Being a wrestler is not easy. It is a business unlike any other form of sport or entertainment because it’s a unique combination of the two. It doesn’t have seasons. There are no holidays. It is a never ending cycle that only the very best of the best can cope with. While being a wrestler in that system is hard enough, being a wrestling parent within it is even harder. When you’re a part of a machine that never stops it is extremely difficult to carve out some time for your partner and your children back at home. On top of that there are countless temptations when you’re constantly travelling the world with a group of your closest friends. Drugs, alcohol, affairs, all things many wrestlers probably couldn’t resist, especially with the physical and mental toll a wrestling calendar can have on you.
This list will not only include wrestlers that made bad parents however. The flip side of it will have wrestlers that they themselves had a bad upbringing. There are times when it really does feel like the road to becoming a pro wrestler is one only discovered by those with a chequered past. There are so many Superstars that seemingly used their tough start in life as a shot in the arm to prove everyone wrong and make something of themselves, and that attitude has culminated in them being a WWE Superstar. So without further ado let’s begin the countdown of bad wrestling parents, whether they were in the ring or a parent to someone in the ring.
15. Scott Hall
Scott Hall has not only wrestled in the ring for most of his adult life, but he’s also wrestled a lot of demons. In the early 1980s the man formerly known as Razor Ramon was involved in a shooting in the parking lot of a strip club, and he’s openly admitted the event still affects him to this day. That coupled with the strain of being in the wrestling business led to Scott having a lot of substance abuse problems. At the height of his issues in the late 1990s Hall married and he and his wife had two children together. The couple would go on to divorce due to Scott’s problems, only to remarry and divorce again. Understandably his children saw their father in a poor light and while Scott now helps train his son Cody, his daughter has still not completely forgiven him.
14. Ric Flair
Ric Flair may very well be the greatest pro wrestler of all time, but he certainly hasn’t been the best parent over the course of his life and I’m sure in the present day The Nature Boy would be the first to admit that. The amount of womanizing and playing around Flair did during his heyday led to a lot of trouble at home and makes Scott Hall’s two divorces seem like not much at all. Ric has actually been divorced four times over the course of his life and is now engaged to be married for a fifth time. While only one of those divorces came at a time when his children were young, of which he would wind up having four also, the lifestyle that Ric decided to adopt while wrestling couldn’t have been great for his kids. He was never home and in keeping with his wrestling persona was surrounded by women on and off screen and would party most nights.
13. CM Punk’s Parents
CM Punk was maybe the most beloved Superstar by the fans that WWE simply couldn’t get their heads around. A big part of his popularity was Punk’s honesty, and that he blurred the lines between kayfabe and reality. One thing he was very open about was his disinterest in ever drinking alcohol or doing drugs, making him straight edge. That lifestyle stemmed from his father being an alcoholic and Punk having to watch him as a child. It also led to The Second City Saint spending most of his time with a friend’s family and basically growing up with them. He even cites them as being his real family to him as opposed to his biological parents. In 2013 Punk also had to take out a restraining order on his real mother who he claimed was continually calling him and asking for money.
12. Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon is the chairman and the owner of the biggest pro wrestling company in the world. It hasn’t always been that way though. Vince has had to fight off fierce competition and look failure in the face to make it to where he is today. To beat that competition and defy that failure he’s had to do some pretty questionable things. While most WWE Superstars have said that Vince would never ask a talent to do something he wouldn’t do, he seems to have also thrown his family into that realm. Stephanie in particular has had to do some pretty degrading things on WWE television in the name of her father’s company. A particular low point was her I Quit match against Vince which culminated in her loving father choking her with a pipe.
11. Jake Roberts
Jake Roberts appearance on this list is much in the same vain as Scott Hall’s from a little earlier. Both men suffered serious substance abuse issues that had detrimental repercussions on so many aspects of their lives from their careers to of course, their family lives. Jake and Scott even both recovered together under the watchful eye of good friend Diamond Dallas Page. The biggest difference between the two’s issues is that Jake had an impressive eight children as opposed to Scott’s two. That’s an awful lot of kids being affected by a father addicted to drugs. Roberts troubled path began at a very early age. He himself came from a broken home and allegedly suffered abuse, both sexual and physical, something we’ll cover in more detail a little further on in this list.
10. Chyna’s Parents
The Eighth Wonder Of The World, Chyna is another big WWE Superstar who attempted to use drugs and battle demons to combat problems she had during her childhood. Unfortunately for her, her family and friends, and us the fans, Chyna eventually lost that battle in 2016 when she passed away. Chyna’s biological parents divorced when the former Women’s Champion was just four years old and that was really just the beginning of the turbulent time she would go through during her childhood. Following her parents’ separation Chyna was subjected to a string of step parents, three fathers and a mother to be exact. On top of that her real father accidentally stabbed her mom in the thigh with a bread knife at one point while being an alcoholic to boot.
9. Seth Rollins’ Father
Seth Rollins is one of the most successful and talented Superstars currently under WWE’s employ. A former NXT and WWE Champion and a man who had an enormous amount of success before he even stepped foot in Vince McMahon’s company. What we don’t really know much about is Seth’s childhood and time growing up in the small town of Davenport, Iowa. There are a couple of things we do know and can hence piece together. Seth’s real name is far from his ring name and also a lot different from his former ring name Tyler Black. He’s actually called Colby Lopez. The Lopez comes from his step father who is of Mexican-American descent. Taking his surname from his step father suggests that Seth’s real father skipped out on The Architect at a young age, something I’m sure we’ll find out more about as his career moves forward.
8. Jerry Lawler
Did you know that Jerry Lawler’s son actually followed in his footsteps into the pro wrestling business? Well he did, but The King would most likely scoff at the notion his son Brian Christopher followed in his own footsteps. Lawler’s son Brian is much better known by his in ring persona, Too Cool member Grand Master Sexay, a far cry from his father’s in ring work ruling the Memphis territory years before. It’s never really been said outright but during Grand Master’s run in WWE it would appear that his father, who was on commentary for most of that run, never mentioned that Christopher was his son because he was somewhat ashamed of him. In fact the one time it was mentioned in passing, by Paul Heyman, the father of ECW got a slap around the back of the head from Lawler for his troubles.
7. Missy Hyatt’s Parents
Missy Hyatt really paved the way for females being wrestling valets as she was a mainstay in the business throughout the 1980s and ’90s in a number of different top companies. She truly was the first lady of wrestling for a good while there. What Hyatt kept well hidden for the bulk of her career is that she was adopted. Missy was given up by both her parents at an extremely young age and while it may not seem like it at first, a start to life like that can have a real affect on you. It’s unclear as to whether it was those early years looming over her, but clearly Hyatt had something troubling her as since being in the spotlight she has gone through some trying times.
6. Jimmy Snuka
Superfly Jimmy Snuka had a couple of divorces himself, although if you know anything about the late WWE Hall of Famer you’ll know that the reason that lands him on this list is somewhat darker than a couple of separations. In 1983 Snuka’s girlfriend at the time, Nancy Argentino, was found with severe injuries after Jimmy had called for an ambulance. She would die from those injuries shortly after. Despite people believing that most if not all signs pointed towards Superfly inflicting the injuries, thus murdering his girlfriend, the case remained open for over thirty years and charges weren’t brought against Snuka until 2015. Because of his ill health the case never made it to court and Snuka passed away shortly after. Not only did Jimmy’s children have to suffer through the happenings in 1983, but now they have to live out their lives never really knowing the truth.
5. Dean Ambrose’s Father
Like his former Shield brother Seth Rollins, we don’t know much about Dean Ambrose’s dad. That’s probably because in Dean’s case he doesn’t know much about him himself. In an interview with Steve Austin, Dean spoke candidly about his childhood. He described in detail that while he didn’t exactly have the best upbringing, his mother worked multiple jobs as a single parent in order to give her son a good life. His mom’s prolonged absences made it possible for Dean to go out and do things that he wouldn’t have been able to do had he come from a stable home life. Ironically that ability to roam the streets and get up to no good was actually what led him to get into the wrestling business at the age of sixteen.
4. Sean Waltman’s Father
Another pro wrestler who was raised by a single mother was Sean Waltman. His story is a lot different than that of Dean Ambrose though. Since getting clean from his substance abuse issues, Waltman has been extremely open about the problems he’s had throughout his life, and a lot of it stems from his troubled childhood. Sean claims that he was basically left unsupervised from the age of five. On top of that he cites being abused and molested throughout most of his early years. Despite that he has managed to carve out a really impressive wrestling career for himself that continues to this day, although his life outside of the ring, and sometimes inside, has been littered with some very dark times.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Despite Stone Cold having some troubles in his past and a few skeletons in his closet, he has managed to carve out a wrestling career that will go down as one of the biggest and most successful in the business. While the fact that Austin has two daughters may not be a skeleton in his closet per se, it certainly isn’t something he talks openly about. Like many other performers on this list, Steve has been subject to a couple of divorces in his time. Nowadays Stone Cold seems extremely happy with his current wife, but his children from previous relationships have little to no bearing on The Texas Rattlesnake’s life. One of his daughters lives in Los Angeles and the other in the UK along with her mom.
2. Chris Benoit
The story of Chris Benoit and the reasoning behind him being on this list is unlike that of any of the other fourteen entries. While divorces and neglect led to a lot of the others you’ve read about landing in this article, Benoit did something back in 2007 that was truly irreversible. What happened on that weekend, or rather why it happened, will likely forever be a mystery. A man who few, if any, of his peers had a bad word to say about, Chris would return home and kill his wife and young son before in turn killing himself. Chris’s brain was examined after his death and it was described as being akin to that of an elderly dementia sufferer. Since then WWE’s treatment of concussions and shots to the head has understandably changed dramatically.
1. Grizzly Smith
While Jake Roberts estrangement from his children via alcohol and drug abuse earned him a place earlier on in this list, said separation dwarves in comparison to what he himself had to go through as a child. Roberts is the son of Grizzly Smith, who was also a professional wrestler. Jake claims that his mother was actually the thirteen year old daughter of Smith’s girlfriend at the time, and that he was the product of his father raping her. As a child Jake lived with his step mother and Grizzly, and has claimed that throughout his childhood his step mother would abuse him, both physically and sexually. His half sister, who went on to become wrestler Rockin’ Robin, suffered through a similarly traumatic childhood as she shared the same father as Jake.
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