This week we move along in our Top 10 countdown of wrestling families to numbers seven, six and five. These three are some of the best names the business had to offer mostly in the 1970's and 1980's. In case you missed the prior part of this countdown for numbers 10, nine and eight you may go back to read it here.
Number Seven: The Windhams
One of the largest wrestling families from father to sons, son-in-law and grandsons with all members still in/around the sport today. It all starts with Blackjack Mulligan (Robert Jack Windham) who began wrestling in the AWA after tryouts for several NFL clubs because of his success in college at UTEP. His greatest success would be in the WWWF with his all black ring gear and iron claw submission finisher. Since he seemed to be imitating fellow wrestler Blackjack Lanza the two would eventually be teamed up and capture the WWWF World Tag-Team Championship once in 1975. Mulligan was also the Big Machine in the trio of The Machines during 1986 when Andre The Giant hid under the mask as "Giant Machine." His son Barry Windham would have great success in the wrestling business as well, mostly during his time with the Four Horsemen in the NWA. Mulligan's son Kendall Windham, Barry's brother, had mild success in the late 80's and 1990's in WCW. Mike Rotunda is the son-in-law of Mulligan and had success both as himself, partnering with brother-in-law Barry Windham as the "U.S. Express" in the WWF and winning the WWF World Tag-Team titles on two occasions. As the character Irwin R. Schyster (IRS) he won the same titles once with "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase as "Money Inc." Rotunda's two sons compete in the WWE today, but you may not know who they are without some research. Windham Rotunda goes by the name Bray Wyatt and Taylor Rotunda is Bo Dallas. Mulligan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 with partner Blackjack Lanza.
Number Six: The Armstrongs
Beginning with patriarch"Bullet" Bob Armstrong, the Armstrong family is more known for its failures than successes in the sport of pro wrestling. He debuted in 1962 and sometimes even makes sporadic appearances these days despite being 74 years of age. He won many regional championships in the NWA over his career. All four of his sons have also wrestled, Scott, Steve, Brian and Brad. Brad Armstrong passed away in 2012 at age 51 after having mild success in WCW in 1990's. Steve Armstrong won the WCW U.S. Tag-Team Championship once with partner Tracey Smothers, and was also known as Lance Cassidy during a short run in the WWF in the early 1990's. Scott Armstrong is the oldest of all of the brothers and is most recently known as Triple H's chosen referee during his match with Daniel Bryan at 'WrestleMania' XXX. He teamed with his brother Steve mainly in WCW and they never got any real "push" together, but had more luck overall as referee not only in WCW, but also in TNA and WWE. Brian Armstrong is better known to most all wrestling fans as B.G. James, or the Road Dogg, as half of the New Age Outlaws in WWE. He is the most successful of any of Bullet Bob's sons due to his six runs as WWE World Tag-Team Champion, one time each holding the Hardcore and Intercontinental Championships and being a member of "DeGeneration-X." Bob Armstrong was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
Number Five: The Valiants
The brothers Jimmy and Johnny debuted in 1974 in the World Wrestling Association and won there tag-team titles three times before signing with the WWWF in the same year. They quickly captured the WWWF World Tag-Team Championship as well and became the top heel team for the better part of a year thereafter. They held the titles for 370 days consecutively which was a record not broken until Demolition (Ax and Smash) went 470 days in 1989. They left the WWWF for the territories of the NWA in 1976 and stayed there for nearly three years. When they returned to the WWF in 1978 Jimmy retired and became the manager for Johnny and new "brother" Jerry Valiant. This new version of the Valiant Brothers did win the WWF Tag-Team Championship on one occasion but were not as popular as when "Handsome" Jimmy was part of the duo. "Luscious" Johnny and "Gentleman" Jerry broke up as a team in 1980. Jimmy Valiant's biggest successes were as a singles competitor and he sometimes still competes sporadically these days at the age of 72. Johnny Valiant was a semi-successful manager after he retired leading his "Dream Team" of Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Brutus Beefcake to the WWF Tag-Team titles on one occasion. He also managed the duo of "Mean" Mike Enos and Wayne "The Train" Bloom (Destruction Crew) to the AWA World Tag-Team Championship once. Jimmy and Johnny Valiant were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
Well there we go revealing even more of the Top 10 wrestling families in the sport. When we continue this countdown next week we crack the top half even more by showcasing number four, three and two. Feel free to comment or debate us on the merits of this countdown so far.
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Tags: Andre The Giant, Blackjack Mulligan, Bob Armstrong, Scott Armstrong, World Tag-Team Championship, Wrestling, WWE, WWE Hall of Fame