The 8 Greatest Wrestling Families of All Time
Maybe no “sport” understands the importance of family more than professional wrestling.
Whether it was the pairings of the famed “families” like Ole and Gene Anderson or the real-life “familia” of the Guerreros, we have been fascinated how wrestling in numbers is a lot more appealing. The family dynamic also offers promoters the opportunity to create new story lines, some pitting brother against brother, or in the case of the Funks and Briscos, family vs. family.
As a youngster, I watched Eddie and Mike Graham wrestle the likes of Terry and Dory Funk. I watched the hatred the Von Erichs had for the Freebirds and loved it when Ivan and Nikita Koloff challenged the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A.
Whether they were related by blood or by creation, it did not matter. In the world of professional wrestling, blood was always thicker than water- at least until someone got their feelings hurt.
Here is a look at the greatest wrestling families of all time.
The Von Erichs
They were one of professional wrestling's first dynasties.
Father Fritz Von Erich was a heel during his time in the ring, representing Germany and a "Nazi" character that got over with his "Iron Claw" hold which finished his opponents off.
Fritz was fortunate to have five boys to carry on the family tradition, and he marketed them as future wrestling champions.
David would have carried the NWA, but passed away too soon because of a stomach "issue."
Kerry was a former NWA champion who got into trouble with the law and committed suicide after his time in the WWF. Mike could not meet the demands of the business because he was not as athletic as his brothers and he also committed suicide.
Kevin was the only remaining brother alive, and his time in the NWA and the WCCW was as impressive in his matches as his brothers.
This was a family that ruled professional wrestling in the early '80s in terms of talent but actually could have been better.
The Funk Family
From the famed "Double Cross" Ranch in Texas. You cannot leave a family off this list where the two sons of the famous Dory Funk, Sr. were both NWA World Heavyweight Champions.
As a youngster, I loved watching Championship Wrestling From Florida where Dory Funk, Jr. was a mainstay, fighting with the likes of Mike Graham, Dusty Rhodes and Johnny Weaver. Terry Funk would come to town to battle Jack Brisco or Hiro Matsuda or whoever was holding the Southern Heavyweight Title.
As a tag team, the Funks were ultra-popular in the Far Eastand feuded with Giant Baba and other iconic Japanese wrestlers.
In the ring, Dory, Jr. was more of the tactician, using toe holds and forearms to punish his opponents.
Terry was more aggressive, which may have led to his reinventing himself as a Hardcore Legend.
Both left a huge mark on the success of the NWA in its height of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
If there was every a family with "issues" inside the ring because of their aggressive style, the Vachons may have been the poster children for this title.
The famed French-Canadian wrestling family that left their mark on the AWA and NWA. They were so influential in the business that they have been the subject of a 1975 documentary and were also the focus of part of a video in the WWE entitled The Most Powerful Families in Wrestling.
What made the Vachon Family unique was the fact that both the men and women who wrestled for the family were equally popular, hated or dominant.
Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon wrestled as a successful singles competitor and as a successful tag team competitor with Paul in the AWA and NWA. His toothless grin and rough voice were his staple characteristics.
Paul "Butcher" Vachon, a retired professional wrestler, made his name in American Wrestling Association, National Wrestling Alliance and Georgia Championship Wrestling.
Vivian Vachon (1951–1991), sister of Paul and Maurice Vachon, appeared with her brothers in the AWA.
Luna Vachon (1962–2010), step-daughter of Paul Vachon, also became a wrestler, most notably in the World Wrestling Federation.
Peter Maivia, Rocky Johnson, The Rock
No one dared to cross the High Chief.
As a member of the Anoa'i Wrestling Family and the promoter of professional wrestling in Hawaii, Maivia may have been one of the toughest wrestlers to grace the sport.
He is also the grandfather of "the People's Champion," the Rock.
Along the way, Ata, Maivia's daughter, met Rocky Johnson and the two were married, even though Miavia objected to his daughter marrying a professional wrestler.
With the strength and power of Miavia at 5'9" and 280-plus pounds, the charisma and good looks of Johnson, who was a regional title holder in the NWA and then WWF World Tag Team Champion with Tony Atlas in the WWF, and the success of the Rock on the big screen and in the WWE, this blood line may be one of the strongest of any ever formed in professional wrestling.
The Hart Family
They kept coming at you like they were coming out of the woodwork. Led by WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart, the legendary family from Canada has been instrumental in the growth of professional wrestling for decades.
And it wasn't just the sons Stu Hart brought into this world who had an impact, the women in the Hart family have been instrumental in the growth of wrestling as well.
This list alone and their connection to the business show the importance of this family in wrestling history. Eleven of the Hart Children have married wrestlers or been involved in the ring as a performer or champion. Led by brothers Bret and the late Owen Hart, the Hart Family can lay claim like the Anoa'i Family to having significant stroke in the business,
And it does not end with immediate family. Jim Neidhart, the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, The Dynamite Kid and even Roddy Piper can say they are part of the wrestling clan.
And now, Natalya Neidhart, Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith are third generation stars who are part of the wrestling machine.
Maybe the most famous Mexican wrestling family in wrestling history, three generations of the Guerrero led by Gory Guerrero have wrestled world wide and on American soil.
The family is so popular and has been so instrumental in the business that the Guerreros can claim to have been in almost every major wrestling promotion ever founded, including the WWE, WCW, Extreme Championship Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance, New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre and TNA Wrestling.
While the Guerrreros have been immensely popular, maybe no one wrestler has exemplified the Lucha Libre style of wrestling more than the late Eddie Guerrero.
Gory's main claim to the business is producing six children who all have had an impact on the business.
Chavo Guerrero, Sr. is the oldest of the Guerrero boys, who made his debut in 1974 and was active until he was released by the WWE. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. is Chavo's son, made his debut in 1994 as the first third generation Guerrero to be a professional wrestler. He is currently in TNA Impact Wrestling.
Mando Guerrero is the second oldest who also started in pro wrestling in 1974, worked mainly in California and with the American Wrestling Association.
Héctor Guerrero started in pro wrestling in 1977 and is now working as on the Spanish announce team for TNA Wrestling.
Eddie Guerrero was the youngest Guerrero brother by 13 years but also the most well known. He died in 2005. His wife Vickie is currently on Raw and has served as general manger of the WWE on both Raw and Smackdown.
Their daughter, Shaul made her debut in 2010 as the second third generation Guerrero to be a professional wrestler.
The Anoaʻi Family
Pay attention, we are keeping score. No family from American Samoa has made as much of an impact on professional wrestling as the Anoa'i's.
Afa and Sika became wrestlers, forming the tag team the Wild Samoans. Afa had three sons who all got into the business. Samula (best known as Samu), Afa Jr. (known as Manu) and Lloyd (best known as L.A. Smooth).
Sika's older son Matt Anoa'i wrestled under the name Ro'Z and Rosey. He teamed with Shane Helms (Hurricane) to form a fun cartoonish tag team in the WWE.
Part of the Anoa'i family also included Fatu (known as Tama and Tonga Kid), Solofa Fatu Jr. (as Fatu, Rikishi Phatu and Junior Fatu) and Eddie Fatu (known as Jamal and Umaga). Umaga died in 2009.
Rikishi's family is still alive and well and going strong in the WWE. Two of his sons, Jonathan and Joshua, are now wrestlers as Jimmy and Jey Uso.
And let's not forget Yokozuna, who was also a member of the family and one of the biggest wrestlers of all time.
Now that you have caught your breath, the American Samoa connection to wrestling has always been treated with great respect as the culture and the importance of the these wrestler's heritage has always been a huge part of wrestling promotions across the globe.
Was there any doubt?
When it comes to wrestling, the McMahon's ARE professional wrestling.
Vince McMahon convinced his father to sell in the WWF and took the promotion and made it into one of the greatest and most successful businesses of all time.
And remember, this is wrestling.
McMahon and his family have also gotten in the ring to shake things up, held wrestling titles and provided enough drama to give Days of Our Lives a run for its money.
McMahon's fertile mind also brought us WrestleMania, characters like the Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin and made wrestling mainstream.
And just think, Triple H married into the brood, which was a smart move.
Think of what would have happened had he not signed Hulk Hogan away from the AWA and made him the WWF Champion? We may have seen Jimmy Snuka as our savior.