Professional wrestling is responsible for a surprising amount of romances cropping up amongst the superstars working for World Wrestling Entertainment or other sports entertainment enterprises. By and large, this is great news for fans of the sport, as once one popular wrestler starts dating another, their supporters can converge into an even stronger collective. However, as is often the case in wrestling, there’s far more to the average wrestling couple than meets the eye.
Occasionally referred to as a more violent type of soap opera, the wrestling business predisposes the people in it to an incredible amount of drama, both real and imaged, the moment they sign up for the job. Life on the road is tough even if a performer isn’t putting their body on the line each and every night, and the stresses of sports entertainment have a way of translating to some tumultuous and even terrifying personal lives. This hasn’t been enough to stop wrestlers from hooking up, of course, as plenty wrestling couples have overcome the odds and created long-lasting loving marriages.
Unfortunately, simply getting married won’t guarantee peace and prosperity for the rest of their lives. There’s plenty going on behind closed doors that fans don’t know about, but probably want to if they care about either person in the relationship. Keep reading to learn 15 things you didn’t know about these high profile wrestling marriages.
15 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Was Physically Abusive To Debra
As the biggest wrestling superstar of the most popular period in WWE history, it goes without saying that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was a cash cow of the highest order. Austin’s third wife Debra was never anywhere near his fame, although she too found a reasonable amount of success supporting her previous husband Steve McMichael and then Jeff Jarrett in WCW and WWE. Around the year 2001, most likely by Austin’s command, Debra got a huge promotion and started playing a big role in his storylines after they were married, but knowing what happened between them at home, there’s no way it could have been worth the trouble. According to Debra, there were at least domestic abuse incidents during their marriage, the last of which was heavily publicized. The other two were apparently covered up at WWE’s request, probably the most damning part of this whole story.
14 Triple H Was Initially Cheating On Chyna With Stephanie McMahon
The suggestion Triple H is poised to inherit the WWE Universe if and when Vince McMahon ever steps down is no longer a rumor at this point, but rather a near certainty. As if marrying Vince’s daughter Stephanie wasn’t enough, Triple H has also proven incredibly adept at the wrestling promotion himself by building a rabid fan base for his training ground, NXT. However, that’s not to say the marriage didn’t help him out at all, which is why so many people still believe to this day Triple H is only in it for the power. Should that be the case, perhaps Chyna could’ve received some solace in knowing for sure it wasn’t her fault Triple H cheated on her with Stephanie, and he that he was simply an egomaniac. Of course, that’s just speculation. That HHH cheated on Chyna with Stephanie is a definite fact.
13 AJ Lee Idolized CM Punk’s Ex
Eight and a half years isn’t necessarily a huge age gap for a couple to have, although some complications can arise should the two happen to be athletes in the same field. In the case of AJ Lee and her slightly senior husband CM Punk, this means she grew up worshipping a woman her future husband dated for several years prior to their having met. There can be no overstating just how big a Lita fan the young AJ was, either—once she became famous herself, WWE found footage from 2001, with AJ being only 14 years old, unable to stop crying tears of joy when she met Lita at an autograph session. Neither Punk, Lee, nor Lita have said anything about this strange coincidence, and chances are their various contractual statuses and personalities mean they never will.
12 Brock Lesnar And Sable Almost Called It Quits
Considering how high the profile is of both members in the relationship, it’s somewhat surprising fans don’t have more to say about Brock Lesnar and Sable. Then again, the sheer destructive force of The Beast Incarnate might be more than enough to prevent people from ever saying a cross word about them. Braving the storm, we’ll simply point out that there very nearly was no “them” to speak of in the first place, as Sable and Brock Lesnar actually broke off their initial engagement very early on into their courtship. As some older fans probably remember, Sable was fresh out of a relationship with Marc Mero when she started dating Lesnar, and it’s possible the idea of a remarriage so soon gave her second thoughts. Lucky for Lesnar, third thoughts also came along a few months after that, and they’ve been happily married since.
11 John Cena Made Nikki Bella Sign A Contract
Even people who have never endured one themselves knows that break-ups can be tough. When John Cena broke up with his first wife Elizabeth Huberdeau, the Face of WWE found himself out of millions in the settlement. Understandably, now that Cena has significantly more money than he did nearly 10 years, he wanted to make sure things between him and Nikki Bella were entirely clear before he rushed into another wedding. For most people, this would mean a longer than usual dating process where they truly got to know one another and developed a bond of trust. Because John Cena is 50% man and 50% machine, he had Nikki sign a contract instead. This wasn’t some routine pre-nuptial agreement,either, as Cena had her sign it way before they were even engaged, the day she moved into his house in fact, and it was 75 pages long.
10 Randy Savage Allegedly Mistreated Miss Elizabeth
WWE promoted it as the match made in heaven, and yet according to people who lived through the ordeal, heaven was the last word that would come to mind in regards to “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. In a manner of speaking, the two were absolutely perfect together, at least when cameras were rolling. Savage’s madcap insanity blended with Elizabeth’s quiet elegance to create a brilliantly unique dynamic, a hated wrestler with a beloved manager. Naturally, in time Savage became just as beloved as Elizabeth, due to how they interacted and his incredible skills in the ring. Behind the scenes, though, Savage has been accused of downright monstrous acts of abuse. The worst rumors claim he locked her in closets and refused to let her speak with other wrestlers, leaving little question as to how this so-called heavenly pair soon fell apart.
9 WWE Tried To Break Up Rusev and Lana
Vince McMahon loves his strong, beautiful blondes, and who can blame him? Not only are women blessed in this manner gorgeous, they’ve also proven incredibly lucrative for McMahon in the past. Unfortunately, McMahon also has a very specific idea of what a beautiful blonde can and should do, and that includes who she would find attractive. Shattering this view, the Ravishing Russian Lana started dating The Bulgarian Brute Rusev almost instantly after they were paired together in NXT, and the relationship has since blossomed into a marriage. Obviously, this just wouldn’t do for Mr. McMahon, who felt a beautiful blonde like Lana needed to be with a hunky blonde man like Dolph Ziggler. To achieve this goal, Vince split up Rusev and Lana onscreen, pairing the latter with the more appropriate partner in his mind. This backfired spectacularly when Rusev and Lana married one another despite McMahon’s meddling, and the angle had to be dropped.
8 Beth Phoenix Idolized Edge’s Ex
Seven years isn’t necessarily a huge age gap for a couple to have, although some complications—hey, didn’t we go over this already? Athletes hook up young, Edge is older than Beth Phoenix, they got married, yadda yadda, and everything else this list already covered in regards to CM Punk and AJ Lee. At this point, though, the coincidences get a little bit too eerie to simply gloss over. Before Punk dated Lita, she also shared a lengthy high profile romance with the Rated R Superstar. Sometime between their relationship ending and Edge moving on to Beth Phoenix, the Glamazon referred to Lita as her absolute dream opponent, in addition to being one of her biggest inspirations to became a wrestler. It’s not quite the same as crying hysterically at an autograph session, but it still has to be awkward for Lita seeing her fans get married to her exes.
7 Tully Blanchard and Magnum TA’s Feud Never Ended
No matter how big a wrestling fan a person is, the name Courtney Shattuck probably doesn’t ring any immediate bells. So far as mainstream sports entertainment is concerned, Shattuck never stepped inside a ring, nor was her name mentioned on television. All that said, she still played an interesting role as the real life wife of Tully Blanchard, raising four children together including future NXT superstar Tessa. The true drama of their lives didn’t start until well after Tully’s career, when Shattuck decided to leave him for his former in-ring rival, Magnum TA. Fans of the NWA will remember Magnum as one of his era’s most popular stars, largely due to a vicious I Quit Cage Match in which he and Blanchard left one another bloody messes. Did it hurt Tully as much as having his wife stolen, though? The world may never know.
6 Kevin Nash Introduced A Shy HBK To Whisper
During the Monday Night Wars, WCW introduced a unique and somewhat controversial known as the Nitro Girls to fill time in between matches and promos. Essentially wrestling’s version of cheerleaders, they were beautiful women who performed mostly meaningless dance routines in the ring, some of which went on a little too long. At least one of them went down in history forever, and it involved Nitro Girl Whisper doing a solo routine with a chair. Despite working for WWE at the time, Shawn Michaels happened to be watching, and instantly fell in love. HBK called up his good friend Kevin Nash to ask for her name and number, and while she didn’t even believe him at first, it eventually led to a long and apparently happy marriage. This once again goes to show how the guys in the Kliq always looked out for one another.
5 Kensuke Sasaki Proposed To Akira Hokuto On Their First Date
To combat all the weird and mostly negative secrets coming from America, let’s take a diversion over to Japan for a much sweeter story. Before they even met one another, Kensuke Sasaki and Akira Hokuto were already pretty big stars in their homeland. Once the honeymoon phase was over, they also started making pretty regular appearances in the United States, specifically WCW. This isn’t to say there was a huge gap between when they met and when they were acting like an old couple, though, as Sasaki actually proposed to Hokuto on their very first date. Nine times out of ten, popping the question to a gal the day you meet her will earn you a smack, and from Hokuto, that could’ve sent Sasaki straight to the hospital. Hokuto’s response was instead reminiscent of a romantic comedy, as she said yes, and thus far they’ve lived happily ever after for 22 years.
4 Dusty Rhodes Never Approved Of Goldust Marrying Terri Runnels
Now, we ain’t saying she’s a gold digger, but Terri Runnels sure did like hanging around the guy who painted himself that color. Granted, most people would ignore that with the knowledge Dustin "Goldust" Runnels was definitely the weirder member of the couple. Someone closer to the situation, like for example Goldust’s father Dusty Rhodes, might wonder if there was more than meets the eye to Terri taking a sudden interest in his son. Backing up a bit, we’ll clarify this all happened before Dustin Rhodes/Runnels became Goldust, when all three were still working for WCW in the early-'90s, at which point he and Terri had just started dating. That Dustin wasn’t literally painting himself gold didn’t change the fact he did have a considerable amount to inherit from Dusty, plus his own prospects as a wrestler were pretty hot at the time. That said, Terri has always strongly denied this idea.
3 Jerry Lawler Left WWE For The Kat
Grating and derivative as he’s often capable of being, there are many WWE fans who will always bow down and hail Jerry “The King” Lawler. Throughout the Attitude Era and New Generation especially, his rude and often crude form of humor strongly connected with teenage fans, as did his appreciation of the company’s female superstars. Lawler is the type of guy who can enjoy any woman to pass him by, but one of his favorite gals was definitely wife number two, Stacy “The Kat” Carter. The two had been dating and working together for years when they were married in 2000, and though they were married less than two years later, The King was at least a perfect gentlemen during their time together. When his new wife was fired without any logic or warning, Lawler left the WWE Universe in anger, not returning until after the divorce was final.
2 Vince and Linda McMahon Have Filed For Bankruptcy
Anyone to watch even a minute of professional wrestling should be familiar with the name Vince McMahon. Neither he nor his family invented sports entertainment, like they sometimes claim, but they did revolutionize it by bringing it to the masses on a level never before seen, and for that Vince specifically deserves credit for being a genius. However, not all geniuses necessarily posses the business skills to match their ideas, explaining how Vince and his wife Linda filed for bankruptcy back in 1976 after a number of strange failed investments. While the McMahon family obviously recovered and became millionaires, there has been debate to whether or not any of the outstanding debts from their time in the poor house were ever paid. According to the McMahons, paying each debt in full would be impossible, with Vince and Linda apparently refusing to reply any further.
1 WWE Immediately Split Up Dean Ambrose and Renee Young
Returning to the idea that Vince McMahon doesn’t always think two people are right for one another, it looks like in addition to Lana being too pretty for Rusev, he must believe Renee Young is too sane for Dean Ambrose. Quite frankly, there’s no other explanation for why he would separate the two by putting them on different brands mere days after they were married. Granted, Ambrose and Young did kind of keep things quiet, but everyone knew they were dating, and both had talked about how it was life on the road that brought them together. By putting Ambrose on Raw during the Superstar Shake-Up and leaving Young on SmackDown Live, their employers took away the very moments that made them fall in love, and fans are still waiting for a reason why it had to happen.