5 WWE Superstars who surpassed their fathers' popularity
Pro Wrestling's storied history is chock-full of a string of 2nd and 3rd generation Superstars. Over the course of the past several decades, various Superstars have debuted in WWE, carrying the legacy that their fathers left behind. Many failed to achieve the kind of success their fathers had back in the day. Ted Dibiase was the greatest villain in WWE at one point in the 80s, but Ted Dibiase Jr. didn't manage to build a career as illustrious as his father's.
Then there are Superstars like Cody Rhodes, who is on his way to becoming as big of a name as his father once was. Cody now holds the position of EVP in All Elite Wrestling, despite never managing to break out of the mid-card in WWE. Finally, we have a bunch who became bigger than their predecessors.
Let's take a look at five of these Superstars who managed to outdo their old man.
#5 Alberto Del Rio
Back in the 70s and 80s, Dos Caras was one of the most popular wrestlers in Mexico's Universal Wrestling Alliance. He never wrestled for WWE but won the UWA World Heavyweight title on three separate occasions.
His son, on the other hand, went on to become a major star in WWE in the early 2010s. Alberto Del Rio came up to the main roster in 2010, defeating Rey Mysterio without breaking into a sweat. He then won the first-ever 40-man Royal Rumble Match but failed to win the world title at WrestleMania.
Del Rio later enjoyed several title runs in the company, including two WWE and two World title reigns. He was an integral part of the Summer of Punk storyline in 2011. In 2013, he successfully defended his World title at WrestleMania 29 against Jack Swagger. Additionally, he has won the United States title on two occasions.
#4 Curt Hennig
"The Axe" Larry Hennig was a mid-card mainstay in several promotions during the 60s and 70s. He won the Tag Team titles in various promotions, most notably The American Wrestling Association.
Larry's son, Curt Hennig, became one of the biggest heels in WWE during the 80s. Donning the character of "Mr Perfect", Hennig was a two-time Intercontinental Champion and is widely regarded as one of the best wrestlers of all time.
He went on to compete in WCW and was a part of the Four Horsemen, taking the spot of the retiring Arn Anderson. Unfortunately, Hennig passed away in 2003 at the age of 44, due to acute cocaine intoxication. Hennig was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
Known for his technical in-ring ability, Henning was a delight to watch in the ring. He belonged to a generation of superstars who changed the phase of the wrestling industry.
Henning's son Curtis Axel was a WWE midcard mainstay. Despite spending over a decade with the company, he failed to reach the heights of his father Curt Henning.
#3 Bray Wyatt
Mike Rotunda, also known as IRS (Irwin R. Schyster), gained notoriety as a dastardly heel in WWE in the early 90s. He teamed up with Ted Dibiase and formed Money Inc. He later became part of Dibiase's Million Dollar Corporation. He won the WWE Tag Team titles on five different occasions.
Rotunda's son, Bray Wyatt, debuted in WWE way back in 2013. Although he donned an intriguing gimmick, he soon fizzled out following several major losses, including three WrestleMania defeats. Wyatt recently returned to WWE as The Fiend. The terrifying character is currently one of the most promising acts in WWE, and has the potential to become one of the biggest villains in WWE history.
IRS was a 'yes man' to Dibiase and was majorly involved with the faction. He did not have much of a singles record to boast of. Bray Wyatt, on the other hand, is a former WWE champion and is one of the company's top athletes. Despite being repackaged multiple times, he has played each gimmick with merit.
Wyatt is certainly a future WWE Hall of Famer.
#2 Randy Orton
"Cowboy" Bob Orton wrestled in a long list of promotions throughout his career, including WWE. He never won a title in WWE, but was a part of the main event of the first WrestleMania that featured a tag team match between Hulk Hogan & Mr T and Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff.
His son, Randy Orton, needs no introduction. Orton was destined for greatness from the very beginning when he made his way to the main roster in 2002. Orton soon joined Triple H's "Evolution" and became the youngest WWE Champion in history, at SummerSlam in 2004. Orton is now a 13-time WWE Champion and a first-ballot future Hall of Famer.
Orton has surpassed his old man many folds and still has a lot left in the tank.
Also read: 5 reasons The Fiend wants to wrestle Sting
#1 The Rock
Rocky Johnson won the WWE Tag Team title on one occasion in the 80s, pairing up with Tony Atlas and defeating the Wild Samoans. He did bag world titles in other promotions though.
Johnson's son, The Rock, came in as a babyface during the mid-90s. After the run flopped horribly, he was given the gimmick of The Rock, and he never looked back. Today, The Rock is one of the biggest actors in Hollywood, a surefire future WWE Hall of Famer, and one of the biggest draws in the history of WWE. His main event match against John Cena at WrestleMania 28 broke WrestleMania 23's record of the most buys.
Simply put, The Rock is one of WWE's most accomplished athletes. With eight WWE championship wins under his belt and plenty of memorable feuds, he was able to surpass the legacies of most of his contemporaries.
He often described himself as the 'most electrifying man in sports entertainment' and there is no reason to disagree with that claim.