A nepo baby is a celebrity with a parent who is also famous. Especially one whose industry connections are perceived as essential to their success, if we go by the definition on Dictonary.com. Nepo babies exist in every industry, and pro wrestling is no exception.
From its humble beginnings to the present day, professional wrestling has remained a family-centric enterprise and will likely continue to do so. But why is this the case? There are several compelling reasons.
Rooted In Trust
One such reason harks back to the days of territorial wrestling promotions in North America. During this era, these promotions often relied on family members to fill roles both in the ring and behind the scenes. The rationale behind this practice was rooted in trust, as family members were often seen as more dependable and committed to preserving the family legacy. Moreover, it made economic sense, as family members were often willing to work without financial compensation, reducing operational costs.
Another noteworthy factor is the value of inheriting the legacy and experience of a wrestling legend as a parent or relative. This formula has proven highly successful in various parts of the professional wrestling world. Prime examples include the Von Erich family in Texas, associated with World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), and the Hart family in Canada, known for their involvement in Stampede Wrestling. Of course, it would be remiss not to mention the most prominent example—the McMahon family’s significant role in the success of WWE.
In Mexico, lucha libre is a family business in all sorts of ways. The fact AAA and CMLL, the two biggest promotions in Mexico, are family business proves just that. In lucha libre, there’s also a cultural aspect to it where luchadors continue the legacy of a parent or relative that was a luchador. Most start training from a very young age… That’s why you see luchadores with the names Junior and Hijo de in them. You could even say that in Mexico, being related to an old luchador is an even bigger deal than in other parts of the world.
Is It An Advantage?
While being related to a wrestler can be huge advantage in this business, it won’t grantee success, working hard in pro wrestling and connecting with fans still matters. That’s why we see a lot of nepo babies pro wrestlers fail in the wrestling business. They try to copy what made their parents or relatives successful and got over with fans, but in a mediocre way. It’s a trap most second, third, or even fourth generation wrestlers make often.
Are nepo babies bad for the pro wrestling business? The short answer is no. It doesn’t matter if your parent was The Rock or even John Cena… If you don’t put in the work, you won’t succeed. Pro wrestling will always be a family business, but only the best will get over and succeed. Second generation wrestlers like Cody Rhodes, The Rock, Rey Mysterio and others have worked extremely hard, and some have even surpassed their relatives.