Professional wrestling has always been a family business. Many of the earliest promoters relied on family members to help run their companies while most early wrestlers passed on the “tricks of the trade” to their kids. Due to the secretive nature of how professional wrestling worked, many early pro wrestling figures came to rely on their kin to keep the sanctity of the business intact. Even when the secret got out and the nature of professional wrestling changed, many aspiring stars with famous families found it easier to earn a spot on a promotion’s roster as bookers everywhere were always happy to advertise a familiar last name.
Just because wrestlers sometimes share last names, that doesn’t mean that they always share the same skills. Many of wrestling’s greatest families span generations of performers. Given how deep some of these families roots run, it’s natural that there is going to be a black sheep somewhere along the way. Sometimes, these performers are the obvious exception to a family’s legacy. Other times, they earn that title by virtue of their inability to live up to some considerable accomplishments. Either way, these are the weakest links in wrestling’s 15 most powerful families.
15 The Hennig Family – Curtis Axel
Some younger wrestling fans might not be familiar with Larry Hennig. In his day, though, Hennig was one of the most talented cocky heels in the business. He and Harley Race helped create many of the best tag team heel tactics in professional wrestling, but Hennig was mostly known as a singles star who could make anyone look great. His son, Curt, was even better at that. Mr. Perfect remains one of the most talented individuals to ever step into a ring. Were it not for injuries and personal problems, he could have done much more.
As for Curt’s son Joseph…well, let’s just say that the man known as Curtis Axel never quite achieved what his father and grandfather did. Axel isn’t the worst wrestler ever, but he’s certainly the weak link of this family.
14 The DiBiase Family – Ted DiBiase Jr.
The DiBiase family’s wrestling roots actually go deeper than you might think. Ted “Million Dollar Man” DiBisase’s biological mother – Helen Nevins – was a professional wrestler as was his adoptive father, Mike DiBiase. “Iron” Mike DiBiase was a pretty great wrestler in his day who is sadly best known for having died in the ring. His adopted son Ted went on to become one of the most respected athletes in professional wrestling before becoming one of the greatest heels of all-time as the Million Dollar Man. Ted DiBiase Jr. entered WWE on a wave of hype, but he never quite figured out how to separate himself from his famous forbearers. DiBiase Jr. was just too generic in the ring and on the microphone whereas his father and grandfather found ways to set themselves apart.
13 The Guerrero Family – Hector Guerrero
Now here’s a tough one. The Guerrero wrestling family consists of some of the absolute greatest in-ring performers ever. While Eddie Guerrero has become arguably the most beloved member of the clan by modern wrestling fans, an older generation will tell you that it was Gory Guerrero that is actually the greatest member of the family. Those two are obviously not the weak link, nor is Chavo Guerrero Jr. who – despite a lack of opportunities – has been a great wrestler for years. No, the real weak link here is Héctor Guerrero. As a singles wrestler in his day, Héctor never really stood out like his family members did. Later on, his career would include such embarrassments as being made to dress up like the Gobbledy Gooker and a “blink and you missed it” run in WCW.
12 The Poffo Family – Lanny Poffo
This is another one that is arguably tougher than you might think it would be. The Poffo wrestling family consists of Angelo Poffo, Randy Poffo, and Lanny Poffo. You probably know the latter two better as Macho Man and The Genius. Now, as you might imagine, Macho Man is in no way a candidate for the weak link spot by virtue of his status as an all-time great. That leaves Angelo and Lanny. Neither man really had the kind of distinguished career that Randy enjoyed, but both were very solid performers in their own rights. However, it’s Lanny that must be considered the weak link despite his brilliant heel work as The Genius. Outside of some highlights as that character, however, he just never found a way to distinguish himself.
11 The Flair Family – David Flair
While we’d like to pretend it’s hard to identify the weak link in the Flair wrestling family, we all know that’s not true. Ric Flair is either the greatest professional wrestler of all-time or a top-five wrestler depending on who you ask. In his prime, Flair had everything that you could ever want from a wrestling star. His daughter Charlotte, meanwhile, is already distinguishing herself as one of the most capable female wrestlers ever.
Of the Flair family members that had a real run in the business, that leaves us with the weak link David Flair. As a WCW wrestler, David was criticized for getting a push based on his family name. While he wasn’t quite that bad, it was clear to most that David would have never gotten the opportunities he did if he wasn’t a Flair.
10 The Orton Family – Barry Orton
Here’s one that almost feels like a bit of a cheat. The Orton family’s wrestling lineage can be traced back to Bob Orton who worked the territories during the ‘60s and ‘70s. In his day, Orton was quite the accomplished wrestler. He won several prominent singles titles in Florida and captured the NWA Tag Team Championship with his partner Eddie Graham. His son “Cowboy” Bob Orton went on to become a tremendous heel wrestler. As for Randy Orton…well, he might end up having the best career of them all. Who does that leave? The little-known Barry Orton. Yes, Randy Orton’s uncle was a professional wrestler who some fans might recognize as WWE jobber Barry O. Barry just never rose above the ranks of enhancement talent and retired from wrestler before he could ever distinguish himself.
9 The Colon Family - Epico
Carlos Colón Sr. began wrestling in the northeast territories during the late ‘60s. However, his real career didn’t begin until he made his way to Puerto Rico and helped to create a unique wrestling scene in his home country. Carlos was a true legend in Puerto Rico He took on some of the biggest stars in wrestling and remains arguably the greatest Puerto Rico-born wrestler of all-time. His sons Carlos and Edwin (better known as Carlito and Primo) and their cousin Orlando (Epico) never achieved that same level of success. Of the three, however, Epico feels like the obvious weak link. Whereas Carlito at least had a memorable stint as a singles competitor, and Primo has been a solid tag-team worker for years, Epico has just never really done anything to distinguish himself.
8 The Windham/Rotunda Family – Bo Dallas
The Windham wrestling family is actually quite large and incredibly impressive once you account for all immediate and distant relations. The patriarch of this wrestling clan – Blackjack Mulligan – achieved incredible success in the WWE (then the WWWF) and is still seen by some as one of the best heels ever. His son Barry Windham went on to achieve a pretty incredible career as well while his brother-in-law Mike Rotunda – I.R.S. – is thought of as one of the most underrated wrestlers of his era. Rotunda’s son – Bray Wyatt – is currently achieving great things as well. That leaves Bo Dallas and Kendall Windham. While Kendall’s career wasn’t great, Dallas has achieved a level of fame that he likely would have never come close to were it not for the strength of his family relations.
7 The Brisco Family – Wes Brisco
Gerald and Jack Briscoe were very good singles competitors in their day. If you forced us to say which was better by themselves, we’d argue that Jack Briscoe was the better all-around competitor. However, their true legacy is as members of the incredible tag team known as the Briscoe Brothers. The Brisco Brothers traveled the world and during their day and were typically responsible for the best tag team match on the card wherever they went. They may very well be the best “actual brothers” tag team ever. Unfortunately, Wes Brisco fell pretty far from the family tree. You wouldn’t know Wes Brisco is Gerald Brisco’s son just by watching him in the ring. While Wes has had opportunities to shine in FCW, Ring of Honor, and TNA, he’s never lived up to his full potential or family legacy.
6 The Funk Family - Dory Funk Sr.
This is arguably the toughest pick on this list due to the simple fact each member of the Funk wrestling family has done great things in their own right. If we had to identify the best member of the family, it would probably have to be Terry Funk. While Terry didn’t have the natural in-ring skills of his father and brother, his personality, promos, and brawler style helped make him a bonafide legend. Dory Funk Jr. isn’t far behind, though. While Terry went on to achieve greater fame as a singles wrestler, Dory was clearly the better in-ring performer of the Funk tag-team and a pretty great singles competitor in his own right. In a bit of a twist, then, it’s actually their father Dory Funk that is the weak link. Dory was a fantastic wrestler, but his sons went on to achieve even more than he did.
5 The Hart Family – Keith Hart
Given the sheer size of this wrestling family, identifying the weak link is a pretty tall task. For fairly obvious reasons, we can rule out Stu Hart, Bret Hart, and Owen Hart as the weak link. Each of those men did great things during their careers as wrestlers and promoters. Then you’ve got those who married into the family, like Davey Boy Smith, who did great things in their own right. While there are many immediate Hart family members who never quite made it as stars outside of the Hart’s Stampede wrestling promotion, the nod here is going to go to Keith Hart. Keith trained with the rest of the Hart family, but he lacked the natural skill and persona of his brothers Bret and Owen. He also seemed to lack Bruce Hart's passion for wrestling who went on to wrestle for quite a few years away from Stampede Wrestling.
4 The Rhodes Family – Cody Rhodes
So far as the wrestling members of the Rhodes go, this one comes down to Dusty Rhodes, Cody Rhodes, and Dustin Rhodes. To be absolutely clear, those are three great wrestlers. Finding the weak link, then, is a process of elimination. Dusty Rhodes obviously isn’t the weak link as he so happens to be one of the best to ever enter the ring. The battle, then, is between Dustin and Cody. Cody Rhodes is arguably the more talented in-ring worker of the pair, while Dustin has managed to achieve far greater level of fame thanks to his work as Goldust.
As painful as it is, we’re going to have to call Cody the weak link of the bunch. He’s not that much better in the ring than Dustin was in his prime and he hasn’t been able to make the most out of what’s given to him like his brother has.
3 The Anoa'i Family – Rosey
This is seemingly the largest wrestling family in the world once you include extended relations. Naturally, then, it’s also one of the most difficult ones to pick a weak link from. Right off the bat, we can rule out The Rock, Peter Maivia, Fatu, Umaga, Samu and – let’s be honest – Roman Reigns. We’ll also throw Yokozuna in there because, despite his obvious shortcomings, he achieved quite a lot in WWE. Rikishi should also probably be ruled out by virtue of how entertaining he was. If this discussion comes down to who got the furthest based on their name alone, the nod goes to Matthew Anoaʻi, who is better known as Rosey.
Rosey was introduced to WWE as a member of 3-Minute Warning and he got to stay on for a few years after that as a sidekick to The Hurricane. That’s not a great career, but it’s still a longer run in WWE than Rosey probably deserved.
2 The Von Erich Family – Chris Von Erich
Once upon a time, the Von Erich family ruled the Texas wrestling scene. Under the tutelage of their father Fritz, the young Von Erich boys became Texas and global wrestling legends thanks to their abilities as tag-team wrestlers and singles stars. Nowadays, the Von Erichs are best known for the tragic end many of the clan’s most famous members succumbed to, but Kerry, David, and Fritz are all hall of fame wrestlers in their own right. The tragic nature of many of the Von Erich’s deaths makes it difficult to talk about the family’s weak link, but it’s still generally considered to be Chris Von Erich. Chris was basically shoehorned into the wrestling business because of his name but was never really able to do much in the ring thanks to his health problems and undersized physique.
1 The McMahon Family – Linda McMahon
If we’re talking about the greatest wrestling families in terms of their overall impact on the business of professional wrestling, then you have to consider the McMahon’s to be the greatest of them all. Roderick McMahon helped establish some of the first real northeast wrestling territories in America, while his son Vincent James McMahon turned the WWWF into a national force. Vince McMahon Jr., of course, is the most important wrestling promoter ever, while his son Shane and daughter Stephanie have contributed both in and out of the wrestling ring. Who does that leave as the weak link? Well, if we’re talking about McMahon’s actually involved in the business, it would be Linda.
We can't take anything away from the work Linda did in building the WWE empire alongside Vince. However, when looking at this family, there really are no weak links, so this one is by default. Linda did not possess the natural skills of some of the other McMahons and she hasn’t really been as interested in contributing to the company behind the scenes as the rest of the family.