5 Best Wrestling Families in History

Jon SainzAnalyst IIApril 28, 2011

5 Best Wrestling Families in History

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    Wrestling is a family business. It always has been. From the secret keeping carnival acts to the family run territories, to the current WWE.

    It is also a family tradition. Most wrestlers kids end up being wrestlers themselves or involved in wrestling in some other capacity (managers, referees, etc.)

    Right now we have several second and third generation wrestlers in the WWE including (but not limited to): Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Alberto del Rio, David Hart Smith, the Usos, Tamina, Chavo Guerrero and others.

    Here are the five best wrestling families in my opinion.

Guerrero Family

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    From Mexico to Japan to the World. That would be a good way to describe this family.

    Gory Guerrero was one of the premier Hispanic wrestlers in the early days of lucha libre when most wrestlers were imported from outside of Mexico. 

    He is credited with the invention of the camel clutch, the Gory special and a back to back stretch hold that has been modified into countless other moves.

    He married Herlinda Llanes, who's three brothers were also professional wrestlers. They had four sons and two daughters. All sons became wrestlers.

    Chavo Guerrero Sr. was their second child and first son. He debuted in 1974 and was active for 30 years, retiring in 2004. He's best known for his time in the AWA and the WWE. He enjoyed a successful career winning multiple singles and tag team championships. As an homage to his father he also used the Gory special as a finisher.

    Gory's second son, Mando, also made his debut in 1974. He was less successful than his older brother, but he had a fair amount of it in the NWA winning multiple tag team and individual championships in the Hollywood and Mid—Pacific regions.

    Hector Guerrero debuted three years after his older brothers, in 1977, and is the only one who is still actively involved in the business as part of the Spanish announce team for TNA.

    He wrestled briefly for the WWE as the Gobbledy Gooker, one of the worst gimmicks ever. He spent most of his career working for the AWA and the NWA with moderate success.

    The youngest of the Guerrero brothers is also the most well known. He started wrestling for small promotions in Mexico and Japan before going into the ECW. From there he went on to the WCW and eventually to the WWE. Out of all brothers he had the most success, winning at least one championship (either tag team or singles) in every promotion he worked for. He died in 2005, we miss you Eddie.

    Gory's grandson and Chavo's son Chavo Guerrero Jr. is currently working for the WWE along with Eddie's widow Vickie, who's daughter Shaul debuted last year.

Von Erich Family

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    One of the greatest wrestling families and one of the worst family tragedies.

    Fritz Von Erich and his wife Doris had six sons. Out of those eight people only one survives today.

    Fritz himself was a wrestler and one of the biggest stars the NWA had to offer, even though he never won it's World title. He also had a great following in Japan.

    He had lung cancer and he died as it spread to his brain in 1997.

    His first son, Jack, died at the tender age of six after being accidentally electrocuted and drowning in a puddle.

    Every other son he had became a professional wrestler.

    His second son, Kevin, spent most of his career working for the WCCW. He became known there for using trademark maneuvers (body scissor, iron claw, etc.) and for wrestling barefoot. He retired in 1993.

    He is the only survivor and gave an emotional speech as he and his family were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania 25. 

    David was Fritz's third son. He also spent most of his career in the WCCW, where he faced of with Ric Flair and Harley Race for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, though he never won the title.

    Shortly before he was (reportedly) booked to win the title, he died in Tokyo during a Japan tour. The doctors said that he died of acute enteritis, but Ric Flair and others believe that it was more likely a drug overdose. Either way he was gone in 1984.

    The fourth son, Kerry, also spent the majority of his career working for the WCCW. Although he  also wrestled for the WWF and GWF, however briefly.

    He was on a motorcycle accident that nearly ended his life in 1986. He survived after undergoing surgery, but he lost his foot. He continued wrestling with a prosthesis that he kept secret from fans and wrestlers alike, going to extremes such as showering with his boots on.

    He also had a story of drug problems. He was arrested twice and while the first arrest resulted in probation, the second one violated that probation and had him looking at serious jail time. However he never went to jail, as he committed suicide shooting himself in the heart in 1993.

    Mike was Fritz's fifth son. He never actually wanted to wrestle, he preferred to be a cameraman, but his father forced him into the ring after his brother's (David) death.

    While on tour in Israel, he suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to have surgery. After that surgery it was discovered that he suffered from a condition called "Toxic shock syndrome," which is rare in men. 

    Eventually he was forced to retire as he couldn't go back into the ring at full strength. He committed suicide by overdosing on a tranquilizer on 1987.

    The youngest of the brothers was also the shortest and the least athletic. But he had an incredible love for wrestling that kept him trying to succeed in the business. 

    After several years of not being able to succeed, he became depressed and frustrated. He was also heartbroken over the loss of his brother Mike. This led to his suicide. He shot himself in 1991.

    Fritz's wife Doris survived her husband and all but one of their children, She died on 2008.

Hart Faimily

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    We now go north to Canada for another great wrestling family, the Hart family.

    Stu hart was an amateur and professional wrestler. But he enjoyed more success as a promoter and specially as a trainer.

    He founded the now defunct Stampede Wrestling promotion and run it from it's foundation in 1948 until 1984. He also trained guys in his own house, some of the guys he trained there went on to have very successful careers in various promotions including the ECW, WCW and WWE.

    He had 12 kids with his wife, all of those kids have been involved in wrestling in one way or another.

    The first kid, Smith, was a professional wrestler. He wrestled mainly for his father's company where he also did behind the scenes work and for the World Wrestling Council, a Puerto Rican promotion. 

    The second son, Bruce, also spent most of his career in his father's promotion, where he had a fair amount of success. He has also made several appearances in the WWE.

    The third son, Keith, spent most of his career in his father's promotion too, but had also some success in Tag Team wrestling in other promotions.

    The fourth son, Dean, wasn't a professional wrestler. He decided to enter the business in another aspect, as a referee.

    The fifth son, Dean, started in his father promotion but also wrestled for Peter Maivia's Hawaii based promotion. He was the first of the Hart family to suffer an early death as he was diagnosed with Bright's disease in the late 1980s and died just as the decade finished in 1990.

    After five sons, the Harts had their first daughter, Ellie, who would end up marrying professional wrestler Jim Neidhart. 

    They had another daughter, Georgia after that and she also ended up marrying a professional wrestler, B. J. Annis.

    Their eight kid is probably the best known, Bret Hart. He started in Stampede before going to the WWE and then to the WCW, Having a great success in every promotion.

    Their ninth kid was also a girl they named Alison, who also married a professional wrestler, Ben Bassarab.

    Ross was the tenth and he, much like Dean wasn't a professional wrestler. He too decided to tackle another aspect of the business, promoting. 

    They had yet another daughter (Diana) who married a wrestler (Davey Boy Smith), even though the marriage between them failed.

    Their last child (Owen) also enjoyed a great success as a pro wrestler in both Stampede and the WWE. He was the second Hart to die prematurely, due to internal bleeding after a failed stunt.

    The third generation of this family is currently active thanks to Natalia Neidhart, David Hart Smith and Teddy Hart. 

Anoa'i/Maivia Family

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    All the way from Samoa we have one of the greatest wrestling family trees ever. 

    This family has given us multiple singles wrestlers and some Tag Teams.

    Peter Maivia was the first to debut, in 1962, hew mainly wrestled for the NWA, winning multiple titles in their promotions throughout the pacific coast and ocean. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1981 and died a year later.

    Rocky Johnson was the next to debut, in 1964 and didn't retire until 1991. He's most known for working in the NWA and WWE. He won a lot of championships in the NWA both in singles and Tag Team competition, but was only able to win a Tag Team championship (with Tony Atlas) during his stance in the WWE.

    The next debut took place in the following decade, as Afa Anoa'i debuted in 1971. His brother Sika would debut in 1974 and together they would be known as the Wild Samoans.

    They are best known for their time in the NWA and the WWF, but they also wrestled for some minor promotions.  Trained by Peter Maivia, this Tag Team went on to win 21 different championships. They disbanded in the 90's.

    The 80's saw a lot of this family, with six more debuts.

    Samu in 1980 was the first of them. He had success in the lesser promotions, but he only shined in Tag Teams in the bigger ones.

    Sam Fatu, The Tonga Kid, was next, debuting in 1983. Wrestling for the WWF, WCCW, AWA and WCW, he had a good career, but not as successful as other members of his family.

    The next member of this family to make his debut is someone most o us know, Rodney Anoa'i, better known as Yokozuna. He debuted in 1984 and worked for the AWA before signing with the WWE. There he went on to be a two time WWWE and the Tag Team Champion. He died in 2000 due to fluid in his lungs.

    Next is also a guy we know very well, Solofa Fatu Jr., better known as Rikishi. He debuted in 1985. Best known for his time in the WWE where he won the Intercontinental Championship once and the Tag Team championships thrice.

    Lloyd Anoa'i, better known as L.A. Smooth, debuted next, in 1987. He had a decent career, but never made it into the big leagues.

    Gary Albright debuted next, in 1988, he was married to Monica Anoa'i, which makes him part of the family. He had a decent career in Canada, before going to Japan, winning Tag Team Championships in both countries. He died in 2000 just after a match, with heart attack listed as the official cause of death.

    1995 was a great year for this family, with three members making their debut.

    Matt Anoa'i was in the WWE for a short time (2002-2006), and has had a better career in the independent circuit, where he still wrestles.

    Eddie Fatu, better known as Umaga, also debuted in 1995. Best known for his time in the WWE, he also had a fair amount of success in other promotions he worked for. He died in 2009 after suffering two heart attacks. The official cause of death was acute toxicity due to combined effects of hydrocodone, carisoprodol and diazepam.

    The other member of this family who debuted in 1995, is also the most well known of them all. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

    Before going to Hollywood to do movies, he spent most of his career in the WWE, winning a Royal Rumble (2000), two Intercontinental Championships, five Tag Team championships and nine World Championships. He's also the sixth triple crown champion.

    The last member of the family to debut in the 90's was Afa Anoa'i Jr, also known as Manu. He debuted in 1998. He had a short stunt with the WWE (2006-2009), but has had more success in the independent circuit.

    Also in the 90's this family gave us two other Tag Teams, 3-Minute Warning and the Samoan Gangstas.

    Eddie Fatu and Matt Anoa'i  formed the 3-Minute Warning, maybe best known for their time in the WWE, they didn't win any championship there, but were 5 time Tag Team Champions in lesser promotions. The team was formed in 1996 and disbanded in 2003

    L.A. Smooth and Matt Anoa'i were the Samoan Gangstas, they mainly worked for their family's promotion, World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW). Formed in 1997 they were only together for a year disbanding in 1998.

    Reno Anoa'i debuted in 2002. He's had a short career, mainly working for his family's promotions outside the US. He was the first Nu Wrestling Evolution World Heavyweight Champion.

    The latest Tag Team this family has given us is the Usos, who before joining the WWE had a stunt in the WXW.

    And the last member of this family to debut has been Joe Anoa'i, who did it a year ago (2010). He is currently under contract with the WWE in it's developmental territory, FCW.

McMahon Family

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    The founders and owners of the WWE. 

    Roderic James McMahon, Vince's grandfather, founded it as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation. He was a wrestling and boxing promoter. Born in 1882, he died in 1954 due to a cerebral hemorrhage.

    His son, Vincent James McMahon, took over his wrestling promotion changing it's name to World Wide Wrestling Federation. He dominated professional wrestling in his territory (northeast US). He sold his company to his son in 1982. Two years later he died to pancreatic cancer.

    Vincent Kennedy McMahon, made his grandfathers company into a national promotion first and an international one after that. The had various name changes, first to World Wrestling Federation (dropping the "Wide"), then after a dispute with the World Wide Fund for Nature due to having the exact same acronym (WWF) he had to change the name to World Wrestling Entertainment and the most recent change, to simply WWE.

    His wife Linda worked with him in the WWE from the start until 2009. Much like his son Shane who worked for the WWE since 1989 until 2010 and even wrestled and won a couple of championships, the now defunct European and Hardcore championships, once each.

    Much like her mother and brother Vince's daughter Stephanie has also worked for the WWE and still continues to do so. And like her brother, she also wrestled and is a one time Women's champion.

    Stephanie's husband, Paul Michael Levesque, better known as Triple H, also works for the WWE. He started his career as a professional wrestler in 1989. After spending time in lesser promotions he was signed by the WCW in 1994, and a year after that by the WWE.

    He has had a lot of success in the WWE, winning a King of the Ring (1997), a Royal Rumble (2002), two European Championships, three Tag Team Championships, five Intercontinental Championships and 13 World Championships.

    He's also the seventh triple crown champion and the second grand slam champion