10 WWE colleagues who had real-life heat but made up
While WWE’s storylines are based around Superstars’ dislike of each other, it is not uncommon for two people within the company to have genuine animosity outside of the ring.
CM Punk, for example, has been very outspoken about his dealings with WWE’s higher-ups, notably Triple H and Vince McMahon, and he is yet to reconcile with either man since their infamous backstage conversation before the post-Royal Rumble 2014 episode of RAW.
That is just one example of a real-life issue within WWE that, at least to the public’s knowledge, has not been resolved, but did you know that plenty of Superstars have had legitimate heat with a WWE colleague before going on to make up with them a few years down the line?
In this article, let’s take a look at 10 times that WWE Superstars eventually overcame their issues with each other.
#10 The Rock and John Cena
Arguably the most famous reconciliation between WWE rivals came when The Rock and John Cena “became best friends” following their match at WrestleMania 28.
In 2008, Cena planted the seeds for The Rock’s return when he accused the former WWE Champion of not loving WWE in the same way that he and the company’s other full-time performers do.
“Just don’t f*** me around and tell me that you love this [WWE] when you are just doing this to do something else [movies]. That’s the only thing that gets me p****d off.”
Four years later, The Rock defeated Cena in the first of two main-event matches at WrestleMania. The following year, Cena picked up the victory, winning the WWE Championship in the process, and the two men went on to join forces in a segment at WrestleMania 32 to fight off The Wyatt Family.
Both men have confirmed that their animosity was real when their on-screen feud started, and this quote from Cena on Jimmy Fallon gives an insight into the exact moment when their real-life rivalry ended.
“So we spent a year making fun of each other, and then one night [WrestleMania 28] beating each other up. Then we’re like, ‘Did we just become best friends? Yep.’ So basically, we were able to set aside our differences on that night.”
Cena has repeatedly said in interviews that he was “stupid” for questioning The Rock’s love for WWE, as he now combines his limited WWE schedule with a busy acting career in the same way that his former on-screen rival did in 2008.
#9 Chris Jericho and Triple H
Chris Jericho is one of the most well-liked people in the wrestling business, but it turns out that he had real-life animosity with Triple H during his early days in WWE.
“The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla” joined WWE from WCW in 1999 and he quickly became one of the most prominent Superstars on RAW and SmackDown. Triple H, meanwhile, had started to establish himself in the WWE Championship picture following his alliance with Shawn Michaels.
Speaking to Rich Eisen in May 2020, Jericho recalled that there was a “personal dislike” between himself and Triple H after he signed with WWE, but neither of them could fully understand why.
“We just had this professional rivalry, maybe a bit of a personal dislike. But fast forward five, six, seven years, you get to be older and wiser and think back. Why did we have so many problems? Why did we hate each other? Why didn’t we like each other? And now we’re friends.” [H/T @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone]
Jericho added that Vince McMahon did not mind legitimate tension between Superstars because he thought it resulted in them having better matches against each other.
#8 The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels
With respect to Shawn Michaels, we could probably find around a dozen people who he has made amends within WWE over the last 20 years.
Back in the 1990s, it is no secret that Michaels was difficult to deal with backstage – not only around Vince McMahon but also his fellow WWE Superstars.
The Undertaker is widely regarded as the most respected Superstar in WWE history, but he was so fed up with Michaels' antics that he threatened to beat up “The Heartbreak Kid” if he sabotaged Steve Austin’s WrestleMania 14 title victory in any way.
Speaking on a Badd Blood 1997 edition of ‘WWE Untold’ in September 2019, The Undertaker made it clear just how much he disliked his WWE colleague during their time working together in the 1990s.
"Where Shawn Michaels and I are today and where we were at back then on a personal level... it's taken a complete three-sixty [one-eighty]. If Shawn Michaels back then was on fire, I probably wouldn't p*** on him to put him out.”
The Undertaker clarified that there was nobody he would rather have been in a WWE ring with than Shawn Michaels during that era, even though he did not like him as a person.
#7 Brie Bella and Maryse
Maryse has had a lot of on-screen WWE history with The Bella Twins, most notably at WrestleMania 33 when she teamed with The Miz in a losing effort against John Cena and Nikki Bella.
However, it is the former WWE Divas Champion’s relationship with Brie Bella that made headlines in 2016 following an episode of Total Divas.
After years of speculation about The Bella Twins preventing three women – Maryse, Maria Kanellis and Kelly Kelly – from rejoining WWE in 2013, Total Divas footage showed Maryse accuse Brie of “breaking their pact” about their proposed return to the company.
She also claimed that neither of The Bella Twins contacted her for three-and-a-half years following their disagreement.
One year after the Total Divas row, Brie posted a YouTube video in September 2017 to congratulate Maryse on her pregnancy.
“I am so happy for her - I think it's a beautiful thing. Put aside whatever our thing was. Going through a pregnancy and being a first time mom, it’s crazy what it does to you. You just love your baby so much and it's such a beautiful journey.”
Maryse and Brie went on to headline an episode of WWE SmackDown in September 2018 before Maryse and The Miz defeated Brie and Daniel Bryan in a mixed tag team match at Hell in a Cell.
#6 Ric Flair and DDP
One of the lesser-known rivalries in the wrestling business involves Ric Flair and DDP. The two men worked for WCW and WWE at the same time throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, and they somehow built up a dislike for each other along the way.
Speaking to Fightful in 2017, DDP revealed that he squashed his beef with Flair around eight years earlier when he approached his fellow WWE Hall of Famer at an autograph signing.
“Ric Flair and I have had heat on and off during our career. At some point I didn't want that. I didn't want to feel that way about [Flair] and I didn't want him feeling that way about me.”
DDP said he pulled Flair over to the side during the autograph signing and spoke to him in private about their off-screen rivalry.
“I pulled him off to the side and said, 'Listen Naitch, I know over our career we've had some heat with each other.' He's like, 'Diamond, don't worry about that.' I said, 'I'm not worried about it, I'd like to fix it.'”
The former WCW and WWE colleagues have become friends since then, with Flair even offering DDP a ride on a private jet after the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.
#5 Alberto Del Rio and Triple H
Alberto Del Rio found himself in the news for all the wrong reasons in 2017 when he referred to Triple H as “one of the bosses in WWE with the big f***ing nose” during a rant on Periscope.
At the time, Del Rio was not employed by WWE, but his then-girlfriend – two-time WWE Divas Champion Paige – was still under contract as an in-ring performer.
In March 2019, the Mexican told Contralona TV that his issues with Triple H stemmed from the time that the NXT founder released him over the phone in 2014 after he slapped a WWE employee.
Del Rio added that he issued an apology to Triple H for what he said on Periscope, admitting that he crossed a line with his former boss.
“Now everything is normal with them, I apologized and shook hands, even with Mr. Levesque [Triple H], with whom I do not agree on many things, especially how things ended and how they were done [when he was fired in 2014], but I should never have crossed the line and disrespect him.” [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
Del Rio claimed during a March 2020 interview with Nos Cayó La Noche that he had been in talks with WWE and he hoped to return to the company by the middle of the year.
#4 Enzo Amore and Big Cass
Although they never won any Tag Team titles in NXT or WWE, Enzo Amore and Big Cass established themselves as one of the most popular tag teams in the company between 2013 and 2017.
Following their WWE storyline separation in June 2017, Big Cass suffered a torn ACL in a Brooklyn Street Fight against his former tag team partner in August 2017, causing the final match in their rivalry to come to an abrupt end.
Amore has explained in various interviews that he and Cass stopped speaking after the incident due to a difference of opinion over whether the WWE RAW match should have carried on.
Speaking to Wrestling Inc. in September 2019, Amore discussed his reconciliation with Cass, who has been open about his battles with mental health and alcoholism since leaving WWE.
“We've had such a crazy whirlwind of events over the past year of our lives to kind of rekindle a friendship, get back together, become business partners, best friends, and hit the road again. It's that Willie Nelson song, dude, 'On the road again.'”
Cass has not given any updates on his future in recent months, but Amore told Chris Van Vliet in March 2020 that the 7-footer is “killing it” and “doing so good”.
#3 Paige and Lana
The animosity between these WWE Superstars dates back to 2015 when Lana posted an in-character tweet about Paige being a bully during their time in NXT.
Paige responded by accusing Lana of trying to manufacture a storyline for herself, while Summer Rae defended the two-time Divas Champion by clarifying that she was not a bully to anybody in WWE’s developmental system.
At the time, it was not uncommon for insults and incidents like this to be set up for the Total Divas reality show. On this occasion, however, Lana’s tweets were not planned and it led to genuine tension between the two women.
Three years later, Paige told Lana that she hated her as a person after they had a row about bedrooms during a Total Divas trip to Lake Tahoe. This was not staged, as Paige later revealed, and Lana told Pop Culture that she was “devastated” by what her WWE colleague said.
"I love Paige, and I've always loved her, and I've supported her. When she started saying those words, that she hated me, I was devastated. I didn't know that I had hurt her so much."
Lana said in January 2020 that she is now friends with Paige and she even received a friendship bracelet from the Brit after their Lake Tahoe disagreement.
#2 Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels
The genuine rivalry between two-time WWE Hall of Famers Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels is among the most famous in wrestling history.
Back in 1997, Hart agreed to sign with WCW after Vince McMahon admitted that, just one year into his 20-year deal, he could not afford to pay “The Hitman” what he had been promised.
Hart was originally supposed to drop the WWE Championship to Michaels at the Survivor Series pay-per-view in his home country of Canada, but he refused to lose the title on that particular night after “The Heartbreak Kid” said he would not do the same for Hart if the roles were reversed.
This led to the infamous incident in Montreal, which saw Michaels defeat Hart with the sharpshooter, even though the then-WWE Champion did not tap out of the move.
After years of animosity and a televised reconciliation in 2010, Michaels said on Eric Bischoff’s former podcast in March 2017 that he has made up with Hart in real life.
"He and I actually get along really well now. We’ve done appearances together. We’ll text at Christmas and stuff like that. I heard about when he was struggling with cancer and I reached out to him right away and said, ‘Hey dude, just want you to know I’m thinking about you. If anybody can pull through this I know you can.’ Thankfully he did." [H/T WrestleZone]
In June 2020, Hart said on WWE Backstage that he wishes he found a way to stay in WWE instead of going to WCW.
#1 Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior
Hulk Hogan lost the WWE Championship to The Ultimate Warrior in the main event of WrestleMania 6. The two men went on to face off again at WCW’s Halloween Havoc event in 1998, with Hogan picking up the victory, before their on-screen rivalry transitioned off-screen.
The back-and-forth insults between the former WWE Superstars escalated on social media in 2011, six years after Hogan made disparaging remarks about The Ultimate Warrior, along with many other high-profile WWE names, on the Self-Destruction of Ultimate Warrior DVD.
The Ultimate Warrior’s first posts on his Twitter account were directed at Hogan, while the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame inductee also posted a 52-minute rant about his former WWE rival on YouTube.
Three years later, Hogan had been told by Vince McMahon and Triple H not to speak to The Ultimate Warrior on the weekend of his Hall of Fame induction. However, as you can see in the picture above, “The Hulkster” bumped into his WrestleMania 6 opponent backstage and they finally reconciled.
Warrior sadly passed away at the age of 54 the day after he made an appearance on the post-WrestleMania 30 episode of RAW.
Hogan has since said in multiple interviews that he is thankful he was able to make peace with the former WWE Champion before his passing.