With all the body slams, swinging chairs, and instigating fighting words, few people see Vince McMahon’s wrestling ring as a stepping stone to lifelong romance. Granted, that hasn’t stopped countless couples from meeting one another and finding love during their time in WWE Universe, or elsewhere in sports entertainment. The catch is that for every couple in wrestling that falls in love and genuinely stays together forever, there seems to be two or three brief flings and one prolonged, doomed relationship bound for disaster from the start.
Of course, the fact that the involved parties were wrestlers only plays a small role their breakups. It’s equally common that the typical relationship problems will simply crop up, and they’ll simply realize they aren’t so perfect for one another after all. However, being forced to live on the road together 24/7 in an extremely physical lifestyle where they’re also co-workers tends to complicate “the little things” into arguments that feels like they will never end.
Some of these relationships lasted a few intense weeks, while others culminated in unbearably extended, miserable marriages. Either way, the point is that they ended on terrible terms, and the fact the involved parties were wrestlers had a lot to do with it. Obviously, it’s not as though Vince McMahon ever did anything to tear these couples apart, but if they never worked for the guy, they might still be together. Then again, they also may never have met, so does it even matter? Decide for yourself by learning about 15 wrestling romances that couldn’t survive the business.
15 Shawn Michaels Wasn’t Sunny’s Boy Toy
Truth be told, Sunny should have realized things wouldn’t work out with Shawn Michaels each time he hit the ring and shouted out his own theme music. Yeah, his looks drive the girls wild, but he ain’t no boy toy; Shawn Michaels is the Heartbreak Kid, and not even the first WWE diva could resist his charms. Alluring as Sunny was during her prime, she also couldn’t tame Michaels wild ways, though she possibly tried harder than any other woman would, until he met his current wife, of course. The relationship between HBK and Sunny has long been an issue of rumor and innuendo, making it hard to understand exactly how serious things were. Though she’s not always the most reliable source around, it feels appropriate to go with Sunny’s word on the situation. Retrospectively, she certainly made it sound like a big deal, saying,
“when we were together, we were together for almost an entire year, dating and traveling to Jamaica, and everything like that.”
Sunny also has stories about sneaking around backstage at WWE events to engage in secret trysts, sometimes with Vince McMahon or other wrestlers watching the door as they borrowed a dressing room. Ultimately, though, it didn’t work, because neither of these crazy kids were anywhere near ready to settle down.
14 Dolph Ziggler And Nikki Bella Couldn’t Get Along
For the most part, when WWE fans discuss Nikki Bella’s love life, the center of attention is her latest ex, the company’s top superstar, John Cena. This list will get there in time, but first up is her earlier fling with another member of the roster, the flashy showoff Dolph Ziggler. In fact, Nikki’s past romance with Dolph was occasionally a point of contention during her time with Cena, as some sources close to the couple, including her Brie Bella’s husband Daniel Bryan, believed lingering feelings and flirtations weren’t necessarily fair to John.
Because the majority of Nikki and Dolph’s relationship seems to have taken place well before the beginning of Total Divas, and neither member wants to talk about it all that much in hindsight, fans will never know exactly what happened between them.
It’s clear their love was pretty intense at one point, though, or else the fact they still interacted probably would not have been an issue to Nikki’s future boyfriends. The Bellas have been in WWE since 2008, and it’s been rumored Nikki’s relationship with Dolph started almost instantly after she was hired. This leaves four years of passion before John Cena stepped in, which hardly makes it surprising to learn emotions shared between the two weren’t quick to fade away.
13 Miss Elizabeth Couldn’t Take Randy Savage’s Jealousy
In the modern age, it’s almost impossible to engage in a relationship that could be described as 100% jealousy free to all involved parties. Inevitably, there will always be a moment where someone makes an errant glance and the other person takes it as a dire offence. Typically, though, it’s not hard for couples to move past this when they realize the jealousy was unwarranted, or at least fleeting. Not so with Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, once the Jim and Pam of WWE as every fan’s ultimate “relationship goal.” Unfortunately, as audiences have been long aware, things were hardly perfect for Savage and his real-life wife behind the scenes.
Happy as they looked standing side by side when the Macho Man won WWE World and Intercontinental Championships, Savage was often described as a wild card backstage, having into fits of extreme jealousy whenever another man would dare look at his manager.
The most scandalous stories suggest Savage would go too far in his methods of keeping Liz away from the others, while more friendly minds say he was just being an understandably protective husband. Either way, the pressure started effecting their personal life, and the two actually divorced only a few short months after they re-married in the ring at SummerSlam 1991.
12 Goldust And Terri Never Seemed To Trust One Another
When a person paints himself head to toe in the color gold, it’s understandable that people would get this impression those who show interest in him are “gold diggers.” Then again, at one point in Goldust’s relationship with Terri, she was dyeing herself in the shimmering hue as well, so at least the feeling seemed mutual. Then again, these accusations started flying around way before Dustin Rhodes started painting his body for WWE, when the two were still working for WCW along with Dustin’s father, Dusty. Apparently, this is what really started driving the two apart, as Dustin’s dad and some other older friends in the industry had been telling him Terri was only in it for the money from the very start. This doesn’t make much sense, though, a fact Terri is well aware of, explaining the situation by saying,
“I guess he thought I was a gold digger,
which, interesting enough, Dustin, God bless his soul, didn’t have a pot to piss in when we first started dating.” Be that as it may, the feeling grew stronger and stronger as Goldust actually started climbing up the card in WWE during the Attitude Era and produced a bank account he gradually believed Terri had always been interested in. Building distrust soon lead to a divorce onscreen and off.
11 Kevin Sullivan Booked His Own Divorce From Woman
To the people involved, each story on this list is tragic in its own way. That said, none are nearly as devastating as the sad, slow demise of Nancy Toffolini, also known as Nancy Daus, Sullivan, Benoit, and simply Woman. Originally, it looked like the person to come out of the ordeal worst was going to be Kevin Sullivan, Nancy’s second husband, and the first one she met through pro wrestling. Throughout the 1980s, Nancy managed her demonic spouse as The Fallen Angel or Woman, a role she continued to play in WCW.
Early on in Sullivan’s feud against Chris Benoit, Nancy ditched Kevin for the Horseman, and the two would apparently fall in actual love while filming vignettes to sell the angle. This lead to a very real divorce, making the war between Benoit and Sullivan infinitely more intense onscreen. For what it’s worth, Sullivan always seemed understanding about what happened, never letting it get in the way of his professionalism. Benoit and Nancy couldn’t believe him, though, which is why they eventually went to WWE. Unfortunately, the next chapter in the story is where it gets outrageously dark, as Benoit would eventually take his wife’s life before committing suicide after about 10 years of marriage. Like anyone else, Kevin Sullivan was shocked and saddened to hear the news.
10 Kenny Dykstra Believed Every Rumor About Mickie James
Because few relationships fall apart in a mutually acceptable manner, sometimes it’s hard to know the full story of a breakup even when asking the involved parties directly. That’s the case with the love affair between Kenny Dykstra and Mickie James, as the latter partially denies the story told by the former when he public with details on Twitter. Shortly after it all went down, Dykstra posted,
“She was Googling Mickie James and John Cena dating. I asked why, she broke down crying. Then I heard more from others.”
The “more” he’s referring to was that James had been with Cena the whole time, which again, she said was at least partially untrue. However, Mickie has admitted to dating both Dykstra and Cena and different points. She believes Dykstra just told the story the way he did to sell a book he was promoting. While that may be the case, it’s clear the wrestling business had a massive influence on their relationship, and in a negative way. The same was probably true of James’s romance with Cena, even if it was completely unrelated to the time she spent with Dykstra. Despite all the drama, Mickie said it best years later when she pointed out all involved parties are adults, and have since put the past behind them.
9 Drew McIntyre And Tiffany Had A Dramatic Departure
Ultimately, the world may never know exactly what happened between Drew McIntyre and Tiffany that lead to a domestic incident report followed by their separation a couple months later. All authorities have released is that it was Tiffany who instigated the incident, and that the charges were quickly dropped when McIntyre said nothing happened. This may be a sign things weren’t as bad as they seemed, but it didn’t prevent the couple from eventually splitting up. Less than a full year after the incident, Tiffany went public with the divorce in a manner that suggested the two simply couldn’t work it out:
“With great sadness, I announce the end of my marriage. I wish Drew only happiness and continued success.”
Both wrestlers soon left WWE and invented themselves elsewhere, with Drew becoming a star on the independent scene and Tiffany taking over the TNA Knockout’s division as Taryn Terrell. Despite reaching the peak of that company, Terrell soon left the wrestling business altogether saying it had gotten in the way of a pious lifestyle. She acknowledges neither WWE nor TNA caused her to stray from religion, but nonetheless briefly retired so she could recommit herself to the church. Even so, McIntyre has largely stayed away from her, working in companies she has nothing to do with.
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8 Kurt Angle’s Wife, Karen, Left Him
Most of the time, even when a real love triangle takes place within the wrestling business, the sports entertainment industry itself isn’t entirely to blame for things going south. The heart wants what it wants, and few executives interfere with their employee’s love lives no matter what it is they do. Unless of course the executive themselves is the person embroiled in the relationship. That was the case in the complicated story of Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, and Karen Smedley, who would also share both men’s last names at various points in her life. Initially, wrestling fans knew her as Karen Angle, but today she’s known as Karen Jarrett, and the switch happened when Jeff was Kurt’s boss.
Okay, so Jarrett was no longer the highest-ranking person in Impact Wrestling, taking a decreased role ever since Dixie Carter was appointed President. However, he still had a lot of sway, and other executives were understandably a bit taken aback to learn he stole one of their top superstar’s wives. To Kurt’s credit, while his life did spiral out of control a bit at the time, he and Jeff were quickly able to put their issues aside and have a pretty good onscreen feud over the issue. Then again, there may be a reason Kurt’s second wife, Giovanna Yannotti, has avoided the business.
7 Lita And Edge Broke Matt Hardy
Long before the concept truly exploded, Matt Hardy learned about the downsides of social media when his relationship with Lita fell apart. Rather than act rationally and talk things out, Matt made heated comments on his blog detailing how Lita was a bad girlfriend and how he previously considered Edge to be his best friend before the scandal. While most fans were sympathetic to Matt’s heartache, WWE took a different approach to the situation and fired him for publicly broadcasting his dirty laundry involving several coworkers. Hearing Lita’s side of the story, Matt also may have overlooked some important details when placing all of the blame on her and Edge. Lita apparently had her reasons. After roughly a decade’s worth of hindsight, Lita explained to Lilian Garcia on her podcast,
“We were slightly disconnected while I was at home recuperating because he was still 100% into his career and I was 100% out of it at the moment, because I had to be.”
The affair began when both Edge and Lita were recovering from injuries, and Matt was still on the road with WWE. It makes sense they would comfort one another in this time, but it’s also not surprising they moved on to outside relationships when it was over.
6 Zack Ryder And Emma Drifted Apart
With the way WWE has long treated Zack Ryder and Emma separately, it’s very possible some fans never knew they were dating in the first place. Neither athlete ever got the attention they deserved, at least, rarely achieving more than midcard status despite fans always supporting everything each of them did. Showing this interest, despite the fact Zack and Emma weren’t on TV all that often, speculation constantly ran wild on the Internet about how far they were in the relationship. It was clear they were dating from the beginning, with both Zack and Emma posting happy Instagrams about their time together, but neither of them gave interviews about the subject, leaving it mostly up to guesswork.
The confusion continued when after several years of appearing in his photos eating ice cream on the beach, Emma suddenly unfollowed Zack on social media.
Not long after, Ryder resumed his fun-loving persona by posting pictures with his new girlfriend, Impact Wrestling star Laurel Van Ness, strongly suggesting whatever happened with Emma was well behind him. It probably wasn’t easy for Emma and Ryder to continue their relationship when working on separate brands, but there must have been more to it than that considering who Zack settled with on his rebound.
5 Billy Kidman Couldn’t Handle Torrie Wilson’s Schedule
In terms of star power, there were few relationships in wrestling more lopsided than the pairing of Torrie Wilson and Billy Kidman. Then again, things started out on relatively equal ground, when the two began their relationship in WCW as members of the Filthy Animals. Kidman had been a rising star for the past couple years, and gorgeous as she was, Torrie was still new enough fans didn’t have any real connection to her personally. That started to change once both parties wound up in the WWE Universe, where Torrie was celebrated as a top diva, while Kidman was never pushed above the lower midcard.
Despite the vastly different placements on the roster, Kidman and Wilson remained together from the late ’90s until 2008. They were married in 2003, two short years before Kidman was released from WWE. They stuck together for three additional years after that, but eventually the couple couldn’t handle the amount of distance and called it quits. According to Kidman, the main issue was Torrie’s travel schedule, but Wilson didn’t have much to say aside from the fact it was over between them. Not that she would, considering it didn’t take much time for her to move on with New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez.
4 Big Cass Didn’t Treat Carmella Like A Princess
Still very young and just getting started with their careers, the romance between Big Cass and Carmella was unlikely to last forever from the get go. This didn’t stop the couple from trying their hardest to make it work, which they started doing almost immediately after meeting in NXT. By the time Carmella was managing Cass and his former partner Enzo Amore, the two were officially a couple, and moving to the main roster merely looked to give them solid financial capital to support their life together.
Unfortunately, it was taking one step forward that caused their love to topple all the way back down to nothingness.
As documented on Total Divas, Cass and Carmella recently bought a house together, and making this major life change proved too much for them to handle. It didn’t help that Carmella’s family had her believing Cass would never propose marriage, nor that his recent knee injure left him depressed, which Carmella didn’t know how to deal with. Despite the drama before their split, Carmella isn’t exactly bitter about the situation. Discussing the breakup on Instagram, she made sure to explain, “Cass will always hold a special place in my heart. Plus, he’s going to make one hell of a comeback!”
3 Paige And Alberto Del Rio Didn’t Work Out
Every coupling on this list was slightly controversial, if only because it will always be hard for some people to accept the idea of workplace romance. That said, most of them kept their love relatively quiet, engaging in long relationships without catching any particularly negative attention. Not so for Alberto Del Rio and Paige, who were constantly making headlines during the long time they spent together. Rumor has it some wrestling insiders were even against the two being together, calling them negative influences on one another as they were caught partying on a nightly basis. Despite all the drama, it looks like Del Rio and Paige split for entirely normal reasons. Around the same time their relationship began, Del Rio left WWE in somewhat unprofessional fashion, eventually jumping ship to Impact Wrestling and various other independent companies. For a while, this was manageable, since Paige’s injuries and long hiatuses gave them plenty of time to be together. Almost immediately after she made nice with WWE, though, they had none. In Del Rio’s words,
“We decided to end our relationship because she’s in Orlando, I’m in San Antonio, and now she’s back on the road, and the schedule over there is non-stop.”
If not for their past, it would have barely been a story.
2 Triple H Had Dreams Chyna Couldn’t Provide
No one love triangle in wrestling has had a bigger impact than the saga of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Chyna. Hardly suggesting a game changing affair, it all started when the Game and Chyna met and became work out buddies. A shared love of bench pressing lead to a whirlwind romance, and in time the two were the biggest couple in WWE onscreen and off. The catch is that Chyna’s own sister acknowledges her mental problems caused instability from day one.
Apparently, Chyna was extremely jealous, not just of other women, but anyone else Triple H would spend time with.
She was also very against the idea of having kids, and HHH felt the exact opposite. For these reasons, Chyna’s sister goes against the assumption Chyna was a total victim in the proceedings, saying, “I have no animosity toward [Triple H]. He was very good to Joanie. He cared about her deeply, but she just had too many issues.” That’s not to say Chyna was making it all up, as Triple H did start flirting with Steph before officially breaking up with her, which is never a fun experience. Still, he’s not responsible for her career ending as well, nor how her life spiralled out of control after it did.
1 John Cena Wasn’t What Nikki Bella Wanted
At least half of every couple on this list seemed to believe their relationship was going to last forever during one point or another. That said, none seemed to talk about this quite as much as Nikki Bella, who regularly described John Cena as her ideal dream man on Total Divas and Total Bellas, her only complaint being that he didn’t want to get married. This stance seemed to change at WrestleMania 33 when Cena popped the question after a mixed tag match against The Miz and Maryse, but old habits died hard, and Cena’s desire to never get married eventually overpowered their love, leading to a much publicized breakup.
Sources close to the couple have pointed out it was ultimately Nikki who called things off, feeling Cena’s heart simply wasn’t in it. Apparently, the courageous, 16-time World Champion was also getting cold feet, leading to arguments and discussions about whether or not they even wanted to get married at all.
As it would turn out, they didn’t, leading to the highest-profile WWE breakup of 2018. In addition to Cena never being entirely into the idea of marriage, there was also the fact his extremely busy schedule, filled with movies, matches, and making wishes, barely left any time for a real relationship.
Sources: Wrestling Inc, Inquisitr, The Sun, 24 Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Torch, Fox News, Sportskeeda, Mandatory, popculture.com, Bleacher Report, People
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