Many feuds that WWE superstars take part in become personal fast, and that usually means that WWE allows the superstars to have a much more intriguing story line.
Sometimes, this means that superstars attempt to impersonate other stars often with hilarious results. Wrestlers are mimicked by members of The WWE Universe all of the time, and WWE even sells costumes; so it comes as no surprise that WWE has found an impressive way of integrating this into many top level rivalries.
It is much easier to impersonate superstars when they have a stand out feature, like when DX dressed up as Vince and Shane McMahon back in 2006, they included Shane’s dance and Vince’s famous hairstyle. These impersonations can be the best part of the feud, but when a wrestler fails to mimic that particular wrestler in a way the WWE Universe expects, then it can all go very wrong.
Many wrestlers have stand out mannerisms and traits that they have become famous for, and sometimes fans fail to grasp this. There have been many times where WWE has allowed an impersonation to happen as part of a story line and it has failed to see the feud move forward. Instead, it leaves the WWE Universe scratching its head as they try to figure out why it was even allowed to happen.
In the middle of the heated Monday Night Wars, WWE and WCW spared no expense to poke fun at each other’s star attractions. A prime example was when WWE decided to make a mockery of WCW’s hottest act Bill Goldberg with their own pint-sized version, Gillberg.
Duane Gill was a WWE jobber, but his bald head and goatee reminded WWE management of the Jackhammer machine in WCW. They decided to amuse themselves by making Duane Gill transform into Gillberg, the literal opposite of everything Goldberg was. Goldberg had an impressive undefeated streak, while Gillberg lost all the time. Gillberg’s catch phrase was “Who’s First?,” a play on Goldberg’s line “Who’s Next?” Goldberg came out showered by impressive pyro, while Gillberg had stage hands hold sparklers for his entrance.
While it was funny at first, the WWE beat a dead horse with the gimmick, giving it ample TV time to the point that WWE fans wanted to change the channel to see the real deal.
14. Charlie Haas
Much like how they put Damien Sandow in the role of copying WWE stars past and present, Charlie Haas’ lack of personality and failure to have a connection with the crowd resulted in the WWE deciding to make him a modern day copycat during his singles run.
He portrayed superstars such as John Cena, John “Bradshaw” Layfield,The Great Khali, MVP, and legends like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan and even WWE Diva Beth Phoenix.
This was hard to put on the list because most of Charlie Haas’ parody impersonations were good for a laugh, but unfortunately, this did nothing for his own career. As soon as he put an end to the parodies, he was a bore.
13. Rated RKO Dress Up As DX
D-Generation X’s reemergence in the mid to late 2000s was mainly to try to build up the young roster. However, it seemed that almost no one benefitted career-wise in a rivalry against DX. The Spirit Squad’s team of five were obliterated, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. also tried and failed, and even the odd pairing of Chris Jericho and The Big Show dropped the tag titles to Team Suck It.
Another odd pairing also tried and failed against DX, miserably. The team of the Rated R Superstar Edge and Randy Orton formed in 2006 to try to dethrone Hunter and Shawn. The two up and coming young stars tried to solidify themselves as the company’s future by taking a play from the DX playbook and impersonating them on an episode of Raw. What could’ve been a funny parody ended up falling seriously flat. It doesn’t help that we saw Randy Orton in leather chaps. I think Shawn Michaels is the only human on earth that can successfully pull that off.
12. Shawn McMahon
DX reunited in 2006 following what was an intense rivalry between Vince and HBK that resulted in HBK defeating The Chairman in a No Holds Barred Match at WrestleMania 22. While the original band was back together in the form of Triple H and Shawn Michaels and played to the nostalgic fans of the Attitude Era, it became apparent very quickly that the magic of the late 1990s wasn’t going to be captured once again with this reboot.
The DX reunion was a short one and has largely been regarded as bittersweet. A highlight (or lowlight for others) of the DX rebirth was Triple H and Shawn Michaels further antagonizing the McMahon Family by dressing up as Shane and Vince on a live episode of Monday Night Raw. The McMahon’s obviously didn’t take too kindly to the impersonation.
11. Paige’s Summer
WWE encourages their divas to dress up for much of their careers, whether that is for a Christmas themed episode or Halloween event. One of the strangest dress up competitions occurred back in 2014 when SmackDown hosted a Costume Battle Royale.
Former NXT and Divas Champion Paige entered the competition dressed as Summer Rae, whilst Summer herself was dressed as a nerd. The duo weren’t in a feud at the time and there was no explanation as to why Paige dressed up as Fandango’s dance partner. Paige certainly was out of character with the ensemble she donned, and the fact that it wasn’t provoked by anything prior to the match left the WWE Universe scratching their heads.
10. Stone Cold Marella
Santino Marella was a comedic genius whenever he was on camera. Santino decided to create a problem with Stone Cold Steve Austin back in 2007 after he voiced his problems with the fact that he was not the main cast member in WWE Studio’s production of The Condemned. This led to Santino delivering some painfully cringe worthy promos where he would mimic the real star of the film in his trademark broken English.
These promos led to the Texas Rattlesnake finally confronting Marella, and proceeded to “open up a can of whoop-ass” on the Italian superstar. The feud was thankfully short lived and it was obviously only created as a way to further promote Stone Cold’s new film.
9. Kurt Cena
Before John Cena became the face of the WWE brand, he debuted on SmackDown as The Doctor of Thuganomics. Something Cena did to stand out from the rest of the roster was the hip hop gimmick he brought to his character. He also used to diss his opponents before his matches with creative rap verses. This became a successful gimmick, but it was also one that many WWE stars could easily mock over the years.
Kurt Angle was one of these stars and during his feud with John Cena in 2003, he dressed up as Cena, clad in a cap, sneakers, jorts and a football jersey and addressed the crowd following his tainted victory. This was only matched by the fact that a pint-sized Kurt Angle impersonator then followed him out in what became a dire segment on SmackDown.
8. Piggy James
WWE is supposed to be entertaining for children and in their current PG era, they steer a lot of the show towards youngsters; which is why the “Piggy James” storyline was one of the worst. What was supposed to be an angle to garner sympathy for Mickie James and draw boos for the team of Michelle McCool and Layla ended up being a very tasteless series of body shaming segments that played out on TV.
There were rumours that this story line came about after Mickie James refused to lose weight, which makes it incredibly harsh since Mickie James looked healthy and fit compared to the average woman. When Layla dressed up in a fat suit to look like Mickie, it was disgraceful and a lot of parents complained about it.
7. Macho Mandow
It is hard to talk about bad impersonations without including Damien Sandow’s tribute to Hall of Famer Randy Savage. For more than a year, Sandow made his way around the world dressing up as different characters and stars from WWE’s past history in every town he visited as a way to gain cheap heat.
He was then partnered with Curtis Axel as the duo became The Mega Powers. This was a cheap way for WWE to include Axel and Sandow in tag team matches and the duo broke up soon after Hulk Hogan was released from the company – which made this whole saga quite disappointing for the WWE Universe. Usually when impression gimmicks are given to a wrestler, it’s usually because the WWE creative department doesn’t have anything to sink their teeth into. This wasn’t the case with the talented Sandow, and it’s a shame how he was treated after getting the crowd to side with him during his feud with the Miz.
6. AJ Bella
AJ Lee and Nikki Bella had an incredible rivalry that went back and forth throughout 2014, which eventually led to Nikki defeating AJ to become the Divas Champion.
Even though the feud was one of the best that the women’s division had seen in a long time, it seemed that the WWE creative team had a problem progressing it up to the PPV and added an impersonation storyline into the mix. Brie dressed up as AJ Lee on Raw before AJ returned the insult by dressing up as Nikki. It was quite obvious that this was just a way to fill the story line leading up to their showdown at Survivor Series. You can always count on WWE to pull the “let’s mock each other” card out when they are out of compelling ideas.
5. Edge Flair
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Edge is one of the most entertaining wrestlers of the last generation, but back in 2006, the WWE Hall of Famer proved that he was only the best at being entertaining when he was being himself.
The Rated R Superstar impersonated the “jet flyin’, limosineridin’, kiss stealing, wheeling, dealing, son of a gun” himself, Ric Flair, ahead of their match at TLC. Edge’s mockery of the fellow Hall of Famer showed him getting angry at a driver, pulling him out of his car and putting him in the figure four leg lock. It was a segment that wasn’t needed and didn’t make a lot of sense at the time. It was entertaining, but it could have easily been avoided with better writing. Let’s face it, though, who doesn’t have a Ric Flair impression up their sleeve? We all have one, no matter how terribly executed.
4. Kaitlyn Lee
AJ Lee and Kaitlyn both came into WWE through NXT and were the best of friends both on and off screen. This followed through in the ring as the two women managed to have one of the greatest feuds in the current era of women’s wrestling.
The feud led up to Kaitlyn dressing up as AJ Lee, and AJ returning the favour by dressing up as Kaitlyn. The WWE continued to portray AJ as the first psychotic female wrestler since Mickie James. While the matches between these two besties were absolutely incredible, and showed how much they’ve grown in the ring as competitors, there was no need for the gimmick swap. It was a bit unsettling to say the least, seeing that AJ actually wore a muscle suit to mock Kaitlyn!
3. Miz Rock
On the go home episode of Monday Night Raw, John Cena was being attacked by Brodus Clay and Alberto Del Rio when The Rock’s music played in the arena. The crowd reacted in absolute excitement, believing that The Rock was making an impromptu appearance to save John Cena from the brutal beatdown. Those cheers quickly permeated into boos when it was revealed to be the Miz dressed up as the Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment. The impression, while an excellently classic heel move, was quite disappointing.
2. Fake Razor Ramon & Fake Diesel
In 1996, the WWE took a big hit to their roster when Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall and Kevin “Diesel” Nash decided to take their talents down south to WCW. They were staples of the WWE’s New Generation, and had carved themselves as corner stones of the Federation with their characters. When they refused to renew their contracts and went for the big bucks to be in WCW, the insulted Vince McMahon told them they couldn’t have the gimmicks that made them famous.
Hall and Nash didn’t care and believed they could get over just using their real names, which they did. WWE believed that the character is what people wanted and they could slot anyone into the roles of Razor and Diesel, and the fans would be happy.
Wrong. Dead wrong.
After hyping up the “return” of Diesel and Razor Ramon to WWE TV (while Nash and Hall were in WCW), the WWE audience were given two wannabes dressed up as the characters. To say that it fell flat would be putting it mildly. They sucked and the careers of the impersonators Rick Bogner and Glenn Jacobs fell by the wayside after a few months. Jacobs would however redeem himself with his next gimmick, Kane.
1. Triple H As Kane
Triple H had a solid impression of the Rock during his time with DX, but when he decided to don the red mask during his feud with Kane and mock the Big Red Machine, the impression not only fell flat, but ended up going beyond the bounds of good taste.
During Kane’s feud with Triple H, Hunter aired out Kane’s dirty laundry by claiming that when Kane was younger, he had a relationship with a woman named Katie Vick who died in a car accident. Not only did Hunter accuse Kane of being responsible for the woman’s death, but he went as far as to say that Kane had intercourse with Katie’s dead body. Hunter claimed to have footage of it happening and threatened to show the world.
When he finally showed the “footage,” it was actually Triple H in a Kane mask appearing at a funeral home and talking dirty to a fake body in a coffin. Triple H took it a step further by undressing, hopping into the coffin and simulating sex with the mannequin Katie Vick. The segment was nauseating, and this terrible television excursion was the worst angle WWE has ever produced. Vince McMahon loved it, though, so I guess that’s all that matters.