Besides being “sports entertainment,” professional wrestling has most often been described as one part combat, one part soap opera (obviously with a lot of other parts in the mix). As a result, it’s no surprise that once ladies became involved in the business alongside their male counterparts, as in most forms of storytelling, romance came into play and couplings both heroic and villainous would be introduced as part of the show.
From the blurred business/friendship lines between valets and their charges in the territorial days to the more torrid romantic exhibitions of the 90’s and beyond, wrestling has a rich history of couples whose relationships light up the landscape and more often than not end up extending beyond the camera; this month in the Five Count, we list off our favorites.
5. SHANE DOUGLAS & FRANCINE
I think it’s in the Forever Hardcore documentary where either Shane Douglas or Francine, or possibly both, relay that Paul Heyman came up with the idea for them to be the “star quarterback and head cheerleader” of ECW. Regardless of who generated the idea, it produced magic and gave the promotion a thoroughly unlikable top level heel during its hottest period. On his own, “The Franchise” had no trouble drawing heat but, with Francine on his arm, Douglas went nuclear. They both knew how to bait a crowd like few others and, moreover, how to rub their physical attractiveness and aggravating attraction to one another in the collective faces of everybody else.
4. JIMMY GARVIN & PRECIOUS
You could call this my “token old school” entry as I didn’t grow up in the era when they thrived, but everything I’ve seen of Jimmy Garvin and Precious I’ve really dug. I think they proved they deserve their place in wrestling history some time ago. What stands out to me every time I see these two on camera during old World Class or NWA shows has to be their genuine affection for each other. Yes, some of that had to come from their real life by all accounts happy marriage, but plenty of legit couples have been put in front of the camera and not a spark has flown. When Jimmy turned babyface because the likes of Ric Flair and Kevin Sullivan menaced Precious, you couldn’t help but root for the guy no matter how much of a jerk he’d been in the past, because they had something special and you didn’t want to see it threatened.
3. EDGE & LITA
Sorry Matt Hardy.
I actually counted myself as a big fan of the romance within Team Extreme, but there’s no denying Lita’s relationship with Edge had a red hot passion that her time with Matt lacked (on camera, at least). Obviously, it’s impossible to consider what happened within the vacuum of WWE without looking at the big picture. One thing that made this affair so unique is that it began in the very real world with Lita cheating on Matt with Edge. Fact then bled over into fiction as first Lita turned on Kane and went heel for the first time in five years, and then when Hardy unexpectedly came back into the picture.
Beyond the feud with Matt Hardy, Edge and Lita kept your eyes glued to the TV every second they graced it. Their sleazy, overtly sexual displays of affection reached a level never seen even in the throes of the Attitude Era. When Lita gets inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, it will be deservedly in large part due to her athletic accomplishments, but damn could she play one sultry sexpot. You can’t undervalue the role Lita and her relationship with Edge played in transforming him from a reliable upper mid-card player into the “R-Rated Superstar,” a bonafide main eventer and hall of famer.
2. TRIPLE H & STEPHANIE MCMAHON
The sheer historical significance alone gets them on the list as within the next couple of decades they will most likely be running the show. Putting all that aside, they still land high for me personally. Once Austin/McMahon finally seemed to run out of steam, these two and their pairing pretty much drove the remainder of the Attitude Era, and did so to some of its most entertaining points.
For years, the powers that be of the WWF wanted Triple H to get over the hump and become the main event heel they needed. While he always seemed close, he arguably never quite got there until December of 1999 when he formed his unholy alliance with on-screen (and later real deal) wife Stephanie McMahon. Who would have thought the awkward daughter of Vince McMahon had what it took to become an A-list vixen on her daddy’s show? She not only thrived in the part (maybe not always, but certainly in those early years), but she also brought something out in Triple H that allowed him to cement himself as the cocky, cerebral bad guy you loved to hate.
In this case, the whole proved better than the sum of the parts and ended up injecting new life into a landscape threatening to grow stagnant. The McMahon/Helmsley Era, the Kurt Angle love triangle, etc. made 2000 into 2001 one of the WWF’s hottest years even without the presence of a certain Rattlesnake. While their best on-camera years may be behind them, as a power couple at the corporate offices, HHH and his bride currently steer the oft-volatile but undeniably commercially thriving WWE as it stands on the precipice of even greater success.
1. RANDY SAVAGE & MISS ELIZABETH
Were you expecting anybody else?
I can’t honestly think of any other performer in the history of professional wrestling who exuded the unique combination of manic energy and precision skill that “Macho Man” Randy Savage possessed. A wild man who could pick apart his opponents with calculated cunning but also snap at a moment’s notice, he needed a counter balance, and that came in the form of the beautiful and demure Miss Elizabeth. She was his valet—and for a time his real life wife—from shortly after he entered the WWF. For the first few years of their story romance did not play a huge role, save for Savage’s insane jealousy. However, their relationship would evolve.
Honestly, that’s the reason this couple gets number one on my list: not because of their chemistry—they had it, but others may have had more—but because from start to finish, the way their story played out has never been matched on the pro wrestling stage. Not to play the “everything was better in the old days” card, but the slow burn of Savage and Elizabeth over the course of over five years required patience and planning by both the performers and those crafting the tale that we may never see again.
They began as a blustering brute and the woman by his side that he didn’t appreciate. For a time, he became a gallant knight who was willing to let her stand in the spotlight. That couldn’t last due to his insecurity. Eventually, he evolved into an even worse villain than before, losing her in the process. By the time the story came full circle, he had lost everything but got Elizabeth back. He then realized he only needed her to be a good man. The post-script of Savage’s match with the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VII, from Sherri turning on him, to Elizabeth making the save, to the very last moment where he finally holds the ropes for her should be enough all by itself to qualify them as the best couple in wrestling history in my mind.
5. SHAWN MICHAELS & SENSATIONAL SHERRI
When the Rockers first broke up, Shawn Michaels was a fledgling heel trying to establish himself as a star. While it’s hard to believe now, Sherri was probably a bigger star in late 1991 than “The Heartbreak Kid.” So when Sherri voluntarily left the side of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase because she was infatuated with Michaels, it automatically made Shawn seem like a big deal while lending some credence to the HBK nickname. For the next year, Sherri would add much-needed heat to Shawn’s matches, all the while doing a convincing job of playing an infatuated cougar eager to mingle with her new boy toy. Michaels himself has since credited the pairing with allowing him to come into his own as a heel and a solo performer.
4. DANIEL BRYAN & A.J. LEE
This was probably the best, most natural “blossoming love” story WWE had done since the Attitude Era. It started as a cute mutual crush between two youngsters wrestling in the mid card on SmackDown. By late 2011, however, the relationship between Daniel Bryan and A.J. Lee had reached the “serious business” stage, and the love between the two was clear. Well, the love AJ had for Bryan was clear, anyway. Over the first few months of 2012, Bryan slowly began manipulating A.J., taking advantage of her love for him by using her to win matches and worm his way out of matches. It soon became clear that Bryan coveted the World Heavyweight Championship more than he loved A.J.
It was very reminiscent of the early years of Macho and Liz: a jealous, selfish man who didn’t appreciate the beautiful, loving girlfriend who always supported him. I felt there was more mileage to be had from the Bryan-Lee relationship, but it certainly helped put both individuals on the map.
3. SPIKE DUDLEY & MOLLY HOLLY
Confession: from a pure love story standpoint, this is my second favorite in wrestling lore. It’s a testament to the performers, the writers and the era that this 2001 pairing got over to the extent it did. Watching a random Raw from spring 2001 recently, I was blown away at just how popular Molly and Spike were, especially given how completely different from the vast majority of Attitude Era characters they were. Here was a shy, nervous, goofy guy paired with a naive, cute girl next door, and they were slowly developing feelings while surrounded by beer drinkers and hell raisers.
Spike defending Molly’s honor even when hopelessly outgunned by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was probably the pinnacle of the angle. It was a rare instance where WWE managed to capture the essence of romantic love.
2. EDGE & LITA
I was a huge Edge fan for years before he hooked up (off-screen or on) with Lita, but there was something holding him back from being a top-flight heel. Call it that certain quality that exuded “star.” That all changed when an off-screen affair led to an on-screen pairing that took WWE by storm. Lita has never looked better or been more effective than when she was Edge’s sexy partner during the onset of his “Rated R Superstar” moniker. Lita gave Edge that boost he needed to get to the next level, and Edge provided Lita with something interesting to sink her teeth into after her character had become stale due to a seemingly never-ending storyline with Kane.
This run took advantage of both performers’ strengths, and it allowed them to do and say things that made sure they’ll be remembered for years to come. A highlight of their run, in my eyes, was the match at One Night Stand 2006, a giant brawl involving Edge, Lita, Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, Terry Funk and Beulah McGillicutty.
1. RANDY SAVAGE & MISS ELIZABETH
What more needs to be said? This is the quintessential couple in pro wrestling, and I doubt any pairing could ever surpass it. When I think of romance, tragedy and soap opera in wrestling, these two are the first performers that come to mind. Even as a seven-year-old boy, “Elizabeth … WILL YOU MARRY ME?” gave me goose bumps.
5. GOLDUST & MARLENA
When Goldust debuted in late 1995, he shocked most of the wrestling world with his bizarre character, over the top gestures, sexually overt mannerisms and, well, interesting look. His initial angle with Razor Ramon was so sexually charged that the WWF earned some not so positive feedback about the direction of the character. So, at the Royal Rumble, Marlena was introduced to add some ambiguity to Goldust’s sexual preferences. After that, the real life couple got into a great groove, mixing in questions and answers as they went. One week, Marlena and Goldust seemed to be a couple, the next Marlena seemed to be egging on Goldust’s advances on Roddy Piper and Undertaker. It was mysterious and really pushed the envelope on WWF TV. By 1997, they humanized the couple during a feud with Triple H & Chyna and had them careen into a hot angle with Brian Pillman that was supposed to pay off in a Marlena heel turn before Pillman’s untimely passing. Shortly after, the two were split up for good, but their 18 month run as a WWF’s bizarre first family was, pardon the pun, gold.
4. SHAWN MICHAELS/RANDY SAVAGE & SENSATIONAL SHERRI
I cheated a bit and grouped these two together, but that is because I felt Sherri Martel aided both charges equally. Following his split with Miss Elizabeth, Randy Savage needed to push his heel turn into hyper drive and to help ensure a heel reaction, he was paired with the annoying bitchy shrill Sensational Sherri, who was then renamed Scary Sherri. The duo was a great pairing as they were both bat shit insane and there was not a hint of sexuality mixed in. It was just two crazy people looking to beat the shit out of people and dominate the WWF. In late 1989, Savage became King and Sherri was named his Queen and that is where things really kicked off. Ask any fringe wrestling fan that grew up in the early 90’s and they will be able to name Macho King and Sensational Queen Sherri as two of the best characters going at the time. As WWF’s royal couple, they threw themselves into the role completely and were so enjoyable to watch that it became hard to hate them, even as they amped up their heel actions. After 18 months in the role, Savage’s career seemingly came to an end at WrestleMania VII and seeing that her meal ticket had ended, Sherri, ever the heel, kicked him to the curb and moved on.
After a 10-month run with sugar daddy Ted DiBiase, Sherri was released by her Teddy Bear because she had become love struck with the newly minted “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. Michaels had all the talent in the world, a great look and could clearly go in the ring, but many questioned how effective he could be as a top level heel. Sherri was there to help guide him through the early months and she did a fantastic job helping to groom him as a star. It was a great pairing and an easy fit and Sherri in the cougar role (before being a cougar was cool) made all the sense in the world. Plus it was her voice that helped establish one of the greatest wrestling theme songs of all time.
3. EDGE & LITA/VICKIE GUERRERO
Very similar to Shawn Michaels, Edge was in an interesting spot in 2005, a heel as a singles wrestler for the first time, he seemed a bit directionless and was without a character to really latch on to and root against. Despite some big wins and a major Money in the Bank victory at WrestleMania, he was still missing that something extra to really elevate him. As things got messy behind the scenes, Edge lucked out that WWE valued him more than Matt Hardy, the guy who had his woman stolen. After the fallout backstage settled down, WWE paired Edge and Lita on screen and the fireworks were immediate. After polishing Hardy off, the Edge push fired up heading into 2006, as did Lita’s status as a sex symbol. For the first time in her career, she really amped up the slut factor, proudly showing off her cleavage and making out and essentially dry humping her man whenever she could. The night after Edge won his first World Title, the two engaged in a Live Sex Celebration on Raw that drove ratings up significantly. The two remained a unit throughout 2006, including an awesome six person match at One Night Stand that brought the hate, blood and gore to a whole new level. Without Lita, Edge may have become a star, but he never would become the Hall of Fame “Rated R Superstar.”
Then, things got even crazier as Edge became obsessed with being The Man, the champion that controlled WWE through any means necessary. And those means included wooing and bedding the reigning cougar of SmackDown, Vickie Guerrero. After watching Edge shack up with the sultry Lita for years, it was a shock to see him locking lips with Vickie, who was quite the opposite in the looks department when the two first joined up. But just as Lita helped give Edge a character for fans to get into, Vickie helped push that character over the top by diving right into her boyfriend’s megalomaniacal machinations of ruling the wrestling world. La Familia was a really fun stable in 2008 and Vickie & Edge’s run as the power couple of SmackDown gave a true hook and face of the show for a lengthy run.
2. TRIPLE H & STEPHANIE MCMAHON
As you can see, there is a common theme here as we have a group of heels that always needed one last push to get over the hump, and many times a female valet was the bump they needed. Triple H was in the midst of a massive heel push in late 1999, but despite all the bells, whistles and DX associates, there was still something missing. That all changed with one drive thru wedding and a very big intra-family double cross. Once Triple H married the boss’s daughter, everything changed for “The Game.” 2000 was his year, and he dominated the TV screen in and out of the ring as the McMahon-Helmsley Faction controlled all. Stephanie quickly grew into the role and when she harnessed in her shrieking voice and overacting, she was a major part of establishing Hunter as The Man in the company. She also wasn’t afraid to show ass like her father, often eating a Rock Bottom or People’s Elbow at the end of a string of power hungry interference. When you factor in the direction their personal lives went shortly after, it is hard to argue the success of this pairing in the establishment of both as major characters and shaping the future of WWE.
1. RANDY SAVAGE & MISS ELIZABETH
The First Couple of the WWF is also the first couple of my Five Count list. No couple in wrestling history had a more beautifully woven story from start to finish than they did. Factor in the emotional attachment that fans had with both and you have the perfect example of how to book a couple in the wrestling world. We watched Savage go from a jealous boyfriend, always seeming like a threat for domestic violence to a repentant man that participated in one of the most emotionally charged scenes of all time at WrestleMania VII. Following their reunion and wedding at SummerSlam, Savage became a defender of love, ending up embroiled in a violent feud with Jake Roberts that included “The Snake” smacking Liz in the ring at This Tuesday in Texas. Hell, they even had a fun run in WCW when they reunited as bitter pricks in the NWO, taunting and terrorizing the WCW stalwarts.
I fully expect Savage & Liz to dominate this list, as they should. I can’t imagine anybody immediately thinking of anybody besides Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth when the topic of Wrestling Couples comes up. Oh yeah!
5. MATT HARDY & LITA
These two kids felt like high school sweethearts that always seemed to love each other, they just tried to dance around it and justify why they didn’t until it was impossible to do so. Their first kiss on Raw was a great moment and felt like a fairy tale moment of their real life relationship playing out on screen—more on this to come.
4. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE & KIMBERLY
This relationship ran the gamut from DDP abusing her as the Diamond Doll to him being the consoling husband during the Macho Man feud of 1997. That is where I like this one to focus on and why it makes this list. Kimberly was doing her own thing spearheading the Nitro Girls and DDP was in a fierce battle against the NWO. Uncensored 1997 turned the whole scenario around when DDP got attacked by Savage and Kimberly was spray painted and humiliated by Elizabeth. While you could see Savage/Elizabeth have their own dynamic at this point as a couple, you could really see the care DDP had for his wife and family. He was willing to risk it all and take irrational chances to protect them. I really liked the family dynamic this couple presented throughout their time together in WCW.
3. KURT ANGLE & STEPHANIE MCMAHON
Most of us have been there. A girl is with a guy that we don’t like and he is not treating her well. We engage in conversation with her and she laughs at your jokes, maybe pats you on the shoulder and suddenly thoughts start to creep into your head. What if she wants me to release her from this abusive relationship where she isn’t respected? This felt like the classic passion vs. humor debate and as someone who has been given the “friend zone” talk multiple times including around this period, it hit really close to home. Kurt was awesome in this role as the good ol’ boy that just wanted to be “friends” with Steph. The way he played that role of never crossing the line but leaving a lot of room for doubt about his true intentions was tremendous. The payoff of this couple wasn’t as great as it could have been but for a period during the summer of 2000, this storyline was one of the most relatable ones in WWF history.
2. EDGE & LITA
My wife and I went out to dinner with another couple on New Year’s Eve. We had been around this couple of few times before but never when alcohol significantly played a role. During dinner, after dinner, when the ball was dropping, these two couldn’t keep their hands off each other. I am usually not someone to blush but there was a veracious nature to their PDA that it became a car wreck effect in that I tried to ignore it but couldn’t look away. Edge and Lita personify this couple in wrestling: Extremely passionate verging on the edge of slutty but undoubtedly entertaining. The live sex demonstration on Raw is still one of those spots now years later that is ingrained into my head. I also still don’t know who was playing whom in this relationship and whether it was built for the long term (usually leans towards no in these real life situations) but damn was it fun to watch this two when the sparks were burning bright.
1. RANDY SAVAGE & MISS ELIZABETH
I expect this to be the runaway winner and rightfully so. These two are without a doubt the best couple in wrestling history and sadly their real life mimicked their plight together on screen. Jealously in the beginning of Savage’s WWF run leading to a separation as the Mega Powers exploded. The glorious reconciliation at WrestleMania VII in what I still call the greatest moment in WWF history. Liz betraying Savage to go with Ric Flair in the 1996 was a heartbreaking moment for this fan. Their storyline even had a good capper with Liz/Savage being a scheming heel couple in the NWO in 1997. Savage and Liz personify all the elements that a pro wrestling on screen relationship can be combining the physicality of the sport with soap opera storyline narratives. These two are truly wrestling royalty and a cut above the rest.
5. EDDIE GILBERT & MISSY HYATT
They were the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee of pro wrestling in the 1980’s, a couple whose stint was short and connection was fiery, but who were both deeply in love. The beautiful blonde Missy was originally from World Class Championship Wrestling, and was already dating one of the top guys in that promotion, John Tatum. When Tatum went to Bill Watts’ Universal Wrestling Federation in 1986, he brought his supermodel-esque girlfriend with him, but things got rocky in a hurry. As a heel, Tatum joined forces with a wrestler with a brilliant mind for the business but an incredibly wild personality, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert. Gilbert came from Memphis Wrestling and was the leader of a heel stable that was a thorn in Watts’ side called Hot Stuff International. One of Gilbert’s aides in the group was a face-painted newcomer named Sting.
When Tatum lost to The Missing Link in a “Valet for a Day” match in 1987, Missy joined the group and immediately fell in love with Gilbert, turning on Tatum on storyline terms and in real life. Tatum wound up leaving the promotion soon thereafter. With a “loaded” Gucci handbag as their foreign object of choice, Gilbert and Hyatt became the Bonnie and Clyde of Mid South Wrestling, even renaming their faction H & H International to signify their devotion to one another. Just like Pamela and Tommy (albeit without the nudity), you could tell how deeply they had fallen for each other in this home movie that Missy posted last year. They got married in 1988 and Gilbert continued as a booker for the UWF before bouncing around Memphis and Alabama territories and winding up in WCW, all the way with the conniving but hot Missy by his side. Missy remained at WCW after Gilbert bailed, and their wild relationship went kaput with the on-screen split. In late 1989, they got divorced. Missy Hyatt is renowned in wrestling circles for having, welp, quite a few men on her side, but her volatile union with Eddie Gilbert was one of my favorites.
4. EDGE & LITA
Their relationship on television was a product of art imitating life instead of the other way around. In this case, it was a blessing for both Adam Copeland and Amy Dumas on their way to both becoming WWE Hall of Famers after Lita is inducted in April. It was originally a closely guarded hush-hush coupling between the two after Lita’s longtime boyfriend Matt Hardy was at home from Raw’s full-time roster due to injury in late 2004. When the rumors circulated online about Edge and Lita, Matt Hardy spoke out with a vengeance and got released for his troubles, which made smart fans even more furious at the two for what seemed to be an epic backstabbing. Edge was, in fact, the ultimate opportunist. But when WWE finally took advantage of the crowd’s vitriol and put Edge and Lita together on television, it was a perfect match.
Lita betrayed her on-screen husband Kane to join Edge and create one of the wildest and most villainous couples pro wrestling has ever seen. Lita used her heel run as Edge’s eye candy wisely, wearing titillating outfits and feeling up Edge like Miley Cyrus on Molly. It made for a fascinating real life feud when Matt Hardy returned to the WWE and stalked the new couple who had wronged him. Their back-and-forth segment with Todd Grisham on “Byte This” in August of 2005 is one of the most uncomfortable “worked shoots” you will ever see in wrestling. But what looked like a controversial tabloid became a silver lining when Edge won the WWE Championship twice in 2006 alongside Lita. Their “Live Sex” segment on Raw in January remains one of the show’s highest rated segments in years (and also showed an accidental flash of boobage under the covers). Ironically, by the time Edge had hit the big time thanks to her assistance, both of them had already moved on with new relationships. By the time 2007 hit, Lita had quit the company and Edge was a bona fide superstar in the WWE. Everyone knows that he would have never become the Rated R Superstar, or even a Hall of Famer, without help from his former lover.
3. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE & KIMBERLY
I was a WCW guy at heart during the Monday Night War, and even before Nitro began, I was always appreciative of the relationship between Kimberly and the man who introduced her to the wrestling business, Diamond Dallas Page. Page, who had been a nightclub owner before, started out as a manager for the stars in various promotions before managing The Diamond Studd (a.k.a. Scott Hall) at WCW in 1991. Kimberly, who was only 22 at the time, debuted on television as one of Page’s Diamond Dolls after they had gotten married in real life. When Page started competing as a singles wrestler in 1994, even when he was a glorified jobber to most, the dazzling Kimberly always stayed by her hubby’s side through the tough times.
Page and Kimberly were used in an angle where DDP was mistreating her constantly and Kimberly won her freedom as a stipulation at World War 3 ’95 after Page lost to Johnny B. Badd. Kimberly wound up managing the Booty Man, but when DDP’s star suddenly went on the rise in WCW as he feuded with the NWO, his history with Kimberly became a centerpiece (or should we say centerfold?) for the feud that turned Page into a superstar. It was almost perfect for another legendary couple, Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, to put the new couple over after Savage revealed a nude photo of Kimberly (in real life, Kimberly posed for Playboy and Penthouse multiple times), which set off Page and began a feud between the two that cemented Page as one of the company’s biggest names. Kimberly went on to dance for years as the leader of the Nitro Girls before becoming a spoiled heel when she turned on her husband to join Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo, and the New Blood. Anyone who has seen the speed dating scene in “The 40-Year Old Virgin” knows that Kimberly ain’t afraid of showing her slutty side to the amusement of others, and Page was proud of promoting that for the sake of business. In reality, their relationship went further than WCW did until they got a divorce in 2005.
2. TRIPLE H & STEPHANIE MCMAHON
The King of Kings and the Billion Dollar Princess. That is all you need to say to WWE fans and they know exactly what you are talking about. Unlike most cases in pro wrestling when an on-screen union follows an already established relationship, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon had become a couple on WWF television for quite a while before it bled over into real life. Stephanie had been smitten with Hunter, as she always calls him, for quite a while as Triple H was invited to sit down in creative meetings dressed like a bum while Vince, Stephanie, and the other writers brainstormed. Storyline wise, “The Game” stole McMahon’s only daughter in a brilliant twist that had him get Stephanie drunk and married via drive-thru in Las Vegas the night before she married Test. But it turned out to be a ruse as Stephanie turned on her father at Armageddon ’99 and the McMahon-Helmsley regime was officially ushered in.
What followed turned out to be an embarrassment of riches, promotions, and grandeur for both of them. Triple H became one of the cornerstones for the WWE from the Attitude Era all the way to the PG Era that we are in today. Stephanie crept up over time from being a writer to a producer to running SmackDown to becoming the company’s Chief Brand Officer late last year. As the years have gone by, Triple H (who uses his real name Paul Levesque for corporate purposes) has limited his in-ring participation to become the C.O.O. of the WWE and the head of the creative department. The two were married in late 2003 and now have three daughters, their first being born in 2006. They are basically the royal couple of professional wrestling and likely the next in line to lead the WWE when Vince McMahon eventually departs in the future. Triple H may have become a Hall of Fame talent without Stephanie’s help anyway, but with his bride by his side, the two became indispensable together and, more importantly, are indispensable to the wrestling business as a whole.
1. RANDY SAVAGE & MISS ELIZABETH
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon may wield more power when it comes to corporate control, but no couple wields as much power and impact in the eyes of wrestling fans as Randy Savage and his then-wife Miss Elizabeth did in the 1980’s and 90’s. Miss Elizabeth’s real name was Elizabeth Hulette, and she was working at a small time wrestling territory in her home state of Kentucky when she met Randy Poffo, the ambitious and sporadic son of legend Angelo Poffo. The two hit it off immediately, getting married in December of 1984. When Savage sought the services of a manager on WWF television in 1985, his choice of Miss Elizabeth was surprising but very much invited by the fans. While Savage was a loud, pompous spotlight hog that the fans despised, the quiet and timid Liz was the object of affection for all of the WWF fans, cheering her loudly whenever another wrestler would try to woo her away from the repugnant “Macho Man.”
Savage was obviously an incredible five-tool wrestling talent who was great enough to make it on his own in Vince McMahon’s Rock ‘n Wrestling era, but the presence of Elizabeth and her beauty pageant-like sweetness was so much classier and seemingly above the rest of the women of wrestling that it made Savage and Liz even more famous. Miss Elizabeth is known today by many as the First Lady of wrestling, and Savage did not mind making himself look evil, temperamental or paranoid for the sake of making his woman look like an untouchable goddess. When Savage and Hogan made the Mega-Powers explode over a quarrel concerning Elizabeth’s loyalty, you felt the tension as a fan. When Elizabeth reunited with Savage after he had lost his career match to the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VII, we cried with them. Many knew they had been married already for years when they had the “Match Made in Heaven” at SummerSlam ’91, but it did not stop us from enjoying every solemn vow between the two like it was the first time.
It was not too long after Savage’s bitter and legendary match with Ric Flair, who had been promoted as one of Miss Elizabeth’s past boyfriends, at WrestleMania VIII that the two filed for divorce in real life in 1992. They reunited as an onscreen couple on separate occasions in WCW in the late 90’s, but despite some moments of greatness, the magic was definitely gone. By the time WCW closed down, “Macho Man” looked like a roided out pimp with a glorified stripper named Gorgeous George while Elizabeth managed (and began actually dating) Lex Luger. When Luger called 911 in 2003 and reports surfaced that Elizabeth had died from a drug overdose, all wrestling fans were shocked and saddened to a disturbing degree. Many wondered immediately what her former beau Savage thought about it all, but because of his hermit-like status after retirement, we never really found out. It was even more terrible when Savage died of a heart attack in May of 2011, but it came with the bright side that Savage would be reunited with Elizabeth one more time, and forever, in the afterlife. Simply put, no couple compares to these two.
And now, our overall Five Count…
5. SPIKE DUDLEY & MOLLY HOLLY
The girl next door and the weirdo from down the block, they had a brief courtship, but it hit a surprisingly sweet chord during a time in WWF history that often lacked that sentiment.
4. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE & KIMBERLY
Their relationship would be used to further both their careers, as a fulcrum to move storylines forward and get characters over. Tried and true professionals, they also had a genuine devotion to one another that shined through.
3. TRIPLE H & STEPHANIE MCMAHON
The most powerful couple off-screen in the history of the business, they also served as the premiere romance of the Attitude Era. Behind the scenes they’ve revolutionized the business with the growth of the WWE brand, but we’ll always (kinda) fondly remember how they made us crazy during the McMahon-Helmsley Era.
2. EDGE & LITA
They pushed the envelope beyond anything any on-camera couple had done to that point in pro wrestling and haven’t been topped since. Their pairing turned out to be the final push Edge needed to get over the top as a main event player and Lita saw her career revitalized (though probably not how she would have wanted). When it comes to pure hotness and sleaze, they may be untouchable.
1. RANDY SAVAGE & ELIZABETH
The most overwhelming favorite in the nine-month history of the Five Count, no other couple came even close to touching the “Macho Man” and his one-time bride. Their love story will forever be etched as the most touching and heartwarming not just of their era or in WWF/WWE history, but likely in all of wrestling forever. They each knew how to play their parts perfectly and brought something unique and special to the dance that will never be replicated.