Pro Wrestling Relationships With Uncomfortable Age Gaps

The following article includes mentions of domestic violence.

Does love know no age? And is age truly just a number? Hollywood couples like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jason Statham, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, Emilie Livingston and Jeff Goldblum, or Leonardo DiCaprio and pretty much anyone he's ever dated are testaments to finding love despite age differences.

The world of professional wrestling seems to have followed Hollywood's tradition of May-December romances. And if this dynamic is inextricably linked to fame, then it makes sense; pro wrestlers are huge celebrities in their own orbit, and even occasionally break into the mainstream to become some of the biggest stars on the planet. But when it comes to matters of the heart, the following heels and faces alike don't seem to want to date anyone their own age anymore. 

While a two to three-year age difference is not out of the ordinary, some of these age gaps are bound to shock and awe — and that may actually be an understatement.

The Chick Magnet settles down

Phil Brooks — aka CM Punk — was one of the WWE's more outspoken superstars of the modern era. The "pipe bomb" dropping wrestler also had a short stint in UFC with a career of 0-1, with his only other match ending in no contest. Although he hasn't been able to pick up a victory in the octagon, he picked up a great victory in locking down former WWE star AJ Lee, who is eight years younger than Punk.

Now, eight years is not that big of a gap and certainly not the biggest we'll see on this list. It's also no secret that Punk and the WWE were on bad terms up until the very end. In an interview on wrestling pal Colt Cabana's podcast "The Art of Wrestling," Punk revealed that he got his walking papers on his wedding day in 2014. He stated, "As much as I kind of chuckled at it and didn't really let it affect my day, I was like 'once again you pushed too f***ing far; you pushed the wrong guy.'" Layer on the fact that Lee was still employed by WWE for a year thereafter, and you've seemingly got the recipe for some uncomfortable conversations at the Punk-Lee dinner table.

Fortunately, the relationship between Punk and the WWE eventually smoothed out a bit, with the straight-edge wrestler making appearances on the wrestling juggernaut's talk show "Backstage" up until its 2020 cancellation. When Punk made his pro wrestling return with the AEW in 2021, Lee and their pup, Larry, couldn't have been prouder.

The older man behind The Boss

Sasha Banks is one of the most notable women in professional wrestling today. Affectionately known as "The Boss" and the real-life cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg, Mercedes Justine Kaestner-Varnado began her wrestling career in the independent scene at only 18 years old and cemented her status as a top female performer upon entering the WWE in 2012. Since then, Banks has won multiple titles across WWE's Smackdown, RAW, and NXT brands, as well as competed in the first-ever female Hell in a Cell and Elimination Chamber matches.

In 2016, Banks married Sarath "Mikaze" Ton, a former wrestler turned WWE costume designer who is nine years her senior. In a chat with WWE, Banks shared how she and Ton "met in the independents together," and that he quit his job to support her dreams of going pro. And while that sounds so sweet, the couple's first date didn't exactly send the sparks flying. "We had pho, of course, and his nose was running," Banks recalled, adding, "And I think I had a hair on my chest, and he grabbed it, and I was like, 'Dude, you're a little too forward.'" Not exactly the stuff of a Nicholas Sparks flick, but everything worked out in the end because the two are still married, as of this writing. 

Privacy also seems to be important for Banks and Ton, as only a few social media posts about their wedding mark their only public remarks about it. 

Sarah Logan and Raymond Rowe: Modern Day Vikings

While Sarah Logan made a name for herself in the WWE with The Riott Squad, Raymond Rowe (who goes by Erik in the ring) was crushing the competition with his partner, Ivar, in a tag team called The Viking Raiders.  Logan and Rowe met while wrestling for independent promotions, and later tied the knot in a Viking-themed December 2018 wedding. Aside from their obvious common interest in wrestling, the pair is also keen on the fighting style and craftsmanship of the Norse heritage. Their wedding guests wore their best tunics and cloaks, and there was even a Viking shield cake!

Logan, who is nine years younger than Rowe, took a break from wrestling after being released due to the budget cuts made by the WWE amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after that bad news, however, the couple announced a pregnancy. They welcomed son Raymond in February 2021. Even more good news? They're head-over-heels for one another. In their wedding video, Rowe described his love for Logan: "She's my why. She's my reason. ... She's why I sacrifice ... why I want a future. Without her it doesn't make any sense." 

Logan reciprocated the love and revealed that even though she's the younger of the pair, it was her advances that sparked the romance: "Our relationship started as strictly a friendship. ... He made me like a shy little schoolgirl, so I couldn't confess my feelings for him for a very long time ... until I put my game on him."

Sable's next big affair

Brock Lesnar has won numerous titles across the WWE and the UFC. Back in 2006, "The Beast Incarnate" tied the knot with Rena Greek (aka Sable), who is probably one of the most sexualized women in professional wrestling history — and 10 years older than Lesnar.

The relationship reportedly started off as an alleged affair, while Brock was still engaged to his high school sweetheart, Nicole McClain, and Sable was still married to former WWE and WCW star Marc Mero. In an interview with "The Hannibal TV," Mero stated that he left a nasty message on Sable's phone and wanted to "access" her voicemail to delete it, but got an unexpected surprise when there was another message before his. "I gotta listen to the first one to get to mine," Mero claimed, "and it's this man's voice apologizing for the night before. I was like, 'What the heck?' And it was pretty graphic, and I was very taken aback. Then, I was realizing that she was seeing somebody else; it was devastating." With allegations like this, it appears as though Lesnar wasn't "The Next Big Thing" for wrestling fans alone. 

Lesnar or Sable, who later welcomed two kids together, appear to have kept mum about the supposed cheating, and that seems to be their default mode about everything. In a moment of rare candor, however, Lesner did tell "Highly Questionable" how he pranked Sable before getting her a new ring for their wedding anniversary, by convincing her that their toddler swallowed her old one.  

The Chairman and The IIconic's instant connection

"The Chairman" Shawn Spears, real name Ronnie Arneill, is one of the many talents who have gone on to AEW after their contracts with the WWE expired. During Spears' time in the WWE, he went by Tye Dillinger and met his wife, fellow wrestler Cassandra McIntosh (aka Cassie lee and formerly Peyton Royce), during training sessions, where she was instantly enamored with him. This led to the two getting together and marrying in August 2019, sharing an age gap of 12 years. It might be enough to make most of our mothers start asking questions, but they have become one of the most beloved couples in wrestling.

"I knew very early on in our relationship that he's 'the one' & every day he proves me right," McIntosh wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post, celebrating the birthday of her "goofy, smart, jacked, charismatic husband" in February 2022. Opening up about their paths first crossing in the ring in an interview with Chris Van Vliet, she revealed, "I was just drawn to him. ... I just thought he was so attractive." Her crush also meant that she tried to get as much one-on-one time with Spears as possible. "I looked up to him, 'cause he was so good," McIntosh recalled. "And so anytime we got extra training in the ring ... and I knew he was going to be taking training, I was like, 'I have to be in that session!'"

Spears owns a wrestling school called Flatbacks with Matt Clement (better known as Tyler Breeze), and the couple still train together regularly. 

A Hardy double restraining order

Matt Hardy was one half of The Hardy Boys with his brother, Jeff. Together, they made history in WWE with their TLC matches along with The Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian. After his initial release from WWE in 2005, the "broken" superstar spent time in the independents. Hardy, who was quite the ladies' man, met his wife, Reby Sky (who is 12 years his junior), during this period, and married her two years later.

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows though, and the pair's relationship was quite the rocky one. TMZ reported a disturbing 2014 domestic dispute in which Hardy and Sky both stepped away "bloody and bruised;" Hardy had scratch marks all over his face, and Sky had cuts on her face, along with a black eye and lip swelling. The couple filed restraining orders against each other, but they were dropped by both parties sometime after.

Despite the ordeal, they're still happily married today, posting happy times with their kids — they welcomed baby No. 4 in July 2021 — and tender moments with each other. Sky even captioned one 2020 photo with a somewhat on-brand version of their once-turbulent romance: "The ONLY person who could possibly ever make this backwoodsa** country s**t worth it ... love u [Matt Hardy]."  

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

No one put The Rock in a hard place about marriage

What is there to say about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson that hasn't already been said a million times over? He's one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, he was named People's Sexiest Man Alive in 2016, and he's the most electrifying man in all of sports entertainment. Oh yeah, and he's also married to singer-songwriter Lauren Hashian, who's 12 years younger than "The Great One."

The two were wed in a private 2019 ceremony in Hawaii, having dating for 10 years before deciding to tie the knot. Johnson, who shares two young children with Hashian, has been candid about his hesitation to marry his longtime girlfriend, and it actually has nothing to do with the fact that she was born around the time he was graduating high school. Speaking with WSJ Magazine, the "Moana" star didn't address the potentially uncomfortable age gap, but he did reveal, "My divorce did a number on me. I wasn't fearful of getting married again, there was just some hesitancy, but Lauren was incredibly patient: 'I love you, you love me, we have this amazing life together — no presh.'"

The Deadman's Bride

Mark Calaway, better known as "The Undertaker," is one of the greatest gimmicks pro wrestling has ever produced. With over 30 years in the industry, "The Phenom" hinted at his plans to retire; however, he left the door open for special appearances. Throughout his career, he's been married three times, his most recent wife being former wrestler and WWE Women's Champion Michelle McCool — with a 15-year age gap between the two. 

The two married in 2010, and McCool's ability to throw a perfect spiral sealed the deal for "The American Badass." In the WWE Network documentary "Undertaker: The Last Ride," he recounted, "It was a TV day, and I had a little football. She just happens to walk out, picks it up, and throws about a 35-yard spiral, just scorched it. I kid you not. I had never seen a girl throw a football like that." 

Speaking with Stephane Chase, McCool admitted her first impression of The Undertaker wasn't quite so enthralling. Due to his character's persona instilling fear in her (and most of us) at a young age, she said, "I grew up watching it, and he is not the most inviting person when you're watching as a fan from home." Honestly, we should all just be happy that The Undertaker and Mark Calaway are two different people. 

Kurt Angle earned the respect of his young bride's dad

Olympic Gold Medalist (which he'll tell you he won with a broken neck, no less) Kurt Angle had quite the prominent wrestling career. During that time, he had stints in WWE and Total Nonstop Action (formally TNA and now iMPACT Wrestling), winning championships everywhere he went. At the time of this writing, the Olympian and former WWE Champion is married to Giovanna Yannotti, who was born when Angle was 17 years old.

Yannotti, an actor, has appeared in "My Bloody Valentine," the "Sorority Row" remake, and even has an uncredited role in "Justified." Angle met Yannotti on the set of 2009's "End Game." In an interview with Vince Russo, she explained, "All of a sudden I saw Kurt walking in, big blue eyes; he was so handsome. ... I was just like, 'I gotta have him.'" She also mentioned that even though the 17-year age gap may have been a concern, Angle was very traditional, asking her police officer father for her hand in marriage and gaining his respect in the process. 

Angle married Yannotti in 2012, and they have three kids together, including a son they've adopted from Bulgaria.

Jerry Lawler and the Fountain of Youth

Of all the gaps on the list, this one takes the crown. Jerry "The King" Lawler has been wrestling since the '70s but cemented his career as the quippy commentator alongside Jim Ross in the WWE/F through the '90s to the early 2010s. You may also remember him from the Andy Kaufman biopic "Man on the Moon," where he re-enacted his epic feud with quirky comedian. Unfortunately, one of the things he's most known for these days is having a heart attack during a live episode of RAW in 2012.

The King also makes headlines for his relationship with longtime girlfriend Lauryn McBride. Although the two aren't married, as of this writing, they are engaged and have been together since 2011, with a whole lot of craziness going down since then. There was a case of domestic violence that may or may not have involved a gun, a horrific car crash in Tennessee, and of course, the stroke Lawler suffered while having sex with McBride, which he explained in great detail on his now-defunct podcast "Dinner with the King." After the aforementioned 2015 car crash they were both involved in, McBride described her minor injuries on Facebook, adding, "I think Jerry is superman ... not a scratch or anything. ... He tried to cover me to save me from the airbag before it deployed."  

Well, what's the age gap exactly, you ask? A whopping 39 years! If someone mistook McBride for Lawler's granddaughter, they'd be wrong, but perhaps justified.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Hulk Hogan moved on with a much younger girlfriend

Hulk Hogan is easily one of the most well-known personalities in wrestling, but his fans might not know that there's been a big upheaval in his personal life. "Yo Maniacs just for the record, the Facebook and Instagram posts are of me and my girlfriend Sky, I am officially divorced," Hogan had to clarify on Twitter in February 2022, confirming that his 10-year marriage to Jennifer McDaniel was indeed over. "Sorry I thought everyone already knew, love my Maniacs4Life," the wrestler added.

While Hogan and his younger ex-wife shared an age difference of nearly two decades, there's a 24-year age gap between Hogan and his new girlfriend, Sky Daily, as HITC reported. However, that hasn't stopped him from welcoming her into his world of WWE fame: One video on Hogan's Facebook shows him meeting singer Bret Michaels and introducing Daily as his girl. According to her own social media, the Florida native is a yoga instructor, accountant, and mom of three who hasn't been shy about sharing fun memories with the Hulkster — at least, until she set her Instagram to private. (Considering the media attention surrounding their relationship beginnings, we can't say we blame her!) But prior to this, the pair had posted some snapshots of themselves taking a trip to Panama together, giving each other elaborate bouquets of flowers, and playing golf with her kids.

John Cena met 'someone special' on set

Although John Cena has branched out into movies and music, he still remains one of the most recognizable personalities in wrestling. And, as People reported, he got married in 2020 to Shay Shariatzadeh, who is 13 years younger than the WWE icon. 

He first met Canadian engineer Shariatzadeh while filming the 2019 movie "Playing with Fire," as he told ET after their red-carpet debut. "What's truly special about this one is that, no matter what projects I'm involved in in the future, this one will always have a special meaning because I got to film a special project and meet someone special," Cena explained. The multi-talent also gave Shariatzadeh a shout-out on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in January 2022, joking that she had signed off on a scene of him singing in his underwear. "My wife is the most wonderful woman on the face of the planet for being cool with ... something like that," Cena commented, reflecting on the "Peacemaker" episode in question. 

While wedding No. 1 was a smaller affair held in Tampa, the couple got married for a second time in July 2022, per TMZ Sports, giving their friends and family the fancy wedding that COVID-19 sabotaged the first time around — this time taking place in Shariatzadeh's native Vancouver.

Bret Hart and wife No. 3 are in it for the long haul

Stephanie Washington was 27 when she married wrestling legend Bret Hart, who was 53 at the time of their 2010 nuptials — and who had already gone down the aisle two times before. But as Hart noted on his Facebook account, her date of birth was significant for another reason, since Washington actually shares a birthday with another special lady in his life. "Born on the same day as my mother she's blessed with many of her traits, especially a big kind heart that never stops giving," the wrestler wrote in February 2021. "I can honestly say I don't know where I'd be without her."

She also stayed by his side when he faced prostate cancer in 2016. "Whenever you hear the word cancer, you immediately feel scared," Washington recalled in a YouTube video she filmed for a cancer charity called PROSTAID Calgary, describing the fear that they both felt throughout his health scare journey. "... We were strong for each other." Hart thankfully had a life-saving surgery and opened up to the public about his diagnosis in order to raise awareness of the disease, which Washington praised. She also explained how prostate cancer is "a couples' disease — it affects not just the husband but the wife as well."

Paige feels 'very lucky' to have found her rocker boyfriend

Falling in Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke is nine years older than his WWE girlfriend, Paige, who retired from the business in July 2022. According to The Sun, the couple first met because they had friends in common who fixed them up. Paige, whose real name is Saraya Bevis, has called the rocker her "favorite person on the planet," per a December 2021 Instagram post. "I'm very lucky to have you in my life," the wrestler added. "Nearly 3 and a half years of being inseparable and nothing but happiness, laughing so hard I can't move and love."

They've been dating since 2018, and Paige even appeared in one of his group's music videos, "I'm Not a Vampire (Revamped)." However, the pair — who share a nine-year age difference, with Radke the senior to Paige's junior — also had an unsettling experience together in 2020 when they encountered a stalker at their home. "Scariest thing ever," Paige revealed on Twitter at the time, explaining that the stranger claimed he had been led to them by symbols. "But Ronnie got him in a hold until police got there. Wtf is wrong with people," she continued, adding, "Thank god Ronnie is around to protect our house."

These loved-up WWE announcers share a nine-year age gap

Wrestlers aren't the only ones who have found love through WWE: Announcers Vic Joseph and McKenzie Mitchell have also gone public with their relationship. Mitchell joined the brand officially in 2020, as she announced on social media, and Joseph has been lending his commentary to the action on the likes of "Raw" and "NXT" since being hired by the WWE in 2017. Although they might be almost a decade apart in age, with the commentator being nine years Mitchell's senior, they seem to be on the same page when it comes to romance. 

"When I tell you I love you, I am not saying it out of habit, I am reminding you that you are my life," Joseph wrote in part in a sweet New Year's Eve photo of himself with the host in a 2021 Instagram post. For her part, Mitchell announced that they were engaged on her Instagram that November, surprising the wrestling community with a series of snaps showing off her new diamond ring. "Life is fun with you," the on-screen personality wrote. "Let's do it forever." 

WWE congratulated the couple on its official website, declaring that Mitchell was "now set for her own NXT-inspired nuptials" after her September 2021 appearance in the ring as a bridesmaid for the wrestling wedding of Dexter Lumis and Indi Hartwell.