Russ Morgan, Brian Damage & Craig Wilson
In this latest Top Five we list 2nd and 3rd generation superstars that didn’t hit the same heights as the more famous people bearing the same surname as them before. Next week we’ll turn it around by listing guys that eclipsed the achievements of their family.
5. Shawn Stasiak: As son of Stan “The Man” Stasiak (a legitimate tough guy), Shawn had good breeding and should have been destined for greatness. There was a lot to live up to, his old man being a WWWF Heavyweight Champion and all that, sadly Shawn would never get above the mid-card and would meander between the WWF and WCW in what was a very short career considering. Being saddled with a name like “Meat” really didn’t do him many favours…
4. Tiger Ali Singh: Son of renowned Indian wrestler Tiger Jeet Singh (who wrestled some of the biggest names in the 70’s), Tiger didn’t exactly set the world on fire. In a WWF career that lasted almost 5 years, you would be indeed hard pressed to find any meaningful contribution he made. His in-ring skills were clunky at best and spent most of his time in developmental. Known as the “taxi-driver”, he would eventually sue the WWE for what he proclaimed a career threatening injury sustained in Puerto Rico. Nothing came of it, much like his career.
3. Curtis Axel: Oh Curtis, where did it all go wrong. Son of “Mr Perfect” Curt Hennig and Grandson of Larry “The Axe” Hennig, wrestling is in his blood. Sadly he lacks the charisma of his father and the physical attitude of his grand pappy. Maybe it is too much to ask for, I mean “Mr Perfect” was one of a kind, one of the best the business has ever produced. I still hope there is someway Curtis can carry on the Hennig legacy, but he needs to help himself, not let WWE creative stomp him into the mud.
2. Harry Smith: Coming from a wrestling dynasty doesn’t always mean you are destined from greatness. Son of the UK’s own “British Bulldog” and Diana Hart, Harry had the upbringing and training to succeed at the highest level, but much like his cousin Teddy Hart, Harry still has much to do to get another chance in the WWE. Only time will tell whether this “Hart” can forge his own legacy.
1. Ted Dibiase Jr: As mentioned, it can be hard being the offspring of a legend. Dibiase Sr. was one of the mainstays of the 80’s and 90’s, a man Vince McMahon could depend upon to get serious heat whilst playing the arrogant, wealthy businessman. Throw it forward 20 years, the gimmick past on from father to son didn’t fruit like it was supposed to. Don’t get me wrong, Dibiase Jr. is a great in-ring athlete, physically fitter than his old man, but he lack the same personality on camera. Maybe he should have worked on his laugh…
5. Erik Watts: The son of the rough and tough ‘Cowboy’ Bill Watts….Erik’s greatest success came from his rookie years working for WCW. Incidentally, that was when his dad Bill was the head booker of the company. Erik then bounced back and forth from a brief stay with the WWF, back to WCW and then to TNA. He never truly lived up to his initial hype.
4. David Sammartino: It’s never easy following your father’s footsteps in the business of pro wrestling….especially if you are the son of the WWF’s greatest champions Bruno Sammartino. David was a bust pretty much from the get go.
3. Sim Snuka: Aside from winning WWE tag team gold on one occasion, Sim never truly materialized as a solid singles competitor like his dad the Superfly Jimmy Snuka.
2. Lacey Von Erich: Lacey had the look of a future successful diva and was even signed by the WWE. She was released from the WWE’s developmental program and signed with TNA as a member of the ‘Beautiful People.’ She was used mostly as a valet to the more polished wrestlers in the group. Lacey never quite lived up to the hype from being the daughter of former NWA world champion and former WWF Intercontinental champion Kerry Von Erich.
1. David Flair: Nothing against David Flair personally…but in his brief time as a wrestler with WCW and briefly with the WWE…he seemed like he just didn’t want to be there. He lacked ability in the ring, but more importantly, he lacked the infamous Flair charisma that made his dad the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair so damn special.
5. Manu: Arthur “Afa” Anoaʻi Sr.: achieved a great deal of success in the WWF as three-time holder of the tag team titles as one half of ‘The Wild Samoans’ that would lead to an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. His son, Afa Anoa’i Jr. didn’t reach those same heights appearing briefly in the WWE as Manu – a short-lived part of ‘The Legacy’. Other than that 3 year spell in the WWE – including a stint in development – Anoa’i Jr. has plied his trade on the independent wrestling scene.
4. Tiger Ali Singh: I’ve written about him before. Considering the hype he was introduced to the WWF’s fans, it was clear that the company had lofty expectations for him. However, a plodding ring style, an atrocious gimmick and a distinct lack of charisma put paid to any chance he had of following in his famous father’s footsteps.
3. Joe Hennig: I think we can safely say right now that it is very unlikely that the man wrestling as Curtis Axel in the ‘Social Outcasts’ on WWE TV will reach the same lofty heights as his father who was, after all, Perfect. Like many, lofty expectations that were almost unreachable due to a mixture of reasons. Joe might eclipse his father in terms of longevity in the WWE, but won’t beat his impact.
2. David Flair: Just pipped to number one spot on my list by David Sammartino. But David Flair suffered a similar sort of fate but his run was just shorter, hence why he made two. As Brian said, on the face of it David didn’t ever really look all that interested in being that which never helps. To wrestling fans the name ‘Flair’ means a lot. The name David Flair, however, doesn’t hold quite the amount of special memories as his father.
strong>1. David Sammartino: It’s fair to say that he probably had a harder hand dealt to him than any other second generation wrestler featured on this list. After all, his father is one of the biggest names ever to grace the squared circle. It was little surprise, then, that the WWF sought to cash-in on his famous name and give him a run in the early 80s. It was just that without Bruno by his side, the fans barely cared about him. You can find out more about David in this post.
So those are our suggestions of stars that never reached the same heights as their parents or grandparents. Who would make your top five and did we miss anyone? As ever, leave your thoughts in the comments section.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.