The wrestling industry’s like one big family, and if you look at the number of family connections that people have with each other, you can say it is quite literally a family.
It’s a tough life for a wrestler – it’s certainly not all glitz and glamor. The majority of a wrestler’s year is spent on the road traveling to and from events, so it can be difficult meeting someone, starting a relationship and making it work. Not many would understand the life a wrestler leads – well, they might understand but most would eventually go on to resent it. But who would understand the life of a wrestler? A fellow wrestler. Being around each other at the same events, leading the same sort of lifestyle – it’s easy for paths to cross. That’s why there’s plenty of hook-ups and more substantial relationships between wrestlers within the industry. Wrestling couples get married, have kids, and the kids grow up and want to emulate their parents. Meanwhile the parents have brothers and sisters, they might introduce them to friends in the industry, and hey presto, another relationship starts and the family tree begins to get even bigger. There are consequently tons of connections – family ties between this wrestler and that one; these are 15 family ties you probably weren’t aware of.
15 John Laurinaitis – Daniel Bryan
Current WWE senior producer, John Laurinaitis, had a decent in-ring career. A lot of his family members are also in the industry; his older brother, Joe, is known as Road Warrior Animal of The Road Warriors, and Marcus, known as The Terminator also took to the ring in the 90s. There are plenty of connections there, but in May of last year, there was a new addition to the Laurinaitis family – well, new additions. Laurinaitis got married to a woman called Kathy Colace who’s the mom of Nikki and Brie Bella. Since Brie’s married to Daniel Bryan, this makes Daniel and John in-laws.
14 Greg Valentine – Brian Knobbs
Greg Valentine rubbed a lot of people the wrong way during his time in the industry, but no one can argue with the fact that – after amassing over 40 championships, that he’s a deserved Hall of Famer and one of the best wrestlers to have stepped foot in the ring.
Brian Knobbs wasn’t too bad himself. He found success mainly in the tag team divisions of various promotions with his partner in crime, Jerry Sags, as members of The Nasty Boys.
Neither of the two have yet officially retired, although decades of in-ring action have certainly taken their toll, meaning their appearances are becoming increasingly sporadic.
13 The Sheik - Sabu
Looking at their similarly brutal styles and ring attire, many would suspect there was some kind of connection between The Sheik and Sabu. Those suspicions would be right, as the original Sheik was Sabu's uncle. While The Sheik was plying his trade in the Detroit, Michicag area, Sabu would learn his reckless style from his uncle. Sabu would train with Rob Van Dam under his uncle and would learn the business the hard way, making his name in Japanese death matches before making his way to ECW.
12 The Rock – Rikishi
Talking of huge wrestling families, if the Harts are the biggest, the Anoaʻi family certainly isn’t too far behind.
There are a ton of connections within this family and trying to get to grips with all of them would be like trying to unravel a tangled ball of string – it’d be mightily confusing and time-consuming. But here it goes; both Rikishi and The Rock are members of this prominent wrestling family and therefore have family ties to one another – here’s how.
Peter Maivia was a "blood brother" of Amituanai Anoa'i, the father of the Wild Samoans, so he was considered a member of the Anoa’i family. Peter’s daughter began dating Rocky Johnson, they got married and had a son Dwayne Johnson.
11 Ric Flair – Bram
10 The Honky Tonk Man – Jerry Lawler
Jerry Lawler’s as good as they come; wrestling in numerous different territories since 1970, Lawler’s amassed an astonishing 168 championships, and is still at the age of 67, doing his thing in the ring – he’s semi-retired and is balancing what’s left of his in-ring career with his commentating duties.
9 Dusty Rhodes – Jerry Sags
I’ve already mentioned how Jerry Sags rose to fame as a member of The Nasty Boys. Together they ruled the roost in the tag team division in various different territories – together they were unstoppable on their way to titles and championships, but Jerry’s singles career was non-existent.
Dusty Rhodes achieved legendary status in the world of wrestling. He’s regarded to be one of the best and his name is currently being continued by his sons, Dustin and Cody, who are with WWE and TNA respectively.
8 Bo Dallas/Bray Wyatt – Barry Windham
Barry and Kendall Windham had very different careers. Kendall Windham retired in 2002, and during his 18 years in the industry, he didn’t really have a great time of it. He won a few championships here and there with his brother, Barry Windham, but aside from those few accomplishments he enjoyed a less than remarkable career. His dad on the other hand, Blackjack Mulligan, was one of the best. Blackjack may have been a tad disappointed at the way Kendall’s career ended up, but Barry certainly made up for his bro’s lack of titles. Kendall’s nephews are also looking to follow suit.
7 Sam Houston – Jake Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was – and still is to some extent – one of the most iconic wrestlers around. Aside from his accomplishments in the ring – of which there were many – Jake’s brought something new to the ring, and that something was snakes, to go along with his slimy and untrustworthy wrestling personality. Jake’s best days are far behind him, but he’s remained in the limelight, mainly due to his addictions and various health problems and how he’s gone about addressing them.
6 Paige – Zak Zodiac
Paige is still a baby in the wrestling industry – based on her age and certainly not any lack of experience – but has already accomplished so much – she’s achieved more than most people would over their entire careers.
5 Mike Rotunda – Bray Wyatt/Bo Dallas
4 Cody Rhodes – The Shockmaster
3 The Rock – Nia Jax
Nia Jax was a model and bodybuilder before getting picked up by WWE. It all happened pretty recently; she was signed by WWE in 2014 and began training at their developmental territory, NXT. She made her in-ring debut around a year later as Zada before changing her ring name to Nia Jax.
2 Grizzly Smith – Jake Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts has a lot more wrestling connections that many of you are probably aware of. His isn’t the biggest wrestling family, but they’ve all been involved – Jake, his dad and his siblings – in wrestling at one point or another.
1 Mike Awesome - Hulk Hogan
The Hulkster’s someone who didn’t really have any family ties in the wrestling industry – he got to the top on his own and stood there alone – he didn’t have that family support within the wrestling industry like many on this list have had or still have today.
But seeing a family member do so well in the industry meant the youngsters in Hogan’s family wanted to follow suit. Hogan’s brother, Alan Bollea, was the man who was known as Horace Hogan’s dad, meaning The Hulkster is Horace’s uncle.
The late, Michael "Mike Awesome" Alfonso, was Horace’s cousin; the two were inseparable as kids and pushed each other to get into the industry, which they did, although neither got close to emulating Hulk Hogan’s successes – not many have done so.
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