You've seen it happen a thousand times in wrestling...
A wrestler (or manager, or even an authority figure) has formed an alliance with another wrestler (or group, or even an organization). Not a one and done appearance because the authority figure has booked them that way.... but a lasting relationship. Over time, for a variety of reasons, the combination is seen as unbreakable. And then, of course.... the betrayal happens.
These are different than heel turns, per se. And in fact, some of these end of being face turns. Some of them aren't turns at all, but rather a change in philosophy. But because of that betrayal, the wrestler's career took a very different turn.
In selecting the Top 50 Betrayals, Wrestling Mechandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:
Was the betrayal shocking? Could it be foreseen months in advance?
How much impact did it have on that person's career?
How memorable was the moment in a company's history?
Questions? Feedback? Comments? As always, we want YOU to be a part of the conversation! Leave a comment below, or let us know on Twitter (@CanadianBulldog) using the hashtag #Top50.
Ready? Here we go!
Lana Betrays Rusev
One of the more recent betrayals on this list, Rusev returned to WWE in October 2019 to take on Universal Champion Seth Rollins. At the conclusion of the match, Rusev's wife Lana returned... only so that she could make out with Bobby Lashley.
Bully Ray Betrays TNA
In 2013, Bully Ray proved himself an integral part of TNA by fighting off Aces and Eights and aligning himself with Hulk Hogan and marrying his daughter Brooke. Nine months into the heel invasion angle, Bully Ray revealed himself as not only a heel TNA World Champion but also the President of Aces and Eights.
Christian Betrays Edge
Christian and WWE Hall of Famer Edge arrived in the WWF at roughly the same time in 1998. The two teamed for years, winning more WWF Tag Team titles than anyone else. After teasing a breakup in 2001, the two realigned, until jealousy finally caused Christian to betray Edge.
Tommaso Ciampa Betrays Johnny Gargano
Although their relationship has taken several twists and turns over the years, the initial betrayal of Tommaso Ciampa to Johnny Gargano took place at the conclusion of NXT TakeOver: Chicago in 2017. Ciampa turned on his former DIY partner and threw him into a giant LED screen.
Goldberg Betrays WCW
WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg was one of the biggest babyfaces in WCW history. Shortly after returning to the company in 2000, he turned on all of WCW at The Great American Bash, aligning himself with the heel authority figures Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff.
Shane McMahon Betrays The Miz
Shane McMahon and The Miz had formed an unlikely duo, capturing the SmackDown Tag Team Championship in 2019. After losing the belts to The Usos, McMahon callously turned his back on his partner.
Triple H Betrays Seth Rollins
Triple H aligned himself with Seth Rollins in 2014, convincing The Architect to disassemble The Shield. Rollins became a centerpiece of Triple H's Authority until he was injured, and shortly after his return, The Game betrayed Rollins in favor of Kevin Owens.
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall Betray Hulk Hogan
The nWo began in 1996 when WWE Hall of Famers Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan formed wrestling's most infamous trio. Although they feuded on and off, the three WWE Hall of Famers joined the WWF together in 2002. After Hogan embraced The Rock at WrestleMania XVIII, Nash and Hall betrayed him.
The Nation Betrays Farooq
WWE Hall of Famer Faarooq created The Nation of Domination and recruited The Rock. But after some time, Faarooq tired of Rock's dissention and threatened to teach him a lesson during a 1998 episode of Raw, when The Rock orchestrated the other members of The Nation to betray him.
Chavo Guerrero Betrays Eddie Guerrero
Chavo Guerrero and his uncle WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero had a storied history together in WCW and WWE, mostly as allies. During an episode of SmackDown in 2004, Chavo refused to save Eddie from a vicious two-on-one attack, eventually attacking his own uncle.
Chavo Guerrero Betrays Rey Mysterio
Completing the Chavo-Eddie-Rey betrayal trilogy.... Chavo Guerrero and Rey Mysterio formed a close bond, particular after Eddie Guerrero passed away in 2005. At The Great American Bash in 2006, Mysterio was defending his World Championship when Chavo suddenly attacked Mysterio.
Rick Martel Betrays Tito Santana
Rick Martel and WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana began teaming as Strike Force in 1987, capturing the WWF World Tag Team Championship. Martel suffered an injury the following year and teamed again with Santana at WrestleMania V against The Brainbusters, when Martel abandoned his partner and turned heel.
Evolution Betrays Randy Orton
In 2004, Randy Orton was able to do what Evolution stablemate Triple H was unable to do: wrest the World Heavyweight Championship from Chris Benoit at that year's SummerSlam. The following night on Raw, Evolution celebrated by hoisting Orton on Batista's shoulders... before Triple H orchestrated a betrayal.
Paul Heyman Betrays Brock Lesnar
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar were inseparable (as they are today) when an injured Lesnar agreed to defend his WWE Championship against The Big Show at the 2002 Survivor Series. Mid-match, Heyman cost Lesnar a chance to win and had aligned himself with The Big Show, who pinned Lesnar to win the title belt.
Paul Bearer Betrays The Undertaker
WWE Hall of Famer Paul Bearer was by the side of The Undertaker from nearly the moment The Dead Man debuted in the WWF in 1990. At SummerSlam in 1996, The Undertaker was competing against Mankind in a Boiler Room Brawl. Instead of supporting him, Bearer bashed Undertaker with an urn and helped Mankind.
Paul Heyman Betrays CM Punk
CM Punk declared himself a "Paul Heyman Guy" during his 2012 heel turn, eventually bringing Heyman back into WWE as a manager. Eventually, Punk began asking Heyman to stay away from ringside, and the manager responded by costing Punk the 2013 Money In The Bank match, hitting him with a ladder.
Vince McMahon Betrays Mankind
Vince McMahon had WWE Hall of Famer Mankind doing his evil bidding against Stone Cold Steve Austin and others. At Survivor Series 1998, Mankind was positioned as McMahon's choice to become the next WWF Champion, when the boiler room dweller was betrayed by McMahon in favor of The Rock.
Seth Rollins Betrays The Shield
Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns debuted in WWE as The Shield in November 2012, steamrolling over the competition. The trio were even successful against Evolution in a 2014 series of matches. Instead of conceding defeat, Evolution's Triple H convinced Rollins to betray both of his teammates.
Batista Betrays Rey Mysterio
After Eddie Guerrero passed away, mutual friends Rey Mysterio and Batista forged a partnership. But by the Bragging Rights PPV in 2009, Batista accused Mysterio of stabbing him in the back. In a postmatch interview, The Animal announced he was going to rip Mysterio's "head off", before clotheslining him.
Kevin Owens Betrays Chris Jericho
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho declared themselves "best friends" after teaming up at SummerSlam 2016 and often partnered on Raw. After a series of breakup teases, Jericho held a Festival of Friendship the following year, in which Owens betrayed him through a vicious attack.
Owen Hart Betrays Bret Hart
Jealousy between Owen Hart and his brother, WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart, began surfacing at the 1993 Survivor Series. Eventually, they patched up their differences and competed for the WWF Tag Team Championship at the Royal Rumble. Following their loss, Owen kicked Bret in the leg and turned on him.
The Sandman's Son Betrays Him
The Sandman was involved in a bitter feud with Raven over the ECW World Championship in 1996. Sandman's ex-wife Lori Fullington even supported Raven in this rivalry. However, the clubbing blow came when Raven convinced Sandman's real-life son Tyler to betray his father, shocking ECW's hardcore fans and reducing The Sandman to tears.
Paul Orndorff Betrays Hulk Hogan
Following the first WrestleMania, WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan forged an alliance with fellow Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff. But in the summer of 1986, Mr. Wonderful became increasingly jealous of Hogan's popularity. During a televised tag team match, Orndorff attacked Hogan and joined Bobby Heenan.
Shawn Michaels Betrays Marty Jannetty
WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty had been teaming since 1985. By 1992, it was apparent that there was dissention in The Rockers. During an episode of Brutus Beefcake's Barber Shop, the two patched up their differences, right before Michaels threw Jannetty through the talk show's plate glass window.
Hulk Hogan Betrays WCW
WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan joined WCW in 1994 as the company's ultimate hero. By 1996, outsiders Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were threatening the company with their hostile takeover. At Bash at the Beach, Hogan returned and instead of beating up the heels, he joined them, forming the infamous nucleus of the nWo.
Mr. Perfect Betrays Bobby Heenan and Ric Flair
WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect had long been aligned with fellow Hall of Famers Bobby The Brain Heenan and Ric Flair. But in 1992, Randy Savage asked Mr. Perfect to be his tag team partner. When Heenan laughed at the notion, Perfect betrayed The Brain and Slick Ric.
Miss Elizabeth Betrays Randy Savage
Miss Elizabeth had been in the corner of WWE Hall of Famer Randy Savage off and on for a decade when they both joined WCW. Even though Elizabeth had divorced him by then, they were paired together when Savage won the World Title. At SuperBrawl VI in 1996, Elizabeth joined Ric Flair and turned on her ex.
The Corporation Betrays The Rock
The Rock shocked fans at the 1998 Survivor Series by becoming The Corporate Champion and aligning himself with Vince and Shane McMahon. But by the following April, Shane became tired of Rock's inability to regain the WWF World Championship, and then had the entire Corporation lay the smack down on him.
Trish Stratus Betrays Chris Jericho
WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus was hurt because Chris Jericho had made a bet with tag team partner Christian that he could sleep with Stratus. When Stratus found out, Jericho apologized, prompting the end of his team with Christian and winning Stratus' favor. That held together until WrestleMania XX, when Stratus turned on Jericho and sided with Christian.
Scott Hall Betrays Kevin Nash
WWE Hall of Famers Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were inseparable in WCW, creating the nWo together in 1996. In 1998, the faction split in two, with both Nash and Hall joining the Wolfpac group. At Slamboree 1998, Hall betrayed Big Sexy, rejoining nWo Hollywood and costing Nash the WCW tag team titles.
Jimmy Hart Betrays Money Inc.
WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart had been in the corner of Money Inc. for some time when Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake returned to the WWF in 1993 following a life-threatening accident. Money Inc. threatened to shatter Beefcake's face with a briefcase, when Hart stepped in, preventing them from doing any real damage.
Triple H Betrays X-Pac
At WrestleMania XV, WWE Hall of Famer X-Pac defended his WWF European Championship against The Corporation's Shane McMahon. To even the odds, DX's Triple H and Chyna (who had apparently defected from The Corporation that same night) showed up -- and promptly turned against X-Pac.
Virgil Betrays Ted DiBiase
Wrestling superstar Virgil had been bodyguard to WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase ever since the two debuted in the WWF in 1987. But by 1991, Virgil had experienced enough of DiBiase's constant demands and was tired of being bullied. Following a loss at the Royal Rumble, Virgil rebelled against his ex-boss.
Barry Windham Betrays Lex Luger
In 1988, WWE Hall of Famer Barry Windham was one of the top babyfaces in the NWA, fighting off The Four Horsemen. After Windham and Lex Luger captured the NWA Tag Team Titles, they were defending them against Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson when Windham betrayed Luger and helped The Horsemen win.
Eddie Guerrero Betrays Rey Mysterio
WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio were as close as brothers and even captured the World Tag Team Championship. At WrestleMania XXI, the two teased dissention but kept going. Finally, on SmackDown, Eddie saved Rey from a 3-on-1 ambush.... and then betrayed him.
MJF Betrays Cody
During the earliest months of All Elite Wrestling, MJF apepared to support his longtime friend Cody. However, following a 2019 match at Full Gear, MJF threw in the towel for Cody (forcing him to lose his match) and promptly turned heel on him.
Jimmy Hart Betrays Jerry Lawler
WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart began his wrestling career by managing fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler. But when Lawler was legitimately injured in 1980, The Mouth Of The South blamed The King for the injury and created a stable known as The First Family that, for years, was based on keeping Lawler at bay.
Batista Betrays Evolution
Perhaps learning from the previous entry, Batista decided to betray Evolution before they betrayed him. After winning the Royal Rumble in 2005, remaining group members Triple H and Ric Flair tried to persuade Batista not to challenge The Game at WrestleMania XXI. Instead, The Animal refused and attacked both men.
Triple H Betrays Shawn Michaels
As the founders of D-Generation X, WWE Hall of Famers Triple H and Shawn Michaels embraced after Michaels joined the Raw brand in 2002. But mid-way through a D-X reunion, Triple H attacked Michaels with a pedigree, displaying unresolved anger towards HBK.
Scott Steiner Betrays Rick Steiner
Rick and Scott Steiner were as close as..... well, brothers, teaming to capture championships in the WWF, WCW and Japan. At WCW's SuperBrawl VIII, the brothers were teaming against the nWo's Kevin Nash and Scott Hall when Scott embraced the nWo and changed his persona forever.
Matt Hardy Betrays Jeff Hardy
Leading into the Royal Rumble in 2009, World Champion Jeff Hardy had encountered a series of bad luck. Defending his title against Edge, Jeff's brother Matt Hardy showed up. Instead of nailing their mutual enemy Edge with a chair, Matt ambushed Jeff instead, and deleted his championship reign.
Stephanie McMahon Betrays Vince McMahon
Stephanie McMahon had married Hunter Hearst-Helmsley in 1999, but apparently this was done against her will. Stephanie's father Vince McMahon challenged Triple H to a match at Armageddon. Just when he was winning, Stephanie interfered and sided with her estranged husband... proving she wasn't daddy's little girl.
Dean Ambrose Betrays The Shield
Give Dean Ambrose credit for taking his time. In 2018, four years after the previous entry, The Shield had reunited. On the night Roman Reigns left WWE due to health issues, Ambrose turned on Seth Rollins, exacting some long-standing revenge.
Eric Bischoff Betrays WCW
The new World order began running roughshod over WCW in mid-1996, with former WWF stars abandoning WCW one by one. Eventually, Rowdy Roddy Piper caught on and accused Vice President Eric Bischoff of not being on the up and up. Bischoff revealed he was leading the nWo, turning against WCW.
Kane Betrays The Undertaker
After debuting in 1997 as The Undertaker's long-lost brother, Kane challenged him to a match, which The Dead Man refused. Kane appeared to resolve himself to that, even saving Undertaker from a D-Generation X attack on Raw. But at the 1998 Royal Rumble, Kane then locked his brother in a casket and set it on fire!
The Fabulous Freebirds Betray The Von Erichs
WWE Hall of Famers The Fabulous Freebirds came to Texas as friends of fellow Hall of Famers The Von Erich family. In December 1982, Freebird Michael Hayes was made guest referee in a match between Kerry Von Erich and Ric Flair. When Von Erich refused to let Hayes cheat as referee, The Freebirds betrayed him.
Stone Cold Steve Austin Betrays The WWF
WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin turned heel after WrestleMania XVII, but even then it was expected he would defend the company against the WCW and ECW invaders. But at the conclusion of 2001's InVasion PPV, Austin aligned himself with The Alliance, angering and confusing the WWF loyalists.
Ric Flair Betrays Sting
WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair has betrayed fellow Hall of Famer Sting more than once, but the first time was the most significant. After recruiting Sting into The Four Horsemen in 1989, the group became incensed that The Stinger would accept a title shot against Flair, leading to the Horsemen kicking Sting out.
Randy Savage Betrays Hulk Hogan
WWE Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage formed The Mega Powers in late-1987, but by early 1989, Savage had grown paranoid of Hogan's true intentions. During a tag team match on The Main Event, Savage finally snapped and attacked Hogan backstage, claiming The Hulkster had "lust in his eyes" for Miss Elizabeth.
Andre The Giant Betrays Hulk Hogan
WWE Hall of Famers Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan were positioned as the best of friends, often teaming up. By 1987, Andre grew tired of the fact that Hogan had never offered him a WWF World Title shot despite being champion for three years. On Piper's Pit, Andre joined Heenan and tore Hogan's cross off his chest in the ultimate act of betrayal, forever changing both men's careers.