The art of romance is one of the most powerful tools in storytelling. Love is the most relative thing in life. We all experience it, search for it and relate to the emotions behind. Wrestling is a form of art like any other and this has been spotlighted in the storylines for many years. We have seen many couples through the years in an effort to add another dimension to the program. While athletic competition and the matches are what everything culminates towards, getting there is a tricky road. The use of on-air couples have provided storytelling to set it up in an efficient manner.
Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth showed the power of love in a positive light. The usually tough Savage became a more sympathetic figure and even more popular. Miss Elizabeth utilized her soft spoken presence and innocent demeanor to add another layer to Savage and they both benefited from each other to become a collective success. The heel dynamic also works as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon blossomed into incredible heel characters when becoming a couple. Both parties seemed to lack the character depth needed to become a true main event level act and their pairing brought the memorable McMahon-Helmsley era.
Those two and many other on-air couples have led to great results in both individual and collective success but not all work out that way. For every one great wrestling couple, there are about five that completely flopped. It takes talent from both performers, good writing and chemistry for a wrestling couple to become a successful act. Any of these failing to connect will lead to potential disaster and sink both performers. Chemistry is most key as it’s something that can never be predicted or perfected but an innate thing that clicks. We’re going to look at the less successful stories of the twenty worst wrestling couples of all time.
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19 Debra and Steve Austin
The selection of Debra and Steve Austin being a terrible couple is strictly looking at their on-air relationship rather than the real-life personal problems that are well documented. Despite the couple being legitimately married at the time, they had very little chemistry on WWE television. Austin was nearing the end of his prime as the top star in the industry and entered a heel role. Debra would be revealed as his wife on television but she added very little due to her limited charisma. Aside from the running bit that Austin and everyone else hated her homemade cookies but were afraid to tell her, the couple were a bore to watch.
18 Sable and Vince McMahon
During the late 90s, Sable became the biggest female star in company history up to that point. The bombshell received massive crowd responses and posed for Playboy but she had an ugly departure. Sable left the company and sued them for sexual harassment. Like most stories of this nature involving bitter endings of stars with WWE, she eventually returned to the company in 2003. WWE certainly made her claims look ironic by having her portray Vince McMahon’s on-screen lover. The two would make out on a weekly basis and it was extremely awkward to watch. McMahon writing himself to enter relationships with the attractive female wrestlers always failed.
17 Christy Hemme and Lance Hoyt
TNA’s history of booking is obviously very scrutinized due to their many flaws throughout the years. One of their major booking flops was trying to create on-air relationships and love storylines with very little build or rational. Christy Hemme and Lance Hoyt got together in one of the more lackluster swervs when Hoyt turned on the Voodoo Kin Mafia to align with Hemme. The two went on to do absolutely nothing to develop their characters or relationships until they underwent a gimmick change. Hemme, Hoyt and Jimmy Rave made up the Rock N Rave Connection. The trio flopped with the brutal characters and the Hoyt/Hemme couple was dropped altogether.
16 Beth Phoenix and Santino
The comedy relationship of Beth Phoenix and Santino delivered a couple of humorous moments but it ran its course quickly. Phoenix was one of the best female wrestlers in the world and Santino was a comedic character. They tapped into their individual strengths to make up for each other’s weakness but you could see Phoenix’s credibility starting to slip due to Santino. Both parties were better off after the relationship was booked to end and they were each more successful following the split. Comedy in wrestling can go from entertaining to grating at the drop of a hat and the pairing of Beth Phoenix and Santino showcased that.
15 Stacy Keibler and David Flair
Most of the issues with the terrible couples on this list stemmed from poor chemistry or bad booking. The failures typically weren’t the fault of one person in the pairing. That’s not the case here as David Flair’s awfulness sunk the talents of Stacy Keibler. Just about every wrestler to work with Keibler was able to use her popularity to get themselves a bit more over but the second generation Flair had no wrestling skills. His overall dull personality was highlighted even more next to the rising star in Keibler. Unless he was playing the maniac character, David Flair was a waste and his on-air relationship with Stacy was another example of it.
14 Tara and Jessie Godderz
TNA had another horrible couple with the random pairing of female wrestling legend Tara and wrestling newbie Jessie Godderz. The latter was most known for being a reality television star on the CBS program Big Brother and worked a few indies before TNA picked him up. Godderz has been subpar since his debut in the company but his relationship with Tara was the low point. It was even worse for her, as this took away from the great in-ring work she was trying to put out to add to her legacy. The silly cougar angle damaged the presentation of the performers as both singles stars and as a couple.
13 Chastity and Hak
WCW snagged two performers from ECW and decided to make them an on-screen couple with Chastity and Hak. Hak was The Sandman in ECW but used the name hack in WCW as the company tried to profit off the popularity he achieved under Paul Heyman. There was no chemistry between Chastity and Hak which led to an even tougher battle for the duo to get over in what were already difficult waters. The run of Hak in WCW was a complete bust and the paring with Chastity helped cause it to be such a failure.
12 Torrie Wilson and Billy Gunn
WWE is the most intricate wrestling company in the world with many minds collaborating on the best ideas for their talents. Despite the strategic planning, some horrible ideas somehow get through the cracks and the pairing of Torrie Wilson and Billy Gunn was another example of that. Gunn was still working with the Mr. Ass gimmick and Wilson had an impressive backside herself, so WWE paired them together as an on-screen couple. The two bonded over their fascination of their rear ends but fans weren’t as impressed. Wilson’s popularity was squandered in this pointless angle and Gunn failed to get over once again.
11 Gail Kim and Daniel Bryan
Recently retired WWE star Daniel Bryan is married to WWE Diva Brie Bella today but their relationship started in the most bizarre of ways. The writing team had the idea of Brie and twin sister Nikki making a bet to see who could sleep with Bryan first because they thought he was a virgin. The big reveal was the Bellas confusing the word virgin with vegan and Bryan really being in a relationship with Gail Kim. The Bryan and Kim relationship only lasted a few weeks before it was completely dropped. While the two were both among the best wrestlers in their respective gender divisions, they had negative chemistry together and made for awkward segments.
10 Miss Elizabeth and Lex Luger
The real life relationship between Miss Elizabeth and Lex Luger made its way to television in the last few years of WCW. Elizabeth was known for being the graceful significant other of Randy Savage in WWE but the heel turn and work with Luger was a drastic change that saw her used less effectively. Luger’s work also took a downturn with the new character of an arrogant fitness freak. The combination of Elizabeth trying to get involved in matches as a heel and Luger just posing consistently was one of the worst memories from the dire days of WCW. If you plan to watch old WCW shows on the WWE Network, be sure to skip any segments involving these two when they became an on-air couple.
9 Trish Stratus and The Rock
Trish Stratus is arguably the most popular female star in WWE history. The Rock is arguably the most popular male star in WWE history. You would have guessed the two being a couple on television would have been a huge success but it did not get over and was quickly scrapped. The two kissed and became an item in what felt like it was supposed to lead to an important storyline but nothing happened. In their limited work together, the duo didn’t seem to have much chemistry and the company likely realized that when scrapping it. The potential failing to deliver and the star power involved added to this being one of the worst wrestling couples.
8 Sara and The Undertaker
If you ever looked at The Undertaker’s neck in the early 2000s, you would know someone named Sara was a big part of his life due to his glaring tattoo. Taker’s real life wife Sara was brought into the company in 2001 and played herself through a few storylines. Diamond Dallas Page made his debut in one of the first WCW Invasion storyline moments by stalking Sara. The Undertaker avenged her by beating up Page every week and she stuck around for a few more months. Nothing stood out about Sara and she was one of the most lackluster performers in WWE. This was proof that bringing in non-wrestlers to play off real life chemistry doesn’t always translate to entertaining television.
7 Vickie Guerrero and Edge
The relationship between Vickie Guerrero and Edge was effective in getting heat from the audience but they were extremely tough to watch on television every week. Vickie was not a natural on the microphone but her awkward moments made it work as fans despised her. Edge was an all-time great and aligned with Vickie to convince her to use her power as GM to get an advantage on SmackDown. The duo had many embarrassing segments from awkward moments making out to repetitive weekly promos to their wedding falling apart. It represents a lot of the things that wrestling fans feel shame about when explaining wrestling to non-fans.
6 Terri Runnels and Meat
Vince Russo’s ideas were outside the box and one of his worst moments came with P.M.S. Terri Runnels led a faction of women upset with the men of the WWE and sought out to make their lives a living hell. This started with Shawn Stasiak debuting with the name Meat and being Terri’s new lover. The gimmick would have Terri use Meat for sexual purposes backstage and he would be too tired by the time he hit the wrestling ring, resulting in losses. Both parties have stated their disdain for the storyline after leaving the WWE and for good reason.
5 Nattie and The Great Khali
The most recent example of the WWE just sticking two people together in a couple featured The Great Khali and Nattie. There was literally no reason other than the random comedy of two complete opposites pairing for comedic purposes. Nothing was accomplished for either and the jokes intended to come with their segments never connected. Nattie continued to be underutilized in the Divas division and Khali remained among the worst wrestlers in the history of the wrestling industry. The weak angle ended abruptly with no explanation and you can’t blame WWE there because quite frankly, no one cared. Total Divas was introduced and Nattie was paired with her real life husband Tyson Kidd for continuity purposes.
4 Dawn Marie and Al Wilson
Cheap comedy was big in WWE during the early 2000s and it came here in the form of cringe humor with Dawn Marie and Al Wilson. Dawn was on the losing end of a one-sided feud with Torrie Wilson, so she used her physical strengths to seduce Torrie’s father, Al Wilson, into entering a relationship with her. Al had no aptitude for the business and it resulted in some of the most embarrassing promo deliveries in wrestling history. Dawn forced Torrie to have a lesbian adult tape with her in order to break up with Al, went back on her word, married Al and accidentally killed Al during honeymoon sex. Anything can truly happen in the WWE and it sure did when it came to Al Wilson.
3 Billy and Chuck
Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo were two wrestlers WWE always wanted to succeed on a higher level but never could figure out the right character for them to get to the next stage. WWE put them together as a couple in 2002 and gave them a tag title run. This wasn’t the company being progressive and ahead of the curve when it came to social representation, but rather it gave them another excuse for sophomoric humor. The tired old gay jokes were used against the heel couple and the big reveal during their wedding was both letting the world know they were never gay. They turned face by admitting they did it as a publicity stunt and were as straight as an arrow. Classic WWE writing at its worst.
2 AJ Lee and John Cena
AJ Lee is celebrated as being one of the most successful female performers in recent history. Fans just connected with her and she entered prominent storylines with the main event male superstars. AJ would have on-air relationships with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Kane, but the worst was her short lived pairing with John Cena. The two had no chemistry whatsoever and every segment they shared resulted in bad television. Luckily, WWE saw it coming and decided to have Lee turn on Cena in a PPV main event to align with Ziggler. For two dynamic performers, AJ and Cena just didn’t seem comfortable being a couple and it certainly showed on camera.
1 Mae Young and Mark Henry
The obvious choice for this list features one of the Attitude Era’s biggest moments with Mark Henry dating Mae Young. Sexual Chocolate entered a relationship with the elderly female wrestling legend for the purpose of comedy and shock television content. The two would make out and be filmed with implications of having sex to push the envelope more and more. The culmination came when Mae was revealed to be pregnant with Henry’s baby and gave birth to a hand. Yes, a literal hand and no other body parts. WWE has tried to move on from the Attitude Era but a few all-time terrible segments live on and that is the main one. Burn the tapes, Vince.
1. Trish Stratus and Vince McMahon
The worst couple in WWE history was Vince McMahon and Trish Stratus for a multitude of reasons. McMahon developed a larger ego that would make its way onto television with various storylines showing it and this was the best example. Stratus was the most physically attractive woman in the company and McMahon clearly booked it to give him the opportunity to make out with her on a weekly basis. The storyline would get tackier as Vince made out with Trish in front of his "comatose" wife Linda. At one point, he made Stratus strip to her underwear and get on her knees to bark like a dog in the middle of the ring. It’s very rare for every single segment in a storyline to come off poorly but the McMahon and Stratus couple did it.
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