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Unrelated Brothers

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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.

It isn't used as much now as it used to be, but it still pops up from time to time.

The other medium in which this occurs, although less frequently, is in popular music. Bands of Relatives are often popular, especially in country music where "brother acts" became common enough to get a collective phrase, so occasionally a band who aren't actually related will claim to be related, usually siblings.

While this trope takes literally in tandem, they can be Bash Brothers.


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  • The Walker Brothers weren't actually brothers.
  • The Ramones are the most famous example, all of the members adopting the family name "Ramone" when none of them were actual relatives.
  • Only two members of The Statler Brothers, Don and Harold Reid, were actually brothers, and none of the other members were related.
  • Jack and Meg White of The White Stripes originally claimed to be brother and sister, when actually they were Amicable Exes.
  • British indie band The Fratellis took on the same surname in tribute to the Ramones. "Fratelli" is actually Italian for "brothers".
  • Similarly, indie band Los Campesinos! - Kim and Gareth are the only actual siblings, and Kim wasn't in the original lineup.
  • The Chemical Brothers aren't really brothers, although few people ever took the name literally anyway.
  • Similarly The Flying Burrito Brothers weren't real brothers, and had an obviously tongue-in-cheek name.
  • The Davis Sisters, a popular Country Music duo in The '50s, consisted of Betty Jack Davis and her longtime friend Mary Frances Penick, who chose Skeeter Davis as a Stage Name once they launched professionally. A 1953 car accident killed Betty and injured Skeeter, who then regrouped with Betty's sister Georgia to keep the act going, but they broke up three years later, and Skeeter went on to a successful solo career. There are several other groups in various genres called The Davis Sisters who are sisters, however.
  • The Pointer Sisters were made up entirely of sisters for most of their history, including their commercial heyday in the 70s and 80s. However, the current touring group is no longer made up of sisters, and has no one from the original lineup. Ruth, an actual sister who joined the group before it reached its commercial peak, is currently joined by two generations of her family (daughter and granddaughter).

    Professional Wrestling - straight examples 
  • 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. It doesn't help that Edge is actually one month older than Christian (Edge born October 30th, and Christian on November 30th, both in 1973).
    • In fact, in his autobiography, Edge referred to Christian as "In real life, the brother I never had. On TV, the brother I do have."
  • 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 feud.
  • The Dudley Boys 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 Little Spike Dudley, Dudley Dudley, the late Big Dick Dudley, Little Snot Dudley, Dances with Dudley, Chubby Dudley, and Sign Guy Dudley.
    • There have also been Psycho Sam Dudley (real name: Mark Vartanian), who teamed with Big Dick Dudley in the New York City-based USA Pro (later USA Xtreme) Wrestling, Schmuck Dudley (real name: Jeff Roth), who teamed with Little Snot Dudley in the Florida independent scene, and Urkel Dudley in the Florida independent promotion Outlaw Championship Wrestling.
  • 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 Funk Jr. 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 World Heavyweight Champion "Superstar" Billy Graham. None were related to him, nor were they really named Graham.
    • The only Grahams who were actually related to each other were Eddie and Mike, in Real Life father and son Edward and Michael Gossett.
  • 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.
  • By far the most famous example is the Anderson family, Lars, Gene, Ole, and Arn Anderson. The Andersons were usually billed as a team of brothers, though Ole and Arn were sometimes billed as uncle and nephew due to Arn being the youngest. The four had nothing in common at all, other than a passing physical similarity, and only Gene was actually named Anderson in real life.
  • Waldo Von Erich was not related in any way to Fritz Von Erich, patriarch of the five wrestling Von Erich brothers and three wrestling Von Erich grandchildren.
    • "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.
  • Axl and Ian Rotten, whose pairing as brothers began in the GWF in 1992 and continued until Axl's death in 2016.
  • 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, better known as Norman The Lunatic in the NWA and would subsequently portray Makhan Singh in the GWF and Friar Ferguson and Bastion Booger in WWE.
  • Furthermore, Shaw, in his Makhan Singh persona, teamed with his "half-brother" Vokhan Singh in Stampede; Vokhan was better known as the late Gary Albright.
  • 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. (The Bulldogs were actually cousins)
  • 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 Heavyweight Champion Ivan Koloff).
  • In WWE, Domino and Cherry were not really brother and sister.
  • Neither are Paul Burchill and Katie Lea.
  • Nor were Ken Shamrock and Ryan Shamrock (real name Alicia Webb, known as Symphony in WCWnote ). Much like the Burchill "siblings" above they became a couple in real life.
  • In a rare instance of an official Retcon by WWE, it was revealed that Brett and Brian Major were never really brothers; for the rest of their WWE runs, they went by Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. (This being wrestling, those aren't their real names either, and Ryder now wrestles under his real name of Matt Cardona.)
  • 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.
  • Shortly before the Toryumon split, long running Dragon Gate wrestler Genki Horiguchi got a little brother named Hiromi Horiguchi. After the schism, Genki went to DG and Hiromi stayed with Toryumon Mexico, so they never met in the ring. It wasn't revealed they were only kayfabe brothers until years later.
  • 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.
  • Roderick Strong, better known for his work in TNA and Ring of Honor, started in the Florida IPW independent promotion in early 2000 teaming with his "brother" Sedrick Strong.
  • In a rather obscure example, Trisa Hayes Laughlin, better known to ECW fans as Beulah McGillicutty, had a brief run in Stampede Wrestling in The '80s as Brian Pillman's "sister" Theresa. Hayes and Pillman had been dating at the time in Real Life, so that's how she got the gig.
  • The Giant (Paul "The Big Show" Wight)'s original gimmick in WCW was André the Giant's "son". He still to this day has people tell him how much they loved his "dad".
  • Who can forget that Hornswoggle was Vince McMahon's bastard son, only to actually be Fit Finlay son? Everybody, actually.
  • For a time, this was played straight with Triple H, when he was first billed as Vince's stepson, as he wasn't actually married to Stephanie McMahon until several years later.
  • In Wrestling Society X, Sara Del Rey played Vic Grimes' "sister," "Nic Grimes."
  • During Reggie Bennett's tenure in Japan in the 1990s, she eventually gained a younger sister, Jessica Bennett, portrayed by fellow American Jessica Soto.
  • Dario and Matanza Cueto in Lucha Underground.
  • Marty Martinez and his "sister" Mariposa, also in Lucha Underground.
  • Doug Stahl and the late Neil Caricofe teamed on the east coast as Doug and Neil Superior.
  • The adult-oriented Women's Extreme Wrestling had the team of Talia and Tiffany Madison. Tiffany faded away. Talia went on to success in TNA as...Velvet Sky.
  • Max Dupri and his "sister" Maxxine Dupri of Maximum Male Models. On the October 7 episode of SmackDown, When Max attack Maximum Male Models, Maxxine try to stop Max and Max told her 'What I'm not Max', 'What I am', 'who I am', 'L.A Knight'.

    Professional Wrestling - unrelated "cousins" 
  • 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 he debuted, he was also billed as the nephew of veteran wrestler Rip Hawke.
  • 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 Godwinn 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.)
    • In 2006, however, WWE affiliate Deep South Wrestling reformed the Godwinns with Henry (Canterbury) and new cousin Ray (Ray Gordy). This iteration ended when Ray left for WWE proper to become a Dalton (see above).
  • 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.
  • TNA had Rosita (Thea Trinidad) and Sarita (Sarah Stock).
  • Eugene was Eric Bischoff's "nephew".
  • Early in his career, Shane Douglas was billed as "Troy Orndorff", Paul Orndorff's "nephew".
  • The Fabulous Kangaroos had Johnny Heffernan, real name Bob Della Serra, who was billed as original member Roy Heffernan's "cousin".
  • Big Ryck and The Mack in Lucha Underground.
  • Jason Jordan of American Alpha was revealed to be the kayfabe son of Kurt Angle.

    Professional Wrestling - Inversions - legitimate, but unacknowledged brothers 
  • Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo in WWE (and before that, in their father's International Championship Wrestling promotion).
  • 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 identity 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 (a Spider-Man Send-Up), 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, Michael 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 [or the "People Power" guy of 2011-2012, 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 made that prospect unlikely, and he played eight seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2017 and moving to football broadcasting.
    • The relationship has now been acknowledged by WWE. CM Punk called out John Laurinaitis (then WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations) 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 WWE - probably due to Bob being an upper mid-carder and Barry being a jobber (or, later, Barry accusing WWE executives of sexual harassment).
  • 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.
  • Despite previously working as a brother team in FCW, there have been no allusions to the relationship between Bray Wyatt (Windham Rotunda) and Bo Dallas (Taylor Rotunda).
    • Much less that their father is Irwin R. Schyster. WWE has lately acknowledged him as Dallas's father, though not Wyatt's.
  • Rosey and Roman Reigns were never acknowledged onscreen as older and younger brother respectively.
  • Shawn and Ariya Daivari.
  • In Lucha Underground, Fénix and Pentagon Jr. After they moved to AEW, respectively being renamed Rey Fénix and Penta El Zero Miedo (later Penta Oscuro), that promotion played with the trope, teaming them up as the Lucha Brothers while not acknowledging their real-life relationship.
  • Damon Kemp and Gable Steveson.
  • Andre Chase and Lance Bravado. Chase has teaming up with his brother in other promotion using ringname Harlem Bravado such as Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Noah and ImpactWrestling. In WWE Chase were not acknowledged that he has an older brother.