Some of the best wrestlers in the world today come from a great lineage of past performers. Charlotte Flair is daughter to “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Cody Rhodes is the son of Dusty Rhodes. Randy Orton’s father and grandfather were both wrestlers in their time.
So many of these superstars have competed in WWE with their family name’s great legacy behind them but many not having made it to what many would call the pinnacle of sports entertainment. There are still so many second and third generation wrestlers that haven’t reached the big leagues yet. There is definitely a spot for their family name to continue where their parents and grandparents competed over the years. Here are the best 2nd/3rd who haven’t made it to WWE yet.
5. David Finlay III
David Finlay III is an outlier in this list because he is actually a fourth generation wrestler. His father “Fit Finlay”, grandfather and both paternal great-grandfathers were professional wrestlers. His paternal aunt was even a referee in the world of professional wrestling. Wrestling runs in his blood and he hasn’t even broken the seal on his own career.
Finlay has so far wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor, along with many other independent promotions. He shows off a similar style to his father, that of brutal European-style brawling. Sporting long hair and a beard, Finlay has created his own image without showing off the Irish roots like his family. He often comes to the ring with his trademark spiked jacket and bandana. Unfortunately, Finlay is out of action right now with a shoulder injury but is scheduled to come back in the next few months.
Finlay III could be a great acquisition by WWE for the NXT brand. With the show now two hours long, they will definitely be looking for new talent and WWE has always loved to promote stars with parental ties to the sport. If he were to sign, there’s no need to make him into Fit Finlay 2.0. He has created his own character that fits well with the brand’s look of taking down the establishment. Having his father close to him as a backstage personnel could also help his progression going forward.
4. Cody Hall
Cody Hall likely has the most successful father of anyone on this list. Son of legendary wrestler Scott Hall, Cody Hall has had a tough time filling his father’s shoes. Wrestling the majority of his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah, Hall hasn’t been able to find his niche yet and has been largely absent from the professional wrestling scene since early 2019.
Hall has a look that Vince McMahon has always been a fan of. He is a tall, muscular guy who can work as the giant, monster-type figure. He is billed at 6’10” and weighs in at 268 pounds. The one issue that he has shown in comparison to his father is that the mic skills just haven’t translated. He has a limited move-set common with the larger wrestlers but he gets the specific job that is asked of him done.
Hall dons his father’s signature dripping blood jacket and has relied heavily on his dad’s name when marketing himself. This isn’t an issue because you should always promote yourself in a way that makes the audience notice you. With a WWE backing and possibly adding Scott Hall as his manager, it could really help in creating a star in Cody Hall.
3. Ross and Marshall Von Erich
The only tag team on this list, these two brothers represent one of the most tragic stories in all of professional wrestling history. Ross and Marshall Von Erich are the sons of Kevin Von Erich. They adopted a trademark of their father’s of wrestling barefoot, which is very rare in wrestling today other than primarily Matt Riddle and a few Samoan indie wrestlers.
Both brothers were trained by their father alongside legendary wrestler Harley Race. They have competed in Pro Wrestling Noah, Impact Wrestling, and now Major League Wrestling, signing a lengthy contract with the latter in late 2019.
Chris, Mike, Kerry, and David Von Erich all died at a young age in the famous family so it is great to see such a great story come to fruition. At their current progression, the Von Erich brothers could soon be a top tag team on the planet with their mixture of wrestling fundamentals and signature throwback style. If any family deserves this success, it has to be the Von Erichs.
2. Brian Pillman Jr.
The son of legendary wrestler Brian Pillman Sr. has created an instant buzz in the world of professional wrestling. Pillman Jr. has just recently started his professional wrestling career, announcing the venture in early 2017. He was trained by Lance Storm and almost instantly started competing in some of the most famous independent promotions across the world. Combat Zone Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, and Major League Wrestling have been the stomping grounds for this second generation wrestler.
Pillman Jr. really came into his own by teaming with Teddy Hart, starting the New Era Hart Foundation. Fellow second generation wrestler Davey Boy Smith Jr. also joined the group. Pillman Jr. and his father look so similar and share the same charismatic style that it’s hard to tell the two apart at times. For someone with just over two years in the professional wrestling world, Pillman Jr. looks as comfortable already as a ten plus year veteran.
Pillman Jr. really fits the mold for WWE at the moment. He is marketable, has great mic skills and his look is one that could work in either the heel or face role. A mixture of high flying and a charismatic style practically prints money in this world.
1. Tama Tonga
Tama Tonga has an interesting relationship that has put him on this list. Tonga was actually adopted by retired wrestler Haku, his uncle. Over the years he has learned the true art of the Samoan style.
He came to great relevance while in Japan with The Bullet Club. At 36 years old, Tonga is getting to the point in his career where it starts to wind down but he is arguably at his most popular. He was trained by Haku and The Dudley Boyz in Florida so this could answer the question of why he’s such a great tag team performer.
Tonga is a five time NJPW Tag Team champion and a one time ROH Tag Team champion with his partner Tanga Loa. They make up the Guerrillas of Destiny and are consistently ranked as one of the top tag teams in the world. When Tama led a civil war in the Bullet Club on The Elite and other members, Tanga was immediately taken more seriously.
He has shown great skills in singles and tag team competition. There are a few Samoan wrestlers in WWE at the moment like Roman Reigns and The Usos but they don’t represent their heritage on a nightly basis like Tonga. He is a sort of throwback like Umaga or The Wild Samoans and that brutality is something that is lacking in the roster at the moment. Adding Tama Tonga could create a star much bigger than he has been so far in his career.
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