WWE's Most Heated Sibling Rivalries
Unless you are an only child, you have no doubt wanted to step inside a squared circle with your siblings and teach them a lesson. They either pick on you, annoy you or get all the attention — the bottom line is that you want to throw down but you can't. Most of the time, it's brothers that ending up having to be pulled apart by parents, whether someone is monopolizing the video games or the TV.
Wouldn't it be nice to challenge your sibling to a No Disqualification Match on Monday Night Raw? In some cases throughout WWE history, that is exactly what happened. Whether a rift is caused by jealousy, a dark family secret or different allegiances, there have been numerous times when brotherly Superstars step inside the ring for the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner bragging rights.
Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray)
When debating the greatest tag team in WCW history, Harlem Heat and The Steiner Brothers are more or less interchangeable. As Harlem Heat, brothers Booker T and Stevie Ray accumulated 10 WCW Tag Team Titles starting in 1993. In 1996, while Stevie Ray was recovering from an injury, Booker T began to achieve singles success, winning the WCW Television Championship. Upon Stevie Ray’s return, he did not rejoin his brother and instead joined The New World Order. ( WATCH)
Respecting his brother’s decision, Booker T and Stevie Ray were able to co-exist on opposite sides of the WCW/nWo struggle. Eventually, the brothers reformed Harlem Heat and once again conquered WCW’s tag team division. But in late 1999, Midnight joined Harlem Heat and the female bodybuilder drove a rift between the brothers. Though The nWo wasn’t enough to split them apart, it was a woman that ultimately drove a rift between the two.
Neither competitor had a romantic interest in Midnight, but her addition to Harlem Heat did not sit well with Stevie Ray and he challenged the female bodybuilder to a match to determine whether she would remain with the duo. Shockingly, Midnight won the contest and an irate Stevie Ray finally turned on his brother.
The 10-time WCW Tag Team Champions faced off at Souled Out 2000, a contest Booker T won by disqualification when Big T interfered. Stevie Ray then formed his own version of Harlem Heat and clashed with his brother over the rights and usage of the name. At SuperBrawl, Booker faced Big T for the rights to the “T” in their names, as well as the “Harlem Heat” moniker. Big T won the match, forcing Booker to lose the use of his entrance music and to be known simply as “Booker.”
As Harlem Heat 2000 expanded their ranks, Booker recruited Billy Kidman to battle Stevie Ray and Big T at Uncensored 2000. With the high-flyer’s help, the five-time WCW Champion defeated his brother and the tension between the two began to lessen. A short time later, Stevie Ray proved blood was thicker than water and reconciled with Booker T before ultimately retiring from active competition.
Spike & The Dudleys (Bubba Ray & D-Von)
The runt of the Dudley family, Spike, was the polar opposite of his brothers Bubba Ray and D-Von. Bubba and D-Von were larger competitors who often resorted to pure brawn when competing, while Spike was small in stature, weighing about 150 pounds soaking wet. Nonetheless, Spike was a formidable opponent and did not back down from any challenge.
During an intense rivalry with Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman, Bubba Ray and D-Von turned on Spike and the runt of the family took the brunt of punishment from The Dudleys. Throughout 1998, Spike was at odds with his brothers and recruited a series of tag team partners to challenge Bubba and D-Von, including Dreamer, New Jack and Balls Mahoney. On two separate occasions, Spike and Mahoney defeated The Dudleys for the ECW Tag Team Championships.
Eventually, the tension between the Dudley siblings subsided — until they all competed in WWE. At first, all The Dudleys seemed to coexist happily in WWE. Spike even aided his brothers during their TLC Match at WrestleMania X-Seven. However, Bubba Ray and D-Von soon turned on their little brother once again.
Spike believed that adopting the same strategy he employed in ECW would be effective in dealing with his brothers. Once again, he recruited various Superstars to challenge his brothers. The difference this time was that Spike was able to pick from the entire WWE locker room and recruited the likes of Kane, Trish Stratus, Big Show, Tazz and The APA. Just as he had in ECW, Spike defeated his brother for the World Tag Team Championship, this time with fellow ECW-alum Tazz. ( WATCH: KANE & SPIKE DUDLEY VS. THE DUDLEY BOYZ)
Following the WWE Draft in 2002, Bubba Ray and D-Von went their separate ways and Spike reunited with Bubba before reconciling completely with both brothers.
The Bad Breed (Axl & Ian Rotten)
The Bad Breed — brothers Axl and Ian Rotten — joined ECW in 1993. Then known as Eastern Championship Wrestling, the hardcore, “anything goes” style of competition that the Rotten brothers reveled in helped transform the “Eastern” to “Extreme.”
During their first few years in the Philadelphia-based organization, The Bad Breed failed to gain any significant momentum as a tag team. Though they won a handful of non-title matches, they failed to successfully win the ECW Tag Team Titles. Call it perseverance, but the brothers stuck together and challenged Public Enemy numerous times for the titles. Following even more unsuccessful attempts to win the titles, they shifted focus to another popular ECW tag team — The Pit Bulls. At November to Remember 1994, The Bad Breed squared off with The Pit Bulls in a match that stipulated the losing team would be forced to split. Unsurprisingly, the Rottens lost the contest and, in turn, blamed one another.
Standing apart from the other brotherly disasters on this list, The Bad Breed’s animosity was not fueled by jealousy, but rather who was at fault for splitting up the team.
“I’m still trying to figure out why they were mad about the split, they were great competitors, but not a good tag team,” Joey Styles told WWE.com.
There was no salvaging The Bad Breed and the brothers soon engaged in the most brutal rivalry of 1995. It began quite tame with a singles match at ECW Double Tables in which Ian was the victor, though following their initial bout the rivalry certainly put the “extreme” in ECW.
The pair battled in a series of stipulation and hardcore matches including a Hair vs. Hair Match and Barbed Wire Baseball Bat Match. Axl bested his brother in both contests and maintained an edge in the rivalry. The bitterness between the brothers would finally reach the boiling point at Hardcore Heaven 1995 in a Taipei Death Match. The brutal contest was one of ECW’s most jarring and it proved the unbridled hatred between the brothers and former tag team partners.
Axl once again defeated his brother and after a series of brutal contests capped off by the most extreme of the lot, the rivalry ended and the two eventually reconciled.
The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott)
It is said that blood is thicker than water, but when you’re nWo, you’re nWo "4-life." Nothing extenuated that principle more than one of WCW’s most shocking betrayals and subsequent defections to The New World Order — Scott Steiner turning on his brother, Rick.
The Steiner Brothers were a staple of WCW — arguably the greatest tag team in WCW history and one of the greatest duos of all time — but with The nWo gaining power and popularity in late 1997 into 1998, the appeal of wearing the infamous black and white T-shirt was enough for Scott Steiner to make Thanksgiving really awkward.
At SuperBrawl VIII, while defending the WCW Tag Team Championship against The Outsiders, Scott made his move — declaring his allegiance and allowing Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to win the titles. The Dog-Faced Gremlin ignored his brother’s pleas to join The nWo and the tension mounted, highlighting the personal nature of WCW’s struggle with the black and white–clad faction. ( WATCH)
In fall 1998, the brothers finally squared off, first at Halloween Havoc in a tag team match where Buff Bagwell turned on Rick in an attempt to help Big Poppa Pump and The Giant secure the victory and retain the WCW Tag Team Titles. But Bagwell’s actions failed and Rick managed to pull off the victory and win the titles. Immediately following that bout, Rick defeated his brother in a singles match.
The former tag team champions faced off again at Fall Brawl and World War 3 that same year, both bouts ending in a No Contest. The battle at Fall Brawl ended when Bagwell — in Scott’s corner — faked a re-injured neck to prevent Big Poppa Pump from losing. The contest at World War 3 ended when Goldberg ran into the ring to assist Rick against Scott, Bagwell and The nWo–aligned official. ( WATCH: STEINER VS. STEINER)
The Dog-Faced Gremlin held the tag titles with Kenny Kaos until an injury forced him out of action in early 1999. After a brief hiatus, Rick teamed with Goldberg to defeat Big Poppa Pump and Bagwell. At the same time, The nWo’s power was fading and the kinship between The Steiner Brothers began to resurface. Soon, the once great tag team co-existed as powerful allies in respective and successful singles competition until the end of WCW altogether.
Matt & Jeff Hardy
Arguably the most exciting duo to ever bounce around a WWE ring, Matt and Jeff Hardy electrified the WWE Universe beginning in 1998. The pair’s high-flying abilities and innovative maneuvers made them one of the most popular tag teams of the 2000s. They also helped innovate the Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match while creating a high-octane level of competition for everyone around them. The popular brothers achieved a great deal of success until they crossed paths with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman.
After losing to the beast and his underhanded manager in 2003, The Hardys split and the first signs of animosity between them surfaced. Matt attacked his brother seemingly because of jealousy toward Jeff’s Intercontinental Championship opportunity.
The pair reunited in 2006 and once again enjoyed tag team success. However, their singles careers began to take off around the same time, with Jeff claiming the Intercontinental Championship and Matt the U.S. Title. As the brothers continued their move toward World Titles, the animosity once again reared its head.
At Royal Rumble 2009, Matt Hardy failed to regain the ECW Championship from Jack Swagger. That same evening, Jeff defended the WWE Title against Edge. During the bout, Matt attacked his brother, allowing The Rated-R Superstar to claim the title. Following his actions, Matt announced that The Hardys were done forever as a tag team and he disavowed his brother.
Years of brotherly tension finally came out and the two competitors would soon square off in a series of ugly brawls, including an Extreme Rules Match at The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania. Though Matt won the bout, the rivalry was far from over and the former tag team champions battled on SmackDown in a brutal Stretcher Match. Matt claimed his second victory over his brother, but they met once more in an “I Quit” Match at Backlash ( WATCH). Finally, Jeff bested his kin, but Matt would have the last laugh preventing his brother from winning the World Heavyweight Championship at Judgment Day.
Cooler heads eventually prevailed and The Hardys surely made family reunions less tense once more, but after a final team up later in 2009, Jeff lost a “Loser Leaves WWE” Match to CM Punk and the rivalry came to an end once and for all.
The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker & Kane)
There are few sibling rivalries as sick and twisted as the one shared between Kane and The Undertaker. They have been bitter enemies, tag team partners and, on numerous occasions, The Big Red Monster has tried to end The Deadman’s career once and for all. It all began in 1997 when Paul Bearer revealed that The Phenom’s half-brother — long thought to have perished in a fire — was actually alive. During The Undertaker’s Hell in a Cell Match with Shawn Michaels at Badd Blood that same year, Kane made his presence known, ripping off the cell door and Tombstoning his brother.
From that point on, The Brothers of Destruction would maintain a love/hate relationship for more than a decade. Their first major confrontation came at WrestleMania XV, two months after Kane helped HBK defeat The Deadman in a Casket Match. After The Undertaker secured victory on The Grandest Stage of Them All, the half-brothers met in the first-ever Inferno Match, which The Phenom won when The Big Red Monster caught fire. ( WATCH)
The legendary competitors remained at odds, oftentimes with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the WWE Championship caught in the crossfire. The rivalry seemed to end once and for all at SummerSlam 2000, when The Undertaker unmasked his half-brother causing Kane to flee the arena.
At the 2001 Royal Rumble, the dominance of The Brothers of Destruction was established when the demonic duo eliminated the majority of competitors in the Royal Rumble Match. As a tag team, Kane and The Undertaker were a force unlike any before them in WWE history. They continued their singles careers but maintained a powerful alliance that made everyone second guess crossing either one of them.
However, at Survivor Series 2003, the intense rivalry was reignited when Kane aided Mr. McMahon in defeating The Undertaker in a Buried Alive Match. Thinking his half-brother was gone for good, Kane gloated, only to witness The Phenom’s return at WrestleMania XX. The Big Red Monster became the first Superstar to challenge — and lose to — The Deadman twice on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
Throughout the remainder of the 2000s, Kane and The Undertaker teamed on and off while maintaining their success as singles competitors. Living a seemingly peaceful coexistence, Kane’s hatred burned inside of him and he attacked The Deadman during Memorial Day 2010, thus reigniting the most heated sibling rivalry in WWE history.
The Phenom lost three consecutive times to his half-brother in the latter half of 2010, ultimately being buried alive at Bragging Rights. But on Raw 1,000, The Brother of Destruction appeared together, fending off a group of young Superstars eager to prove themselves. Though the duo finally appeared to be on the same page, given the history of the demonic pair, it seems highly unlikely.
Bret & Owen Hart
Is it that hard to believe that Shawn Michaels was indirectly involved in the rivalry between Bret and Owen Hart in 1993? When HBK replaced Jerry “The King” Lawler in a Survivor Series Match against The Hart Family, Bret and Owen accidentally ran into each other, resulting in Owen’s elimination. Though the Harts won, Owen expressed his displeasure with his brother following the match.
Owen’s frustrations continued to mount as he adopted ring attire similar to “Hit Man’s” and tried to overshadow his brother. Refusing to answer his brother’s challenges, Bret instead seemed to smooth things over, earning the pair a World Tag Team Title opportunity. However, during their battle against The Quebecers, Bret suffered an injured knee and was unable to tag his brother. This further infuriated Owen and following the contest, he kicked “Hit Man” in the knee.
The most memorable battle between the brothers of the legendary Hart family came at WrestleMania X. “Hit Man” earned an opportunity for the WWE Title following the winner of the match between Lex Luger and Yokozuna. However, Bret first had to face his brother in the first contest of the evening. In a hard-fought and memorable battle, Owen shocked his brother and the world by securing the victory ( WATCH FULL MATCH). Though he claimed victory, Owen’s animosity toward Bret continued to mount as “Hit Man” won the WWE Title later that same evening.
After winning the King of the Ring tournament, the tension between Bret and Owen continued to boil. They battled numerous times in 1994 — including a legendary bout inside a steel cage at SummerSlam. Owen came close to winning the title, but ultimately never claimed it against Bret. He did however cause “Hit Man” to lose the title to Bob Backlund by convincing his mother to throw in the towel on Bret’s behalf. Owen also prevented Bret from reclaiming the title at Royal Rumble 1995 by interfering in the WWE Hall of Famer's bout with Diesel.
The brothers squared off once more on March 13, 1993, in what would ultimately be the final — and most personal — of their meetings, a Submission Match. Bret won the match after locking his brother in the Sharpshooter, adding an exclamation point by refusing to release the hold after the contest until officials forced him away.
Eventually, the two reconciled to form The Hart Foundation in 1997, but the bad blood between the brothers Hart in the 1990s remains one of the greatest sibling rivalries of all time.