Pro wrestling has always been a family business, with notable families like: The McMahons, Harts, and Anoa’is, to name a few. Second-generation wrestlers have a lot to prove when it comes to wrestling though, due to the opportunities they get because of their last names.
One of the many mistakes both promoters and second-generation wrestlers do, is copying the previous generation. Trying the same gimmick a previous relative used always feels like a cheap copy. But it seems this tends to fail more in the U.S. With Lucha Libre however, it’s a different case…
Sometimes, second-generation wrestlers have bad luck rubbing people the wrong way. This is usually because they get opportunities earlier in their careers before others, and often without the grind most have to endure. Whether they like it or not, second-generation talent have to work harder than everyone else to prove by they belong. If they don’t, both fans and even wrestlers will eat them alive.
Finding an Identity
The hardest thing for second-generation wrestlers is trying to find their own wrestling identity. Most fans expect for them to pay tribute to their heritage, but this is something they can’t get too hung up on. Doing your own thing, while making the occasional reference to the past, is the ideal way to go. The best example of this is Cody Rhodes and Hijo del Vikingo.
Cody Rhodes is one of the few successful second-generation wrestler today. Doing the opposite of his father by being a heel, since his father was one of the biggest babyfaces in U.S. wrestling history, was a smart choice. Cody was able to find his footing and wrestling identity without relying too much on paying tribute to Dusty Rhodes.
Finding a wrestling identity takes time, not only for second-generation wrestlers… But even for wrestlers without wrestling parentage. This is a process of trial and error. However, the best teacher for all talent is working the indies. Working smaller crowds and learning different styles always helps, it also allows wrestlers to understand fans and how to get them on your side.
Unfortunately, for most second-generation wrestlers, they never hit the Indies. Instead, they go directly to WWE or a major promotion and try to grind in front of millions…