Over the years, WWE has been no stranger to “power couples” and sexy valets on screen. Couples like Miss Elizabeth and “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Sable and Marc Mero, or Stephanie McMahon and Triple H., have worked together to dominate any opponent opposing them. While Vince McMahon has total and complete control over these couples on screen, he has very little power when it comes to the real life couples of current and former WWE employees.
Behind each on-screen character is a real life human being with a life of their own. Being on the road 300 days a year with the same coworkers has lead to attractions, hook-ups and relationships between many of these superstars. A majority of the time, real life couples in the WWE haven’t been an issue. In fact, Vince has capitalized on many of the real life relationships, using them to promote Total Divas and storylines. These relationships have been “best for business” and Vince certainly doesn’t want to lose them. Still, there have been instances where certain relationships or their break-ups have created issues.
Workplace relationships can be a problem for any employer, but this problem is doubled for a company in which image and illusion, characters and storylines are paramount. Certain “toxic” relationships are “bad for business.” In the end, WWE is a business and any relationship that hinders the business in any way is a liability for Vince McMahon while others that promote it are huge assets. To further promote business and alleviate liabilities, here are 8 superstars that Vince would love to break up and 7 that he wants to keep forever.
15. Break-up: CM Punk and AJ Lee
CM. Punk and AJ Lee were two of WWE’s most popular superstars in the post Attitude Era. However, both left on questionable terms. CM Punk dropped his infamous “pipe bomb” then walked out and publicly ripped the company. Though AJ stuck around a little longer, Punk’s outspoken nature seemed to have rubbed off on her after they started dating. AJ would cut a pipe bomb of her own, ripping the current Divas, in a worked shoot. Later AJ publicly criticized Stephanie McMahon on Twitter regarding equal wages and screen time for the female wrestlers which allegedly infuriated Stephanie.
Though Vince and Triple H. have both stated they’d be willing to work with Punk again, and presumably AJ, there’s no doubt that Vince secretly wants these two to break up. While Punk is doing UFC and other projects, AJ is the only one of the two available for a return to the company. Yet, if AJ is ever to work for WWE again, she would likely need to drop the attitude and that’s not likely to happen while she and Punk are together.
14. Stay Together: John Cena and Nikki Bella
John Cena and Nikki Bella are everything in a couple that Punk and AJ are not. Cena and Nikki are favorites of Vince McMahon as they follow the company line and don’t ruffle any feathers. As a result, both Cena and Nikki have received all the favorable booking and opportunities. Their relationship is a huge part of Total Divas and one of its highest draws. Their relationship carried over to WrestleMania 33 with John Cena proposing to Nikki after their match against The Miz and Maryse. There’s no doubt Vince wants these two to stay together for Total Divas but also to maintain the “good guy” projection of John Cena. Those could be in jeopardy should these two split especially after the engagement. One has to wonder if the marriage, a topic Cena avoided, may have been pushed hard by upper management to keep these two together.
13. Break-up: Alberto Del Rio and Paige
Alberto Del Rio and Paige’s relationship is another example of a couple that completely infringes on the WWE’s corporate policies. Del Rio was already fired from the company once and then returned only to be issued a 90 day suspension for violating the company’s Wellness Policy. Del Rio was released from his contract and his association with the company seemed over. Then, Del Rio began dating current superstar Paige. Management seemed determined to split Paige and Del Rio for unknowns reasons at the time, then the page turned.
Paige’s family publicly denounced the relationship to Del Rio and news of Del Rio getting involved in bar fights flooded the new sights. Meanwhile, Paige took time off from injury, ignored the WWE’s doctor and scheduled neck surgery on her own putting her in the dog house. During her “time off” Paige would be suspended for violating the Wellness Policy, not once but twice, and took to twitter to complain about the latter instance. Paige insists the suspension was over a prescription issue, but WWE responded saying the suspension was due to an illegal substance. To make matters worse, Del Rio and Paige were caught screaming at each other at an airport resulting in a police investigation.
While rumors circulated the Vince was not a fan of Paige before her relationship with Del Rio, any bad publicity is a huge no-no to the company. Right now Del Rio and Paige are reaching epic levels of bad publicity. If Vince wants to retain Paige, he’s going to want her and Del Rio to split. Management’s concerns about those two seemed to be warranted, and the tailspin of Paige’s career coincides with her relationship with Del Rio.
12. Stay Together: The Miz and Maryse
Where Del Rio and Paige’s relationship appears to be a trainwreck, The Miz and Maryse are the perfect couple. Much like Cena and Nikki, Miz and Maryse create a positive image for the company. There is no bad outside publicity, wellness violations or arguments with management. Miz and Maryse do their jobs and do it well. They are a welcomed addition to Total Divas, acting in WWE films and continue to be major players on both Raw and SmackDown. Their relationship isn’t manufactured and remained strong even during Maryse’s brief departure from the company in 2011.
Vince clearly would like this couple to stay together for their contributions to Total Divas but also as the on-air “It” couple on Raw. They both made appearances together at the EPSY Awards and represent the company with class. Losing everything that Miz and Maryse bring to the company would be “bad for business,” and Vince knows it.
11. Break-Up: Rusev and Lana
As big of a problem for the WWE as Paige and Del Rio are, Rusev and Lana have put heat on themselves for lesser reasons. During a time when their onscreen characters were separated, Lana decided to post pictures of their wedding, showing them to be happily married. This went completely against the current storyline and both were rumored to have major heat over it. Despite being on the same brand, and being over as a couple in the past, the company seems intent on separating them.
Rusev is on his own and Lana is wrestling on her own as well. A break-up of Lana and Rusev would be an ideal situation for Vince. He’d no longer have to ignore their on-screen separation and wouldn’t worry about angering either of them if Vince decided to release one of them.
10. Stay Together: Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella is an interesting couple, but one that Vince McMahon definitely wants to keep together. The Bella twins have always been favorites of Vince and have had every opportunity handed to them, much to the ire of hardcore wrestling fans. Daniel Bryan, on the other hand, is well received by fans, even today, despite retirement, questionable booking and an abrupt retirement. Vince knows the benefits Bryan’s popularity is having on Brie Bella. It benefits Brie’s wrestling, and Total Divas (Bellas) career.
Keeping these two together also brings the popular Daniel Bryan over to Total Divas. It’s a win-win. Add the publicity of Daniel and Brie welcoming their first child together creates nothing but positives to the company.
9. Break-up: Big Cass and Carmella
A lesser known couple, Big Cass and Carmella are two superstars Vince would love to split. Big Cass has the look and ability that Vince favors but recently Big Cass has been in the doghouse for sticking up to Enzo and annoying his colleges with his vocal support for President Donald Trump. Even worse, during what appeared to be a big singles push, Big Cass recently went down with a serious injury. Vince and the creative team aren’t very forgiving to superstars they perceive as “injury prone,” and Cass’ career may now be questionable.
Contrast this with Carmella who has been well received by fans and management. Carmella is also amidst a big push, winning the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match and pairing with James Ellsworth. With the couple’s careers seemingly going in opposite directions, it’s likely a break-up would be ideal for Vince making it easier if the time should come to release Big Cass, without upsetting the favorable Carmella. It doesn’t look likely though, considering the couple recently announced they had bought a house together.
8. Stay Together: Jimmy Uso and Naomi
Jimmy Uso and Naomi are having successful careers over on the SmackDown brand with The Usos currently holding the Smackdown Tag Team Titles and Naomi being a former SmackDown Women’s Champion. Jimmy and Naomi contribute to Total Divas, making their wedding a big storyline for the show. Their relationship is making money for the company and creating positive publicity for WWE. Vince has the loyalty of the famous Anoa’i family which Jimmy, and through marriage Naomi, is a member of and Vince will want to keep that family happy if he wants appearances from The Rock. A break up could upset the balance and disrupt their contributions to the business, something Vince would love to avoid.
7. Break-up: Tyson Kidd and Natalya
As cruel as this would be, the relationship between Natalya and Tyson Kidd is one Vince would probably like to end. Natalya has been a veteran for WWE for a long time but unfortunately her husband’s career has been plagued with injuries. For someone who will possibly never be cleared to wrestle again, the truth is, his contribution to Total Divas and his relationship to Natalya are probably the only reasons Tyson is still employed. Tyson is only a minor factor in the company, yet he’s still cashing that WWE check. A split would free Vince to release Tyson without any fallout from Natalya and the Harts. Cutting Tyson from the budget would simply be “just business” at that point.
6. Stay Together: David Otunga and Jennifer Hudson
One might wonder how David Otunga, a guy that hasn’t wrestled in years, is still employed by a wrestling company. Not only is he still employed, but Otunga has moved to the announce booth despite having no previous announcing experience. As luck would have it, Otunga is married to singer, Jennifer Hudson. Having a celebrity connection in the WWE’s back pocket is a huge plus for the company. The public appearances and media attention legitimizes the company and increases its status as a global entity. Vince has retained Otunga for this very reason. Should Otunga and Hudson ever split, Vince would lose this free marketing outlet and public asset. It would also undoubtedly lead to Otunga’s release as there is no way Otunga would have a job without this connection.
5. Break-up: Bubba Ray and Velvet Sky
Bubba Ray is one half of the legendary Dudley Boyz. The Dudleys would depart from the company on good terms, leaving the door wide open for a return. The issue for Vince isn’t with the Dudley’s or even Bubba Ray. The issue is Bubba Ray’s girlfriend, former TNA Knockout, Velvet Sky. When the Dudley’s returned to WWE, rumors were flying that Velvet Sky would be joining the company. Velvet Sky has stated she’d jump at the opportunity to work in WWE. Velvet is still popular with the fans, and should Vince, who is well aware of the relationship with Bubba, ever want Bubba back, there would be likely a lot of unwanted pressure to bring her over as well. This pressure would lessen if Bubba and Velvet should ever call it quits, making Velvet a non factor for the chairman.
4. Stay Together: Mike and Maria Kanellis
Mike and Maria Kanellis have recently taken their inseparable, lovey-dovey gimmick over to the SmackDown brand. With their gimmick and push just getting started, Vince would hate it if this couple were to break up in real life. The news of their split would spread throughout the news sights killing the kayfabe of their characters and possibly affecting their work together. Vince knows the damage a bad break up can have on superstars, see Cena and Mickie James, and Vince doesn’t want anything to negatively influence the Mike and Maria Kanellis characters. Though there is no signs of any break-up remotely on the horizon, at this moment, Vince sees dollar signs with Maria and Mike and any break-up that could affect that is a concern for Vince.
3. Break-up: Dean Ambrose and Renee Young
A not so well known relationship exists between Renee Young and Dean Ambrose. Dean Ambrose is the crazed, Lunatic Fringe while Renee Young is the sweet backstage interviewer. One would find this an odd pairing if their real life relationship ever spilled out on-screen. Because of this contrast, it’s likely Vince wants this relationship gone or at least kept to a low profile. Vince likes to micromanage his superstars, and Dean and Renee being more open about their real life relationship could affect the Lunatic Fringe’s character. Right now Dean and Renee’s relationship is a potential liability. Wisely, both have managed not to cause any attention to their relationship and even kept a low profile wedding. Still, it’s likely Vince wouldn’t mind if these two split, to eliminate any risk to the illusion of the insane Dean Ambrose character.
2. Stay Together: Triple H and Stephanie
This relationship seems pretty obvious as one Vince would like to keep. Stephanie is his daughter, after all, and Vince has a great relationship with his son-in-law, Triple H. Both are the parents to his grandchildren so of course Vince would want to keep them together. Still, there may be more to it than just that. This is more of a case of what would happen if they did split? Triple H and Stephanie are the heirs apparent to the company (sorry Shane), and if Triple H would split with Stephanie what would he do? Would Triple H start his own company to rival WWE? Triple H has had tremendous success in NXT and it’s possible if Hunter were to start his own promotion, it could be a legitimate threat to the WWE. This is all speculation, but Vince’s motivates to keep Hunter and Stephanie together may be for reasons other than the obvious.
1. Break-up: Bray Wyatt and Jojo Offerman
While Bray Wyatt and ring announcer Jojo Offerman are not officially a couple, rumors have circulated that they are traveling together and more than just friends. This presents a problem because Bray Wyatt is married, in real life, and currently going through a divorce because of this affair. This alleged affair and divorce becoming public is creating bad press for the WWE. Bray Wyatt is supposed to be the hypnotic cult leader and not a person with a wife and kids. This publicity hurts the illusion of the Bray Wyatt character, and isn’t great for Jojo either, who is rumored to have “gotten around” with other superstars as well. There is no doubt Vince wants this divorce between Bray Wyatt and his wife quickly concluded and his relationship with Jojo, if there still is one, terminated immediately.
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