returned, the two eventually came to a head backstage. Savage hit Hogan with his title belt, which abruptly ended the Mega Powers' reign.
16 Kane Loses His Only Friend in X-Pac
The friendship was odd to begin with, but once we accepted it, it was even harder to let it go. In Kane, X-Pac had a dominant tag-team partner and in X-Pac, Kane had his first real friend. It was special and sweet and everything in between, until X-Pac betrayed Kane on a 1999 edition of SmackDown. At the time of the betrayal, D-X was beginning to reform and X-Pac teased the idea that a new member (Kane) might be added. Obviously, that never happened, and the betrayal set of a feud between the two.
15 Kane Sets Fire to His Brother
The young sibling will always fight for recognition and that is exactly what Kane did. As one half of the Unholy Alliance, Kane came to the aid of the ailing Undertaker during the latter's WWE Championship match at the 1998 Royal Rumble. After Kane dispatched a number of interfering opponents, he then turned on The Undertaker, trapping him in a casket and setting it on fire.
14 Paul Bearer Deserts The Undertaker
To the shock of millions, Bearer betrayed the Undertaker and sided with Mankind at the 1996 SummerSlam. The feud between the Phenom and the emerging superstar, Mankind, had been growing in weeks leading up to the fateful moment. Their first battle lasted 18 minutes and their next showdown became a classic. In their Boiler Room Brawl, the wrestlers were required to escape the boiler room and grab the urn to win, which Paul Bearer held in the ring. The Undertaker won, but when he entered the ring to take the urn, Bearer hit him with it and gave it to Mankind.
13 Austin Turns His Back on the WWE
Austin had always been an anti-hero, one reluctant to join either foe or friend. He was a loner who chose to disrupt the balance of power when he felt it could benefit him. McMahon knew what he was up against when he walked into a bar to try to convince Austin to join Team WWE, which was in a heated battle with the invading WCW/ECW roster. First reluctant, Austin eventually joined. However, it was not long after that the Rattlesnake--never to be trusted--struck the WWE where it hurt the most. In a ten-man tag match, Austin betrayed Team WWE and helped the Alliance score the victory.
14. An Architect Brings Down The Shield
Based on pure coordination and strength alone, many considered The Shield to be one of the most dominating groups in WWE history. They worked together like a well-oiled machine and considered each other tough-minded equals. Yet, that all came to an end when the Shield's architect Seth Rollins hit group member Roman Reigns with a chair on the June 2nd, 2014 edition of Raw. The night prior, The Shield had dispatched its rival group Evolution. Batista left Evolution in anger, but Triple H had a plan "B" to replace Batista. Enter Seth Rollins.
12 Owen Turns on Bret
Like most tag teams, there is always one partner that thrives in the spotlight, while the other flails away in the shadows. In the days leading up to the Hart's eventual collapse, growing dissention between the brothers caused a number of outbursts--an unusual occurrence between an always strong brotherhood. However, Owen pleaded to be recognized and saw his opportunity during a tag match with his brother. When Owen's brother hurt his knee during a match and failed to make a tag, resulting in the team's defeat, Owen turned heel. In one kick to the knee, their team fell.
12. Team Xtreme Dissolves
While they are best known for their tag-team glory, one evening in particular will be edged into the minds of fans of Team Xtreme. After finally winning gold, Jeff Hardy entered the 2009 Royal Rumble ready to defend it against Edge. However, little did he know his own brother, Matt Hardy, would turn against him with a chair shot to the head. Edge would come out victorious, sparking a new, bitter rivalry between the Hardys.
11 Christian Betrays His Brother
Edge and Christian will always be remembered for their extreme tag-team matches, but their bitter rivalry was just as intense. Around the year 2000, Edge and Christian formed an alliance with Kurt Angle and Rhyno to form "Team RECK." Friction arose between the members when Edge beat them out to win the 2001 King of the Ring Tournament. A jealous Christian eventually betrayed Edge with two chair shots to the head.
10 Batista Drops Orton From Evolution
Evolution's members represented the future of the WWE, and because of this, their eventual break was inevitable. After Randy Orton defeated Chris Benoit to become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history, tension began to grow amongst Evolution's members. On an August edition of RAW, Orton defeated Benoit again and the group celebrated Orton's victory in the ring. However, as Batista raised Orton onto his shoulders, Triple H ordered Batista to slam Orton to the mat. They then proceeded to beat on their now former member.
9 Triple H Rebels Against D-Generation X
Triple H helped form D-Generation X and also demolish it. In the late 1990s, the Corporation, a new group led by the McMahons, was beginning to grow. Chyna had already abandoned Triple H for the new organization, but briefly reunited with Triple at WrestleMania 15. She helped The Game defeat Kane and both also interfered in X-Pac's match to help Shane McMahon win the European Title. He was officially a member of The Corporation after that.
8 Shawn Michaels Can't Regain His Former Magic
Triple H and Michaels weren't just friends, they were brothers, but on a July 22nd, 2002 edition of Raw, that brotherhood abruptly ended after Triple H attacked Michaels. Prior to the incident, Michaels had been forced to retire to an ailing back injury. He eventually recovered and returned to the WWE hoping to once again rekindle that D-X magic. However, during Michael's time off, Triple H's career took off. He was no longer Michaels' subordinate and on that fateful night in July, he made sure everyone knew.
7 A Massive Family Feud Brews
Vince betrays Shane. Shane betrays Vince. It was one hell of a family feud that culminated in a epic WrestleMania showdown between father and son. Leading up to the event, Vince went on a tirade. He demanded a divorce from Linda, had an affair with Trish Stratus and was on his way to buying out WCW. He was on top of the wrestling universe until Shane stepped in, purchasing WCW out from under his father and then challenging him to a match at WrestleMania. The highlight of the match came at its conclusion: Linda walked gingerly across the ring and kicked Vince in the "family jewels." This then led to Shane dropkicking a trash can into his father from the opposite side of the ring.
6 Shawn Michaels Kicks Jannetty Out of The Rockers
Michaels propelled his singles career with a single, swift kick to long-time tag partner Marty Jannetty. Jannetty and Michaels grew up in the wrestling industry together. They were signed and then cut by the WWE and then brought back again, but in the early 1990's many speculated that the two were growing apart. In a scene that featured a barber shop, Jannetty pleaded with Michaels to keep their bond tight. Michaels appeared to agree and even hugged his tag partner. However, moments later he turned leaving Jannetty a bloody mess. The Rockers were no more.
5 Stephanie McMahon Turns to The Dark Side
To Vince's dismay, in November 1999, rival Triple H revealed he had secretly married McMahon's beloved daughter. Enraged, Vince challenged Triple H to a main event match at that December's Armageddon. Near the match's conclusion, Stephanie begged her father to let her slug Triple H with a sledge hammer. She couldn't do it, and Triple H took advantage. Defeated, Vince could only watch as his once innocent daughter then embraced Triple H, revealing her own secret intentions all along. She was with the man she always wanted to be with.
4 Stone Cold Snubs The WWE Universe
Certainly the WWE's greatest anti-hero wouldn't turn heel in front of his audience in Houston, Texas? That is exactly what he did. Near the conclusion of a WWE Championship match with The Rock, McMahon hit the latter with a chair. Soon after, he handed Austin the chair and the Rattlesnake finished The Great One off with multiple chair shots. To the disbelief of millions, the once hated rivals--Austin and McMahon--shook hands.
3 St. Slaughter Commits Treason, Betrays USA
There may have never been a more devastating and shocking betrayal then when Slaughter betrayed his own country. At the time, fans knew little, if anything, about how wrestling used kayfabe. There was debate as to how "real" wrestling was and nothing was more real then when Slaughter insulted Americans as their country fought in the Gulf War. Slaughter's life actually became endangered and more than once security personnel had to guard the wrestler from infuriated fans.
2 Andre the Giant Sides With "The Brain"
Andre's betrayal was a moment that would set up THE most famous moment in WWE history. No one ever believed Andre could or would turn heel, but that's exactly what he did during a live-broadcast interview. Andre showed up with the reviled Bobby "the Brain" Heenan, and even Hogan's deepest pleas couldn't stop the Giant from doing the inevitable. "I am here for one reason...to challenge you for a World Championship match at WrestleMania."
1 The Curtain Call
While the Curtain Call wasn't kayfabe like others on this list, that's exactly why it is the worst betrayal in WWE and wrestling history. By 1996, The Kliq, considered by many to be the WWE's most powerful group of all time, had dissolved and its members had begun to clash. On May 19, 1996, during a house show at Madison Square Garden, many of its members stepped into the ring for the last time to face each other. Some, like Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were leaving to join WCW, while the remaining members stayed behind to form the nucleus of D-Generation X. During the house show, most of its members fought individual matches. However, they broke protocol when they gathered in the ring and congratulated each other for the last time.
The incident was controversial and unacceptable. It lowered Triple to jobber status and delayed his prominence to stardom, but it also helped a future star rise--a star that would help the WWE defeat the WCW in the Monday Night Wars. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin ended up receiving the push that Triple H was supposed to get, and the WWE got their super star.