Tonight on Impact Wrestling, the love triangle between Laurel Van Ness, one of the girls who works for the First Lady of Wrestling, Maria Kanellis, and the male foil, Braxton Sutter (formerly Pepper Parks in the indie circuit) – who’s really in love with the errand girl of Maira, the timid Allie (formerly Cherry Bomb) – came to it’s head. The bullied groom-to-be told his expected new wife Van Ness that he would not marry her, leaving her at the altar and professing his love to Allie, amidst the absolute chaos of the groomsmen and bridesmaids fighting. Ah yes. The grand daddy of catastrophe in professional wrestling – the wrestling wedding.
In many ways, wrestling weddings are the WrestleMania of contract signings. Every contract signing starts off innocently or well behaved enough, but they always end up with a broken table and security pulling people apart. Standard fare these days. But while those happen dozens of times a year throughout several promotions, the wrestling wedding is used far more sparingly. But when they happen, it’s like a Battle Royale based around wedding vows. But there have been some very real weddings in the ring as well, and many of the performers in the storylines were married couples in real life.
Here’s a look at fifteen stand out wrestling wedding moments in professional wrestling.
GORGEOUS GEORGE and BETTY HANSON, Eugene, Oregon, 1939
The young couple – the dashing performer and the seamstress/manager/ideas woman – married for real in the middle of the ring during a live event in 1939. The draw was so financially rewarding, the took it on the road for months, re-enacting it for other towns. But the first one was as legit as they come.
PAUL ‘BUTCHER’ VACHON and OPHELIA, Tuesday Night Titans, 1984
It’s no surprise that shortly after Vince McMahon Jr. took over the WWF from his father that he resurrected this angle after 50 years. The first one was destined for a chaos – a Vachon brother wedding, featuring professional lunatic ‘Dr. D’ David Schultz. The same dude who cranked that reporter.
And just because it’s worth a rewatch…
UNCLE ELMER and JOYCE, Saturday Night Main Event, October 5, 1985
Vince tried the wedding but again a year later following the huge mainstream success of the first WrestleMania, hitching Hillbilly Jim’s fan favourite uncle in a down home hillbilly wedding. Hilarity ensues.
RANDY SAVAGE and MISS ELIZABETH, SummerSlam, August 26, 1991
Following the underwhelming reception for Uncle Elmer’s nuptials, Vinnie Mac returned to the drawing board and six years later unleashed his wrestling wedding masterpiece. Ironically, by the time the characters were getting married on television, the real life couple was in the process of divorcing.
STEPHANIE McMAHON and THE UNDERTAKER, Monday Night Raw, April 26, 1999
During the Corporation vs Ministry of Darkness storyline, before it was unveiled that Vince McMahon was the Overlord controlling the entire dark faction, The Undertaker sought revenge on Mr. McMahon and abducted the boss’ daughter and married her in a demonic ritual that involved a cross.
TRIPLE H and STEPHANIE McMAHON and TEST, Monday Night Raw, November 29, 1999
Stephanie McMahon was supposed to marry her ideal husband, the handsome and strapping young man known as Test. But right before the vows were exchanged, Triple H came out and announced they couldn’t get married, but he was already her husband. He showed video of apparently drugging Stephanie the previous night and taking her to a drive thru wedding chapel where they were married. But don’t worry – it turns out she wasn’t really taken advantage of. Turns out Stephanie was in on the whole thing as a way to get back at her dad – for having the Undertaker kidnap her during the entire Corporation vs Ministry war scheme.
TRIPLE H and STEPHANIE McMAHON II, Monday Night Raw, February 11, 2002
This was a renewal of vows for the WWE’s A-List Power Couple, but things turned array when Triple H turned on his wife and left her at the altar. But not before giving dear ol’ dad a Pedigree.
BILLY and CHUCK, Smackdown, September 12, 2002
The WWE’s ambiguously “are they or aren’t they” couple became the unlikely audience sensation in 2002, just when people thought Billy Gunn was fading following the demise of D-X. But when the over anxious WWE creative decided to stage a “commitment ceremony” for the duo – that garnered the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) – they soon realized what a PR nightmare it could turn into if the audience turned on them for being gay. So the angle was essentially stonewalled during the ceremony, and the once hot commodity tag team fizzled off into the sunset. Chuck Palumbo attempted a run with the new ECW brand in WWE as part of the New Full Blooded Italians, and Billy Gunn returned to marginal singles success, but both were gone by 2004.
EDGE and VICKIE GUERRERO, Smackdown, July 18, 2008
As the culmination of the La Familia storyline, the heads and love birds, Edge and Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero, got married on the July 18, 2008 edition of Smackdown. But just when it seemed like Triple H was out to congratulate the couple, he exposed Edge as a cheater once again, with secret footage of Edge fooling around with a debuting Alicia Fox. Vickie was not amused.
ERIC YOUNG and ODB, Impact Wrestling, April 12, 2012
Following a roller coaster ride of a storyline in the TNA Knockouts division in 2012, Eric Young won the Knockouts title and along with ODB – his real life wife at the time – he won the Knockouts Tag Team titles. In April, the two had their maniacal matrimonials in the middle of the ring, like only two lunatics could.
DANIEL BRYAN and AJ LEE, Monday Night Raw, July 23, 2012
A bizarre love triangle between Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and AJ Lee ended with AJ leaving Punk to marry Daniel Bryan, only to leave him at the altar and take a job as the GM of Raw. Yeah. Not really a highlight for any of the three involved. Although former WWE manager Slick as the pastor was fun!
BULLY RAY and BROOKE HOGAN, Impact Wrestling, January 17, 2013
During the cursed Aces & Eights storyline in TNA in 2012, Bully Ray began courting Hulk Hogan‘s daughter, much to Hulk’s dismay, after he saved Brooke from a kidnapping attempt by Aces & Eights. She married her savior, but at the end of the wedding, Impact announcer Tazz revealed himself as a new member and lead an attack on Bully Ray, Hulk Hogan and Bully’s groomsmen. Hogan gave Bully Ray a title shot to show he was wrong about him, and ultimately Bully proved that Hogan was right about him all along, revealing himself as the mysterious leader of Aces & Eights. This wedding was ultimately the Sharkboy that the Aces & Eights jumped over.
JOEY RYAN and LAURA JAMES, San Diego, California, February 20, 2016
Okay, okay, so this wasn’t a wedding. But it’s a pretty awesome weddingish moment in the ring. Indie superstar Joey Ryan, the undisputed King of Dong Style, was wrestling his girlfriend, indie wrestler Laura James, in an intergender match for Finest City Wrestling in San Diego, California. The moment itself is a few moments, so why not just watch the entire match first.
RUSEV and LANA, Monday Night Raw, August 8, 2016
In the blurred pre-taped and spoiled world of internet wrestling websites and Total Divas, the real life couple of Rusev and Lana were married on Total Divas, during a taping on July 29, 2016. A week later, after the honeymoon, they appeared on Monday Night Raw to confirm the marriage, by staging a special wedding celebration live on Raw. This began the confusing run of storylines where a seeming face, Roman Reigns, began to bully Rusev, which turned “Handsome” Rusev into a pseudo face and cult star.
BRAXTON SUTTER and LAUREL VAN NESS and ALLIE, Impact Wrestling, February 23, 2017
After weeks of being blackmailed by the First Lady of the Knockouts Division, Maria Kanellis, Braxton Sutter finally agreed to marry one of her employees, Laurel Van Ness (aka indie star Chelsea Green). But Sutter rejected her at the vows, professing his love for Maria’s assistant, Allie. Maria exploded and fired Allie, only for Allie to quit instead. Allie attacked Maria, Sienna attacked Allie, Robbie E attacked Mike Bennett, and Aron Rex wept like he’d just seen Ghost (gets me every time, not gonna lie. I’m a sucker for a weepy Demi Moore, circa 1986 through 1993).
As long as love makes the world go around, you can be sure professional wrestling will slip in a wedding here and there. After all, it’s the Grandest Altar of Them All.
Main Photo: Impact Wrestling