There are a lot of prominent family names in the wrestling business – or were. Huge wrestling families, such as the Harts, Runnels, and Anoaʻi families have dominated the world of wrestling over the past decades. What happens is – in wrestling and other industries for that matter – there’s a man or woman who is a wrestler, they get married, start a family and the kids want nothing more than to follow in their parent’s footsteps. The kids grow up in a wrestling family household, and so their natural progression would be to carry on their family name in the world of wrestling. These kids grow up and accomplish their dream of making it pro, get married, start families of their own, and the wrestling family just keeps growing. When they do get married, due to the rigors of life as a pro wrestler, it’s likely to be someone from within the industry – a fellow wrestler who knows what it takes to make it as a wrestling pro. Thus families get extended and more connections form. Wrestling families get connected to other wrestling families through marriages, and different – sometimes rather complex, as you’ll figure out as you read this article – relationships form.
When they do get married, due to the rigors of life as a pro wrestler, it’s likely to be someone from within the industry – a fellow wrestler who knows what it takes to make it as a wrestling pro. Thus families get extended and more connections form. Wrestling families get connected to other wrestling families through marriages, and different – sometimes rather complex, as you’ll figure out as you read this article – relationships form.
There have been many articles written about wrestlers marrying fellow wrestlers. But what about in-laws and extended families? Here are the top 15 wrestlers you probably didn’t know were in-laws at one point or another.
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15 John Laurinaitis - Daniel Bryan
John Laurinaitis comes from a prominent wrestling family. He wrestled for about 15 years and is currently involved with WWE, holding various managerial positions. His brothers were also professional wrestlers; Joe of The Road Warriors and Marcus, aka The Terminator.
In 2016, John got hitched to Kathy Colace, who’s Nikki and Brie Bella’s mom. It’s quite comical that The Bella Twins have got John as a stepdaddy and that leaves Daniel Bryan, Brie's husband, as an in-law. It's unclear when exactly Laurinaitis and Kathy met, but considering they're now happily married, you have to figure it was some point after Brie and Nikki returned to WWE following a year-long hiatus in 2012. You can catch this interesting extended family on Total Bellas, if you ever get tired of watching RAW.
14 Brian Lee - Michelle McCool
You’ve all heard of Michelle McCool. She was one of the most successful divas in WWE, but today she’s best known for being The Undertaker’s other half. Michelle and Mark Calaway tied the knot in 2010 and are still going strong.
Mark and Michelle have done so well in the wrestling business, and one of the reasons their accomplishments are so great is they’ve done it alone, meaning they haven’t had the shoulder of a former wrestling family member to lean on and to open doors for them. What a lot of you might not know is that Mark has a cousin who also dabbled in a bit of wrestling. Look at Brian Lee at you’ll see the similarities between the two. Brian actually played the imposter version of his cousin, but didn’t have half as much success. Anyway, the fact they’re related makes Brain Lee and Michelle cousins-in-law. Incidentally, he’s also cousins with Ron and Don Harris – the connections just keep on growing.
13 Blackjack Mulligan - Mike Rotunda
Blackjack Mulligan died last year but he certainly left his mark on the world of wrestling. His career spanned more than 20 years, during which he won a number of accolades and accomplishments with various different promotions.
Blackjack had three kids, two of whom have wrestled and have followed in their father’s footsteps; Barry and Kendall. His daughter though, Stephanie Windham, chose to steer clear of wrestling, but the fact that she went down a different path didn’t stop her hanging with certain members of the wrestling fraternity. Stephanie and Mike Rotunda took a fancy to one another and got married, making Blackjack Mike’s father-in-law. They too have three kids, two of whom are well-known wrestlers currently signed to WWE; Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt.
12 Greg Valentine - Brian Knobbs
Greg Valentine isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no arguing with the fact that his accomplishments in the industry have made him a deserving Hall of Famer.
Brian Knobbs burst onto the scene way back in 1985 as one-half of The Nasty Boys tag team. The duo went on to dominate the tag team division over the next decade, decimating opponents as they went about winning titles in WCW and WWE.
These two prominent wrestlers of yesteryear look kind of similar, but there’s something else that ties them together; they’re actually related. Knobbs is married to a woman called Toni, and she just happens to be Valentine’s sister-in-law. That makes Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brian Knobbs brothers-in-law; imagine being at family gatherings with these two – with their loud and “colorful” personalities – around!
11 The Honky Tonk Man - Stacy Carter
Wayne Farris – The Honky Tonk Man – has been around for what seems like forever. He made his debut in the mid-70s and is still around to this day, putting in occasional appearances on the independent circuit.
Wayne’s the first cousin of another esteemed wrestling pro - Jerry "The King" Lawler; “ahhh….now I see the resemblance” you’re probably thinking. Jerry’s been in the industry since 1970, which was incidentally, the year his third wife was born.
Stacy Carter dabbled in wrestling for a few years. She did manage to get her hands on the WWE Women’s Championship, but aside from that sole accomplishment, there was nothing noteworthy about her career in the ring. She did – albeit very briefly – become a family member to two of the biggest names around. Stacy got married to Lawler in 2000, making her Farris’ cousin-in-law for the grand total of one year – they divorced in 2001.
10 Ric Flair - Scott McGhee
Scott McGhee isn't exactly a well-known name to modern wrestling fans, but he is a former NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion. He got his start in the business in the late 70s in NWA as a referee and he eventually became a wrestler himself. How did he get this opportunity? Well, partly because his brother-in-law happened to be Ric Flair. It's unclear how the two were related, but they've been listed as so in various news outlets. McGhee began training in the late 70s, so it was around the time Flair was married to his first wife Leslie Goodman.
McGhee would win the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship three times, but needless, to say, he wouldn't have the title reigns his former brother in law Ric Flair had.
9 Dusty Rhodes - Jerry Sags
Dusty Rhodes was another massive name in the world of wrestling, He created a legacy, something that his sons, Dustin and Cody, are attempting to carry on. But he had another family member in wrestling too; his brother-in-law, Jerry Sags.
We’ve mentioned The Nasty Boys already, how Brian Knobbs and his tag team partner dominated the tag team scene throughout the 90s. Well, that partner was Jerry Sags. Sags tasted a huge amount of success with Knobbs with various different promotions; pretty much everything he won – which was a lot – was with Knobbs by his side. They really were a formidable duo – one of the most famous tag teams in history.
Dusty and Jerry became in-laws when Dusty’s wife’s sister got hitched to Jerry, making the two part of one big happy family.
8 Rikishi - Naomi
Think the Hart family’s big? Try wrapping your head around the Anoaʻi family and all of their family connections. It’ll take forever listing all the names back through the ages, although it’d certainly make for some interesting reading.
The huge man mountain, Rikishi, made a massive impact during his time in the ring. “Rikishi” means sumo wrestler in Japanese, and his sumo size meant that watching him go about his business in the ring was enthralling and rather comical at the same time, not to mention hugely entertaining.
Rikishi has two sons that are currently involved in wrestling – The Usos, consisting of real-life brothers, Jimmy and Jey. In 2014, Jimmy tied the knot with Naomi. That makes Naomi – who rose to fame as a member of WWE’s Total Divas show – Rikishi’s daughter-in-law; and the Anoaʻi family just keeps getting bigger.
7 Stevie Ray - Sharmell
Sharmell Sullivan-Huffman was involved in the industry herself, mainly in an out-of-the-ring capacity, although she did begin to wrestle now and again too. But it’s unlikely many people, when thinking about Sharmell, would be able to think back and recollect about anything noteworthy she achieved in wrestling. What Sharmell is known for is being Booker T’s wife.
Their respective careers are poles apart. Booker’s one of the most decorated wrestlers of all time, having achieved major success wherever he went. He only just retired from in-ring competition last year, bringing an end to a glittering career.
Because of Booker’s accomplishments, it was always going to be hard for his brother, Stevie Ray, to shine. He’s had a decent time of it, but again, what he’s achieved pales into insignificance when putting his wrestling résumé side by side with that of his brother’s.
Anyway, since 2005 when Booker and Sharmell got married, Stevie and Sharmell have been siblings-in-law. They’re all a very close family; King Booker, Queen Sharmell, and.. Prince Stevie? I guess it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the other two though.
6 Bret Hart - Dynamite Kid
With the Hart family being as big as it was, and the entire family being involved in the wrestling business, it's no surprise many of the women in the family ended up marrying wrestlers. However, former rivals and partners - Bret Hart and The Dynamite Kid - were related due to Kid's marriage with Bret's ex sister-in-law. While Bret was married to his ex-wife Julie, Dynamite began dating Julie's sister and eventually the two got married and had kids. Unfortunately, Dynamite's destructive behavior following his severe back injury spelled doom for the marriage.
Hart describes in his book just how destructive Dynamite's behavior got. He recalls an incident where Dynamite was threatening his wife and children, who were hiding out at Hart's house. Hart then went outside to confront his brother-in-law who was sitting in a car. Hart told him it was best for him to leave and shortly after that, Dynamite's wife bought him a one-way ticket to England and told him to never come back.
Hart has since expressed grief for what became of his former brother-in-law.
5 Mil Mascaras - Paige
How is a Mexican luchador – one of the big three and pioneers of the Lucha Libre tradition – related to a young 24-year-old woman from the east of England?
Paige is engaged – so technically they’re not actually in-laws or related yet – to Alberto Del Rio, who is Mil Mascaras’ nephew. That means when they do take the final leap and tie the knot, Mil Mascaras will be Paige’s uncle-in-law. This will make yet more connections in the wrestling industry and bring together two prominent families.
Mascaras’ brothers have both wrestled, as have his four nephews, including Alberto. Paige also hails from a wrestling family; her parents are both former wrestlers and her siblings all currently wrestle.
We await Paige and Alberto’s pending nuptials, which will form yet another industry connection.
4 Larry Zbyszko - Verne Gagne
Here’s a blast from the past. A lot of you probably don’t know about Verne Gagne's wrestling career, but you should; scour through the wrestling archives and you’ll soon come to realize that Verne was one of the best. Handsome, charismatic and with the skills to pay the pills, Verne Gagne had it all. But, back in those days – Verne was active from 1949-1981 – wrestling wasn’t as safe as it is now. All those years in the ring took its toll on Verne’s body and he ended up having numerous health problems which ultimately led to his death.
One of Gagne’s daughters, Kathleen, is still around, and is married to Larry Zbyszko, who’s also a legendary professional wrestler, and like Gagne, a Hall of Famer. Gagne certainly approved of the marriage which took place in 1988 and welcomed Larry into the family as a son-in-law with open arms. Incidentally, Larry and Kathleen’s son is also a professional wrestler, Tim Zbyszko.
3 Cody Rhodes - Terri Runnels
Cody Rhodes and Terri Runnels are – or were in Terri’s case – both great wrestling personalities in their own right.
With that surname, Cody Rhodes doesn’t really need much of an introduction. He’s the son of the late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes and he’s also the half-brother of WWE wrestler Goldust. Having made his debut a decade ago, he’s gone from strength to strength, winning numerous championship titles with various different promotions – mainly tag team titles with WWE.
Cody’s older half-brother hasn’t done too badly either. Goldust had a head start, making his debut in 1988, but has since won many titles, in some ways emulating the success of his late father.
Terri Runnels was a prominent name in the wrestling industry too. Although she found success - in terms of titles and championships – hard to come by, she was part of some noteworthy storylines and certainly made an impression.
While with WCW, Terri met Goldust and they subsequently got married. For about six years everything was roses, and Cody and Terri were siblings-in-law. But Cody and Goldust’s dad, Dusty, certainly wasn’t fine with any of it. It was his meddling that caused the marriage to crash and burn, although Goldust and Terri still have a good relationship, and Terri decided to keep Goldust’s - Dustin Patrick Runnels’ – last name.
2 Bram - Ric Flair
Thomas Raymond Latimer, aka, Bram, is an English professional wrestler who’s currently with TNA. He also wrestled for a period for WWE’s developmental territories but has had limited success, picking up a few titles during his run with various different promotions.
If Bram’s career has been less than remarkable, Ric Flair’s on the other hand, has been the polar opposite. Flair’s considered by many to be one of the best wrestlers who’s ever lived; Though three of his kids have taken a shot at wrestling, it’s only been Ric’s daughter, Ashley - Charlotte Flair – who’s had any reasonable level of success.
In 2013 Bram and Charlotte got hitched, making Bram a part of the Flair family legacy. He was The Nature Boy's son-in-law, but that relationship was short-lived as the two divorced a couple of years later.
1 Edge - Val Venis
Adam Joseph Copeland – Edge – came, saw and conquered and then got out of the wrestling industry to pursue other ventures. He’ll go down as one of the best, having won every possible title in the WWE before retiring due to a neck injury.
Edge’s fellow Canadian, Sean Allen Morley – Val Venis – on the other hand, hasn’t tasted the same amount of success. He’s done well for himself, winning the Intercontinental and European Titles in the WWE, but his record pales into insignificance when drawing comparisons with Edge's illustrious career.
In 2001, Edge and Val became brothers-in-law. Edge first wife, Alannah Morley, is Val’s sister. But the marriage was short-lived and just over two years later they decided to go their separate ways and call it quits. Edge moved on, pretty much immediately, to Lisa Ortiz but as we know, that marriage didn't last long either, due to Edge's affair with Lita.
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