Craig Wilson, Brian Damage & Jamie Lithgow
Some of the brightest stars in wrestling history have been part of iconic wrestling families. Whether it was the Funks, the Von Erichs, the Guerreros or the McMahons, these families have left a lasting legacy on the business. In this latest Top Five we list our favourite wrestling families.
5. Windhams: There are certainly some good names in the Windham family tree: Blackjack Mulligan, Barry Windham, Kendall Windham, Mike Rotundo, Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas. Not too bad at all… Of course, Blackjack Mulligan was a bit before my time and perhaps I only caught the tale end of Barry Windham but having gone back to view his earlier work, he quickly became one of my favourite in-ring workers. I may not be the biggest Bray Wyatt fan but he has everything needed for a long and successful WWE career.
4. Rhodes: As a WWE fan growing up with only minimal knowledge of the WCW, it took until I got the WWE Network to really see how great Dusty Rhodes was – his feud with the Four Horsemen, which includes his immortal ‘Hart Times’ promo, is essential viewing for wrestling fans. It allows you to see the perfect example of a babyface comeback. As for Dustin, a lot on this list will use the family name to get over, he did the opposite and used the character Goldust to shock viewers upon his debut in 1995. An edgier character you wouldn’t see in the WWE for some time. There’s also still plenty of hope that Cody Rhodes can become the star many expect he can be. He just needs to shed the Stardust gimmick…
3. Von Erichs: Another family that I became more exposed to thanks to the WWE. Firstly through the excellent ‘Triumph & Tragedy’ DVD set on World Class Championship Wrestling and latterly via the Network presenting numerous WCCW shows. Heck, I even popped when Kevin Von Erich came out at the 2016 Hall of Fame induction! Of course, I knew who Kerry Von Erich was thanks to his early 90s WWE run as The Texas Tornado but that barely scrapes the surface when it comes to the Von Erichs in wrestling. A history undoubtedly filled with tragedy but some of the in-ring action was second to none. And you’ll be hard pushed to find a better crowd reaction than when the Von Erichs faced off against The Fabulous Freebirds.
2. Harts: No surprises that I feature the Hart family as prominently in this list… After all, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart is my favourite WWE superstar of all time and I loved the work of Owen Hart. Through in the extended family of Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart and now Natalya, and you’ve got some top in-ring workers dotted throughout the history of the WWE. And that’s before we even discuss the impact that the patriarch of the family, Stu Hart, had on the business.
1. McMahons: In terms of impact on the business, it is quite hard to look beyond the McMahon family, isn’t it? From Jess McMahon, who founded Capitol Wrestling Corporation, through to Vince McMahon sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation to Vince jr. turning that into the global phenomenon it is today, it’s fair to say they’ve had quite the impact on the world of wrestling. Hell, if it wasn’t for that family I wouldn’t have become a wrestling fan and writing this blog today.
5. The Poffos: It started with Angelo Poffo who was both a successful wrestler and promoter. He then gave us two sons who both had success to varying degrees. I am talking about Lanny Poffo and the Macho Man Randy Savage.
4. The Windhams: Blackjack Mulligan was a bonafide star in his day. His two sons Kendall and Barry Winham had great success in the territories and the NWA. Mulligan’s daughter Stephanie married pro wrestler Mike Rotunda and they gave us Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas.
3. The Guerreros: The patriarch…pro wrestler Gory had four boys that had tremendous success including Chavo Sr., Mando, Hector and Eddie. Chavo Sr had a son Chavo Jr who is still wrestling today.
2. The Funks: Dory Funk Sr was a great pro wrestler and promoter. His two sons made pro wrestling history as both won the NWA world heavyweight title at different time. Both Dory Jr and Terry Funk respectively. Dory Jr, keeps the Funk name alive and well by his wrestling school in Texas.
1. The Anoa’i: I have previously written about this extensive family and the tremendous contributions they have made through the years in pro wrestling. Afa, Sika, Umaga, Rkishi, Rosey, Samu, the Usos, Yokozuna, Roman Reigns and the Rock just to name a few.
5. The Windham Family: Just so we’re clear, I’m keeping this personal to me. This isn’t a list of who I think are the top families in wrestling, rather which families have had the biggest impact on me as a fan. With that said, you gotta love how Barry Windham, IRS, Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt are all related. Imagine that Christmas dinner if they were all in character…
4. The Rhodes Family: Ditto my last point with this bunch. Sadly we’ll never see it, but imagine Dusty, Goldust and Stardust all in character together! We almost saw it a couple years ago, but Dusty was playing the part of concerned dad rather than American Dream. I love that they are all so different from each other too. Dusty was insanely charismatic, Goldust is bizarre and Stardust is a whole other kind of weird.
3. The McMahon Family: This family is WWE. Historically they are probably the top wrestling family ever. However, to me they are a mild-mannered commentator who later turned evil and his dysfunctional family. Even in 2016 ‘the McMahon show’ is still entertaining… to a point.
2. The Anoia’i Family: How many Hall of Famers can you fit into one family?! By Sheer of weight numbers the Anoa’i family has to be included. There are so many guys I like in this family tree, and it only gets more ridiculous when you extend it further. The Wild Samoans, Yokozuna, Umaga, The Usos, Roman Reigns, The Rock, Make A Difference Fatu……. superstars every last one of them!
1. The Hart Family: For me there is no doubt. I have a Bret Hart tattoo and I was possibly an even bigger Owen fan. Throw in the other siblings, nieces, nephews, in-laws and a legendary father and you have the quintessential wrestling family. Put it this way, Stu and Helen had 12 kids. The 8 boys became wrestlers and the 4 girls married wrestlers. If that’s not a wrestling family then I don’t know what is.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.