In the long and storied history of the WWE there have been many storylines in which friends, even brothers, became bitter rivals. Instances of friends turning into enemies are some of the most compelling styles of plot in pro wrestling. It makes a feud that bit more dramatic when people you have rooted for as a team are now going to war with each other. Here are 10 times that tag partners turned against each other in WWE.
Batista Lashes Out At Rey Mysterio for Losing Him the World Title
For years Batista and Rey Mysterio were known to be fast friends. They teamed together on and off throughout the course of their respective careers. At one time they even won the WWE Tag Team championships. In 2009 Jericho and Big Show were teaming together, they were absolutely dominating the tag team division. Holding both the WWE Tag Team Championship and the World Tag Team Championship, the team of Jeri-Show were the Unified Tag Team Champions. At Hell in a Cell 2009 Batista and Rey Mysterio teamed up once again to challenge for the belts. Mysterio’s fast paced high-flying style coupled with the powerhouse aggression of Batista made them a strong team. Although despite their chemistry in the ring they were unable to topple Jeri-Show at Hell in a Cell. Both men found themselves in a match in which they were opposed when they both attained a place in a Fatal Four Way for the World Heavyweight Championship. The match involved Batista, Mysterio and CM Punk challenging for Undertaker’s title. The match was fast paced and exciting, featuring some enjoyable on-screen characters. At the beginning of the match it seemed that the friends would leave each other alone. However tensions began to build when Mysterio broke up Batista’s pin after he powerbombed Undertaker. After Batista launched Mysterio out of the ring onto Punk, Undertaker capitalised on the distracted Animal delivering a Tombstone Piledriver to retain. After the match Rey tried to help Batista up while Josh Matthews attempted to conduct a post match interview. For a moment it seemed there were no hard feelings on either end, although as Batista began to speak it soon became apparent that this was not true for him. The segment was very well written with some very effective lines. Not only that both men did a fantastic job of selling the emotion involved. It is no wonder that Batista is now a major Hollywood actor because he does an excellent job in this segment. You could cut the tension with a knife moments before Batista began his assault. The beatdown that ensued, with Rey begging the much bigger man to calm down was very memorable. The powerhouse throwing around the much smaller man screaming: “Your supposed to be my friend”, with his hands around the luchadore’s neck made for dramatic viewing. Mysterio’s quick and crafty style against the alarming size and strength of The Animal made all of their altercations exciting.
Paul Heyman Costs CM Punk the Money in the Bank Contract
Everyone knows that before his discontent with backstage politics led him to legitimately leave WWE and pro wrestling to pursue a career in MMA, CM Punk was one of the most gifted wrestlers of the time on the microphone. You only have to listen to his shoot interview that wasn’t a shoot interview on Colt Cabana’s podcast to know that he can make an impact with his words. It is also a known fact amongst pro wrestling fans that Paul Heyman is one of the best minds for the business in the world. When Heyman picks up a microphone people listen, he is one of the greatest speakers in pro wrestling today. So putting the two together in an angle was an absolute no-brainer, WWE Creative quite rightly thought it would make for gripping TV. For some time Heyman acted as Punk’s manager/legal adviser, the pairing worked excellently together, however they were arguably even better when they were opposed. In a shocking turn of events Heyman turned on his client at Money in the Bank 2013, costing him the briefcase. What followed was a drawn out war of words…and suplexes as Paul Heyman and his client Brock Lesnar tried to make CM Punk’s life a living hell. The promos in which Heyman and Punk spat flames at each other were fascinating and the instances in which The Best ran afoul of The Beast were thrilling. A particularly electric moment was when the crafty Punk disguised himself as a cameraman in order to get the jump on Brock and his advocate.
Many feuds occur in pro wrestling as a result of jealous rage. Many tag teams that happen to be brothers have fallen out when one sibling becomes more successful than the other. This was certainly the case in 2001 one when Christian turned heel on his on-screen brother Edge. Christian was jealous of Edge after his storyline brother won the King of The Ring tournament as well as the Intercontinental Championship. Christian’s jealousy of his kayfabe brother’s success as a singles competitor led him to attack his Edge, hitting him with the conchairto. His use of the move is significant as it is a move that the tag team were known for using as were their equally hardcore rivals, Jeff and Matt Hardy. However this was the first time the move had been performed by one man. It usually involved two men standing either side of one man, with each man swinging a chair at the one man simultaneously, sandwiching the lone man’s head in between two chairs. A series of matches for the Intercontinental title was the result. Although the matches between Edge and Christian weren’t anything ground breaking they were solid contests and the two wrestlers have enough charisma and intensity to make their feud compelling.
Matt Hardy Turns On Jeff Costing Him the WWE Championship
Jeff and Matt had a partial feud over Lita in the past. However the storyline only involved a couple of matches and the two soon reconciled their differences, acting like nothing happened after a few weeks. In the build up to the brother’s going to war, Jeff’s life had been made a living hell by some mystery adversary. Jeff’s car was run off the road, his house was burned down. All the while it was believed to be one of Hardy’s long time enemies, for example Edge. However, as we would later discover it was Jeff’s own flesh and blood, his brother Matt. At Royal Rumble 2009 during a match between Jeff Hardy and Edge for Hardy’s WWE Championship, Matt emerged seemingly to aid his brother against the villainous Edge and his comrades. Vickie and Chavo Guerrero were both trying to cost Jeff the championship so when his brother appeared it was assumed by the fans that Matt was there to even the score. Edge was set up to take the conchairto, but rather than striking Edge with the chair he blasts his own brother across the skull with it. He lost Jeff the title and later revealed that he was the one responsible for the attacks. What ensued was a compelling and deeply personal storyline culminating in a fantastic Extreme Rules match at Wrestlemania 25. The brothers used the skills they had once used as a team in TLC matches against the Dudleys as well as Edge and Christian against each other. The match was a brawl involving lots of weaponry; the foreign objects came out from the very beginning. The pace was quick from the very first bell and never let up for a minute. Both men utilised the weaponry in creative and exiting ways, there were some really unique spots which is only to be expected from an Extreme Rules match involving both members of Team Xtreme. It was a thrilling match and only fitting that it should be an Extreme Rules match given their history competing in some of the greatest TLC matches ever.
Undertaker and Kane Perpetually Alternate Between Friend and Foe
For their entire careers the Brothers of Destruction have cycled between being tag team partners and sworn enemies. Their history began as foes. Kane’s debut in 1997 involved him interfering in the Undertaker’s match with Shawn Michaels in a Hell in a Cell match. Kane’s identity was unknown at the time however it was later revealed that the enormous masked figure that tore off the cell door and delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to Undertaker was in fact Taker’s brother. Undertaker and Kane were locked in a war from that point forward. As their blood feud escalated details of their past came to light including that of Undertaker burning down their childhood home. The angle also involved Kane’s manager and a family friend who worked at the funeral parlour that Taker’ burned down. Despite their twisted past the brothers actually teamed up a number of times in their career. In 2010 the Brothers of Destruction appeared to be on the same page. A Fatal Four way match was to take place for the World Heavyweight Championship, Undertaker was to take part in this match however on an episode of Smackdown Kane revealed that his brother was indisposed. He also announced that he would get the person that beat Undertaker into this comatose state. A battle royal was held on that very episode to determine which member of the roster would compete in the Fatal Four Way in Undertaker’s place. Rey Mysterio won the over-the-top-rope contest by eliminating Kane. However Kane would not be discouraged winning the Money in the Bank and eventually cashing in on Rey. Kane later accused Mysterio of being the assailant that hospitalised his brother…a rather unlikely story. What was done in the dark soon came to the light when Undertaker returned for vengeance. Kane was the one that assaulted Undertaker putting him out of action and costing him the World Heavyweight title. The two worked a program over the months that followed. The matches often felt like a blast from the past given the history the two have, a Hell in a Cell match even took place seeing Paul Bearer return to double cross Undertaker. The Brothers of Destruction doing battle inside ‘The Devil’s Playground’ with involvement from Paul bearer felt like deja vu for many wrestling fans.
Seth Rollins Turns His Back on The Shield
From the minute The Shield debuted they made an enormous impact on the WWE. Their first appearance on the main roster involved them triple powerbombing Ryback through the announcer’s desk during the main event title match of Survivor Series. It quickly became clear that the three-man demolition crew were taking out CM Punk’s opponents, protecting his reign as WWE Champion. Night after night they would stomp through the crowd, vault over the barricade and lay waste to almost anyone in the ring, though conveniently steering clear of Punk. Both CM Punk and The Shield denied any involvement with each other. It was revealed later on in the story that The Shield were being paid by Paul Heyman to protect CM Punk against challengers to the title. The Shield soon moved on to bigger things showcasing their incredible in-ring skills. They were involved in amazing matches including a hellacious TLC match against Ryback and Team Hell No. In which they demonstrated their in-ring chemistry with their opponents and each other as well as their desire to perform dangerous, exciting spots for the entertainment of the crowd. The Shield later won titles, at one stage all three members held a belt, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were Tag Team Champions and Dean Ambrose was the United States Champion. Over the course of their run The Shield endeared themselves to the fans even more when the mercenary styled badasses feuded with The Authority. It was in this period of The Shield’s anti-authoritarianism it was their feud with Evolution that really kicked things off for everyone involved. When Evolution consisting of Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton failed to defeat Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins twice, Helmsley realised it was time for “Plan B”. What transpired shocked many pro wrestling fans as the night after losing to The Shield at Payback, Triple H and Evolution revealed their “Plan B”. Which as it turns out was Rollins selling out and joining Evolution after attacking his brothers with a chair. Seth Rollins standing tall over his fallen brothers with The Authority was the precursor for many more instances. For months Rollins feuded with Ambrose in a series of brawls and intense matches, including a heated Lumberjack match and a brutal Hell in a Cell bout. Rollins’ cooperation with The Authority led him to win the Money in the Bank briefcase and eventually cash in during Reigns’ opportunity at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania 31. Once again Rollins had elevated his position by stepping on his former friends…literally.
Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio Fight Over Dominick
Going into Wrestlemania 21 Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero were WWE Tag Team Champions however they actually faced each other in a singles match. Although there was an element of healthy competition going into the match there was no malice or bad blood involved, Mysterio and Guerrero were simply going into the match to put on a show. When Rey won Eddie looked visibly annoyed with himself for losing but shook hands with Rey anyway, to the delight of the fans. As is the case with many pro wrestling storylines involving a heel turn, things turned sour when the pair lost the Tag Team Championships. Eddie blamed Rey, savagely attacking his former friend. The animosity got more personal still when Eddie brought Rey’s son Dominick into it, threatening to reveal a secret about the boy. This tension led to a match at The Great American Bash, the stipulation for the encounter was that should Guerrero lose he will not reveal the secret. Eddie lost the match but true to his moniker of “lie, cheat, steal” he give the secret away on the next episode of Smackdown despite losing the match. He claimed that he was really Dominick’s biological father and that Rey adopted him from a very young age. The feud got very heated and ended in an incredible Ladder match at Summerslam. But rather than a championship belt hanging above the ring, the two competitors were clambering up the rungs of the ladders to pull down Dominick’s custody papers. The match made dramatic viewing due to Dominick’s presence at ringside, the physicality of the action and the idea that “a child’s fate is hanging above the ring”. Rey won that match and the right to remain Dominick’s father, yet it was Eddie that got the last laugh when he beat Rey in a steel cage to end the feud.
Triple H Becomes Jealous of Randy Orton’s Success
In 2004 Orton was part of the most dominant stable in the WWE, Evolution. Evolution at the time consisted of Ric Flair, Batista, Randy Orton and Triple H. Orton at the time was the up and coming star, mentored by Triple H. Although when Randy Orton started rising up through the ranks Triple H’s jealous reared its head once again. In 2004 Randy defeated Christ Benoit for the World Heavyweight title becoming the youngest man ever to win the championship. Orton gained a lot of respect from the fans and Christ Benoit for his performance and attaining the prestigious accolade. Hunter and the rest of Evolution decided their protégé had got a bit too big for his boots; they plotted against him in an attempt to knock him down a peg. The night after Orton won the title Evolution celebrated in the ring together. Batista lifted Orton up on his shoulders as HHH gave him the thumbs up. Orton’s look of elation soon turned to fear as Helmsley’s thumb went down and he ordered Batista to drop Orton. A ruthless three on one beatdown ensued as Evolution attacked their former friend. This led to Orton feuding with his former mentor in a series of matches for the World Heavyweight Championship. HHH and ‘The Legend Killer’ had great chemistry in the ring due to the fact that Triple H was Orton’s mentor off-screen as well as on. Triple H ultimately won the championship back at Unforgiven and retained at New Years Revolution.
Triple H Feuds with Former Best Friend Shawn Michaels
After a long absence Shawn Michaels finally returned in 1998 as an authority figure. On an episode of RAW Mr McMahon introduced Michaels as the new commissioner. The newly corporate Michaels clashed with Triple H, who had by this point established himself as a successful singles competitor. He was carrying the WWE Championship at the time and had brought his character up to a point of the symbol of rebellion leading DX. Due to real problems in his personal life Shawn Michaels disappeared from TV again for more than a year. However this hiatus from WWE proved beneficial, he was able to move past his issues with drugs and self loathing and as a result managed to also beat the physical ailments that led him to leave in the first place. HBK was in good enough physical shape to return to active duty. Not only that, backstage he was getting along with everyone again. He was better mentally as well as physically. For a brief moment the original DX reformed with HHH and HBK walking out to the DX music wearing, the shirts once again. But as the two were getting ready to perform their signature DX crotch chop gesture Triple H boots Shawn in the mid-section delivering a vicious Pedigree. Triple H’s character has always been defensive of his position in the company and his title if he has one. HHH wasn’t about to let The Showstopper reappear and usurp him as the tope star in WWE. This incident provided the spark for the feud which led to Shawn’s first match after being put out of in-ring activity with a back injury. The way that match went down you could hardly believe Michaels had suffered such a debilitating injury. Both men went to war in a brutal unsanctioned match. The very physical and personal rivalry involved some stunning action in the ring. The final match in the feud was of course a Hell in a Cell match at the Bad Blood PPV. The match was a bloody contest in which much blood was spilled. Jim Ross on commentary described the match as “47 minutes of pure hell incarnate.”
Owen Hart Turns On His Family and The Fans
At the 1993 Survivor Series friction began to show between Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and his brother Owen. The two teams facing off in a traditional Survivor Series elimination match were the Hart family and Shawn Michaels with The King’s Knights. At one point in the match Bret was standing on the apron nursing his injured eyes after a gouge by Michaels. As Owen ran against the ropes he knocked his brother off the apron, the distraction caused Owen to be rolled up and eliminated by pinfall. Owen was furious with his brother for getting in the way and leading him to be the only Hart family member to be eliminated from the match. The Hart family went on to win the match after Shawn Michaels was counted out. Owen angrily marches down the ramp and blames Bret for getting him eliminated. Owen could be seen shoving and shouting at Bret while the rest of the family try to calm him down. For weeks Owen tried to goad Bret into a match saying that he was sick of being in Bret’s shadow. Bret refused to fight his own flesh and blood, ignoring Owen’s taunts. Some of the animosity actually died down for a while leading to a reunion. Bret and Owen put aside their differences and attempted to capture the WWF Tag Team Championship at Royal Rumble. Unfortunately for the Harts the match was stopped when the referee ruled that Bret could not continue due to an injured knee. Owen once again blamed his brother for losing them the match receiving angry boos from the fans in attendance. Owen shocked pro wrestling fans the world over by attacking his own brother’s injured knee.
What was so well done about this feud was how it escalated in a believable way. The first encounter between the two was a singles match at Wrestlemania X. Although there were some underhand tactics from Owen, the match was more of a technical display. It was a masterclass in reversals and complicated mat wrestling. Owen managed to pick up the win with a roll up pin to the displeasure of the viewers. As the animosity between the two continued to grow their matches became noticeably more physical. Their encounters inside the squared circle went from a technical wrestling match to no holds barred matches that resembled more of a brawl. The family feud culminated in a steel cage match at Summerslam 1994 for Bret’s WWF Championship. This match was the perfect conclusion to a feud as it combined both styles of match that we had seen them compete in. It was both a technical performance showing of the skills of the graduates of the Hart Dungeon. And a fight that was the result of years of jealousy and resentment. With the added gravitas that it was taking place inside a steel cage. This was an incredible match, a dramatic conclusion to a heated war.
Did you enjoy this article? Do me a favour and give it a share. What did you think of Summerslam 2015 and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn over the weekend? Let me know in the comments section.