- Fred Foster
- February 8, 2022
In the wrestling industry, it is not surprising to see second, third, and even fourth-generation wrestlers follow in their family’s footsteps. With many organizations being owned and promoted by generation after generation, pro wrestling certainly fits the definition of a family-run business. From the McMahons’ ownership of World Wrestling Entertainment since 1953 to the Von Erichs’ now-defunct World Class Championship Wrestling, to the legendary Hart family-run Stampede Wrestling, not only are these organizations owned by various family members, but they are also performers, bookers, and agents.In many cases, as in regular life, these families, go to battle (sometimes even with each other), except unlike normal people, their arguments are settled in the ring, Whether they are real-life relatives or related by story (Dudley Boyz), family always sticks together…at least until one stabs the other in the back, which often happens and makes for a great storyline.
Members: “Iron” Mike, Ted, Ted Jr., Mike, Brett
The “Million Dollar Man” was the most well-known of the DiBiase family, which over time has featured a total of five members who have entered the squared circle since 1946.
Unfortunately, “Iron” Mike would suffer a heart attack in the middle of a match, dying in the ring during an event in 1969. Trained by the famous Funk family, Ted would soon join the WWE and would become one of the greatest heels in wrestling history, be it in the ring or as a manager. Ted’s three sons would follow in the footsteps laid out by their father and grandfather, with Ted Jr. being the most successful of the three boys.
Members: Carlos, Carlito, Primo, Epico
He wrestled only two matches in the WWE, but his greatness in the wrestling industry was merit enough to be honored into the WWE Hall of Fame. As the patriarch of the Colon family, Carlos was the greatest wrestler to come out of Puerto Rico and as an active member and owner of the WWC (World Wrestling Council), he won the world title a record 26 times.
After honing their craft in WWC, Carlos’s two sons and his nephew would all end up in the WWE. Although he left the organization on bad terms, Carlito would have the most success, winning four different WWE championships. Both Primo and Epico would wear WWE gold around their waist as tag team champions during their time in the WWE before returning home to once again wrestle in the WWC.
Members: Blackjack Mulligan, Barry Windham, Kendall Windham, Mike Rotunda (In-Law), Bray Wyatt, Bo Dallas
Individually they are all talented wrestlers, but the Windham family members are best known for their role in the tag team division of various wrestling organizations around the world.
With teams like The Blackjacks, The U.S. Express (Barry and Mike teamed together), The Twin Towers, Money Inc., The Wyatt Family, and The B-Team, the Windham family members have all worn tag team gold around their waist. While Barry would be the first to hold a major World Championship, Bray has had the most individual success with three WWE Championships to his name and is currently one of the most unique and intriguing characters in the business, The Fiend.
Members: Dory Sr., Dory Jr., Terry
For 52 years, Terry Funk was active in the squared circle as one of the most hardcore wrestlers the industry has ever seen. Whereas some wrestlers hang up the boots in their early 40s, Terry was performing in violent hardcore matches well into his 50s.
While his dad and brother both had successful careers that resulted in being named to various Hall of Fame shrines, it was Terry who really put the Funk name in the spotlight. In one of the most sadistic matches in wrestling history, Terry would battle Cactus Jack in a “no ropes, barbed wire, exploding barbed wire boards and exploding ring time bomb deathmatch” during their time in Japan. After Dory Sr. started his career in 1943, Terry would finally end the Funk family career in 2017.
Members: (Maurice) “Mad Dog”, (Paul) “Butcher”, Vivian, Luna
Most wrestling families offer a variety of gimmicks over time and throughout generations, but for the Vachon family, they all portrayed characters who were on the crazy and deranged side of life.
Despite playing heels for most of their respective careers, the Vachon family was arguably the second most popular family to come out of Canada. After capturing a combined ten tag team championships between their time with the AWA and NWA, “Mad Dog” and “Butcher” would retire in the mid-1980s. Although she would be a model before becoming a wrestler, sister Vivian would still buy into the crazed character and would be one of the toughest female wrestlers in the AWA. Luna, Paul’s daughter, would be the final member of the Vachon family to hit the ring, spending most of her time in the WWE, both as an active wrestler and manager to some of the most famous “characters” in the organization.
Members: Eddie Auger, Jean, Jacques Sr., Jacques Jr., Raymond, Armand, Jean-Jacques, Cedric, Emile
Starting in the mid-1940s and through today, there have been four generations of Rougeau family members in the wrestling industry.
With Eddie, Jean, and Jacques Sr. paving the way, it would be Jacques Jr and Raymond that would find the most success in the WWE and WCW. As the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, Jacques Jr. and Raymond would battle the great tag teams of the ’80s before Raymond retired and joined the French commentary team and Jacques Jr. would be recharacterized as The Mountie. Jacques Jr. and Raymond’s brother Armand would sign a contract with the WWE but a back injury forced him into early retirement. Jacques Jr.’s three children, Jean-Jacques, Cedric, and Emile are all currently active wrestlers on the Canadian independent circuit.
Members: Grizzly Smith, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Sam Houston, Rockin’ Robin
Modern-day fans most likely won’t know the name Grizzly Smith, who worked both as a wrestler and a promoter in a number of the southern wrestling territories, but they will recognize his son, Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
Even though he would never hold any of the major wrestling championship belts, Jake would build a legendary career based on one of the greatest gimmicks in all of wrestling, one that used dark psychology to get over his opponents – that and a python. Sam would not fare as well as his older half-brother, toiling mostly in the mid-card to jobber ranks, but he would still manage to carve out a career in the independent circuit that is still active today. Although her career was relatively short-lived, Rockin’ Robin would claim the one thing her other family members didn’t: a WWE championship.
Members: Mil Mascaras, Dos Caras, Sicodelico, Alberto Del Rio, Sicodelico Jr., El Hijo de Dos Caras, Hijo de Sicodelico
Arguably one of the best luchador wrestlers in history, the man whose Spanish name translates to “Thousand Masks”, is one of the most influential and accomplished wrestlers in history. A member of the WWE Hall of Fame, Mascaras is one of the few mainstream luchador wrestlers to never be unmasked over the course of his thirty-nine-year career.
One of the greatest heavyweight wrestlers to come from Mexico, Dos Caras spent the majority of his career in Mexico and Japan. Alberto Del Rio would be featured in the WWE without his mask, which upset his Mexican fans, but the fact that he would be the first Mexican-born WWE champion and a Royal Rumble and Money In The Bank winner did wonders for bringing people of his heritage into the mainstream wrestling world.
Members: “Bullet” Bob, “Road Dog”, Scott, Brad, Steve
There have been numerous times in wrestling history in which a father and son have successfully teamed up in the ring, but none can claim that they would win tag-team gold with their sons on three separate occasions.
While Scott, Brad, and Steve would not have the legendary careers that their father Bob or brother Brian (Road Dogg) did, they still managed lengthy runs in the industry in various roles. Bob’s legendary career would take place mainly in the various southern NWA territories, while Road Dogg would be part of the iconic Attitude Era, grouping with Degeneration X and wrestling with Billy Gunn as the New Age Outlaws. Both Bob and Road Dogg would be honored as part of the WWE Hall Of Fame.
Members: Jerry “The King”, Brian Christopher, The Honky Tonk Man
You cannot mention wrestling in Memphis without acknowledging “The King”, who is credited with having more wrestling championships than anyone else in professional wrestling history, including 58 reigns as the AWA/Memphis Southern Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.
Despite all of his wrestling successes, Lawler would never win a championship of any sort during his thirty-plus years with the WWE. As did his cousin, The Honky Tonk Man won various titles on the independent circuit, but he would find WWE championship glory in the late ’80s as the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion, holding the belt for 454 days. Like his father, Christopher would be prominently featured in the Memphis wrestling scene, winning the USWA title 26 times. After initially not recognizing that Christopher was Lawler’s son, the WWE would eventually use that as a storyline late in Christopher’s career.
Members: Bob Orton Sr., “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr., Barry Orton, Randy Orton
A three-generation wrestling family, the Ortons all have ties with the McMahon family. Bob Sr. wrestled for Jess McMahon as part of Capitol Wrestling Corporation, while Bob Jr. worked for Vince Sr. and for the past two decades, Randy has been employed by Vince Jr.
While seeing wrestlers perform with their fathers is not out of the ordinary, Randy and Bob Sr. almost had the unique opportunity to wrestle together as Bob’s retirement match and Randy’s first match came within four months of each other. A member of the WWE Hall Of Fame, “Cowboy” Bob would have the honor of being part of the main event of the very first WrestleMania. It goes without saying that Randy Orton is one of the best wrestlers in WWE history and with multiple championships to his name, the “Apex Predator” is a shoo-in to join his father in the Hall of Fame.
Members: Angelo Poffo, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Lanny Poffo, Miss Elizabeth
Arguably the second biggest star in the WWE during the ’80s and ’90s, the “Macho Man” was one of the most decorated and inspirational wrestlers in history.
A multi-time WWE and WCW Heavyweight Champion, Savage had legendary feuds with Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Jake Roberts, and Ricky Steamboat, a man who he shared one of the greatest matches in wrestling history with at WrestleMania III. Both Angelo and Lanny would have long careers in the ring but would fail in comparison to Randy. Although Randy and Lanny would be under contract with the WWE during the same time period, it was never acknowledged that they were real-life brothers, and the same can be said for Savage’s real-life wife, Miss Elizabeth, who was his manager and kayfabe wife.
Von Erich Family
Members: Fritz, Kerry, Kevin, David, Mike, Chris, Ross, Marshall, Lacey
The Von Erich story is one of great triumph and immense tragedy.
Kerry, the best known and most successful member of the Texas-based family, spent most of his career working for World Class Championship Wrestling but also broke into the mainstream when he joined the WWE in the early ’90s. Unfortunately, the curse of the Von Erich would take the lives of five of Fritz’s six sons, including three by suicide all by the age of 33. A new generation of Von Erichs followed in the family business as Kerry’s daughter Lacey spent time in the WWE before finishing her career in TNA, while Kevin’s sons Ross and Marshall have wrestled in TNA and now are a part of Major League Wrestling.
Members: Gory, Chavo Sr., Mando, Hector, Eddie, Chavo Jr., Shaul, Aiden English (In-law), Vickie
A three-generation wrestling family led by father Gory, the Guerrero name has been involved in all of the top wrestling promotions around the world since 1974.
Best known for forming tag teams with each other, starting with Gory and Chavo Sr. and then Chavo Sr. would move on to team with Mando and Hector once his father retired. Years later Eddie and Chavo Jr. would team up in WCW as “Los Guerreros”, before heading out on their own individual careers. Eddie would reach the main event status with the WWE in 2004 and would cement his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of his era. Currently wrestling on the indie circuit, Eddie’s daughter Shaul has continued the family business, while Eddie’s former wife Vicki has returned to the industry as a manager in AEW.
Members: Larry “The Axe”, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, Curtis Axel
Known for his brutal hard-hitting style, Larry was one of the premier AWA tag team wrestlers in the mid-1960s, partnering with Harley Race and taking on such names as Verne and Greg Gagne, Dick the Bruiser, and Nick Bockwinkel.ADVERTISEMENT
As one of the greatest technical wrestlers in history, “Mr. Perfect” would be one of the elite mid-card and tag team champions in the WWE, WCW, NWA, and AWA. Curt was still an active wrestler in TNA and various independent programs when he passed away at the age of 44. Just as his father had done with him, Curt trained his son Curtis to carry on the family legacy. While Curtis would mostly be a gimmick wrestler in the WWE, he did win the same Intercontinental title that his father proudly wore years ago.ADVERTISEMENT
Members: Ric, Charlotte, David, Reid
It’s a safe bet that both father Ric and daughter Charlotte will end up on their respective Mount Rushmores of greatest wrestlers ever by the time all is said and done.
A sixteen-time World Heavyweight Champion (counting major organizations only), Ric was a part of some of the biggest matches and factions in wrestling history during his thirty-nine-year career. While Ric’s sons David and Reid would never live up to the legacy of their father, they were able to appear alongside their father during their short careers. With twelve Women’s Championships to her credit by the age of 34, it is only a matter of time before Charlotte passes her dad’s record. Inspired by the passing of her older brother Reid, Charlotte is the biggest name in women’s wrestling.
Members: Dusty, Dustin, Cody
The American Dream was one of the greatest wrestlers and bookers in history, with legendary feuds against many of the greatest wrestlers to step foot in an NWA ring.ADVERTISEMENT
Although he would spend time in the WWE, his “common man” gimmick degraded his resume. In between his multiple stints as one of the most memorable gimmick characters in WWE history, Dustin would spend most of his thirty-year career wrestling in the WCW and TNA. Currently, a member of AEW, Rhodes has proven that he can still keep up with a new generation despite being 51 years old. After being saddled with a Stardust gimmick that was going nowhere, Cody would leave the WWE for the independent circuit and then successfully become a promoter and executive for AEW.ADVERTISEMENT
Members: Stu, Smith, Bruce, Keith, Wayne, Dean, Ross, Bret, Owen, Teddy, Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, Natalya Neidhart, Tyson Kidd (In-Law), Davey Boy Smith Jr.
It almost seems like everyone who has ever entered a wrestling ring is somehow related to the Hart family.
With twelve children, eight of whom became wrestlers and four of whom married wrestlers, Stu and Helen Hart’s name has been associated with the industry since 1943. Most of the Hart boys would wrestle for their father’s independent Stampede Wrestling promotion, but Bret and Owen would break out and become the biggest stars in the family. Bret would become one of the greatest wrestlers in history and from a skills standpoint, Owen wouldn’t be far behind, but would, unfortunately, see his life end far too soon. A third-generation wrestler, Natalya is one of the best and most underrated female wrestlers in the WWE.
Members: The Wild Samoans, Jimmy Snuka, Umaga, Yokozuna, Rikishi, The Usos, Roman Reigns, Tamina Snuka, Nia Jax, Rocky Johnson, Peter Maivia, The RockADVERTISEMENT
Whether it is a direct relation or a “blood brother” connection, the Anoa’i family is one of the most accomplished wrestling families when it comes to in-ring success.
With six members of the family already in the WWE Hall of Fame and The Rock, Reigns, and Usos a lock to join them, it seems like every Samoan wrestler has ties to the Anoa’i family tree. Starting with the Wild Samoans, who captured twenty-one tag team championships during their career in the Mid-South, NWA, and WWE, the Anoa’i family has worn almost every major title in every major organization. Whereas most fans are familiar with the Harts, Flair, and Rhodes family name, it is mainly due to the fact that very few of the Anoa’i family members have used their last name while wrestling.ADVERTISEMENT
Members: Jess, Vince Sr., Vince Jr., Linda, Shane, Stephanie, Triple H (In-Law)
Wrestling and the McMahon name have been synonymous with each other since Jess started in the industry in 1915 and then founded Capitol Wrestling Corporation in 1952.
Vince Sr. would take over the business when his father passed two years later and would maintain control until Vince Jr. purchased it from him in 1982 and turned it into the worldwide phenomenon that we now call the WWE. As with many owners and promotors, all members of the McMahon family have been active participants in the ring at one time or another. While Vince still has the final say in everything that happens with the WWE brand, Shane, Stephanie, and Triple H all hold minority ownership and executive positions, keeping the business in the family well into the future.