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In the WWE, the greatest of betrayals are perhaps even more important than the greatest of alliances. Stables form and break apart, family turns against family, and Superstars forcibly take power from their once-solid allies.
Which betrayals really stick in the minds of longtime WWE fans, though? When there are decades of back-stabbing to account for, how does one begin to shine a light on the best of the best (or, in this case, the worst of the worst)? We here at USA Insider have done our best to choose the four gnarliest betrayals in WWE history. Read on to find out which ones made the cut:
Brother Against Brother: Kane Vs. The Undertaker
A tale as old as time, The Undertaker and Kane’s relationship was always a complicated one of Biblical proportions. The Undertaker was already a well established Superstar by the time Kane, his secret "half-brother" who he'd long thought had died (in a house fire intentionally set by The Undertaker himself, no less), burst onto the scene in 1997. Things were tense.
Initially bitter rivals, the two would join forces as a lethal tag team and break apart several times over throughout the years. Picking just one betrayal between the deadly duo is tough. However, the final one stands out. It came in 2009, when The Undertaker was found in a vegetative state, having fallen victim to a mysterious attacker. Kane embarked on brutal interrogations of various Superstars over the next few months to find the culprit. Wouldn't you know it, it was later revealed that Kane was the one who’d attacked the Undertaker in the first place, thus sparking yet another feud for the ages.
WWE fans know there’s nothing quite like blood taking on blood in the ring.
The Rise of “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan
It’s not an overstatement to say fans lost their minds when WWE’s golden boy, Hulk Hogan, shifted from his all-American persona to that of a “win at any cost” baddie at the helm of the New World Order (aka the nWo). That’s largely because Hogan’s betrayal wasn’t just a betrayal of his previous persona but a betrayal of the fans, whom he began verbally assaulting on the regular for under-appreciating his talents for so many years.
While Hogan dropped his “Hollywood” persona in 2003 — signaling the tonal shift by shaving his dyed-black beard and donning his signature yellow-and-red look once again — the memory still stings for many longtime fans.
Stephanie McMahon Marries Triple H
There’s literally no power couple quite like Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, a duo whose storyline romance in the ring turned out to be the real thing. Their love, however, couldn’t soften the blow to Vince McMahon’s pride when he learned that Triple H had kidnapped his daughter and (in a move that wouldn’t necessarily fly in 2022 but served its purpose at the time) married her in secret, thus stealing her from fellow Superstar Test, whom Stephanie had been originally set to marry in the ring.
Stephanie’s reputation went from that of Vince McMahon’s sweet, innocent daughter to a ruthless baddie who wasn’t afraid to stomp on the competition to get her way. That her star has risen so far in the ring and behind the scenes of WWE as the company’s Chief Brand Officer — with Triple H at her side as an Executive Vice President — only goes to show how a little betrayal can go a long way.
André the Giant Betrays Hulk Hogan Because Of 'The Brain'
The setup for Hulk Hogan and André the Giant’s epic showdown at WrestleMania III in 1987 was one for the history books. One-time partners André and Hogan went head-to-head after André openly challenged Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. After being egged on by manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan at “Piper's Pit,” André tore Hogan’s shirt from his body as well as his crucifix, which cut Hogan and left him bleeding.
The emotional damage was there too: André was openly prideful about his betrayal, and regularly talked about how Hogan deserved to be hurt, proving legends and giants of all sizes still have feelings.
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