The global phenomenon known as World Wrestling Entertainment has fought hard over the last couple of decades to shed the sports image that naturally comes along with professional wrestling. The chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon, prefers the term “sports entertainment” and has said that his primary competition on television isn’t sports or even other pro wrestling programs, it’s all of television. WWE presents scripted storylines and fictionalized characters, and although the actual wrestling matches are highly dangerous, the outcomes are predetermined.
No matter how hard Vince McMahon tries to convince the world that everything that goes down on Raw and SmackDown is part of a narrative, reality tends to bleed into the show and art begins to imitate life. This is seen throughout the countless occasions where real life romantic relationships are used in TV storylines; the characters Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, for example, were married on TV before they were in real life, and although the characters split up in the early 2000s, the world knew they were still a couple, so the relationship was worked back into storylines as if no breakup had happened.
It’s the age of the internet and everything is accessible. With WWE Superstars putting their lives all over social media for the world to see, we’re getting glimpses into some of their more intimate moments. It’s a far cry from 1998, that’s for certain, and it shows in the fact that romantic Instagram photos have become something of a pop culture obsession. So, let’s indulge! Here are the 15 most romantic images of WWE Superstars on Instagram.
15 Cody and Brandi Rhodes
Cody Rhodes is the son of the late “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, a 2007 WWE Hall of Fame inductee. Cody is quite decorated in WWE, having been WWE Tag Team Champion and Intercontinental Champion on several occasions. Before leaving WWE in 2016, he was known as Stardust and teamed, then feuded, with his brother Goldust.
Cody met his wife Brandi when she began working for WWE as a ring announcer known as Eden in 2011. The two were married in 2013 and it was worked somewhat into a storyline when Cody was “fired” around the time of his wedding. Brandi, too, left WWE shortly after Cody.
As a model, Brandi Rhodes frequently updates her Instagram with new stunning photos. Recently, the couple went on vacation, which is when Brandi snapped this photo of herself and her husband on the beach. Cody’s chest tattoo can clearly be seen, which reads, “Dream,” a reference to his father Dusty.
14 Natalya and Tyson Kidd
Natalya Neidhart is a WWE mainstay, having been with the company for ten years and also a former Divas Champion. The daughter of WWE legend Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart is one of the most respected female wrestlers in the world and is probably the biggest name currently carrying on the tradition of the Hart family.
Nattie, as she’s often called, has known her husband Tyson Kidd for many years. The two were married in 2013, officially welcoming Kidd into The Hart Family, although he’s been an honorary member for much longer. Tyson is a decorated tag team wrestler, having won the WWE Tag Team Championship on more than one occasion, most recently as part of a hugely popular tag team with Cesaro before a serious neck injury put Kidd out of action indefinitely.
Nattie and Tyson are known for their pet cats, which are frequently featured with the couple on the reality show Total Divas. Nattie also posts lots of photos of her cats to Instagram, but occasionally we’ll see a shot of herself and her husband, like this one.
13 The Undertaker and Michelle McCool
This photograph almost gets extra points for its rarity. Michelle McCool has been retired from professional wrestling since 2011, but during her tenure with WWE she was a highly accomplished performer. McCool won both the Women’s and Divas Championships on numerous occasions and became best known as one half of LayCool, a tag team with fellow veteran WWE employee Layla El.
Michelle is also known in smaller circles for marrying wrestling royalty when she wed Mark Calaway, probably known better as The Undertaker, in 2010. The Undertaker is the most revered man in the entire wrestling industry, having been an icon of the highest caliber for over two decades. He remains committed to the mystique surrounding his character, however, and therefore not a lot of photos of him outside his character exist.
But here’s a picture from Michelle McCool’s Instagram taken from when the couple attended some sort of event together, managing to keep The Undertaker’s face hidden and still look completely romantic.
12 Stephanie McMahon and Triple H
These two, however controversial, are legends not just in WWE, but in the wrestling industry. They’ve been instrumental in the evolution of WWE over the years and we’ll need to get comfortable seeing them on screen because they’re set to inherit the keys to the kingdom when Vince McMahon steps down from the helm.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have dominated WWE television for the better part of fifteen years as a couple. Their romantic storyline started on TV in 1999, long before the two became an actual item, so this is a case of life imitating art. Plenty of controversy has surrounded their union, including drama related to Triple H’s previous relationship with the late Chyna and his “marrying into” the corporate side of the business. But if this image is any indication, they don’t let the pressure stop them from having a romantic moment or two in their downtime.
11 Zack Ryder and Emma
Zack Ryder is a WWE veteran. He’s been wrestling for the company for a large number of years and has become one of the most notoriously misused stars in recent memory. Ryder and his legions of fans paved his way to success briefly a few years back, but the company apparently didn’t want to see him as a star unless they themselves had selected him to be one, so they knocked him back down to the bottom of the card. Things may be changing for the better, as he’s seen a huge rise in TV time since WrestleMania, where he won the Intercontinental Championship, albeit to lose it only 24 hours later.
Emma and real life friend Paige tore up a tournament to crown the first NXT Women’s Champion and wrestled a match at the end of that tournament which might have ignited the fuse that exploded into the modern women’s wrestling revolution. After a gimmick repackaging, Emma seems on her way to new success, despite an injury keeping her sidelined.
In Emma’s time on the shelf she’s been spending lots of time with her boyfriend Zack Ryder, and we can see them here having a blast together.
10 Darren Young
Not all of the wrestling couples on Instagram consist of two wrestlers. It may seem like breaking every law of nature, but wrestlers tend to also date outside their profession. Darren Young got his WWE start as a competitor on the first season of NXT and became a member of The Nexus on the main roster. He found success later with Titus O’Neil when The Prime Time Players captured the WWE Tag Team Championship and Young is currently seeing a surge in his singles career with legendary WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund as his “coach.”
Darren Young, whose real name is Fred Rosser, made headlines in 2013 when he casually spoke with TMZ about being gay in the pro wrestling industry, becoming the first openly gay active WWE Superstar. Since then, WWE and Young’s coworkers have gone public with their support of him. Young and his long time boyfriend Nick often attend WWE events as a couple and frequently post photos together, like this one, on Instagram.
9 Rosa Mendes
Rosa Mendes isn’t the most accomplished pro wrestling personality in history, to say the least. She’s been part of the company since the 2006 Diva Search competition, making her one of WWE’s longer tenured female wrestlers, although wrestling isn’t something she’s done much of. She’s mostly been known for managing other wrestlers, such as Fandango and the tag team of Primo and Epico. Her loss percentage is nearly 100 percent and she was hardly ever used on television even before her recent pregnancy. Sometimes it seems Rosa’s one of those people WWE forgets is under their employ, so her contract just keeps renewing by default.
Despite her lack of a successful wrestling career, Rosa Mendes seems genuinely happy with her personal life. Her Instagram account is busy, full of pictures of her newborn baby girl. She’s currently in a relationship with her daughter’s father, with whom she took this romantic photo outside the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, where they were engaged.
8 Lana and Rusev
Rusev and Lana are one of WWE’s most famous and charismatic couples. They’ve been an on screen team for most of their time with the company and have excellent chemistry, but everything began to fall into complete disarray in 2015 when the writing team attempted to split them up. Rusev was stale bread without Lana at his side and Lana was thrust into a babyface role, something at which she did not excel.
Each of them was in new fictional relationships when TMZ broke the news that Lana and Rusev had gotten engaged in real life. This threw quite the wrench into plans that were already horribly executed and after months of attempting to fix what they’d broken, WWE seems to have gotten the act back together. In the meantime, Lana and Rusev have been killing it on Instagram with romantic photos like this one from Cancun, Mexico.
7 Randy Orton
The accomplishments of Randy Orton are legendary. His opening years in WWE are defined by his involvement in the historic stable of wrestlers known as Evolution. Evolution also consisted of Batista, Triple H and the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, so Orton was rubbing shoulders with some elite company. Not that he wasn’t already born into greatness, as his father is WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton.
Randy’s won the WWE Championship a plethora of times and also held the Intercontinental and WWE Tag Team Championships. He’s wrestled and beaten some of the biggest names in professional wrestling including John Cena, Triple H and The Undertaker. But no matter how distinguished Orton’s career has been, he hasn’t embraced social media with the same fervor. He’s not incredibly active on Twitter or Instagram, but he did manage to post this photo of himself and the woman who is now his wife, Kemberly Kessler.
6 Eve Torres
Some former WWE Superstars are still holding it down on Instagram with romantic photos of their own. Former Diva Eve Torres left WWE in 2012 after a very successful career with the company. Not only did she win the 2007 WWE Diva Search competition, but she also went on to become a three-time Divas Champion. Her transition into an actual wrestler was a fluid one, but she’s also memorable for her roles outside the ring, including her time running both Raw and SmackDown to varying degrees.
When Eve left WWE she began focusing on her role as an instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered Self-Defense Program. She married Rener Gracie in 2014 and gave birth to the couple’s first child in 2015. Eve still keeps in touch with some of her former coworkers and actually works as an ambassador of sorts for WWE. She remains active on social media, as this beautiful Instagram shot shows.
5 Eva Marie
The red haired beauty known as Eva Marie joined WWE as a cast member of the Total Divas reality show. Having only recently been signed to a contract at the time, her in-ring training had only just begun and she was doomed to the fate of having to learn to wrestle in front of the harshest critics in the world: pro wrestling fans. Three years later, Eva’s made plenty of progress, but WWE fans decided long ago that she was to be hated and shunned for all of eternity. The WWE Universe has tried booing her out of the business, but in reality they’ve made her one of the biggest female heels in WWE history.
She perseveres, still holding strong to her position on Total Divas and getting drafted to SmackDown Live. But she also stays busy keeping her Instagram updated with steamy photos of herself and her husband Jonathan Coyle, who can be seen with Eva on the aforementioned hit TV show.
4 The Miz and Maryse
Few WWE Superstars have seen as many different incarnations of their character as Mike “The Miz” Mizanin. The Miz has worked with WWE for over a decade and gone from being a punk in shorts and a goofy hat to being the reality show underdog who beat John Cena at WrestleMania. Today, he’s a self obsessed movie star who tries to protect his “money maker” at all costs. Like him or not, The Miz is one of the most decorated WWE Superstars of all time, having won every active WWE male championship.
The Miz and his wife Maryse had been dating for many years before being married in 2014. Maryse herself is a former WWE Diva and a two-time Divas Champion. She left WWE in 2011 but returned in 2016 in a non-wrestling role as the manager for The Miz. The couple will be starring in an upcoming film together and are obviously very close, if Maryse’s Instagram account is any indication.
3 John Cena and Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella might just be the wrestling queen of Instagram, which is appropriate considering she is one of the most accomplished women to wrestle for WWE in many years. Nikki and her sister Brie have always had to combat incorrect assumptions that they’ve used their WWE careers to benefit their modeling aspirations. As a matter of fact, Nikki and Brie have stated time and time again that pro wrestling is their passion and it’s hard to ignore Nikki’s evolution into one of the strongest female performers of our time.
The longest reigning Divas Champion in history is also dating the biggest wrestling star since “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock. Nikki has been in a relationship with John Cena for many years and the couple’s woes over Cena’s hesitance to commit to marriage have at times dominated Total Divas. Their relationship apparently has held strong, as Nikki’s Instagram account is jam packed with romantic photos of her and John, including this shot of the couple having a moment during a dance.
2 Naomi and Jimmy Uso
Jimmy Uso and his twin brother Jey have been staples in WWE’s tag team division for many years. The former WWE Tag Team Champions bring with them a legendary family history; their father is WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi, and they are collectively a part of the huge Anoa’i wrestling dynasty. That dynasty includes other iconic names such as Yokozuna, Umaga, and The Rock. Needless to say, The Usos have had big shoes to fill.
Naomi, on the other hand, is a first generation wrestler who got her start a few years back as a competitor in an all female version of NXT. After being stuck with a silly dance gimmick as a part of The Funkadactyls alongside fellow WWE Diva Cameron, Naomi finally broke out on her own and has become one of WWE’s top heels. She’s established her own identifiable style and even sings her own theme song.
Jimmy and Naomi were married in 2014, but have been together for a while now. They’ve both been featured heavily on Total Divas and Naomi keeps her Instagram account up to date with plenty of romantic photos of the two.
1 Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
Brie Bella might not have been the most beloved Superstar next to her sister Nikki, but her love for her husband Daniel Bryan is so obvious that the most jaded of fans were moved anytime the couple was on screen together. That wasn’t often, as WWE tended to keep the relationship mostly out of storylines except for an angle between Brie and Stephanie McMahon a couple of years ago.
Daniel Bryan’s underdog story is well known, but the gut-wrenching reality of his recent years has incited even more compassion for the already beloved Superstar. His father passed away shortly after Bryan had his big WrestleMania moment and then Bryan had to deal with the harsh realities of injuries which kept putting him out of action until he was eventually forced to retire, all the more heartbreaking due to the fans’ knowing just how important wrestling is to him.
That’s what makes this the most romantic photograph on Instagram between two WWE Superstars. Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan are crazy for one another, and in this picture Brie seems to be protecting Bryan. The look in his face seems to say that he knows everything is going to be okay.