To say that professional wrestling is sometimes a family business would be a bit of an understatement. The McMahon family is just the most immediate example, with Vince McMahon inheriting the business from his father, Vince McMahon, Sr., and of course, now Stephanie McMahon and her husband Paul Levesque, better known as Triple H, set to inherit it from him. Then there’s the long time involvement of Vince’s son Shane and wife Linda, so you’d think the McMahons would have a monopoly on the business. While that may be true in a strictly financial sense, there are other families that have made just as big an impact.
From the Flairs to the Rhodes family and the Anoa’i dynasty, cousins, brothers or other relatives are usually just a stone’s throw away from many pro wrestlers. By that same token, blood relations are also quite common in WWE storylines because they make for good television, but those are almost always fictional connections. How do we tell them apart? Here are eight of the wildest WWE familial connections you may not have known about and seven other famous connections you’re probably aware of that are actually completely made up for the small screen.
15 Real: Nia Jax & The Rock
Nia Jax has been on the main roster for about a year now and due to the Monday Night Raw writing team’s inconsistent outlook on the presentation of its women’s division you’ve only gotten a small glimpse of what she can bring to the table. Those who watched Nia during her time in NXT are aware that she excels as the supposedly unbeatable monster in title matches and manages to make other competitors look amazing while maintaining her own mystique.
You may have caught wind of this through WWE programming if you’re lucky, but the fact is rarely mentioned that Nia is the real life cousin of none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Rock is one of the most influential WWE Superstars of all time, so this is certainly a big deal for Nia’s career and likely leads to many expectations.
14 Fake: Torrie Wilson & Dawn Marie
In the mid-2000s, WWE was still a long way away from their current state in the PG era. The Attitude era had faded away in a lot of different ways but one thing that had not changed was the adult content as evidenced by a storyline between two of the hottest Divas of that time, Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie. As the story went, Dawn Marie seduced Torrie’s father, the much older Al Wilson. Unfortunately, Al passed away while the couple was making love, but not before they were married, making Dawn the mother-in-law of Torrie.
It was an intriguing storyline that captivated the SmackDown audience, but none of it had any basis in reality so there was never any actual relation between Dawn and Torrie.
13 Real: Bray Wyatt & IRS
At one time Bray Wyatt had the potential to be one of the biggest stars of the modern era in WWE. When he burst onto the scene alongside his “family,” Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, Wyatt was an intimidating figure and a breath of fresh air as far as creativity went. The former Husky Harris was in excellent shape compared to previous years and was a machine in the wrestling ring. That’s not even to mention his superb microphone skills which were the selling point of the Wyatt Family, but constant losses over the years have seen to it that Bray may never be taken seriously.
Bray is a well-known relation to his brother Bo Dallas, but did you know that Bray is also the legitimate son of former WWE Superstar Irwin R. Schyster?
12 Fake: Kurt Angle & Jason Jordan
No one should need to be reminded of the great WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle’s record in World Wrestling Entertainment. This multiple time world champion is one of the greatest mat technicians to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots, which is why it is such a huge boon for young upstart Jason Jordan to be given the confidence by WWE to play such a large role in a huge storyline with Angle. If you’ve watched WWE programming lately then you’re likely aware that Jordan was recently revealed as Kurt’s illegitimate son.
Except he’s not, really, and most fans probably don’t need to be reminded of that fact. This is one familial connection that strictly serves the purpose of helping make a big star out of a talented youngster, but it has no basis in reality.
11 Real: Jerry Lawler & Honky Tonk Man
Jerry “The King” Lawler is no stranger to having relatives in the wrestling business. The WWE Hall of Famer was still calling Monday Night Raw at the commentary table alongside “Good Ole” Jim Ross when Lawler’s real life son, Brian Lawler, was performing with Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi under the ring name Grand Master Sexay. However, Lawler’s family tree runs quite a bit further back than the late 1990s, as this all time great was actually related to another wrestling icon from the ‘80s: Honky Tonk Man.
Honky Tonk Man is the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in the history of WWE, so to say that he helped define an era would be an understatement. Needless to say, this one is a legendary family relation.
10 Fake: The Dudley Boyz
The Dudley Boyz are perhaps the most decorated tag team in the history of the sport of professional wrestling. They really rose to fame in the ‘90s as a part of Paul Heyman’s original ECW and they became tag team icons by the time they reached the pinnacle of success in WWE a few years later. Bubba Ray and D-Von were instrumental in the Attitude era revitalization of the WWF tag team division alongside the Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian, and the two have continued to make history ever since.
One look at the Dudley Boyz raises questions about their blood relation, so they have always been billed as half brothers throughout their wrestling careers, with the story being that they have the same father. In fact, not even that much is true as Bubba Ray and D-Von are actually not related in any way.
9 Real: Tamina Snuka & Deuce
Tamina Snuka is one of WWE’s longest tenured female employees. She’s a mainstay in the company and has long been one of the most naturally gifted female athletes on the roster despite never having been granted a run with any championship. Much has been made about Tamina’s bloodline, as her real life father is the late Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, whom Tamina honors by using the Superfly splash as her finishing move.
But here’s something that has never been directly mentioned on WWE television before: Tamina Snuka is actually sister to Deuce, who is also Jimmy Snuka's son and was famous for being one-half of the tag team Deuce ‘n’ Domino.
8 Fake: Hardcore Holly & Crash Holly
Never before the Attitude era was there a time when the World Wrestling Federation was filled from top to bottom with names and faces that would be remembered by viewers for the rest of their lives, and never will it happen again. The late 1990s were a time in wrestling when there were so many equally important parts moving a train along, and two of those many parts were named Hardcore and Crash Holly.
Hardcore, also known as Bob Holly, had already been around for a while when his cousin Crash was introduced and the two would spend the next couple of years beating the hell out of one another in the name of tough love. Both of them found success in the ring, but their relationship as cousins was completely fictional.
7 Real: The Usos & Rikishi
There were few bigger stars during the Attitude era than Rikishi in every sense of the word. Known for his rather large posterior and his ironically exceptional dance skills, Rikishi became a Hall of Famer by wrestling alongside Scotty 2 Hotty and Grand Master Sexay in Too Cool and then having dance parties with them in the middle of the ring afterward.
Jimmy and Jey Uso, on the other hand, have made names for themselves as one of the most consistently exciting teams that WWE’s tag division has seen in many years. The Usos seem to be the company’s go to team for compelling tag team action and it’s well deserved. It’s been mentioned many times that the Usos’ in-ring style is inspired by their father Rikishi, and that’s a legitimate claim as that relation is for real.
6 Fake: Hardcore Holly & Molly Holly
So we’ve already discussed how the fictional cousins Hardcore and Crash Holly helped make the Attitude era memorable as two of many other parts of the machine, but we’ve also got to mention Molly Holly. After Hardcore and Crash had been beating on each other for a while, a third cousin was introduced into the mix named Molly and little did the WWE Universe know that she would go on to potentially be the biggest star of them all as one of the most naturally gifted female competitors of her time.
Despite all the fuss made about Molly being yet another cousin of Hardcore Holly, that was simply not true. In fact, none of the three were related in any way, though it certainly made for compelling television.
5 Real: Bo Dallas & Blackjack Mulligan
Bo Dallas has come a long way since his days being “inspirational” and his long time as the NXT Champion before coming to the main roster to be horribly misused. After being practically ignored for a couple of years Dallas was finally given a little something to run with as a member of the “Miztourage,” a team with Curtis Axel where the two would become the backup for The Miz and Maryse. It remains to be seen whether Bo will be able to make the most of his opportunities, but he’s got wrestling in his blood.
These days most people know that Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt are brothers. However, what most might not know is that their maternal grandfather is none other than the late WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan.
4 Fake: Undertaker & Kane
The Undertaker has been the most respected name in wrestling for decades. Ever since he defied all the odds upon his 1990 debut as a back from the dead mortician and developed a huge fan following, the Dead Man has never been outside the main event picture. In 1997 the Undertaker was still reigning supreme when his younger brother Kane debuted and the two engaged in what might be the greatest rivalry ever constructed by WWE.
Both of these giants are icons in the wrestling industry, though their best days are long behind both of them. They’ll go down in history as two of the greatest “frenemies” in all of wrestling, but the Brothers of Destruction are not actually brothers at all in the real world.
3 Real: Roman Reigns & Yokozuna
Roman Reigns is the new age golden boy in WWE. He is portrayed as the star of the company no matter what the fans may think of him, and that’s exactly what John Cena has been for the last decade and a half. This has seen the WWE Universe turn on Reigns viciously as they tend to hate being told what to like and what to hate, but nonetheless, Reigns is continuously pushed to the moon. That’s not to say he lacks talent, but the fans are extra critical of him as a result of the company trying to force them to cheer for him.
In fact, Roman Reigns has wrestling in his blood. You’ve of course heard the announcers make the connection that Reigns is the cousin of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson many times, but he is also the cousin of another great former WWE Champion in Yokozuna.
2 Fake: Edge & Christian
We discussed the Dudley Boyz earlier and how they helped breathe new life into the World Wrestling Federation tag team division in the late ‘90s alongside the Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian. Those three teams were each billed as a set of brothers, which made quite the back story as they tore one another apart in some of the best ladder matches in wrestling history. Edge & Christian would particularly shine in those matches and go down as one of the greatest tag teams of all time, then each of them would go on to incredibly successful singles careers.
As it turns out, Edge and Christian really did grow up together, but not as brothers. In real life, they were simply the best of friends and no blood relation was ever present.
1 Real: Aiden English & Eddie Guerrero
Here’s one you might easily have missed considering it has never been mentioned on WWE television before. Aiden English has recently been pushed as a solo star after the departure of his longtime tag team partner Simon Gotch from the company. Time will tell if Aiden can make the most of his opportunity to strike it big on his own as it didn’t appear the team of the Vaudevillains was going anywhere anyway. Perhaps given a new platform he will be able to show a new side of himself and find more success.
In real life, Aiden English is married to former NXT developmental talent Shaul Guerrero, who is indeed the daughter of the late, great Eddie Guerrero, meaning English has a seriously legendary father-in-law.