Over the past few decades, WWE has developed a habit of bringing parents and loved ones of wrestlers into feuds just to make them a little more personal.
The easiest way to get cheap heat from the WWE Universe in a feud between two known stars is to put their parents ringside and have the heel slap them or attack them in some way.
As part of the WWE crowd you are hardly protected and obviously, the parents sign off on being involved in the storyline. So their input does become integral to the continuation of the rivalry.
Not all parents are used in this way. Finn Balor's parents were ringside to see him with the Universal Championship at SummerSlam and they weren't used in the build up of the match. As was Shane McMahon's mother at family back at Survivor Series last year. So it doesn't seem to be an official rule that you will be attacked if you're at ringside, it is just a relatively likely one.
The following are the 15 most memorable times that the WWE have dragged a wrestler's parents into a storyline in order to make it that bit more personal.
15 Macho Man's Father
There are not many feuds that became personal like the feud between "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Ric Flair. Back in 1995. Ric Flair was retired, as he has been so many times when he decided to jump the guard rail dressed as a woman and attack Savage during his match against Avalanche at Uncensored.
Savage then begged for Flair to be reinstated in WCW so that he could exact revenge. Flair then teamed with Vader to take on Hulk Hogan and Savage at Slamboree later that year. Even though Hogan pinned Flair, the match wasn't over as Flair locked Savage's father in the Figure-Four Leg Lock as Vader kicked his legs and the duo attempted to cripple the poor man. Savage's father continued to appear throughout the feud as these two continued to face off for a number of months afterwards.
14 Bret Hart's Father
The Hart Family are one of the most famous wrestling families in the sports. So it comes as no surprise that they have been involved in a number of feuds over the past few years. Bret Hart himself has returned a number of times to help his niece Natalya. Bret Hart's father Stu has been involved in his son's storylines before as well.
The feud between Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler back in the early 1990s ended up lasting for almost three years after Bret was crowned King of the Ring and Lawler took offence to anyone calling themselves King. The feud got personal when Bret Hart faced Bam Bam Bigelow and Jerry Lawler found Hart's parents in the crowd to taunt them.
13 The Miz's Parents
The Miz has allowed his parents to be part of WWE TV a number of times over the past few years. But the time they were best included in the program was when The Miz was in his hometown and in a feud with "The Viper," Randy Orton.
The Miz and Orton collided back in 2013 while The Miz's parents were at ringside. Orton took The Miz out of the ring and beat him up in front of his own parents. tHE Miz was embarrassed by this and it led to something quite personal and interesting between Orton and The Miz with many of the WWE Universe reaching a point of believing that if your parents are in the arena, Orton will find them and he will make an example of them.
12 John Cena's Father
John Cena's father has appeared on WWE TV a number of times over the past 15 years since his son made his debut. Fans mostly remember him for his involvement in the storyline between Cena and Randy Orton. "The Viper" once punched Cena's father in the face when he was sitting at ringside, with the WWE Universe thinking he was punching a fan.
Orton later dragged John Cena Sr. out of the audience and hit the punt to the head to signify what then became a deeply personal feud between two of the biggest stars that WWE have ever created. The two men have stepped in and out of feuds for the past decade and it seems that ever since then every match between them is considered to be personal.
11 Torrie Wilson's Father
It is a feud that will probably make the list for some of the worse writing WWE has ever done. But Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie entered a feud when it was made apparent that Marie was sleeping with Torrie's father, Al, and the couple then went on to marry.
Torrie tried her best to ruin the union of the duo as their wedding attire was actually underwear. But the wedding went ahead and when it came to consummating the marriage, Dawn managed to actually kill Torrie's father. It was a strange rivalry that saw a lot of lesbian hints between Torrie and Dawn throughout. But it was something that the WWE Universe couldn't get behind and it was considered an embarrassing feud and one that hasn't been mentioned since.
10 Stephanie McMahon's Father
Vince McMahon is technically the Chairman of WWE. So he was already involved in storylines at this point. But back with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H were in the midst of their first storyline, Vince was seen as Stephanie's father as Vince and Triple H didn't see eye to eye.
During Triple H and Stephanie's wedding, Vince tried to stand up for his daughter as Triple H shouted abuse at her but The Game punched him in the face before hitting a Pedigree on the ramp while Stephanie looked on in horror at her father being attacked by her Hunter. Obviously, the duo later made up and have since been able to work together for more than a decade. But back then it was considered to be a personal feud between Vince and Triple H when it came to who knew what was best fro Stephanie.
9 Randy Orton's Father
Randy Orton's father is a former Superstar and has been involved in a few of his son's storylines over the years. One of the most memorable would have been when Bob Orton invaded the ring to help his son to defeat The Undertaker back at SummerSlam in 2005.
This then led to a feud between The Undertaker and both generations of the Orton family. It even including an incredible Handicap Casket match. The feud was a lengthy one that allowed Randy Orton to fully explore his Legend Killer character at that time. Bob was brought in to help his son but at that time Orton really didn't need it. Of course, this isn't the only time Bob has decided to get involved in a WWE storyline centred around his son.
8 Jack Swagger's Father
Kane has never been an easy rival in WWE. Ask The Undertaker. The duo have been feuding on and off their entire career. But it was his feud with Jack Swagger that has him on the list here as he allowed it to go outside the realms of WWE when he decided to attack Jack Swagger's father.
Kane thought that Swagger had something to do with what happened to The Undertaker so he attacked him. But when Swagger got the advantage, Rey Mysterio came out to even the odds. Kane then got the upperhand once again and hit Swagger's father with a Chokeslam before Swagger walked away and Kane then hit the older Swagger with a Tombstone Piledriver. It was fair to say that Kane and Swagger harboured a lot of hatred for each other at that time.
7 Cody Rhodes' Father
Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, and Randy Orton made up Legacy a few years ago. There was always going to be tension between Orton and Rhodes because Randy had a problem with Cody's father, "The American Dream," Dusty Rhodes.
Randy slapped Dusty in front of Cody at one point by Dusty calmed his son down and told him to leave it. In fact, Dusty was helping Legacy when Orton turned their celebration into anger when he turned a hug into an RKO. Cody was forced to choose between attacking Randy or standing by his father's side. It was a hard decision for the youngest son of the WWE Hall of Famer and it was one that made Legacy's entire storyline much more compelling. This also led to a brutal match between Orton and Dusty Rhodes at The Great American Bash in 2007.
6 Chavo Guererro's Father
Chavo Guerrero and Rey Mysterio developed a deep-rooted rivalry in 2006 after Mysterio won the World Championship at WrestleMania 22. But a few years before this Rey actually had a feud with Chavo's father who was known as Chavo Classic at the time and throughout his time in WWE when he wasn't being announced as Chavo Guerrero Sr.
Their feud involved Chavo J.r as well and saw Rey Mysterio defeat Chavo Classic for the Cruiserweight Championship before he was fired by WWE back 2004 for no-showing SmackDown live events. WWE could have brought this into the feud between Rey and Chavo that also brought in Vickie Guerrero a few years later, but their feud was destined to be centred around Eddie and his passing instead.
5 Charlotte's Father
Ric Flair was an integral part of Charlotte's early months on the main roster and one of the reasons why she was able to work so well as a heel with him at ringside. For months Flair would be the difference for his daughter. But at WrestleMania 32 back in 2016 Becky Lynch decided that she had had enough of his interfering and dived out of the ring to take him out.
Sadly, Becky was unable to keep Flair down for the whole of the match and he was once again involved in the finish to help his daughter take home the WWE Women's Championship for the first time. Many women who have faced Charlotte like Natalya and Paige have tried to find a way to neutralize Ric Flair but he was one of the hardest people to keep down.
4 Roman Reigns' Father
Roman Reigns took on Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31. Roman had won the Royal Rumble and managed to defeat Daniel Bryan at Fastlane to deserve the chance to main event WrestleMania. But while Roman was part of the biggest match of his career, his father was at ringside cheering on his son.
Seth Rollins ran in and turned the match into a Triple Threat and then walked away with the Championship, which made the WWE Hall of Famer quite angry. He made a fuss at ringside and took all the attention away from his son. Unlike all the other family members on this list, Sika wasn't supposed to get involved or make a fuss about his son losing. He was just visibly annoyed about the way WWE booked the match.
3 Zack Ryder's Father
Zack Ryder shocked the world at WrestleMania 32 when he won the Intercontinental Championship Ladder match to lift the title for the first time. The Miz managed to talk Zack into putting his title on the line the following night on Raw as Ryder's father watched on from ringside. But The Miz had a trick up his sleeve as Maryse made her entrance and slapped Ryder's father.
This distraction helped The Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale and take the Intercontinental Championship, something that he has held on and off now for the past year. Ryder lost the rematch and hasn't been near the title picture since. But at least he was finally given his WrestleMania moment and finally heard his own music played on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
2 Randy Orton's Father (Again)
Over the past decade Randy Orton's father has been the one involving himself in his son's storylines as a way to help him claw his way to the top. But the tides have changed. At Money in the Bank, Bob Orton was trying to sit at ringside and watch his son fight for the WWE Championship when he was attacked by The Singh Brothers.
Orton managed to fight them off but Jinder Mahal got the win after the distraction. This has allowed their feud to dip to the personal level that WWE needed to keep it alive and forced Orton to challenge Mahal once again. SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon agreed that he deserved another shot at the WWE Championship and now the duo will meet at Battleground in just the third-ever Punjabi Prison match.
1 John Cena's Father (Again)
Perhaps the most famous and memorable storyline involving a family member was when John Cena and Edge were locked in a feud for the WWE Championship. Back in 2006, Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase only to lose the title back to Cena and end up facing referee Mick Foley at WrestleMania 22.
Once Foley was out of the picture, Edge stepped back into the rivalry with Cena. And this time it was personal. Edge went to John Cena's house and slapped his father. Cena retaliated the following week by brawling all over the arena with Edge before throwing him into the Long Island Sound. This feud still holds a special place in the hearts of the WWE Universe, as it was some of Cena and Edge's best work.