Former member of The Shield, Seth Rollins, sent shock waves through the WWE Universe when he turned on his former teammates, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns on the June 2nd edition of Monday Night Raw. The Shield, having just come off a clean sweep of Evolution at Payback, was as hot as ever and Evolution was crumbling at the very foundation. Earlier in the night, Batista quit leaving a gaping hole in Evolution’s fight against The Shield. But, “there’s always a Plan B” as Triple H calmly stated with sledgehammer in hand and Orton by his side before Rollins would drop Reigns, then Ambrose with vicious chair shots before letting Orton take his shots. By the end of the night, Rollins, Orton, and Triple H stood tall in the ring as Evolution looks to have its new future.
There have been many instances in WWE history of betrayal. Whether it be longtime friends, brothers, or even “Daddy’s Little Girl.” One thing the WWE has proven was that Stone Cold’s motto of “Don’t Trust Anybody” was something that everyone should adhere to. Let’s look at some of the top betrayals in WWE.
10. X-Pac Betrays Kane
One of the most odd but captivating teams of the Attitude Era, X-Pac and Kane won over WWE fans mainly because the bond that existed between two total opposites. The two formed as a team in 1999 and enjoyed a great deal of success together. X-Pac, who was a bit on the scrawny side (and that’s being modest), had a 7-foot, 300 pound monster by his side and Kane had someone who he could call a friend. X-Pac was even able to get Kane to speak using an electrolarynx and even gave him the confidence to speak without the device. The duo captured the WWE Tag Team Championships twice and nothing seemly could break this bond. Even Kane’s own brother The Undertaker couldn’t get him to leave his fiery sidekick to join the dark side.
Late in 1999, X-Pac, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and Triple H reformed D-X. X-Pac began to tease a possible new addition to the group, Kane. But during a match vs the Dudley Boys on SmackDown, X-Pac would betray Kane telling him he is weak and there would be no new member of D-X. This began a length feud between the two. The betrayal didn’t end there. Later X-Pac would steal Kane’s girlfriend Torrie Wilson.
9. Christian Betrays Edge
Jealousy is a reoccurring theme on this list (as you’ll see) and this is the first case where jealousy led to an eventual betrayal. Lifelong friends Edge and Christian debuted in the WWE in 1998 and didn’t take long before they became known as one of the most talented, exciting and dominating tag teams of the Attitude Era and in WWE history. The duo won 7 Tag Team Championships, however after Edge won the 2001 King Of The Ring tournament, things would not be the same between the two. Christian was jealous of Edge’s KOTR victory and the shiny trophy he received and it showed as he often carried it to the ring and snatched it from Edge just to hold it, almost as his own. Christian could no longer keep his envy bottled up and on the September 3rd edition of RAW Is WAR, Christian attacked Edge with a chair while even performing the duo’s signature “con-chair-to” on Edge, by himself.
8. Triple H Betrays D-Generation X; Joins The Corporation
The newly formed D-Generation X (exit Shawn Michaels; enter X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) had made 1998 its year. Its feud with The Nation Of Domination highlighted a memorable year for the group and the Attitude Era. The demise of D-X began at WrestleMania XV. Earlier in the year Chyna turned on Triple H and joined The Corporation but on this night she would reunite with him to help him defeat Kane. What happened later that night changed the balance of power in the WWE.
Triple H and Chyna interfered in X-Pac’s match vs Shane McMahon for the European Championship and looked to have been assisting X-Pac. Triple H then delivered a Pedigree to X-Pac to help the Corporation’s youngest McMahon win the title, thus signaling the betrayal of his good pals to defect to greener pastures and join the Corporation.
7. Evolution Betrays Randy Orton
Evolution was without a doubt the most dominant faction of the Ruthless Aggression Era and one of the most dominant factions in WWE history. Even with all of its success, especially early on, that couldn’t stop jealousy from rearing its ugly head. Randy Orton, the future, became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history at 24 years old by defeating Chris Benoit at SummerSlam 2004. Orton followed his historic victory up with another victory over Benoit on an August 16th edition of RAW, prompting fellow Evolution members Ric Flair, Batista, and Triple H to throw him a mock celebration after the match. While Orton was hoisted on the shoulders of Batista and seemingly on top of the world, he received an ominous ‘thumbs down’ sign from Triple H and was dropped to the mat. What followed was a brutal mugging orchestrated by The Game who was envious of Orton’s rise and that he was not the champion.
Evolution’s betrayal of Orton sparked a lengthily feud between he and the group, especially with Triple H.
6. Matt Hardy Betrays Brother Jeff Hardy
The Hardy Boyz will go down as one of the most exciting teams in WWE history. They quickly rose to prominence in the WWE after debuting in 1998, winning multiple Tag Team Championships and singles titles while taking place in some of the most exciting matches in WWE history. It would take forever to detail the brothers’ careers leading up to Matt’s betrayal in 2009 as both bounced from WWE to TNA, so let’s just get to it.
In January 2009, Jeff Hardy became the subject of multiple “accidents” as the reigning WWE Champion. Jeff was involved in a hit and run accident, was burned by his own pyro entering the ring, and suffered the tragic loss of his dog during a fire that burned his house down. Things got even worse when Hardy was closing in on a victory at the 2009 Royal Rumble over Edge when he was struck by his brother with a chair, costing him his title. Matt would later imply that he was responsible for everything that happened to his brother and admitted to being jealous of Jeff’s career while his was “mediocre.”
This was not the 1st time Matt betrayed his brother but the most notable. The two went on to have an Extreme Rules Match at WrestleMania 25 in which Matt won and an “I Quit” Match at Backlash, with Jeff picking up the victory.
5. Stephanie McMahon Betrays Father Vince McMahon
This was one of the best and most personal storylines in WWE history. When Stephanie McMahon debuted in WWE she was the sweet, innocent daughter of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. She immediately became the target of The Undertaker and was kidnapped on a couple of occasions one of which almost led to her being married to The Lord Of Darkness. She then began dating the late Andrew Martin aka Test and their romance seemed to grow each week. The two got engaged and were set to be wed on the November 29th, 1999 edition of RAW is WAR when Triple H interrupted the wedding. Triple revealed by video that he and a drugged Stephanie had already gotten married in Las Vegas, therefore nullifying any marriage between she and Test.
Triple H and Vince McMahon would face off at Armageddon 1999 in a Street Fight where if Triple H lost the marriage would be annulled but if McMahon lost, the marriage would stand. After a brutal match (mainly for McMahon), Triple H had picked up the victory. Stephanie rushed in to save her father from further harm before turning to embrace her new husband. Stephanie would later say this was revenge for her father making everything about him and never about the family. This also began The McMahon-Helmsley Era in WWE.
4. Randy Savage Betrays Hulk Hogan
The late 1980′ s saw the formation of one of the most dominating tag teams in WWE history, when Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage formed The Mega Powers, with Miss Elizabeth as the manager of the team. The two joined forces at WrestleMania IV when Hogan helped Savage win the WWE Championship in a 14-man tournament and debuted as a tag team at SummerSlam later that year taking on and defeating The Mega Bucks, Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase. While the two dominated WWE, it became clear their relationship wasn’t very good, because of Hogan’s friendship and protectiveness over Miss Elizabeth, Savage’s girlfriend. Hogan also accidentally eliminated Savage from the 1989 Royal Rumble match, further damaging their rocky relationship
Things came to a head at The Main Event pay-per-view when Miss Elizabeth was knocked unconscious, prompting Hogan to escort her to the back. That left his partner Savage to face The Twin Towers (Akeem and Big Bossman) by himself. After Hogan returned to the ring, he received a slap from Savage who was upset that he was left to fend for himself. Savage then left leaving Hogan to defeat The Twin Towers by himself. After the match Hogan went to check on Miss Elizabeth who was the subject of a tirade by Savage. After he and Hogan went back and forth, Savage hit Hogan with his title belt before storming out, thus ending The Mega Powers and beginning the Hogan/Savage feud.
3. Shawn Michaels Betrays Marty Jannetty
After meeting and becoming friends in 1985, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty burst onto the wrestling scene as a tag team in 1986 as a part of the American Wrestling Association and were known as The Midnight Rockers. They began wrestling in WWE in 1988 under the name The Rockers where they quickly became fan favorites due to their energy and boyish charm. Although never (officially) winning WWE tag team gold, The Rockers are viewed by many as one of the best teams in WWE history and certainly one of the best to never (officially) capture the titles. The great success The Rockers had couldn’t stop one of its members from thinking of bigger things as a singles competitor.
This betrayal has 2 parts, the real-life (sort-of) betrayal and the one that took place on television. Jannetty wanted to leave WWE and he thought he and Michaels were in the same boat, but that was not the case. Michaels had his sights set on singles’ competition and it is rumored that he told Jannetty to speak to Vince McMahon for the both of them in that they wanted out. This obviously was not the case. So what was the best solution? A betrayal of course.
After mounting problems and tension between the two, it seemed that they had settled their differences on Brutus Beefcake’s “Barbershop” on December 2, 1991. After a crowd-silencing Sweet Chin Music and throwing Jannetty through the barbershop window, Michaels set out on his own, eventually becoming “The Heartbreak Kid,” “Showstopper,” ‘Mr. WrestleMania,” etc. Jannetty, well, didn’t.
2. Triple H Betrays Shawn Michaels
For a better portion of the mid to late 90’s, Triple H and Shawn Michaels, D-Generation X, ruled the WWE. They were not only best friends but as good Ol’ J.R. put it, they were “closer than most brothers.” That changed, as well as the landscape of WWE, when Shawn was forced into retirement due to a serious back injury. During his time out, Triple H’s career skyrocketed, as he became one of the best in the business and one of the most hated heels WWE has ever seen. Michaels returned in 2002 and after a brief stint in the NWO, he and Triple H reconciled. After Michaels refused to be Triple H’s manager, Triple H responded by saying that he had an idea.
To the delight of WWE fans everywhere, D-X’s music hit on the July 22th 2002 edition of RAW and the two seemed ready to pick up where they left off. Triple H quickly betrayed his best friend by delivering a Pedigree to Michaels. A week later, Michaels was viciously attacked in the parking lot on RAW and it was later revealed that Triple H was the culprit. His reasoning being that Michaels was weak and vulnerable and had resentment towards Michaels for turning down his request to manage him. The feud that ensued was one of the most vicious, personal and all-around epic feuds in WWE history.
1. Stone Cold Betrays WWE, Joins The Alliance
There was no way this couldn’t be the top betrayal of all time. It doesn’t get any worse in sports entertainment than turning on the company where you rose to prominence and became a worldwide name. But that is exactly what Stone Cold Steve Austin did when he betrayed WWE to join the WCW/ECW Alliance, shifting the balance of power heavily in the favor of The Alliance.
A fair place to start with this betrayal, is of course, another betrayal. At WrestleMania X7, Stone Cold faced then WWE Champion, The Rock, for the title in the main event. Austin was willing to do anything it took to win the title, even stooping as low as selling his soul “to the devil himself” Vince McMahon, betraying his fans and telling them he owed them no explanation for his actions. As The Invasion of WWE began a couple of months later, Stone Cold was no longer the beer-drinking, swearing, Texas Rattlesnake fans had grown to adore over the years. But he was an emotional, calm-spirited teddy bear that gave out more hugs than Stunners during this time. Austin would do everything he could to cheer up his friend Mr. McMahon even singing “We Are The Champions” and “Kumbaya” to the boss. Mr. McMahon needed the old Stone Cold back but he was just a shell of his former self even turning down an opportunity to do what he does best, whoop Vince’s ass. Austin seemed unfit to lead the WWE team to Invasion to face off against The Alliance. The last image of this Austin we would see was him drinking away his sorrows in a bar on the July 16th, 2001 edition of RAW before the Invasion pay-per-view. Later that night, as The Alliance was in the process of overwhelming the WWE, Stone Cold arrived to the arena and cleared every Alliance member in his path, helping WWE fend them off and stand tall with all of the momentum heading into Invasion.
At the Invasion pay-per-view, the unthinkable happened. Towards the end of the Inaugural 10-man Tag Team match, Kurt Angle had Booker T in the Ankle Lock but the referee was down and didn’t see Booker T tap. Austin would shock the world by hitting Angle with the Stunner and pulling Booker T over him, allowing The Alliance to pick up the win. Stone Cold had officially betrayed WWE, bringing with him to The Alliance, the WWE Championship.