The wrestling business has given us many families work together in various forms. Unlike normal tag teams or factions, the portrayal of these relatives uniting helped add another dynamic to the act. However, not all of the families shown in wrestling are technically related. Wrestling promotions will create relations between wrestlers that they feel have enough chemistry to pull it off. Fans believe in their bond portrayed on screen leading to stronger support or hatred depending on characters. There have been a few instances of legitimate relatives working together in the same team or alignment.
We’ll take a look at many memorable families in wrestling through the years from each side of the coin. All of these relations whether real or scripted did a good job of working together to showcase the family aspect of the act. Some of the fake ones were quite impressive in fooling the fans that many still believe they’re related today. On the flip side, fans are skeptical of some real life relatives due to how many scripted relationships there are. These are ten wrestling families that were made up by wrestling promoters and five that were completely real outside of the ring.
15. Fake: Big Show and Andre the Giant
One of the most bizarre false family relations in wrestling history featured WCW introducing Big Show as The Giant. Hulk Hogan noticed Big Show in a local gym and recruited him to become a wrestler. After some training, WCW introduced The Giant as the son of Andre the Giant. It was Hogan’s idea to have a new rival by facing the young athletic big man and establishing a story based off his greatest opponent.
WCW fans didn’t buy into it and the company started to move away from referring to The Giant as Andre’s son. Thankfully, WWE didn’t attempt to recreate this story and had no interest in continuing WCW’s foolish idea. Big Show ended up having a great career on his own without any help from a late legend. However, it was cool seeing him win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in honor of his once fake father.
14. Fake: Edge and Christian
Edge and Christian may very well be the best example of two people with no relation portraying family to perfection. WWE used them as arguably the top tag team of the Attitude Era. The act of them being brothers helped get their act across as a tight unit. Edge and Christian were actually best friends going back to their childhood after finding a bond due to their mutual passions of wrestling.
WWE figured their genuine brotherhood would translate on-screen. It did despite the two stars having zero blood relations whatsoever. Edge and Christian had tremendous careers as both singles and tag team wrestlers. Considering they host a very successful podcast together, the friendship is stronger than ever and they’re the closest thing two people can be to family without being related.
13. Real: Charlotte and Ric Flair
The most recent instance of a real life family helping a new wrestler featured Charlotte Flair following in the footsteps of her legendary dad Ric Flair. Charlotte’s athletic ability surpassed her father with success in multiple college sports. None of them panned out long term and the decision was made to try her luck in the wrestling industry.
WWE used various references to Ric in Charlotte’s presentation to help establish her. Charlotte’e entrance, finisher and “Woo” expressions all were a tribute to Ric. The main roster run of Charlotte led to Ric coming back as her manager for many months. Instead of it helping her, fans actually cared more about the legend than the new star. Charlotte ditching Ric on-screen ended up being best for her career.
12. Fake: Ken & Ryan Shamrock
Ken Shamrock was the first noteworthy crossover from mixed martial arts to professional wrestling. The signing of Shamrock by WWE ended up being a great one as his intensity from a career in the UFC helped add to his luster. Ken unfortunately ended up hitting a ceiling as WWE apparently gave up on him being anything more than a mid-carder come 1998.
The idea was thought of to add a sister of Shamrock to the mix when Ryan Shamrock was introduced. Ken would get protective over his sister as Ryan got involved with Val Venis, Goldust and a few other wrestlers. It did nothing but hurt Ken’s WWE career and led to his departure. The only thing worse about a family storyline flopping is when the relatives have no relation.
11. Fake: The Smoking Gunns
The classic angle of two brothers working together in a tag team saw Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn get pushed together as the Smoking Gunns. Both men did a great job portraying the act of brothers coming into the company with a cowboy background. Billy and Bart perfectly fit the hokey early 90s feel WWE wanted from their talent at the time.
The Smoking Gunns unfortunately didn’t have any legs going forward as the company started to evolve. Billy moved into a better tag team with Road Dogg to form the New Age Outlaws and join D-Generation X. Bart would rarely ever appear on television unless ruining WWE’s unscripted boxing tournaments. WWE would have likely kept them together if they were truly brothers in real life. Billy lucked out by not being related to Bart.
10. Real: The Colons
WWE has referred to the relation of four members of the Colon family. In a shocking twist, all four wrestlers are actually related. Carlos Colon is a WWE Hall of Famer and known for his successful career as both a wrestler and promoter in Puerto Rico. The sons of Carlos would each get signed by WWE as Carlito and Primo teamed together for quite some time.
Carlito eventually got released due to attitude issues that the company no longer wanted to put up with. Epico joined the wrestling family tree as the cousin of Carlito and Primo when he joined the company. The tag team of Primo and Epico are now hoping to get a push on SmackDown as active members of the WWE roster. All of the relations established on television in this family is actually true in real life.
9. Fake: The Anderson Family
Old school wrestling fans have strong memories of the Anderson family working together in various forms. Brothers Arn, Ole, Gene and Lars were portrayed as family uniting to make an impact in the wrestling business. Fans are always shocked to learn for the first time that the Anderson family is not related at all.
Many of the Andersons actually looked alike in addition of working well together as an act. Arn and Ole did great work as original members of the Four Horsemen, but they often clashed in real life. Ole was regarded as one of the most hated men in the locker room and Arn was one of the most respected. The differences in backstage presences led to them disliking each other. That didn’t stop the Andersons from portraying the act family quite well on television.
8. Fake: The Major Brothers
Long Island natives Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins formed a friendship in WWE developmental due to common interests. WWE paired them together for the tag team known as the Major Brothers. Ryder and Hawkins portrayed brothers with their high point being the sidekicks of Edge. Both wrestlers did the grunt work for Edge during his run as the top heel in WWE.
Their tag team run eventually ended with WWE no longer referring to their former relationship as brothers. Considering they have zero relation outside of being friends and co-workers, it was likely an easy decision to quit the act. Hawkins is currently on the Raw brand and Ryder is on the SmackDown brand in a tag team with Mojo Rawley. Many fans have speculated that they would be better off together reforming the brotherhood.
7. Real: Rikishi and The Usos
A cool family relation that is easy to forget would be that Rikishi is the father of Jimmy and Jey Uso. The current run of the Usos on SmackDown is showcasing just how superb they are in the ring. It makes perfect sense given their family tree. Rikishi had a Hall of Fame career with WWE and achieved his most success as a highly popular face during the competitive Attitude Era.
We have seen Rikishi and the Usos united on screen a handful of times in cool moments of family bonding. The Usos even got to performer their dad’s classic dance with him on one occasion. However, Jimmy and Jey are proving to be “bad men” with their current heel personas in ways Rikishi struggled to when he turned into a villain. Rikishi still has to be proud of his sons carrying on the family legacy in grand fashion.
6. Fake: Eugene and Eric Bischoff
An extremely random family in WWE history featured Eugene being revealed as the nephew of Eric Bischoff. The role of Bischoff as the Raw General Manager at the time led to his nephew giving him a hard time on multiple occasions. Eugene was a hardcore wrestling fan that suffered from mental disabilities, a character portrayal you’ll likely never see again.
As many would guess, Bischoff and Eugene were not really related and had nothing in common aside from both working for WWE. The company thought this character would connect as a beloved face and felt having him clash with Bischoff was the way to establish it. Eugene saw his popularity end after about a year with everything going downhill following his peak. It’s a bit surprising that TNA didn’t try to reunite both Bischoff and Eugene given how many dumb things they did at the time.
5. Fake: The Godwinns
Another hokey idea from the mid-90s was to have a tag team of pig farming brothers tormenting the heel wrestlers with their slop. Henry O. Godwinn and Phineas I. Godwinn were managed by Hillbilly Jim and achieved short term popularity. Younger fans enjoyed the corny humor but it didn’t last in the long run. WWE tried repackaging them as heel act Southern Justice. No one cared for them and the team ended.
Both men looked very similar and did a good job portraying the gimmick. It’s a bit surprising that they have no relation in real life. WWE used to scout extra hard to find wrestlers that could effectively work together as a family in the ring. The Godwinns did a fine job in getting their act across. The problem was the act itself would never become a hit.
4. Real: The Hardyz
Many of the greatest tag teams of all time have been family uniting to bring their chemistry to the screen. Jeff and Matt Hardy are a tremendous example of this. Both brothers dreamed of being WWE stars since their childhood and ended up getting signed together at very young ages. Fans gravitated towards the unique personalities and daredevil wrestling style of the Hardyz.
The careers of both Matt and Jeff are still relevant today with incredible runs lasting over two decades. It takes a lot of chemistry for two wrestlers to be able to team after twenty years without skipping a beat. Regardless of if Matt and Jeff are in singles or tag team action, their careers and lives are always intertwined as true blood brothers.
3. Fake: The Dudleyz
One tag team that achieved just as much success as the Hardyz portraying brothers was Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley. The Dudleyz formed in ECW before making the jump to WWE with the same act in both companies. Despite not meeting until ECW, Bubba Ray and D-Von instantly developed chemistry to become one of the greatest tag teams of all time. The duo added another dimension with the addition of Spike Dudley, who also had no type of connection to either.
Both wrestlers always sacrificed breaking out as a singles star in favor of making the team as strong as possible. It hurt them each when WWE tried to split them up in 2002, but the long run showed it paid off. Bubba Ray and D-Von even work together today running their own wrestling school trying to train the new aspiring wrestlers of the industry.
2. Fake: The Holly Cousins
The Hollys were a highly entertaining family during the Attitude Era that found roles for three wrestlers. Hardcore, Crash and Molly Holly played a family of cousins that had absolutely nothing in common. Hardcore just wanted to beat people up. Crash tried to overcome his smaller size by taking the fight to bigger wrestler. Molly was the sweet cousin that loved competition more so than tension. All of them were bonded by their toughness in different forms.
None of these wrestlers were actually related in real life. WWE just needed to find roles for all contracted talents and it created the perfect fit. Each member of the Holly family provided memorable moments in the Attitude Era. The creation of a fake family can lead to positive results if everyone involved commits to it, as these three once did.
1. Real: The Hart Family
The Hart family had countless members within the wrestling industry through the years but all were legitimately related. Stu was the father of the bunch raising his sons to all love the industry and it influenced some of his daughters to marry wrestlers. Bret Hart and Owen Hart were the two most talented members of the family as real life brothers that feuded for quite some time on the big stage of WWE.
Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart were truly the brothers-in-law of Bret and Owen that allowed them to keep it in the family when forming the Hart Foundation. The recent generation of Natalya and David Hart Smith has seen the younger wrestlers keep their family legacy going. Tyson Kidd is a family friend and the husband of Natalya so he gets linked in, but WWE has never tried to pretend he was a Hart relative outside of marriage.
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