We are more likely to see stories involving relatives in wrestling than other forms of sports due to how unique the industry is. Very few have the skills and get the breaks to excel in the pro wrestling world to make a living out of it. The job is a lifestyle that extends to the family of the performer. This has created various second generation stars or relatives of successful wrestlers trying their hand to make a profession for themselves. Siblings have become far more common with the new generation of talent coming through but have always been a part of the business.
Many tag teams are portrayed as brothers working together. Most of these situations feature two guys that aren’t actually related but are just playing the role. Edge and Christian are not brothers. They were best friends from childhood but they are not related at all. Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley are obviously not brothers but they played the role to perfection. While you don’t need to be related to be an effective tag team, history has shown us blood relatives that grew up together definitely have a chemistry that can’t be replicated. Some of those tag teams happened to feature one better talent of the two and we’ll look at those situations.
There’s also the siblings that have very little in common and entered the industry in very different ways despite being relatives. Cody Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes have very little in common aside from being the sons of the legendary Dusty Rhodes. Cody has gone out of his way to mention that he doesn't enjoy teaming with Dustin and never wants to return to that place in his career again. That proves not all siblings can work well together. The landscape of how siblings interact is one thing but it’s even more fascinating when one is clearly more talented than the other. These are the stories being discussed here as we break down the top fifteen wrestlers that were far better than their siblings.
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15 Bret Hart and Owen Hart > Smith and Bruce Hart
The Hart Family is synonymous with pro wrestling in Canada. Stu Hart’s work for the industry is renowned and his legendary dungeon helped train various stars for the future of the business. Bret Hart became one of the biggest superstars in WWE history and Owen Hart was another Hall of Fame worthy talent. The two Hart brothers making it to WWE influenced many of today’s stars. Things weren’t the same for their less talented brothers. Smith Hart and Bruce Hart weren’t good enough to get hired by WWE and were only used when needed for Hart family storylines involving Bret and Owen. Bruce had the reputation for being one of the more annoying backstage personalities in the business with no skills to back it up. Bret and Owen stood out as the stars of the family.
14 Scott Steiner > Rick Steiner
The Steiner Brothers deserve to be in the debate when breaking down the greatest tag team to ever step foot in a wrestling ring. Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner worked perfectly and their real life chemistry as brothers helped get them in sync for the in-ring work. Like most successful tag teams, there came a point where they needed to split up and Scott was by far the better performer. WCW pushed Scott as a singles heel and he was one of the bright spots during WCW’s dying days as Big Poppa Pump. Rick had his strong suits but he just wasn’t a special performer in the way Scott was and that showed towards the end of their WCW careers.
13 Alicia Fox > Christina Crawford
Alicia Fox has been in WWE for a long while and that’s a rare feat for any female wrestler in the company. Most members of the women’s division are out after a couple of years but Fox has been in the WWE system since 2006, spanning a decade. Fox is not a champion level performer but she’s the perfect veteran to add consistency to the division and help teach the new talent how to work a television style. Her sister Christina Crawford sadly couldn’t follow in Fox’s footsteps. WWE signed Crawford hoping to have another credible talent but her developmental run was a flop leading to a release before she entered the NFL cheerleading world.
12 Kerry Von Erich > Mike Von Erich
The Von Erich family was one of the more memorable sibling groups to achieve great success together. The brothers teamed together as one of the hottest acts in Texas and would draw fans to any event they worked. Kerry Von Erich was definitely the star of the family and it showed when WWE signed him. With the name of The Texas Tornado, WWE put the Intercontinental Championship on him for a few months hoping to push him as a singles star. The WWE push abruptly ended but the body of work by Kerry always stands out more than his brothers due to his all-around skills.
11 Dolph Ziggler > Ryan Nemeth
Similar to the Alicia Fox story, WWE tried to replicate the success of a current superstar by signing their sibling to a developmental deal with another duo. Dolph Ziggler was making waves as one of the fastest rising stars in the company and it led to his almost equally athletic brother Ryan Nemeth getting a chance in FCW and NXT. Ryan just didn’t have the tools to succeed in a wrestling ring the way his brother did and apparently got into hot water with then- head trainer Bill DeMott. The younger Nemeth was one of the more outspoken names calling out DeMott for bullying and harassing talent. Following his release from WWE, Ryan has not done much in the wrestling world and is seeking a career in comedy and writing. Dolph was clearly the most talented Nemeth.
10 Shane McMahon > Stephanie McMahon
The children of Vince McMahon were thrown into the fire during The Attitude Era. WWE’s use of the “Mr. McMahon” heel character created great success and it only made sense that his family became part of the story. Both siblings have different strong suits but Shane McMahon was undoubtedly a better wrestler than Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie has better character acting skills and knows how to play her heel gimmick perfectly but Shane-O-Mac won over the fan base with his actions. Between the beatings he would take against the larger superstars and the death defying stunts he pulled, Shane excelled in matches causing WWE fans to adore him. We are still seeing the story play out, with fans demanding Shane stay on television following his shocking return.
9 Nikki Bella > Brie Bella
The Bella Twins entered the WWE ranks with a world of hype due to the benefit of being identical siblings. WWE found a gem with their marketing and branding departments going to work in making Nikki and Brie both stars. Following a short departure, the sisters returned to the company for the Total Divas reality show and were given huge pushes. Both women deserve credit for training hard to improve but Nikki was clearly the better of the two. Nikki’s athleticism made her one of the best female wrestlers in WWE and the improvements gave her the all-around skills to become the longest reigning Divas Champion in WWE history. Brie did her best but was severely behind Nikki when it came to the in-ring work.
8 Carlito > Primo
Carlos Colon has a storied wrestling career most known for his work wrestling and promoting in Puerto Rico. It was very fitting that his sons wanted to enter the wrestling world and both would get opportunities in the WWE. Carlito instantly made a name for himself by defeating John Cena for the United States Championship on his first night on television. The in-ring work and charisma of Carlito pegged him as a future WWE Champion but the combination of getting heat backstage and showing little desire to improve ended his grace period. Still, he was far better than younger brother Primo. The work of Primo is technically sound but he’s yet to have a standout moment in eight years on the main roster.
7 Animal > John Laurinaitis
A pair of brothers that not many would realize on first glance is John Laurinaitis and Road Warrior Animal. The Road Warriors would likely be the most popular choice when polling fans on the greatest tag team in wrestling history and Animal was obviously half of that tandem with Hawk. His brother John Laurinaitis had a good career but was never a star in North America and failed to deliver when used in WCW. WWE gave Big Johnny his most fame as the VP of Talent Relations and later an on-air authority figure as a heel positioned against CM Punk. John is more known for negative backstage politics and Animal is a beloved in-ring legend.
6 Bray Wyatt > Bo Dallas
The most visually odd siblings on this list are Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas, considering how drastically different each brother looks. It gets even more shocking when you realize they are the sons of former wrestler I.R.S. Bray has become one of the top stars on the main roster with The Wyatt Family gimmick making him a hot commodity. Things have gone the complete opposite direction for Bo. The ironic comedy gimmick worked well in NXT but he’s failed to generate any momentum on the WWE main roster. The trajectories of their futures show Wyatt becoming a future WWE World Champion and Dallas being a jobber on secondary shows for years.
5 Booker T > Stevie Ray
Everyone loved Harlem Heat during the 90s and many would argue they were the greatest tag team in WCW history. Booker T and Stevie Ray are real life brothers and decided to enter the wrestling industry together. Harlem Heat achieved great fame with ten different tag title reigns dominating the division. The team eventually split because Booker was gaining momentum and fans wanted to root for him as a singles face. Booker blossomed into one of the last great WCW stars and was the only true main eventer WWE originally brought over following the purchase of WCW. Stevie Ray was given a chance as a singles talent with the nWo, but he was exposed as he couldn't compare to Booker.
4 Roman Reigns > Rosey
Say what you want about Roman Reigns being “the guy,” but he’s definitely a highly talented individual. As amazing as Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose may be, Reigns was a pivotal part of The Shield’s success and does a solid job as a singles performer. Reigns’ brother Rosey had a run with the WWE over a decade ago with 3-Minute Warning and later as the Super Hero in Training. If Reigns is “the guy,” Rosey was the definition of being “just a guy” on the show and WWE struggled to find a way to use him effectively. It is almost impossible to believe they are brothers considering Reigns has main evented back-to-back WrestleMania events and Rosey is remembered for making wordplay jokes with the S.H.I.T. acronym.
3 Jeff Hardy > Matt Hardy
The Hardy Boyz are another case of a pair of real life brothers working together and becoming a great wrestling tag team. Very few wrestlers were as popular as Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy during the peak of The Attitude Era. Both brothers added various attributes to the team but let’s be honest – everyone preferred Jeff. Matt may have been more technically sound but Jeff delivered far more exciting performances. The ridiculous moves off ladders and his quiet charisma made Jeff one of the most fascinating performers in the business for the majority of his career. Jeff went to the WWE main event scene and would have multiple WWE World Championship reigns in 2008-2009 while Matt was a midcarder for his entire WWE tenure.
2 Charlotte > David Flair
There could not be more polar opposites in the careers of two siblings likw Charlotte and David Flair. Ric Flair is an unquestioned legend and many would say he’s the greatest of all time. WCW signed David Flair and put him on television with no experience. It turned into one of the biggest flops of the Monday Night Wars. David looked horribly out of place and just about everything he did was a disaster. WWE signed Charlotte and the exact story opposite story would take place. Charlotte entered developmental, learned through detailed training classes and instantly picked it up. The athleticism of Charlotte also helped her become one of the biggest female stars in the business in a drastic difference from David.
1 Randy Savage > Lanny Poffo
The greatest example of sharing the same genes, but not the same talent would be the careers of Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo. The brothers were second generation stars following in the footsteps of father Angelo Poffo. Savage achieved great fame as one of the first big WWE stars during the golden era as “The Macho Man” and he is still beloved today for his superb work. It would be hard to argue anyone was a more complete performer than Savage. Lanny portrayed "The Genius" in the WWE and was painfully average. There was nothing outwardly horrible about him, but he looked terrible in comparison to how unbelievably good his brother was. Randy Savage’s greatness was on a level that sibling Lanny Poffo was nowhere close to matching.
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