WWE's Road Dogg On Nepotism In Wrestling, Second Generation Stars Like Bray Wyatt

Professional wrestling is one industry where nepotism is not only not looked down upon, but it's often encouraged by both fans and those within the field. From the late Terry Funk to WWE star Cody Rhodes, legacy is an important part of wrestling. WWE producer Brian "Road Dogg" James, himself a second-generation wrestler, spoke on his podcast, "Oh, You Didn't Know?" about the importance of family ties in wrestling.


"Maybe it's just me, but [it] seems like there's a connection there, with second-generation wrestlers," James said. "There's something there, and it transcends geography." James then stated that performers who grew up in wrestling families are often able to identify with one another, as they can feel like their families are "cut from the same cloth."

"You could say, and there are examples both ways, that [it's] nepotism, cronyism, whatever you want to call it," James continued. "I pray, at least, that I stood on my own two feet after getting in because of family."

James' father was a wrestler known as Bob Armstrong, who competed in the American Southeast throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. James later broke into the business after serving with the United States Marine Corps, joining up with WCW before moving to the WWF in 1994.


Road Dogg on Bray Wyatt

After discussing the role legacy plays in wrestling, James returned to the topic at hand, someone who was a third-generation wrestler — Bray Wyatt. Wyatt, who recently died of a heart attack, was the son of Mike Rotunda (also known as I.R.S.), the nephew of Barry and Kendall Windham, and the grandson of Blackjack Mulligan. James spent some time sharing his thoughts on Wyatt, whose real name was Windham Rotunda.


"He was like a supernova," James said of Rotunda. "What a character. His character is comparable to The Undertaker. ... He's gone too soon, and that's all there is to it."

James complimented Rotunda's ability to continue evolving his onscreen character and taking it in new directions, with the former New Age Outlaw picking the Wyatt Family match against The New Day in the woods and Randy Orton's stint in the Wyatt Family as particularly memorable moments. Speaking about his 2022 return, it's clear James saw a great deal of promise in Rotunda's future in wrestling.

"It seemed like he had come back again and there had been another layer of depth added," James continued. "And I could only imagine and was waiting with bated breath to [find out] what was to come next. So, man — gone way too soon."


'A New Locker Room Leader'

As the episode focused largely on Rotunda and the Wyatt character, James continued speaking about the late performer. Echoing what many other friends and co-workers have said in the days after his passing, James was happy to discuss how kind Rotunda was to everyone in the locker room and beyond.


"I never saw a sour Windham, you know what I mean?" James said. "He was fun and games, but when the red light comes on, it's a different story. ... It was fun to be around him."

James called Rotunda this generation's version of Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy, a member of the Fabulous Freebirds who was lauded by his peers as a one-of-a-kind talent. Additionally, the former DX member said that Rotunda was a professional in every way possible, pointing to his two WWE WrestleMania matches against John Cena as examples, as Cena would only want to work with the best of the best.

"He was a new locker room leader, in a lot of the ways that [The Undertaker] was," James continued. "There's still some old-timers there who'd maybe been there longer than he had, but Bray set a standard, man. He was a pro, and it's still surreal to me, man."