Wrestling is a job that features the “road life” on the regular. As such, wrestlers tend to end up dating, or even marrying in some cases. After all, other wrestlers are the only people they’re in consistent contact with.
While not every relationship listed in this article features two wrestlers, they all feature two people in the wrestling business who married each other. Things rarely end well in such situations. Wrestlers tend to be eccentric and an attention-craving bunch, and pairing two of them together in a relationship can lead to a volatile situation. Often however, the volatile situations are also incredibly entertaining, specifically for us watching from afar.
In many cases, the relationships featured in this article ended up making their way into fictional pro wrestling storylines as well. As wrestling is prone to taking reality and meshing it with fiction, many of the wrestlers this article features have had to act out bizarre fantasy versions of their own real lives. That is a trend almost exclusive to pro wrestling. Out of all the relationships in the history of pro wrestling, the couples listed in this article had the worst breakups. In many cases, the breakup played a pivotal role in their career moving forward.
Here are 15 real-life relationship that ended terribly:
15. Mickie James and Ken Doane
Ken Doane, better known to wrestling fans as Kenny from the Spirit Squad, or as Ken Dykstra, was once engaged to be married to Mickie James. Kenny was only 19 years old when he made his first appearance on Raw in 2006. By 2008 however, WWE released him, with many saying it had to do with a love triangle featuring him, Mickie James and John Cena.
During his time in WWE, he and Mickie James became engaged. James however, secretly began having an affair with John Cena. Mickie and Kenny split after Kenny caught her googling the phrase “Mickie James and John Cena dating” to see if news had leaked. Kenny was transferred to SmackDown from Raw so he’d be away from Cena, however WWE released him the next year.
14. Mickie James and John Cena
When Mickie James and John Cena split, it ended up having the same impact as when Mickie and Kenny Dykstra split. It’s believed Mickie James flipped out in 2009, after learning that John Cena was not interested in having a serious relationship with her. This led to their rather informal relationship being ended by Cena. Shortly afterwards, Mickie was transferred from Raw to SmackDown, much like Kenny had seen the year prior. By this time Kenny had already been released by the company however.
By 2010, the WWE released Mickie James, telling her only that the company wished to go in another direction. James had reportedly been calling the WWE for years in an attempt to return, and finally had her calls answered in 2016. After a stellar performance against Asuka at an NXT TakeOver: Toronto event, James was called up to the main roster in early 2017.
13. Jerry Lawler and The Kat
Stacy Carter and Jerry Lawler got married in 2000. They were both employed by WWE at the time. Lawler, of course, was the color commentator for Monday Night Raw, and Stacy Carter was in the Women’s Division, “wrestling” under the name, Miss Kitty (she would eventual evolve into “the Kat”).
Strangely, Vince McMahon decided to release Stacy Carter in 2001, even as she was in the middle of a storyline. At the time, Carter was involved with the Right to Censor stable, and evidently Vince decided to drop Carter during the story. Some dispute this side of the story, and believe The Kat was let go for having a bad attitude backstage.
Lawler, insulted that his wife had been fired from the company, quit. Later that summer Carter quit on Lawler, ending their marriage. A few months later, WWE hired Lawler back, but Stacy Carter never returned.
12. The British Bulldog and Diana Hart
Diana Hart wrote a controversial book, entitled, Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling’s Greatest Family. The book made some very harsh and difficult to read accusations at several members of the Hart family, including her ex-husband the British Bulldog.
Bulldog and Diana Hart ended their marriage just two years before Bulldog’s untimely death in 2002. He left Diana to have an affair with her brother Bruce Hart’s wife, Andrea Redding. According to Andrea, Bulldog planned to marry her. When Bulldog died there were two funerals, one organized by Andrea, and the other by the Hart family. Obviously, there were some hurt feelings. A lawsuit forced Diana Hart’s book out of stores, though copies are still in circulation today. A regrettable act she can’t take back at the damage appears to be done.
11. Dolph Ziggler and Nikki Bella
Publicly, Dolph Ziggler and Nikki Bella have said little about their breakup. There seems to be next to no animosity between Ziggler, Nikki and John Cena for that matter. So why is it that Ziggler and Nikki end up on this list? Some believe that Dolph Ziggler’s lack of a push in WWE has to do with him having dated John Cena’s current partner. As we’ve learned, Vince McMahon likes to keep drama safely away from his top money draws.
While some rumors state that Nikki Bella left Dolph Ziggler for John Cena, the timeline doesn’t quite match up. Ziggler and Nikki Bella are believed to have started dating somewhere around 2008, and ended around 2010. John Cena didn’t start dating Nikki Bella until 2012. There was once talk about running an angle where Ziggler was jealous of Cena, but ultimately WWE never went that route, which is probably for the best. They did however engage such a story via Total Divas.
10. Sunny and Shawn Michaels
Sunny and Shawn Michaels were involved in a lengthy affair while Sunny was with Chris Candido. According to a later interview from Bam Bam Bigelow, Candido was so upset over Sunny’s ongoing affair with Michaels that his friends were concerned about his well-being. Chris Candido and Sunny had been together since high school when the two both entered the wrestling business.
It’s believed that Shawn wanted to settle down with Sunny, but Sunny instead decided to get back together with Candido. In the middle of all this mess, Sable had started to out-shine Sunny on Raw, and other problems arose in her life. Sunny became addicted to various substances and began to spiral. By 1998, she was back in ECW and back with Chris Candido.
9. Matt Hardy and Ashley Massaro
After Matt Hardy and Lita had their rather public breakup, Hardy entered into a relationship with another edgy female wrestler, Ashley Massaro.
Massaro was discovered in the 2005 Diva Search, and was with the company from ’05 to ’08. She ultimately left the organization to focus on caring for her child. After her and Matt Hardy broke up, she began dating Paul London.
London was part of an exciting tag team with Brian Kendrick at the time. After he began dating Massaro, he claims Matt was rude to him and buried him to others. The heat between the two was so bad that when both found themselves in Ring of Honor a few years later, London refused to work with him. Matt is now back in WWE, and Paul London has re-invented himself as the leader of the Rabbit Tribe in Lucha Underground.
8. CM Punk and Beth Phoenix
CM Punk has dated quite a few women involved in the wrestling business, and Beth Phoenix is one of them. While Punk normally isn’t vocal about women he has dated in the past, he has taken some shots at Beth Phoenix.
While he didn’t mention her by name, many believe Punk was referring to her on a radio show once, when he described an ex of his as a real “douche”. Punk would also say that she was just looking for anyone to be her boyfriend and was a real “flake”.
Beth Phoenix, of course, has gone on to marry Adam Copeland, better known to wrestling fans as Edge. She was also inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017. It’s not known what exactly went wrong in Punk and Phoenix’s relationship, but evidently Punk was left with some bitter feelings.
7. Teri Runnels and Goldust
Dusty Rhodes and his son Dustin, aka Goldust, didn’t speak to each other for several years. It’s believed that Dusty didn’t approve of Dustin’s wife, Terri (Marlena), or was at the very least concerned about the relationship. One day, when Dusty had driven over an hour to visit Dustin to play a round of golf, Dustin told his father he couldn’t go because Terri was sick. They didn’t speak for years after that small conflict.
The couple were married in 1993, but by the end of the decade were having problems. In early 1999, Dustin signed with WCW while Terri stayed in WWE. They would divorce later that same year.
When Goldust returned to WWE in 2001 it was clear he was not yet over his ex-wife. On that now infamous “Plane Ride from Hell” on May 5th 2002, Dustin serenaded her with love songs over the plane’s loudspeaker.
6. CM Punk and Lita
When CM Punk began dating AJ Lee, it’s rumored that he hadn’t yet ended things with Amy Dumas, better known to wrestling fans as Lita.
Punk and Lita had been dating as late as 2013, and AJ Lee and Punk were to be married in 2014, so it’s safe to say there may have been some overlap between the two relationships. Making the situation just a touch more awkward is the fact that AJ Lee worshipped Lita growing up. There’s even a video from 2001 of a 14 year old AJ meeting a 26 year old Lita at an autograph signing and welling up in tears.
5. Matt Hardy and Lita
It’s been 13 years since Matt Hardy and Lita had one of the most highly publicized break-ups in the history of pro wrestling.
In 2005, real-life spilled over into storyline when Lita began having an affair with Edge. Matt and Lita had been together for approximately five years. When Matt needed time off to rehab a knee injury, things went south for the couple. In their time apart, Lita and Edge began their affair. After the backstage drama began to become public knowledge, WWE released Matt, although WWE fans would force the company to hire him back just a few months later.
When Matt returned, he was entered into a program with Edge and Lita. In interviews she would give years later, Lita would state that having to act out her real-life drama was one of the reasons she left the business in 2006.
4. Miss Elizabeth and “Macho Man” Randy Savage
“Macho Man” Randy Savage and Elizabeth Hulette got married in 1984, just before Savage would begin his tenure in WWE. Savage’s first angle in the company revolved around which manager was going to gain his services. Although many managers applied for the position, Savage unveiled Elizabeth as his valet.
Reality would mirror fiction in their turbulent relationship. Between WrestleMania IV and V, WWE would portray Savage as a jealous boyfriend who felt Hulk Hogan had “lust in his eyes” for Elizabeth. Turned out Savage really was quite protective of Elizabeth.
The couple would divorce in 1992, and Elizabeth would go and stay with Hulk Hogan and his wife Linda, whom she had become good friends with. This served as a tipping point between Savage and Hogan for years, with Savage blaming Hogan for his divorce.
3. Alberto Del Rio and Paige (Prediction)
While this couple hasn’t fully ended yet, they’re likely in the process of ending, even if they aren’t aware of it yet. The end of their relationship is going about as terribly as any couple ever has.
Recently, audio of an altercation between Paige and Del Rio at an airport doesn’t reflect well on either member of this hot mess of a couple. Paige’s brothers have spoken out and said that Patron has been abusive towards her, and now allegations of Del Rio abusing cocaine have been thrown in for good measure.
Alberto is 16 years older than Paige, and the relationship between the two has arguably ruined both of their careers. Many people, most notably Paige’s family, are hoping that the highly volatile relationship will come to an end without further incident.
2. Debra and Steve Austin
Debra Marshall, better known to wrestling fans as Debra McMichael or just Debra, was a fantastic performer. A former beauty pageant winner, Debra played the role of the Southern Belle perfectly. She added a little hint of deceptiveness into her character and ended up becoming a solid valet and manager over the course of her seven years in the business.
Debra and Steve Austin were married in 2000, but by 2002, they would be divorced and in a legal battle against one another. Police were called to the couple’s residence in 2002, where Debra was found with bruises and a bloody nose. She alleged that she was beaten by her husband. Austin pleaded “no-contest” to a misdemeanor assault charge. He was given a $1,000 fine and sentenced to 80 hours of community service. Austin filed for divorce shortly after.
1. Chyna and Triple H
In terms of wrestling relationship breakups, they don’t come bigger, or worse, than Triple H and Chyna.
Triple H has a history of entering into relationships that may have benefited his career. In 1996, he began dating Chyna. HHH and HBK scouted some of Chyna’s matches on the independent circuit and thought she would be perfect as a bodyguard. The two began dating shortly afterwards, and both experienced tremendous career growth over the next few years.
Triple H and Chyna broke up in 2000, and he began seeing Stephanie in 2001, although some believe their relationship had been going on behind closed doors for some time before then. Chyna was ultimately released from the company, and WWE tried their best to keep her name from being mentioned on air as much as possible. Sadly, Chyna passed away in 2016.
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