The relationships to take place in the wrestling world are always a huge risk for both performers to get involved. Many old school wrestling minds believe all wrestlers should avoid dating within the business at all costs. Things can get ugly for one or both parties if the relationship ends in ugly fashion. Some wrestlers have been fired or blacklisted due to a bigger star being the person they broke up with. Others get heat for being involved in backstage drama. Meanwhile, a few have continued to working together interacting backstage. There are the former couples that just see each other every week in the back while a couple of situations have seen them continue working together on-screen.
We'll take a look at some of the stories that have featured wrestlers working together after splitting up. Some of the instances have led to uncomfortable moments that negatively impact the lives of wrestlers. Others were professional enough to continue doing business together despite the hostility that may have existed between them. The situation is extremely tough but the ultimate goal of delivering as a wrestling performer led many to get through it. These are fifteen wrestling couples that still had to work together after breaking up.
15 Matt Hardy and Lita
The most public instance of a love story gone wrong featured Lita cheating on Matt Hardy with Edge. Hardy took the information public when finding out and was fired. Fans were so upset at this decision that they chanted for Matt every week during Edge and Lita’s segments putting them together as a couple on-screen.
WWE would get forced in re-hiring Hardy to feud with Edge. All three parties had to work together for a few months shortly after all the drama unfolded. To everyone’s credit, they were all professional to get through the tough working situation. Lita however did reveal that it was the worst time of her life. The women’s wrestling legend stated she was depressed and having anxiety attacks every week which led to her early retirement.
14 Dolph Ziggler and Nikki Bella
One pleasant instance of two people being able to get along after breaking up features the tale of Dolph Ziggler and Nikki Bella. Both dated for a few years early into their main roster careers before realizing they were happier without each other. The relationship would get referenced many years later when Nikki started dating John Cena.
Total Divas showcased a storyline regarding Ziggler trying to get back together with Nikki by going after her behind Cena’s back. It culminated with Nikki slapping Dolph and that being the end of it. Ziggler and Nikki have been friends through the years and the Total Divas story was likely scripted to play up their past. There have been no reported issues between the two despite working together for years after breaking up.
13 Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky
Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky worked together for a few years in Impact Wrestling. Their relationship became a part of the show when TNA tried adding elements of realism into the product. Unfortunately, a messy breakup in real life carried over to the storyline. Velvet allegedly cheated on Sabin with Bully Ray considering they went public right after it was revealed that she split with Sabin.
The two had a feud against each other on television for a short time with Sabin often looking like a complete joke. This was possibly due to Bully being a powerful voice backstage and Sabin feeling the brunt of being on the wrong end of this love triangle. Sabin and Velvet exchanged some insults on social media during their time working together proving not all ex’s continue being friends in wrestling.
12 Zack Ryder and Emma
Sometimes going public with a relationship is a terrible decision. Emma found this out at the end of her relationship with Zack Ryder. Both would post pictures together constantly on vacation or sightseeing in the locations of WWE shows. Every wrestling fan to pay attention to either of them on social media knew they were together for a couple of years.
At some point earlier this year, they split up and never formally announced it. Emma did interviews for WWE’s press coverage during WrestleMania weekend. A few interviews saw her get asked about Ryder’s recovery from injury. You could sense the awkwardness as she tried to say he was recovering well without getting into the breakup. Ryder’s close friend Curt Hawkins took a shot at her on social media to show how the two likely felt about each other.
11 Alberto Del Rio and Charlotte Flair
One relationship that went by so quickly and flew under the radar before anyone realized was the couple of Alberto Del Rio and Charlotte Flair. Del Rio dated Charlotte in between his separation from his wife and his romance with Paige. The relationship lasted a very short time period as Del Rio moved on to Paige before it would become a story.
Reports didn’t start showing up about Flair and Del Rio until the relationship with Paige started. Charlotte and Alberto were on the same roster for quite some time afterwards. Paige and Charlotte even worked together on a few occasions. There didn’t seem to be any hostility but you never know with the personality of Del Rio leading to issues for him quite often.
10 Kurt Angle and Karen Jarrett
A story that will likely always be referenced when talking about the negatives for relationships in wrestling is how things went down with Kurt Angle and his ex-wife Karen. Kurt brought her with him to Impact Wrestling as an on-screen character. Management was impressed enough to make her a full-time character going forward.
Karen started having an affair with Jeff Jarrett behind Kurt’s back leading to a messy situation. Kurt and Karen would get divorced as Jeff was blacklisted from TNA for a short time period. It ultimately culminated with them turning it into an angle as Kurt feuded with Jeff and Karen for a little while. This came off as really low brow television and was a bad idea from all accounts to have them all work together with such a personal situation.
9 CM Punk and Maria Kanellis
CM Punk has been involved in a couple of wrestling romances throughout his career before marrying AJ Lee. The first relationship he had with a fellow wrestler in WWE saw him dating Maria Kanellis in OVW and on the main roster. Maria claims that some of the other wrestlers would mock her for dating Punk due to the heat associated with him at the time.
Punk and Maria split up at some point on the main roster quietly. No issues seemed to arise as they continued working on the same roster for a few years. Maria had nothing but positive things to say about Punk in interviews when asked about her former love interest. She is currently expecting her first child with WWE wrestler Mike Kanellis and everyone seems to be in a happy place today.
8 Drew McIntyre and Taryn Terrell
Drew McIntyre and Taryn Terrell both received a lot of heat in WWE for how their real life romance ended. Terrell caught McIntyre cheating on her and aired him out on social media. Things would get worse when she allegedly assaulted him leading to her getting arrested. WWE released her first and the two got a divorce as the early marriage was a mistake for both of them.
Terrell became a top women’s wrestler for Impact Wrestling during their time apart. Many wondered if there would be drama when McIntyre was offered a contract to join the company after getting released from WWE. Taryn said there were no problems between the two and they got along well enough. The time apart likely made it easier for them to work together.
7 Alicia Fox and Wade Barrett
A romance to not get much attention during their time together saw Alicia Fox dating Wade Barrett. Both wrestlers were in developmental together and spent a few years working together on the main roster. Their relationship ended after a few years with almost no coverage or reports about them dating as they did a good job keeping it under wraps.
Total Divas introduced us to the former relationship when showing Fox’s difficulty of working with someone she still had feelings for. Barrett reportedly wasn’t too happy about the old relationship getting out in such a public light after they did an impressive job keeping it quiet. Fox and Barrett came to a respectful understanding that saw them still getting along after she confronted him about how their time together ended.
6 Matt Hardy and Ashley Massaro
Matt Hardy had another relationship end on company time after the whole Lita fiasco. Ashley Massaro and Hardy became an item when Matt moved over to the Smackdown brand after ending his feud with Edge and Lita. Matt and Ashley were public about their romance and he seemed to be happy to have a new stunning love interest after the tough love situation.
However, the relationship between Hardy and Massaro ended and led to more personal issues. Matt started having tension with fellow wrestler Paul London when Ashley entered a relationship with him a few months after the prior romance ended. It led to issues between Hardy and London for years that got very personal. Massaro however refrained from any petty drama with either of them at any point.
5 John Cena and Mickie James
John Cena and Mickie James is a couple many wrestling fans forget about, but they were an item during Mickie’s prior run in the company. James allegedly cheated on fellow wrestler Ken Doane and left him to start a romance with Cena. WWE placed them together on Raw as a couple for a few weeks but it ultimately went nowhere.
Cena reportedly broke up with Mickie and it placed the two of them in a tough spot having to work together. James was moved from Raw to SmackDown at the next draft after the breakup. There has been speculation that Cena was involved in the storyline that saw Michelle McCool and Layla mock Mickie for her appearance with the term “Piggie James” being used. That has never been confirmed and they are professional to work in the same company when Cena shows up to WWE these days.
4 Shawn Michaels and Sunny
The relationship between Shawn Michaels and Sunny started in controversial fashion. Sunny was involved in a long term relationship with Chris Candido and they worked together as an on-screen pair. However, Sunny started working personally with Michaels behind the scenes as the two would hookup backstage behind Candido’s back with the Kliq guarding the locker room door.
According to Sunny, she and Michaels were in an official relationship for a short time period. The two even took an extravagant vacation to Jamaica together but Michaels ended up breaking things off. Sunny and Michaels continued working together in WWE and she started dating Candido again. Michaels had a personal insult towards Bret Hart during a promo implying he was having an affair with Sunny.
3 Kevin Sullivan and Nancy Benoit
One of the most public instances of a couple having to work directly together after their breakup using the story of reality featured Kevin Sullivan and Nancy “Woman” Benoit. Nancy was married to Kevin for quite some time but ended up having an affair with fellow WCW star Chris Benoit. This led to an on-screen angle using this real-life incident as a storyline.
Chris and Kevin feuded for months having some of the most violent matches of the era wrestling all over the arena. Nancy would get involved trying to help her new love interest out. There was reported tension between the two men as the hits were viewed as harder than the average match. It actually helped Chris’ career establishing him as a credible singles performer.
2 Goldust and Terri Runnels
Terri Runnels joined WWE as the Marlena character to work alongside her then husband Goldust aka Dustin Rhodes. They did a great job establishing the unique act as one fans should pay attention to. Terri and Dustin struggled to keep their relationship together as more issues continued to pile up as they worked together mixing business and pleasure.
A split saw them get divorced in real-life while both worked for WWE. At one point a few years after their divorce, Goldust crossed the line by trying to embarrass her on “the plane ride from hell.” This infamous plane ride had many controversial incidents with Goldust serenading his ex-wife in insulting fashion being one of them. WWE fired him for this moment of disrespect that he did while working with his ex.
1 Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth
The first Superstar couple in the wrestling business was the real life romance of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth in the WWE. Fans loved them together and it made Savage more likeable when seeing him with the endearing Elizabeth. Every wrestling fan wanted to see them have their happy ending as a pair that just worked to perfection.
Unfortunately, Savage’s jealousy issues made it impossible for them to have a happy and healthy relationship. It ended with them getting divorced and eventually having to work together in WCW. The first storyline saw Elizabeth turn on Savage to align with Ric Flair as a heel. WCW later placed them back together as an item in the New World Order. Elizabeth entered a romance with Lex Luger at this time and working with Savage was likely uncomfortable.