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Family Name - Help or Hindrance?


Jackpot

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There's plenty of people who have a family history in the business of wrestling but I find it hurts a lot of the people trying to live up to the family name. And I much prefer it when they are allowed to be their own personality as opposed to being "x person's kid".

 

My biggest gripe with this at the moment is with Charlotte. She is being portrayed simple as Ric Flair's daughter. She has his entrance music, she "woos" constantly, her finisher is the figure four and she does the chop more than any other move. Why can't she just be her own person who happens to be Flair's daughter rather than Ric Flair's daughter who happens to also wrestle. When they introduced the Rock as Rocky Maivia, it didn't work for a number of reasons. Once he moved away from his family roots, he became the legend he is. Goldust as Dusty's son didn't click, a change of character was required.

 

I have no problem keeping their family name as their ring name as long as they're portrayed as an individual character. For example, is Randy Orton his own person or Bob Orton's son? I had no idea Road Dogg's dad was a wrestler until a few years ago. There's no mention of IRS being the father of Bray and Bo Dallas. 

 

Is a wrestling family name a help or hindrance?

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My biggest gripe with Charlotte is the name of her finisher: the figure-8 leg lock because it’s, “Twice as good as her daddy’s.” No! It’s called a figure-4 because you twist the legs into the figure ‘4’. Doing a bridge doesn’t change the shape you twist the legs in to!

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Would Charlotte even be in the spot that she's in if she wasn't Ric Flair's daughter?   If you can argue no, and I'd say the case is very strong for it since Becky, Bailey and Sasha all had wrestling careers before signing up to NXT, then its helped her.  

 

Besides, you might as well give her the gimmick of being Ric Flair's daughter.   You could give her a nudist gimmick, but once the smark crowds get wind of who she is, you'll get more "woos" than a siren factory.    

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In this age where the crowd knows more and more about the talent before they've even made it to the main show, it's just easier to embrace the fact that she is Ric Flair's daughter and go with it. Why cause yourself the headache of trying to distance her from it if the crowd are just going to WHOOO! Any way.

They're damned if they do and damned if they don't. People threw a hissyfit fit when Joe Hennig was renamed Michael McGuilicuty as everyone knew he was Mr Perfect's kid and cried some bullshit about not acknowledging it. So what did they do? they changed it and gave him his dad's theme, move set and he started calling himself Better Than Perfect...and the crowd still didn't care about him

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The name gets you in the door, but the work is what keeps you there. Say what you will about the amount of time between the ropes Charlotte has had compared to other Divas around her, but you can't deny she carries herself with poise and confidence, she cocks up less than many who've been there years, and she's unique enough in style to stand out from her opponents and her father. She's taken the tropes associated with her dad and tweaked them using her own skills into something a bit different, so long term fans can appreciate the reference while new fans just enjoy the movez.

 

I think if you're the offspring of a big enough name, it makes perfect sense to milk it. Many of the old names whose kids are coming up now are of a generation many current fans won't be aware of outside grainy footage from Network docs, and often had big bold simply-defined characters that are lacking in this age of tweeners and "entertaining" heels. Rehash them. Only a fraction of the crowd will notice, it gives the talent a solid base to build their own history from, and it adds the the idea of the WWE Universe having a storied history.

 

Dustin Rhodes was mega over as Dusty's son when he first came up, but was a good enough talent to get a new gimmick over when he had to. Bob Orton was never distinctive enough for Randy to ape, anyway. The typecasting move-wise of the Anoais and Maivias is a cultural thing more than family. Dibiase and Hennig simply didn't have the talent to get anything over (and I'd argue more people would know Million Dollar Man and Mr Perfect than Ted Dibiase and Curt Hennig, anyway).

 

So yeah, if you're going to run with the name, go the whole hog.

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Randy Orton is a perfect example of it being done right, you know he's got it in his blood but he surpassed his relatives achievements ages ago and it's never overshadowed him.

 

Curtis Axel is the opposite, he'll never be as good as his dad doing the same gimmick and he can't get himself over either.

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If it was Ric Flair's son just portraying the nature boy character, it'd be a shit rip off with no hope of suceeding. However the fact that Charlotte is a female wrestler means it's much easier to toe the tribute line as opposed to blatant copy. Yeah she woos and she has similar music but she has a good style of her own, for a girl, and she works it well.

 

It's funny how there are always some people moaning when they don't embrace a wrestlers heritage, McGillicutty/Axel being the obvious example, and some who'll moan if they do. So they can't really win.

 

I think they have a decent balance at the moment. They realise that there is fuck all value in being IRS's kid for instance and let the guys be themselves. However being Rikishi's twin sons who've been around the locker room for the last 30 years is different. So is being the daughter of an absolute legend. Why wouldn't you play that up?

 

To gripe about Charlotte is ridiculous on another level because there is an obvious ceiling on what she'll ever achieve as a Diva. She'd hit that ceiling if she was genuinely portraying Ric Flair with tits, dodgy back bumps an 'all. And she'll hit it as Charlotte too. So it really, really doesn't matter one jot.

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In this age where the crowd knows more and more about the talent before they've even made it to the main show, it's just easier to embrace the fact that she is Ric Flair's daughter and go with it. Why cause yourself the headache of trying to distance her from it if the crowd are just going to WHOOO! Any way.

They're damned if they do and damned if they don't. People threw a hissyfit fit when Joe Hennig was renamed Michael McGuilicuty as everyone knew he was Mr Perfect's kid and cried some bullshit about not acknowledging it. So what did they do? they changed it and gave him his dad's theme, move set and he started calling himself Better Than Perfect...and the crowd still didn't care about him

 

They DID acknowledge it when he was McGillicutty. It was pretty much all they said about him, which made it really weird that he was using a really shit name instead of his own. They then changed it to a name that was even worse. Curtis Axel was never going to get over because they never bothered to give him a proper identity, at least until Axelmania.

 

I agree with Jackpot. There's a difference between acknowledging someone's family and just having them be a rip off. Randy Orton benefited from being billed as a "Third Generation Superstar" when he first broke in, but he wasn't running about in a Cowboy hat and lamping people with his cast. Acknowledging Charlotte as Flair's daughter is fine but she really needs to be more than that.

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It purely depends on the name it's coming from.

 

People like Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair are such huge names with such legacies and people are still talking about the to this day. There children will have to do something super-duper-mega special in people's eyes to surpass there parent. 

 

However, take the Rock. His grandad was well known, but as a strong mid-card act. Same difference with Rocky Johnson, solid mid-card who had no major feuds or stories people can recite off the top of there heads. So when the Rock came through, people can still understand the name recognition but there's enough ambiguity for the kid to be taken on there own merits

 

IMO anyway.

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There has always been pressure when a family name is prominent though, look at the extremes what happened to mike and Chris von Erich, yeah there were drugs involved but them not living up to the name was part of the thought process. That was before the days of the internet fan knowing everything, but I guess that territory was so tight knit that fans knew the boys even before they debuted.

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I think it goes both ways, and it comes down to the individual in the end. There is more initial pressure, but if they surpass expectations, then the name gives them an extra boost. If they fall short, the drop is also more pronounced. Comparing David with Charlotte captures that dynamic pretty perfectly, actually

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It purely depends on the name it's coming from.

 

People like Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair are such huge names with such legacies and people are still talking about the to this day. There children will have to do something super-duper-mega special in people's eyes to surpass there parent. 

 

However, take the Rock. His grandad was well known, but as a strong mid-card act. Same difference with Rocky Johnson, solid mid-card who had no major feuds or stories people can recite off the top of there heads. So when the Rock came through, people can still understand the name recognition but there's enough ambiguity for the kid to be taken on there own merits

 

IMO anyway.

 

I agree with this.

 

Rocky Johnson and Peter Maivia were obviously great, but by the time young Dwayne comes around, nobody outside hardcore fans really remembers them, so it's easy enough to push him as a third-generationer without too much of a shadow. Same with Mr. Perfect and Larry "The Ax" Hennig, and Bret & Stu Hart. Conversely, as someone said earlier, it also provides the option to completely dispense with any references to a previous generation and just give them their own characters, e.g. the Rotundo lads.

 

However, if Stone Cold's, Rock's, Undertaker's, Triple H's, Kurt Angle's, Big Show's or Cena's kids were ever to get into wrestling, it might be too difficult, especially in the day and age of the internet, to push them as anything but their fathers' kids.

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