It's hard to be a wrestling fan and not be aware of major wrestling families. Some of today's most well-known personalities have gimmicks that are tied to their families, or their family ties are heavily stressed on television. Randy Orton is hailed as the son of Cowboy Bob Orton, Natalya is branded as the Queen of Harts, and The Authority is regarded as the future of the McMahon dynasty.
Yet these family ties are not as obvious for other wrestlers. The parents of some of today's biggest stars had parents who never made it past the old school territory scene. In some cases, they worked matches in WWE, WCW or another major promotion, but were seen as nothing more than an expendable enhancement talent. Or, in some instances, their gimmick isn't tied to their family's wrestling dynasty, and their family ties often go ignored as a result.
But that's not bad by any means. It's always great to see a wrestler create their own legacy based on their own merits instead of that of their bloodline. While a certain group of wrestlers will add additional honor to their family's history to the sport, some second- and third-generation wrestlers should have never stepped in the ring.
But we're not here to highlight those wrestlers. This light is highlighting wrestlers that you may not realize have relatives in the business. These relatives can come in a variety of forms ranging from childbirth to marriage. Here are 15 wrestlers that you may not realize have family in the professional wrestling industry.
15 Road Warrior Animal
There's no better way to start this list off with quite a rush! Road Warrior Animal is indisputably best remembered for being part of one of the best tag teams in history: The Road Warriors. Yet not many people may realize that Animal, whose real name is Joseph Laurinaitis, is related to John Laurinaitis, the former on-screen General Manager of Raw.
But Animal's relationships in the business do not stop there. He also has another brother who also wrestled. If we get technical, he is also related to the Bella Twins and Daniel Bryan through his brother John's marriage to the Bella Twins' mother, Kathy Colace. To top this all off, he will soon be an extended family member of John Cena through his marriage to Nikki Bella.
14 Shawn Michaels
While The Road Warriors may be known as one of the best tag teams of all time, "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels is cited by many as one of the best singles wrestlers in the sport's history. Michaels doesn't have any children that are currently in the wrestling business. However, he has multiple family members who have taken part in the business under different capacities
Michaels' trained his cousin, Matt Bentley, who went on to wrestle in TNA under his real name, as well as Michael Shane. Michaels is also married to Rebecca Curci, who is best known to wrestling fans as former WCW Nitro Girl, Whisper. Bentley and Curci may not have had careers that were as notable as Michaels, but that doesn't take away from their relationships as family.
Ms. Money In The Bank's status as a second-generation wrestler is seldom mentioned on WWE programming. That may likely be due to the fact that no one recognizes her father's name. Paul Von Dale was a jobber in the early- to mid-1990s for the then-named WWF.
Needless to say, Carmella's had much more success than her father has. Not only has she won the Money In The Bank briefcase TWICE, but she's come along quite nicely in the ring too.
Once seen as just a hype woman for Enzo Amore and her real-life boyfriend, Big Cass, Carmella has established a unique, memorable identity that her father never had the opportunity to do. With Cass's injury and Enzo Amore's backstage heat, Carmella may go on to have a better career than both of them.
ECW helped launch the careers of many of the WWE's most famous stars of the new millennium, including Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Sabu was arguably one of the most loyal and unique stars the company produced. He also happened to have a legendary cousin in The Sheik.
As a matter of fact, The Sheik trained Sabu and provided Sabu the opportunity to start a career in the sport through his promotion, Big Time Wrestling. They would team up in a variety of matches, including the occasional deathmatch. Yet unlike other wrestling relationships that were acknowledged on-screen, their careers were not necessarily tied together, nor was their relationship alluded to as frequently as others.
11 Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
One of the greatest wrestlers to never win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Ricky Steamboat was truly a gift to professional wrestling. When his son, Richie Steamboat, was signed to a WWE developmental contract, many felt his son was destined to become the next big thing.
However, fate would not be so kind to Richie Steamboat. He never made it up to the WWE's main roster, despite making appearances on the WWE's NXT. However, he would appear on the program before it exploded into the phenomenon that it is today, and a back injury he sustained during his time in WWE's developmental would require surgery and force him into early retirement. It's a shame, as Richie was showing many of the same abilities his father possessed in the squared circle.
10 Rey Mysterio
Booyakah! Rey Mysterio is arguably the most well-known masked wrestler in the history of the sport. Before making his WWE debut in 2002, he wrestled under the name Rey Mysterio Jr. But he did not take that name after his father.
Instead, Mysterio took the name in honor of his uncle, who wrestled as Rey Mysterio previously. The Mysterio we all know and love took on the Jr. in order to distinguish himself from his family member. The uncle and nephew pairing would team up in Mysterio Jr.'s early career, most notably against Juventud Guerrera and his father in AAA. Mysterio Jr. would sign with ECW in WWE and then gradually become a global sensation. Nowadays, Mysterio Jr. is more famous (at least outside of Mexico) than his uncle ever was.
9 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is one of the most eccentric personalities on WWE programming today. With such a successful career, it may come to a surprise that his younger brother, Ryan, is also a professional wrestler.
Dolph's brother received a one-year scholarship to be trained at Ohio Valley Wrestling, the WWE's former developmental training territory. He made his debut in the sport a few years after his brother in 2010. He would eventually be signed to a WWE developmental contract in 2011 and wrestled in FCW and NXT as Briley Pierce. He would be released from the company in 2013, while Ziggler was more than busy on the main roster. Dolph has remained with the company four years later, while it doesn't seem his little bro will get another opportunity.
8 Alicia Fox
An interesting fact about Alicia Fox is that she is the longest-signed female wrestler the company has ever had. Signed to the company in 2006, she has worked for the company as a wrestler for more than 11 years. Four years into her WWE tenure, her sister, Christina Crawford, was signed to a WWE developmental deal.
However, Christina would be released from her contract the following year to participate in the revival of WWE Tough Enough. Despite not winning the competition, she was the last female to be eliminated from the competition. Crawford would be re-signed by the company after the show. She would be released once again from the company in 2012 and hasn't wrestled much since.
7 The Honky Tonk Man
The longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time, The Honky Tonk Man has one of the most memorable gimmicks of all-time. Some may call him an Elvis impersonator, yet his cocky persona helped him stand out as one of the greatest heels of his era.
But The Honky Tonk Man is also the first-cousin of Jerry "The King" Lawler. This makes him the once removed first cousin of Lawler's son, Brian Christopher, or better known to most modern wrestling fans as Grand Master Sexay of Too Cool. This family connection isn't acknowledged often, especially considering how their relationship has been up and down over the last few years. With Honky Tonk Man seemingly out of WWE's good graces at the moment, don't expect it to be acknowledged much more.
6 Booker T
Fans who are familiar with Booker T's older work (especially in WCW) may remember his tenure with Harlem Heat. What some fans may not be familiar with was that his tag team partner, Stevie Ray, was also his real-life older brother.
The two of them started their career on the indies circuit in Texas and feuded with each other in the process. Eventually, they would both be signed to WCW, winning the WCW World Tag Team Titles a record 10 times. Yet while Booker T went on to achieve singles success and a WWE run, Stevie Ray would be phased out of WCW less than six months before the company folded. Booker T is also married to Sharmell, who served as his valet during the mid to late-2000s. The two of them met in the late 1990s during their time in WCW, when Sharmell was known as Nitro Girl Storm and Paisley.
5 Larry Zbyszko
Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015, Zbyszko's career is much more storied than many of his peers. The final AWA World Heavyweight Champion, he would marry into the family of the AWA's founders, Verne and Greg Gagne, by marrying Kathleen Gagne in 1988.
Zbyszko's wrestling legacy would continue on through his son, Tim Zbyszko. His son's career has not kicked off like his, yet his son did audition for the 2015 season of WWE's Tough Enough. At the age of 35, it isn't likely that he would be picked up by WWE. Yet the WWE has begun to pick up more talents that are of a similar age in recent years (most notably Asuka) so anything is possible. But time is running out.
4 Jake "The Snake" Roberts
"The Snake" has multiple family members that wrestled for a wide range of promotions, including the WWE. His father, Grizzly Smith, also served as his trainer. However, their relationship has been well-documented to be strained. In the mid-1980s, both his half-brother and half-sister wrestled for the WWE at the same time as Roberts, going by the ring names Sam Houston and Rockin' Robin.
Rockin' Robin's only claim to fame may be that she was one of the longest reigning Women's Champions of all-time. However, she wrestled for the WWE when women's wrestling was relatively dry, and didn't carry the legacy unlike her contemporaries, such as Sherri Martel, or her Snake of a half-brother. Houston wrestled for four years with the WWE, but he struggled to make it high on the card.
3 Brock Lesnar
The Next Big Thing's personal life is very well-protected. However, out of the few things that are known to the public, one of the most interesting facts is who he is married to: Sable.
The two of them met during Sable's second WWE run in the mid-2000s. Sable and her previous husband, former wrestler Marc Mero, divorced around that time. Sable would become engaged to Lesnar shortly after, and while the engagement was temporarily called off, they would come back together and marry in 2006. The couple has two children, but are rarely shown in public with one another. Save from catching Sable at Lesnar's fights while he was in UFC, they're rarely seen in public together and live their lives privately on a wheat farm in Saskatchewan, Canada.
2 The Undertaker
The Deadman has some relationships in wrestling storylines that people may be aware of, the most notable of them being his fellow Brother of Destruction, Kane. He also happens to be married to (and a child with) legendary WWE Superstar, Michelle McCool.
When McCool was racking up championships, there were plenty of rumors regarding her relationship status with The Undertaker. Some even accused McCool of using her relationship with The Undertaker to work her way up the card. Despite all of that talk, one cannot deny that McCool had one hell of a work ethic. Out of all the women to come out of the Divas Search, McCool may very well be the best wrestler out of the bunch. She and The Undertaker would marry in a private ceremony in 2010. However, unlike many other WWE superstars in the last decade, their marriage was never acknowledged by the company on-screen. If you looked closely enough during WrestleMania 33, you could see McCool giving Undertaker a hug as he walked to the back.
1 Randy Savage
In the early 1990s, it would be hard to deny that Randy Savage's most well-known family connection was his then-wife, Miss Elizabeth. However, after their divorce in 1992, his family connections became much less obvious.
The Macho Man was trained in professional wrestling by his father, Angelo Poffo. Savage's brother would also wrestle in the big leagues, most notably as "The Genius" Lanny Poffo. While the family would work together during Savage's early career, Savage would go on to achieve a strong amount of success that was unmatched by very few wrestlers, and most definitely not by those in his family.
Savage insisted before his passing that he would only accept a WWE HOF induction if he were to be inducted alongside his family. Following his passing, brother Lanny decided to accept it on his brother's behalf saying it's what the fans wanted.