The other day I was randomly watching some Vic Steamboat videos on Youtube when this hit me. How many incredibly talented professional wrestlers also have siblings that try to break into wrestling but simply don’t have what it takes?
Lots of people grow up under the shadows of their older siblings. Whether you’re jealous of the attention they get, their looks or their smarts, most of us have been there at some point or another. Imagine, however, if you and your sibling wanted to do the same thing for a living, but he/she was a million times better and more successful at it. Boy that would suck! That’s how the men on my list should feel, because they are the most disappointing wrestling siblings in the history of professional wrestling (Note: this is based on my time as a fan, or roughly the last 30 years or so).
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you guys who Vic Steamboat’s brother was. It’s none other than WWE Hall of Famer Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Ricky Steamboat is revered as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. His feuds over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship with the great Ric Flair, and the WWF Intercontinental Championship with “Macho Man” Randy Savage featured some of the best in ring performances in the history of the business.
From what I can tell, Vic Steamboat’s career ends and begins with being Ricky’s brother. According to his wikipedia page, Vic was a mainstay in IWCCW, WCCW and the original FCW, and even made some WCW appearances in 1996. I had literally never seen any of these, and the following video will probably explain why. He was awful.
2. Barry Orton
We all know the legacy of the Orton family when it comes to professional wrestling. It started with the legendary Bob Orton, Sr., continued with his son “Cowboy” Bob Orton and is now being carried by the Legend Killer himself, “The Viper” Randy Orton who, despite multiple drug suspensions, remains one of the most popular wrestlers in the business today.
Sadly, this legendary legacy seems to have skipped over one member of the Orton family, the not so legendary Barry Orton. I actually remember Orton from his two WWE runs, from 1984-1988, and from 1990-1991. What I mean by this is that I remember seeing him on my television, and i vaguely remember the name Barry O. He never really did anything memorable inside the ring. His biggest contribution to Wrestling came on the set of Larry King Live, when he accused Pat Patterson and Terry Garvin of molesting him in his first days as a wrestler.
Here’s Barry O taking it to Brett Hart:
3. Lanny Poffo
The Poffos are another pretty legendary wrestling family, whose patriarch, Angelo Poffo started a legacy that continued with one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, and one of the best in history as well, the aforementioned “Macho Man” Randy Savage. We all remember Savage’s feuds with Steamboat, Hulk Hogan (when the Megapowers collided), and Ric Flair (in two different companies, over the same woman!).
Randy Savage was one of the most charismatic and athletic competitors in wrestling history.
His brother, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, was not so lucky. Sure, we all have some fond memories of him as the sonnet spitting poet who wore a graduation cap to ringside (a classic “I’m better than you because you’re lower class” type heel character), but Lanny never really did anything worthwhile with his WWF career, or really anywhere else for that matter. Those were some pretty great poems though.
Here’s a great poem from “Leaping” Lanny:
4. Marc Laurinitis
The Laurinitis brothers couldn’t have taken different career paths. Brother Joe didn’t wrestle by his given name. You know him better as “Animal” from the Road Warriors, possibly the greatest tag team of all time (except maybe Lenny and Lodi). There’s nothing in the tag team ranks that Animal, and his partner Hawk, didn’t accomplish. Their legacy inspires up and coming wrestlers to this day, and we still rejoice when Animal appears on Raw as Animal to squash clowns like Heath Slater.
John, meanwhile, was terrible. In fact, just two years ago, he would have been at the top of this list (ignoring his time in Japan, because it doesn’t count here). His recent mega push and tremendous performance as the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and General Manager of Raw basically made his career. Somehow, when he wrestled as one half of the Dynamic Dudes, he didn’t get over.
The real bum of the litter is Marcus Laurinitis. Marcus is best known for wrestling under the name “The Terminator” and as one half of a tag team named The Wrecking Crew (Marcus took the name “Fury” during this time, and his partner was “Rage”). While Marcus and his partner eventually signed with WCW, they weren’t very successful or memorable. Marcus, like John, also spent some time in Japan… which still doesn’t count for the purposes of this post.
Here’s some video of Rage and Fury, The Wrecking Crew being terrible (and the Z-Man is involved! What’s better?)
5. Johnny Smith
When your brother is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, you know you have a tough legacy to live up to. I first remember seeing Davey Boy as one half of The British Bulldogs, an exciting young tag team in the 1980s. When his partner’s back was basically shattered in an in-ring accident, Davey Boy took the bulldog moniker and ran with it. He became one of the biggest stars in the WWF, and his matches with the likes of Bret Hart (his real life brother-in-law) were really something (at least to 10-year-old me).
So who the hell is Johnny Smith? I don’t know. In fact, I had never heard of Johnny Smith until I was researching this post (thanks wiki). Fortunately for me, this makes him a great candidate for the list! Johnny wrestled a bit in Stampede Wrestling, across the American independents and all over Japan. Maybe those people have heard of him. I haven’t.
Here’s some video of Johnny in action:
I wasn’t about to call this section Honorable Mentions, because I don’t think it’s much of an honor to be on this list. Anyway, brothers trying to become professional wrestlers together isn’t rare, so here’s a couple of other guys who just missed the cut.
The Other Armstrongs
Bob Armstrong had a lot of sons. Bob Armstrong trained a lot of sons. Bob Armstrong trained one successful son, and that his son Brian, aka “The Road Dog” Jesse James. The rest of his boys, Brad, Scott, and Steve never did anything noteworthy, unless you count dressing as a fake Spider Man and a stoner character clearly designed to make fun of the Road Dog character Brian made famous.
Like Bob Armstrong, Stew Hart had a lot of sons. Stew could at least boast that he had two successful sons (Brett and Owen), but the rest of them, Smith, Bruce, Keith, Dean, Groucho, Zeppo, Larry and Curly) were pretty crappy. They might have been popular in Stampede Wrestling (were they? I have no idea), and Keith might have had a great mustache, but their gimmicky appearances in WWE over the years were pretty terrible. Looks like we know where all the talent went in that family. And, as always, we miss you Owen.
Martin Stezano is a lifelong wrestling and sports fan. You can read more from him at his sports blog, http://www.jobus-rum.com, and check out his lighthearted look at his corporate day job at http://www.iworkwithdumbasses.com.