The journey into the wrestling world is different for second generation wrestlers. As the children of wrestlers that made a living traveling via the art of professional wrestling, they have a little more knowledge and insight into the business. The second generation wrestlers also typically have an easier route into getting noticed. Connections land them opportunities, jobs and sometimes pushes. There are some flaws associated with being a second generation wrestler. Aside from the perks, they’re under the microscope with larger expectations due to their last name. Many other wrestlers will look at them differently, demanding they prove themselves with their easier route into a deal.
Some of the absolute greatest wrestlers of all-time happened to be second generation wrestlers. Learning the business through their parents and picking up on the necessary intangibles can be the missing key talented wrestlers lack for many years. The advice and hereditary talent passed along gives them a great chance to make the most of the opportunity. Others have failed under the pressure to have horrible legacies following their parents’ footsteps. We’ll look at both sides with the eight best and seven worst second generation wrestlers in the history of the wrestling industry.
15. Best: Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair has only been wrestling for a few years now, but she is already one of the most important female performers in WWE history. The daughter of Ric Flair underwent a great deal of pressure entering the business following the path of arguably the greatest in-ring performer of all-time. Charlotte’s brother David Flair flopped trying to get in the business during the days of WCW.
Luckily for Charlotte, she learned the business through the WWE’s Performance Center and it put her in a position to succeed on the main roster. Charlotte has made history along with Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and others to push the women’s division to new heights. WWE has positioned Charlotte as the face of the division. Ric is extremely proud of Charlotte becoming an overall top star in the WWE landscape with many more years of excellence likely to follow.
14. Worst: Rene Dupree
WWE fans remember Rene Dupree for his time in the La Resistance tag team. Dupree was actually the son of Canadian wrestler and promoter Emile Dupree. WWE signed Rene at the young age of 20, so he could team with Sylvain Grenier to form the French tag team of La Resistance. They were pushed heavily for a few months with noteworthy feuds against The Dudleyz and the tag team of Rob Van Dam and Kane.
Dupree was eventually moved to SmackDown, leaving La Resistance in hopes of him blossoming into a singles star for the company. His lack of improvement and poor backstage reputation eventually led to his demise, as Dupree continued to become more and more irrelevant. WWE cut bait with him upon realizing the main event potential was just not there. Dupree continues to wrestle all over the world with little star power behind him.
13. Best: Owen Hart
The Hart family is synonymous with greatness in the wrestling industry and Owen Hart is a major reason why. WWE hired Owen following the success of his brother Bret Hart. All of the Hart boys learned in the storied “dungeon” of their father Stu Hart. The tough training instilled toughness in them, as Owen had a similar toughness to his brothers but his personality set him apart.
The comedic aspect of Owen’s character and his ability come across well as a heel made him a far bigger star than most expected. Of course, Owen also happened to be one of the best in-ring performers in the WWE. Hart delivered many classics throughout his career and possibly would have eventually won the WWE Championship if not for his tragic passing. Fans still remember Owen fondly and talk about his greatness to this day.
12. Worst: Sim Snuka
The controversial life of Jimmy Snuka continues to unfold, but he was a legend in the WWE for many years. Vince McMahon always treated him with respect for all of the work he did in the early stages of the company. Snuka diving off of a steel cage in Madison Square Garden is still a top moment in the history of the WWE.
It was clearly a favor to Superfly when WWE signed his son Sim Snuka to a contract. His disappointing wrestling skills were instantly noticeable during his first main roster run as Deuce, teaming with Domino in the “greaser gimmick.” Many wrestlers to work with him bashed him in interviews years later, claiming he was one of the worst talents in the business. Sim playing a camera man during the WrestleMania XXV show and failing to do his job of catching The Undertaker’s ended up getting him in hot water. WWE released him and his career went down the toilet.
11. Best: Randy Orton
WWE saw something special in Cowboy Bob Orton’s son, Randy Orton, from day one and pushed him to become the youngest World Champion in company history. Orton received huge opportunities including being deemed “the future” in the Evolution faction, learning from legends like Triple H and Ric Flair. WWE did everything they could to present Orton like a star and he eventually was ready for the role.
Orton is a definite future Hall of Famer with all of his many accolades giving him quite the resume. WWE still holds Orton dearly as a valued member of the roster and there’s a chance he has a few more World Title reigns left in him. From The Legend Killer to The Apex Predator, Orton’s evolution in the WWE is one of the biggest successes for a second generation wrestler.