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wrestling / Columns

The 411 Wrestling Top 5 8.05.09: Week 34 – Wrestling Families

August 5, 2009 | Posted by Michael Bauer

Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling’s Top 5 List. What we are going to is take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, plus up to three honorable mentions. At the end, based on where all these matches rank on people’s list, we will create the 411 Wrestling Top 5 list. The scoring is very similiar to the Wrestler of the Week as it looks like this:

#1 Choice – 5 points
#2 Choice – 4 points
#3 choice – 3 points
#4 Choice – 2 points
#5 Choice – 1 point
Honorable Mentions will break ties, but get no points.

Also, in the case of a tie, the most votes win, regardless of where it is listed in the individual Top 5. I will also use this rule in the event that one item is mentioned more often, but is one point behind. For example, one second place vote and two Honorable Mentions will defeat simply one first place vote.

So, on to this week’s topic…

THE TOP 5 WRESTLING FAMILIES

Nowadays, the term second generation is thrown around more than a jobber facing Vladimir Kozlov, with more and more children of famous wrestling fathers coming up through the ranks. In just the past two years, we have seen Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase Jr., DH Smith, and Nattie Nedihart all become mainstays in the WWE, following their father’s footsteps. So today, we look back at not just the present of these families, but the past as well, as the staff of 411 Wrestling listes their Top 5 Wrestling Families.

So what did our group of writers select? Let’s find out…

J.D. Dunn

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The Rhodeses – Dusty’s record in the 1970s and 1980s speaks for itself, but Dustin certainly turned in an above average career. Cody is off to a fast start as well.

5.The Guerreros – The Guerreros helped build pro-wrestling in Mexico, and the quartet of Chavo, Hector, Mondo and Eddy brought a lucha style to the mainstream U.S. scene. Eddy’s 2004 title win was not only a personal achievement or one for his country – it was por familia.

4.The McMahons – Easily, the most influential family in the history of wrestling. Vince has dominated the sport for nearly 30 years, and Shane and Stephanie were practically baptized in the business. The only reason they aren’t at #1 is because they’re not regular wrestlers.

3.The Von Erichs – Much like the Harts, the Von Erichs are known as much for tragedy as they are for in-ring exploits. There was a time, though, when Fritz and the boys were THE dominant force in wrestling (even bigger than the McMahon Empire).

2.The Hart Family – Sure, Bret is the most famous, but the Hart Clan spans three generations, several branches, and has influenced dozens of other wrestlers from Chris Benoit to Chris Jericho to Tyson Kidd. They call it the Hart “Dynasty” for a reason.

1.The Anoia/Johnsons – I merge these because… well, they’re merged. Listing the genealogy of the Wild Samoans is a herculean task in itself, but then you add in the Rock and, by proxy, his father, and you get the most storied wrestling family in history.

Julian Bond

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The Rhodes – This family definitely has to be mentioned because the two Rhodes boys (Dustin as Goldust and Cody in Legacy) are still going at it today and all three (along with their father the great Dusty) have easily put their name on the wrestling map with their great various, but also very similar wrestling styles.

5.The Guerreros – While I only really know of the modern-day coolness of both Eddie and Chavo (both in tag team and in singles action), from what I’ve watched of the older family members’ (Chavo Sr., Hector, Mando) matches, the Guerreros have carried a nice family legacy of bringing excellent wrestling to the ring. What made it cooler for myself as mostly a wrestling watcher from 1997 – current is seeing older family members like Hector (with LAX in TNA) and Chavo Sr. (with his son Chavo in WWE) help carry on tradition by coming back in the ring as managers for various younger wrestlers.

4.The McMahons – People ALWAYS tend to hate on the entire “McMahon” family because of their seemingly tight grip on various wrestling storylines with themselves appearing very frequently on TV in the past, but simply put without this family unit, we probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy the WWE as it is today. Without Vince Sr., they may have not been a big time amount of wrestling competition back in the days of the territories, and without Vince Jr., they wouldn’t be the art of “sports entertainment” (i.e. Titantron, fireworks, etc) which a lot of viewers enjoy today. Also, while a lot of the “family drama” between the McMahons on air might have been very stale to many, each one of them actually made for great TV at one point or another. Shane was the crazy stuntman who provided some INSANE moments via jumping off of high places, Stephanie perfectly played the “diamond princess” role as HHH’s right hand in the McMahon-Hemsely era and also was great as Smackdown’s GM at one point, Linda is good to pop up to occasionally calm the rest of her family down, and Vince, while seemingly cocky-as-hell both and out of the ring, has been undeniably one of the craziest and funniest personalities EVER seen on a TV screen.

3.The Anoa’is (Samoan Family) – Awhile ago, I tried to look up the entire family linage of essentially all of the “Samoan family” that I’ve seen in all of my years of wrestling watching to see who’s connected and found out that seemingly almost EVERYONE is related to someone in some type of way. Whether being directly-related with guys like the Wild Samoans, Yokozuna, Rikishi, and Umaga (who’s sorely missed on Smackdown) or undirectly-related with guys like The Rock and his father and grandfather, Rocky Johnson and Peter Mavia, this family line is HUGE and definitely have to be mentioned on a “Top Wrestling Families” list.

2.The Von Erichs – I’ll honestly admit that I didn’t grow up watching the Von Erichs or was remotely a fan of them, but I have ALWAYS heard their names dropped from time to time from some old school wrestling-watching friends and by wrestling commentators. So when I finally read up on them and watch some of their past matches, I now know why everything talks some highly of them. These guys apparently have won like over 100 titles combined in various companies (WCCW, WWF, etc) and in various combinations (both as tag teams and as singles). Sometimes it seems that they’re mostly remembered for the multiple horrible tragedies that have affected the family, but people should also be reminded of the crazy excellent work the Von Erichs brought to wrestling.

1.The Hart Family – EVERYONE who’s remotely a wrestling fan today knows about the Hart family. Bret Hart. Owen Hart. Jim Neihart. The British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith. Already just those four big names and that’s without even going into the rest of the family (Bruce, Diana, Stu, etc). The family name is so in tune with wrestling, that ANY wrestler that is remotely associated with the Hart family or the infamous Hart Dungeon training facility automatically seems to get instant creditability of being a great ring technician (i.e. Jericho, Benoit, Storm). I think that’s enough said.

Stephen Randle

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The DiBiases – At this point, the most talented wrestling family to never win a World Title, although time with tell with the younger Ted.

The Vachons – An underrated family, best known by current fans for Luna and husband Dave “Gangrel” Heath (don’t sue, I’m poor), but older fans all recall Mad Dog and The Butcher tearing up the AWA.

The Rougeaus – Doomed to exist in the shadow of the Harts and Vachons, but they really do love America. Really. It’s in their song.

5.The Rhodes – Proof that you don’t have to be the guy with six-pack abs, twenty-four inch biceps, and a chiselled jaw to be one of the most successful families in pro wrestling. I’m not sure how Cody turned out like that, though. And when all else fails, you can just wear a gold bodysuit and do absolutely anything they tell you to.

4.The Von Erichs – The biggest stars of WCCW, the most revered wrestling family of Texas, and sadly one of wrestling’s biggest tragedies. It’s kind of funny when you think about it, because the family name came from patriarch Fritz, who broke out in wrestling by playing an evil German who hated America.

3.The Anoa’i – From the Wild Samoans on down, there have always been Samoans in major wrestling organizations. In fact, with the release of Manu and Umaga earlier this year, WWE, for the first time in its long existence, does not have a member of the Anoa’i family on its main roster. I suspect they’ll rectify that at some point.

2.The McMahons – Well Vince’s father and grandfather laid the groundwork for what would become WWE, Vince took it and made it international and become an evil billionaire, his kids both became champions in WWE (deserved or not), and, of course, there’s that guy who Steph is married to. Plus, in fifteen years or so, Steph and Shane’s kids will be old enough to start training. They’ll be #1 on a lot of lists, deservedly so, but I am who I am, so…

1.The Harts – Hey, if I don’t pick ’em, they take away my citizenship. And I was born here, so that tells you how much the Hart Family means to pro wrestling and Canada. They would make this list based solely on Stu, Bret, and Owen’s careers, but throw in the rest of the immediate family, the in-laws, the “family by association” of the Dungeon graduates, and the third generation that’s getting underway, and you have a family of a size that few can challenge, with wrestling talent that nobody could surpass, and with an entire country behind them.

Shawn S. Lealos

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The McMahan’s – Triple H is the only reason they are here because the others are not full time wrestlers, nor have they ever been.

The Rhodes – Dusty Rhodes, Golddust and Cody Rhodes

The Ortons – Cowboy Bob Orton, Barry O and some guy named Randy Orton.

5.Los Guerreros – I remember watching the Guerreros as a kid but was never really impressed. They were boring to watch when I saw them in the AWA but no one can deny their influence in the sport. Father Gory Guerrero was one of the top light heavyweight wrestlers of his generation. He spawned four wrestling children, Chavo Sr., Mando, Hector and Eddie. Eddie would be the man that would achieve the greatest success, holding the WWE Championship, numerous tag team titles, 2 European Championships, a U.S. Championship and 2 Intercontinental Championships. His brother Chavo Sr. has made recent appearances in both TNA and the WWE. Chavo Jr. has been used as a jobber to leprechauns recently in the WWE but is a former ECW Champion who had a solid title run with the belt. And then there was Vicky.

4.The DiBiase family – The family began with Iron Mike DiBiase, a man with the dubious distinction of being one of the only men to die in a professional wrestling match, suffering from a heart attack and dying despite Harley Race’s attempts at CPR. He would hold 30 titles before his death. His adopted son was Ted DiBiase. I want to start talking about Ted from when I began watching him in the Mid South region. He had some fantastic matches with NWA World Champion Ric Flair and was part of one of the best tag teams in Mid South history with Dr. Death Steve Williams. While there he held the North American title 4 times and the tag team titles 4 times. After Mid South/UWF was eaten up by Crockett promotions, DiBiase signed with the WWF and became the Million Dollar Man and became the most hated man in wrestling. He won the King of the Ring in 1988, held three tag team titles with IRS and held his own created Million Dollar Championship on two occasions. Ted has three son’s who wrestle, the most famous being Ted DiBiase Jr. who, as a part of Legacy, has held the tag team titles on two occasions with Cody Rhodes. I would be remiss not to mention Mike DiBiase who has held numerous titles across the Indie scene including the NWA North American Championship his father once held and the NWA Texas Championship. While Ted is improving my leaps and bounds, Mike is equally awesome on the mic and in the ring.

3.The Von Erichs – This would rank as my all-time favorite wrestling family. It is also the most tragic story in wrestling history. Fritz Von Erich was originally trained by Stu Hart and was one of the top stars in the NWA, as well as a former AWA World Champion. When he retired from active competition, he opened his own federation, World Class Championship Wrestling and ran what became the hottest wrestling show in the eighties. David Von Erich was always considered the most talented Von Erich and was in line for a NWA World title run. Unfortunately, the Yellow Rose of Texas would die of acute enteritis. Reports are he died of a drug overdose and friend Bruiser Brody flushed the evidence, claims by both Ric Flair and Mick Foley, but no autopsy report was ever released to confirm that. Before he died, he would hold titles in numerous NWA territories as well as Japan. With his death, the World title was instead won by his younger brother Kerry Von Erich at the memorial card for his brother. It was a highly emotional match that was one of my best memories from watching wrestling as a kid. Kerry would become the most famous Von Erich, and the only one who ever branched out of NWA territories. He held 37 titles in the NWA territories and even held the Intercontinental Championship in the WWF. He died of a self inflicted gun shot. The two youngest brothers, Mike and Chris, were undersized and also committed suicide. Mike suffered from toxic shock syndrome and it is said he could no longer tolerate the pain. Chris, and this is just speculation, killed himself because he could never match up to the Von Erich name. In my opinion, the best wrestler in the family is the one still alive, Kevin Von Erich. He held 33 titles in his career and was easily the most athletic wrestler in the family. Still on the scene is Kerry’s daughter Lacey.

2.The Hart Dynasty – I am not just talking about the Stu Hart and his sons, although they deserve great respect. I am including their extended families as well. We can start with Stu who, although he did not win too many titles in his career, ran Stampede Wrestling and trained a number of the world’s greatest wrestlers. He trained Bad News Brown, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Brian Pillman. After Stu, we move on to his six sons who wrestled. Bruce was pretty successful in Stampede Wrestling including a great tag team with Brian Pillman called Bad Company. The late Dean Hart also wrestled before passing away from kidney disease in 1990. Two other Hart sons who wrestled were Smith and Keith. The most famous of the Hart siblings were Bret and Owen Hart. Before Owen’s untimely death, he was on his way to becoming the most talented Hart wrestler in both the singles and tag team ranks. Bret was the most successful Hart holding seven World Championships and three World Tag Team Championships. Two of those Tag Team titles were with his brother-in-law Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. The Hart Foundation would become a huge stable in the WWE during the Attitude Era and also included Bret’s other brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith. Smith was part of the most popular tag team of the eighties WWF in The British Bulldogs and also later teamed with his brother-in-law Owen Hart as well. The Bulldog is arguably the most successful member of the Hart family after Bret. The family lives on today as the Hart Dynasty in the WWE includes Neidhart’s daughter Natalie and Davey Boy’s son Harry. Also wrestling is the most talented of the younger generation, Teddy Hart, who has the most attitude problems as well.

1.The Anoa’i Family – Ok, this family is freaking huge. The Reverend Amituanai Anoa’i had nine sons, two of which became wrestlers. Those sons, Afa and Sika became the Wild Samoans and as a tag team held 21 tag team championships around the world. Afa has three sons, and all became wrestlers as well. Samu teamed with his cousin Fatu to be the awesome Samoan Swat Team (also known as The Headshrinkers). Together, they held nine tag team titles across the world. Samu’s brother Lloyd Anoa’i also teamed with Samu on occasions as The Headshrinkers and the third brother was Manu, who got a short stint in Legacy before getting booted out by Randy Orton. Sika’s oldest son was Matt Anoa’i (Rosey) and teamed with his cousin Eddie Fatu as 3-Minute Warning and then later with Hurricane Helms, where the two would hold one WWE tag team championship. Eddie Fatu would become an awesome monster as Umaga and hold a few titles of his own. Umaga’s brother was Rikishi, who held 12 titles over his career. Another grandson of Reverend Anoa’i was Rodney, who wrestled under the ring name Yokozuna and is a former WWF World Champion. If that isn’t enough, the reverend had a blood brother by the name of Peter Maivia, who held 15 titles over his career and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame with his son-in-law Rocky Johnson, who held 33 titles of his own over his career. This leads us to the most successful member of the family, a guy who was known as The Rock. Even without the most famous family member, they held over 100 titles and deserve a spot on any list. With The Rock, they are the greatest wrestling family ever.

Aaron Hubbard

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The Rhodes Family – Dusty Rhodes is a legend, Dustin/Goldust had a stellar career and surpassed his father in terms of workrate, and Cody has been turning heads for a while.

The Orton Family – Bob Orton Sr. was a star in his day, and Bob Jr. was a brilliant technical wrestler and a huge star in his own right. Randy is one of the top stars of the last decade.

The Hennig Family – Larry the Ax was a tough brawler, Curt was the “Perfect” Wrestler and Joe is VERY impressive. When he gets called up from OVW, expect the buzz to be even bigger than Orton’s buzz from 2002.

5.The Von Erichs – You can owe this placing to ignorance, because I haven’t seen a lot of the Von Erichs. I’ve only seen a few matches from Kerry Von Erich, and he was impressive. But what I do know of the Von Erichs is enough to place them here. These guys are Texas Legends. Fritz Von Erich was a MEGA-heel during his prime, but his five sons (Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike & Chris) were all hometown heros in World Class Championship Wrestling. Tragedy has beset most of the family, sadly, and only one of the brothers left is Kevin. And there’s also Lacey Von Erich. She’s HOOOOT.

4.The Anao’i – The largest wrestling family. Barring Samoa Joe, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Samoan wrestler who is not a part of this family. This family has produced GREAT tag teams, from the Wild Samoans to the The Faces of Fear to Three Minute Warning, monster heels ranging from Haku to Umaga, the immensely popular babyfaces like Rikishi and Rocky Johnson, and two world champions in Yokozuna and The Rock. One of the greatest and longest lasting gimmicks of all time (the Samoan Savage) owes it’s existence to this family.

3.The McMahons – The most influential and dominant family in wrestling. Jess McMahon starting promoting wrestling many, MANY years ago. Vince Sr. broke away from the NWA and made viable competition for that very dominant force. His son Vince took the WWF and took over American Wrestling and made the sport bigger than it ever was. He also became the most over heel during WWE’s hottest period in the late nineties and has provided hours upon hours of entertainment. His children have not only helped book WWE for the last decade, but have provided great entertainment: Stephanie McMahon was/is a GREAT character. Shane is a daredevil that has literally put his body on the line for his father’s company. People like to complain about the EVILS of the family, but the truth is, 90% percent of are wrestling fans because of this family and what they did for the business.

2.The Harts – Bret Hart was one of the best technical wrestlers of all time. He could probably get an honorable mention in this thing even if he was the only wrestler in his family. But Bret was the son of Stu Hart, and one of several siblings. Bruce, Dean, Smith, Keith, and Owen were all very good wrestlers. As Jim Ross put it, you don’t survive the Dungeon without knowing how to wrestle. But really, only Bret and Owen become stars in the U.S. That’s an impressive twosome, but hardly enough to get them the top spot. Arguably, the Hart family’s real legacy is in the non-Harts that passed through the dungeon. And while some may feel that extended family and close friends count here, it doesn’t count for me.

1.The Guerreros – Unlike the Harts, every single Guerrero has been a huge star. Gory Guerrero is a flat-out legend. He brought an American style to Mexico and a Mexican style to America. Chavo Guerrero Sr. was a huge star in the ’70’s and ’80’s and a pioneer for Jr. Heavyweight and Crusierweight wrestling. His son Chavo Jr. is also a fantastic wrestler with great comedic timing. Hector and Mando had significant runs in the U.S. and even better runs in Japan and Mexico. But really, the crown jewel of the family is Eduardo Gory. The youngest of Gory’s children, Eddie was a star everywhere he went. He was huge in Mexico, was the first luchador to dishonor tradition and volontarily take off his mask, and was one of the biggest heels ANYWHERE when he feuded with El Hijo Del Santo. In Japan, he made a huge name for himself as Black Tiger and even won the prestigious Super J Cup. In America, he become immensely popular in ECW and parlayed that success in WCW. He helped popularize the style of wrestling he performed. Then, he came to WWE and became a WWE Champion, despite being a 5’10” Latino. That was far from the only gold he held: Eddie almost always had gold of some sort. Eddie is basically equal with Bret, and the benefit of having a truly star-studded familia means that the Guerreros get top votes from me.

Scott Rutherford
SPECIAL MENTION NOT TO BE COUNTED AS VOTES BUT I WANT TO SAY…

The Orton’s – Each generation has been talented in their own right and gained more success that then one before. Would have been put in as a vote getter usually but everyone else I mentioned deserved it.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The Briscoe’s – Two brothers, both of them supreme amateur wrestlers and champions in the pro’s. Jack was the more famous but Gerry has had more influence in the modern era. Were the proto-Kurt Angles of their day.

The Mulligans/Windams/Rotundo’s – Blackjack Mulligan is of course the father of Barry and Kendall Windam and Mike Rotundo married Blackjacks daughter and they raised a couple of hot wrestling prospects themselves. They could end up being one of the most talented bloodlines ever

The Valentine’s – Johnny was the old man who was destined for superstardom but was cut down thanks to the same plane ride that nearly crippled Ric Flair. Greg was the tough and talented son who wouldn’t have been out of place as a heel World Champ.

5.The Samoan’s – Just on the sheer number of this family that became wrestlers and champions boggles the mind and their contribution to wrestling in general makes them an easy inclusion. While trying to decipher just which branch of the family tree belongs to who takes a degree in genealogy, there is little doubt just how great this family is.

4.The Von Erich’s – A patriarch that was known as one of the most vile heels ever spawns a wrestling dynasty that ended in death and sadness. Just on the sheer scope and almost unbelievable circumstances that surround them, they have to be mentioned but on talent, Kerry, Kevin, Mike and David were all great wrestlers who knew how to carry a promotion. While it will never really be known to those of us on the outside what extreme pressure drove most of them to their graves, there is a treasure trove of memories to look back on and marvel at their greatness.

3.The Funk’s – One father, two sons. All three amongst the toughest men ever to step in the ring and defined what rough and tough Texas wrestling was really all about. The sons became World Champions while their father oversaw the Texas wrestling in his retirement from the ring. Terry and Dory are legends in Japan and Terry is considered one of the main reasons ECW became a success and who redefined hardcore wrestling in the USA. As much as each man has gotten from wrestling they have given back 10 fold. Truly great ambassadors for wrestling.

2.The Guerrero’s – Mexican wresting wouldn’t have been the same. You cannot point to a Guerrero and say he’s a bad wrestler and Gory was THE man when it came to toughness and running a promotion. While most of us know the Guerrero name from Eddy and Chavo Jr, all of Eddies brothers were fantastic wrestlers who made a mark and none of them could be accused of costing on their famous last name. Revered in Mexico for establishing wresting, their influence runs deep in the sport today.

1.The Hart’s – An easy first place choice for me. When anyone thinks of wrestling family’s, you think of the Hart’s. Stu was the legendary shooter who you just DID NOT fuck with, all of his sons got involved in wrestling and all his daughters married wrestlers. Wrestling seeped out of the walls in the family home where they trained wrestlers in their mythic dungeon and helped produce more big names than any other training ground in wrestling history. While the name has been tainted somewhat in the past decade, you can’t deny that the Hart’s (including Jim Neidhardt and Davey Boy Smith) have dominated wrestling in their own way for a long time. A time in wrestling where the Hart name is retired, would be a sad day indeed.

Ryan Byers

HONORABLE MENTIONS

5.The Anoa’is – These guys were bound to make their way on to this list by sheer numbers if nothing else. When every generation seems to have at least four children and at least two of them always seem to get in to the wrestling business, you’re bound to have at least a handful of family members who achieve a large amount of success. Obviously the Rock is the crown jewel of the group, but many people forget that, in addition to Rocky, Afa and Sika were legitimate main event draws as a tag team in the 1970’s, while “High Chief” Peter Maivia was bigger still. Of course, you have to accept the tenous “blood brother” relationship beftween the Maivias and the Anoa’i’s in order for the whole group to count for purpose of the list . . . but, hey, if these guys say that they’re family, I’m not going to dispute it.

4.The Funks – If you’ve only watched wrestling for the past ten years or so, you probably can’t imagine what being an NWA World Heavyweight Champion meant compared to hold a modern “world title.” The person who held that NWA strap was viewed as THE man and THE singular best performer in the world by the vast majority of the people who followed pro wrestling. In the proper context, the fact that one family could produce two NWA Champions is nothing short of phenomenal. However, that is hardly the only accomplishment of the Funks in wrestling. Long before Terry and Dory Jr. showed up, Dory Sr. was one of the toughest professional wrestlers in the game and was a hell of a businessman, running a successful territory in Amarillo, Texas that he was able to hand off to his sons when he decided to get out of the game. They weren’t able to save the promotion from the decline of the territories, but its closure freed them up to become major draws and multi-time champions for All Japan Pro Wrestling as well as trainers of some great talent that continues to main event today.

3.The Harts – From top to bottom, I do not think that any family on this list has more in-ring talent than the Harts. Everybody reading this no doubt knows that brothers Bret and Owen were excellent performers. However, it’s a smaller number of people who realize that, for as good as Bret and Owen were, brothers Bruce and Keith were close to their equals while in their primes. Though very little footage of father Stu in the ring exists, we know at the very least that he was an individual who was able to portray such a strong character in the ring that a mythos built up around him that turned the man in to one of the most respected and feared men in all of Calgary. That doesn’t cover wrestling bothers-in-law Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog, Ben Bassarab, and BJ Annis, none of whom were slouches in the ring. And, of course, Annis, Neidhart, and Smith managed to give birth to the third generation of Hart family members in the wrestling business, i.e. Teddy Hart, Nattie Neidhart, and Harry Smith respectively. That trio is not quite yet at the same level of in-ring greatness of their predecessors, they certainly appear to have the potential to get there.

2.The McMahons – The reasons that the McMahons make this list should be obvious to anybody who has followed professional wrestling for more than fifteen minutes. Without the contributions of the McMahon family, the largest professional wrestling company in the history of the planet would not exist, and it is probably unlikely that anything comparable would have come in to existence. The whole story began with Roderick “Jess” McMahon in the 1910’s, who was more of a general sports promoter than he was a wrestling promoter. However, he did promote some wrestilng, and that was what his son Vincent J. McMahon picked up on, forming the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (later the World Wide Wrestling Federation) and carving out a promotional territory that would include very lucrative markets in New York State, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and numerous other northeastern states. Vincent K. McMahon took that territory and turned it in to the first truly national wrestling company that the United States had seen since the sport ran on the Dumont Network in the 1940’s. He later took that national promotion global, making it so the words “professional wrestling” in most English-speaking countries cannot be untangled from the letters “WWF” or “WWE.” These three men alone would be a force to be recokened with on any top families of wrestling list, but you also have to consider the fact that Vince Jr.’s wife Linda has been a driving force on the business end of the company since the couple’s marriage, while children Shane and Stephanie also have important corporate roles, with the former heading up new media developments and the latter running the show when it comes to the promotion’s creative team. The only thing that could have possibly kept them off a list of this sort in the past was the fact that, even though they mean worlds to the promoting end of wrestling, they never really produced a true wrestler. That has changed within the last decade, as Triple H married in to the family . . . meaning that the McMahons are not just a promoting dream team but that their ranks also include one of the biggest in-ring stars of the past ten years.

1.The Clan of El Santo – I have a feeling that I’ll catch some flack for this one, but, if you look at things objectively and set aside the fact that the you’ve grown up with a solely American wrestling product (as the majority of you have), it becomes VERY hard to argue this pick. Between the original El Santo and his son, El Hijo del Santo, one member of this family has been a top star in lucha librea – if not THE top star in lucha libre – for close to seventy years now. The original Santo is perhaps the biggest star to set foot in any professional wrestling promotion in any country at any time, being buried in his wrestling mask, his funeral being a national day of mourning, statues being erected in his honor, and his image still being a part of popular culture twenty-five years out of his death. The scary thing is that his son, though certainly not a bigger star, managed to come about as close to his father’s popularity as any son of an iconic wrestler could, being a legitimate high level draw for two decades and also being a top notch worker for the majority of that time. Even if these two men were the only members of the family, I would still strongly consider putting them at the top of the list. However, they have plenty of relatives who also set foot in to the ring. Before Santo began wrestling, three of his brothers became luchadores, with the most popular of the group working under the name Black Guzman. Guzman, though nowhere near the star that his younger sibling would become, was an innovative wrestler who introduced many of the high flying moves that are still used south of the border today. Also, the third generation of the family has set foot in to the ring, as Axxel, the oldest of the original Santo’s grandchildren, has been a competitor for over five years now. Axxel does not have the blessing of El Hijo del Santo to use the family name and, perhaps as a result, he has not had nearly as much success as his relatives. However, he is a promising performer, and there are TWENTY-FOUR other young grandsons of Santo in Mexico, meaning that the family name is ready to be carried on well in to the future.

Michael Bauer

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The Ortons – Cowboy Bob is a Hall of Famer and Randy won’t be far behind when he retires.

5.The Funks – The Funks have the second most Hall of Famers of any family, behind just the Von Erichs. Two NWA Heavyweight Champions is a huge deal and the Funks can hold that claim. Now while Terry Jr. and Dory don’t seem like Hall of Fame material, there is no question they were some of the best at their primes. Too bad that was 20-30 years ago and not ten years ago.

4.The Von Erichs – So good of a family, they were inducted into the Hall of Fame as a family. Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris had some large shoes to fill by the Mega-Heel Patriarch of the family in Fritz Von Erich. Everyone spoke of the tragedy and it is a shame, because I would have loved to see more of this family besides Kerry.

3.The Guerreros – When you think of this family in recent times, it is Eddie and Chavo Guerrero. And with how Chavo looks nowadays, you wonder why this family is up here. But let’s not forget about Chavo Sr., Hector, Gory, and every other Guerrero that ever competed. No Guerrero has ever been a disappointment in the ring and none has ever been underestimated like some of the others families.

2.The Harts – Bret Hart was the best of the early to mid 1990’s. His brothers were the most underrated wrestlers ever, from Owen to Bruce and Keith. Stu Hart trained more superstars than many schools could even dream to produce. But beyond the father and sons, you have the wrestlers marrying into the family. Davey Boy Smith and Jim “The Anvil” were the highlights of those and each of them added the third generation superstars who are now in the Hart Dynasty. Clearly, no better family of wrestlers then, now, or ever.

1.The McMahons – No offense to any of the Wrestling Families, but none of them would be anything without the McMahon Family. Vince McMahon Sr. put together the WWE and his son took he reigns and made it into the dynasty that it is now. Shane and Stephanie have some history as well backstage and in the ring. And of course, HHH dcoes factor into the family. But even without all of his accomplishments, the McMahon family is wrestling.

So with all said and done, here is the 411 Wrestling’s Overall Top 5 Wrestling Families.

5.Los Guerreros – 15 points (1 1st place vote, 1 2nd place vote, 1 3rd place vote, 3 5th place votes)

4.The Von Erichs – 17 points (1 2nd place vote, 2 3rd place votes, 3 4th place votes, 1 5th place vote)

3.The Anoia Family – 19 points (2 1st place votes, 2 3rd place votes, 1 4th place vote, 1 5th place vote)

2.The McMahon Family – 20 points (1 1st place vote, 2 2nd place votes, 1 3rd place vote, 2 4th place votes, 1 Honorable Mention)

1.The Hart Family – 34 points (3 1st place votes, 4 2nd place votes, 1 3rd place vote)

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Michael Bauer
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