‘Married…With Children’: The Main Characters Were Actually Named After Pro Wrestlers

There are a couple of famous Bundys in the world. Most people’s minds jump to the prolific serial killer, Ted Bundy when they hear the name. Still, that isn’t who inspired the Bundy family’s name on  Married…With Children. Instead, the show’s creators were huge pro wrestling fans and choice to pay homage to the entertainment sport, not once but twice.

The Bundy family name on Married…With Children was inspired by a pro wrestler

The Bundys were named for King Kong Bundy, a huge star when Married…With Children was being created. During the show’s lengthy run, Al Bundy watched wrestling regularly. In fact, it was the preferred activity during his famed “NO MA’AM’ meetings.

The cast of 'Married...With Children'
The cast of ‘Married…With Children’ | Columbia Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images

The decision to give the family the surname was a controversial one. At the time, Ted Bundy’s crimes were still fresh in the minds of the public. The prolific Bundy had committed a string of murders in the 1970s, and his capture was front-page news. When Married…With Children premiered, Bundy was still alive but was put to death in 1989, once again making headlines.  

The Bundys’ next-door neighbors were named for a pro wrestler, too

The Bundy family were not the only characters named after a professional wrestler. Their neighbors, the Rhoades family, were given the name of a wrestler, too. When the series began, Marcy D’Arcy was married to a man by the name of Steve Rhoades. The family name paid homage to Dusty Rhodes, famed for wrestling in both the WCW and WWF through the 1980s and 1990s.

Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Amanda Bearse, and David Garrison attend the Comic Relief III Benefit on March 18, 1989
Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Amanda Bearse, and David Garrison | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

David Garrison, the actor who portrayed Steve Rhoades, left the show after the fourth season to return to broadway. According to IMDb, Garrison had been a stage actor before working on Married…With Children and preferred the format. Garrison’s departure led to his wife, Marcy, remarrying, and the family name was changed to D’Arcy.

There were multiple wrestling episodes of Married…With Children

The creators of the series didn’t just pay homage to professional wrestling with namesakes, though. Wrestling was featured more than once on the show. One episode featured the family’s namesake, King Kong Bundy, and another featured wrestler, Beckie Mullen. Bud Bundy actually wrestled King Kong Bundy during one of the show’s most beloved episodes.

Mullen appeared in GLOW, a show that served as a wrestling promotion for four seasons in the 1980s. She went by the stage name Sally The Farmer’s Daughter. King Kong Bundy wrestled for more than 20 years on different circuits. After spending more than 10 years in independent wrestling circuits, he officially retired in 2007. According to The New York Times, King Kong Bundy, whose real name was Christopher Alan Pallies, died in 2019 from diabetes complications. Mullen’s death from cancer was announced in July 2020. She was 55.