He’s not heavy, he’s my brother. That’s what family is all about. It doesn’t matter what your sibling, parent or even cousin has done to you in the past, you find it in you to forgive and forget. In the world of wrestling, “family” can actually be quite a loose term. It is supposed to mean that you’re related, and are blood relatives. But a number of “families” in wrestling actually didn’t have any family lineage, and were falsely aligned with one another. Brothers aren’t necessarily brothers, sisters aren’t necessarily sisters and cousins are not necessarily cousins.
In wrestling a team like Edge and Christian could be billed as “brothers” only to simply be called “close friends” later on in their career. Were they ever brothers? No, but in wrestling as long as you stand by your pretend brother, sister or father then fans will support the idea. A number of these families not only had no relation to one another, but continued competing as family members and still use the same last name. While some of these families are fairly obvious, some may in fact surprise as wrestlers who didn’t make a big deal of their family association with one another weren’t related at all. One of them is among the greatest families in wrestling history, yet one “relative” isn’t a member at all. Here are 10 Wrestling “Families” That Weren’t Really Related.
10. The Hollys
They were supposed to be hardcore, but in actuality the wrestlers that were hardcore on screen weren’t really hardcore, or related, off screen. During the influx of extreme competition that took place in the WWE’s Attitude Era, three different wrestlers were put together to get the idea across that blood was thicker than water. But the problem with Hardcore Holly, Crash Holly and Molly Holly was that these cousins weren’t connected by blood, but only the distinction of having blond hair at the time. While families have a tendency to bicker, the Hollys treated each other like strangers at times, as the team didn’t last too long and were split from one another. They continued to compete for the WWE, but did so individually while still using the Holly name. At one point, Molly went under the gimmick Mighty Molly and wasn’t advertised as a Holly.
9. The Smoking Gunns
These two “brothers” were highly touted as a tandem, and definitely reflected the gimmicky nature of the WWF during the early 1990s. Their name clearly was a play on words: they had a cowboy gimmick and their last name was Gunn. The brother tandem met with success as they also held the WWF tag team championship. Oddly enough, they were even managed at one point by former WWE manager Sunny, who also managed another “related” team during the early to mid-1990s. What exactly happened to this brother combination you may ask? Eventually the pairing was split, with Bart Gunn being used as part of a tough man competition, and his “brother” Billy Gunn moving on to be one of the most successful tag team wrestlers in the promotion’s history as part of the New Age Outlaws. One would think that blood would be thicker than water, but in the case of Bart and Billy Gunn the water ran deeper and their team’s success, much like their “relationship,” came to an end.
8. The Godwins
Another instance where family relations meant assembling two unrelated wrestlers and making them “family” would be the Godwins. Upon first entering the WWE, Henry O. Godwin was advertised as a southern hog farmer. He looked and dressed the part, with his overalls and slop bucket. Later, the plan was to use him as part of a tag team that competed for the tag team championships. It was at this point his “cousin,” Phineas I. Godwin, was brought in. What should be noted is that these men were previously aligned with one another during their time in WCW; there, the “cousins” competed as Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce. The company was so vested in the hog farmer gimmick that even their names highlighted this. When you read the names Phineas I. Godwin and Henry O. Godwin, you can see how “relatively” corny it was.
7. The Undertaker and Kane
They are often called the Brothers of Destruction. It doesn’t matter how often they bicker with one another or try to harm the other, The Undertaker and Kane are “family.” Prior to his arrival at the In Your House: Bad Blood PPV, we had heard about Kane, the younger and grossly disfigured “brother” of The Undertaker. The result was an incredible debut for Kane, as he arrived and beat down a shocked Undertaker mercilessly. But these two eventually buried the hatchet, not in each other’s backs, but by working things out. Sure, Paul Bearer discusses how he slept with The Undertaker’s mother and called her some of the most awful names in the book, but that didn’t mean that the brothers couldn’t eventually hug it out. As the Brothers of Destruction, Kane and The Undertaker captured the WWE world tag team champions on a number of occasions. They were also recently featured as part of the Survivor Series event, as they faced off against The Wyatt Family, showing that these two brothers could work it out even though they never shared the same family lineage.
6. Ryan and Ken Shamrock
He earned a name for himself competing for the UFC, but it was in the WWE where “the world’s most dangerous man” found that he not only had to fight off challengers in order to achieve success, he had to fight off suitors for his “sister.” But Ken’s little sister didn’t like to be protected and wanted to make decisions for herself. Apparently one of those decisions was to be romantically linked to someone who is synonymous with being promiscuous, Val Venis. We often make bad decisions and learn from those experiences, but it appears as though Ryan didn’t really learn from this relationship as she was in the role of overly dominant female as part of the Pretty Mean Sisters faction, who treated Meat as their sex slave. Where did poor Ryan go wrong that she had to fall into the hands of men that may not respect her in the morning? Family issues? Doubtful, as both Ryan and Ken Shamrock weren’t siblings.
5. The Dudley Boyz
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong. In the case of Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley, their “brothers from different mothers” gimmick is actually pretty clever. No, they aren’t actually family, this pretend family has seen a great deal of success over a long period of time. The Dudley family doesn’t just include these two active competitors; it also included, during their time in ECW, Sign Guy Dudley, Snot Dudley, Big Dick Dudley, Dudley Dudley, Spike Dudley, Dances With Dudleys and Chubby Dudley. It didn’t matter that their “dad” Big Daddy Dudley was a traveling salesman in the 60s and 70s that parented offspring across the country, these brothers were all family. Bubba Ray and Devon are the most active members of the “family” today, but the idea of having several half and quarter brothers linked together was quite comical. Some of the members appeared to be more like one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs, as Snot Dudley was often seen picking his nose. Gross? Definitely! Family? Not in the slightest.
4. Davey Boy Smith and Johnny Smith
The name Smith is common enough, among the most common last names in the English language. What is interesting was that two Smiths that were billed as being brothers actually weren’t. Many fans will remember the late Davey Boy Smith, one half of The British Bulldogs and part of the Hart family lineage. What they may not recall was that he had a “brother.” Upon joining the Stampede Wrestling promotion, British wrestler John Hindley was advertised as being Davey Boy Smith’s “brother” Johnny Smith. It was in the late 1980s where Hindley he followed in the footsteps of his “cousin” The Dynamite Kid and competed as part of The British Bruisers tag team, at times taking the place of his “brother” Davey. If this all sounds a bit confusing it should. There were at one point three members of the British Bulldogs tag team, but only two were actively advertised in the WWF (regardless of the name that was used). Hindley retired from active competition in 2003, though he also competed briefly in ECW.
3. Jimmy and Johnny Valiant
One of the most entertaining wrestlers of his generation was none other than the Boogie Woogie Man Jimmy Valiant. He was charismatic and highly capable both in the ring and on the microphone. And, it seemed like charisma was genetic, as Jimmy and his “brother” Johnny managed to click as a team. Was it something they were eating at home? Probably not, since they never lived together, let alone visited each other during the holidays. It was during one of Johnny Valiant’s visits to Ontario that he met Jimmy, and the two appeared to get along right away. It was during their time in the World Wrestling Association that the “brothers” captured the tag team titles over Dick the Bruiser and Bruno Sammartino. This win by the “brothers” Valiant made them quite popular over the span of half a decade, which many fans are still enamored with today. After they went their separate ways, they both continued to use the Valiant name, as Jimmy continued to wrestle on his own while Johnny became a manager with the WWF, directing the careers of Brutus Beefcake, Greg Valentine and Dino Bravo as Luscious Johnny V.
2. Ole and Arn Anderson
One of the more surprising teams that was billed as being related, but actually wasn’t, was Ole and Arn Anderson, one half of the original Four Horsemen. Arn and Ole weren’t in fact uncle and nephew, but were put together courtesy of Jim Crockett, who felt that Arn resembled Ole and thought that they could be the new Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Brothers Ole and Gene Anderson were synonymous with tag team wrestling as the initial Minnesota Wrecking Crew, and it was Gene who agreed to work with the younger Arn, who took on the Anderson name. The two were very successful during their run together as the NWA Tag Team champions in the mid-1980s. It was also during this time when Ole and Arn aligned with The Nature Boy Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard to form the legendary Four Horsemen. The Anderson’s family allegiance was part of a storyline for them, but never a focus. There were no family reunions with the rest of the Anderson clan.
1. Fritz Von Erich and Waldo Von Erich
One of the most famous family lineages, the Von Erichs, actually has a glitch in their family tree. While many known of Fritz’s sons and grandchildren that proudly carry on the family name, little is known about his…brother? Fritz was once billed as having a brother that he teamed with; Canadian Waldo Von Erich passed away in 2009, but was advertised as being family to the patriarch of the Von Erich family in Fritz. But in fact the two men were not related. Waldo competed for Bret Hart’s father’s promotion, Stampede Wrestling, and it is there where he met Fritz. Together the kayfabe brothers captured the NWA American Tag Team Championships. Although Waldo did compete briefly for Vince McMahon Sr’s WWWF promotion, the same could not be said about the “brothers” as a tandem. Who knew that even families that are deep in tradition may be tied to someone that isn’t even related?