The WWE life is to marriages what rust is to metal. Randy Orton joins a long list of pro wrestlers who have have a marriage end in divorce, and one can only assume that his career contributed to that outcome.
As TMZ.com reported on Wednesday, Orton and his wife ended their six-year marriage after his now-ex "filed for divorce in March, claiming the marriage was 'irretrievably broken.'"
Samantha Orton's statement about the state of the marriage didn't specifically say that Orton's work was what drove them apart, but being away from home for the majority of the year can't have helped. Orton, like every other WWE Superstar, travels constantly.
Being a part of WWE Raw, SmackDown tapings, Main Event, house shows and pay-per-views has men like Orton living a transitory life.
In July alone, many WWE Superstars worked events in Tokyo, Taipei, Baltimore, Ocean City, Sioux City and Wildwood, among other cities. This schedule doesn't slow down either. The WWE calendar takes up nearly all of the year's 365 days.
There is no offseason either.
It comes as no surprise then that divorce and wrestling have such a close relationship. As much as phone calls, Skype sessions and texts can help ease the pain of being away from each other, eventually a marriage where the spouses are never around each other are likely to crumble.
Ric Flair has been divorced several times over, with his fourth wife filing for legal separation last December. John Cena and his wife recently divorced after three years of marriage.
One of the things that these two situations have in common is both men have been the top wrestler's in their respective companies. Being asked to carry a franchise the way Cena is currently and Flair once did for WCW has its ill effects on a relationship.
The world champ and biggest star of the company can't take lengthy breaks.
He must be the horse WWE rides to financial success. He must commit to the business of violence and spectacle so fully that his relationship with his wife and kids inevitably gets strained.
Constantly being in another city while one's wife is at home taking on the brunt of the familial duties is a recipe for stress, stress that has often led to a broken marriage.
That's something Tyler Reks saw early before it was too late.
Only in his early 30s and gaining momentum with his tag team with Curt Hawkins, Reks walked away from WWE in favor of being at home. He wrote (via F4WOnline.com) the following:
As a new father, my heart broke every time I had to leave to go on the road. I didn't ever want to miss another moment with my daughter, so I made the decision to be a full time dad and hang up my boots.
Reks had to choose between climbing the ranks of the WWE and being a committed, available dad. The fact that he wasn't a top star likely made that decision easier.
It's harder to imagine Orton walking away early or Cena or Flair deciding to leave money, titles and success on the table in trade for a better home life.
Matt Morgan, still plenty of matches left in him, recently asked for his release from TNA.
Id like to truly thank Tna for my awesome experience there along with granting me my release. This is what is best for my career&family.— Matt Morgan (@BPmattmorgan) July 10, 2013
Ricky Steamboat retired from wrestling in 1988 when he was one of the most popular wrestlers in the business. He could have been WWE Champion; he could have put together performances that had him climb the list of all-time greats.
Instead, he chose family.
Steamboat returned, heading to WCW in 1989. He later retired again in 1994. Steamboat later made sporadic appearances, but never committed to the life the way his longtime rival Flair did.
Doing double duty as a wrestler and a husband/father is a challenging balancing act. To be a great wrestler it often takes sacrificing being a great dad and husband.
Orton's divorce is not the last one we'll see involving a WWE Superstar. It's an unfortunate side effect of the life a wrestler leads, the lonely, unending road that wrestlers take to entertain fans and to create their legacies.