Familial relationships between professional wrestlers is kind of a very common thing, as I’m sure you noticed if you follow wrestling even a little bit. Now some of you might be thinking “But that’s all just in the story”. And yes, there are many wrestlers who were only family in kayfabe, like the Dudleys, the Andersons, and Undertaker and Kane to name a few. But for every one of those, there are probably at least three real families in wrestling.
It’s hard to even name all the different tag teams who were legitimately brothers, including the current RAW Tag Team Champions, Matt and Jeff Hardy. And so many wrestlers are constantly heralded as second-generation or third-generation wrestlers. Then there’s the extended wrestling families, especially the Hart and Anoa’i families. And all that’s not even counting all the marriages that happen in the business.
It’s almost rarer if a professional wrestler doesn’t have relatives who are also in the business. In a way, it makes sense, because someone who has a close relationship with another wrestler is probably more likely to be interested in joining the business as well than someone without such connections. And then with the marriages that often happen between male and female wrestlers, the bloodlines just intertwine even more.
So just like anybody’s family tree, if you take some time to explore these families a little further, you might be surprised by what you see. And that’s what we’ve done here. We looked at some of the little more distant relationships between wrestlers and found 15 stars you probably didn’t know were nephews or nieces to another.
15 The Usos/Umaga
It shouldn’t be any surprise that there’s going to be a few entries from the Anoa’i family. The thing about the Samoan wrestling dynasty is that WWE likes to mention it when they want to justify a pairing or try and fail to get Roman Reigns over by relating him to someone more popular like The Rock. But there’s a lot of connections in the family they haven’t really bothered to talk about.
Most people know that Rikishi is The Usos’ father, but WWE rarely mentions that the late Umaga was Rikishi’s brother, making him The Usos’ uncle. Now that The Usos are heels and have ditched the colorful face paint and attire, perhaps the WWE should allude to this fact a lot more.
14 Epico/Carlos Colón
This one’s a little less surprising after WWE recently started calling Primo and Epico “The Colóns”. WWE originally used the name “The Colóns” for Carlito and Primo, who are brothers and sons of WWE Hall of Famer Carlos Colón. And turns out, Epico is not just another Puerto Rican wrestler to pair with Primo, he’s actually Primo’s cousin. Which makes him Carlos Colón’s nephew.
Carlos Colón is perhaps the most influential Puerto Rican wrestler ever, often credited for single-handedly reviving professional wrestling in the island territory. And while Carlito and Primo kept up the legacy by tearing up the WWE midcard for a few years, Epico hasn’t had much to work with in his time. His teaming with Primo has almost always seen the two look like the jobbers of the tag division. Hopefully the name change to reflect their legacy is a sign of better things to come.
13 Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas/Barry and Kendall Windham
A two-for-one for the readers. Most wrestling fans know at this point that Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are real-life brothers, even if WWE doesn’t like to talk about it very much. They’re pretty much a family of strange gimmicks, the eater of worlds and a motivational speaker. And that even goes back to their father, the tax man wrestler Irwin R Schyster. But that pattern breaks with their uncles, the Windham brothers, Barry and Kendall.
Barry and Kendall Windham were primarily tag team wrestlers, though they actually rarely teamed with each other. Barry spent a few years in WWE, but for the most part, the brothers mostly wrestled for WCW. While the height of Kendall’s career was a short-lived WCW Tag Team Championship reign with his brother, Barry Windham is known for his part in other famous angles, including betraying Lex Luger and joining The Four Horsemen, and turning heel on Dustin Rhodes. So I guess if Barry Windham did have a gimmick, it was constantly turning on his tag team partners.
12 The Rock/Jimmy Snuka
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the few wrestling stars in history that even people who’ve never watched wrestling recognize. He’s now a top star in Hollywood in addition to still being one of the most popular wrestlers ever, continuing to tear the house down with every one-off appearance he makes. Considering how constantly WWE reminds us that The Rock and Roman Reigns are cousins (but not technically), you were probably expecting some fun fact about what old-timey Samoan wrestlers were related to him. You probably weren’t expecting a guy like “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka.
Whatever you think about the late Jimmy Snuka in light of the whole murder trial thing, he was still an important wrestling star in the 80s and 90s. He won many NWA territory titles, including the inaugural ECW Championship, and he was notably the first casualty of The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. And yes, he’s distantly related to the Anoa’i family by marriage. Nobody really seems to know where exactly he’s related, but The Rock himself has referred to the late Snuka as an uncle, so that’s good enough for us.
11 Nia Jax/Rocky Johnson
Even though WWE overstates the relationship between Roman Reigns and The Rock, turns out The Rock does actually have a true cousin in WWE today: the monster heel of the women’s division, Nia Jax. Jax spent a long time in the women’s division dominating jobbers to build herself up as a monster before recently figuring into the title picture for the RAW Women’s Championship. If all goes right for her, she’ll have no problem following up the legacy of her uncle, Rocky Johnson.
Rocky Johnson, The Rock’s father, was a prominent wrestler in the territory days. Though he never won a world title, he did hold many territory championships, including the Florida, Georgia, and Memphis Heavyweight Championships. He also won the World Tag Team Championship with Tony Atlas, making them the first African-American tag team champions in WWE. All of which earned him a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
10 Roddy Piper/Stu Hart
And now for the first entry from the Hart Family. Just like it’s almost a safe assumption that most Samoan wrestlers have some relation to the Anoa’i family, it’s a bit of a joke in the wrestling community that more Canadian wrestlers than you’d expect have ties to the Hart family. And perhaps the best example of this is that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is actually a nephew of the famous patriarch, Stu Hart.
Stu Hart actually only ever won one championship: the NWA Northwest Tag Team Championship, which he held twice. But this is understandably forgiven considering this is the guy who founded Stampede Wrestling and made professional wrestling as popular as it is in Canada. He was also famous for his “dungeon” where he trained numerous wrestling, family or not.
Many wrestling fans knew Roddy Piper was among his students, but it’s only rarely mentioned that one of the greatest professional wrestlers never to win a world championship was indeed Stu’s nephew. The thought wouldn’t have even crossed most people’s mind, considering the character he made famous was Scottish, not Canadian like the real guy.
9 Davey Boy Smith Jr./Dynamite Kid
Davey Boy Smith Jr. currently wrestles for New Japan Pro Wrestling, but you might remember him as David Hart Smith in WWE. His career always had promise considering he’s unsurprisingly the son of Davey Boy Smith, one half of the famous British Bulldogs tag team, who later took on the moniker for his singles career. But it turns out, he’s also related to the other half of the British Bulldogs, Dynamite Kid.
While we’re stretching the definition of “uncle” here, Smith Jr. is actually related to Dynamite Kid from both sides of his family. Davey Boy Smith Sr. was actually Kid’s cousin. Plus Smith Jr.’s mother is Diana Hart, and it turns out Dynamite Kid is related to the Hart Family by marriage. The actual shared blood between Smith Jr. and Kid is minimal, but it’s still an interesting fact that doesn’t get talked about much.
8 Yokozuna/The Wild Samoans
Returning yet again to a part of the Anoa’i lineage that WWE never really talked about, we now go to the late Rodney Anoa’i, better known by his ring name, Yokozuna. It’s actually pretty understandable why WWE wouldn’t want to talk about his Samoan heritage, considering his character was supposed to be a Japanese sumo wrestler. But indeed, the two-time WWE Champion is closely related to many other famous Samoan wrestlers, including his uncles, Afa and Sika. You might know them better as the tag team, The Wild Samoans.
The Wild Samoans were three-time World Tag Team Champions with WWE, getting over as monster heels with feral antics such as communicating only through grunts and eating raw fish. Yeah, it was a borderline racist gimmick, but it worked to get them over as tough contenders. At the height of their run, they were viewed so highly that they both regularly challenged Bob Backlund for the WWE Championship. But it wasn’t until their nephew won it that the Anoa’i family made their mark on the most prestigious championship in professional wrestling.
7 Sabu/The Sheik
Ask any wrestling fan to name a famous ECW wrestler, and Sabu is almost certainly one of the first names they’ll come up with. Perhaps the single wrestler most synonymous with the extreme style, Sabu was one of the first wrestlers to make using tables as weapons popular. At the height of his career, there were two certainties about any Sabu match: A table would be broken, and Sabu would probably seriously injure himself, all for our entertainment. But it turns out the extreme style in his blood.
Sabu is actually the nephew of the man usually considered the originator of the extreme style, Ed Farhat, The Sheik. Not to be confused with The Iron Sheik, Farhat became infamous as a heel by using outside weapons during his matches, including stabbing his opponents with pencils or throwing fire into his opponents’ faces. And he’s yet another example that you don’t have to ever win a world championship to be a huge influence in the wrestling industry.
6 Alberto Del Rio/Mil Mascaras
Alberto Del Rio is an interesting character in the wrestling world, to say the least. He had a good level of success in WWE, but the breakup has been ugly and awkward. Just about every week, there’s a new story of Del Rio talking trash about someone on social media. But let’s not let this take away from his legacy as a wrestler, having great success in not just American promotions, but also in the lucha libre promotions of Mexico, where his legacy truly comes from.
Del Rio turns out to be the nephew of perhaps the most famous luchador ever, Mil Mascaras. Mil Mascaras is to lucha libre what Hulk Hogan was to WWE, but even more so. Mil Mascaras is credited for almost single-handedly popularizing the lucha libre style worldwide. Think about it: when’s the last time a major wrestling promotion didn’t have a lucha libre style wrestler? His popularity extends outside wrestling as well, starring in over 20 feature films, and some have even called him the closest thing to a real-life superhero.
5 The Bella Twins/Road Warrior Animal
As far as the whole marriages making weird relationships happen, this one probably takes the cake. The Bella Twins were the faces of the WWE Women’s division prior to the Diva’s Revolution. And even then, they’re still prominent figures in WWE, particular with their reality show, Total Bellas. But in 2016, their mother married John Laurinaitus, meaning they have a step-uncle in Joseph Laurinaitus. You know him better as Road Warrior Animal.
Yes, turns out one of the most famous, if obnoxious to some, women’s tag teams in WWE history is now related to one of the most famous tag teams in wrestling history. Whether they were known as The Road Warriors or The Legion Of Doom, Hawk and Animal were always dominating figures in any promotion. They became tag team champions in just about every promotion they ever went to, including having the second longest tag team championship reign in WWE history.
4 Rey Mysterio/Rey Misterio Sr.
Rey Mysterio is easily the most famous luchador to bring the style to American promotions, winning Tag Team and Cruiserweight Championships in WCW and WWE, as well as the world titles in WWE. He was only known as Rey Mysterio in WWE, but back in WCW, he was called Rey Misterio Jr. This probably led many fans to assume that his father was a wrestler who also went by Rey Misterio. And yes, there was a previous Rey Misterio who wrestled in Mexico, but the two were never actually billed as father and son. Calling him Rey Misterio Jr. was seemingly just to distinguish the two men.
But it turns out the two were indeed related as uncle and nephew. Misterio Jr. was trained by his uncle, and when he was ready to get his proper start in the business, Misterio Sr. allowed his nephew to use his namesake. The two actually did compete together in a tag match once in AAA, but other than that, the two’s relationship has rarely been talked about. Especially since WWE didn’t refer to Mysterio as “Jr.”, not even acknowledging he wasn’t the first to use the name.
3 Cody Rhodes/Tugboat
Ever since Cody Rhodes got his release from WWE, he’s been on a mission in the independent promotions to prove that WWE was completely wasting him. Putting together dream matches with the likes of Kurt Angle and Drew Galloway, Cody has shown that he deserves the reputation that comes with being the son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes. That connection understandably gets talked about a lot, especially after Dusty’s passing.
But one connection that’s talked about significantly less is that Cody Rhodes has an uncle in Fred Ottman. Ottman was a professional wrestler who went by various gimmicks, including a few in particular you might remember: Typhoon, The Shockmaster, but most prominently, Tugboat. And while Ottman’s career never quite met the highs of Dusty’s career, for a few years, he was a fan favorite in his first run with WWE. But still, “grandson of a plumber” sounds a lot better than “nephew of a sailor”, so who can blame promoters for not talking about this very much?
2 Aiden English/Chavo Guerrero Sr.
Aiden English, as one half of The Vaudevillians, has to this point just been one of many examples of gimmicks working in NXT, but not the main roster of WWE. He recently started a singles run after his partner Simon Gotch was released, so he’ll be getting a second chance to get over in WWE, though admittedly still with a gimmick that has “midcard” written all over it. Kind of a shame for someone who turns out to be a nephew of Chavo Guerrero Sr.
Yes, in 2016, English married Raquel Diaz, daughter of Eddie Guerrero, making him part of the famous Mexican wrestling family. Chavo Sr. mostly wrestled in smaller NWA territories, particularly NWA Hollywood were he won 28 different championships. But he did briefly wrestle in WWE in 2004, winning the Cruiserweight Championship against Spike Dudley and his own son Chavo Guerrero Jr. in a triple threat. And speaking of Chavo Jr…
1 Chavo Guerrero Jr./The Gobbledy Gooker
I had to. It was too hilarious to not include in the list.
Chavo Guerrero Jr. is by far the highest profile third-generation wrestler among the Guerrero family, working for WCW and then WWE before going to Lucha Underground where he still works in a backstage role. However, in WCW and WWE, he was seemingly always secondary to someone else, usually his uncle Eddie Guerrero or his widow, Vickie Guerrero. But somehow, Chavo Jr. can still look to his uncle Hector and see that it could have turned out worse for him.
Hector, like most of the Guerrero family, worked in smaller NWA territories before he went to WWE in 1990. So what happened to him when he came to the biggest wrestling promotion in North America? Two words: Gobbledy Gooker. Yes, Hector Guerrero was the man under that ridiculous turkey costume that WWE hyped for months and which has gone down in history as one of the biggest flops in wrestling history. See Chavo? It could have been worse.