Monday, August 26, 2013

Wrestling Legacy: Blessing or Curse?

The DiBia$e$
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Ted DiBiase, Jr. has announced he is stepping away from the WWE.  He released a YouTube video letting fans know what his plans are for the future.  Right now, he wants to focus on being a dad.  As a father myself, I commend him on his decision to put his family first.  I want to first and foremost wish him the best of luck, and really hope to see him back in the ring again when the time is right.

DiBiase is of course one of a long list of wrestling legacies.  His father was one of my favorite heels of the 1980's, proving everybody has a price.  When I learned the son of the "Million Dollar Man" would be headed to the WWE several years ago, I looked forward to seeing what DiBiase Junior had to offer.

New Million $ Man
Photo courtesy: WWE
His first angle came as a pompous, spoiled rich kid who "bought off" Cody Rhodes. The two won the tag team titles after Rhodes turned on his partner Hardcore Holly.  It was DiBiase's first match on the main roster of the WWE, which is not a bad way to start off a career.  I loved the duo of Rhodes and DiBiase as they were known as Priceless.  They had a chemistry that really worked and in an era where tag team wrestling was being overlooked, they did a great job making the titles relevant.  Eventually the two stars would join a more established third generation wrestler in Randy Orton and the trio became known as Legacy.  The faction didn't last long and like all good groups in wrestling imploded.

DiBiase floundered as a result.  He tried reviving his father's old Million Dollar Man gimmick and even carried the gold and diamond encrusted Million Dollar Belt, but the character went no where fast.  I actually liked what they did with him and Maryse, but it fell flat.  He got hurt and ended up being used very sparingly as a result.  I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I saw him wrestle.  We did run in to him in the parking lot of the 2012 Royal Rumble.  He was hurt then too, but checking out a DiBiase Posse tailgate party.

Rhodes, Orton, DiBiase: Legacy
Ted DiBiase seems like a great guy (I've actually interviewed him and his father on separate occasions).  I felt like his in ring work was good too, but he lacked the charisma that his father possessed back in the day (and still does for that matter).  I think a lot of times fans (myself included) see a legacy join the ranks and expect them to live up to their famous father's reputation.  It's only happened in a handful of cases, as far as I'm concerned, that the son or grandson has become a bigger star.  A few names that come to mind: Randy Orton, the Rock, Bret Hart, Kerry Von Erich, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, and Barry Windham.  It's still way too early to tell if Natalya, Cody Rhodes, Richie Steamboat, Bray Wyatt, and Ashley Flair will be more successful than their dads and grandfathers.

I think for that to happen, they must not rely on their heritage to be their only means of getting over.  That also means the writers and creative team need to have good ideas for these young men and women.  The fans must also consider these superstars based on who they are and not who their fathers were 20 years ago.

1 comment:

  1. So charitable of you to include Ashley Flair. She is in no doubt well on her way of leaving her father in her shadow. Time will tell.