The wrestling world gets more value and delivers more successful stories from second and third generation talents than other sporting cultures. The scripted nature and ability to choose who you want to sign gives WWE (and other brands) more freedom to make stars out of the prospects bred into the business. To make it in pro wrestling, you have to be comfortable with the aspect of traveling on the road and wrestling hundreds of times per year. Third generation stars, more than anyone, can relate to the pro wrestling culture considering it was their childhood.
The genes of athletic talent will also help and force WWE and other promotions to give chances to wrestlers hoping to follow the legacies of their parents and grandparents. There are few second generation stars but even fewer third generation stars just due to the nature of the field. It takes a very special person to chase pro wrestling and not everyone can do it but the ones that succeed are rare. Third generation success stories are hard to find but the ones that do make it tend to make it in an extreme way. The Rock, Randy Orton and now Roman Reigns are great examples of a wrestling pedigree delivering a new superstar.
While there are various successful and talented third generation stars, there are more failures. The odds of having a good career in wrestling are slim and that doesn’t change with the third generation stars. Many don’t have the personality, some don’t have the heart and others have felt too entitled to wise up in seizing the opportunity. The issues can lead to tough roads to the top and various careers have failed to make it on the big stage. This list will look through the least successful and talented names that couldn’t live up to their past generations of wrestling talent. These are the twelve worst third generation wrestlers of all time.
12 Marshall and Ross Von Erich
The Von Erichs were legends in Texas during the territory days. They were worshiped and fans would pack arenas to see the brothers perform. Most of the brothers passed away with three heartbreaking stories involving suicide by Kerry, Mike and Chris. The third generation of Von Erichs have all tried their hands at pro wrestling to continue the family legacy but they have not been able to generate much momentum. Marshall and Ross are the sons of the living Kevin Von Erich and the highlight of their in-ring careers came at TNA Slammiversary 2014 in Texas. The spot was a one-time thing as an attraction but they were never brought back.
11 David Hart Smith
David Hart Smith is not a terrible wrestler by any means, but he’s a classic underachiever with a bland personality. As the son of “The British Bulldog” Davey Both Smith and grandson of Stu Hart, Harry was expected to become a big star in WWE but could never develop a personality or presence that stood out. His technical wrestling and work ethic were great attributes but you need more than that to succeed in WWE. Smith currently wrestles in Japan for NOAH and has become one of the bigger names in the promotion, but there are still flaws in his work.
10 Jeff Jarrett
The Jarrett family has pro wrestling in their blood with three generations of promoting. Jeff Jarrett is no different and has served various roles in the wrestling industry. Not all of them have worked out for Jarrett. His stints in WWE and WCW were successful in getting him a regular spot in the midcard but it always faded at the end. Jarrett struggled in TNA through various stages and is currently trying to get Global Force Wrestling off the ground. As a performer, Jarrett was overrated due to either getting opportunities thanks to his name or putting himself in the spot to get showcased in a bigger role than he deserved.
9 Chavo Guerrero
The Guerrero family is one of the most renowned legacies in pro wrestling and many wrestlers have achieved success with the name. Chavo Guerrero has definitely had a good career with his impressive longevity but he’s been highly overrated. Some fans remember Chavo being in the same tier with Eddie, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko and others when talking about the WCW cruiserweight division. Chavo was below the future stars and served as more of a role player with average matches. When a company like TNA or Lucha Underground tried to highlight him in a bigger spot than WWE and WCW did, it exposed just how lackluster of a talent he was.
8 Jesse Windham
Barry Windham was one of the more underrated wrestlers of his era and was an unsung hero for The Four Horsemen during his time in the faction. His son Jesse Windham tried to make it in the footsteps of his father Barry and grandfather Blackjack Mulligan but hasn’t been able to get as far as he would have hoped when entering the business. Windham works on his local independent wrestling circuit but has never made it to any stage of WWE. Considering how many second and third generation prospects get a chance in WWE, it has to be a disappointment for Windham to not even have a spot in the Performance Center.
7 Shane McMahon
The work of the McMahon family has fueled the WWE through generations. Vince McMahon Sr. and Vince McMahon Jr. were top notch promoters that made the big decisions in creating a successful brand that has stayed in the family. Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon have been the latest generation of McMahons to play a role on television. Shane worked a few matches in his career and left a positive impact on the fans who remember him for his death-defying spots such as jumping off the titantron. Lost in the big moments was a lack of substance in Shane’s work. Without the crazy spots, most of his matches were a complete bore.
6 Ted DiBiase Jr.
The DiBiase family has carried the pro wrestling bug through three generations with different forms of success from each. “Iron Mike” DiBiase started the trend by having a very impressive career with a saddening ending of passing away following a heart attack suffered during a wrestling match. Ted DiBiase continued the legacy with a tremendous run as one of the best heels in WWE history as “The Million Dollar Man.” Ted DiBiase Jr. entered the WWE with more potential and expectations than almost any other prospect. The company viewed him as a future world champion and WrestleMania main eventer but he just couldn’t muster up the personality or improve enough as a wrestler to get to the next level.
5 Brett DiBiase
The brother of Ted DiBiase Jr. makes the list for a failed run in the WWE developmental system. Brett DiBiase was also looked at with a world of promise and hope but he could not stand out despite having the name of a legend. The highlight of his career came when he played the role of a planted fan in the audience that cost John Cena a match against Randy Orton. It led to many fans wondering if Brett would join his brother Ted Jr. as a member of the Legacy faction. Brett instead was sent back down to FCW where he failed to impress before suffering injuries and retiring.
4 Bo Dallas
This may be a little unfair because Bo Dallas is still young and has not been given a good chance at getting over in WWE, but you have to go with the results. Dallas is currently one of the worst members of the WWE roster and has the role of a glorified enhancement talent. When WWE needs someone to cut an annoying promo and get beat up by a bigger star, Bo will get called upon but he doesn’t offer much else. NXT showed a brighter side of Dallas but he still paled in comparison to the better talent like Sami Zayn, Neville and his brother, Bray Wyatt. Dallas will never get far in WWE unless he changes things and improves quickly.
3 Shaul Guerrero
The Guerrero family has been responsible for generations of superb wrestling talent with Eddie Guerrero being the most famous and successful. Unfortunately, Eddie was taken from us too soon and passed away in 2005 as an active performer. His widow Vickie Guerrero was hired by WWE and served as a heel on-air figure for many years, which was a surprising success. Shaul Guerrero, daughter of Eddie and Vickie, was offered a WWE contract to try to become the next generation of Guerrero talent. Shaul could not continue the Guerrero magic and floundered in WWE developmental during her time there. She would eventually leave the company due to wanting to get her life on track following an eating disorder issue. Shaul is currently engaged to NXT’s Aiden English.
2 Curtis Axel
The selection of Curtis Axel may be a bit harsh considering he’s not completely untalented and has had a couple of bright moments. As the next generation of Hennig men entering the wrestling business, Axel followed Grandfather Larry “The Axe” Hennig and his late father Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig. Despite the potential and promise held by Axel from his first days in the WWE system, his main roster work has been mostly irrelevant. Aside from a stint as Intercontinental Champion with Paul Heyman as his manager and an even shorter stint in The Nexus, Axel is probably most known as the Royal Rumble meme guy that dressed as Hulk Hogan for a few months. Axel is still employed by WWE but things look very bleak unless he can find a way to get over soon.
1 Lacey Von Erich
Of all third generation wrestlers, no one takes the (dropped) cake more than Lacey Von Erich. The daughter of Kerry Von Erich was given a developmental contract by WWE but she could not improve and was given the quick hook. TNA signed Lacey a few years later and placed her in The Beautiful People. She clearly wasn’t ready for televised wrestling and it resulted in some of the worst wrestling matches of all time. Lacey botched often and looked like an extremely attractive fish out of water, but TNA still wanted to utilize her for her great looks. After a while, Lacey was transitioned off television before requesting her release and retired from pro wrestling, but not until she was the worst third generation wrestler of all time.