Pro Wrestling: Wrestlers Who Aren't (or Weren't) as Good as Their Fathers
This isn't your daddy's professional wrestling anymore.
Times have changed. Wresting has changed. Promotions have changed and yes, wrestlers have changed.
When we see a second- and even third-generation wrestler to grace the WWE or TNA, we hope for greatness and a chance to see if the gene pool jumped to another generation.
In this case, the little swimmers did not produce another top-of-the-line superstar. Not that these wrestlers had their moments. Well, some have and others have fallen flat on their faces.
For this slider, I did not add women. I don't think it's fair to compare the work of Natalya and her father, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart. I also left off Tamina and her father, Jimmy Snuka.
Hopefully for some of you, this will be a trip down memory lane. Some of the greatest memories of my childhood was watching some of these wrestlers' fathers in the ring.
And for every two or three Randy Orton's who have succeeded farther than their fathers or grandfathers, there is a Reid Flair who just could not reach the summit like his father, the great Ric Flair.
I know more could be added to this list and I would love to hear comments of who you think should be on here. I hope you enjoy this slider as much as I do. And of course, let the debate begin.
Again, it's hard to live in the footsteps of one of the best promoters in the NWA of all time.
Mike Graham was as determined a wrestler as I had seen growing up in Florida watching Championship Wrestling from Florida and Gordon Solie on Saturday mornings.
Graham, the real-life son of Hall of Famer and wrestling promoter Eddie Graham, was an accomplished regional star, but he wasn't as talented as his father was.
Still, the diminutive Graham had a good career wrestling the likes of Dory Funk Jr., David Von Erich, Kendo Nagasaki and others. He also helped to promote Dusty Rhodes as a "face" after Pak Song turned his back on the "American Dream."
He was also an accomplished tag-team specialist, mainly teaming with Steve Keirn and holding the Florida Tag Team Titles on different occasions.
Maybe my fondest memory of Graham is when Kevin Sullivan was revealed as a heel in a tournament for the Southern Heavyweight Title. Graham and Sullivan, for friends, waged a war on each other that shook the state of Florida in the early 1980s.
If your father is "Mr. Perfect" and your grandfather has the nickname "The Ax," you have a pretty good blood line to start off your wrestling career.
So far, Joe Hennig or "Mike McGillicutty" in the WWE has hit a few speed bumps along the way.
The son of Curt Hennig, one of the 10 best wrestlers in his prime and his grandfather, Larry Hennig, were very successful in several wrestling promotions. Son Joe is learning his craft still, and has time to develop.
To his credit, he has held the WWE Tag Team Titles with David Otunga, but he has not materialized into a superstar like his other family members did.
At 33 years old, you have to wonder if he will ever make the leap to superstar status.
The son of Blackjack Mulligan and the brother of Barry Windham. A strong family tradition to live up to.
Like Barry, Kendall cut his teeth in Florida as a rookie and youngster in the business, but was scrawny, tall and lanky and did not have the look his big brother or father did.
This did not limit him from being a fan favorite, but it did put him at a disadvantage when it came to thicker, more experienced wrestlers.
Windham held the Florida Heavyweight Title and was a tag team wrestler in the business, even holding the World Tag Titles in WCW with Barry.
He was a regional competitor, but not a huge star. He never lived up to the hype of having a main-event brother to be compared to or a tough and rugged dad who was a tag team specialist himself with Blackjack Lanza back in the day.
When your father is Verne Gagne, it is almost impossible to be better than one of the greats of all time.
You would have to be King Kong and Superman to be better than Verne Gagne.
Greg Gagne was one of the superstars and mainstays of the AWA, challenging for the AWA World Title and holding the AWA Tag Team Titles with his partner Jim Brunzell of the course of their tenure in the promotion.
Greg was at a disadvantage from the start, not being as thick or agile or athletic as his father, and while Verne seemed to have a stronghold on the AWA Title with Nick Bockwinkel, Greg turned his attention to other areas of the promotion for success.
Verne was possibly the best pure athlete in the business before the likes of Kurt Angle and The Rock.
Mike Von Erich
Fritz Von Erich was blessed to have four sons who ruled the wrestling scene in Texas in the early and mid-1980s.
David, Kevin, Kerry and Mike Von Erich were the golden boys of World Class Championship Wrestling, an outfit that their father built and used them as the "faces" of the franchise. Even with the success of all four men, title holders in their own right and as tag team specialists, Mike was the weak link of the group.
It's hard to be as good as everyone else when you are the last in line for titles, suffered Toxic Shock Syndrome after surgery and had suffered brain damage and slurred speech, and you suddenly have to replace big brother David when he died in the Orient of acute enteritis.
Mike was even voted the worst wrestler of the year in 1986 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Ted DiBiase Jr.
His dad was an epic wrestler in his day.
It appears that Ted DiBiase has been a better movie star (The Marine 2) than he has been a wrestler. His father, Ted DiBiase Sr. and his grandfather, Mike DiBiase had good careers in the ring.
To enhance DiBiase's "fame" the WWE gave him the "Million Dollar Belt" and even put Maryse on his arm. I think that could help any wrestler pay more attention to his craft.
Still, we are waiting for a superstar to be born.
DiBiase was part of the "Legacy" stable with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes. Both have gone on to stellar careers while we are still waiting for DiBiase to mature and show his family's athletic ability.
He was great in his own right, but no one could be as good as the American Dream.
Dustin Rhodes brought us Goldust, one of the best gimmicks in wrestling history and one of the best characters in WWE history.
But he was never a perennial title holder like his dad or a challenger for titles on a regular basis like his brother Cody.
Still, the gimmick lives on and got many pops form fans whether he was playing a face or heel role with the company.
Having his former wife Marlena (Terri Runnels) by his side in skits and at ringside never hurt, either.
David and Reid Flair
When your last name is Flair, you expect to be amazing. David and Reid were never amazing.
We expected a lot form Reid, but he has never panned out. David, on the other hand, has made several attempts at the business and has been mediocre at best.
I think this is more of the fact that the name and the "greatest of all time" monikers were just too much. Since wrestling has changed, it is too much to expect both sons to carry on their father's legacy.
David won the United States Title in WCW and was part of Vince Russo's plot to rid the business of his father. He was brought along too fast and it hindered his development.
Reid has been sidetracked by his personal life, and while we thought he might carry on the name and tradition, it never developed.
A decent tag team wrestler, but he will never be "The King."
Brian Christopher Lawler has been in numerous wrestling promotions as a singles wrestler and tag team champion in the WWE with Scotty 2 Hotty where he performed as Grand Master Sexay as part of the tag team Too Cool and with Rikishi.
Father Jerry Lawler owned the Memphis territory and was a huge star in the NWA before moving over to the WWF.
Today, Christopher is still wrestling on the independent circuit.
Sure, he was cool, and had the big hair and was a decent wrestler in the WWE and even became a tag team partner of Ric Flair, but how can you compete with your father who put wrestling in Puerto Rico on the map?
Carlos Colon is a legend in in the Caribbean. He helped to establish the World Wrestling Council and fought the likes of Ric Flair, Bruiser Brody and Abdullah the Butcher in his prime.
Carlito won the Intercontinental and United States Championships. He had a decent run in the WWE, but is now wrestling in the Japanese promotion Wrestling New Classic.