It’s not easy being a WWE wrestler. Aside from the whole putting your body on the line and risking permanent injury (not to mention death), five days a week, 52 weeks a year, wrestlers travel so much it’s hard to have any kind of life outside the business nevermind a love life. Because of this, WWE superstars often look to their own organization to find a partner, to the point where you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman in the WWE who isn’t dating a professional wrestler right now. However, just because two of your favorite superstars are engaging in a different type of wrestling behind the scenes, doesn’t mean they want you to know about it.
For every John Cena and Nikki Bella, The Miz and Maryse or Maria and Mike Kanellis, there are a team of other pro wrestling couples who would much rather be left off the dirt sheets, in favor of maintaining their anonymity. Which is why it’s so unfortunate for them that the Internet exists. In recent years, several photos of wrestling couples have circulated online that they would much rather you forget about, whether it was a torrid down-low hook up that was never meant to be public or simply a couple trying to maintain their privacy.
The following list examines photos of wrestling couples that have made the rounds online, that were most likely never meant to be made public. From couples caught cheating on their significant others, to embarrassing moments from your favorite wrestling couples to private candids that were meant to remain just that, here are 15 pictures of wrestling couples, fans weren’t meant to see.
15 JoJo and Bray Wyatt Arrive Together
While WWE programming is no stranger to a romantic betrayal, one of their biggest scandals this year, actually occurred off-screen. The rumored affair between ring announcer JoJo Offerman and former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt has been one of the most hotly discussed stories of the summer. News first broke in June when Wyatt’s wife and college sweetheart, Samantha Rotunda filed for divorce, citing infidelity as grounds for terminating their five-year union. “You made not a mistake but a year and a half in the making. [A] life long decision in front of the world that will forever change me and our girls’ lives.”
Online chatter almost immediately pointed to Offerman as the other woman, speculation that was seemingly confirmed when this blurry photo was snapped by a fan that appears to show Wyatt and Offerman arriving together to a taping of Monday Night Raw. This photo surfaced shortly after news of the divorce had come to light.
14 Sasha Banks’ Leaked Wedding Photo
While Sasha Banks may dominate WWE screens, behind the scenes, the four-time Raw Women’s Champion is extremely private about her personal life, revealing very little of herself on social media beyond her love of Japanese culture and Eddie Guerrero. In fact, the Boss keeps such a low profile, she didn’t publicly announce her wedding to WWE costume designer Sarath Ton (which took place in August of 2016) until months later, the media forcing her hand after this photo of the proceedings leaked online.
In an episode of Lillian Garcia’s podcast, Banks revealed that she refrains from talking about her husband on social media due to the harassment he receives from fans online and while this means we probably won’t see her on Total Divas anytime soon, you’ve got to respect her for navigating fame on her own terms.
13 Paige Gets Detained
Paige and Alberto Del Rio’s relationship has always been, shall we say, tumultuous and it appears that goes back to the beginnings of their coupling as well. In June of 2016, the Anti-Diva was caught by fans being detained by police officers outside of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in Las Vegas. While some believed the whole thing to be a work for Total Divas cameras at first, it was later reported that officers had intervened following a domestic dispute between Del Rio and Paige.
The Norwich-native wasn’t charged by police and was subsequently released, however, many have pointed to this as the beginning of the former Divas Champion’s fall from grace from the company, the incident probably made infinitely more humiliating due to the fact it was caught on camera. However, while this was likely a low point in Paige’s career, with her rumored return to action looming, let’s hope she can turn things around.
12 Chris Jericho and Kelly Kelly Get Cozy
While on screen, Chris Jericho plays the ayatollah of rock and rolla, a larger than life sex symbol who has been a part of several wrestling romances throughout his career, in real-life, the Winnipeg-native has been married to his wife, Jessica Lockhart for more than 17 years. The two share three kids together, which is why fans were surprised when photos began popping up online of Y2J looking a little too close with WWE Diva, Kelly Kelly.
The two seemed to spend quite a bit of time together, with candid snaps showing them out and about together, one even showing someone who looked an awful lot like Jericho, kissing a woman who bore a striking resemblance to Kelly. While the photos were never addressed by either party, Maria Kanellis seemed to reference them during an interview with Afterbuzz TV, saying, “I just think sometimes you gotta be careful what photos end up on the Internet when people are involved with other people because it makes us girls that work our tails off to be very good individuals and be good at our job, look trashy.”
11 Finn Balor and Cathy Kelley?
Off-screen romances in the WWE are nothing new. These days, it seems like it’s more surprising when a WWE superstar isn’t dating one of their co-workers. However, it’s also understandable why superstars would want a bit of anonymity in their relationships, given the intense passion of wrestling fans and the added focus going public with a romantic union brings. Which is why Cathy Kelley and Finn Balor likely weren’t too thrilled when an image, snapped by a fan, was posted online showing the two roaming the streets together holding hands.
The leaked photograph immediately caught fire online, leading to speculation that Balor was courting the WWE social media correspondent. While Kelley’s face isn’t shown in the photo, a second image posted to her Instagram account the same day, seems to show her wearing an identical outfit to the one pictured. That said, the romance was never confirmed by either party so it’s hard to say whether the couple is even still together.
10 The Sunny and Shawn Michaels Affair
When writing about wrestling’s most torrid affairs, Sunny and Shawn Michaels are just about at the top of the list. At the time in the mid-90s, Sunny’s portrayer, Tammy Lynn Sytch was the hottest woman in professional wrestling and the Heartbreak Kid was easily the most desired man. So a steamy hookup between the two seems like a no brainer, right? Well, considering she was in the middle of a serious relationship with fellow wrestler, Chris Candido at the time, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Sytch has been very open about the dalliance over the years, revealing that she was in love with Michaels at one time, their fling occurring during a break in her romance with Candido. However, she’s also admitted that Candido was totally unaware of the relationship while it was going on, which is why photos of Sytch and Michaels together, were most likely meant to stay between them.
9 Seth Rollins Gets Exposed
This is one photo fans most definitely weren’t meant to see (although we can't show the REAL photo here, for obvious reasons). Back in 2015, Seth Rollins was riding high as a rising star in the WWE and the reigning Mr. Money In The Bank when all of his good fortune came crashing down. It appears that Rollins had been sending risque texts to NXT superstar Zahra Schreiber despite being otherwise spoken for. When Rollins’ fiancee discovered said texts, she reportedly decided to get a very public form of payback by leaking private photos of both of them to social media.
The incident got massive media attention, leading Rollins to publicly apologize for the leak. However, despite the media firestorm, Rollins would continue to date Schreiber under the radar, even attending NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn with her. The relationship would be short-lived however and in 2016 it was revealed the former WWE Champion had broken things off with Schreiber for undisclosed reasons.
8 Before John Cena
These days, John Cena and Nikki Bella are known as one of wrestling’s most powerful couples. Fans have followed their courtship over the past six seasons of Total Divas, as well as its spin-off Total Bellas and their recent proposal at WrestleMania 33 has pretty much cemented them as sports entertainment’s biggest power couple since Triple H and Stephanie McMahon themselves. However, long before Fearless Nikki fell for the face that runs the place, she was engaged in a serious relationship with another WWE power player, “the Showoff” Dolph Ziggler.
It’s a relationship that has largely been swept under the rug save for a minor Total Divas storyline that everyone involved would likely rather forget. While Bella has joined forces with the 16-time WWE Champion, Ziggler has moved on as well, engaging in a number of high profile relationships from comedian Amy Schumer to being linked to multiple female superstars. Which is why they’d both probably prefer it if candids from their past stopped making their way online.
7 Beth Phoenix and Cody Rhodes
If you didn’t know that Beth Phoenix and Cody Rhodes dated, you’re not the only one. The two were perhaps one of the more low-key pairings the industry has seen in the last decade, which is probably why so few photographs exist of them online. While little is known about their relationship due to the secrecy surrounding it, it appears the Glamazon and the Legacy began dating between 2009 and 2010, around the time of her separation and divorce from ex-husband Joey Knight.
While they tried to keep their romance under the radar, they were caught on a few occasions arriving to TV tapings together and exiting their hotel room, even caught on a date at Disney World. Phoenix wed fellow WWE Hall of Famer, Edge in 2016 while Rhodes is currently married to former WWE ring announcer, Brandi Rhodes.
6 AJ Lee and CM Punk Are Outed On TV
When AJ Lee and CM Punk tied the knot in June of 2014, it was the merging of two of the most popular wrestling superstars in WWE history. CM Punk had established himself as the most exciting, not to mention unpredictable, man in sports entertainment while AJ Lee had blazed her own trail, igniting a women’s revolution in the sport and going down as one of the most beloved women’s wrestlers the company had ever seen.
However, in the early days of their courtship, the private pair weren’t exactly inviting the attention their personal lives would receive. In fact, it wasn’t until they were caught attending a Chicago Cubs game in 2013, that news of their relationship began circulating online. While the couple would probably have preferred not to be outed on national television, they seem to be doing just fine, having celebrated their third wedding anniversary with no signs of slowing down.
5 Kelly Kelly and Test
Kelly Kelly has been linked to many a wrestler during her time with the WWE, however, perhaps one of her most serious relationships was with Andrew Martin, known to WWE audiences as Test. The pair dated for two years, splitting up shortly before Martin’s untimely death, suffering a drug overdose just four days before his 34th birthday. It’s a loss that Kelly says devastated her, revealing on The Tomorrow Show with Kevin Undergaro that she was actually the first person informed of his passing before even his family, having received a call from authorities backstage at Raw, moments after completing a match on the flagship show.
“I saw him up until the week before and, yeah, it was rough. We were talking about the future and I was like, you know, we’ll see what happens down the line. And I was like, I’ll always love you.” Personal photos, taken during their time together, have made their way online in the years since. However, seeing as Kelly is currently married to former NHL player, Sheldon Souray, looking at them now is probably bittersweet.
4 TMZ Breaks Lana And Rusev’s Engagement
These days between Total Divas and social media, it’s hard to imagine a time when fans weren’t given unfiltered access to Lana and Rusev’s love life. The Ravishing Russian and Bulgarian Brute have not only formed one of the most entertaining on-screen partnerships in the WWE today but have proven that they embody “relationship goals” just as much outside the ring thanks to their regular Instagram posts and stint on the most recent season of the E! reality show. However, there was a time when the powers that be wanted the couple to keep their off-camera romance just that, so when TMZ leaked photos of Lana and Rusev’s engagement in late 2015, WWE personnel were reportedly not pleased.
This was especially the case because on television, the pair were in the midst of a nasty breakup, Lana having ditched the former United States Champion for Dolph Ziggler, allegedly because Vince McMahon didn’t feel like Lana and Rusev made for a believable couple. The storyline was eventually abandoned and the gruesome twosome were once again free to assume their rightful place, ruling over Monday Night Raw (and later SmackDown Live) together.
3 Triple H And Stephanie McMahon’s Awkward Fan Encounter
When you’re in the spotlight, encountering fans just kind of goes with the territory. It’s not always the most fun or glamorous part of the job, especially when confronted by your adoring public during moments when you’d rather not be seen, but it’s a facet of your life that nonetheless cannot be avoided. A fact that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon learned firsthand when this photo was taken, seemingly in the lobby of a hotel they were staying in.
It’s hard to say what exactly the most uncomfortable part of this photo is, from the awkward expression on the fan’s face, to Triple H’s, “Can we get this over with?” demeanour to the sight of a very pregnant McMahon propped up on the stairs. In the years since this was snapped, both have gone on to become integral roles in the WWE machine, McMahon now serving as Chief Brand Officer while Triple H is the company’s Executive Vice President of Talent. So it’s safe to say that this isn’t the example of their relationship with fans, they’d want the WWE Universe to see.
2 Maria Kanellis and CM Punk Caught In A Lip Lock
Before CM Punk swept AJ Lee off her feet or Maria and Mike Kanellis began teaching audiences about the Power of Love, Punk and Kanellis were engaged in a fairly serious romance. While it’s not something that was spoken of much at the time, the First Lady of Wrestling opened up about the coupling during an interview with YouShoot, saying that they became close during their days at Ohio Valley Wrestling. “We had very similar backgrounds with our families, we both had a tough family life growing up. We grew up about 45 minutes from each other so we had the same sense of humor and I like that he’s so strong in his beliefs,” she explained.
However, while Kanellis said she enjoyed their whirlwind romance, the aftermath of their split was less fun, calling the backstage atmosphere strange afterwards. “It was very hard after. Like, it’s so weird, it’s like seeing the Ghost of Christmas Past every time you walk down the hall. I hated after, after was the worst.” While both parties have now moved on are are married to other wrestlers, given the private nature of Punk and Kanellis’s comments on the fallout of their relationship, they probably wish photos of this particular “ghost of Christmas past” would stop popping up.
1 Paige and Xavier Woods Get X-Rated
It’s hard to talk about images of wrestling couples that weren’t meant to get out, without mentioning the hacking scandal that created a firestorm of media attention earlier in 2017. It all started when private photos and videos of Paige, among other WWE women, were leaked to the press, an act that likely would have been forgotten about shortly afterwards, were it not for the nature of the images featuring the resident Anti-Diva. The personal photography featured footage of Paige with former WWE superstar Brad Maddox as well as current New Day focal-point Xavier Woods, a pairing few knew about prior to the exposure.
The scandal would later be mentioned on WWE television during a Fourth of July rap battle between the New Day and The Usos in which Jimmy Uso would say, “Don’t get all Rated R like your boy Xavier Woods.” However, while a lot has been said about the unfortunate incident in the media, it’s important to remember that it was a serious violation of privacy. Thankfully, it seems like everyone involved has moved on from the ordeal.