Wrestling is a rough business for families. It’s rather remarkable that one of the longest lasting relationships ever has been the marriage of Vince and Linda McMahon. When someone is on the road for nearly 300 days out of the year (barring injuries), it puts a lot of pressure on a marriage. It also means a lot of temptations as even guys like Bret Hart are open about cheating while on the road and the use of drugs is also a danger. But some relationships go the extra mile and turn downright horrible for those involved. Some started great and then ended badly while others were just offbeat at the start and got worse as it went along.
These are relationships that ruined marriages and even lives and some ended in true tragedy. Some can make you laugh in a dark way but others just make you feel sad or horrified at what happened. There are a lot of relationships that broke down but few got as horrifyingly bad as these did, with massive damage all around and they were just downright toxic. Here are the 15 real life wrestling relationships that caused the most damage to those involved and show how the business often exacts a very harsh price from those in it.
15 Brooke Tessmacher and Robbie E
After starting off as just a valet, Brooke Tessmacher soon took off as a fantastic wrestler, reigning as TNA Knockouts champion several times. Robbie E was getting a push for his act as a goofball New Jersey guy and the two were soon hooking up despite how Robbie was married for a time. According to reports, their relationship was actually cooling down when “The Amazing Race” heard about them and thought a wrestling couple would be a fun thing for the show. So the two kept up the partnership for the series and did well with it.
14 Hulk and Linda Hogan
For over two decades, the Hogans were one of the best relationships in wrestling. Hulk married Linda in 1983, just as he took off into mega-fame and stood together through children and his various changes. Linda didn’t take an on-screen role but enjoyed the success and hanging with Hogan through his rise as wrestling’s biggest star. It reached a height with the reality TV show “Hogan Knows Best” showing their quirky marriage and made Linda a star.
13 Melina and John Morrison
MNM were a breakout team in 2005 thanks to their style, good matches and especially Melina. With her great looks and her stunning split-leg ring entrance, Melina sparked the team to championship gold and herself to a good wrestling career. She and Morrison had been rumored to be together for a while and finally just came right out and admitted it. However, Melina’s attitude backstage could rub folks the wrong way, especially when she and Batista had a fling.
12 Mildred Burke and Billy Wolfe
Long before any of today’s female workers, Burke was doing her best to make women’s wrestling respectable. A great worker, Burke was a sensation, often wrestling men, gorgeous but skilled and it was thanks to her that women's wrestling was taken more seriously. She and manager Billy Wolfe were married but it would later be revealed that Wolfe was a womanizer who often took advantage of the women he promoted, trading favors for sex. It got too much for Burke and she filed for divorce in 1952. Wolfe responded by doing his best to blackball Burke from wrestling anywhere in the U.S., a ban she fought in legal channels in a very ugly situation.
11 Steve Austin and Debra
Debra had been married to Chicago Bears star Steve McMichael for years before she came to WCW and she soon caught the wrestling bug herself. In 1998, they had divorced with Debra moving to WWE and soon getting involved with a then-married Steve Austin. Austin divorced his wife and ended up with Debra, the two doing well together for a time. However, an ugly side came up with Austin’s temper and recovery from various injuries taking a toll.
10 Undertaker and Sara
9 Kurt Angle and Karen Angle
It’s never a good idea to bring your wife into a wrestling program and Kurt Angle found that out the hard way. He and Karen had been married since 1998, long before Kurt’s rise to fame and their relationship was said to be a good one despite his constant touring and injuries. When Kurt came to TNA, he brought Karen along and soon had her involved in his feuds. According to reports, Karen wasn’t happy with Kurt’s tendency to get into drinking and painkillers to deal with injuries and his rather harsh treatment at times.
8 Randy Savage and Elizabeth
7 Edge/Lita/Matt Hardy
It’s the relationship that changed so many careers for WWE. For years, Amy Dumas and Matt Hardy had been a great couple both on and off screen as part of “Team Extreme” and helping push each other well. When Matt was out due to injury in early 2005, he discovered that Amy had been cheating on him with Adam Copeland aka Edge. Given Edge and Matt were good friends, this was naturally a huge betrayal. Matt took to social media to spread the news and the fanbase erupted as fans trashed Lita and Edge for their behavior.
6 Jerry Lawler and the Kat
“The King” is well known for going after ladies younger than himself and Stacy Carter fit that bill. Already twice divorced, Lawler met Stacy Carter in 1989 to begin a long-term relationship. They got married in 2000 as Lawler pushed for Stacy to join WWE as The Kat. She became infamous for bits like stripping on a live PPV and other antics but she and Lawler did well together. As 2001 began, they had a feud of Lawler defending her from the Right to Censor but then Stacy was fired for some backstage altercations.
5 X-Pac and Chyna
From her start in WWE, Chyna had been with Triple H but was devastated when she found out he and Stephanie McMahon were seeing each other for real. Chyna went to Vince to complain and came home to find her termination letter waiting. Chyna was soon hooking up with X-Pac which led to their infamous “One Night in China” sex tape being released. The duo were soon involved in a harsh relationship with Chyna accusing Sean Waltman of assault, drug use and even attempted rape. Waltman would deny the charges in various interviews and slam Chyna as delusional and being a drug addict. They actually got back together but split again and the fights between them were even harsher.
4 Beth Phoenix and CM Punk
3 Kevin Sullivan and Nancy Benoit
Sullivan was a good worker and booker but more infamous for having a rather twisted temper. He and Nancy Benoit had hooked up in Florida when Sullivan was first doing his “Devil Worshipper” bit and their relationship was notable for some backstage stuff involving S&M and some rather twisted “gags” on other workers. Sullivan brought her to WCW where Nancy gained fame as Woman, the tough manager for Doom and soon was hanging with Sullivan and later the Four Horsemen.
2 Lex Luger and Elizabeth
Luger's always been full of controversy due to his past drug use. When Elizabeth joined WCW in 1996, she and Luger hit it off and despite Luger being married, the two were engaging in an affair. Luger supposedly broke it off but it kept up even as WCW suffered its slow collapse. Elizabeth herself would fall into some bad habits with Luger as the two were partying hard together in 2003 despite how Luger was arrested for domestic violence against her. Just days later, they were pulled over with Luger being drunk and police discovered a handgun in the car while Elizabeth was still with him.
1 Chris Benoit and Nancy
This has to top the list. For all his great accomplishments in the ring, Benoit will always be remembered first and foremost for the most shameful act the business has ever known. In retrospect, the signs were there with his short temper and taking so many hits to the head. But most ignored that because of Benoit’s utter brilliance in the ring and giving his all to the business. He and Nancy seemed to be a great couple, with no reports of conflict and Benoit was considered a good father as well. He was riding high in WWE, with runs as World and US champion and plans to make him ECW Champion as well.
That made it all the more shocking when news of his death broke in June of 2007. At first WWE gave him a tribute on RAW but then the word came that Benoit had killed Nancy, their son and then himself and instantly made himself the most reviled man in wrestling history. Reports have come now of conflict between them, signs that should have been recognized but were ignored until it was too late. It’s a shame Benoit’s legacy will always be overshadowed by his horrific end and that he took his family with him in the most shameful downfall imaginable.
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