The Bella Twins and Examining Sibling Rivalry in Pro Wrestling

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The Bella Twins and Examining Sibling Rivalry in Pro Wrestling
Photo Credit: WWE.com

I'm not excited about The Bella Twins rivalry that's begun.

I was fearing it for weeks leading up to SummerSlam. I like The Bella Twins as people. I'm happy for their newfound profile status from the reality show and for them getting more time on Raw and SmackDown.

I have a hard time buying the sisters' betrayal. You would think sibling rivalry is an easy story to tell in the art of professional wrestling. It's a very easy story for people to relate to. However, history shows it takes even more effort to make that feud work on an entertainment stage like professional wrestling.

Nobody will ever forget The Undertaker and Kane with their tremendous backstory and special effects. Of course, that was two performers portraying brothers, which is so common in professional wrestling history. Let's stick with biological siblings, because that's the harder sell and what we're dealing with in The Bella Twins.

The best example was Owen Hart and his jealousy of his big brother, Bret. This was the most believable.

They were two of a dozen children in the Hart family. They had both been on the roster for years together but weren't really linked together. Owen was on the bottom of the card, and Bret was on top. We knew they shared the same last name, but that was about it.

That is until 1993. We slowly started to see Owen and Bret more. Owen was attacked in January by Razor Ramon, who would be taking on Bret at the Royal Rumble for the title. Then we saw Owen front row at SummerSlam 1993, when Bret was taking on Jerry “The King” Lawler, who made a lot of verbal attacks on the Hart family. Owen was part of a family team at Survivor Series in November where the seed of trouble was planted after he freaked out being the only Hart brother eliminated.

He finally let the anger boil over when he kicked Bret's injured leg at Royal Rumble 1994 when he was angered they lost the tag match. It was the feud of the year. I felt like I could buy this and that the two really did have the family torn in a classic case of sibling rivalry.

I think a big key here was that the two hadn't been linked together a great deal on WWE television. This makes the fact they are feuding to the degree they did more believable. It was as if one brother came out of nowhere wanting to steal big brother's fortune. It didn't feel like just a scuffle in the backyard and then they went inside for dinner. It felt as if they wanted to ruin each other's lives, or at least Owen started out wanting that and he finally pushed Bret to the edge.

Rick and Scott Steiner feuded in WCW, and before you knew it, they were back associated with each other. They had been associated together all of their careers and athletic lives. Scott turning on Rick just seemed like that was the storyline option to try to sell Scott's new look and run as a singles star in the New World Order.

The same thing happened with Booker T and Stevie Ray—real-life brothers, never been branded as anything other than in a tag team with each other, one trying to sell out being in the New World Order.

Matt and Jeff Hardy feuded with each other in WWE—a valid effort in their attempts of Matt sabotaging Jeff's life, and as well as that, the matches were good. I still feel it could have been better and was a tall task to pull off. I was happy to see that the brothers remained singles for the remainder of their WWE tenures and got to brand themselves.

We've been seeing a lot of “Fearless Nikki” and “Brie Mode” branding. They are wearing different colors and doing their best to stand on their own. It's things like The Bella Twins sharing the same Twitter account that can take me out of this story.

Photo Credit: WWE.com

I think looking at history, the biggest obstacle The Bella Twins have is the day and age in which they're trying to pull this conflict off. Social media keeps everyone watching at all times. The reality show only adds to this.

When you have two wrestlers feuding, let's say like Brock Lesnar and John Cena, I can believe since those two are so different in what they actually stand for that there's conflict there. I can get sucked into the feud. As hard as I try, I feel The Bella Twins' feud will be a constant, over-acting attempt to over-compensate.

The Samoan brothers, The Harris brothers and The Briscoe brothers are just some of the real siblings who were smart and never tried feuding with each other. Part of this is because they could work on their own as singles stars.

Other siblings like John and Joe Laurinaitis were smart, too. One played in Legion of Doom and the other made his own singles career as a wrestler, and executive. Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt is also a good decision. Keep them apart and let them do their own thing. It brings a higher rate of success.

I hate to rain on the big parade of The Bella Twins and truly do wish they can over come the odds. Maybe if this goes on long enough the reality show can portray real animosity backstage. Maybe I can start to believe. I have doubts, but I'm interested to watch them try.

Who knows? Maybe this can lead to another round of Cena versus Daniel Bryan matches once Bryan's back healthy. One big family affair.

Justin LaBar is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the creator of the Chair Shot Reality video talk show and Wrestling Reality radio show.

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