At Sunday’s Royal Rumble, one of professional wrestling’s most well-known family dynasties added another historic accomplishment to an already lengthy list as Charlotte Flair won the 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble match. In doing so, she joined her father Ric Flair in achieving this feat as the Nature Boy won in 1992. Not once in WWE‘s history had a parent/child duo both won the Royal Rumble prior to this year. That may surprise people as fathers and sons, and even fathers and daughters have competed in royal rumbles in the past, but none succeeded where Ric and Charlotte did.
“When I went out there, I thought if I won, my dad and I would be the first father-daughter duo to win the Royal Rumble,” Charlotte said in her post-match interview. “And I’m like, just another, I guess, addition to our legacy.”
In the role of a pro wrestling daughter, Charlotte was able to do something that no son had been able to do, but for Ric’s youngest daughter, those achievements don’t stop there. Charlotte’s career has already been tenfold as successful as her brother David Flair, as it’s been Ric’s daughter, not son, who has carried on the mantle of the truly great Flair legacy. And to think Charlotte is not the only one, not by a long shot. From Vince McMahon to Stephanie McMahon, Jim Neidhart to Natalya, Tully Blanchard to Tessa Blanchard and so many more, some of wrestling’s greatest family dynasties are being carried forth by the daughters.
“It’s very empowering for me as a women’s athlete and it’s such a blessing to be able to carry on what my dad, my stepdad and my grandfather laid the foundation for,” Tessa said during an IMPACT Wrestling conference call last year when asked a question about being a daughter carrying on a proud family lineage in the business. “Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do this or do that or lift this or execute that. I’ve always wanted to inspire and motivate people and it just so happens that God gave me the platform of professional wrestling to hopefully do that for people.”
Charlotte echoed that statement, stating in an interview that “my dad’s legacy means the world to me.”
Welcome to the Queendom
“Welcome to the Queendom
The Queendom, where the Kings bow down
Then relinquish the crown.”
When Stephanie McMahon enters an arena, there is a presence there that not too many wrestlers or non-wrestlers can achieve. It’s a presence she shares with her father. While not the first daughter to ascend to a position that years ago would have been reserved for a son, Stephanie McMahon’s role in helping run the largest and most prominent wrestling company in the world is one that can’t be overlooked. In a lot of ways, she broke the glass ceiling within a male-dominated industry. It’s a ceiling that continues to be shattered in ways that seemed impossible not that long ago.
Take Natalya for example. Considered to be the first third-generation female wrestler in history, Natalya was born into one of pro wrestling’s most well-known families, the Harts, and it’s been her and not her male cousins, that is the most well known for carrying forth the family name. Natalya is the only woman to have trained in the Hart Dungeon and the only one to be recognized as part of the Hart Foundation. She’s a two-time inductee into the Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame and has had a career in WWE that likely ensures her place in that Hall of Fame when all is said and done as well.
Then there’s Charlotte, who may well be the best example of a daughter succeeding where a son did not. Initially, with no interest in wrestling, Charlotte picked up the art in memory and honor of her brother Reid, who was in the early stages of his own career before passing away. She began training at the Performance Center in 2012 where it was clear and obvious she possessed a gift and the raw talent needed to succeed in the industry. Charlotte was 26 when she got into the business, but you wouldn’t guess she had such a late start by looking at her resume. One of the faces of WWE/NXT‘s Women’s Revolution, Charlotte became the first woman to main event a PPV, the first woman to main event WrestleMania, the first woman to wrestle inside Hell in a Cell and first woman to win the new WWE Women’s Championship. In all, she’s won 11 titles and has done so spending most of her career as the top woman within company ranks.
Within WWE, Paige is another example of daughters, not sons carrying forth a family name. The daughter of pro wrestling’s Knight Family, Ricky Knight and Saraya, Paige grew up in and around a wrestling ring. It was always a dream of hers, along with her brothers, to make it big in WWE. Both Paige and Zak Zodiac received tryouts but it was only Knight’s daughter who was signed by the company. Just 27, Paige is a former three-time champion within WWE/NXT, who is perhaps best known for winning her first main roster title the night of her main roster debut. While sidelined perhaps forever due to injury, Paige accomplished a lot in a short time.
Among others including Carmella (father – Paul Van Dale), Tamina (father – Jimmy Snuka) and Xia Brookside (father – Robbie Brookside), pro wrestling daughters in WWE have soared to new heights and it may only just be beginning. According to Stephanie McMahon, her and Triple H‘s oldest daughter Aurora Rose has begun training to become a wrestler and having already been in the ring for some time, Simone Garcia Johnson is ready to make an electrifying legacy of her own.
A little over a year ago, Johnson, 2018 Golden Globes Ambassador, model and of course, daughter of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, embarked on her career as a professional wrestler, where if successful she’ll be the first fourth-generation female wrestler in history. It’s a career that Simone has dreamed of ever since she was just nine or 10 years old, revealing as much this past July on the Swerve City Podcast.
Allowed to train once a month at the WWE Performance Center starting shortly after her 16th birthday, Simone dove headfirst into the world of professional wrestling and unsurprisingly has taken to it quite well. In January, Triple H fielded questions about the young model, noting her desire and “bug” for the business has been evident. The belief, gleaned from Simone’s own words, is that she’ll attend college and complete her degree before fully joining the ranks of a WWE superstar. When she does so, however, she’ll be in good company alongside the other daughters included here.
Blazing a New Trail
On January 12th, Tessa Blanchard made history when she defeated Sami Callihan to become the first woman to win the IMPACT World Championship and one of few woman to win a men’s world title period. Leading up to that match, Callihan and Blanchard’s feud marked the first time an intergender match main evented a PPV.
Daughter of Tully Blanchard, granddaughter of Joe Blanchard and stepdaughter of Magnum TA, the 24-year-old Tessa has already blazed a trail for herself, all the while proudly carrying forth the Blanchard name. A professional wrestler since just 2014, Tessa has already done more than most wrestlers, male or female, have done in entire careers. While not a WWE superstar, Tessa’s career has been just as impressive as the one Charlotte has carved out. In fact, it might even be more so given it wasn’t that long ago either, that Tessa held seven women’s titles from seven different promotions. No other woman has held more than five. Even Austin Aries at the height of his belt collecting had just six from different companies (he was both IMPACT world and grand champion). Tessa’s dominance at so many different companies is just a testament to how in-demand she is right now, as not just one of the best female wrestlers in the world, but, as she proved a few weeks ago, one of the best wrestlers period.
Before Tessa Blanchard, before Charlotte Flair, before many of the daughters included here, Mary and her sister Faby Apache, were already grinding on the indies, carrying forth the legendary legacy of their dad, Gran Apache. Both Mary and Faby are former Reina de Reinas champions, with Faby even being regarded as one of the best female wrestlers to take the ring in AAA history. In all, Faby has won the Reina de Reinas title three times, as well as the Mixed Tag Team Championship four times. Much like her sister Mary, one of these title reigns came alongside their father. Together, the Apache family did something no other legacy family has done either, as the three of them won the AAA World Trios Championship shortly before Gran Apache passed away.
Also in Mexico, in CMLL, which is the oldest professional wrestling company in the world, following the sudden and untimely death of her father Paco Alonso, Sofia Alonso has sought to carry forth her father’s proud legacy. Upon her father’s death, Sofia acknowledged that she could have chosen not to take the role, but she felt it was what needed to be done. Citing a strong love of lucha libre, Sofia is making it her mission to continue the work her father did for the promotion and so far, all eyes are on a bright future for CMLL.
From an executive level to those achieving successes within the ring, pro wrestling’s current generation of daughters are showing the next generation that anything is possible. As more and more daughters begin to enter wrestling, such as Bianca Carelli (father – Santino Marella), Miranda Gordy (father – Terry Gordy) and Women of Wrestling’s Teal Piper (father – Roddy Piper), whose career is still in its early stages, more and more of these great legacies will not just continue on, but flourish. Entrusted and emboldened with these legacies, pro wrestling’s daughters are blazing new trails for themselves, all while taking their rightful place in the family business and setting positive examples for young girls everywhere.
Wrestling is not just for the sons anymore and these women, who in most cases proudly bear their father’s ring surnames, are the reason why that barrier has been broken down and why so many dads can proudly support their little girls for following in their footsteps. Because of daughters like Tessa Blanchard, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Faby Apache and so many more, some of wrestling’s greatest family legacies are in very, very good hands.
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