Greatest Pro Wrestling Families
Perhaps more so than any other sport, or "sports entertainment," pro wrestling is a family business with many promotions often being family-owned for generations upon generations.
The greatest example of this is the McMahon family, which has owned and operated World Wrestling Entertainment through its many incarnations for over 65 years. Other examples include the now-defunct World Class Championship Wrestling, which was owned by the Von Erichs in Texas and Stampede Wrestling, which was owned by the Harts in Canada.
Wrestling lineages extend to the ring as well. It’s quite common these days to hear of a performer being a second-, third- or even fourth-generation wrestler. Of course, having a relative precede you in the business helps you get your foot in the door, or ring, but the next generation has to build upon the family name. Many even end up better than their predecessors.
These are the best wrestling families, consisting of at least three people, that have ever existed in the world of pro wrestling.
20. DiBiase Family
Primary wrestlers: "Iron" Mike DiBiase, Helen Hild, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Ted DiBiase Jr.
Years active: 1946-2017
Did you know: "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase played football at West Texas State alongside fellow WWE Hall of Famers Tito Santana and Tully Blanchard.
Bottom Line: DiBiase Family
Apart from being the father of "The Million Dollar Man," "Iron" Mike DiBiase also is known for being one of the few wrestlers to die in the ring. During a match in 1969, DiBiase suffered a heart attack during the middle of a match, and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Five years later, Mike's son Ted got into the business and was trained by two of his father’s rivals, Dory and Terry Funk. Ted joined the WWE, where his "Million Dollar Man" character developed into one of the best heel gimmicks in wrestling history.
All three of Ted’s sons also became wrestlers with Ted Jr. having the most success before retiring to focus on his acting career.
19. Colon Family
Primary wrestlers: Carlos Colon, Carlito, Primo, Epico
Years active: 1966-present
Did you know: Carlos Colon appeared in just two WWE matches in his career, and they took place 25 years apart.
Bottom Line: Colon Family
Carlos Colon is the co-founder and owner of Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council (WWC) in which he, unsurprisingly, dominated as champion.
He won the WWC world title a record 26 times and held the belt the equivalent of almost 11 years. Carlos' sons Carlito and Primo, as well as his nephew Epico, all passed through WWC on their way to landing with the WWE.
Among the second-generation Colons, Carlito has had the most success and held four different titles in WWE. However, he is no longer with the WWE after being released following the refusal of attending sponsored rehab for painkillers.
That leaves Primo and Epico as the last two Colons in WWE, and they currently constitute a tag team conveniently called The Colons.
18. Windham Family
Primary wrestlers: Blackjack Mulligan, Barry Windham, Mike Rotunda, Bray Wyatt, Bo Dallas
Years active: 1967-present
Did you know: Blackjack Mulligan and his son Kendall Windham spent two years in prison after being caught with nearly $500,000 in counterfeit bills.
Bottom Line: Windham Family
Nearly all of the Windhams have made their bones as part of legendary tag teams or factions.
Blackjack Mulligan was part of The Blackjacks, who are in the WWE Hall of Fame, while his son, Barry Windham, was part of The Four Horseman. Windham’s brother-in-law, Mike Rotunda aka IRS, was part of Money Inc. alongside Ted DiBiase.
The grandson of Mulligan and son of Rotunda, Bray Wyatt, made his name as a part of The Wyatt Family before branching out on his own and becoming one of WWE’s most unique characters, The Fiend.
17. Funk Family
Primary wrestlers: Dory Funk Sr., Dory Funk Jr., Terry Funk
Years active: 1943-2017
Did you know: Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk both played football in college at West Texas State (now known as West Texas A&M).
Bottom Line: Funk Family
For 75 years, the Funks competed in the squared circle, and 75 is also approximately how many times Terry Funk retired. Terry is the youngest and most famous member of the family as he reinvented his wrestling style in the 1990s and became one of the forefathers of hardcore wrestling.
He competed in ECW and over in Japan in extreme gimmick matches such as no-ropes-barbed-wire matches and "exploding ring time bomb" death matches. Competing in these types of matches is one thing, but Funk did so in his 50s and 60s.
In addition to his work in the ring, Funk also appeared in several action films in the 1980s, including "Road House" and "Over The Top." The latter is when he met Sylvester Stallone, and Funk would go on to choreograph fight scenes between Rocky Balboa and Tommy Gunn in "Rocky V."
16. Vachon Family
Primary wrestlers: "Mad Dog" Vachon, "Butcher" Vachon, Vivian Vachon, Luna Vachon
Years active: 1950-2007
Did you know: "Mad Dog" Vachon competed in freestyle wrestling for Canada at the 1948 Olympics and won a gold medal at the 1950 Commonwealth Games.
Bottom Line: Vachon Family
The Vachons are a unique wrestling family in the sense that they essentially all had the same type of gimmick. That is evident in their ring names: Mad Dog, Butcher, Luna(tic). They all portrayed crazy or deranged individuals. Mad Dog and Butcher were brothers who often teamed together, and they won 10 tag titles in the NWA and AWA.
Vivian was the little sister of Mad Dog and Butcher and was actually a model before getting into wrestling, which contrasted with the characters of her family members.
Luna was adopted by Butcher and spent the most time in WWE out of any of the Vachons. She died in 2010, and her ashes were scattered on the ranch of her close friend, Andre the Giant.
15. Rougeau Family
Primary wrestlers: Jean Rougeau, Jacques Rougeau Jr., Raymond Rougeau
Years active: 1946-2018
Did you know: Former NHL player Denis Gauthier is the grandson of Jacques Sr. and is the nephew of Jacques Jr. and Raymond.
Bottom Line: Rougeau Family
Every generation of the Rougeaus has achieved a little more success than the previous one, so a lot is expected of the current fourth generation.
That’s because the third generation of Rougeaus was a mainstay on WWE and WCW television during the 1980s and '90s and Raymond’s presence extends to this day. Jacques Jr. was the best known of the Rougeaus and was an intercontinental champion as "The Mountie, "but his brother Raymond is still a part of WWE today.
Raymond spent a decade as a French commentator for WWE before the promotion stopped producing French editions of its programming. He then returned after a 15-year break as WWE’s French commentary returned, and he is currently employed in that role.
14. Smith Family
Primary wrestlers: Grizzly Smith, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Sam Houston, Rockin' Robin
Years active: 1955-2015
Did you know: Siblings Jake Roberts, Sam Houston and Rockin' Robin were all employed by WWE in the late 1980s though it never acknowledged them as being related.
Bottom Line: Smith Family
Grizzly Smith enjoyed a lengthy career as both a wrestler and promoter in many different southern territories, but his greatest contribution to the pro wrestling industry is his son Jake Roberts.
Jake "The Snake" had a nickname that fit his wrestling persona since he would often do sneaky, underhanded, snake-like things in order to defeat his opponent. He would also bring an actual snake with him to the ring and kept the python in a bag before unleashing it after a victory.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts is considered one of the greatest gimmicks in wrestling history despite never winning a single title in wrestling’s biggest promotion, WWE.
13. Rodriguez Family
Primary wrestlers: Mil Mascaras, Dos Caras, Alberto Del Rio
Years active: 1965-present
Did you know: In the late 1970s, Mil Mascaras became the first masked wrestler to appear in Madison Square Garden when he wrestled for WWE.
Bottom Line: Rodriguez Family
The Rodriguez family helped put luchador wrestling on the map, and they are known for their masked appearances throughout their careers. Mil Mascaras translates to "Thousand Masks" while Dos Caras is "Two Faces" with both names referencing the masks they wrestled with.
Caras’ son, Alberto Del Rio, also competed with a mask early in his career, but that changed when he joined WWE. They opted to have him wrestle without a mask, which upset many of his Mexican fans, but it proved to be the right move as it played into his gimmick as an arrogant aristocrat.
Del Rio became WWE’s first-Mexican born world champion, and he also became the only person to win the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank Ladder Match in the same year (2011).
12. Armstrong Family
Primary wrestlers: "Bullet" Bob Armstrong, Road Dogg, Scott Armstrong, Brad Armstrong, Steve Armstrong
Years active: 1960-2015
Did you know: Family patriarch Bob Armstrong won tag-team championships with three of his sons: Brad, Scott and Steve.
Bottom Line: Armstrong Family
Of the five Armstrongs, the most notable were the oldest (father Bob) and the youngest (son Brian, aka Road Dogg).
Bob wrestled in the NWA for most of the 1970s and '80s, and he trained each of his sons before then teaming up with them. His three oldest sons, Scott, Brad and Steve, all became serviceable workers but never really received any notoriety other than being the sons of "Bullet" Bob Armstrong.
But the youngest of the bunch became one of the most popular wrestlers during WWE’s Attitude Era. "Road Dogg" Jesse James was a part of the legendary group Degeneration-X, which was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.
Road Dogg is currently a trainer at the WWE Performance Center while Scott has been a WWE referee since 2011.
11. Lawler Family
Primary wrestlers: Jerry "The King" Lawler, Brian Christopher, The Honky Tonk Man
Years active: 1970-present
Did you know: Jerry Lawler spent part of his childhood in Cleveland and is a Browns fan while his son was a fan of the rival Steelers and was actually buried in a Steelers-themed casket.
Bottom Line: Lawler Family
The Lawlers are the first family of Memphis wrestling, but it was never publicly revealed by WWE that Jerry Lawler was related to Brian Christopher or The Honky Tonk Man.
Lawler is the father of Christopher, and the WWE would always use tongue-in-cheek references to their relationship without explicitly stating it while The King and Honky Tonk are first cousins.
Despite his nearly 30-year run in the WWE as a commentator and part-time wrestler, Lawler has never won any WWE titles.
On the other hand, the Honky Tonk Man is the self-proclaimed greatest intercontinental champion in company history due to him having a record 454-day title reign.
10. Orton Family
Primary wrestlers: Bob Orton Sr., Bob Orton Jr., Randy Orton
Years active: 1951-present
Did you know: Bob Orton Sr. and Andre the Giant were good friends, and there is a photo from the early 1980s of Andre holding a toddler Randy.
Bottom Line: Orton Family
The three generations of Ortons all wrestled in WWE, and their service time happens to coincide with the (first) three generations of McMahons. Bob Sr. competed in the WWE’s predecessor, Capitol Wrestling Corporation for Jess McMahon, Bob Jr. wrestled for Vince Sr. and Randy currently wrestles for Vince Jr.
We’ve seen many wrestlers compete alongside their fathers, but Randy Orton nearly competed alongside his grandfather. Bob Sr. came out of retirement to wrestle his final match, and Randy wrestled his first match, within four months of each other in 2000.
9. Poffo Family
Primary wrestlers: Angelo Poffo, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Lanny Poffo
Years active: 1949-2012
Did you know: Randy Savage played four seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in the 1970s under his real name of Randy Poffo.
Bottom Line: Poffo Family
The "Macho Man" was one of the signature wrestlers during the Golden Age of WWE in the 1980s and '90s due to his flashy attire, gravel voice and "Ooh yeah' catchphrase.
He was arguably the company’s second-biggest star after Hulk Hogan and remained a headliner when he later went to WCW in the mid-1990s. He also introduced Miss Elizabeth to the sports-entertainment world, and she became the unofficial First Lady of Wrestling.
What many people don’t realize is that during Savage’s 10 years with WWE, his brother Lanny was also a WWE Superstar. He wrestled first as "Leaping" Lanny Poffo and then adopted the gimmick of "The Genius' in which he depicted an overly intelligent snob.
After Savage died in 2011, Lanny represented him when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
8. Von Erich Family
Primary wrestlers: Fritz Von Erich, Kerry Von Erich, Kevin Von Erich, David Von Erich
Years active: 1953-present
Did you know: Family patriarch Fritz Von Erich was trained by another patriarch, Stu Hart of the Hart family.
Bottom Line: Von Erich Family
The curse of the Von Erichs is one of the saddest things in wrestling as tragedy has struck nearly every member of the family. There were six Von Erich sons, and five of them died by the age of 33. Four of those deaths came between 1984 and 1993, three of which were suicides.
The Von Erich kids were essentially rock stars in the southern United States and especially in their home base of Texas. They all passed through their dad’s promotion of World Class Championship Wrestling, but once the unfortunate deaths started hitting the family, the promotion suffered as well and folded in 1990.
Kevin Von Erich is the last surviving son, and the third generation of Von Erichs is starting out in wrestling as his sons Ross and Marshall have just entered the business.
7. Guerrero Family
Primary wrestlers: Gory Guerrero, Hector Guerrero, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Aiden English
Years active: 1937-present
Did you know: Even though many of the Guerreros were billed as being from Mexico, nearly all of them were born in the United States.
Bottom Line: Guerrero Family
The Guerreros stuck together as tag teams and partners as much as any other wrestling family.
The first tag team amongst the Guerreros was Gory and the eldest son Chavo Sr. Then came Chavo Sr. and Hector followed by Hector and Mando. The youngest son Eddie then became part of a three-man tag with two of his brothers before embarking on a successful singles career that ended too early.
But another Guerrero tag team emerged in the 1990s, and it involved two generations of the family. Eddie teamed with his nephew Chavo Jr. to form "Los Guerreros" in both WCW and WWE. Chavo Jr. is the only member of the Guerreros still active, and when he’s not in the ring, he is in Hollywood, working as an actor and fight coordinator for the Netflix series "GLOW."
6. Hennig Family
Primary wrestlers: Larry "The Axe" Hennig, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, Curtis Axel
Years active: 1956-present
Did you know: Curtis Axel’s name is a combination of his father’s real name (Curtis) and his grandfather’s wrestling nickname (The Axe).
Bottom Line: Hennig Family
All three Hennigs hail from Minneapolis, Minnesota, which also was the headquarters of the American Wrestling Association (AWA). Both Larry and Curt got their starts in the AWA and won multiple championships there before it folded in 1991.
By then, "Mr. Perfect" was one of WWE’s top performers, and Hulk Hogan even referred to him as "the best of the best." Hennig went on to WCW where he was a part of its two most iconic stables — The Four Horsemen and the New World Order.
Toward the end of both Curt Hennig’s career and life, he began training his son just as Larry "The Axe" once trained him. However, the second and third generation of Hennigs did not get a chance to team together. Mr. Perfect died in 2003, and Curtis Axel made his wrestling debut a couple of years later.
5. Flair Family
Primary wrestlers: Ric Flair, Charlotte Flair, David Flair
Years active: 1972-present
Did you know: Ric Flair’s deceased son Reid was an accomplished high school wrestler, who also wrestled in WCW when he was 10 years old.
Bottom Line: Flair Family
Ric Flair is on the short list for being the greatest pro wrestler of all time, and he was a 16-time world champion. But his daughter Charlotte has an impressive resume of her own, winning nine world championships in WWE.
Ric’s son David also became a champion in WCW, but there’s another Flair missing from the wrestling equation, and that’s Ric’s youngest son Reid.
Reid died at the age of 25 in 2013 due to an overdose. He was an aspiring wrestler in his own right, and his death is what inspired Charlotte to live out his dream by becoming a wrestler.
The lives and careers of Reid, Charlotte and Ric all intersected when Reid died. Charlotte made her wrestling debut, and Ric announced his retirement all within a few months of each other.
4. Rhodes Family
Primary wrestlers: Dusty Rhodes, Cody Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes (Goldust)
Years active: 1967-present
Did you know: The only time that Dusty, Cody and Dustin all teamed together was in Dusty’s final wrestling match in 2010.
Bottom Line: Rhodes Family
Dusty Rhodes established one of the greatest careers in wrestling— despite it not taking place in WWE, except for a couple of years. He was a mainstay in the NWA and WCW for much of his career, where he was one of the lead bookers, and he also promoted wrestling shows.
Dusty’s older son, Goldust, took after his father with a different kind of memorable gimmick as his character was one of the defining ones of WWE’s Attitude Era.
Younger son Cody also is a wrestler, but he took after Dusty in another way by becoming a promoter for the fledgling All Elite Wrestling.
3. Hart Family
Primary wrestlers: Stu Hart, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, Natalya Neidhart
Years active: 1943-present
Did you know: WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper was a second cousin of Bret Hart, Owen Hart and their siblings.
Bottom Line: Hart Family
Stu and Helen Hart had 12 children — eight boys who all became wrestlers, and four girls who all married wrestlers.
Bret "The Hitman" Hart became the biggest star and was the face of the WWE at one point, and he was involved in various teams and feuds with his brothers and brothers-in-law. Bret’s niece and Stu’s granddaughter, Natalya, is the only remaining active wrestler, and she has been with WWE since 2008.
But you can’t mention the Hart family without mentioning Stampede Wrestling, which was the Canadian promotion owned and operated by various members of the family. Every Hart wrestler came through Stampede and many others outside the family such as Brian Pillman and Dory Funk also wrestled there.
2. Anoa'i Family
Primary wrestlers: The Rock, Roman Reigns, Yokozuna, The Usos, The Wild Samoans
Years active: 1962-present
Did you know: "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka was related to The Rock through marriage, and Rock affectionately referred to him as "Uncle."
Bottom Line: Anoa'i Family
Arguably the most accomplished wrestling family in terms of in-ring activity, six different members of the Anoa'i Family are in the WWE Hall of Fame. Others like The Rock and Roman Reigns are destined to join them.
Nearly every Samoan wrestler is either in the family or has some ties to it, and Superstars like The Usos are a part of the fourth generation of Anoa'i wrestlers.
Even though The Rock is considered a member of the family, he is not actually related. His grandfather and the Anoa'i patriarch considered each other "blood brothers." Thus, it is a relation based on loyalty rather than blood, but The Rock always has called himself another member of the family.
1. McMahon Family
Primary wrestlers: Jess McMahon, Vince McMahon Sr., Vince McMahon Jr., Linda McMahon, Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H
Years active: 1915-present
Did you know: According to 2016 SEC filings, Vince McMahon owns 46 percent of WWE stock (Stephanie — 2.5 percent), (Linda — 0.7 percent), (Triple H — 0.1 percent).
Bottom Line: McMahon Family
They may not be considered the "First Family of Wrestling" since most of the McMahons aren’t wrestlers, but they are definitely the "First Family of the WWE."
Jess founded Capitol Wrestling Corporation in 1952, which is the predecessor to today’s WWE. His son, Vince Sr., took over in 1954. In 1982, Vince Jr. purchased the company from his father and turned it into a national promotion after having previously been a regional territory operating out of the Northeast.
That went against his father’s wishes, but Vince Jr. proved to be correct as we wouldn’t have what we see of the WWE today if it wasn’t for his ambition.
The fourth generation of McMahons is comprised of Shane and Stephanie, who married Triple H.
WWE truly is a McMahon-owned-and-operated business. Every family member has at one point either been an owner or executive. Stephanie McMahon is currently the WWE’s chief brand officer while Triple H is the executive vice president of talent, live events and creative.
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