If you go through the list of great professional wrestling tag teams, you will find a litany of teams composed of brothers. Whether the superstars who make up these teams are actual brothers, is another story. In order to prevent the appearance of two random superstars being shoved together for arbitrary reasons (which is often the case), the WWE (and other organizations before them) often rely on the storyline that the two men are brothers. If the two men are actually brothers, that’s great. If not, well that's what the Creative team is for. In order to honor this time honored stratagem of wrestling officials, this list will countdown 10 "Brother" Tag Teams That Weren't Actually Related (And 5 That Were).
You will see featured on this list several of the most famous tag teams of all time. While some of these famous teams are actually composed of brothers, in many more of them their brotherly relationship was entirely fictional. What's interesting about many of these tag teams, is that the superstars were forced to conform to the fake brother storyline long after their teams had disbanded. In this way, the wrestling organizations branded the kayfabe characters with a sibling for the entirety of their careers. In the golden age of internet rumors, you can imagine the added challenge of maintaining that someone is your sibling, when they very much aren't. All facts and storylines discussed in this article are from the first hand knowledge of the author, or were taken from WWE.com.
15 Not Related: The Smoking Gunns
Not only were the Smoking Gunns of the 1990s an exceptionally talented tag team, they also had perhaps the greatest stable name of all time. In order to make the name work, the two wrestlers making up the Smoking Gunns (Monty Sopp and Mike Polchlopek) were rebranded as Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn. A pair of cowboy brothers, Billy and Bart used a rough and tumble style to stifle their opponents in the ring. Outside the squared circle, the fictional brothers liked to spend time on their ranch "out west". Despite the outlandish gimmick, Billy and Bart were fairly successful as a team, becoming WWF Tag-team Champions on three separate occasions. Jealousy over the diva Sunny would eventually end their alliance but their kayfabe brotherhood would continue until Polchlopek left the company in 1998.
14 Not Related: Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins (The Major Bros.)
Everyone knows that Zack Ryder is currently a member of the Hype Bros (alongside Mojo Rawley), but when he debuted in the WWE, he did so alongside current WWE superstar Curt Hawkins. Though they quickly became "The Edgeheads", Ryder and Hawkins were originally packaged as the Major Brothers. Despite this moniker, Ryder and Hawkins are not actually brothers. Both of these superstars did grow up outside of New York City, but it should have been pretty obvious that their relationship was feigned from the fact that the two were born only a month apart. For those of you who are shaky on the whole baby thing, there would have to be some specific instances for two brothers to be born that closely together. It is interesting to note that this one month difference somewhat mirrors another famous pair of "brothers" who you'll see later on this list.
13 Related: The Usos
I think The Usos are an interesting tag-team because they are not only real brothers, but are actual twin brothers. Despite what most people think, The Usos are fraternal twins, meaning they are not identical. Coming from a long lineage of pro wrestlers (their father is Rikishi, and they are also related to Roman Reigns and Yokozuna), the Usos (real name Fatu) broke into the WWE at an early age. The two have been tag-team wrestlers for their entire career, and have been WWE Tag-team Champions on three separate occasions. A few years ago there were rumors of the pair splitting up, but this would require a major character change for at least one of the twins, so as to separate him from his brother. As for now the two seem content as one of the WWE's top tag teams.
12 Not Related: The Dudley Boyz
I find it a little suspicious that all three teams in the famous 3-way TLC match at WrestleMania X-Seven were portrayed as brothers. Of the three, only the Hardys are actually brothers with both the Dudleyz and Edge and Christian merely being kayfabe siblings. The brotherly love between Bubba Ray and D-Von has become a running joke for wrestling fans, as the two don't exactly look like biological brothers. D-Von Dudley is African American, and Bubba Ray is very obviously white. Obviously mixed-race families happen all the time, but this factor should have raised the suspicions of WWE fans. Even Bubba Ray and D-Von themselves make references to their unlikely brotherhood, making the Dudleyz one of the more famous fictional brother tag teams.
11 Not Related: Basham Brothers
The Basham Brothers once promised to be the most memorable tag team of brothers in WWE history. Ten years later, the Bashams weren't all that memorable, and they weren't even brothers. The Bashams had a sporadic run with WWE, the highlight of which was probably their joining "The Cabinet", a diabolical stable created by then WWE Champion JBL. Even though Doug and Danny aren't actually related, you can't blame WWE for trying to pass them off as brothers. With both their heads shaved the two look remarkably similar. Even if they're not biological brothers, The Bashams have obviously grown close over the years. Even after being released by WWE, the two sought to reform their tag-team under the TNA banner.
10 Related: Harlem Heat
The sad fact of this list is that many of these tag-team brothers, both real and fake, end up breaking up during their careers. When they break up, it invariably happens that one brother ends up having significant more singles success than his brother. There is perhaps no better example of this than the real life brothers of Harlem Heat. Booker and Lash Huffman (wrestling under the names Booker T and Stevie Ray) broke in as a tag team with World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and took the tag wrestling scene by storm. The brothers would win the WCW Tag-team Championships a record ten times together, but would unfortunately separate in 2000 as part of a storyline. While Booker T would go on to become an extremely well known singles competitor, Stevie Ray was unable to flourish without his brother.
9 Not Related: Edge and Christian
How cool would it be to become a pro wrestling tag-team with your lifelong best friend? That is exactly what happened in the WWE careers of Edge and Christian. Much like with the Dudley Boyz, however, WWE pitched Edge and Christian as a pair of brothers, in order for them to be a better antagonist to the Hardy Boyz. Though, as far as fake brothers go, Edge and Christian were pretty convincing. The two are from the same hometown, they both have blonde hair, and I think it's plausible for the two to pass as siblings. Foreshadowing what would happen with the Major Bros, Edge and Christian were born exactly a month apart. This made analyzing their connection as "brothers" an awkward experience.
8 Not Related: Ole and Arn Anderson
For most of the entries on this list, hardcore wrestling fans were aware from the start that the pairs weren't actually brothers. Such is not the case with Ole and Arn Anderson. It wasn't until after the pairs days as a tag-team were done that the majority of fans became aware that the Anderson "brothers" weren't even related. Back then professional wrestling was taken more at face value, and if the promoters said that this was a team of brothers, then that's what the fans believed. Even without a blood relationship, the Andersons were the epitome of tag-team cohesion. Even today, talented teams like the Revival are compared to the Andersons for their ability to create a tag-team spectacle that's distinct from what the singles competitors are doing.
7 Related: The Hardy Boyz
Perhaps the most famous pair of brothers in the history of professional wrestling is the Hardy Boys. While these two have at times been successful singles wrestlers, they broke into the business (and are probably best known) for their tag team work. Of the three tag-teams that revolutionized the tag ladder match (the Hardys, the Dudleys, and Edge and Christian), the Hardys are the only pair who are actual brothers. The Hardy's grew up in Cameron, North Carolina, performing wrestling maneuvers on the trampoline in their parents back yard. Being lifelong wrestling fans, Matt and Jeff have both commented on how cool it is to not only be a professional wrestler, but to be in a successful tag-team with their brother.
6 Not Related: The Wyatt Family
With the ever growing nature of the Wyatt Family stable (it has at one time included Wyatt, Eric Rowan, Luke Harper, Braun Strowman, and Randy Orton), it is obvious that they are not a "family" in the traditional sense. When they debuted, however, Wyatt made a point to refer to the original members (Harper and Rowan) as his brothers. Wyatt must have met this metaphorically, because his cohorts are in no way related to him. A funny side note is that Wyatt's real brother, Bo Dallas, is a current WWE superstar. Due to this, there are constant rumors that Bo will be added to the fold of the Wyatt family. Given the lack of attention he has received since the brand extension, teaming up with his real life brother may be the best way to revive Bo's bumbling career.
5 Not Related: Von Erichs
Due to their contributions to early tag team wrestling, the Von Erich family is one of the most fabled stables in wrestling history. While Fritz Von Erich did have six sons who wrestled, not all members of the famed Von Erich family were actually Von Erichs. For example, when Fritz himself was still wrestling, he teamed with Canadian performer Walter Sieber. Though Sieber wrestled under the name Waldo Von Erich, he was not actually related to Fritz. In this way, the Von Erichs revolutionized the "fake brothers" storyline much in the way that they revolutionized tag team wrestling. More information about the Von Erichs has slowly become available since their WWE Hall of Fame Induction in 2009. Hopefully these stories reveal more gems like the fictional nature of Fritz's brother Waldo.
4 Related: The Wild Samoans
Though they may not get the attention that other historic tag-teams get, this real life pair of brothers has been hugely influential in framing the current state of tag wrestling . Though they were only 3x WWF Tag-team Champions, they won an astounding 21 tag-titles around the world, and were actively wrestling for more than twenty years. The two brothers, Afa and Sika (don't ask me which is which), competed in the "golden age" of the WWF, and throughout their time with the company faced off against some of the most famous wrestlers of all time. With their outlandish personalities and team chemistry, it's easy to understand how these brothers would influence later generations of tag wrestlers.
3 Not Related: Jerry Graham and "Superstar" Billy Graham
We've seen several examples on this list of wrestlers who outpaced their partners once their singles run began. But imagine already being an accomplished singles wrestler when your "brother" becomes more popular than you. Such is the case with kayfabe brothers Jerry and Billy Graham. When Billy Graham made his wrestling debut in 1970, it was part of a storyline involving an already established Jerry Graham. While Jerry Graham has become all but lost in the history books, "Superstar" Billy Graham would go on to become one of the most iconic wrestlers of the pre-Hogan era. There is limited information available on the relationship between Jerry and Billy, but I can imagine that Jerry wasn't very happy about being upstaged by the guy brought in to be his kid brother.
2 Not Related: Kane and The Undertaker, The "Brothers of Destruction"
The WWE first introduce Kane as Undertaker's half-brother as part of an intricate storyline upon Kane's debut. Since then, WWE has slowly drifted away from portraying the two as brothers, only mentioning the connection when referring to their tag-team, the Brothers of Destruction. The two are obviously not brothers, and had never even met each other prior to signing with WWE. In fact, The Undertaker grew up in Texas, while Kane was born outside of the United States in Torrejon de Ardoz, Spain. WWE likely felt they needed the brother connection to make their initial storyline work, but it was weird in later confrontations when the two's relationship became much less important to the feud. Kane and Undertaker may be the most famous "non-brothers" to make our list.
1 Related: The Steiners
I think a large portion of why American Alpha has been a disappointment on the main roster is the incredibly high expectations that were set for them prior to their debut. One such expectation was that they would be the modern day Steiner Brothers. When Scott and Rick (real name Rechsteiner) debuted in the late 80s, I don’t think anyone expected that the technical wrestling specialist would be as popular as they were. The real life brothers had amazing chemistry, allowing them to try tactics and maneuvers which never would have worked if they weren't so familiar with each other. Scott Steiner has been critical of the WWE in the past, so I doubt we'll see a revamping of this brother tag-team in the WWE any time soon.