Family is blood; or at least, that's what many believe. However, with modern times, modern living, and the mutation of the modern human, the idea of the traditional family has been abolished. Divorce and decadence. Infidelity and inconsistency. Nobody truly lives within the ideal family structure anymore.
There are many who believe that a person can make their own family and decide on their own who to classify as a brother/sister/uncle/aunt etc. And in many ways, this is true. Being bound by blood does not necessarily force one to remain loyal or subservient to their family name. In many cases, families falter due to intolerable circumstances and harsh living environments; and ties are severed.
Ask a man named Phil Brooks - better known by his wrestling moniker of CM Punk - who he would consider to be his family. Better yet, watch Punk's documentary: Best in the World. In a candid interview, Punk goes into detail about a strained relationship with his brother, as well as problems with his father. When discussing his brother, Punk lists who he considers his real brothers as opposed to his biological sibling.
Such a situation is not uncommon as many distraught individuals - disenchanted with their bloodline - look to friends to replace the void of family in their lives. While the family tree rots, people look for new roots in new places. Meanwhile, somewhere out there someone is living the ideal family life, right? Wherever they are in this world, society's ills must not have arrived ... but they're coming.
In the following piece we will take a look at our aforementioned topic and professional wrestling as we stand beneath the most twisted of family trees in search of shade from the cruel ever-boiling sun that will someday burn this planet and all that inhabit its plains in a fit of fiery vengeance upon the evil human race who have taken too much and given too little in return.
These are the top 12 mixed up wrestling family trees:
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12 The Hardy Tree
While some of these family trees will come as obvious entries, let's begin with The Hardy Family; far from a mighty oak but beginning to grow within the wrestling industry as brothers Matt and Jeff prepare the next generation of Team Extreme.
While Jeff currently has two children with wife Beth Britt, it is Matt who extends the branch into the wrestling business. Matt and wife Reby Sky (TNA talent) currently have a child of their own.
The Hardy Tree may not be biggest in the wrestling industry but everything must begin somewhere.
11 The Hogan Tree
The automatic name that will enter the minds of non-wrestling fans when mentioning the industry will be Hulk Hogan. This has been the case since Hogan helped turn Wrestling into Sports Entertainment some thirty years ago.
However, many my not be aware that the Hogan Tree extends as far as ECW. Hogan's nephew, Horace who you may remember from his time in WCW was a cousin of the late wrestler, Mike Awesome.
The former ECW Champion with an extended connection to the former WWE/WCW Champion? Yes, this branch exists.
10 The Guerrero Tree
When the Guerrero name is mentioned in conversation, the focal point will always be former WWE Champion, Eddie; one of the greatest wrestlers to ever lace-up a pair of boots whose life came to a sudden end in 2005.
Gory, Hector, Chavo (senior and junior), and Vickie (Eddie's wife) are also familiar Guerrero names. However, the daughter of Eddie - a girl known as Raquel Diaz - helps extend this prestigious family tree.
Raquel Diaz (real name: Shaul Guerrero) is the wife of Aiden English; one half of the WWE tag team known as The Vaudevillains.
9 The Lawler Tree
Often times, a few branches will fall from one's family tree. Such is the case with the Lawler Family who once extended a limb to a former WWE Diva known as The Kat. However, that branch has fallen; taken away by some strange stray animal.
Wrestling fans will remember Jerry "The King" Lawler's son, Brian, most for his stint in WWE as Grand Mater Sexay; one-half of the goofy dancing duo (eventual trio) of Too Cool during the Attitude Era.
And of course, what is common knowledge among the wrestling community, Jerry Lawler is a cousin of The Honky Tonk Man.
8 The Jarrett Tree
Jerry Jarrett has long-served the industry as a wrestling promoter and has been married to a woman named Deborah Marlin for quite some time. Deborah happens to the daughter of Eddie Marlin; a former professional wrestler.
Aside from these connections, Jeff Jarrett has included some branches into the family tree. In recent years, Jarrett managed to woo and marry a woman named Karen Smedley; or better known as Karen Angle.
Yes, that Angle. While reports indicate that Kurt and Karen have reached a state of calm, this remains one weird extended branch.
7 The Gagne Tree
Verne Gagne remains a pivotal part of professional wrestling history. It was Gagne would founded the American Wrestling Association, the very promotion where one Hulk Hogan first caught the eye of Vince McMahon.
Verne Gagne's daughter Catherine would one day find love within the professional wrestling industry and would marry "The Living Legend" Larry Zbyszko, a man who bounced around the weird wrestling scene.
This extended branch would make Larry Zbyszko the brother-in-law of Greg Gagne, a well-respected wrestler and carrier of the family legacy.
6 The Windham Tree
The recently deceased Blackjack Mulligan (real name: Robert Windham) was one of those tough-as-nail old school wrestlers. Blackjack was also the father of Barry and Kendall Windham, a pair of in-ring performers in their own right.
Where this family tree becomes interesting is the branch extended to Mike Rotunda, better known in WWE as Irwin R. Schyster. The forgot-how-to-smile tax man who came along during a time when the occupational gimmick was popular.
What's even more interesting about this tree are the children of Mike Rotunda; Windham and Taylor, known respectively as Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas.
5 The Vachon Tree
As it pertains to Canadian wrestling families, one legendary clan stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. However, the Vachon Family hold their own in terms of a lasting wrestling legacy.
While Mad Dog Vachon remains the most accomplished of the family, niece Luna carved out a strong career in the industry; stepping forth as a unique female talent. During her lifetime, Luna was married to the vampire-like wrestler, Gangrel.
Meanwhile, Vivian Vachon - sister of Mad Dog - would marry Buddy Wolf in 1976; another old-school professional wrestler.
4 The Von Erich Tree
The Von Erich Family cut deep into the skin of professional wrestling. Patriarch Fritz Von Erich would have six sons, many of whom would see their lives cut short due to tragic circumstance.
However, the Von Erich Family are certainly a celebrated bunch; with Kerry Von Erich considered by many to be the most acclaimed of the group. In modern times a third generation of the Von Erich Family have entered the wrestling industry.
Most notably, Lacey Von Erich, who found success in TNA. While this particular family tree is not as tangled as the rest, this family has been "mixed up" in their own way.
3 The McMahon Tree
There are no secrets or shocking names here, everybody knows the extended branch that comes along with the McMahon Family. Nevertheless, Triple H has not only joined the tree, but has fully embraced the McMahon lifestyle.
Working for Vince McMahon is one thing, dating McMahon's daughter is another warped world. Who would have the audacity to do such a thing? Triple H would while looking fear in the face in terms of job security.
Now married, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have undertaken major backstage roles within the company and look towards the future of the product.
2 The Hart Tree
That aforementioned legendary Canadian clan are none other than the Hart Family. The tree which began in a Dungeon with a vigorous trainer named Stu. Yes, the Hart Family have left a distinguishable bruise on the body of professional wrestling.
The obvious standout here remains Bret Hart. However, the family can take much pride in Owen who - had his life not been cut short by an horrific accident - would have someday reached the top of that WWE mountain.
So where do the Hart branches extend? All the way from The British Bulldog - star from the past - to Natalya; a current WWE Superstar.
1 The Anoa'i Tree
The Anoa'i Family currently lay claim to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as Roman Reigns proudly represents his tree. Along with cousins The Usos, these new-school Superstars literally wear their family on their skin.
However, the Anoa'i tree extends its branches far and wide throughout the wrestling world: from The Wild Samoans to Yokozuna. Peter Maivia to Umaga. These branches reach out farther than other family trees.
While the family as a whole have found success in the ring, one particular member stands out most: The Rock, who of course has become one of the biggest stars in the world.
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