A few weeks ago, contributing writer Martin Stezano wrote a piece on the worst siblings in pro wrestling. After reading the list (which was very well done, Martin, BTW), I got to thinking about other really bad family members, specifically, sons of legendary wrestlers. While it can be very difficult for a wrestler coming in who is the son of someone famous to get over just based on who their father was/is, those with talent can and usually will succeed. However, many simply don’t have what it takes or just didn’t want it bad enough.
Looking at the younger Sammartino, it seemed like he would be something of a star. In addition to his pedigree, he had a good look and, at the very least, passable skills in the ring. Unfortunately for David, his was a case of “big shoes to fill”, as he is the son of Bruno Sammartino, the longest-reigning WWWF Champion in history, holding the title for a record 11 years across 2 reigns, a feat that will likely never be duplicated. No matter what David did, he was still looked at as nothing more than “Bruno’s kid”, and the result was a career that was over before it ever had a chance to get started.
Much like the other David, Flair is the son of one of the most famous pro wrestlers in history, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. And, much like David Sammartino, David Flair was never able to get out of the shadow of his much more successful dad. To be fair, David Flair never wanted to be a wrestler, but only got into it when he received some pretty hefty paychecks after a couple of angles with the nWo, as the money was much more than what he would have made had he pursued his dream job in law enforcement. While you can give the kid credit for trying, the talent just wasn’t there. David was nothing more than a lanky kid with no build, no charisma and, quite frankly, no talent.
Chris and Mike Von Erich
Before I get a bunch of hate mail, let me say I’m not talking about ALL of them. Let’s face facts: David, Kerry and Kevin Von Erich were all awesome, and fans today still debate on which of the three was truly the best. However, there were two other kids in Fritz’s clan that many don’t remember, and they were two that most certainly didn’t belong in the business. Fritz had a hang-up with all of his kids following in his footsteps, and as a result, Mike and Chris Von Erich were also made into wrestlers. Problem was, outside of the Von Erich name, they had absolutely nothing going for them. Both were skinny beanpoles with no talent in the ring whatsoever, and no matter how many matches they were involved in, their skills never improved. Sadly, both Mike and Chris were victims of the “Von Erich Curse”, with Kevin being the last surviving member.
Lacey Von Erich
Speaking of Von Erich kids, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add Lacey Von Erich to this list. I realize she’s not a son, but she is Kerry’s daughter, and much like the rest of the clan, she decided she wanted to wrestle as well. WWE signed her to a developmental deal at the beginning of her career, but ended it extremely fast when they realized she didn’t even have 1/100th of her dad’s talent. Lacey was nothing more than a pretty face, and when she was signed by TNA soon after her WWE release, everyone knew it. Lacey proceeded to stink up the wrestling ring on a weekly basis, botching the most basic of moves (including her family’s famed Iron Claw). One famous moment in TNA saw Lacey botch a backflip elbow, missing by nearly three feet (it has since become a popular gif on wrestling boards). Thankfully, Lacey seemed to know when she was defeated, and has since left the business, focusing on acting and modeling instead.
Sadly, there was a lot of potential here. Brian had a good look, a decent build, loads of charisma and a lot of talent in the ring. The son of Jerry “The King” Lawler even reportedly went by the name Brian Christopher (real name: Brian Christopher Lawler) in order to avoid being cast as “Jerry Lawler’s kid” (it was later made into an angle in both USWA and WWF). However, Brian is his own worst enemy, and has battled drug problems and legal charges nearly his entire career, killing any chances of him being successful.
Speaking of Brian Christopher, Brian was the only feud Scott ever engaged in on a national stage. Son of “Polish Power” Ivan Putski, “Konnan 2000” (yes, he really called himself that at one point) was built like a tank, had movie star good look and was dating Missy Hyatt back when she was still relatively hot. Not a bad combination, to say the least. However, between dating one of the most notorious “ring rats” in wrestling history and fighting with Christopher in the ill-fated Light Heavyweight division, Scott apparently forgot to learn how to wrestle. He was god-awful in the ring. I first saw Scott in the even more ill-fated AWF (I even remember their slogan: American Wrestling Federation: The Way Wrestling SHOULD Be!), a promotion built around has-beens like Bob Orton, Jr. & Jim Brunzell, and never would-bes like “Cyclone” Ronnie Twist and Putski. Not sure what it was about those tapings that impressed WWF, because he was absolutely terrible. Needless to say, someone in Creative realized before too long, and after defeating Christopher and Lawler in a tag match with father Ivan as his partner, Scott was never seen on WWF television again, and has not appeared for a major US wrestling promotion since.
Houston was actually a pretty decent junior-heavyweight wrestler. However, he was outshined by his entire family. Being the son of Grizzly Smith, the brother of former WWF Women’s Champion Rockin’ Robin and, most famously, the brother of Jake “The Snake” Roberts means you’ll automatically have a tough time carving your own niche. Houston did see his share of successes, certainly, but never lived up to his fullest potential.
Many pegged Shawn as a “cant-miss” prospect, and a case certainly could be made. Shawn had a great build, was handsome, and a relatively decent worker. Although his dad, Stan “The Man” Stasiak was a former WWWF Champion, his championship reign was less than 2 weeks long, not exactly casting the biggest of shadows. After a go-nowhere run in WWF that resulted in him being fired due to a backstage misunderstanding, Stasiak surfaced in WCW, where he picked up several tag team straps, was part of the promising “Natural Born Thrillers” faction (that WCW screwed up, go figure), and engaged in a feud with Curt Hennig after dubbing himself Shawn “The Perfect One” Stasiak, a dig at Hennig’s former “Mr. Perfect” character. When WCW closed it’s doors, Stasiak was given a second chance in WWE, being part of the much-maligned “Invasion” angle, then being dubbed “Planet” Stasiak, an egotistical nutcase who was also quite clumsy. Amazingly, this gimmick had a ton of potential, as Stasiak was excellent in his role. However, things were not meant to be, as he was released not long after. Since then, Stasiak has left the business altogether, opening up a very successful chiropractic business. Although he didn’t succeed in wrestling like many thought, at least he was smart enough to find something to fall back on, unlike many on this list.
And now, we move onto the cream of the crap. Erik Watts is “Cowboy” Bill Watts’ kid, and…well, that’s pretty much it. He was hired by WCW while Bill was running the company, and in a case of pure nepotism, shoved down everyone’s throats despite being a lanky doofus with two left feet in the ring. Erik even holds the distinction of throwing what may be the single worst dropkick in history, a point brought to my attention thanks to our friends over at Wrestlecrap. Somehow, despite being absolutely terrible, Watts netted PWI’s “Rookie of the Year 1992” award. I realize PWI is mostly BS anyway, but I still have no clue how, even with kayfabe, they came to that conclusion. What’s even more mind-boggling is how he netted a WWF deal in 1995, as one-half of Tekno Team 2000 with Chad Fortune. After one match, the team disappeared for months, and were only brought back to be fed to other teams later on before both were released. In what should have been an end to Watts’ “stellar” career”, instead, he showed in ECW 5 years later, for purposes that still remain unknown. He appeared on ECW on TNN once, carrying an old regional championship belt for absolutely no reason before being squashed by Spike Dudley in less than a minute. Once more, he disappeared, only to resurface 2 more years later in TNA, back when the company was still doing weekly PPVs. He participated in a stupid angle with the aforementioned David Flair and Brian Christopher, doing nothing except boring crowds with long-winded promos completely lacking in charisma. Somehow (read: he was friends with then-owner Jeff Jarrett), this led to him being named the on-screen Director of Authority for the company, where he did nothing outside of act like an obnoxious frat boy with his equally obnoxious “girlfriend” Goldy Locks. Somehow, 10 years later, Watts had not improved a single iota in any way, and he was finally released in 2005 following the Final Resolution PPV. This match should be noted not only for how truly awful it was, but also for the fact that Watts actually defeated Raven, despite nearly dying from a drug overdose the night before, thus giving more evidence that TNA has never had a problem rewarding terrible behavior. Since then, he has become a glorified independent wrestler, and is apparently playing the role of Director of Authority once again in at least one promotion.
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