One of the hottest storylines in WWE right now is the recent revelation that Jason Jordan is the illegitimate son of Raw General Manager, Kurt Angle. The angle has come under fire from a lot of fans with some labeling it absurd and ridiculous. For those of you that aren’t clued in, Jordan and Angle are not actually father and son and the story goes that Jason is the son of a woman Kurt slept with many many years ago. In the present day with social media being so prominent it’s tricky for WWE to pull something like this off, especially without coming under any criticism for it. In the past there may have been a few fans wondering whether there was actually any truth to the angle, but in 2017 that simply isn’t feasible.
It isn’t the first time that family ties have been fabricated in the realms of professional wrestling. There have been fake brothers, illegitimate children, and even the odd invented cousin. Before the rise to prominence of the internet it was something wrestling companies could get away with more. Not only did fans not know every wrestler’s entire family tree, but they were also more willing to suspend their disbelief and sometimes may have even fallen for it hook, line and sinker. Strangely as often as pro wrestling has invented family it’s also ignored it. This list will explore both sides of it and try to understand why the promoters in question made the choices they made in each unique case.
15. Invented: Edge and Christian
Edge and Christian are one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history. The Canadian pairing are real life best friends who grew up together which makes their ascent to the top as a tag team, and then as singles stars, even more impressive. Edge and Christian’s lives have effectively run parallel to each other, even having their first respective daughters within weeks of each other. They’re probably even closer than they would be if they were real life brothers, which is likely why WWE billed them as siblings at first. As time went on WWE would refer to Edge and Christian as being brothers less and less, because it wasn’t true, but believe it or not it wasn’t until 2010 that they categorically admitted the two of them to be childhood friends as opposed to relatives.
14. Ignored: Jake Roberts and Rockin’ Robin
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts is synonymous with what many fans and wrestlers believe to be the golden age of professional wrestling. During the ’80s and early ’90s Jake lingered at the top of the card along with his trademark python and would not only wrestle tremendously but cut promos unlike any fans had ever heard before. What you might not know is that around the same time Jake’s half sister was competing in WWE, Rockin’ Robin. She was the company’s Women’s Champion and held the title for almost two years between 1988 and 1990. It wouldn’t have been easy for WWE to introduce a story line that revealed Robin and Jake’s real life family ties, but even if they had plans to they pulled back as Robin requested that they did not tell that information to the fans at home.
13. Invented: Lance Von Erich
Anyone who knows professional wrestling will likely have heard of the Von Erich family. They may not have the presence in the industry that they did throughout the ’70s and ’80s, but back then they were very much one of the first families of wrestling. Fritz Von Erich was a promoter and a wrestler, and five of his six sons followed in his footsteps to become pro wrestlers also. You would think with that many family members at his disposal Fritz wouldn’t need to invent any more, yet he did. In 1985 Lance Von Erich was added to the already sizable clan as a cousin to the five brothers. It was in fact not the case and the man, whose real name was William Vaughan, was no relation to the Von Erichs at all. It was back during a time that fans believed much of what they were seeing in the ring was real, so those who knew Lance to be a false relation were less than pleased at being treated like idiots.
12. Ignored: Road Dogg And Scott Armstrong
WWE’s Road Dogg, real name Brian James, would likely consider many people his brothers. The likes of Triple H and Billy Gunn for starters. Well Brian actually has three real life brothers, all of whom got into the same business as he did at one point or another. You may recognize the name of one of his brothers, Scott Armstrong. Scott is currently under contract with WWE, as is Brian, but you wouldn’t know that the two are related. While Road Dogg works back stage as the head of creative for SmackDown Live, his brother Scott is a referee for the company and has been with them on and off since 2006. When the two of them were both wrestling in WCW they actually tagged together along with their brother Brad, but no such luck for them in WWE.
11. Invented: The Samoan Dynasty
If you’re from Samoa, or have a family member from Samoa, or went to Samoa on holiday this one time, then in the eyes of WWE you’re almost definitely related. Rikishi is Roman Reigns’ uncle, who is The Rock’s cousin, who is somehow related to Nia Jax, I can’t keep up. Ironically the only person who doesn’t seem to be a part of the Samoan Dynasty is a man with the country in his actual ring name, Samoa Joe. Don’t get me wrong not all of the Samoan family links are fabricated and some of the bloodlines are actually real. Rikishi really is the father of SmackDown Live stars The Usos and their uncle is actually the late Umaga, plus Roman Reigns’ dad is half of The Wild Samoans, Sika. It is pretty confusing, but not as big a puzzle as WWE might have you believe.
10. Ignored: The King and Honky Tonk Man
Take a look at Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and the Honky Tonk Man. They look pretty alike, right? Well that isn’t simply a coincidence. The two wrestling stalwarts are in fact related, and it’s not a distant link either. King and the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time are actually first cousins. The pair of them fought many times in the ring yet their real life family tie was never used as an angle. Lawler was even a subject of Honky Tonk Man’s website where the former WWE star would spark online feuds between himself and other wrestlers, although the site was abruptly closed in 2006. A close family bond that has oddly never really surfaced in wrestling despite both men being a part of the business for decades.
9. Invented: Kurt Angle and Jason Jordan
I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t cover the very ongoing story line that inspired this article. WWE have flown in the face of those who said that fake long lost family member angles can’t work in 2017 and have begun the saga between Jason Jordan and Kurt Angle. The Raw General Manager recently revealed to the world that he discovered SmackDown Live, now Raw, Superstar Jordan to be his illegitimate son. They sort of lookalike and Jordan is an incredible athlete but don’t them fool you fans, the former member of American Alpha is in no way related to Kurt, let alone as closely related as his son. The story line has come under fire but in all fairness we’re yet to see where WWE is going with it. All we know for now is that Vince McMahon is still not adverse to creating his own unique family trees within the realms of WWE.
8. Ignored: Jerry Lawler and Grandmaster Sexay
The Honky Tonk Man is not the only wrestling relation that Jerry Lawler has kept under his hat for the majority of his career. The King actually has a son who wrestled for WWE for a number of years, and when you find out who he is, if you don’t know already, you might understand why Jerry didn’t want the kinship to be common knowledge. Too Cool’s Grandmaster Sexay is the son of Memphis legend Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. That’s right. Sexay’s gimmick was not exactly akin to his father’s and it’s hard to imagine exactly how WWE would have spun an angle involving the both of them during the Attitude Era. One time when Paul Heyman hinted at the fact that they were father and son King came down to ringside and clipped the advocate around the back of the head.
7. Invented: The Dudley Family
We’ve already covered one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history in this list with Edge and Christian, now it’s time for another and a team that were one of their fiercest rivals, The Dudley Boyz. When you mention The Dudleys most fans will immediately think of Bubba Ray and D-Von, naturally. Throughout their time in the business from ECW until now the pair have been billed as brothers. They’re not. It doesn’t stop at those two though. There was a whole family of unrelated Dudleys and according to Bubba plans for even more. The multiple time Tag Team Champion have discussed how the idea behind it was that all the Dudleys had the same father who was a wrestler that traveled the world having children with different women, hence there being so many of them from different races and walks of life.
6. Ignored: Cody Rhodes and The Shockmaster
Another family that has pro wrestling coursing through their veins are the Rhodes family. Dusty, Goldust, Cody, all extremely talented wrestlers in their own right. Also they’re all actually related and it’s regularly acknowledged on WWE television. So what are they doing on this list? Well Cody has an uncle that WWE doesn’t want you to know is his relation, and Cody probably doesn’t want to shout about it either. Cody Rhodes is the nephew to the infamous Shockmaster. The man in the sparkly storm trooper helmet who fell through the false wall on his WCW television debut. It was hardly an entrance onto the wrestling scene that emanated the prestigious Rhodes family so it’s unlikely that WWE will ever acknowledge that there’s a relation between the two.
5. Invented: Big Show and Andre The Giant
What do you do when you sign a giant to your brand? Well you claim that he’s the son of the greatest wrestling giant of all time of course! That’s exactly what WCW’s train of thought was when they managed to get Big Show under contract with them all the way back in 1995. Show is seven feet two inches tall. He is such an incredible size because he suffered from the same condition that Andre did, which eventually contributed to the Hall of Famer’s death, that affects his pituitary gland. Thankfully Big Show had his pituitary gland operated on before he started wrestling. All of these similarities however led to a light bulb going off in Eric Bischoff’s head and claiming Show was Andre’s son. They even called him The Giant as an homage to his fictional father. Luckily for Show it wasn’t a gimmick that stuck.
4. Ignored: Animal and John Laurinaitis
Cast your mind back to the glory days of The Road Warriors. If you were a fan during Hawk and Animal’s heyday it as hard not to love everything about the incredible tag team. Now think about John Laurinaitis and all of your thoughts, memories and feelings about the former Raw General Manager. Whether you know him from his wrestling days, his authority figure days, or his present Total Bella days, you likely don’t have that high an opinion of him. Well believe it or not Johnny and Road Warrior Animal are brothers. Poles apart in look and almost everything else they may be, but they are in fact very closely related. I can imagine WWE never making anything of this family tie because we simply wouldn’t believe it.
3. Invented: Vince McMahon and Hornswoggle
Okay I probably gave WWE a little too much credit with that last one in saying they wouldn’t have revealed Johnny and Animal to be brothers because we wouldn’t believe it. If Vince McMahon thinks that the fans will buy him being the father to Hornswoggle then they truly do believe that we will eat up just about anything. In 2007 a story line building to the reveal of the chairman’s illegitimate son culminated with Hornswoggle being Vince’s long lost child. McMahon would then place the former Cruiserweight Champion in matches against men much bigger than him, including a cage match against Vince himself. Finlay would begin to come to Hornswoggle’s aid until it was later revealed that it was in fact the Irishman who was his father. Hornswoggle may be the only WWE Superstar to have had two fake dads during his career.
2. Ignored: Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas
You may not think it when you simply look at them, but not only are current Raw Superstars Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas the third generation of their family to step inside a wrestling ring, but they’re also brothers. Sons of ’90s WWE star IRS and grandsons to the famous Barry Windham, the Wyatt brothers’ pro wrestling careers have taken very similar yet very different paths. Both men may have ended up in NXT and eventually on the main roster, but since arriving there their duties have been worlds apart. With Bray’s gimmick being that he has a family that follows him around like a cult leader, it’s surprising that WWE hasn’t yet used his and Bo’s real life familial link. Now that both men are on Monday nights however perhaps it’s a question of when rather than if.
1. Invented: The Undertaker and Kane
Perhaps the most famous and formidable pair of brothers in WWE history are Kane and The Undertaker, and news flash they aren’t even real brothers. Kane was introduced to WWE in 1997 as The Undertaker’s long lost brother, a brother The Deadman thought had died in a house fire when he was a child, all within the realms of a WWE story line of course. Not only have the two of them feuded on and off since that fateful debut, but they’ve also teamed up on multiple occasions as The Brothers of Destruction and been Tag Team Champions. Even though it’s a completely fabricated bloodline it’s easily WWE’s most successful example of fans being willing to forgo reality. 20 years on from Kane making his fiery debut, we’re still willing to believe that he and The Undertaker are actually related.
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