Wrestlers who come from a wrestling family don’t have it easy. They have to live up to the accomplishments of their parents, and if some are lucky they surpass them. And while wrestlers such as Cody Rhodes, Charlotte and Tamina are all achieving success to varying degrees on their own, there are a number of second or third generation wrestlers that are not very well known. In some cases, they are very green and developing their skills in the ring. This list will highlight a group of ten that may not be as well-known as others competing today. We know about what could have been with Reid Flair, but this is about what still could be.
This group of ten highlights either second or third generation wrestlers that are working to be known on their own. While others have been faced with the uphill battle of living up to legends in the ring, this group may not face the same obstacles. In fact, our number one choice is someone whose father wrestled, but is earning notoriety on her own. While having a family lineage to try to live up to can be difficult, you can still succeed. A number of these selections are still in their twenties, so the sky is certainly the limit for them moving forward. While all of them may not succeed, it wouldn’t hurt to look at their matches and see what they can do right now. Here are the 10 Next Generation Wrestlers You Need To Know About.
10. Ross and Marshall Von Erich
The third generation of the Von Erich family is in good hands with these two brothers. As the sons of Kevin Von Erich and grandsons of Fritz Von Erich, these two brothers have been trained by the likes of their father Kevin, Harley Race, and have been in the Pro Wrestling NOAH dojo in Japan. They made their first televised appearance with TNA in 2014 after only having been in training for a couple of years. Together, the brothers compete under the tag team name Von Erich 3G. Their signature moves include the iron claw that is synonymous with the Von Erichs. These two are committed to keeping the family name alive and well, as they continue to self-promote and achieve success on independent circuits all over North American and in Japan. They use social media such as Facebook to promote themselves.
9. Amy Hennig
One third generation wrestler that fans are very familiar with is Joe Hennig, who wrestles as Curtis Axel in the WWE. What fans may not be as aware of is that his sister has begun to cut her teeth in the wrestling ring as well. As the daughter of the late “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig and granddaughter of Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Amy has been competing since 2008, and those eight years of competition under her belt show that she is committed to making her family proud. She has been trained by legendary wrestler Harley Race. Hennig has held the World League Wrestling Women’s Championship three times, which shows that she can win the big one! What does the future hold for her? For all intents and purposes, Hennig appears primed to continue to succeed and carry on the family name proudly. Wrestlers take time to develop, and this may very well be the case for Hennig.
8. Dillon Eaton
When your father is arguably one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time, there is no telling how much support you will have in developing into a wrestler as well. This is the story of Dillon Eaton, whose father “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton was one half of a number of tag teams, but most notably The Midnight Express. Dillon made his in-ring debut in 2006, at the age of 17, in Tennessee. He has been surrounded by wrestlers most of his life, as his father was very well known. His development over the last ten years have seen him compete in a number of matches alongside his dad. It becomes less about wins and losses for Dillon and more about learning the ropes and developing his technique. Dillon is a third generation wrestler as well, as his maternal grandfather Bill Dundee was a legendary wrestler too. Very little has been noted about Dillon, but without question he is someone to look out for because of his heritage and ties to the sport.
7. Lance Anoa’i
If the last name sounds familiar, it should. Lance’s grandfather is the great Wild Samoan Afa, and his father Samu was also a wrestler before him. Lance has been actively competing since 2010, including against the likes of Sonjay Dutt. At 23 years of age, Anoa’i faced The Ascension in a tryout match for the WWE. His moveset is steeped in tradition, whether it is the head butt, the Samoan drop, the Samoan Spike or diving Wild Samoan splash. Anoa’i is certainly carrying on in the family tradition. He has competed primarily on the independent circuit and worked for such promotions as World Xtreme Wrestling and Maryland Championship Wrestling. Often when someone is still very young they aren’t able to achieve the success that someone more experienced would, but this isn’t the case for Lance, as he continues to have mentoring and training from family that will continue to help him succeed.
6. Colt Toombs
If the last name doesn’t sound familiar it’s probably because he wanted to blaze his own path. However, the son of the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has worked on developing a Mixed Martial Arts career. While an amateur Toombs competed as a featherweight, and won twice by TKO. As the son of a legend, there are certainly plusses and minuses. There is the struggle between trying to achieve on his own and having to live up to his father’s achievements certainly. Toombs, however, is also exploring MMA rather than simply wrestling alone, and for that fans should give him credence. In comparison to Roddy, Toombs is much smaller in both weight and stature. However, that shouldn’t deter anyone from being convinced of his potential. Often the transition from amateur to professional can be a challenge, but we anticipate that Colt will be able to do so. He is only 26 years of age so he has his whole future ahead of him.
5. David Finlay
Does he like to fight? If he is anything like his father, he certainly does. He is a fourth generation wrestler, whose father earned a name for himself as The Belfast Bruiser, as well as competing as Finlay in the WWE. Finlay has only been competing since 2012, so his time in the ring is relatively brief. He is, however, trained in the martial arts discipline of Judo. Finlay has achieved extensive training and development in the UK and Japan, which appears to be a common practice for a number of our next generation wrestlers. Finlay has been called green because he is so new to the sport, and even though his father was a long-time wrestler it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s had the same opportunity. While he realizes that he has huge boots to fill, that isn’t to say that he will fall short of what his father achieved. At 22 years of age, Finlay has a long time to develop, and is certainly someone fans need to keep an eye out for.
4. Tama Tonga
Tonga, while not blood-related to his father Tonga Fifita, who wrestled as Meng and Haku, still has qualities that stand out about him. As part of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Bullet Club, Tonga has earned notoriety. He is a graduate of Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley’s Team 3D Academy, and spent his early days competing in Puerto Rico, but it wasn’t until he went to Japan that Tonga really began to flourish. The name he competes under was previously used by his father, so as a homage to him he continues to use it today. He has faced the likes of Davey Richards and the Briscoe Brothers. Tonga has also competed in Mexico, and in doing so has had exposure to the Lucha Libre style of wrestling in the process. He is much more seasoned, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t transition to North America and still achieve success here.
3. Cody Hall
Someone once said “Bad days don’t last, but bad guys do.” This was said by, and about, Scott Hall. But in fact he could have been alluding to the fact that his son Cody is earning a name for himself in New Japan Pro Wrestling. A part of the popular wrestling faction The Bullet Club, Hall has the size and strength that made his father as successful as he was. At only 24 years of age, Hall has captured a couple of smaller titles while he was competing in the United States. However, if he was truly going to stand out he had to leave North America and go somewhere his father hadn’t earned a name for himself. He has earned the nickname “The Kliq Kid,” because of his ties to Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman through his father Scott. Cody has a bright future ahead of him and is someone wrestling fans need to keep an eye out for here in North America.
2. Tessa Blanchard
This third generation wrestler is an incredible in-ring talent. The daughter of Tully Blanchard has earned a name for herself competing on the independent circuit. What has made her such a standout is that she is achieving success at such a young age. Only twenty years of age, Blanchard has been trained by her father Tully and stepfather Terry Allen, both of whom had tremendous success in the sport. Her speed and size are a plus, and while some next generation wrestlers never develop, in Tessa’s case she appears to be a quick learner with heart and determination. While some may say she is green in the ring that is mainly attributable to lack of time to develop. However, she is developing and promises to be someone fans can expect great things from. She has been around the industry all her life and the sky is the limit for this talented young woman.
1. Cheerleader Melissa
She isn’t new to the sport, but a wrestler that has grown significantly in popularity the past few years is Melissa Anderson. Don’t let the cheerleader moniker fool you, she is every bit as tough as anyone in the ring today. The oldest next generation wrestler on this list, the daughter of Doug Anderson actually wanted others to be harder on her during her training, as the idea of her getting treated differently wasn’t something he wanted for her. It has definitely made a difference, as Melissa has appeared all over the world and competed for such promotions as TNA. In 2013, Melissa was ranked #1 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s top 50 female wrestlers list, which says something about her hard work and commitment over the years. If you’ve seen her work, you know just how good she is, and if you haven’t, please look up her matches in promotions such as Shimmer, as she is dynamite. She is a next generation wrestler that you will not regret getting to know.