It has long been a tradition in the world of professional wrestling for fathers to train their sons or daughters to enter the ring and take their place once they retire. The examples of this which spring to mind are “Cowboy” Bob Orton and his son Randy Orton; “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and his sons Goldust and Cody Rhodes; and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and several of his offspring, the most famous of which being multi-time WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. However, there is also a tradition a lot of wrestling fans are unaware of, and that is the tradition of uncles who may not have sons or daughters interested in professional wrestling training their nephews to follow in their footsteps.
There are some obvious examples of this, such as the original Rey Mysterio, who trained his nephew and former WWE World Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. Of course, because nephews and uncles don’t have the same inseparable bond as sons and fathers, there are many uncle/nephew pairs which have gone unacknowledged by WWE and mainstream professional wrestling in general, leaving many fans ignorant of just who’s related to whom.
Don’t worry, though. We’ve done some digging and ventured into the deepest, darkest parts of the internet – you could even desirable them as “Parts Unknown” – to gather all the possible information on professional wrestling’s less known uncle/nephew relationships.
So, without further attempt to meet my word count, let’s get started. Here are 14 WWE Superstar Uncle-Nephew Relationships You Never Realized (and 1 Niece!).
15. Mil Máscaras/Alberto Del Rio
If you’re an American professional wrestling fan – or just not Mexican – it’s likely that your only encounters with Mil Máscaras’ name have painted him in a bad light. Guys like Mick Foley and Chris Jericho have both been vocal critics of Máscaras and his refusal to put other superstars over. While Mil Máscaras’ ego certainly isn’t admirable, it is, to an extent, justified. The guy is considered by many to be one of the greatest luchador wrestlers of all time and is one of the original “big three” of Lucha Libre (the others being El Santo and Blue Demon). He has held countless championships not just in his native Mexico, but all over the world. He was even inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
When you take the many accomplishments of Mil Máscaras into account, it is no surprise that he is the uncle of another decorated professional wrestler: Alberto Del Rio. Unlike his uncle, Del Rio has managed to carve out a successful career for himself in mainstream United States wrestling. He has had two stints in WWE, the first of which yielded him both the WWE Championship and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. While his second run with the company was not as memorable, he did manage to capture the WWE United States Championship and WWE Diva Paige.
Rosey had an odd career in WWE. For a period, he seemed bound for great things, at least in the Tag Team division. His pairing with cousin Jamal – later known to WWE fans as Umaga – seemed like it was going to guide him to the top of the industry, but ultimately fell flat. He achieved his greatest success alongside The Hurricane as a superhero in training. During this time, no reference was made to the fact Rosey was a member of the Anoa’i wrestling dynasty, likely because officials didn’t want fans connecting this overweight caped crusader with the likes of The Rock and Yokozuna. This would also explain why modern day WWE has not pointed out the fact that he is the brother of Roman Reigns.
13. The Sheik/Sabu
In his heyday, The Sheik established himself as one of the most fearsome professional wrestlers in the world and was an innovator of the hardcore style which would later become the basis of ECW.
Despite portraying the character of a middle eastern wild man, The Sheik was actually a native of Michigan whose real name was Ed Farhat. Farhat’s nephew was a man by the name of Terry Brunk, who at a young age expressed a desire to follow in his pointed footsteps. Farhat agreed to train his nephew and taught him not just basic pro wrestling, but the bloody and high-risk style he had become famous for. Brunk would then adopt the sheik gimmick and bring fear, loathing, and barbed wire to ECW and beyond as Sabu.
12. Afa/Sean Maluta
As mentioned already, Afa Anoa’i made a name for himself as a member of the Wild Samoans, alongside his brother Sika. His son-in-law Gary Albright and his grandson Lance Anoa’i both had/are having a successful career in the squared-circle, just like his more famous descendants The Rock and Roman Reigns.
Earlier this year, WWE fans were introduced to another member of the Anoa’i wrestling dynasty in Sean Maluta. Maluta, the nephew of Afa, competed in the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic, which he failed to win. In fact, Maluta didn’t even manage to get beyond the first round, which was unusual treatment for a member of his family. Still, he is likely to be signed to a WWE contract in the coming years if for no other reason than his name.
11. Dos Caras/ Sicodelico Jr.
Dos Caras is another one of those names that most wrestling fans know but only a few can place unless they are familiar with the history of Lucha Libre. Caras is a legend of his native country’s wrestling scene and has been described as the nation’s greatest heavyweight, something which few would dare dispute. He is the father of the previously discussed Alberto Del Rio, who spent a good portion of his career competing under a mask as Dos Caras Jr.
Dos Caras has two brothers: Mil Máscaras, who we looked at in our opening entry, and the less successful Sicodelico. Sicodelico’s son expressed interest in following in his father’s footsteps early on and was trained by his uncle, Dos Caras. After completing his training, he made his debut in January of 1998 as Sicodelico Jr. (creative, right?) Over the last two decades, the younger Sicodelico has competed all over the world and is much in demand by independent bookers. In 2008, he even had some dealings with WWE, but nothing ever came of them.
10. Carlos Colón/Epico
A lot of people wonder why Carlos Colón, who only had brief interactions with WWE and its audience, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014. Well, the reason is that although Colón didn’t have too much of a direct impact on WWE, he has made massive contributions to professional wrestling as a whole and is one of the biggest names to ever come out of the Puerto Rico wrestling scene. Having a decorated career inside the ring, Carlos Colón has held the World Wrestling Council Universal Heavyweight Championship a total of 26 times (we’ll gloss over the fact that he is part-owner of the company).
In 2004, Colón managed to negotiate a deal between WWE and his son, Carly. Vince McMahon agreed to hire the young man and stuck him on the SmackDown brand as Carlito. A number of years later, Colón struck a similar deal for his nephew, Orlando. Orlando has achieved his greatest success as a tag team competitor, working alongside his cousin Primo to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships on one occasion. He can currently be found on the Raw brand, still teaming with Primo as The Shining Stars.
9. Jerry Sags/Cody Rhodes
Jerry Sags achieved his greatest fame alongside his tag team partner Brian Knobbs. Together, the pair competed in WWE and WCW as The Nasty Boys and incorporated several nasty habits into their matches (their most famous move involved shoving their armpits into faces). The Nasty Boys were loathed by professional wrestling fans due to their lack of in-ring skills but apparent inability to be fired. The key to their longevity is thought by many to be their relationships with high rollers in the pro wrestling industry, such as Hulk Hogan and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.
Rhodes and Sags, though polar opposites in the eyes of the fans, were brothers-in-law and by all accounts were quite close. Sags is the uncle of Dusty’s youngest son, Cody, who had a successful career in WWE before moving to the independent scene in search of greater freedom and fulfillment. Although Sags is the uncle of Cody Rhodes, he is not related to Dustin Runnels, the eldest son of Dusty Rhodes who competes in WWE as Goldust.
8. Fred Ottman/Cody Rhodes
As long as we’re discussing Cody Rhodes and his unlikely uncles, let’s get this one out of the way. Rhodes is not just the nephew of Jerry Sags, but of Fred Ottman as well. If you are unfamiliar with Fred Ottman, it is likely that you have seen his work under a different name. He competed for much of his career in WWE, achieving minor fame under two different characters; first as Tugboat, and then as Typhoon.
After leaving WWE, Ottman made his way to WCW, where he competed as The Shockmaster and fought his most famous battle against the laws of gravity. All one has to do is watch five minutes of a Cody Rhodes match to see that Ottman’s inability to remain upright did not rub off on his nephew. The fact that Cody Rhodes could spend so much of his life around workers like Fred Ottman (who is a lovely guy) and Jerry Sags and come out as the ring general he is, is a testament both to his talent and the talent of his father.
7. Animal and the Bella Twins
The Bella Twins have done a great job securing their jobs in professional wrestling. Brie Bella married multi-time world champion and current SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan in 2014 and is at this moment pregnant with his child. Her sister, Nikki, has been in a relationship with John Cena for a number of years, which is likely why she is featured so prominently on the SmackDown Divas division. Even the mother of the duo has been busy ensuring the continued success of the Bella brand by marrying WWE’s former Vice President of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis.
John Laurinaitis is known to most WWE fans as the skinny, raspy middle-aged, principal-esque authority figure who made Raw so difficult to watch during 2011 and 2012. However, many fans fail to realize that he is connected to pro wrestling royalty. His brother, Joe Laurinaitis made a name for himself competing as Animal, spending the majority of his career tagging with Hawk in The Legion of Doom (also known as The Road Warriors). The marriage of John Laurinaitis and Mamma Bella, which took place in March of 2016, means Road Warrior Animal is the step-uncle of both Nikki and Brie.
6. Terry Gordy/Richard Slinger
Terry Gordy achieved his greatest fame as a member of The Fabulous Freebirds, considered by many to be the greatest faction in the history of professional wrestling. Given the fact that The Freebirds were the first wrestlers to incorporate rock music into their entrance, it can be argued that they revolutionized the business forever. Unfortunately, Terry Gordy’s nephew did not have the same impact on the business during his career.
Richard Slinger made his pro wrestling debut in 1988 at the age of sixteen for All Japan Pro Wrestling (as seen by the poor quality photo above). Slinger remained with AJPW until 2000, at which point he joined Pro Wrestling Noah. In 2005, he retired from active competition, four years after his uncle’s untimely death. Shortly after Slinger left pro wrestling, his cousin Ray Gordy, Terry’s son, made his WWE debut as one-half of Jesse and Festus.
5. Pirata Morgan/ Rey Bucanero
It is unlikely that either of these men will be too well-known to American readers, but those familiar with Lucha Libre will recognize them. Both Pirata Morgan and his nephew, Rey Bucanero, have enjoyed distinguished careers in their home country of Mexico. Morgan has held a number of titles in both AAA and CMLL, including the CMLL World Trios Championships, which he captured on two occasions. His nephew has also won several championships, even holding the CMLL Trios Championships just like Morgan before him.
Although Rey Bucanero’s USA career was nothing special, it was more successful than his uncle’s. While in the Untied States, Bucanero competed in both WWE and TNA, though his stints were forgettable. He was awarded the Wrestling Observer Newsletter award for Tag Team of the Decade in honor of his work with Último Guerrero.
4. Roddy Piper/Stu Hart
“Hot Rod” Roddy Piper certainly wasn’t shy when it came to making wacky and often times outrageous claims. In fact, he could almost rival Hulk Hogan when it came to the telling of tall tales. For a long time, fans brushed Piper’s claims that he was a cousin of Bret “The Hitman” Hart off as another zany story from zany character. It was not until Bret himself confirmed the story that fans finally believed Piper was a member of the Hart wrestling dynasty.
Being a cousin of Bret Hart means Roddy Piper was also a cousin of Owen Hart and every other son and daughter of Stu and Helen Hart. It also means that he was the nephew of Stu Hart, the infamous patriarch of the Hart family known for his hard-knock training tactics. Stu Hart would spend hours at a time stretching and pummeling his son and daughters, as well as anybody who dared to visit Hart House. This may be one of the reasons Piper waited so long to make his connection to Stu Hart known.
3. Barry Windham/Bray Wyatt
SmackDown superstar Bray Wyatt has been criminally underused in the years he has been on the main roster. This is a guy who at one time had the potential to be the next Undertaker. Now, however, he has been so badly damaged by shoddy and inconsistent booking it seems WWE fans will never be able to take him seriously as a threat. Despite this, he remains the greatest success of the Windham/Rotunda family.
Although it has never been acknowledged on WWE television, Bray Wyatt is the son of Mike Rotunda, perhaps best known to wrestling fans as Irwin R. Schyster. Rotunda achieved early fame in the wrestling world while teaming with Barry Windham, whose sister he eventually married. Rotunda and his wife produced baby Bray Wyatt on May 23rd, 1987, whom they named Windham, in honor of his mother’s family.
2. Kendall Windham/Bo Dallas
Kendall Windham is technically the uncle of Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas is technically the nephew of Barry Windham, but it seems fitting to pair the two together here as both are considered the runt of their family.
Bo Dallas showed promise while in NXT, WWE’s developmental brand. He was one of the early stars on the show and even held the NXT Championship before being called up to the main roster. Once there, he failed to live up to the hype (or, at least, management failed to capitalize on the hype).
Dallas’ career is quite similar to the career of his uncle, Kendall, who was an indisputably talented athlete but just never made it to the big time. Windham never managed to make it to WWE, like his brother, but that might be due to the fact he spent a period of the early 90s behind bars for producing phony $20 bills.
1. Chavo Guerrero Sr./Aiden English
Because the younger Chavo Guerrero has been so active on the wrestling scene for so long and spent such a long period of time enjoying the mainstream exposure of WWE, it can be easy to forget that he is actually Chavo Guerrero Jr. His father, Chavo Guerrero Sr., is a respected wrestler in his own right and even held the WWE Cruiserweight Championship for a short reign. However, his time in WWE was cut short after he failed to show up for events and was a surly jerk when he did.
Because he left the company on such negative terms, and with his son currently doing the rounds on the independents, many fans don’t realize that Chavo Sr. still has some connection to WWE. In fact, he has a relative there. Not a blood relative, but a relative nonetheless. His nephew-in-law is none other than Aiden English, who competes on the SmackDown brand alongside Simon Gotch in The Vaudevillians. English wed Shaul Guerrero, Chavo Sr’s niece earlier this year. This means Aiden English is not only the nephew-in-law of Chavo Guerrero Sr., but the son-in-law of the departed wrestling legend Eddie Guerrero.