Professional wrestling, perhaps more than any other professional sport, is steeped with family legacies. The number of multi-generational families in the history of the sport is plentiful, and with that, there have been many sibling pairings to officially grace the ring as a team. In this case, while some of these brother tandems may have also achieved success as singles, or in some cases as rivals, their accomplishments as a duo hold a special place in wrestling history and we celebrate their success.
Of course, since the explosion of tag team wrestling in the early 1950’s, the sport paired a number of accomplished wrestlers together as a team, sometimes billing them as brothers under real or assumed names. Duos such as the Bastein’s – Red and Lou, The Brunettis – Guy and Joe, and the Kalmikoffs – Ivan and Karol, weren’t really related at all. Those who weren’t legitimately blood-related have been excluded from this listing. So, if you don’t see a popular brother tag team on this list it’s possible that they may fall under that category.
Across different eras and for different reasons, each of these teams has established a remarkable track record as a partnership. This ranking looks not only at championships won, but also at the tag team’s legacy and lasting international influence.
20. The Young Bucks
In all of wrestling history, there may be no more polarizing tag team than Matt & Nick Jackson, aka The Young Bucks. While they have been heralded by the internet wrestling community as the greatest tag team of their generation, contract success has eluded them, relegating them to the independents and international competition. Certainly, their success in Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla are the highlights of their career to date, but their setbacks backstage have prevented them from securing a position with one of America’s top companies.
Their brash demeanor in front of the camera has contributed to their notoriety, but it seems that their in-ring persona has also followed them backstage as well. The Jackson’s may climb up the list of brother tag teams over time when their insecurity and immaturity can be conquered and their professionalism parallels their talent.
19. The Headhunters
While the Headhunters broke in under a WWE alumnus, Johnny Rodz in New York State, their career really didn’t take off until they ventured across the Pacific to Japan. Manuel and Victor Santiago, billed at a combined weight of 652 pounds, the super heavyweights were surprisingly agile and became major stars in the far East.
Featured heavily in Japan’s hardcore promotions of W*ING, IWA Japan and FMW, the Santiagos only enjoyed glimpses of exposure in the United States for both Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment. However, their international success in multiple countries qualify them as one of the greatest brother tag teams of all time.
18. Dean & Joe Malenko
Second generation stars Dean & Joe Malenko followed their father Boris Malenko into the squared circle and they had big shoes to fill. Though smaller wrestlers in an era before the cruiserweights were able to break through to main events in North America, their skill as a team could not be denied.
Dean and Joe ventured to Japan where they were able to showcase their incredible talent in All Japan Pro Wrestling. They weren’t able to translate their success in Japan into mainstream awareness in North America as a duo. However, not long after going solo, Dean was recognized as the number one wrestler in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in their annual ranking of the top 500 wrestlers in the world.
17. The McGuire Twins
North Carolina’s McCrary brothers will never be confused for scientific marvels between the ropes, but there is no denying the incredible drawing power of the tag team that was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest twins in the 1970’s. Billed at over 700 pounds each, the duo was introduced to professional wrestling as part of carnival shows. However, they were soon in high demand all across North America and around the world.
Often, as was the case when the twins toured for Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling promotion in Calgary, the brothers would make advance appearances in local parades riding mini bikes, creating a memorable spectacle that would drive even more ticket buyers to the box office to see them in action. While Billy died in 1979 at age 32, the McGuire Twins have continued to be a large piece of wrestling lore and have transcended pop culture with references in multiple television shows.
16. Bobby & Jackie Fulton
Without question, Bobby Fulton’s greatest tag team success came alongside Tommy Rogers as the Fantastics in Jim Crockett promotions in the mid 1980’s. Fulton and Rogers are best remembered for their matches against the likes of the Midnight Express and the Sheepherders (aka The Bushwhackers). However, when Rogers elected to move on from wrestling to another career, Fulton looked to his own family tree for a replacement partner.
Without changing the name of their team, Bobby and Jackie Fulton attempted to pick up where the original duo had left off in World Championship Wrestling, but failed to catch fire. Their success improved internationally and they enjoyed success on multiple tours of Japan. After the Fultons dissolved their partnership, Jackie went on to further tag team success with The Patriot, masked and dubbed as the Eagle, also in Japan.
15. Ron & Don Harris
When the monstrous twins first appeared in Tennessee with their wild manes of hair and their distinct ass-kicking presence, there was little doubt that Ron and Don Harris, aka The Bruise Brothers, would have a bright future in the world of wrestling. The WWE first tried them out as The Grimm Twins, then as the Blu brothers, but that didn’t really inspire interest from the fans. When they were re-cast as the Disciples of Apocalypse – Skull and 8-Ball, they found themselves opposing top teams including the Legion of Doom. The Harris brothers enjoyed a lengthy run in the WWE during the Attitude era before migrating to WCW where they found themselves in an odd position as “Creative Control”, the menacing henchmen for the creative regime looking to take control of the company. The Harris Twins have enjoyed incredible longevity at the top of the game over the past two decades.
14. George & Sandy Scott
The first of three brother teams to make this listing from Hamilton, Ontario, George Scott and his younger brother Angus (Sandy) created a stir in the sport during an era when tag team wrestling was just started to gain wide popularity in the 1950’s. Their success wasn’t without adversity though. During their rise, headliner “Whipper” Billy Watson held control of the Toronto booking office and incredible sway to create opportunities for up and coming talent. When Watson overlooked the brothers, they took their act on the road, building a reputation for themselves in western Canada and the Carolinas among other ports of call. When Watson later caught up with the brothers outside of the Toronto territory and saw the momentum that they had built for himself, he approached George and suggested he could open up a spot for them in Maple Leaf Gardens. It is reported that George, still holding a grudge from Watson’s earlier dismissal of the team, turned down Watson’s offer, and not politely.
13. Sika & Afa
The winding limbs of the Anoai family tree have become an ingrained piece of wrestling lore even today with Joe Anoai, Roman Reigns, holding court in the WWE. Over the years the family has contributed Yokozuna, Manu, and Afa Jr. to the sport. However, long before these emerging stars ever eyed a career between the ropes, there was a rugged brother tag team travelling the territories in the 1970’s as “The Islanders”. Sika and Afa Anoai enjoyed lengthy stays in multiple territories and often championship success followed. They eventually arrived in the WWF, under the management of Lou Albano as “The Wild Samoans” and ascended to the WWE World tag team championship. Though they would eventually be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, their tag team success under Vince McMahon was cut short prematurely when it is rumored that Afa was fired by the company for missing TV tapings to be at his wife’s side for the birth of one of their children.
12. Mike & Ben Sharpe
In the 1940’s, few men returning from active service in World War II epitomized the ideal of a role model than Mike and Ben Sharpe. Both brothers had been active athletes in their native Hamilton, Ontario in multiple sports. Debuting in 1946 after hostilities concluded in Europe, both towering brothers dove into a wrestling career with both feet. After a few initial years wrestling close to home, the brothers are best remembered for their lasting legacy on the Pacific Coast. During the 1950’s, the Sharpe brothers would hold the tag team championships in the San Francisco wrestling territory an incredible 20 times. Their reputation as a team warranted their inclusion among the first Americans to wrestle professionally in Japan, where they would make repeated tours over the following decade.
11. The Guerreros – Chavo, Hector & Mando
Wrestlers who were looking to make their mark on the sport in Los Angeles in the 1970s knew that this meant that they would be pitted against the Guerreros if they wanted to make it to the main event. The three eldest sons of Gory Guerrero were among the most revered stars to ever appear in the territory. Roddy Piper’s first big break in the sport was attributed to becoming the thorn in the side of the popular Mexican-American brothers.
While the brothers would never capture a world tag team championship, their popularity as a touring attraction and the influence they have maintained on the industry as trainers, mentors and agents has continued to ensure the name Guerrero is among the most respected of wrestling families.
10. Jack & Jerry Brisco
When it comes to Jack and Jerry Brisco, you have a team whose influence on the sport changed the face of professional wrestling, though many may not know it. Both Jack and Jerry were amateur wrestlers who migrated to the pros. Though Jack was arguably the bigger star, as a one-time NWA World champion, the brothers’ battles against teams such as Terry & Dory Funk Jr. have been debated even decades later.
The Briscos held a great deal of influence in Florida and other territories, but perhaps their most significant impact on wrestling came in 1984. Both brothers held interests in Georgia Championship Wrestling at a time when Vince McMahon was endeavouring to expand from regional to national. By influencing the brothers to sell him their stock in the territory, Vince McMahon was able to effectively take over the Atlanta-based promotion and add another television network to blast his brand of wrestling across the country. The Brisco brothers would enjoy a short run under the WWE banner, but Jerry Brisco has maintained a role with the company even to the present day.
9. The Bollywood Boyz
There was a great deal of excitement in Canada over the past week when it was announced that the Bollywood Boyz, Gurv Sihra and his younger brother Harv, were confirmed to participate in the upcoming WWE Cruiserweight Classic. While still largely unknown in the United States, this is a team with a rich track record internationally that is worthy of note.
Most recently, the brothers turned heads by becoming the first Global Force Wrestling Tag Team Champions, but this wasn’t their first success under Jeff Jarrett’s watch. A few years ago, the team upset Scott Steiner and Magnus on a tour of India to capture the Ring Ka-King Tag Team titles. In their native British Columbia, Canada, few teams have enjoyed the longevity of this brother duo, who have headlined cards from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic, both in singles and tag team competition. Are they poised for success in the WWE?
8. Mark & Jay Briscoe
To mention the name “Briscoe brothers” to a long time wrestling fan unfamiliar with Ring of Honor, you may be regaled with remembrances of our number ten ranked team. Certainly, you find yourselves with big shoes to fill when your name is borrowed from a team that has already achieved success. That said, Mark and Jay Briscoe have scratched and clawed their own place in the history books as one of the most innovative tag teams in history.
The brothers, with their missing teeth and unruly beards, may well have faces that only their mother could love, but the action they have provided for fans in the Northeast U.S. has cemented their legacy. While each brother has forged out on his own and they are enjoying the opportunity to create their own individual identities as well, the Briscoes have set a standard for tag team wrestling that many are trying to achieve.
7. Terry & Dory Funk Jr.
From Amarillo, Texas, the sons of Dory Funk Sr. seemed to be destined for success from their very first matches. Their father’s reputation as a no-nonsense grappler who could handle himself against anyone preceded them, no doubt, but it was on their shoulders to create their own legacy, and they certainly did. Both wrestlers would reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion within the first 10 years of their career, but it was their partnership after those championship runs that many fans remember best.
Of course in the States, they found themselves changing hats on multiple occasions – hearing cheers in Texas while finding themselves the target of the fans’ ire in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. Perhaps their biggest impact as a team was internationally, where in All Japan Pro Wrestling they became legends, and that credential followed them around the world. While their brief run in the WWE around the time of WrestleMania II was a bit of a letdown, their tag team achievements elsewhere certainly made up for it, and then some.
6. Matt & Jeff Hardy
Few tag teams in history have generated as strong a fan following as Matt and Jeff Hardy. Two brothers who aspired to have great careers in the sport, footage exists of these two daredevils creating their own opportunities on the independents while working toward their goal in the WWE. They arrived at an opportune time to create their own niche, finding themselves rivals against pairings like Edge & Christian, and the Dudley Boyz.
Delivering performances that garnered them match of the year honors two years in a row, as voted by the readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine, the Hardys held the WWE World Tag Team titles on six occasions in addition to a WCW Tag Team title reign and a TNA Tag Team Championship run. Despite their ups and downs personally and professionally, they have maintained a passionate and supportive fanbase and continue to find themselves a pair who is high in demand, whether in solo or tag team action.
5. Chris & John Tolos
Known at alternate times as the Canadian Wrecking Crew (most often when appearing in the U.S.) and the Hamilton Wrecking Crew when wrestling in their native country, the team of Chris and John Tolos were partners during an era when tag team wrestling was really finding its place in the sport. From their first match as a team in California in 1953 until their last appearance together as a duo in 1972, their twenty year run saw them capture numerous championships and achieve headline status in multiple wrestling territories.
John was recognized for his ability to aggravate the fans with his television interviews, while Chris was a no-nonsense grappler through and through. Now both deceased, the contributions of the Tolos brothers to professional wrestling are still openly discussed by wrestling historians and long time fans on message boards and discussion sites as one of, if not the sole, greatest tag team to ever be produced in Hamilton.
4. Jacques & Raymond Rougeau
Raymond Rougeau and his younger brother Jacques saw great success in the WWE in the 1980s. First imported as fan favorites, their dynamic style captivated audiences, but it was as villains under the management of Jimmy Hart that they came closest to world championship success. Of course fans will remember the French Canadians, touting themselves as All-American boys waving mini star spangled banners, much to the aggravation of the fans. In fact, they were so reviled that they were in line for a WWE Tag Team title run, which almost came to fruition.
Jacques and Raymond, who may be the most famous of their wrestling clan, weren’t the first brother tag team from their family to make an impact on the sport. Their father, Jacques Sr. and uncle Johnny Rougeau, were mainstays on the marquee in Quebec throughout the 1960s and 70s. However, the elder team failed to generate an international profile as the younger generation was able to accomplish during their careers.
3. Mad Dog & Butcher Vachon
Both Maurice and Paul Vachon traveled very different roads during their career. Maurice, the elder of the two, started his wrestling career on the amateur mats in Montreal and was actually a contender to compete for Canada in the Olympic Games. However, from his earliest matches as a pro, he began to carve out a reputation as one of the most unorthodox and unruly characters of all time in the sport.
When he was joined by younger brother, Paul in the mid-1960s, it was a match made in heaven for the duo who enjoyed a lengthy reign as AWA World Tag Team Champions. They later parlayed their success as a team in the United States to create great influence in their home province of Quebec, where in the 1970s, they led a movement to create a rival promotion to the established monopoly held by the Rougeau family. Arguably, Paul Vachon’s greatest success in wrestling was as a tag team partner with his brother.
2. Harlem Heat
When wrestling fans first saw these two brothers from Texas in action under the banner of the Global Wrestling Federation, there was no doubt that they stood out from the pack as imposing athletes, but nobody could have predicted the success that they would achieve in World Championship Wrestling as Harlem Heat.
Thankfully, they weathered the controversy that surrounded their debut, led to the ring in chains by a southern Colonel, and managed by Sherri Martel, Harlem Heat would go on to hold the WCW World Tag Team titles on 10 occasions in less than a decade. Following the demise of their team, Booker T would go on to become a major headline star in first WCW, then WWE and also TNA, but the foundation on which his opportunity was built was firmly rooted in the tag team division with stellar performances against the best opponents of their era.
1. Rick & Scott Steiner
From their earliest matches together as a team in WCW at the start of the 90s, few teams have dominated the sport like the Steiner brothers. Individually successful both before and after their run as a tag team, the Steiner brothers carved a wide swath for themselves. Rick, the elder brother, had enjoyed some tag team success alongside Sting and Mike Rotundo, respectively prior to Scott emerging to the national spotlight, but as a team, their work together quickly eclipsed what either had achieved on their own.
Of course their championship track record tells the tale: seven-time WCW World Tag Team Champions, one-time WCW United States Tag Team Champions, two-time IWGP New Japan World Tag Team Champions, two-time WWE World Tag Team Champions, and countless other regional and independent titles over the years. Twice recognized by Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine as the Tag Team of the year, they were ranked as the #2 tag team of the PWI years (1979 – 2003) in a special compilation listing. The Steiners may well be the most successful brother tag team of all time.