Fans of professional sports-entertainment are reeling today amid the revelation that the men known as Jimmy and Jey Uso — known collectively as the Usos — are actually two former strangers who were thrown together as a tag team because they look alike.
“Yeah, we just play brothers on TV,” said Jey Uso, the only member of the team who performs under his real name.
His partner, who goes by the monicker Jimmy Uso, is actually Herman Menderchuk, a 31-year-old Nebraska native who performed on the independent wrestling circuit as Blast Lightning before being spotted by a WWE talent scout.
“We just looked so much like each other, Vince (McMahon) figured we’d make a good tag team,” said Jimmy/Menderchuk.
Whereas the brothers have been promoted as cousins of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the sons of Rikishi, only Jey is of Samoan heritage, and “Jimmy” has never even met Rikishi.
Jimmy/Mederchuk is of Irish-Dutch heritage, and has achieved a Samoan appearance through tanning, tattooing, and tricky camera angles.
The Usos say they now “feel like brothers,” despite their widely varying interests (Jey loves pottery, while Jimmy collects stamps).
The Usos are considered one of the most successful “brother” tag teams in wrestling history, alongside Bret and Owen Hart (born Bret Diggins and Owen McTavish) the Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner and Dr. Scott Steinberg, PhD).