Wrestling loves to play with family connections. The way characters move around, it’s been very common since the old territory days for two guys put together as brothers when they’re not related at all. That’s especially true for “evil foreign” guys, easier to sell a team of baddies who are supposedly related. Sometimes, guys will want to hide their connection. Many would be astonished to realize Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt are brothers for example while Dustin and Cody Rhodes are well known for a connection. Still, it’s remarkable to see how some brother teams weren’t related at all while others truly were.
In tag teams, having brothers as a team makes total sense. It sells them having an instant connection and using years of experience together to become successful. So to have two guys shown as brothers is easier than just a random team. But real brothers can make it work even better, truly knowing each other well and it’s telling how many true siblings have been among the best tag teams ever. A few of these may be obvious but some surprising to show that bond off. Here are 8 wrestling duos who really are siblings and seven who only posed as them and how the phrase “brotherly love” takes a new dimension.
15. REAL: Bret and Owen Hart
Owen Hart’s tragic death in 1999 still hurts fans. That’s because of how amazingly gifted he was as a wrestler. Bret Hart is considered one of the best workers of all time but he always cited Owen his superior in many respects. They didn’t work together too much as Bret was already a singles star and champion when Owen was receiving low-level tag team pushes. They did form a team in early 1994 but that was to set up Owen attacking Bret and turning heel. This sparked their epic feud, the two stealing the show with classic battles at WrestleMania and SummerSlam, wowing fans with their abilities.
The fact they were brothers pushed it more, bringing up old family beefs and the fans were sucked into the drama. They had a dramatic reunion in 1997 that came off heartfelt and that connection remained even after Bret left WWE. Again, it’s why Owen is so well remembered as the brotherly love was there even with so much seeming hate.
14. FAKE: Beverly Brothers
Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom were the last gasp of brightness for the AWA. A pair of mid-carders, they were put together as a tag team pretty much because of the horribly low amount of talent left in the company by 1989. The Destruction Crew actually got over well as champions and holding the belts before the company went under. In 1992, they re-emerged in WWE as the Beverly Brothers, Beau and Blake. Now with dyed hair, the two actually did look enough like brothers to pass for casual fans and pushed with the Genius Lanny Poffo as their manager. Sadly, despite their skills, the guys couldn’t catch on in a crowded tag team field of the time and so they faded into the background. They had a last gasp in WCW before going away for good and the Beverly Brothers not as great in any town.
13. REAL: The Briscoe Brothers
Not to be confused with Jack and Jerry Brisco, Jay and Mark are considered the founding fathers of Ring of Honor. Along with Christopher Daniels, they were at the very first ROH show in 2002. The duo had grown up in a house so poor they had only two TV channels, one showing WWE and they were hooked into it. After training in their backyard, they cut their teeth in CZW and other indies where they showed a fantastic style mixing brawling with actually great wrestling. In ROH, they have held the tag titles eight times and feuded with just about every other team in the company at one point or another. Plus, Jay is a two-time ROH World champion. They’ve also held gold in Japan and numerous other promotions. They’ve had offers from WWE and TNA but both cite ROH as their home and not wanting to leave it and thus they shine as a brotherly duo the ROH fans adore.
12. FAKE: Kevin and Dave Sullivan
Kevin Sullivan had been one of wrestling’s best go-to heels for years. While small, he made up for it with a great charisma, a fantastic brawler and master on the mic. He played a devil-worshipping character for years, pushed well and his growling voice still sparked up fans. In 1994, he was starting a low-level program aiding Ric Flair against Hulk Hogan. WCW then brought in Dave, a goofball guy who was Kevin’s “brother” and the world’s biggest Hulkamaniac. He would even dress and act like his hero which was a fun idea. But leave it to WCW to ruin that having it that Dave was dyslexic (his name was actually Evad) and having him be an idiot because of it.
11. REAL: Harlem Heat
It was easy to imagine all WCW did was find two black guys and toss them together as brothers. But in truth, Booker and Lash Huffman were brothers, although from Houston not Harlem. They got into the business together and did well as a team in GWF as the Ebony Experience. They were brought into WCW but with the absolutely horrible gimmick of convicts (complete with orange jumpsuits and chains) “owned” by a guy dressed like a Southern plantation owner. Thankfully, the only time they tried it, the crowd nearly rioted so it was dropped. Instead, they were put with Sherri Martel and turned into tough street fighters. They would hold the WCW tag titles ten times and terrific feuds with some of the best teams around. Booker, of course, would turn into a major singles star as WCW and World Champion and these brotherly bound helped the Heat catch fire with fans.
10. FAKE: The Dudley Boyz
The Dudleyz were originally meant to be a big joke. In ECW, it was basically just a gathering of low-level guys without much in common. The idea was that their father was a traveling salesman who had affairs with women on the road. So you had white guys, black guys, even a Native American called Dances With Dudleyz, all acting goofy in outfits. It was nuts but fans enjoyed watching it. Soon, the big two stars were D-Von and Bubba Ray, the latter at first pushed as a stuttering moron. However, they clicked with their wild promos that could incite crowds to a fevered pitch and then in the ring with their 3-D finisher. Moving to WWE, the two became stars in the tag division, including epic feuds with table smashing abounding. They have amassed a total of 23 tag team titles in WWE, WCW, ECW, TNA, IWGP and others. While the “brother” aspect faded a bit, it still was the genesis of one of the best tag teams of all time.
9. REAL: The Von Erichs
Today, of course, the Von Erichs are known for their horrible history of tragadies. But that overwhelms how amazing the bond of these brothers was in their prime. David was the best all around worker, tops on the mic and quite over as a future world champion. Kerry was cut like Adonis, a fantastic physique to get women going. With his bare feet, Kevin was the high flyer and tough as well. Together, they elevated World Class to huge fame with their epic feud with The Freebirds and numerous runs with championships (often shifting which two brothers would team up together) while selling out arenas for fans eager to root for their heroes. Sadly, of six brothers, Kevin is the only one left, having lost Jack to an accident, David to an apparent drug overdose and Kerry, Mike and Chris to suicide. One can only imagine that heartbreak and why the Von Erichs stand as a caution story for wrestling.
8. FAKE: Smoking Gunns
The idea of a tag team looking like cowboys is an old one in wrestling. Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch used it for a while as the Texas Outlaws. So the Smoking Gunns weren’t that out of place, supposed brothers Billy and Bart pushed in the early 1990s. The two actually were good together, working nice matches with great speed and some top feuds in a crowded period for tag teams in WWE. They had reigns as tag team champions, both showcasing a surprisingly good touch and good chemistry. They split in 1996 for some rough singles runs but Billy would go on to achieve major fame with The New Age Outlaws and D-Generation X. Bart, meanwhile, found his biggest fame with the infamous “Brawl For All” but these two showed even a fake brother duo can make a bad act work
7.REAL: Matt and Jeff Hardy
The wrestling bug bit these two early, both inspired by the larger than life characters they saw on TV. They decided to emulate more the high flyers than musclemen, building their own ring and Jeff showing a daredevil side. Their first TV bouts in 1995 were as jobbers and various side bits before being hooked up with Michael Hayes in 1999. But as they were allowed to be more themselves, the Hardyz took off with their high-flying and amazing ring work. Their tag titles runs and epic feuds with The Dudleyz and Edge and Christian made them huge stars. While Jeff has had issues with his addictions, both have done well as singles champions.
Even in TNA, they kept it up, including the transformation into Broken Matt and Brother Nero that gave them new life and made them hotter than ever. Their return to WWE proves their power with fans going wild for them and how these two brothers have managed to achieve their dreams in the business.
6. FAKE: The Brothers of Destruction
Even a casual fan has to know that Mark Calaway and Glenn Jacobs aren’t really brothers. Yet WWE still continues to push them as siblings and it’s easy to see why. The Undertaker was an established star when the backstory came of his long-lost brother Kane coming to seek revenge for being set on fire as a kid. Their first encounters were huge business, the two going at it and Kane’s act instantly over for fans. Eventually, they joined together and the label “Brothers of Destruction” just sounded great. As a team, they won several titles but more notable simply for crushing anyone in their path. Since then, they’ve bounced between arch-enemies and sworn allies, back and forth numerous times but still a notable pairing.
5. REAL: Jerry and Jack Brisco
In 1983, having done just about everything else in wrestling, Jerry and Jack Brisco decided being a heel tag team was something new. Both men were great workers with Jack enjoying a nearly two-year reign as NWA champion and an interest in Georgia Championship Wrestling. They had teamed up a few times such as in Florida but really blossomed for JCP in 1983. In that year, the duo would turn heel to win the tag team titles and showcase good stuff. This included an epic feud with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood that involved stealing Youngblood’s headdress and trading the tag belts back and forth.
4. FAKE: Edge & Christian
It’s a bit forgotten now but there was a time Edge and Christian were pushed as brothers. Adam Copeland and William Reso had been friends as kids and were even in the crowd at WrestleMania VI. They broke into the business together in Canada, handling the touring and harsh roads to get their big break. It came in WWE as they were pushed as brothers, first at odds and then part of The Brood. They really came to be in 2000 with their sensational run as arrogant heel tag team champions and the fantastic war with the Hardys.
They split with singles runs, still pushed as brothers but by 2005, that was finally dropped to just being friends. However, both men maintain a bond as strong as any brotherhood that made them two of the top stars of WWE.
3. REAL: The Young Bucks
Matt and Nick Massie were wrestling crazy from the time they were kids. They built a backyard ring and basically trained themselves off of moves they saw on television. They eventually got real training to get into the business and swiftly became a tag team. They’ve had a couple of tryouts with WWE but passed over and a TNA run that wasn’t as good as expected. However, the duo have become the hottest team on the indie scene, especially in Ring of Honor. Their wild antics and great teamwork are highlighted by their superkicks, Meltzer driver and other moves. They’re also wild on the mic with terrific promos that get crowds going. As founders of the Bullet Club, the duo are a hit in Japan as well and show how great being brothers makes them a true team.
2. FAKE: Ole and Arn Anderson
This may be a real surprise as these two looked so much like brothers, it was amazing. Ole and Lars Anderson had been true brothers but Ole was looking for a new partner. Ric Flair suggested Marty Lunde, an up and coming worker he was bonding with. Ole was struck by how, with his rugged looks and beard, Lunde really did resemble the Anderson family. So Ole brought him on as Arn, his “nephew” and this new Minnesota Wrecking Crew were soon running roughshod on opponents. The two gelled quite well to the point you really could buy them as family and they made a fine unit, holding the tag titles and other belts. They also became founders of The Four Horsemen and Ole was a good singles worker so while they weren’t really related, they sure had the look of family.
1. REAL: The Steiners
From the start, Rick and Scott Steiner showed their good athleticism at Michigan University. Both were good but seemed a bit too straight for wrestling. They sure changed that attitude fast. Rick was first in the UWF, showing a nutty side as the “Dogfaced Gremlin” and moved onto WCW. There, Scott joined him and soon blossomed into a stunning worker. Back in 1990, the “Frankensteiner” was unlike any move seen by U.S. crowds and it blew them away. Together, the brothers became one of the best tag teams around, reigning as world champs and US champs as well.
Scott also had a run as TV and US champion. In WWE, they held the belts there too and still shone well. Over the years, Scott shifted into a wild worker and champion but the duo hold up as one of the best pairings of brothers ever and shining well.
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