Living in the shadow of a famous sibling is the furthest thing from fun. When the spotlight is constantly on, then the pain is magnified tenfold. Since pro wrestling, like any other part of the entertainment industry, is built upon both individual and collective ego, wrestlers who spend their careers playing second fiddle to their own flesh and blood are often the saddest of sob stories.
For the heartless, these men are sometimes referred to as the "Jannetty" of partnerships. Others merely say "Who?" whenever one of these fifteen names comes up. On rare occasions, some of these men experienced sustained pushes, but could never live up to their sibling's hype. Until he became "Broken," such was the case with Matt Hardy, who, despite his obvious in-ring talent and charisma, spent the majority of his WWE career as simply Jeff Hardy's brother. Such was also the fate of Owen Hart until his legendary feud with his brother Bret in 1994-1995.
All told, the following fifteen siblings are people who could not escape their second-tier status. The limelight never lingered on them; their autograph was thiner. While their siblings got the adulation, these men got this list.
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15 Johnny Ace
As a wrestler, John Laurinaitis, aka Johnny Ace, was the victim of poor booking. In WCW during the late 1980s, Ace was first given the title of flag bearer for The Sheepherders (that would be The Bushwhackers to all young bucks out there), then Ace was put in a rotten tag team called The Dynamic Dudes. "Cringeworthy" would not begin to describe how bad Ace and teammate Shane Douglas' gimmick was. Basically, if you put DayGlo 1980s kitsch into a Cuisinart, then passed gas on the final product, you still wouldn't have as big of a stinker as The Dynamic Dudes. In what was then an unprecedented move, the usually traditional WCW crowd erupted in joy when manager Jim Cornette turned on the Dudes in favor of his old proteges, The Midnight Express.
In All Japan Pro Wrestling, Ace became something of a big deal. In fact, Ace challenged the great Mitsuhara Misawa for the Triple Crown Championship in 1998. However, in the rest of the world, Ace is mostly a footnote compared to his brother, Joe Laurinaitis, aka Road Warrior Animal.
14 Paul Vachon
Montreal is nothing sort of a wrestling factory. Back in the 1950s, Maurice Vachon, later known as "Mad Dog," easily transitioned from Olympic freestyle wrestling to professional wrestling. He was followed a few years later by his brother Paul, nicknamed "The Butcher." These two brothers, both of whom grew up as the working class sons of a Montreal police officer, would cut a pretty mean swath through Canada and the American Midwest as a heel tag team.
The Vachon brothers reached their greatest success while working for Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association. There the pair captured both the AWA Midwest and World Tag Team Championship, while on occasion they also wrestled for Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and the WWE. By all accounts, "Mad Dog" was every bit as rough and rugged as the character he played on TV. Paul, on the other hand, seems to have been a much gentler soul. Maybe that's why he's never received the same recognition or admiration as his former world champion brother.
13 Bo Dallas
Although still employed by the WWE, Bo Dallas (Taylor Rotunda) might as well be a ghost. His most recent incarnation as a vicious, if not somewhat bitter man who carries a sign to the ring that has the same lettering and color scheme as President-elect Trump's campaign sign is beyond stale. Ever since moving to the main roster, Dallas has been either a joke, an afterthought, or, more frequently, both. That's just bad booking for a man who, if it not for Finn Balor and Neville, would be the longest reigning NXT Champion in history.
This is not to say that Dallas' brother has received stellar booking himself. Bray Wyatt, real name Windham Rotunda, is the epitome of stop-start booking. For a supposedly spooky cult leader with magical powers, Wyatt sure does have plenty of loses on his record. Fortunately, Wyatt is being used appropriately on SmackDown. But, even without this latest push, it's safe to say that most people will remember Bray Wyatt. It's equally safe to say that not as many will remember Bo Dallas.
12 Lanny Poffo
On pretty much every interview that he has ever given, Lanny Poffo has made sure to give credit to his brother, the late, great "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Even during his appearance on Colt Cabana's The Art of Wrestling podcast, Poffo openly admitted that he owned his little slice of fame to Savage, despite Cabana's comments to the contrary.
Until he became "The Genius," an outlandish heel with a fondness for writing poetry about wrestling, Poffo was known as "Leaping Lanny Poffo." Although a jobber, Poffo managed to make himself memorable on several occasions. Famously, in 1986 and 1987, Poffo appeared at several battle royal events in a full suit of armor. But, as Poffo knows all too well himself, even when "The Genius" was at his best, he couldn't top the "Macho Man." Nobody could.
11 Bruce Prichard
Bruce Prichard is not a wrestler, but he has been a staple of the pro wrestling world since the late 1980s. Like his brother "Dr. Tom" Prichard, Bruce began working the various NWA territories and independent federations of Texas, the South, and Southwest. Before long, the WWE came calling. Debuting in 1988 as the obnoxious televangelist Brother Love (which was a clear mockery of the self-righteous Jim Bakker and the sweaty Jimmy Swaggart), Prichard would make a mark in the world of pro wrestling arcana as the first manager of The Undertaker.
For most of his career, Prichard has been a key figure behind-the-scenes. As a writer and member of the production team, Prichard has sometimes been referred to as one of Vince McMahon's "stooges." Whether or not this is true, it certainly didn't stop Prichard from moving to TNA in 2008.
As for his brother, Tom Prichard is one of the most beloved wrestlers in history. Whenever his name comes up on shoot interviews, wrestlers can't stop singing his praises. Besides being the brains behind the developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling, Tom Prichard won WWE gold as a member of The Bodydonnas and was one half of The Heavenly Bodies in Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
10 Stevie Ray
Harlem Heat ruled the tag team division in WCW for years. Despite being handicapped early on with a putrid gimmick, Booker T and Stevie Ray not only made it work, but they captured gold multiple times along the way. The team managed to have excellent feuds with the likes of The Steiner Brothers, Sting and Lex Luger, The Public Enemy, and The Nasty Boys.
After losing their titles to The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) in 1996, Harlem Heat hung on as a mid-card team until breaking up in 1997. At that point, Booker T became a singles sensation, capturing the WCW World Television Championship on multiple occasions. Stevie Ray, on the other hand, led the B-squad nWo until he formed Harlem Heat 2000 alongside Big T (previously known as Ahmed Johnson). While Booker T has gone on to become a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and a five-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Stevie Ray is most fondly remembered as one-half of Harlem Heat.
9 Dave Hebner
Dave Hebner is not in the good graces of the WWE anymore. The twin brother of the legendary referee Earl Hebner, Dave Hebner was once a fixture on WWE (then the WWF) television. Wearing the classic blue shirt, black bowtie combo, Hebner officiated numerous classic contests, including the WrestleMania III match between "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. Even more famously, both Dave and Earl played key roles in the 1988 match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Specifically, the better known Dave confronted his brother Earl following Earl's corrupt three count which handed the the world title to Andre.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Dave Hebner retreated behind-the-scenes and became a backstage producer and sometime on-air authority figure. Like Earl, Dave made the move to TNA in 2005. This summer, Hebner was part of a large lawsuit by former WWE stars against the company. Hebner, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease, claims that he and other performers received inadequate treatment following numerous concussions.
8 Don Bass
Alongside his brother "Cowboy" Ron Bass, Don Bass was one of the more popular heels of the Mid-South region during the 1970s and '80s. These two Arkansas boys mostly played villainous Texas cowboys, with black hats and black mustaches. Together with Ma Bass, The Bass Family worked various NWA and "outlaw" promotions in states ranging from Tennessee to Florida and Texas.
While Ron Bass made a name for himself in both NWA-Jim Crockett Promotions-WCW and the WWE, Don stayed behind as a regional talent. His biggest accomplishments included holding the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship in Memphis and the CWA Tag Team Championship with Gary Young.
7 Primo and Epico
Here's a two-for-one special. Primo and Epico are currently saddled with the most nonsensical gimmick of all time. As The Shining Stars, they're essentially sleazy salesmen who pitch timeshares in Puerto Rico. There's nothing salvageable here, so it's best if the WWE lets this sinking ship drown.
Before becoming punchlines, cousins Primo and Epico found fleeting success in the WWE. As the Colons (their real last name), the pair held the WWE Tag Team Championship for an impressive 280 days between September 2008 and July 2009. Primo also once held the World Tag Team titles with his older brother Carlito. After tasting mid-card gold, the pair have been stuck in constant limbo ever since. Although his time with the company was much shorter, Carlito left behind a sizeable legacy. Fans would love to see Carlito come back. As for Primo and Epico, not many people would miss them.
6 Bruce Hart
The Hart family is Canadian royalty. For the most part, Bret, Owen, and the patriarch Stu are the most known members of the large clan from Calgary. However, in addition to these three, there is Bruce, Keith, Wayne, Ross, and Dean. All of these men could be on this list, for all have spent time inside of the squared circle and none have come close to reaching the stardom of their better known brothers.
In Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling, Bruce struck gold a few times in the 1970s and 1980s. He won the World Mid-Heavyweight Championship twice, the North American Heavyweight Championship twice, and was inducted into Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame. For those living outside of Calgary, Bruce Hart is mostly known as a trainer and as one of the Hart brothers who wrestled alongside Bret and Owen at the 1993 Survivor Series.
5 Michel Martel
Michel Martel's legacy was tragically cut short when he died of a heart attack in Puerto Rico at the age of 33. While working for Carlos Colon's World Wrestling Council in 1978, Martel died following a match against Colon and The Invaders. For kayfabe reasons, WWC promoters blamed Martel's death on Invader I's heart punch finishing maneuver. This booking decision would turn gruesome when Invader I, real name Jose Gonzalez, murdered Bruiser Brody for real in 1988.
Outside of Puerto Rico and his native Quebec, Martel made a minor splash in Stampede Wrestling, where he won the North American Heavyweight Championship once and the NWA International Tag Team tChampionship four times alongside Danny Babich. For the most part though, the name "Martel" is synonymous with Michel's younger brother Rick. As "The Model," Rick Martel won championship gold in the WWE, WCW, and the AWA.
4 Brett Sawyer
Brett Sawyer never earned the same fame or infamy as his older brother, "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer. Although the pair teamed up to feud with The Road Warriors in the NWA, Brett mostly teamed with others or ran as a singles wrestler. A mainstay of the Florida and Georgia circuits, Brett Sawyer captured the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship with Jimmy Del Ray, the NWA National Heavyweight Championship, and the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship. Pro Wrestling Illustrated also awarded him "Most Improved Wrestler of the Year" in 1983.
Almost a decade after his brother died from a drug-induced heart attack, Brett Sawyer retired and opened up his own wrestling school. Despite living cleaner than his brother, it should tell you something that more wrestling fans know about Buzz' decision to rip-off a young Mark Calaway (The Undertaker) than they do about the entirety of Brett's career.
3 Ricky Gibson
While younger brother Robert is beloved as one-half of The Rock 'n' Roll Express, Ricky Gibson is mostly a footnote for fans of Southern wrestling. In the 1970s, Ricky Gibson rubbed shoulders with several luminaries, including Jerry "The King" Lawler, Bill Dundee, and Dutch Mantell. For a while, Ricky was a hot babyface in the various territories of Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and Texas. As evidence, look no further than the fact that Gibson won multiple NWA tag team titles with partners like Steve Keirn, Tommy Gilbert, and his brother Robert. Ricky also defeated Jerry Lawler for the NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship in 1974.
Sadly, a car accident derailed Ricky's in-ring career. After his older brother was forced to retire, Robert found a new tag team partner in Ricky Morton. The rest, as they say, is history.
2 Briley Pierce
Ryan Nemeth, better known as Briley Pierce, spent the majority of his wrestling career in the WWE system. However, unlike his older brother Nick (Dolph Ziggler), Ryan never got beyond developmental. From 2010 until 2013, Nemeth wrestled for Ohio Valley Wrestling, Florida Championship Wrestling, and NXT. All told, he won the FCW tag titles once with Brad Maddox and the OVW tag titles twice with Christopher Silvio and Paredyse. His most recent championship victory came when he gave a treat to Bunny the Cat in order to become the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion.
Nemeth's longest time in the spotlight came when he spoke out against former NXT trainer Bill DeMott. In particular, Nemeth claimed that DeMott physically assaulted him when he was injured and cultivated a unprofessional atmosphere that include sexual harassment and bullying.
1 Vic Steamboat
Unlike his older brother Ricky, Vic Steamboat never set the world on fire as a master technician. A permanent feature of the lower card, Vic Steamboat has spent the majority of his in-ring career working the various independent promotions of New England. He is a former ICW Tag Team Champion and a two-time World Champion for the Connecticut-based promotion Century Wrestling Alliance.
The closest Vic Steamboat has ever come to duplicating his brother's success came in the fall of 1996. Then, on WCW Saturday Night, Steamboat lost to Arn Anderson in front of 2,000 people. Unless you follow indie wrestling in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine, then you probably know next to nothing about Vic Steamboat.
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