‘Cobra Kai’ Star Ralph Macchio Didn’t Hold Back About His Real-Life Feud With William Zabka

The simmering on-screen tension between Cobra Kai co-stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka? Not completely far from reality.

On October 16, Ralph spoke with The Guardian in an exclusive interview about his new book, Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me. He revealed all in his memoir, including his regret over former co-star Elisabeth Shue’s storyline to a near casting in Friends. However, fans everywhere shrieked when Ralph admitted that then- and now-castmate William never got along.

The duo played foes — Ralph as Daniel LaRusso and William as Johnny Lawrence — in the original 1984 film The Karate Kid. Though it inspired a decades-long success story with the two reprising their roles for Netflix’s Cobra Kai, turns out that the conflict followed them off-screen.

According to The Guardian, there was an accident during the filming of the Halloween fight that ended with Ralph actually getting knocked out, which certainly translated well to the feud’s intensity.

Though the duo have only spoken highly of each other in the press, their friendship didn’t kindle until years later — 2005, to be exact — when they reunited for the first time ever at Pat Morita (a.k.a. Mr. Miyagi)’s, funeral. “He caught my eye,” Ralph said in his memoir about the meeting. “No smirk, just a simple smile.”

Ahead of Cobra Kai season 5, William also spoke out about their friendship. “A director picked both of us out [of] the universe and threw us in the same canvas. And then the movie exploded and turned into a classic,” said the Hot Tub Time Machine actor. “Over the years, Ralph and I had seen each other, we’d bumped into each other at different festivals and this and that, [a] memorial for Pat Morita.”

It seemed like the step forward they needed as Ralph later joined William on a few other projects, including an appearance on How I Met Your Mother. In fact, an ongoing joke on the sitcom about what Daniel and Johnny might be getting up to as middle-aged men foreshadowed a bit of what was to come for the two.

With Cobra Kai season 6 not so far off, perhaps we’ll see even more parallels. Here’s to a strong Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang alliance ahead!

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