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 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.
14 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.
13 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.
12 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.
11 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.
10 10. Worst: Brian Christopher
Jerry Lawler had a legendary career in the Memphis territories and achieved even more fame as a color commentator for the WWE. The King ended up helping his son Brian Christopher get a spot on the WWE roster. Christopher couldn’t cut the mustard and initially flopped as the top heel in WWE’s Light Heavyweight Division project.
9 9. Best: Mr. Perfect
Mr. Perfect's in-ring work would make the top of any wrestling list. Mr. Perfect lived up to his name with impeccable performances and some of the best matches of all time. During that era of the WWE, work rate wasn’t viewed as important to guys like Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, but Perfect showed the beauty of it through his performances. His influence has endured over the years and has even referenced by many of today’s stars.
8 8. Worst: Garett Bischoff
Eric Bischoff was not an in-ring performer, but he did wrestle on a few occasions. As the man in charge of WCW during the Monday Night Wars, Eric made a big name for himself. The TNA debut of Bischoff and Hulk Hogan was meant to create competition for the WWE again. Both men failed and made horrible decisions that allowed the company to stumble and reach new lows.
7 7. Best: Eddie Guerrero
The legacy of Eddie Guerrero continues to grow with new fans being introduced to the work of the late legend through the WWE Network. Many of the current top stars name Guerrero as an influence for them when they were joining the business. Eddie grew up in the wrestling business as a member of the Guerrero family. As the son of Gory Guerrero, Eddie knew the tricks of the trade to implement in his game when coming over to the United States.
6 6. Worst: Shawn Stasiak
Shawn Stasiak was signed with the hopes of blossoming into a big star with both the WWE and WCW. The son of former WWE Champion Stan Stasiak had a superior physique that led to Vince McMahon wanting to give him a chance. On three different stints, he failed each time with various gimmick. His Meat character stands out the most, as the horrible gimmick saw Shawn work as Terri Runnels’ sex slave.
5 5. Best: Randy Savage
Anyone who watched him perform has a great opinion of the late Randy Savage as a wrestler. The legendary icon was the second biggest star in the WWE during their glory days, behind only Hulk Hogan. Savage succeeded under every possible scenario, as he was both a great face and heel. The comedic and serious sides of Savage were both impressive.
4 4. Worst: David Flair
Ric Flair’s daughter Charlotte Flair made the positive side of this list, but his son David Flair sadly had the opposite career. WCW signed David at a young age with no experience to appear on national television right away in a major storyline. David was doomed from the beginning and his inability to improve on the fly just turned an expected failure into a horrific disaster.
3 3. Best: The Rock
Wrestling was in The Rock’s bloodline as the son of Rocky Johnson and the grandson of Peter Maivia. WWE signed him with a huge push in mind coming off of his family ties. The original run went poorly due to the WWE presenting him as a white meat babyface, using his family’s name to try to get cheers. A character change into a charismatic heel changed his life forever.
2 2. Worst: Erik Watts
Bill Watts is remembered controversially for his time as a booker. His stint as head booker in WCW ended shamefully, as he was fired for making racist and homophobic comments. Before Bill would get fired, he used his time writing the show to book his son, Erik Watts. WCW hired him after just three months of training and pushed him instantly.
1 1. Best: Bret Hart
No one has done more for his family name in the wrestling industry than Bret Hart. Bret started his career working for his father Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling promotion with all of his brothers. Unlike his siblings, Bret showed more potential and was offered a contract with the WWE. His career boomed with huge success on the bigger stage.
WWE eventually trusted him enough to break the mold of all World Champions with bodybuilding physiques. Bret carried the title with great pride and delivered many of the greatest matches in WWE history. The Hart family legacy changed forever with Owen getting hired as a noteworthy talent and his brothers in law getting spots in the company, with The Dungeon being referenced as a place where stars were born. Bret’s success made the Harts iconic in wrestling history rather than one only remembered in Canada by diehard fans.
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