Now so more than ever we are seeing an influx of pro wrestlers who are following in the footsteps of family members who have come before them. The McMahons. The Guerreros. The Harts. And of course anybody from The Samoan Dynasty. They're all family names drenched in professional wrestling history. For years and years, wrestling was of course a male dominant industry. In all honesty, it still is today but that's well on its way to not being the case any longer. Previous generations of wrestlers were predominantly male, so it's father/son and father/daughter relationships that we see the most of. However, just because there's blood in a performer's veins does not mean they'll be as good as the man who came before them.
Having a famous wrestling father will unquestionably get you a foot in the door when it comes to the pro wrestling business, but that is all. Just because your dad can wrestle does not mean you can. There are some Superstars that have unquestionably followed in their father's footsteps and have gone on to do great things. As you'll see from some of the entries in this list there are even those who have transcended the generations that came before them and had even more success.
For every successful next generation Superstar though, there is one that has fallen flat on their face. A son or daughter who has gotten that opportunity thanks to being awarded that foot in the door and has quickly been shown up by the wrestling business.
15 Failed: Hector Guerrero
One of the most famous families in professional wrestling is the Guerreros. The most famous of course is Eddie, there's also Chavo and his son Chavo Jr. One of the lesser known Guerreros is a man by the name of Hector. He was actually Eddie's brother and son of Gory Guerrero. The reason you may not be familiar with this Guerrero is because his time in WWE was spent inside the extremely unpopular Gobbledy Gooker costume.
A giant turkey that hatched from an egg during Survivor Series 1990. Naturally fans did not take to the gimmick and not long after Hector's hatching, the idea was axed. The Gooker did make another appearance at WrestleMania X-Seven in a gimmick battle royal and it was in fact Hector once more inside the costume.
14 Succeeded: Alberto Del Rio
A wrestler of Mexican descent from a famous family that has fared a little more favorably than Hector Guerrero is Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio is the son of famed luchador Dos Caras as well as various other relations in his family having success in the squared circle. His brother has also spent time with WWE and while he didn't make it beyond NXT, Del Rio had one great run and another shorter one with the company.
Alberto can boast two WWE title reigns, two world title reigns and two United States title reigns. He may not be seeing eye to eye with Vince McMahon right now but I certainly wouldn't rule out the former Royal Rumble winner once again competing under the WWE banner.
13 Failed: Curtis Axel
Mr Perfect, otherwise known as Curt Hennig, is one of the most beloved WWE Superstars of the past and one of the most respected among his peers, even to this day years after his passing. Shockingly, Hennig never won the WWE championship, but he will go down as one of the greatest Intercontinental champions of all time. His son Curtis Axel has also held that coveted second tier title, but his run is perhaps the most forgettable in the belt's history.
Sadly for Axel and his family lineage, he has not had the success that his father was afforded. In fact, beyond his Intercontinental title reign, Curtis has been treated as little more than a joke. A member of the Social Outcasts and the man who campaigned about never being eliminated from the Royal Rumble, hardly perfect.
12 Succeeded: Natalya
There are certain families that if you're born into them, you don't have a choice when it comes to where your career path is going to lead. When it comes to professional wrestling the Hart family is that family. Current WWE Superstar Natalya is a proud member of the Harts. Not only is she the daughter of the legendary Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, but she's also the first female to have come through the famous Hart Dungeon.
Nattie is a former Diva's champion and is still very much a key component in SmackDown Live's women's division. Her tenure with WWE is even more impressive when you consider that Natalya has lasted through a Women's Revolution that has seen most of her former peers replaced by better in ring performers.
11 Failed: Grandmaster Sexay
You would be forgiven for not knowing who Grandmaster Sexay's, or Brian Christopher as I'm sure he'd preferred to be known, extremely famous pro wrestling father is. Jerry 'The King' Lawler. The biggest name in the famous Memphis wrestling territory for years and color commentator for WWE for well over 20 years. It was very rarely mentioned on WWE television and no offence to Brian, but you can understand why.
Whereas The King had made an extremely respected and legendary name for himself during his time in the ring, Christopher had clearly not learned much from his father. Grandmaster was one half of Too Cool (or two thirds if you include Rikishi) a team that seemed more focused on dancing than wrestling. They may have been popular but they were not a page out of The King's book.
10 Succeeded: Cody Rhodes
If you come from the loins of the legendary WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, chances are you're going to be something special. Well, ironically WWE did not see that. Vince McMahon gave Cody poor gimmick after poor gimmick and eventually Cody had enough. Ever since, Rhodes has been on the independent circuit and showing WWE exactly what they're missing out on through his superb wrestling ability.
He may not have the same appearance or wrestling style as his father Dusty but clearly that doesn't mean pro wrestling is not coursing through his veins. An honorable mention for his older brother Dustin also, better known as Goldust, who's a former intercontinental champion like Cody and has been wrestling with WWE for over 20 years.
9 Failed: The Shining Stars
The Shining Stars. Los Matadores. Or simply Primo and Epico. Whatever moniker you may know them by, no doubt you're probably not a massive fan of them and never really have been. The Puerto Rican pair are cousins and members of the famous Colon family that has contributed any number of Superstars to the pro wrestling business. Despite all that, Primo and Epico have simply not been able to find that niche in WWE where they can really make a name for themselves.
Instead, as mentioned briefly above, they currently find themselves portraying The Shining Stars. Their TV appearances are few and far between and when we do see them it's often just so they can be embarrassed by a fellow tag team or Superstar.
8 Succeeded: Eddie Guerrero
As was discussed during an earlier entry in this list, legendary wrestler Gory Guerrero fathered the not so impressive The Gobbledy Gooker. Well, Hector's much more successful brother was the one and only Eddie Guerrero. Where Gory and the Guerrero family probably didn't imagine their lineage being continued by a man in a giant turkey suit, I'm sure the in ring work that Eddie undertook was much more fitting of their legacy.
Before Eddie was taken from us far too soon, Latino Heat was a WWE champion, defeating Brock Lesnar to win the title and successfully defending it at WrestleMania XX. You'll have to look long and hard in the business for someone with a bad word to say about Eddie.
7 Failed: David Benoit
The story of David Benoit is a sad one, as you can imagine. Not many wrestling fans are aware of the fact that Chris Benoit actually had another, much older son than the one who was tragically killed back in 2007. While David won't want to follow in all of his father's footsteps of course, it's no surprise that he has aspirations to follow in his wrestling ones.
Unfortunately for David, no matter how good a wrestler he is or may become, that door to WWE will always remain closed to him. WWE have gone out of their way to erase his father Chris from their history and having someone bearing his name, blood and a remarkable similarity in their ring just isn't going to happen.
6 Succeeded: Randy Orton
You would think that anyone who was following both his father and his grandfather into that ring would simply have a knack for in-ring performance. Well, with Randy Orton you would think right. The Viper has not only followed in his family's footsteps but he has perhaps exceeded what his former generations achieved in professional wrestling. With his victory over Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33, Randy became a 13 time WWE champion.
The fourth highest number of reigns in history behind Ric Flair (16), John Cena (16) and his former mentor Triple H (14). Good company to keep. If Randy is what three generations of Orton can produce, imagine what's to come with any sons and daughters of the 13-time champ that decide to take up the business.
5 Failed: Ted Dibiase Jr
Speaking of Randy Orton, we move swiftly on to a man who tried to learn from a fellow Superstar with pro wrestling in his blood. Ted Dibiase Jr. The son of the Million Dollar Man and WWE Hall of Famer. Dibiase Sr was a key player in WWE during the late 1980s and early 1990s and found himself at the epicenter of the famous Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant feud.
His junior had no such luck in the wrestling biz. Dibiase was paired up with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes to make the faction Legacy and nothing much ever came of it. Outside of that, Dibiase didn't do much at all while with WWE. Proof that you need a little more than blood to make a name for yourself in between the ropes.
4 Succeeded: Charlotte Flair
For the first time in a very long time in WWE, women's wrestling is great again. For years the business was simply seen as a stage for women to be ogled at but now the female side of the company is portrayed in the same way as the men's. Maybe the most impressive female performer in WWE right now is Charlotte Flair. The daughter of perhaps the greatest pro wrestler of all time, surely her success was never in any doubt?
Flair is already well on her way to becoming a 16-time champion just like her dad having already got five women's championship title runs to her name. Flair may very well become the greatest female Superstar the business has ever seen, just like her father is widely considered the male counterpart of that.
3 Failed: David Sammartino
While we're on the subject of Ric Flair and Superstars considered the best in the business, we may as well discuss the great Bruno Sammartino. Bruno held the WWE championship during a time that Superstars held the title for years and years. Naturally when it came time, Bruno's son David Sammartino was welcomed into the WWE fold.
In fact, Vince McMahon used David to try and lure Bruno back into the ring as he had retired. It worked, but was it really worth it? David was involved in a terrible match with Brutus Beefcake at the first ever WrestleMania which ended with a very confusing finish. He'd often tag with his father in WWE, and those were the only times he had a high place on the card, but clearly didn't have the talent that Bruno had.
2 Succeeded: The Rock
When it comes to second, third, however many generation you like Superstar, there is none better than The Rock. His grandfather High Chief Peter Maivia and his father Rocky Johnson both Hall of Famers themselves and of course Rock will one day join them in being awarded that prestigious honor. Despite his forefathers great accomplishments, much like Randy Orton, The Rock has incredibly bettered what his other family members achieved.
During his main run with WWE, The Rock won the WWE championship on multiple occasions and famously did battle with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Their encounters alone should earn The Rock a place in that Hall of Fame as the pair clashed in no less than three WrestleMania in the space of four years.
1 Failed: David Flair
Remember just a couple of posts ago I questioned how someone with Ric Flair's blood could possibly fail to be a great pro wrestler? Well, sadly that has in fact been proven possible by David Flair. Where his sister Charlotte has thrived, David formerly tried and famously failed. WCW gave David his first crack in the business and it did not go well. It was clear from the start that the younger Flair did not possess the innate ability his father had demonstrated for years before.
Despite failing to impress in WCW, WWE picked up his contract and gave him another chance. After using him to further a storyline between Ric and The Undertaker though David was soon released and we'd have to wait for Charlotte years later for someone to successfully rekindle what The Nature Boy originally brought to the business.