One of the most enduring tropes in wrestling, is the odd couple. From The Rock and Sock Connection to Mark Henry and Mae Young to Carmella and James Ellsworth, the WWE has mined comedy from mismatched pairings of wrestlers for decades. However, what you may not know is that sometimes, these wrestling odd couples bleed over into real life. Over the years, many seemingly mismatched couples have come together outside the ring, forming relationships that likely will never be covered on Total Divas. However, before we go into our list of some of wrestling’s most notorious mismatched couples, we should probably start with what exactly makes someone an odd couple in the first place.
The answer is, a lot more than you’d think. While looks certainly play a part (and there have been a number of beauty and the beast type of relationships in the wrestling world), an odd couple is really just any pairing of people whom you’d never expect to date, be it due to a massive age difference or simply two people who seem to have nothing in common. Kane and AJ Lee, Vicki Guerrero and Edge and Trish Stratus and Vince McMahon are just a few of the odd couples the wrestling world has given us but so many more have played out behind the scenes as well.
The following list examines some of the strangest and most mismatched real-life wrestling couples that have come together over the years. Some you may not have heard of, others you’ve probably heard all too much about. Here are 15 of the most mismatched relationships in wrestling history.
17 15. Paige and Alberto Del Rio
When grainy photos of Paige and Alberto Del Rio looking hot and heavy backstage at WWE events were leaked to the Internet, wrestling fans were thrown for a loop due to the fact that 1) he was still legally married and 2) Del Rio had been previously linked to Charlotte Flair. However, the pair (who have a 15 year age difference between them) have proven that they’re all in on their rollercoaster of a union, even if it’s to the detriment of their careers. While they appear to be intensely in love, drama has followed them pretty much from the word go, starting with the WWE reportedly trying to keep them apart in a move straight out of Romeo and Juliet by drafting them to separate brands. It was a decision that contributed to Del Rio leaving the company entirely and Paige being suspended from action, beginning her year-plus long absence from WWE TV.
With both currently away from the cameras, you’d think their relationship would leave the spotlight as well, however, instead, the couple have found themselves dominating headlines more than ever due to a series of public disputes. A particularly nasty fight between the two captured at a Florida airport in July, even lead to Del Rio being suspended by Global Force Wrestling and a criminal investigation opening into both of them, however, they were later cleared. Let’s hope they can remain drama-free moving forward.
15 14. X-Pac and Chyna
From one of wrestling’s most endearing couples to one of its most toxic, Chyna and X-Pac were an odd pairing for a number of reasons. From the extreme size difference to the fact that X-Pac (whose real name is Sean Waltman) was friends with Chyna’s ex-boyfriend Triple H, whom she had, had a nasty falling out with that contributed to her departure from the WWE. However, perhaps the most notable event of their relationship was the adult film they released that would go on to have a profound effect on Chyna’s career as well as her psyche.
It’s a decision that Waltman says he deeply regrets, saying on The Steve Austin Show, “It goes without saying that we can’t change it. But man, I really wish it wouldn’t have happened.” He would go as far as calling the tape a key factor in her downward spiral and eventual death. Their inevitable breakup was not a quiet one, full of harsh words and accusations that would lead to an awkward confrontation on the Opie Radio Show. However, Waltman maintains that he always loved Chyna and even spoke at her memorial service following her tragic death in 2016.
14 13. JoJo and Bray Wyatt
When news first broke of Bray Wyatt’s alleged fling with ring announcer JoJo Offerman, fans weren’t just shocked because of the obvious aesthetic differences between the two, but because of who the news came from; his wife. In documents filed to begin divorce proceedings between Wyatt and his wife of five years, Samantha Rotunda, Rotunda accused the Wyatt Family leader of carrying on a year and-a-half long affair with the 23-year-old announcer.
“You made not a mistake but a year and a half in the making, life long decision in front of the world that will forever change me and our girls lives,” she wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post. Since news of the affair broke, Wyatt and Offerman have seldom been seen together save for a grainy image of the pair arriving at a WWE show that popped up online in mid-June.
13 12. New Jack and Terri Runnels
Relationships in wrestling have been a thing almost as long as wrestling has, however, it’s rare for a relationship to blossom after the parties involved have hung up their wrestling boots. However, that’s exactly what New Jack says happened between himself and WWE valet Terri Runnels. Both had illustrious careers in the 90s with Runnels serving as Goldust’s valet, Marlena while New Jack shocked audiences as one of ECW’s biggest wildcards. However, as the former ECW Tag Team Champion revealed in a shoot interview, the two were involved in a torrid year-long affair, ending in 2011 and from the sounds of it, they didn’t part on the best of terms.
While providing listeners with a candid look at their love life, including Runnels alleged propensity for being cut with a blade while getting physical, New Jack let it slip that their wild bedroom antics lead to him being seen in front of a judge. “She tried to take me to court, saying that I had pictures of her that I was trying to sell on the Internet. I was like, let people see all the pictures she took for Vince [in risqué photoshoots for the WWE], I said so you can’t complain about s**t.” It doesn’t sound like they’ll be meeting up for one last rendezvous anytime soon.
12 11. CM Punk and Beth Phoenix
Looking at CM Punk’s dating history, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t have a type. While he’s currently making fanboys everywhere swoon with his marriage to groundbreaking women’s wrestler AJ Lee, there was a time when the Straight-Edge Savior was quite popular with the female talent backstage. During the course of his eight-year career, Punk has been linked to a number of female superstars from Maria Kanellis to Lita to Kelly Kelly, however, perhaps none is more surprising than the coupling of him and Beth Phoenix. The two reportedly began dating in 2010, shortly after Phoenix’s divorce from Joey Knight.
However, if Punk’s 2011 interview with an Arizona radio station is to be believed, the break-up was not a civil one. While discussing women on Holberg’s Morning Circus radio show, Punk stated, “I just ended a relationship. No, it doesn’t hurt at all, it p*sses me off to watch people you love and admire become complete douchebags. People just flake, I realized that it doesn’t matter who it was, as long as someone was her boyfriend.” Phoenix never commented on Punk’s statement and has since married fellow WWE Hall of Famer, Edge, giving birth to their second daughter in 2016.
11 10. Enzo Amore and Liv Morgan
While Liv Morgan and Enzo Amore may not look like two people who would have anything in common, they actually share a lot more than you’d think. It’s widely known that Morgan and Amore go back quite a ways, both hailing from New Jersey, however it’s been reported that they actually met while working at the same Hooters restaurant back in the day (Morgan as a waitress and Amore as a manager respectively). Amore is also said to have gotten her, her initial try-out with the WWE and the two were an item until very recently.
While neither publicly confirmed their relationship, dozens of photos popped up online of them together and Amore himself admitted that his girlfriend changed a lot about his outlook on relationships. While not naming names, the Certified G previously revealed that he didn’t have a girlfriend until he was 28 years old, saying that his leading lady (at the time) dramatically changed his dating philosophy. Interestingly enough, Morgan has drawn many comparisons to current SmackDown Live star, Carmella, who is both Amore’s former manager and the girlfriend of his ex-tag team partner, Big Cass.
10 9. John Cena and Victoria
While John Cena’s current relationship with Total Divas star, Nikki Bella has been well documented both on-screen and off, before popping the question at WrestleMania 33, the face that runs the place was linked to a number of women in the WWE locker room. Some were surprising, others not so much, however, few rumored hookups have caught the Internet’s attention quite as much as his reported relationship with Victoria. Speculation became so intense that the former Women’s Champion was forced to address the controversy during a 2012 interview with the Observer Report after rumblings suggested that Victoria had cheated on her longtime husband with the leader of Cenation in the mid-2000s.
“I have been with my husband for 20 years, he’s the best guy in the world. But like any 20 year relationship, we have some good times and we have had some bad times,” the trailblazing women’s wrestler revealed. “We have separated a few times. One of those times that we were separated, I dated John for about a month. It was not in 2006 or 2007, it was in 2002.” Victoria would add that her husband dated other people during this period as well, saying, “That’s what happens when you are separated.”
9 8. Lana and Rusev
While Lana and Rusev may be one of the most entertaining wrestling couples on-screen and off, it’s hard to deny that the Bulgarian Brute isn’t exactly the type of guy you’d think would end up sweeping the Ravishing Russian off her feet. In fact, their union was so unexpected that WWE boss Vince McMahon reportedly rejected the idea of them as an onscreen couple because he didn’t think it was believable. You know, ignoring the fact that they were actually a real couple.
The two have since taken their romance to the most recent season of Total Divas where they are consistently the most entertaining and endearing part of the show. The E! docu-drama capturing the trials of their wedding planning as well as their two(!) 2016 weddings in California and Bulgaria respectively. While they may not be your cookie cutter couple, it’s nice to see these two make it work.
7 7. Jerry “The King” Lawler and The Kat
While most wrestlers these days become involved while on the road, The Kat (real name Stacy Carter) and veteran ring announcer Jerry “The King” Lawler were actually together long before she began gracing WWE screens. The two met at a charity softball game in 1989 while Lawler was still married to another woman, one he promptly left for Carter. A decade later, when the WWE “needed a girl” as the woman formerly known as Miss Kitty put it on The Jim Ross Report, they looked to Lawler’s wife to fill the spot, a decision that both brought them together and tore them apart.
Their marriage would bring nothing but turmoil backstage, Ivory revealing in a shoot interview that Carter would often engage in extra-martial affairs with fellow wrestlers, creating tension between them and her announcer husband. Still, when she was inexplicably let go from the company in 2001, Lawler left with her in protest, returning only after they had officially separated. These days Carter and Lawler have reportedly remained friends despite their rocky past, however, they still serve as one of wrestling’s strangest couples.
6 6. Ashley Massaro and Matt Hardy
If you weren’t watching the WWE in the mid-2000s, you’d be forgiven for not knowing about the Matt Hardy, Ashley Massaro, Paul London saga, the aftermath of which, is still being felt to this day. Fresh off of his infamous love triangle with Lita and Edge, Hardy began dating 2005 Raw Diva Search winner, Ashley Massaro. While the pair seemed happy, Massaro writing in a 2005 blog post that they were “perfect for each other,” they quietly broke things off some time later and everything appeared to be amicable, that is until Massaro began dating fellow superstar Paul London in 2007.
It wouldn’t be long before the two wrestlers began taking shots at each other in interviews, London calling Hardy, “A piece of s**t,” and saying, “All I remember is that I hate Matt Hardy. I think he’s a coward.” While Hardy would fire back on Myspace, calling him a psychopath and saying, “Keep on ranting and raving and promoting me, it certainly doesn’t hurt my feelings or my paychecks.” The feud has continued to play out in the years since, both Hardy and London reportedly refusing to work together during their time in Ring of Honor. Can’t we all just get along?
5 5. Dolph Ziggler and Dana Brooke
Given Dolph Ziggler’s dating history, it’s understandable why his alleged relationship with fellow superstar Dana Brooke came out of left-field for many. The former World Heavyweight Champion has been previously linked to the likes of Nikki Bella, Sunny, Amy Schumer and what Schumer described on the Howard Stern Show as a revolving door of Playboy models, which is why news of his reported coupling with Brooke threw fans for a loop.
While it’s hard to know precisely how long the two dated due to their private nature, tweets exchanged between the couple seem to point to a relationship beginning in late 2015, Ziggler and Brooke reportedly even spending Thanksgiving together that year. However, things seem to have cooled off between the two as, Brooke was most recently linked to Dallas McCarver, who tragically passed away in August of 2017 after choking on food while alone in his home.
4 4. Sasha Banks and Sarath Ton
Chances are, if you’re not currently following Sasha Banks online or reading the dirt sheets, you don’t know who the Legit Boss of the WWE is currently dating and that’s exactly how she wants it. The four-time Women’s Champion has been intensely private about her personal life, so much so, that when she married WWE costume designer, Sarath Ton in August of 2016, she didn’t tell anyone. In fact, it wasn’t until leaked photos from her nuptials began appearing online that she was forced to address it, admitting during an interview with Lillian Garcia that she hides her relationship from social media due to the abuse her husband receives online from over-invested fans.
“I just hide it because our fans are so crazy sometimes. I see what they write to him on Twitter and I don’t like that stuff. If you’re saying he’s ugly or he shouldn’t be with me because of this or that, that hurts me.” The two met during their independent wrestling days and have been together ever since, Banks revealing that Ton was actually her first serious boyfriend.
3 3. Chris Jericho and Kelly Kelly
From a couple that won’t address their relationship to maintain privacy, to a couple who won’t acknowledge their union for, well, other reasons. Kelly Kelly was linked to many a wrestling star during her tenure as the fan favorite WWE Diva, however, perhaps the most surprising was her supposed fling with Chris Jericho. Why you might ask? Because he’s been married for more than 17 years. In 2009, photos began appearing online that seemingly showed Y2J and Kelly getting a bit too close after attending a party together.
While Kelly reportedly requested the images be removed from fan sites at the time, it’s a controversy that Maria Kanellis appeared to weigh in on during an interview in 2012, saying, “If you’re with someone else’s someone else, I don’t like that. It’s the exact opposite of what I’m about. I think you have to be careful with that stuff, especially if you’re trying to change.” Adding that those photos “don’t go away.”
2 2. Paige and Xavier Woods
Speaking of photos that don’t go away, 2017 has not been a banner year for Paige. From her recovery from neck surgery to her rocky relationship with Alberto Del Rio and a career that is still very much up in the air, it’s hard not to hope that the immensely talented Anti-Diva is given a break from the steady stream of controversy she’s found herself surrounded by. However, perhaps the biggest scandal she endured this year was when private photos and videos of her taken years ago were leaked online.
The photos seem to have been taken during her relationship with former WWE superstar Brad Maddox, however, one video that caught the Internet’s attention featured the former Women’s Champion with New Day member Xavier Woods. It’s a transgression that even made its way to WWE TV when The Usos, during a Fourth of July rap battle, spit the mic-drop worthy line, “Big E, let’s just keep it PG, you know what’s good. Just don’t get all rated R like your boy Xavier Woods.” Neither have directly addressed the leak so it’s hard to know the extent of their relationship.
1 1. John Cena and Mickie James
Perhaps one of the most complicated romantic histories to keep track of is that of the supposed affair between John Cena and Mickie James. Despite being one of the most heavily speculated affairs in WWE history, neither party has yet set the record straight, leaving a lot of hearsay on the table. Rumblings first began when James’ former fiancé Kenny Dykstra (of Spirit Squad fame) accused the two of sneaking around behind his back in a series of tweets posted in 2012, saying that he first learned of the affair after he caught his girlfriend googling “Mickie James and John Cena dating” to see if news of their relationship had made it to the press.
Dykstra says that the affair lead to him being transferred to SmackDown and eventually fired while James found herself experienced a similar fate when she allegedly wanted something more serious with the Cenation leader and was rejected, Dykstra calling her notoriously humiliating Piggy James angle punishment for the fallout of their relationship. During an interview on Lillian Garcia’s podcast, James said that much of Dykstra’s claims were lies meant to get press for his book, however, she seemingly confirmed the Cena relationship by saying, “We’re adults and you know, obviously this business is what it is. We’ve all had our share of relationships failed.”
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