Relationships are the core elements of many things in wrestling, from storylines and conflicts to characters. Sometimes, being paired with a special someone is the secret ingredient that boosts a superstar to stardom. This can come in the fans adoring a couple or hating their guts. Over the years, we've seen plenty of power couples in wrestling, but not every couple gets as strong of a reaction. Unfortunately, not every couple can be as widely adored and generate tears like "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth.
When real-life couples are placed together on-screen, the magic is usually pretty obvious. Yet, as you'll see in this list, not all real-life love scenarios result in fans adoring a couple. Whether it's internet gossip or a real-life fallout, some couples have been harshly disliked and loudly booed out of arenas by wrestling fans. In the most extreme cases, it forces companies to rehire individuals to further capitalize on the heat, because, quite frankly, real-life drama sells. And fans don't always love it when wrestlers move on from a previous relationship.
Here are the 10 most loved and 10 most hated on-screen relationships in professional wrestling history.
19 HATED: Eric Bischoff and Miss Elizabeth
Shortly after Miss Elizabeth made her WCW debut, she turned on Macho Man Randy Savage, the man that she stood by for her entire career. She would play hot and cold with her ex-husband over the next couple of years. During one of those cold times, she made out with Eric Bischoff on WCW programming in front of the Macho Man. Hollywood Hulk Hogan would later say on the mind, “Hey Macho, we don’t need no Viagra up here, brother.” For fans who had watched Elizabeth and Macho Man years prior in the WWE, this betrayal was heartbreaking. It was downright puzzling that Eric Bischoff was the one who was making out with her. It made sense when it was Flair, not Bischoff.
18 LOVED: Diamond Dallas Page and Kimberly
The man they call DDP had many Diamond Dolls over the years, but the one that stands out fans are most likely to remember is Kimberly. Kimberly would go on to lead the Nitro Girls, yet she stood by Diamond Dallas Page's side through thick and thin through his journey to WCW gold. When Kimberly was assaulted by the nWo, the crowd couldn't help but be disgusted by the villainous group's antics.
Kimberly and DDP had a charm to them, and watching Kimberly turn on DDP in 2000 to join Eric Bischoff was one of the most shocking betrayals in the company's history. It put an end to the most beloved on-screen (and real life) couples in WCW history. It felt downright wrong.
17 HATED: Marc Mero and Jacqueline
When Marc Mero returned from an ACL injury, Sable’s popularity had surpassed his by leaps and bounds. Eventually, Sable would branch out from Mero’s controlling ways and become a wrestler on her own. Mero then introduced the world to Jacqueline, who would later become Sable’s nemesis and the first WWE Women’s Champion in three years, defeating Sable with the assistance of Marc Mero. When a woman is brought in to feud with the biggest woman in the company (and arguably the second most popular Superstar at the time, next to Stone Cold Steve Austin), the crowd is going to hate them. And boy, the crowd sure did. Mero pretty much had to be paired with another woman, as he was not getting any heat on his own.
16 LOVED: Marc Mero and Sable
When Marc Mero made his WWE debut at WrestleMania XII, he was Sable’s knight in shining armor. Sable, who also made her debut that night as Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s valet, was being berated backstage by Helmsley when she was rescued by Mero. On screen, we would see a love story blossom, with Sable standing my Mero’s side as he won the Intercontinental Championship. Mero even said the title was as much Sable's as it was his! Eventually, Marc Mero would suffer an injury and be out of action for months. By the time he returned, Sable’s popularity eclipsed his beyond the point of no return. Yet the love the at-the-time married couple had for one another was genuine, and the crowd loved them for it.
15 HATED: Francine and Shane Douglas
Francine was Shane Douglas' head cheerleader, and she knew how to get the crowd to hate them both. The two would feud with arguably ECW's top couple of all time, Tommy Dreamer and Beulah McGillicutty, whom the crowd adored. The self-proclaimed Queen of Extreme constantly betrayed those she managed whenever she had the opportunity to lead someone else to gold, further cementing her status as one of the most underrated heel managers of all time.
Douglas actually insulted Francine prior to him joining his side, making fans more shocked (and angry) when she joined his side and led him to multiple ECW World Championships. It wasn't always easy to get serious heat in ECW, but this couple managed to do it.
14 LOVED: Tommy Dreamer and Beulah McGillicutty
The original ECW power couple (and likely the best the company ever saw), these two would eventually get married in real-life. Their relationship wasn't always so solid. Beulah was brought in by Raven as a girl that Dreamer made fun of at summer camp as a child for being fat. However, the combination of Beulah's fearlessness, looks and personality eventually caught the eye of Dreamer. Beulah would eventually leave Raven for Dreamer, and the two would be an on-screen couple for two years.
The two have reunited on multiple ECW supercards after the promotion closed, most notably at ECW One Night Stand in 2006. Beulah joined the fray when Edge and Mick Foley added Lita to their team, making the affair a six-person tag.
13 HATED: Billy and Chuck
In today's climate, Billy and Chuck's pairing would be called out by many LGBTQ organizations as distasteful and offensive. That's exactly what it was back in 2002, and that's what it will always be. Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo were fantastic performers by themselves, but when they were paired together as two men who pretended to be in love with one another, it felt like a sick joke. The two would even have an on-air wedding, only for them to admit that it was a publicity stunt.
Luckily, this gimmick has yet to be repeated on a national stage. Gimmicks like these trivialize the LGBTQ community and the struggles they face in everyday life, but also left a bitter taste in the mouths of fans.
12 LOVED: AJ Lee and CM Punk
AJ Lee and CM Punk would only be paired on-screen for a short amount of time, but their relationship would be alluded to for months after that pairing was finished. After Punk left the WWE after the 2014 Royal Rumble, it was routine for the crowd to chant CM Punk's name during AJ Lee's matches. Many fans hoped that AJ Lee would persuade Punk to make a WWE return.
While that never happened, fans continue to love the couple today, in large part because they are easy to relate to as people. Also, the way they acknowledge each other in public is so adorable, even those with the hardest hearts cannot help but melt a little bit. Unfortunately both are unlikely to return to WWE.
11 HATED: Missy Hyatt and Eddie Gilbert
Many modern wrestling fans may be less familiar with Missy Hyatt and Eddie Gilbert, but this was one of the first couples that involved a man being accused of stealing another man's girl. Gilbert had the reputation of being a ladies man. Missy Hyatt, who was managing John Tatum at the time, was rumored to have had an affair with Gilbert, despite dating Tatum at the time.
Nonetheless, Hyatt and Gilbert joined forces and would soon get married in real life. Fans didn't see this coming, and that made jaws drop even more. Missy Hyatt was known as quite the promiscuous lady backstage as she has since admitted that she hooked up with dozens of wrestlers over her years in the business.
10 LOVED: Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is one of the most over wrestlers the WWE has had in the past decade. Although a romance angle between Brie (and Nikki) Bella was initiated on television prior to the Bellas first leaving the company, their relationship wouldn't be acknowledged until the Bellas appeared on Total Divas. Throughout the six seasons of Total Divas (and a season of Total Bellas to boot), fans have had the chance to see the two get married and have their love blossom. Fans were amazed to see Brie and Bryan stand strong together during Bryan's forced retirement, respecting their commitment to one another. And now the power couple is raising their first child, Birdie Jo, together! You can't help but smile whenever you see their Instagrams together, either.
9 HATED: Trish Stratus and Christian
Near the end of 2003, Trish Stratus and Lita were getting quite flirty with Chris Jericho and Christian respectively. However, when Trish overheard the men talking about a bet regarding who would sleep with the women first, Trish was left devastated. The two ladies would have a match with the men, which they lost. Regardless, Trish would continue to develop feelings for Jericho, or so we thought. Tension grew between Jericho and Christian and led to a match at WrestleMania XX. In what is referred to as one of the greatest heel turns in WrestleMania history, Trish slapped Jericho and helped Christian defeat him. Referring to Jericho as a "love sick puppy," she would continue to taunt him for months alongside Christian while becoming a powerful witch.
8 LOVED: Lita and Matt Hardy
Team Xtreme wowed crowds across the world, and the love story between Lita and Matt Hardy only made more fans adore them both. After an on-screen pairing with Essa Rios began to fizzle out, the Hardys would save Lita from Rios. In real life, Matt and Lita were dating and would continue to date for the next few years. However, their on-screen pairing would be cut short due to Lita’s neck injury that left her out for more than a year. Shortly after her return, Hardy was drafted to Raw alongside Lita, yet he would dump Lita on-screen. Although the two would break up in 2005 after controversial events, the crowd’s reception of them solidifies them as one of wrestling's favorite couples.
7 HATED: Randy Savage and Queen Sherri
Seeing Randy Savage paired with anyone else but Miss Elizabeth always felt wrong. It felt wrong with Gorgeous George in WCW, but it felt even more wrong a decade earlier. After Miss Elizabeth and the Macho Man went separate ways after The Mega Powers split up, Macho Man replaced Elizabeth with Sherri Martel. Eventually, Sherri and Savage would refer themselves as Queen Sherri and the Macho King, respectively. Fans often wondered where Elizabeth was, and Elizabeth would eventually assist Sherri and Savage’s opponents, Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire, at WrestleMania VI. The next year, Elizabeth would toss Sherri out of the ring, and the original duo would reunite. Within a year, Elizabeth would be gone from the company.
6 LOVED: Triple H and Chyna
Chyna had a few men beg for her attention during her WWE career, including Eddie Guerrero and Mark Henry. Yet her relationship with Triple H is one of the most iconic of the Attitude Era. Two of the founding members of D-Generation X, Chyna's strength and physique contrasted with Triple H's arrogance.
The two's partnership helped them both became two of the most important figures of wrestling during this time period. Even though they were supposed to be the bad couple, the charisma the two of them had, along with their unique persona, won them plenty of fans. While they originally started out as heels, fans grew to respect each star individually and in turn, they began to adore the pair. Then of course, the whole Stephanie affair happened...
5 HATED: Jeff and Karen Jarrett
Karen Jarrett was first introduced to the world as the wife of Kurt Angle in TNA. Shortly after making her television debut, she filed for divorce from Angle outside of the ring in 2008. Karen was brought back to TNA wrestling in 2011, re-introduced as Karen Jarrett, the wife of TNA co-founder, Jeff Jarrett. At the time, Jarrett was in a real-life feud with Angle, Karen's ex-husband. Whether this was a promotional stunt or not, this gathered the Jarretts a phenomenal amount of heat from the crowd. However, this feud also resulted in the wrestling return of Chyna, who previously feuded with Jeff Jarrett more than a decade prior. Chyna and Angle would defeat the Jarretts in a tag match via double submission, leaving the crowd quite thrilled.
4 LOVED: John Cena and Nikki Bella
This couple involves two of the most polarizing names in wrestling today, but it's impossible to deny that these two genuinely care about one another. We've seen their relationship evolve from its beginning on Total Divas, when Cena specifically stated that he didn't want to be married. Over the years, he softened up to the point where he proposed to Nikki at WrestleMania 33. People may question their relationship, but their loyalty to the company and ability to handle adversity in the spotlight gains them much respect. It's also obvious that Nikki loves him much more than she loves the Louis Vuitton handbags and Christian Louboutin shoes he gifts her. Just look at their chemistry during interviews and on social media; it's so natural.
3 HATED: Lex Luger and Elizabeth
Near the end of Elizabeth's run, she was paired with Lex Luger. Seeing Elizabeth with other performers besides Randy Savage didn't feel right, even though she ended up dating Luger anyway. Elizabeth and Randy Savage's relationship is one of the most iconic in wrestling history, and that magic is hard to replace. Many people don't like this relationship though because Elizabeth was living with Luger at the time of her passing. Elizabeth passed away due to a combination of painkillers and alcohol, and Luger said the two of them were doing the substances together. Many fans hold Luger responsible for Elizabeth's passing. As one of the most iconic managers and women in wrestling history, this relationship leaves many fans scorned.
2 LOVED: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
These two make up wrestling’s most villainous couple today (and potentially, of all time). Yet fans, regardless of their feelings for the couple, have a ton of respect for them. Whether it’s the WWE’s charity work or their passion in the business, it’s genuinely hard to dislike Stephanie or Triple H as people or as characters. In the modern-day “reality era” of wrestling where social media activity is encouraged, Stephanie and Triple H do not always stay in character, but talk about other aspects of their lives. Triple H and Stephanie are more than just “a couple.” They’re real human beings with genuine passion for the wrestling business. When Vince passes, the company will be completely in their hands, unless Vince has a surprise up his sleeve in his will.
2. HATED: Lita and Edge
Lita and Edge were the couple you loved to hate. After Matt Hardy leaked news that Lita had cheated on Matt with Edge, the Internet Wrestling Community had a field day. After news of the affair leaked, Matt Hardy was released from his contract, and Lita and Edge became an on-screen couple.
The two would enter arenas with a wide variety of chants and slut-shaming comments, most notably, “You Screwed Matt.” After Matt Hardy’s 90-day non-compete clause expired, along with a variety of online petitions, Matt made his return to the WWE, attacking Edge from the crowd. The late for Lita and Edge was drawn from real-life drama. Some may call this insensitive, but many would say this is one of the most memorable feuds in WWE’s history.
1 LOVED: Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth
When Macho Man introduced Elizabeth as his manager, many couldn’t help but be fixated on her beauty. But her looks were the least important thing she brought to the table. Elizabeth was the warm, calming presence that balanced out the Macho Man’s energy and character. She didn’t overshadow the Macho Man unlike many other managers in the past. She complemented him, while also becoming a star in her own right. She was soft-spoken, but independent. Kind, but not afraid to stick up for herself. The love she and Macho Man had for each other made many fans cry, especially at their classic SummerSlam wedding. When their love was threatened, fans felt it. There will likely never be a wrestling couple that tugs fans’ hearts as much as the original Power Couple.