Giving props to their pops

Giving props to their pops

Outside of the ring, some of us choose to dote upon our dads this year with a one-of-a-kind WWE Father's Day 2008 T-shirt, while others opt for a classy WWE Superstars neck tie. Inside the ring, however, a number of Superstars have taken it upon themselves to go over the top and bring their distinguished dads home some gold -- championship gold that is.

A flood of second- and third-generation Superstars have erupted on the scenes of Raw, SmackDown and ECW, especially in recent months, and all of these notable offspring have made dominating impacts in WWE.

Former WWE Champion Randy Orton is one of those young Superstars, and although he cannot flaunt gold to his dad -- WWE Hall of Famer "Cowboy" Bob Orton -- this Father's Day, he will take dear ol' dad's advice on how to become champ once again.

"I call him after every Raw and he'll watch. He critiques different things that I do," said Orton of his father. "Just being around him helps. I think we have a lot of the same mannerisms, we have the same punch. I think a lot of that attributes to my success today."

Being a former World Heavyweight Champion, Intercontinental Champion and World Tag Team Champion as well, that is a lot of success to thank your father for, Randy.

Another second-generation Superstar who was hoping to surprise his dad this year by walking through the door with some shine around his waist is Carlito, son of the legendary Carlos Colón. Although the Southpaw from San Juan has been unable to capture the World Tag Team Championship with his partner Santino Marella, the former Intercontinental Champion said he knew he would be successful in sports-entertainment from the very beginning.

"There's a lot of responsibility and a lot of ground to cover being the son of a legend like my father," Carlito explained, "but I always thought I could carry the ball and I think I've done a good job of doing that."

Raw Superstar DH Smith -- son of the late "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith -- also has big shoes to fill. Not only does he have to carry the name of his father, but also an entire wrestling lineage. With a grandfather like Stu Hart, uncles like Bret "Hit Man" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, and cousins like SmackDown Diva Natalya, Smith is grateful to bear such an illustrious name, though it can be bittersweet at times.

"You get compared to your father, which is not unfair, but a little bit difficult because my dad had such a legacy," Smith said. "I'm working really hard to fulfill that and it's tough because of the impact he made."

"Hopefully, I can do the same or work towards being the same as him." With any luck, like father (grandfather and uncles), like son.

Smith's third-generation SmackDown Diva cousin, Natalya, daughter of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, made her debut just three months ago and she is already in the running for the newly-created Divas Championship. Though dominant and fierce in the ring, the Diva has many light-hearted childhood memories of her father.

"The Jim Neidhart that people saw on TV was the Jim Neidhart we had at home," she recalled. "When he spoke to us, like if we were lying to him, he would pull his beard."

"The funny thing is, is that my dad has always loved spandex as long as I can remember," Natalya added. "The one and only PTA meeting my dad ever came to, he came on his Ninja motorcycle, no shirt on, a helmet that said ‘Fat Chicks Rule,' and spandex and knee pads."

Since his debut a year ago, Cody Rhodes, son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, managed to dominate on Raw and wrap the World Tag Team Championship around his waist in less than six months. Rhodes also has fond childhood memories of his "American Dream" dad.

"When I was in junior high school, he was not on a full-time road schedule and was actually involved in our junior football program. He was the head coach," Rhodes said.

"He was just a local celebrity and then he carved out a new niche for himself in the neighborhood. When we all got into high school and things became serious, [the football coaches] would always have him stand on the sidelines or maybe talk to us at halftime. Anyone he ever coached, still to this day, always calls him ‘Coach'."

Raw newcomer Ted DiBiase has also always had the support of his father, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, whether it was playing soccer as a boy, or finally deciding to follow in his dad's priceless footsteps.

"He always told me, no matter what you do, do it 110 percent and be the best," the young DiBiase said. "And, it was always, work hard and treat people how you want to be treated."

Not everyone can boast about having the kind of cold, hard cash that the DiBiase clan has, but perhaps that's not such a bad thing. Undying love and appreciation -- like that shared by these Superstars for their fathers -- that's something you just cannot put a price on.

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