Through the years there have been an incredible amount of characters in the wrestling industry, from warriors to macho men and fighters who represent the very notion of an underdog story; there has been no shortage of individuals for fans to get behind. Whether a heel character or the classic babyface, the world of wrestling showcases these characters in varying storylines that remain to this day utterly captivating and difficult not to enjoy, even for adults in this day and age.
With so many new characters breaking onto the scene and the classic figureheads still making their presence felt, there is a great dynamic on offer with so many fascinating characteristics on display. While originality still reigns supreme with many of these wrestlers, through the years there have been many who have taken to the imitation game. Some wrestlers may have stolen moves, borrowed specific traits and even dressed up as their famed counterparts in an attempt to win over – or in some cases, create heat – with the masses who watch week-in, week-out and they have served as great reminders that sometimes it can be a fun exercise to mix it up with the audience and recycle some classic content.
Let’s go through the archives and look at those entertainers who have borrowed brashly and brought it to some of their fellow workers.
15. Kurt Angle Raps Like Cena
Thank God for the return of Kurt Angle as Raw’s General Manager. For the Olympic Hero to be missing from the company for such a long time felt like a huge chunk of WWE history was missing and served as a stark reminder as to how brilliant the man was – in action and on the microphone.
While there are specific moments that will stand the test of time (that milk attack most notably), Angle provided a wonderful moment of imitation on an episode of SmackDown in 2003 before he would exit the company.
With Angle handing out an open call to his fellow wrestlers in the wake of his confrontation with Brock Lesnar at the then upcoming pay-per-view Vengeance, the Doctor of Thuganomics would walk down the ramp and lay down some beats in his heel persona. Not content with being laid to waste by Cena‘s lyrics, Angle would proceed to steal Cena’s attire and combine the gold chain and thug look with his own unique wordsmith persona.
What played out was something quite hilarious and reminiscent of Angle at his very peak. Those were the classic days; Cena as a heel and Angle killing it on the mic – can we return to those scenes Vince, please?
14. Gillberg And Mocking WCW
For those wrestling fans who were thoroughly entranced by the Attitude Era (this particular writer included), the Monday Night War between WWF and WCW in the 90s brought about so many incredible stories of the rivalry between the McMahon and Bischoff companies, even down to the specific wrestlers spearheading the charge for ratings for the two companies.
With Goldberg the clear figurehead at the heart of WCW’s operation, the WWF took to land some shots by way of parodying the unstoppable beast residing at Eric Bischoff’s wrestling entity, introducing their own unique version of the WCW Heavyweight Champion. That came by way of a much smaller, bald-headed wrestler – Gilberg.
First introduced in the late 90s following his winning of the Light Heavyweight Championship, Gillberg would come out to an entrance very reminiscent of Goldberg’s with ‘Gillberg’ chants having been pre-recorded and even sparklers being taken out by fire extinguishers poking fun at the WCW wrestler’s overall entrance. His whole appearance was also a massive dig into the ribs of the monster wrestler, donning a tattoo, black pants and keeping a shaved bald head for each of his appearances.
13. The Miz Is The Rock
With his current feud with John Cena mentioned later in this particular list, it seems rather apt that another storyline involving The Miz and Big Match John is also included. In 2011, with John Cena being assaulted on an episode of Raw by both Brodus Clay and Alberto Del Rio, The Rock‘s theme tune would belt out through the arena to a huge pop from the crowd.
Little did they know, even upon the appearance of ‘The Greatest One’, that Dwayne Johnson this was not, and instead The Miz appeared with a bald head, sunglasses and his bulky arms. Walking down the ramp with the swagger of the People’s Champion and even replicating his trademark introductory look at the crowd, Miz had the character nailed down and it was incredible.
He would then proceed to enter the ring and attack Cena, with their WrestleMania showdown just weeks away, and even plant his rival with a Rock Bottom. Totally surprising and yet wonderfully inspired, The Miz brought the heat in the best way possible.
12. Damien Sandow Introduces Bret Sandhart
Often a misunderstood and underused entity in the WWE, Damien Sandow did experience a fun stretch in his career where he would often parody other wrestlers and point out their less than favourable moments. It was often very funny and proved just how good Sandow was on the microphone.
Sadly it didn’t work in the long term and he was eventually released, but not before he brought to life one of his best moments in July 2014 in front of a passionate crowd in Montreal, Canada.
The man standing in the ring was the legendary Bret Hart, explaining just how important the fans and indeed the arena was to him, before his own entrance theme broke out with Sandow, in the guise of Bret Sandhart, came out to wreck havoc in mentioning the Montreal Screwjob, Bret tapping out to his own Sharpshooter against Shawn Michaels and much more.
11. Del Rio And Rodriguez Are Real Americans
In 2013, the Heavyweight title picture involved a brilliant feud between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger, with the latter in his Real American guise aided by manager Zeb Colter. The rivalry saw the heel pairing announcing that Del Rio and his own manager Ricardo Rodriguez were immigrants who had snuck across the border and were ready to eradicate their threat.
It played out as a well thought-out story and provided some decent in-ring action, but it was the video package played out by Del Rio and Rodriguez that became the true highlight.
Setting up a video camera and donning a fat suit to portray Colter and a brilliant blonde wig to represent Swagger, the Mexicans would proceed to parody the heel pairing and announce just how awful Mexicans were compared to ‘real’ Americans. Covering topics such as food and overall mannerisms, it was brilliant stuff and was only heightened in the comedy stakes by Del Rio’s delivery of Swagger’s famous “We The People” catchphrase.
10. Big Show Tackles Cena
Back in the early 2000s, John Cena was merely feeling a twinkle in his eye at the prospect of eventually becoming the go-to guy for Vince McMahon‘s behemoth empire. Introduced as the hottest young talent on the roster, Cena was introduced as a white rapper with as much attitude as he did lyrical bravado.
With Big Show having come back from a developmental stint to inject a whole new dimension to his own character, the two collided in a fierce rivalry that would culminate in a WrestleMania XX title match. In the lead-up to the ultimate main event between the pair, Show joined the list in individuals portraying the rapper/wrestler.
Brilliantly donning a bandana the wrong way round, slipping on a sports jersey and then proceeding to poorly impersonate the young up-and-comer, Big Show provided a moment of genius and even dared John to “Bring ya izz-ass to the riz-ing”. He may be mostly absent these days but at least Show has some true gold to look back on and this was one of his best.
9. D-X Do The Corporation
Their first – and by no means last – entry on our list, D-Generation X were always the kings of a promo and aside from impersonating another famous faction during the Attitude Era, the stable led by Triple H took it to the Corporation in December of 1998 as they opened up an episode of Raw.
With Hemsley dressed up as none other than The Rock (People’s Eyebrow stuck on and raised), the rest of the crew made up the numbers as the McMahons and even Brisco and Patterson were present, and somewhat close to someone’s posterior!
Road Dogg and Billy Gunn’s turns as Vince and Shane McMahon are truly unforgettable, with the former declaring himself a ‘scholar’, and Chyna’s brilliant Big Boss Man impression with the nightstick is equally as hilarious.
8. Rated RKO Vs D-Generation X
While Edge and Christian brought to life some truly laugh-out-loud impersonations of their fellow WWE superstars through the years, it was actually Edge’s other tag team partner in Randy Orton AKA Rated RKO that brought out the very best.
With the team entering into a feud with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, the D-X music would blast out into the arena only for two very different looking members of the faction to burst onto the ramp. Of course, it was Edge and Orton dressed as their opponents, with Edge hilariously mocking Helmsley’s water spitting routine, while Orton poked fun at Michaels and his age.
Both were in top form, especially Edge even capturing Triple H’s walk as he went down towards the ring, led by Orton’s Michaels showing his guns and donning the chaps. What proceeded was a comedown for Rated RKO as the real D-X ripped them apart in a perfectly poised segment.
7. The Rock Takes Them All On
There has never, and probably never will be, a wrestler who is quite as charismatic, audacious and popular on the microphone as The Rock. Plying his trade as one of the best wrestlers around for over a decade in the WWE, The People’s Champion raised many a roof with his incredible promos and unique in-ring ability.
With that said, he delivered one of his classic promos back in 2000 on Monday Night Raw prior to the pay-per-view Armageddon and a Hell in a Cell clash with Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, Triple H, Rikishi and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Asked by interviewer Kevin Kelly how he felt going into his first ever battle in the unforgiving steel structure, The Rock proceeded to mock his opponents by simply impersonating them. It is still to this day one of the best microphone moments of comedy ever. His Triple H dialogue is gold, the Kurt Angle moment genius and his Undertaker eyes rib-tickling. The Rock truly was The Great One on the mic.
6. It’s Shawn Michaels Brother!
It is now public knowledge that two wrestlers who never quite saw eye to eye in their careers were legends Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan. The former Mr. WrestleMania and the man who body slammed Andre The Giant before finding himself on the blacklist following some questionable comments, Michaels and Hogan were powerhouses in their era.
With that in mind, it was always the intention of Vince McMahon that the pair would lock horns in an epic feud. While Michaels proposed a three-match story that would see a win for each men followed by a winner takes all bout, Hogan took his backstage power to a different level, leading to SummerSlam match in 2005.
Hogan’s backstage politics boiling over, Michaels would take to Larry King’s show to poke fun at Hulkster, donning a blonde wig and bandana, the trademark moustache and a red sleeveless vest. He would then proceed to take digs at Hulk’s injury issues, his overuse of the word ‘Brother’ and the backstage politics that saw him refuse to lose to Shawn.
5. Not Diesel and Razor Ramon
In a short period of time in which commentator Jim Ross was a heel (thank god it was short-lived), the WWF lost two of their key components in Razor Ramon and Diesel to rivals WCW. It was a move that sent shockwaves through the industry and, in a desperation move to keep on top of the competition, the WWF tried to dupe the crowd – and failed miserably.
In 1996, the WWF – through Ross’ heel character – took to their main programming to announce that they had indeed secured the services of the two superstars once more, but it was with one slight snag. This wasn’t the real Ramon and Diesel, instead the pair were played off using Rick Bognar and the future Big Red Machine Kane, Glenn Jacobs.
It was embarrassing to the point of Bognar’s Razor Ramon impression falling flatter than anything in recent memory and only angered fans. Incidentally, after this hapless decision faltered, both Kevin Nash and Ramon would be brought back to the company eventually but a huge lesson was learnt that you simply cannot dupe the fans.
4. The Miz And Maryse Are John And Nikki
Whether you like him or not, it’s almost impossible to ignore how important The Miz has been to the success of the WWE of late, and most notably, SmackDown Live. Having proved that the Intercontinental Championship still deserves its place in the limelight with a fantastic long run last year, the wrestler and part-time movie star is undoubtedly one of the best heel characters you can find and he’s only taken that to the next level with his latest inspired move.
Having turned his attention towards John Cena and Nikki Bella, Miz and real-life wife Maryse are currently making waves with their own parody scenes of E! show, Total Bellas. With Miz in full John Cena get-up, including large t-shirts and the mannerisms of the 16-time World champion, he is joined by an equally hilarious Maryse as she waltzes into scenes swishing her hair back, thrusting her boobs forward and begging John to ask her to marry him.
Following their defeat at this year’s WrestleMania 33, one would have thought this would come to a bitter end, especially with the pair shifted over to Raw this past week, but no it seems like it will indeed continue. Miz confirmed just that when he duped fans into thinking Cena himself had jumped shows, but instead the cunning Mike Mizanin laughed his way all the way down that ramp. Let’s hope this one continues just a little bit longer…
3. D-Generation X Parody The Nation Of Domination
Back in 1998 and the height of arguably the best period of time in wrestling history, the Attitude Era provided its fair share of enthralling rivalries, but few were as intense and as magnetic as that boiling over between D-Generation X and the Nation Of Domination.
The faction led by Triple H and consisting of talented tag team Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, the dominating Chyna and the outrageous X-Pac were the hottest team around and when they came up against an equally exciting group that included The Rock, D’Lo Brown, The Godfather and Mark Henry you simply knew there would be fireworks.
Initially breaking out as a typical feud, it took until one particular night to see that the WWF were going all-in on this one. In a moment that could never be replicated in this day and age, D-X took one to their rivals as they literally replicated their exact look, including a very risqué move to don the makeup to match the race of said wrestlers. This would see the introduction of B’Lo Brown (Road Dogg), The Crock (Triple H), Mizark Henry (X-Pac) and Billy Gunn as The Gunnfather.
2. Dolph Ziggler’s Whole Persona & Moveset
Ziggler has forever maintained one part of his overall persona, his moves including many other wrestlers’ core moves. For a talent who dubs himself ‘The Show Off’, Ziggler has very little originality in his own skillset. Preferring the notion of being a ‘throw it all in the ring’ underdog, Dolph has always looked to others for his match-winning moves.
Very much a Billy Gunn rip-off of sorts, Ziggler has taken to utilising the Fame Asser as one of his signatures for years now and, in line with many others in this day and age admittedly, he is forever using the Super Kick (Sweet Chin Music in Shawn Michaels terms) as a match winner. Maybe one day we’ll see a Finisher that he’s come up with on his own, you never know.
1. Charlie Haas Irks JBL
Charlie Haas experienced a rather turbulent career in his time within the WWE. Having showed much promise upon his introduction when he went on to claim Tag Team gold with the impressive Shelton Benjamin, Haas soon found that life outside of the ‘World’s Greatest Tag Team’ would be tough.
His singles competition stint was hardly inspiring, but he will certainly be remembered for his stretch in which he irked JBL with various impressions of other superstars. From impersonations of stars such as MVP, The Great Khali, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, John Cena and even Beth Phoenix, Haas would then move on to JBL, whom he had been generating plenty of heat with.
Utilising some brilliant snaps of himself with JBL’s MamaJuana energy drinks company, donning the cowboy hat and even channeling his inner Bradshaw with that trademark Texan slur and guise that he was essentially a millionaire, Haas clearly thrived in this parody role. Essentially it was filler for two men in poor places in their careers but it was still entertaining enough.