At WrestleMania 33, following a brief and seriously underwhelming tag team encounter against The Miz and Maryse, John Cena got down on one knee and proposed to his tag team partner, Nikki Bella. Although the vast majority of those watching the event could smell the proposal coming the moment the match was booked on SmackDown Live several weeks prior, it was a touching moment and served to further cement WrestleMania’s reputation as a spectacle. Cena’s proposal to Bella came after years of WWE cameras following their relationship, both for Total Divas and for more traditional wrestling programming.
The relationship of Nikki Bella and The Face That Runs The Place is not the only romantic partnership WWE has focused on over the past couple of years. SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan and his real-life wife Brie Bella have received considerable attention, as have Natalya and her husband, Tyson Kidd, and the aforementioned Miz and Maryse.
If you were to rewind the clock two decades, you would see the real-life relationship of Marc Mero and Sable being used in WWE storylines, and if you were to go back even further you would be reminded of the odyssey of “Macho Man” Randy Savage and his bride, Miss Elizabeth.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Vince McMahon wants to give airtime to all of the couples in WWE. Over the years, he has consciously avoided mentioning literally dozens of couples for fear that acknowledging romantic relationships might screw up storylines or, in the cases of female performers, make them less marketable.
Today, we’re going to be looking at 15 WWE couples Vince wants you to ignore.
15 Austin Aries & Thea Trinidad
Austin Aries made his NXT debut in March of last year. Today, he is one of the hottest stars of WWE’s Cruiserweight division and has challenged WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville for the strap on multiple occasions.
Although he has consistently come up short in his clashes with the Englishman, the general consensus is that it is only a matter of time before The Greatest Man That Ever Lived takes his rightful place at the top of Cruiserweight Mountain.
In October of 2016, just a couple of months after Aries signed with WWE, his fiancèe, Thea Trinidad, began making appearances for NXT. Trinidad's most notable bout in NXT so far came in the form of a one-on-one clash with NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. She lost the match and any mention of her relationship with Aries was carefully avoided by announcers.
14 Bayley & Aaron Solow
Former WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bayley does not fit the mold of the female performers of WWE’s past. For a start, she actually has some degree of wrestling ability and is capable of more than a few unconvincing slaps. Furthermore, she is lacking the dyed blonde hair and surgically enhanced assets which used to ensure one a place at the top of WWE’s female division.
That being said, she is one of the most naturally beautiful women on the WWE roster and there are literally millions of men (and probably a considerable amount of women) who would sacrifice a limb to receive a hug from her. However, Bayley has eyes only for her fiancée Aaron Solow.
Solow is himself a professional wrestler and has carved out a nice career on the independent scene. He has also been on the wrong end of a couple of squash matches on NXT and 205 Live, but his relationship with the woman who is arguably Raw’s biggest female draw has rarely been mentioned.
13 The Undertaker & Michelle McCool
Back when The Undertaker was performing as a more human biker who had neither the ability nor the occasion to rise from the dead, WWE frequently made reference to his wife, Sara. In fact, Vince McMahon himself once vowed to have Sara sexually assaulted in a storyline which, admittedly, got a little out of hand.
Once The Undertaker reverted to his Dead Man gimmick, however, all mentions of his personal life ceased. Even after the multi-time world champion divorced Sara and married former WWE Diva’s Champion Michelle McCool, WWE refused to acknowledge his romantic relationships, presumably to protect ‘Taker’s status as a lone wolf.
It would not be until The Undertaker’s emotional retirement at WrestleMania 33 that he and his wrestler wife were finally shown on WWE television together, and even then McCool was not mentioned by name.
12 Matt Hardy & Reby Sky
Reby Sky is largely responsible for the wrestling world’s rejuvenated interest in The Hardy Boyz. Alongside her husband, Matt Hardy, Sky crafted the Broken gimmick that would totally revamp the Hardys and alter their careers irreversibly. She frequently appeared by the side of the broken brothers during their time in Impact Wrestling, often carrying her son, Maxel Hardy, in her toned arms.
Since Matt and Jeff Hardy returned to WWE this past April, Reby Sky has been absent from the spotlight. Matt and Jeff seem to have abandoned their broken gimmick due to an ongoing legal battle with their former employer, meaning WWE has little reason to include Sky in storylines at this time.
It is possible that she will be introduced to the WWE Universe once all legal issues with Impact Wrestling have been sorted out, but until then, don’t expect Vince McMahon to acknowledge her relationship with the former ECW World Heavyweight Champion.
11 Alexa Bliss & Buddy Murphy
Alexa Bliss is the current WWE Raw Women’s Champion and is arguably the most beloved star in the Raw Women’s division, despite her hellish ways.
Fans were first introduced to her heel character when she aligned herself with Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy all the way back when she was in NXT. Bliss gelled perfectly with Blake and Murphy and their on-screen chemistry was reminiscent of the old-school factions and their ride together, die together philosophy.
Part of the reason Alexa Bliss, Wesley Blake, and Buddy Murphy worked so well together was that Bliss and Murphy were involved in a romantic relationship behind the scenes. It was mentioned in passing on a couple of occasions by NXT announcers but has been completely ignored by WWE since Bliss was brought up to the main roster. Despite WWE’s lack of focus on their relationship, Alexa Bliss and Buddy Murphy remain very much committed and became engaged in January of this year.
10 Jimmy Uso & Naomi
The relationship of Jimmy Uso and Naomi differs to the other relationships which we have looked at so far in that there are times when Vince McMahon is perfectly happy to acknowledge it and times when he insists everybody pretends the husband and wife have never even been in the same room.
When Naomi - real name Trinity McCray - tied the knot with the former WWE Tag Team Champion, WWE cameras were on hand for the ceremony. The whole thing was broadcast as part of Total Divas and McCray took to accompanying her husband and his twin brother to the ring on WWE television.
While their relationship is still covered on Total Divas, McMahon has banned all references to it on SmackDown Live, where McCray and Uso have been kept separate from each other. This is, admittedly, good thinking on McMahon’s part as he is currently trying to establish Naomi as the face of SmackDown’s Women’s Division, something which could conceivably be derailed by acknowledging her marriage to one of the brand’s top tag team heels.
9 Brock Lesnar & Sable
On WWE television, Brock Lesnar is portrayed as a wild man who is prone to violent outbursts when things do not go his way. The only person capable of reasoning with The Beast, according to WWE announcers, is his advocate, Paul Heyman. In reality, however, the current WWE Universal Champion is a devoted husband and loving father, a large part of why he insists on taking extended breaks from WWE’s travel schedule.
In 2006, after a tempestuous courtship, Lesnar married Rena Greek, who is better known to WWE fans as Sable. During her time in WWE, Sable captured the WWE Women’s Championship, along with the heart of every man who looked at her. Although her marriage to former WWE Superstar Marc Mero was frequently incorporated into WWE storylines, the company has made no references to her marriage to Lesnar.
8 Sasha Banks & Sarath Ton
Few competitors in the history of WWE have been able to connect with fans as naturally as “The Boss” Sasha Banks. Owing to her phenomenal in-ring talent and the unique mixture of confidence and humility with which she carries herself, Banks has become the collective crush of the WWE Universe.
Unfortunately for all of us, Banks is off the market as of August 4th, 2016 (not that any of us had a chance before that). It was on that date that the former WWE Raw Women’s Champion married a fellow by the name of Sarath Ton. Sarath Ton, like his wife, grew up with dreams of becoming a professional wrestler and competed on the indies under the name Kid Mikaze.
While he is currently employed by WWE, you will not find him inside a ring. Instead, Ton is a member of the company’s lauded costume department, silently supporting his wife from behind the curtain.
7 Dana Brooke & Some Guy On Creative
When former female bodybuilder Dana Brooke signed with WWE in 2013, she had no prior experience in the world of professional wrestling. When she began appearing on NXT’s weekly show the following year, it was clear that she had a long way to go before she could be treated as a credible asset to the brand.
When Brooke was called up to WWE’s main roster in May of 2016, fans reacted with surprise, for although she had certainly come on since her NXT debut, she was by no means ready for Monday Night Raw.
Shortly after Brooke’s call-up to the main roster, rumors began to circulate that she was romantically involved with somebody on WWE’s creative team, which was why she had been bumped up to Monday Night Raw ahead of schedule. WWE never made reference to these allegations and they eventually died down, suspiciously around the same time Brooke’s push was abandoned.
6 Aiden English & Raquel Diaz
Aiden English has been going through a tough time these past few weeks. He recently lost his tag team partner, Simon Gotch, after a series of backstage brawls led to Gotch being released; his singing gimmick, which proved a modest success back in NXT, has left SmackDown Live fans unimpressed and he has been relegated to jobber status.
Seeing him flounder on the lower card, you could easily forget that English is a member of the notorious Guerrero family. Of course, he isn’t a biological Guerrero, but he married into the wrestling dynasty in 2016, when he took Shaul Guerrero - who competed as Raquel Diaz in NXT - for his bride.
Shaul is the daughter of the late Eddie Guerrero, which would make Aiden English his son-in-law. Vince McMahon has avoided mentioning this connection on television as he likely does not want somebody he views as a perpetual enhancement talent associated with a former WWE Champion.
5 Mickie James & Magnus
When former Women’s Champion Mickie James first left WWE, it was 2010. She would not return to the company until 2016 when she signed on for a one-off return against NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, which led to her signing a full-time deal to return to the SmackDown brand.
During her six years away from WWE, James certainly wasn’t idle. She traveled the world, competing for various promotions, including Impact Wrestling, World Wrestling Council, and Global Force Wrestling. She also released a modestly successful country album entitled “Somebody’s Gonna Pay”.
During her time in Impact Wrestling, James entered into a romantic relationship with fellow professional wrestler Nick Aldis, who is best known for competing as Magnus. WWE has been completely ignoring James’ marriage since her return and is likely to do so until her husband’s contract with Impact Wrestling expires.
4 Renee Young & Dean Ambrose
The relationship between Renee Young and Dean Ambrose is comparable to the relationship between WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi and her husband, Jimmy Uso. This is because, like Naomi and Uso, Young and Ambrose are featured heavily on Total Divas yet their relationship is completely ignored on WWE’s more wrestling oriented shows.
The company has been careful to avoid making reference to Young’s romantic relationship with the former WWE Champion on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live as doing so would totally undermine Ambrose’s character as a lunatic loner who does whatever he wants to do.
On a recent episode of Talking Smack, United States Champion Kevin Owens came close to mentioning the couple’s secret marriage but was quickly interrupted by SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon.
3 Big Cass & Carmella
Believe it or not, Big Cass is not involved in a romantic relationship with best friend and tag team partner Enzo Amore. He is, in fact, committed to SmackDown Live star Carmella. The pair began dating after Carmella was assigned to Enzo and Cass as a valet back in NXT and have been together ever since, making their relationship work despite the fact they are currently on separate brands and rarely get to see each other.
Carmella’s connection to Big Cass has not been referenced by SmackDown Live announcers due to her status as a heel and his status as a face (and an extremely popular one at that).
Furthermore, Carmella is currently involved in an on-screen relationship with James Ellsworth, which would be even more unbelievable than it already is if WWE announcers were to remind us that the Princess of Staten Island has a boyfriend over on Monday Night Raw.
2 Seth Rollins & Zahra Schreiber
The WWE Universe was first introduced to Zahra Schreiber in early 2015 when nude images she sent to Seth Rollins were leaked online. While the fact two consenting adults were exchanging very vivid naked pictures was not cause for alarm, the leak caused a personal crisis for Rollins, who was engaged to a woman who was not named Zahra Schreiber.
While Rollins released a statement to his Twitter account addressing the situation, WWE did not make reference to it. Several weeks later, when the whole thing had blown over, Rollins began appearing in public with Schreiber on his arm, proudly displaying his new tattooed girlfriend. He even made an appearance in the audience of an NXT Takeover event with Schreiber by his side, but no mention of her was made by NXT announcers.
Later that year, Schreiber was released by WWE after it was discovered she had made a series of bigoted statements on her Instagram account several years before being hired by the company. There have been reports that this incident led to Rollins and Schreiber parting ways, but the former WWE Champion, like the company itself, has been silent since his lover’s release.
1 Paige & Alberto Del Rio
When Alberto Del Rio and Paige began dating shortly after his 2015 return to WWE, company officials made no effort to hide their disapproval of the relationship. They felt that Del Rio was a bad influence on Paige, whom they had big plans for, pending the revival of the company’s Women’s division.
When the brand split was reintroduced following WrestleMania 32, WWE attempted to separate Del Rio and Paige by placing one on SmackDown Live and the other on Monday Night Raw, though this proved unsuccessful. When Del Rio left the company for the second time towards the end of 2016, he took Paige with him. She has not been seen since, despite still being contracted to WWE.
Paige and Del Rio’s relationship, while totally ignored on Raw and SmackDown, was initially planned to be featured heavily on Total Divas. However, the worse things grew between Del Rio and WWE, the more vindictive Vince McMahon became. If Del Rio is to be believed, McMahon has been personally removing scenes featuring the former WWE Champion and his fiancée from episodes of Total Divas in a petty attempt to wipe all records of the couple from WWE.