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Brothers are a common phenomenon in wrestling. This makes sense; the consecutive Super Bowl successes of Peyton and Eli Manning at least hint at a genetic component to athletic success. The presence of siblings in a wrestling promotion contributes a degree of logic and realism to the proceedings; after all, it seems only natural--and a tag team of brothers is even more logical, for surely siblings would work together more effectively than a tandem composed of mere acquaintances.
Wrestling brothers might indeed form a legendary and oft-decorated team, like Rick and Scott Steiner; or each might be recognized as a legitimate star in his own right, like Dory and Terry Funk (each a former NWA world champion). If they were once a single zygote, then you have Tag-Team Twins, such as Ron and Don Harris (they would also qualify as a Sibling Team). If there are a bunch of them, like the Harts or the Von Erichs, that's a Wrestling Family.
But sometimes there's a dearth of brother combinations in a promotion. Does the promoter remedy the situation by sending out scouts to recruit talented young brother duos? No, this is wrestling. He fixes the problem the same way he fixes every problem: by inventing the answer out of whole cloth and lying to us about it.
When a promoter forms a tag team from two guys who look vaguely alike and slaps a new surname on one or both of them, the result is a set of Unrelated Brothers.
- When former AWA tag team champions Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom arrived in WWE in 1991, they were immediately rechristened Beau and Blake Beverly.
- Christian Cage and Edge were introduced as brothers upon their entrance to WWE in 1998. As their characters evolved in the mid-2000s, this aspect of their relationship was deemphasized, but was never officially retconned until 2010 when the two finally referred to themselves simply as best friends since childhood.
- Kane was introduced to WWE in 1997 as The Undertaker's brother, though in 1998, this was retconned to him being revealed as 'Taker's half-brother. Their status as being only half-brothers is largely ignored in-universe, though the recent dvd release of The Undertaker's deadliest matches does feature Undertaker, doing narration, making reference to their status as half-brothers, so it hasn't been retconned yet, at least so far as anybody knows.
- A lot of real world half-siblings will simply reference their half-sibling as their brother or sister.
- Mostly this one is still remembered; best example is that whenever they team-up, the tag-team is called the "Brothers of Destruction." It is occasionally referenced when they fued.
- The Dudleys are a collection of half-brothers, each allegedly having the same father but different mothers. The most famous are Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley, who formed a successful tag team in WWE and later TNA; however, the clan had its origins in the original ECW, where several more half-brothers dwelt, including Spike Dudley, Dudley Dudley, the late Dick Dudley, Snot Dudley, Dances with Dudley, Chubby Dudley, and Sign Guy Dudley.
- The WWE of the 1970s saw a set of three Unrelated Brothers: Johnny, Jimmy, and Jerry Valiant. In their heyday, Johnny and Jimmy looked so much alike that they were able to exercise most of the advantages of Tag-Team Twins (additionally, both brothers wore tights embroidered with "Johnny", to further confuse hapless referees).
- Doug Basham was a singles wrestler for much of his career, until he reached WWE in 2003. OVW mainstay Damaja was immediately repackaged as Danny Basham and the pair debuted as brothers. With matching attire and shaved heads, they looked remarkably alike.
- In 1991, Tom Burton entered the GWF and was rechristened Tom Davis to form the Dirty Davis Brothers with established star Mike Davis.
- While working in Florida in the mid-1980s, the legendary Dory and Terry Funk decided they needed another brother so they were joined by Jesse Barr, sporting a Lone Ranger-style mask and going by the name Jimmy Jack Funk. They were even able to convince Vince McMahon to bring him in to the WWF to team with "Hoss" (aka Dory) after Terry got a singles push.
- Former WWE tag team champions Jay and Jules Strongbow were unrelated. Neither was named Strongbow, and it probably goes without saying that neither was really Native American.
- Jerry Graham had three storyline brothers: Eddie Graham, "Crazy" Luke Graham, and former WWE champion "Superstar" Billy Graham. None were related to him, nor were they really named Graham.
- Ron and Jimmy Garvin often teamed in the NWA; sometimes they were billed as brothers, sometimes as simply "The Garvins". In real life, neither is named Garvin, but Ron is Jimmy's stepfather. Their other brother Terry Garvin who was the President, Vice-President, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer of the Terry Garvin School of Self Defense was not really related to them at all.
- Arn and Ole Anderson were billed as almost every possible familial combination, including brothers, but usually uncle and nephew; they are unrelated. In fact, of the four Andersons--Gene, Lars, Ole, and Arn--only Gene is even named Anderson. Gene had a son named Brad Anderson, who never even got pushed as part of the Anderson Family.
- Waldo Von Erich was not related in any way to Fritz Von Erich, patriarch of the five wrestling Von Erich brothers.
- "Cousin" Lance Von Erich was likewise unrelated to the Fritz side or the Waldo side of the family, though he was billed as being Waldo's son. Fritz famously revealed this, breaking Kayfabe in a time when it was king, after Lance left the territory on bad terms.
- Eddie and Doug Gilbert both entered the GWF upon its inception in 1991. Doug spent his entire tenure competing under a mask as The Dark Patriot, and their relationship was never acknowledged--even when Eddie beat Doug for the promotion's heavyweight title.
- Axl and Ian Rotten, whose pairing as brothers began in the GWF in 1992 and continues to this day.
- In 1994, WCW competitor The Equalizer was "revealed" as Dave Sullivan, the brother of veteran wrestler Kevin Sullivan.
- The IWF tag team of the Long Riders, Kip Winchester and Brett Colt, entered WWE in 1993 and, in a nod to their prior identities, were renamed Billy and Bart Gunn, the Smoking Gunns.
- In their early days, Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake were billed as brothers; either as Hulk and Dizzy Hogan or Terry and Ed Boulder, depending on the promoter.
- World Class Championship Wrestling mainstay Solomon Grundy (your typical "wrestling hillbilly" gimmick) competed in Mexico in the early 1990s. During his tenure there, he was joined in tag team matches by his brother, Aaron Grundy--played by Mike Shaw, who had been Norman the Lunatic in the NWA and would subsequently portray Makhan Singh in the GWF and Bastion Booger in WWE.
- After the British Bulldogs split up in the late 1980s, the Dynamite Kid competed in Japan, where he teamed with Johnny Smith under the pretense that Johnny was former partner Davey Boy Smith's brother; he was not.
- Early in Tommy Dreamer's career, he changed his name to T. D. Madison and teamed with G. Q. Madison in IWCCW.
- The Dupps--Puck Dupp, Jack Dupp, Bo Dupp, Stan Dupp, and sister Fluff Dupp--are, respectively, Marty Garner, Mike Maverick, Murray Happer, Trevor Murdoch, and Seven Briggs (and are/were completely unrelated).
- In the 1990s, Vladimir Koloff was supposed to be Nikita Koloff's brother. Neither were really related; neither were really Russian (neither was their "uncle," former WWE world champion Ivan Koloff).
- In WWE, Domino and Cherry were not really brother and sister.
- Neither are Paul Burchill and Katie Lea.
- In a rare instance of an official Retcon by WWE, it was revealed that Brett and Brian Major were never really brothers; they now go by Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. (This being wrestling, those aren't their real names either.)
- A 2005 WWE example, perhaps best left forgotten, were James and Chad Dick.
- Though the WWE tag team of Jesse and Festus were referred to as the Daltons in their introductory vignettes, their relationship appears to have been erased at the same time as their surname. (Jesse is the son of the late Terry Gordy, however.)
- Michel Pigeon debuted in Calgary in 1968 as Jos LeDuc, the brother of established Canadian star Paul LeDuc.
- Early in his career, Buddy Roberts of the Fabulous Freebirds competed as Dale Valentine, brother of the legendary Johnny Valentine.
- Though Omar Atlas is probably best-remembered as a 1980s WWE jobber, one of his earlier outings was in the Houston territory as Omar Negro, the "brother" of his real-life friend Cyclone Negro.
- Beloved WWE competitor S. D. Jones began his career in the Mid-Atlantic territory as Roosevelt Jones, the brother of established star Rufus R. Jones.
- Dragon Gate wrestler Genki Horiguchi had a brother named Hiromi. During the "Toryumon split" (look it up, too much to explain here), Genki stayed in DG and Hiromi went with Toryumon. It wasn't revealed they were only kayfabe brothers until years later. Hiromi still uses the Horiguchi name.
- In WWE, The Great Khali and his translator/manager Ranjin Singh were revealed to be brothers. WWE booking being what it is, there's no telling how "true" this remains any given week. When Jinder Mahal made his debut, he was introduced as the kayfabe brother-in-law of both Khali and Singh (having supposedly married their sister).
- Parodied on Homestar Runner. The Brothers Strong do not look at all similar, but it later turns out they really are brothers.
- Before they debuted in WWE as Men on a Mission in the early 1990s, Mabel and Mo competed as the Harlem Knights in the PWF and USWA, billed as brothers Nelson and Bobby Knight; they are unrelated.
- The Amazing Red and Crimson in TNA.
- The Golden Brothers (Mike & Dizzy Golden) who competed in Texas All-Star Wrestling in the mid-1980s were not related; Dizzy Golden was one Bill Smithson, whose most famous persona was Moondog Spike in IWCCW and the USWA.
- Bob "Hardcore" Holly was eventually joined in WWE by "cousins" Crash Holly and Molly Holly.
- Ric Flair was a cousin of the Andersons (see above) during the early years of their affiliation in the NWA.
- When the Sheepherders, Luke Williams and Butch Miller, entered WWE in 1988, they not only changed their team name to the Bushwhackers, but became cousins as well.
- In WCW, Tommy and Johnny Rich really were cousins. Davey Rich (aka Davey Haskins) was not.
- Biily Jack Haynes and the late Brady Boone were billed as cousins, both early in their careers in Pacific Northwest Wrestling, and, briefly, later in WWE.
- James "Little Guido" Maritato was introduced in WWE as Jamie Noble's cousin Nunzio. The relationship was deemphasized and never subsequently mentioned, even when they wrestled each other, but never officially retconned.
- Mark Canterbury and Dennis Knight were repackaged as hog-farming cousins Henry and Phineas Godwin by WWE in the mid-1990s. This was retconned a few years later, as Canterbury and Knight reverted to their real names and changed the name of their team to Southern Justice. (And poor Tony Anthony--aka Uncle Cletus--wasn't really their uncle, either, needless to say.)
- Hillbilly Jim and his "relatives" Cousin Luke, Cousin Junior and Uncle Elmer.
- Lance Von Erich, the "cousin" of the better-known Von Erich brothers (Kevin, Kerry, et al.), was not a Von Erich at all. He was billed as the son of Waldo Von Erich (see above), who was also unrelated.
- Michael Hayes and "Hollywood" John Tatum were billed as cousins in the National Wrestling Alliance in the early 1980s.
- American Wrestling Association mainstays Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher were allegedly cousins.
Inversions (legitimate--but unacknowledged--brothers):
- Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo in WWE.
- In 1988, WWE hired Owen Hart, younger brother of established star Bret Hart. He wore a mask and competed as The Blue Blazer. The promotion never acknowledged the Blazer's until years later, during Owen's second tenure there.
- Also in 1988, WWE elected not to acknowledge real-life half brothers Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Sam Houston, nor their sister, women's champion Rockin' Robin.
- In 2002, brothers Solofa Fatu, Jr. (then wrestling as Rikishi) and the late Eddie Fatu (then known as Jamal, most recently as Umaga) were on the WWE roster at the same time. They never really interacted in storylines, and weren't acknowledged as brothers (though given the complexity of the Samoan wrestling family tree, they may have been the only ones who knew).
- Steve Armstrong competed in WCW in the early 1990s, primarily as half of the Southern Boys (aka Young Pistols) tag team with Tracy Smothers. During this time, his brother Brad Armstrong portrayed a number of masked characters, such as Baddstreet, Arachnaman, and The Freedom Fighter; each of these could be considered an example of unacknowledged brothers, as none of these characters was ever identified as Brad. On one notable occasion, the 1991 Great American Bash, the team of Dustin Rhodes, Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong defeated the Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin, Michaels Hayes, and the masked Baddstreet, Brad Armstrong); needless to say, the relationship between Steve Armstrong and Baddstreet was not mentioned.
- Joe and John Laurinaitis (better known as Road Warrior Animal and Johnny Ace, respectively) have never been acknowledged as related, let alone as brothers, even though they've been in the same promotion together--most notably the NWA of the late 1980s. Furthermore, a third brother, Marcus Laurinaitis, was a jobber in the NWA around that time, competing as The Terminator.
- And Vince McMahon is on record as saying that Joe's son James is welcome on his roster if football doesn't work out. Although the Butkus Award for best college linebacker makes that prospect unlikely.
- The relationship has now been acknowledged by WWE. CM Punk has called John Laurinitis, now WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, out for being such a vindictive management type because he's bitter over never being as successful as his brother, who was a member of one of the greatest tag teams of all time.
- Bob Orton, Jr and Barry O (father and uncle, respectively, of Randy Orton) were not acknowledged as such in the WWE - probably due to Bob being an upper mid-carder and Barry being a Jobber.