It’s not unusual for WWE employees to wind up in romantic relationships. This should come as no surprise given the many unique factors that go into being a sports entertainer, and more particularly doing so for WWE’s global juggernaut. Being a WWE Superstar entails traveling the globe, keeping in top physical shape, making all manner of media and charity appearances, and maintaining a works schedule fifty two weeks out of every year. It’s a lifestyle that doesn’t leave a ton of room to meet people, much less maintain relationships with them outside of the locker room.
There’s no shortage of well known WWE couples, whether it’s The Undertaker and Michelle McCool, Brock Lesnar and Sable, or Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. Other couples like Paige and Alberto Del Rio, or Jojo and Bray Wyatt have had scandals attached to them that have drawn attention to them being items. Heck, John Cena and Nikki Bella’s real life romance became a storyline, culminating in Cena proposing in the middle of the ring at WrestleMania 33.
For each of these better known, or even iconic pairs that fans are well aware of, there are also a number of WWE couples that have been kept more quiet. In some cases, it’s a matter of wrestlers closely guarding their privacy and keeping their relationship out of the public eye. In other cases, it’s a particularly odd ball pairing with no real connection in WWE’s televised product that nonetheless come together in real life without fans ever expecting a thing.
This article takes a look at 15 WWE couples you may have never guessed dated from WWE’s past and present.
15 Kurt Angle And Dawn Marie
Kurt Angle made headlines recently with his unexpected return to the WWE ring as a last minute substitute for Roman Reigns at TLC. Angle was, of course, a legend for WWE from the latter years of the Attitude Era. He went on to offer an anchor to the company in the years to follow Attitude and help the transition to next generation stars like Brock Lesnar and John Cena taking over (not to mention going on to an even longer tenure with TNA).
For all of Angle’s successes, there are pieces of his personal life that are understandably less publicized. Not least of all, there’s an alleged affair between Angle and Dawn Marie. While Angle hasn’t spoken about the relationship, Dawn Marie commented on it an shoot interview, indicating the two were involved around 2003 to 2004.
14 Wade Barrett And Alicia Fox
Wade Barrett rose to fame quickly in WWE as the winner of the first season of the NXT competition show, and the leader of the red hot Nexus stable as they terrorized the main roster in the summer of 2010. While he came back down to earth afterward, he nonetheless remained a serious, stiff heel for the majority of his WWE run.
Barrett was never linked to Alicia Fox in storylines, but when Fox joined the cast of Total Divas, their real life relationship got some attention, particularly for Fox struggling to get over Barrett. With some time removed, Fox seems to be just fine and has, in more recent interviews commented on Barrett just not being a happy camper with his career and life when he was a part of WWE, and that contributing to the failure of the relationship.
13 Ken Shamrock And Ryan Shamrock
During the Attitude Era, Ken Shamrock became a super over star, based largely on his real life credentials as a highly skilled mixed martial artist. WWE opted to add a little eextra intrigue to his act through the introduction of his kayfabe sister, Ryan. She became a fun addition to his gimmick. The guy was already prone to “snap” and deliver heavy duty violence, and the addition of defending or avenging his sister’s honor added a new layer that fans could relate to, and vehicle for opponents to raise Ken’s ire.
The only trouble? Ken and Ryan started dating in real life.
The WWE brass was understandably upset about this development, and Ken was purportedly upset with them for trying to regulate his personal life. In the end, the relationship reportedly didn’t last long, and the whole thing was largely swept under the rug.
12 John Cena And Mickie James
For his early years as a WWE star, John Cena was with his high school sweetheart. It’s an uncomfortable reality, however, that he wasn’t entirely faithful to that woman. To be fair, WWE has acknowledged that he moved on, particularly in celebrating his current romance with Nikki Bella via Total Divas, Total Bellas, and most recently an on screen angle that culminated in Cena proposing to Bella in the ring at WrestleMania 33. The less comfortable truth? Between his first wife and Bella, Cena was a bit of a playboy, who most infamously had an affair with Mickie James.
The James affair came before Cena was divorced. While he hasn’t spoken on it, the accepted story is that James was dating Kenny Dykstra when she hooked up with Cena. Dykstra didn’t respond well to getting cuckolded, and suffered a kayfabe demotion for his real life reaction. Meanwhile, after Cena was through with James behind the scenes, she was shuffled off to the SmackDown roster to create distance between. So, this affair that WWE mostly kept quiet had a major impact on two rising stars’ career trajectories.
11 Shawn Michaels And Sunny
Sunny was nothing if not promiscuous during the 1990s. That’s not just a rumor borne out of her sex symbol status in WWE, but a fact she hasn’t shied away from in interviews. While Shawn Michaels insinuated on TV that Bret Hart was involved with her, numerous parties—and in particular Sunny herself—have indicated she and HBK were the actual item and that they hooked up quite a bit, despite her being in a relationship with Chris Candido.
Sunny’s claims include that Michaels had the libido of a hormone crazed teenager and that he wanted to take her on vacation with him, and Sunny had to draw a line to protect Candido’s feelings. Michaels hasn’t owned up to many of the particulars but the consensus seems to be that the two were involved behind the scenes.
10 Test And Kelly Kelly
When Test tragically died at the age of thirty three, the result of a drug overdose, one of the most emotional responses over social media came from Kelly Kelly. Most fans didn’t realize that the two were personally connected, but it came out in bits and pieces in the days to follow that they had once been romantic partners, and some theorized that they may have been talking about getting back together when he passed.
That the two would have come together makes sense enough given their overlapping time spent on WWE’s ECW brand. While Kelly seems to have moved on healthily enough, there’s little doubt that the younger woman was profoundly impacted by Test in his life and in his much too soon death.
9 Alberto Del Rio And Charlotte Flair
Today Alberto Del Rio’s best known relationship is the one he’s had with Paige. They took a rollercoaster ride. When their courtship started, each had a prominent position in WWE. From there, we saw Del Rio’s falling out with WWE, second departure, and scathing comments for Triple H and the organization on the whole, and then Paige’s fall from grace. Wellness Policy suspensions and neck surgery took her out of action. Far more traumatic, the months to follow saw a series of sex tapes and images centered on her revealed, and domestic violence charges between her and Del Rio for an altercation at an airport.
For all of this high profile chaos, it’s funny to think that just before Paige, Del Rio had a much quieter pairing with Charlotte Flair. Blink, and you might have missed the news about their relationship, and it doesn’t seem to have lasted long. Their brief period together, though, has been rumored to have offered a real life source of tension between Charlotte and Paige.
8 Michael Hayes And Rosa Mendes
Michael Hayes was an iconic wrestler for co-founding and heading up the Fabulous Freebirds. He never got much of an opportunity to shine as a wrestler in WWE. When he signed in the mid-1990s he was immediately cast as part of the broadcast team, and slotted to manage a handful of up and coming talents. Finally, he’d transition to his most successful role in the organization as a key contributor to the creative team.
Rumors have run rampant that Hayes was romantically, or perhaps better put sexually involved with Rosa Mendes. Mendes worked in a number of roles, wrestling and managing different talents (most memorably Primo and Epico). All in all, she was the sort of talent who raised some questions about her longevity on the roster. While she’s an attractive woman an now awful as a performer, she was never booked to really stand out relative to her contemporaries, and it was widely rumored her job security was a direct result of her real life involvement with Hayes as at least friends and likely more. Understandably, neither has spoken publicly about any arrangement, but a handful of wresters like Chris Masters have made allusions to it, and rumors broke that Hayes was at one point punished for being spotted drinking at a bar with Mendes, not long after she’d been sent home due to issues related to alcoholism.
7 Batista And Melina
Batista and Melina each rose to prominence in WWE at similar times. Batista went from Triple H’s lackey and protégé in the Evolution stable to a bona fide main eventer in his own right after he beat The Game at WrestleMania 21. Melina was introduced to the main roster as the manager to the MNM tag team of John Morrison and Joey Mercury before breaking out as a wrestler in her own right.
Melina was romantically linked to Morrison for most of her WWE tenure, but Batista wrote in his book about dating her briefly while she and Morison were on a break. Rumors have swirled about Batista still having been married during their tryst (Batista explicitly suggests it was shortly after his divorce), that Morrison may not have broken up with Melina or had some arrangement where she dated both men concurrently, or that hard feelings in the aftermath saw Batista politick against Morrison. We may never have the full story, but regardless, it’s an intriguing one for the love triangle involved.
6 Dolph Ziggler And Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella is now famously associated with John Cena, in a pairing featured on Total Divas and Total Bellas before being brought into WWE storylines more formally this past spring. Long before Cena, however, Bella was romantically linked to Dolph Ziggler.
Not only did Bella and The Show Off have a relationship, but it’s rumored that their relationship led to real life tension between the Bella Twins and Maria Kanellis. The story goes that Kanellis was real life friends with Ziggler for a long time and wound up dancing up close to him at a party only for Bella to confront her about making a move on her man.
It’s unclear how deep these tensions really go, but Kanellis and the Bellas have been observed sparring over Twitter here and there over the years, suggesting that, at the least, they didn’t like each other very much for years to follow.
5 Torrie Wilson And Mitch
Torrie Wilson is widely remembered as one of the most beautiful women in wrestling history who rose to prominence during the Monday Night War with WCW. She made the transition to WWE after the buy out, where she was never featured at quite the same level, but nonetheless, remained on the roster for years as a manager and wrestler. She was most memorably romantically linked to Billy Kidman, whom she had some storylines with in wrestling, and to whom she was married for a period of years.
It escaped many fans’ attention that after she split from Kidman, Wilson also engaged in a relationship with Mitch from The Spirit Squad. The two were together for nearly five years and it’s interesting to note that Mitch stated in interviews afterward that he felt the relationship had held back his WWE career. The logic goes that people resented this young, unproven talent for being involved with this wrestling sex symbol, and the result was his budding career getting marginalized.
4 CM Punk And Lita
CM Punk was nothing if not a lady’s man behind the scenes during his time with WWE. He wound up attached to AJ Lee whom he would eventually marry. Earlier in his tenure with the company, he was rumored to be linked to Beth Phoenix, Maria Kanellis, and Kelly Kelly. In addition to these WWE contemporaries, he also had a public relationship with Lita.
This relationship tended to fly under the radar, and subsequently be forgotten on account of it being relatively low drama, with neither side having bad things to say about the other and little of note resulting from the relationship. There is a persisting rumor though, that Punk began seeing AJ Lee at the same time as Lita, and the timeline of Punk marrying AJ roughly a year after breaking up with Lita lends some credence to that rumor.
Interestingly, after Punk left WWE, Lita would end up coming back as a panelist and eventual color commentator for the Mae Young Classic. The two seem amicable enough, or at least fine with leaving one another alone.
3 Test And Stacy Keibler
Test and Stacy Keibler had an on air alliance with Keibler playing his marketing consultant and manager. Most memorable, she steered him toward branding his fans as his Test-icles in a fun bit of juvenile humor from an era not so far removed from Attitude. The angle seemed to have some legs but quickly devolved into a fairly cliché over protective and maybe abusive boyfriend angle. Test feuding with, then getting paired with Scott Steiner at his worst didn’t exactly help matters.
Many fans didn’t realize that the pairing of Test and Keibler connected to a real life relationship between the two. By all indications, the real couple didn’t have nearly the tumult of their kayfabe representation, but rather split on amicable enough terms. Test would spend the rest of life in the wrestling business and engaging in other rumored romances with female talent while Keibler would move away from wrestling and most memorably date George Clooney before moving on to her current partner whom she married.
2 Dolph Ziggler And Dana Brooke
Dolph Ziggler and Dana Brooke never publicly confirmed that they were dating, but were widely rumored to be an item for a period of years while Brooke was in developmental up to her time on the main roster. The main indicators were them being seen together in public a lot, and social media posts capturing them looking cozy. Ziggler has been linked to a number of female talents, so it wasn’t so surprising to hear that these two incredibly fit wrestlers would wind up involved with one another.
The main point to call this couple into question is that Brooke was also notably involved with bodybuilder Dallas McCarver. She publicly referred to him as her “swole mate,” a play on words based on their shared background in bodybuilding and consistent time spent in the gym. McCarver would tragically and unexpectedly end up passing this past August.
1 Xavier Woods And Paige
Saying that Xavier Woods from New Day and Paige had a relationship may be an overstatement, but the whole world is now aware that the two of them most definitely hooked up more than once. When illicit videos and images featuring Paige leaked in early 2017, some featured her alone, and people weren’t too surprised when Brad Maddox appeared given rumors that the two were involved during their shared time in WWE’s developmental system. Seeing Maddox and Woods with Paige (not to mention an additional camera person filming it all) did catch people off guard.
Whether it was a one off hook up, and whether it was just for cameras or out of sincere attraction, it’s the proof is out there than this twosome, never really linked on WWE programming, did get intimate on their own time.