Life as a wrestler is seriously tough. It’s not your normal nine-to-five job. Being a wrestler entails living out of a suitcase, on the road, in hotels, being away from family and loved ones for large stretches of time. It’s not easy, and so, if you don’t have a strong support network – and even if you do – things could get fractured pretty quickly. That’s certainly likely to happen if things are dicey, to begin with. There’s not a great chance of things getting better either. It has, in some cases, though – time heals everything.
The wrestling industry is basically about testosterone-fuelled guys and girls going at it with each other. There are confrontations, disagreements, and rivalries, and this often translates into a wrestling match of some sort, some in-ring action. For the most part, such moments are scripted. Sometimes real-life beef spills out into the ring, in front of the cameras, and all grievances are aired, shared, and sorted. But being in that industry and living that kind of lifestyle, it’s not uncommon for wrestlers to have major fallings out with their own and with family members, too. These feuds are real, very real. They could stem from something that went on in their adult lives, something to do with the industry, or personal matters, issues that haven’t been rectified. Quite a few wrestlers on this list have had serious beef with a family member because of the way they were raised, what went on during their childhoods. Whatever the reasons may be, these wrestlers have all had fractured relationships with family members over something or another at some point in time. For some, these wounds haven’t healed, the relationships haven’t mended. These are 15 wrestlers who’ve had real-life beef with family members.
15 Smith Hart – Too Eccentric For Bret
Smith Hart and Bret have faced similar battles. They’ve both had prostate cancer; Bret has survived and was told he was all clear at the start of this year. Smith, on the other hand, passed away from the same disease a few months after Bret was told he was cancer-free. It must've been a bittersweet moment for Bret. Or perhaps not. I’m not making Bret out to be evil here; he must've felt something when his brother died. But they’d had real-life beef for years. The two weren’t exactly on speaking terms, and it was common knowledge that they didn’t see eye to eye.
Smith was, to put it simply, just a crazy guy, a real whacky dude – too much for Bret. There’ve also been a number of incidents over the years that have caused the two to have proper fallings out. Bret divulged a lot of this in his book, in which he trashed his bro.
14 CM Punk - Embezzlement Results In No More Brotherly Love
CM Punk, a former wrestler and now a failed MMA fighter, always harbored dreams to get in the ring. He went about trying to make it happen at a young age. In the mid-late '90s, Punk, his friends, and his bro, Mike Brooks, formed the backyard wrestling federation called the Lunatic Wrestling Federation. That’s when he first started using the name CM Punk, and it, and his federation, really took off and actually did quite well. They moved to bigger premises and started doing shows out of a warehouse, and it was really on the up and up. But all the good work Punk and his friends had done was, in essence, ruined by his brother, Mike. Mike obviously wasn’t on the same page as Punk. Punk saw this as his opportunity to make it big and realize his dream because he was deadly serious about the business and about making it as a pro wrestler. Mike, though, was in it for the money. He actually stole money, embezzling thousands of dollars from the federation. Although the federation was doing well, it wasn’t so big that it could sustain that kind of loss. They all split and went their separate ways, and Punk has never forgiven his brother and apparently hasn’t spoken to him since.
13 Dolph And Don Ziggler No Longer On Speaking Terms
Here’s another instance of brotherly love succumbing to ruin. Again, the wrestler had nothing to do with it. Dolph Ziggler’s brother was the one at fault – in fact, calling what he did "a fault" would be way too much of an understatement. Dolph Ziggler has two brothers, and he’s fallen out with one of them after the guy was convicted of murder. The youngest of the brothers, Don, attempted to rob a room at a Cleveland area hotel. But the robbery didn’t go as planned, and he ended up killing someone instead. A Marine Corps veteran died, and so, understandably, the courts came down hard on him. Don pleaded guilty to the deadly Cleveland shooting, to charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping and was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison. Understandably, Dolph wasn’t there supporting his brother during the trial. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why he has beef with his brother, who’s a convicted murderer.
12 Seth Rollins Doesn’t Respect His Biological Dad
This is a situation that quite a lot of people have probably gone through and are probably familiar with. Family troubles and an errant father – it’s something many people have faced. Sometimes, when a man walks out on his kids when they’re young, they reconnect when they’re older, and they’re welcomed back into the mix. In other instances, things are too far gone to be rectified. The latter holds true for Seth Rollins and his family dynamic. The guy just hates his biological dad, wants absolutely nothing to do with him. He refers to his stepdad as his real dad since he’s the man that raised him, that stood by him over the years. He thinks so much of his stepdad, that he even took his last name, Lopez – his real-life last name, that is. Seth doesn’t look Latin American, right? Well, that’s the reason. This lack of a biological father figure hasn’t distracted him in the ring, though, because over the years, we’ve just seen Rollins go from strength to strength.
11 AJ Styles - An Alcoholic And Abusive Dad
AJ Styles is regarded to be one of the world’s top wrestlers. He has a tremendous amount of talent and an aptitude for killing it in the ring, and that’s precisely what he’s been doing with the world’s best promotions over the years. But it wasn’t an easy start for AJ, and that was, in large part, due to his dad. AJ and his family grew up in serious poverty. They were dirt poor, didn’t have what many people today would deem to be basic household items, like a TV, for instance. Various factors could've led to AJ growing up in this situation. But one of the main ones was his dad. AJ holds his dad responsible for their former plight, and with good reason. He squandered what little money they had coming in on booze, he was abusive, and he was the catalyst that sparked that whole situation. AJ’s hated his father’s guts, and it’s unclear whether they had any contact at all when he passed in 2011.
10 Kevin Von Erich - Business Turns Things Sour
People always say “Don’t mix business with family” or something along those lines. There’s a reason for that because if things go sour, there’s no going back; relationships could be damaged for good. That’s precisely what happened with the Von Erich boys.
When Fritz Von Erich formed Fritz’s World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), it seemed as if the Erich boys, Fritz’s sons, would have it good. But there was soon plenty of infighting. WCCW began to take off and become a success, but each, especially Fritz and his son Kevin, had differing opinions on how to take the promotion even further. Kevin was keen to take it national, but Fritz didn’t bear his opinion any notice and instead chose to sell his promotion to Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett. Kevin was furious about this and had a nasty falling out with his father. He also went after Jarrett, suing him, saying he cut him out of the deal. Jarret countersued, and the whole thing just became a really messy, nasty affair.
9 David Sammartino - Fractured Father-Son Relationship
Bruno Sammartino, in his heyday, was a pretty decent wrestler. He was known for his brawling and his power moves, and it’s something that held him in good stead throughout his twenty odd years in the industry. His son, David, followed in his father’s footsteps but didn’t taste the same amount of success. That must've been one of the reasons why he and his father had a strained relationship. Perhaps there was some resentment there -- that despite being given the opportunities, he just couldn’t live up to his father’s legacy. When David got started in the '80s, he was hired right away by Vince McMahon, who himself was starting out, trying to make it big. But he wasn’t really interested in David. Vince wanted to make it big by getting Bruno back into the mix, and this didn’t sit well with David. This caused father and son to fall out and caused David to have a strained relationship with Vince. David also tried to propel his career to the top by taking steroids. Bruno didn’t approve, and so, their relationship became seriously fractured.
8 Dynamite Kid - Problems Keep Stacking Up
Davey Boy Smith was taken from this world far too soon. He died as a result of a heart attack in 2002 at the age 39, and when he did, he left not having reconciled with his cousin. Dynamite Kid was his tag team partner, and the two had a huge amount of success together. But things turned sour, and they ended up not having spoken to each other for around 12 years prior to Davey Boy Smith’s death. Backstage beef with the Rougeau brothers meant they left WWE, and when they returned to Stampede Wrestling, they just weren’t the force they once were. They needed something new to stir up the fans and had a major falling out. This wrestling beef eventually translated to real-life beef. Firstly, Smith trademarked “British Bulldog,” their tag team name, preventing Kid from using it. Then Smith actually legally stopped Kid from using the name when he was wrestling in Japan. This pissed Kid off no end, the cousin’s relationship soured, and it just couldn’t be salvaged.
7 Kurt Angle’s Bro Is A Convicted Felon
Kurt Angle’s had a glittering career in the ring, but he’s far from a model citizen. He’s had plenty of run-ins with the law over the years, has faced trials and tribulations, and has had his heart broken, too. Just when Kurt was back with WWE and was getting his life on track again, something drastic went and happened that would affect Kurt’s state of mind once again. But this time around, he didn’t let himself get dragged into other people’s problems; he just disowned his brother and removed him from his life. The brotherly love Kurt had for his older brother, David, turned to hate in 2016 when he pleaded guilty to murdering his wife. He pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter and received what many people would deem to be a paltry sentence of 2.5-10 years in prison. Kurt Angle won’t be waiting to greet him with open arms when he gets out.
6 Tamina Snuka Couldn’t Shake The Feeling
Wrestling legend, Jimmy Snuka, died earlier this year, but his last couple of years on this planet certainly weren’t happy ones.
The circumstances surrounding Jimmy’s murder charge were puzzling. In 1983, his girlfriend was found beaten to death in what was a horrific scene. Jimmy was the only suspect. But it took 32 years for him to be convicted. In 2015, he was charged with third-degree murder, but because his mental and general health were in decline, he was deemed unfit to stand trial, and all charges were dropped. He died just over a week after all the charges were dropped.
Jimmy’s daughter, Tamina, is also a wrestler. She put on a strong front during her dad’s illness and the whole murder incident. Of course, she’s proud of her dad in some ways, but there have been rumors that she truly hated him for what most of the world suspect he did all those years ago. That would be understandable.
5 Bret Hart - That Tell-All Book Brought Plenty To Light
Bret Hart’s on this list again; he may have fans in the wrestling industry, but it seems that he doesn’t have too many within his own family. Diana Hart is another Hart sibling who’s felt Bret’s wrath, who’s fallen into his bad books over the years, to the point where today, their relationship is pretty much nonexistent.
There are a ton of reasons why Bret and Diana have had real-life beef. But by far, the main reason was Diana’s book. She released her book, Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling’s Greatest Family, 2001, a book which basically did as it said -- revealed what went on when the cameras weren’t shoved in their faces. It was tell-all alright, and it didn’t paint Bret in the best of light. Diana even made criminal allegations against her family! Bret wasn’t going to stand for that and has shunned her from his life ever since.
4 CM Punk’s Mom Joins His Bro On His “Ashamed Of” List
CM Punk’s another wrestler – well, ex-wrestler – who features on this list for the second time. His straight-laced attitude may have endeared him to wrestling fans, but it still hasn’t been enough to help mend those healing wounds inflicted upon him by his family. I’ve already mentioned how he hasn’t forgiven his brother for royally screwing him those many years ago. Well, he’s also had beef with his mom, too -- Punk’s dear old mom, except that she’s not really a dear, not old, and is actually quite a crafty character. She’s on this list with her son simply because she tried to extort money from Punk, and he just wasn’t having any of it. Apparently, he’d already given her around $100K, but she kept asking for more, kept pushing him. It got to the point where she began sending threatening emails, and it got so serious that Punk had to take the matter to court and take out a restraining order against her. I’ve got to say, I’m in Punk’s corner for this one.
3 Rikishi The Disapproving Father-In-Law
It’s not actually altogether clear why the legend that is Rikishi and his daughter-in-law, Naomi, have beef. But it's clear that there’s something going on. When Jimmy got hitched to Naomi, there was one question on everybody’s lips: will Rikishi attend the wedding? The answer turned out to be "no, he didn’t." It’s thought that this beef had been cooked up for the purposes of the wrestling reality show, Total Divas. Rikishi even confirmed this on social media. But still, not to attend your own son’s real wedding because of a wrestling storyline? Nope, there’s definitely got to be something else. Another rumor that’s been circulating is that Rikishi wanted Jimmy to marry a Samoan chick and that Jimmy went against his dad’s wishes by marrying Naomi. It’s all been very hush hush, and wrestling fans have been left in the dark somewhat, not knowing why their family dynamic’s been fractured. One thing’s for sure: there's something with Naomi and the marriage that Rikishi isn’t too happy about.
2 Rocky Johnson’s Infidelity Caused Friction
Everything is roses between The Rock Dwayne Johnson and his dad, Rocky Johnson, today, and it's been that way for quite some time. But at one stage, Dwayne seriously had beef with his dad and his philandering ways – they went through a seriously rocky patch. Growing up, Dwayne’s idol was his dad. He wanted to emulate his dad’s success in the ring, and they even wrestled together on a few occasions. But when Dwayne came to know of his dad’s affairs, the fact he was cheating on his mom, the two had a serious falling out, he had serious beef with his dad. Rocky was even arrested on charges of rape. He turned to drinking, spiraled into depression, and, for the large part, Dwayne wasn’t around. They’d become estranged but patched things up around the time Dwayne was trying to make it in pro football. Today, he can’t speak highly enough of his dad, but what his dad did will probably always be lurking away at the back of his mind.
1 One Seriously Tough Upbringing For Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake Roberts is a wrestling legend, plain and simple. But over the past decade, he hasn’t been known for anything he’s accomplished in the ring. He’s been in the news because of his various addictions, substance abuse problems, and decline in health. With the help of some wrestling buddies, he’s sorted himself out now and is back on the straight and narrow. Looking back at some of what Jake’s had to endure over the years, some would say it’s little wonder he turned to drink and drugs in order to mask the pain of his past.
Jake’s done some wrong over the years, but if everything’s to be believed, his dad, Grizzly Smith, was rotten to the core. Jake claims he himself was conceived as a result of his dad raping his mom when she was 13 years old. Then there was the abuse, the alcoholism. Apparently, he sexually abused Jake and even raped his own daughter. Don’t want to speak ill of the dead, but Jake’s probably thinking "good riddance."