Wrestling has more than one Royal Family.
The prelude to Cody Rhodes entrance theme in both WWE and AEW is an interesting one. It begins with his voice echoing the immortal words about wrestling have more than one royal family.
Some may be confused at the idea of a Royal Family. In the real world, the Royal Family is the entire family that is considered royalty in a particular country. Whilst any country with a King or Queen can claim to be a Royal Family, the term is generally used to refer to the British Royal Family, headed by King Charles and his successor The Prince of Wales, William.
However, in the wrestling world it is a little more vague. Cody Rhodes refers to at least two in his opening line, and in this article we’ll explore whether or not wrestling really does have more than one Royal Family.
The Rhodes Wrestling Royal Family
In the start of Cody Rhodes entrance music, he references two wrestling royal families. The implicating there being “more than one” indicates that the one people forget about is his – The Rhodes Family.
While The Rhodes only go two generations deep, they cover the entire history of modern wrestling. Three of the Rhodes men have gone into wrestling and been incredibly successful with both Cody and Dustin marrying into the business as well.
The family was headed by the patriarch Dusty Rhodes. Dusty was a star of the 1970s and 1980s and became a legend of the ring during this time. He didn’t look like a typical wrestler but he had a likeability that took him all the way to the top of the business.
Dusty Rhodes was a larger man and never had the most impressive technical wrestling skills. However, he made up for it with his incredibly connection with the crowd and his promo skills. He could make an audience love him with just a few words into the microphone and he had the audience believe that he was real in a world of fakery.
He fathered two sons who would make waves in the business (and even win tag team gold together. Dusty Rhodes is the father of Dustin Rhodes and Cody Rhodes, two huge talents in the world of professional wrestling.
Dustin Rhodes has wrestled all over the world for nearly 4 decades and is one of the most experienced wrestlers in the game today. He currently wrestles for AEW where he helps train the young talent of tomorrow and lends his decades of experience into building the future of the business.
He was best known as the bizarre Goldust in the WWE. The androgynous character played into the gay stereotypes of the late 1990s, enraging the crowd with one of the most controversial contemporary gimmicks of all time.
At first, many stars did not want to work with Goldust but he impressed with his character and in-ring work. He soon feuded with all the top stars, having legendary matches with Roddy Piper, Scott Hall and Booker T, among many others.
Dustin’s half brother and “The Prince of Pro Wrestling”, as he was once referred to as, is The American Nightmare Cody Rhodes.
Rhodes was a WWE prospect since he was 19 and stayed with the company until 2016, never fulfilling the potential his father and brother showed. He was saddled with rubbish gimmicks like Stardust which caused a great deal of pain in his life and made his decision to leave the company to find himself.
He eventual did when he helped form All Elite Wrestling. He was immediately one of the top stars in AEW but bad booking decisions by himself limited his career trajectory and eventually led to him also leaving the company in 2022.
Here he would return to WWE, the prodigal son returning where it all began. He has proved he is the top star he deserves to be and Dusty’s son through-and-through by winning the 2023 Royal Rumble match and booking a Wrestlemania 39 match against Roman Reigns in the main event.
The Other Wrestling Royal Family
In the intro to Cody Rhodes entrance music, he says “wrestling has more than one Royal family”. The implication is that the Rhodes are the other royal family in wrestling, with Cody, Dustin and Dusty leading the charge for the group.
However, the question begs who is the Royal Family of wrestling that is referenced. It seems obvious that family being referenced is the one that has been on top of the WWE for nearly half a century – The McMahons.
The McMahon Family has been the biggest name in wrestling for forty years and have been in the wrestling business for twice that long. Three generations of promotions have been in charge of the WWE, with Jesse, Vince Sr and Vince Jr being the head honcho of the company for the entirety of their history.
That was until 2022 when Triple H took over the reigns of the company. While not strictly a McMahon, Triple H was brought into the family as one of their own when he married Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of Vince.
Over the years, he learnt every aspect of the business and was groomed to take over when it was the time. While 2022 was not the time that Vince McMahon wanted to step down, it was best for the McMahon family and the business as a whole and he had a ready-made replacement waiting in the wings.
The McMahon’s dominated the wrestling world and created a monopoly that lasted for 20 years. They had challengers in the time since WCW fell – TNA, ROH and the like – but nobody came close to challenging the WWE and the first “Royal Family of Wrestling”, the McMahons.
The only time they really had some competition is now, with All Elite Wrestling now their closest competitor in years. AEW is also where the idea of “Wrestling’s Royal Family” came to the forefront, referencing both The Rhodes Family and The McMahons.
However, some people suggest that wrestling having more than one Royal Family isn’t just referring to the binary of McMahon vs Rhodes. Wrestling has always been a family business, with it being a tough business to get into if you were not connected in some way, historically.
Other examples of “Royal” families in wrestling could include The Hart’s, The Funks, The Von Erich’s, The Guerrero’s, the Jarrett’s or a multitude of others. Some people even humorously suggest “The Page’s”, implying the likes of Adam Page, Ethan Page and DDP are all related for sharing the same last name.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.