6 Second generation wrestlers who didn't live up to their legendary fathers
Being a second-generation wrestler can bring a ton of pressure with it, and a lot of times, it can be as much of a burden as a boon. Although a number of second-generation stars like The Rock, Randy Orton, and Charlotte Flair have made it to the top, a lot are less successful for a variety of reasons.
We decided to take a look at some second-generation stars who did not live up to the legacy of their famous fathers. Some of these names were very good in their own right, but they just didn't come close to the legacy.
#6 Joe Henning aka Curtis Axel (son of Curt Henning)
Axel did find some early success in WWE, getting Paul Heyman as his manager and winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. He even has a clean win over Triple H.
However, Axel's push didn't last, despite being pretty talented inside the squared circle. He found some success later as part of the B-Team along with Bo Dallas.
However, Axel simply hasn't risen to the same level as his father Curt Henning, who is still regarded as one of the best to have stepped inside the squared circle. Axel is, in fact, a third-generation wrestler. His grandfather Larry "The Axe" Henning is also a legend inside the squared circle.
Currently, Curtis Axel isn't doing much in WWE and hasn't had too many storylines of late. He is someone who WWE can use better, even though he probably won't ever be a main eventer in the company. Axel showed that he's capable of decent comedy during with the B-Team, and that could be a role for him in the future.
#5 Manu (son of Afa Anoaʻi)
Manu is the son of Afa Anoaʻi and is a member of the famous Anoa'i family. He's related to The Rock, Roman Reigns, Rikishi and The Usos amongst others. Manu's father Afa Anoaʻi is probably best known for being a part of the Wild Samoans. He was a 3-time Tag-Team Champion in the WWF and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2007.
Manu, however, was in the WWE for a very short period. His full-time debut came at 2008's Unforgiven faction as one of the members of Legacy. However, Manu was removed from Legacy only a couple of months later before being released by the WWE in early 2009.
Randy Orton later spoke to WWE Magazine about why Manu was kicked out of Legacy:
Respect, that’s something that Manu, who had a chance to be part of Legacy, didn’t have. He grew up in the business, and you would’ve thought he’d have that ingrained in his mind. He had been wrestling since his early teens, and he thought that he was already a veteran in his early 20s. That’s what got him fired from Legacy.
WWE didn't have anything else after Manu was out of Legacy so they decided to release him. Unfortunately for Manu, he never made his way back to the company.
#4 Erik Watts (son of Bill Watts)
Bill Watts was the controversial and legendary booker and Executive Vice President of WCW. Despite Watts' legendary status in pro wrestling, his son Erik Watts did not live up to the legacy. Erik was a bland performer but he was pushed to the top during his WCW run, with his father being the booker at the time.
Erik Watts kept getting put into high-profile matches despite clearly not being up to the mark for it and the WCW fans never ended up accepting him for it. His bland babyface persona didn't get him anywhere in WCW and after leaving the promotion he ended up having a brief run in the WWF in the mid-'90s.
Erik Watts made his WWF debut in 1995. His father Bill Watts was briefly a booker in WWF at the time. He was repackaged as Troy, one half of the tag-team Tekno Team 2000. However, the tag-team didn't last very long and were let go in 1996. Erik Watts briefly made a return to WCW in 1998.
#3 David Sammartino (son of Bruno Sammartino)
To be fair to David Sammartino, it must have been impossible being in the shadow of his father Bruno Sammartino. Bruno is up there amongst the most influential professional wrestlers of all time and he held the WWWF Championship for a record 2,803 days. He also sold out Madison Square Garden 188 times and headlined the WWE Hall of Fame, class of 2017.
Bruno Sammartino actually did not want his son to become a wrestler, but David clearly had it in his blood. He was hampered by the fact that he was always compared to his father and never really managed to cement himself as his own man in the company. The fact that David was part of a tag-team along with his legendary father soon after his WWE debut definitely didn't help him form his own identity either.
After leaving the company, he went on to wrestler for the AWA, WCW as well as a host of other promotions. Despite a decent career, he did not live up to Bruno Sammartino's legacy.
#2 Brooke Hogan (daughter of Hulk Hogan)
Hulk Hogan is one of the most iconic pro wrestlers of all time. If you ask non-wrestling fans to name a pro wrestler, there's a good chance that Hulk Hogan will be the wrestler they name. Hogan is a 6-time world champion in WWE as well as a 6-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion. He revolutionized wrestling in the '80s as one of the biggest babyfaces in wrestling history. Later in WCW, he did it again as part of the nWo, one of the most popular wrestling factions of all time.
Hogan's daughter Brooke Hogan, however, was never really good at any aspect of pro wrestling. She was a part of TNA when Hogan was there. Brooke didn't really click inside the ring, and no, was she an interesting personality out of it. She is probably best remembered for her storyline with Bubba Ray Dudley. At one point during her time on TNA, Brooke Hogan was put in charge of the Knockouts division, in the storyline. She was eventually released from her contract in 2013.
#1 David Flair (son of Ric Flair)
'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair is one of the most iconic and influential wrestlers in the history of pro wrestling. Flair has been 'styling and profiling' for years and is a 16-time world champion, a record only equaled by John Cena.
Unfortunately, Flair's son David Flair never came even close to matching his accomplishments. He was signed to WCW during the Monday Night Wars and pushed to the moon long before he was ready. David Flair never actually wanted to be a wrestler when he was younger but still ended up following his father into the business. He was thrust into a number of top storylines in WCW in his time there, but it never clicked because David Flair was not very good in the ring and didn't have much charisma either.
Despite his shortcomings, David Flair is a former United States and Tag-Team Champion in WCW. He was briefly in WWE after the demise of WCW, and his most famous moment in the company was getting absolutely destroyed by The Undertaker.