Pro wrestling is not exactly known for its original ideas; often times, gimmicks or stories are taken either from real life events/people or a mixture of previous gimmicks - taking the best of what worked back then. For the few times a promotion does think outside the box with something completely different, it usually bombs horribly. So, rather than taking a chance on something unique, companies will look to each other for what has already worked with wrestling fans.
For companies like WWE and TNA, why reinvent the wheel? If something ends up going viral, just take the basic premise, put your own spin on it and off you go. Most recently, Matt and Jeff Hardy have been embroiled in a feud for the ages, thanks mostly to Matt’s “Broken Matt” gimmick, where he’s basically gone insane, with a white streak in his hair and a multitude of accents. They got the wrestling world buzzing with their outrageous segments (most notably, “The Final Deletion”), giving TNA a nice boost in the process.
TNA has been rebuilding its brand with a new roster of wrestlers in attempt to change the negative image they’ve cultivated over the last five years. This has not been ignored by the WWE, as they decided to put out their own very similar feud, which has been not nearly as good. This is not the first, nor the last time either company will steal from each other, so let’s take a look at previous times both companies have committed theft.
15 The Compound vs. The Sanctuary
Starting out with the inspiration for this entire collection is WWE’s poor attempt at copying Jeff and Matt Hardy’s “Final Deletion” match. Matt has gone a bit crazy and has fixated on deleting Jeff, who he refers to as “Brother Nero” (Nero is Jeff’s actual middle name). The two ended up fighting in a ring on Matt’s property, where fans got to enjoy fireworks, a dilapidated boat, and Jeff jumping off of high things. It’s so over-the-top that fans went absolutely nuts for this entire feud - so WWE decided to put their own spin on it.
14 Bad Brothers
There have always been similarities between Kane and Abyss, and in a way you could say TNA actually copied the WWE, which was until Director of Operations, Kane suddenly developed a split personality. At times, he was just a behind-the-scenes crony who was in The Authority, while having no memory of becoming Demon Kane, the evil side that would destroy wrestlers, and then go right back to the smiley Director of Operations.
13 Beautiful People Everywhere
Back in 2007, Angelina Love and Velvet Sky made their TNA debuts as The Beautiful People (their inspiration stemmed from both Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton), a duo that was initially seen as good and doing favors to others via makeovers. Well, it didn’t last too long, as the makeovers were soon used as a humiliating tactic by Love and Sky on almost all of the women in the division. They were not only a hit with the fans, but incredibly dominant almost right from the start of their alliance.
12 Is It Really A New Day?
MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Kenny King found commonality when they decided to go after Eric Young (who was TNA World Champion at the time) and take the title away from him. Debuting as The Beat Down Clan, the trio was able to work together to get Lashley the title, and bring some credibility to the group. It wasn’t but two months after their debut that Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods started to have segments together; although, it wouldn’t be another four months until the group formally came together as the New Day.
11 The “Other Woman”
In one of TNA’s worst stories ever, AJ Styles got wrapped up in something awful with Dixie Carter, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, and a woman who accused Styles that he was cheating on his wife and was the father of her unborn baby. This angle actually lasted weeks where Styles had a match against Daniels and earned the right to have a paternity test with the baby. Well, come to find out, "Claire" didn’t have a baby at all; it was just a way for Daniels and Kazarian to blackmail Styles, which bought a prompt end to a horrid story.
10 Line Stealing
Melina had a solid six year run with the WWE, not only managing MNM, but winning the Women’s and Divas Championships a total of five times. During one of her promos, Melina proclaimed that she is “not just another pretty face,” which in itself is not really a big deal. The problem was that ODB had been saying that exact phrase for months over on TNA and plenty of fans took notice.
9 Feed Her More
It’s always been amazing how good Gail Kim has performed (and has been treated) in TNA, while looking so mediocre during her multiple runs with WWE. Well, in October 2013, there was yet another example of fraud when Kim won her third TNA Knockouts Championship and proceeded to do an “Open Challenge” as a way to shake up the division and bring in all kinds of women to wrestle in TNA.
8 Angle’s Accusations
From 1998 until 2006, Kurt Angle was a staple of the WWE roster, as he was almost always in the mix for one of their titles. Angle was a rare talent that could work both face and heel, while also performing incredibly serious or funny segments, without missing a beat. Unfortunately, due to health issues, Angle had to ask for his release from the company so he could heal up. TNA quickly swooped in, signing the former Olympian who worked for them from 2006 until 2016.
7 Cruiserweights Finally Get Some Love
WCW was a promotion that gave Cruiserweights plenty of TV time and WCW was rewarded handsomely with some of the finest matches ever seen by guys like Brian Pillman, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio Jr. That all came to a sudden stop when WWE bought out WCW, and took the Cruiserweight Championship with them. Unfortunately, WWE never really took the title too seriously, as it was never really a focal point for the promotion. Proof of this would be that Hornswoggle was the final champion as WWE quietly retired the title in 2008.
6 A Knockout Revolution
The Knockout Championship didn’t debut until 2007, but TNA had been running a strong division since 2003, bringing all the top indy wrestlers at the time like Cheerleader Melissa, Alexis Laree (aka Mickie James), ODB, and Mercedes Martinez. Once the title came into play, things just got better as women like Kim, Angelina Love, Brooke, and Awesome Kong all became dominant forces within the division.
5 It’s Got To Be The Beard
Now switching to what TNA has copied, we start with Daniel Bryan and Eric Young's stories. Bryan’s story will go down as one of the best underdog moments ever in wrestling, as fans literally brought him up the card until WWE had no choice but to put their biggest title on him. After months and months of getting antagonized by The Authority, Daniel Bryan beat not only Triple H, but also Randy Orton and Batista to win the WWE title at WrestleMania XXX.
4 The “Montreal” Screwjob
Back at the 1997 Survivor Series, Bret Hart was defending his WWE title against Shawn Michaels, which would be a great main event on most nights. This night was different, though, as Hart was to be shipped off to WCW and Vince McMahon was incredibly paranoid that Bret would take the title with him. So, Vince ended up telling referee Earl Hebner to say Bret tapped out (even though he didn’t), stopping the match, and giving the title to Michaels.
3 AJ Punk?
Back in 2011, CM Punk had an amazing story where his WWE contract had almost expired, so his plan was to defeat then WWE Champion, John Cena, and take off with the title afterwards. Truthfully, he did this same story when he was working for Ring of Honor and was about to head off to the WWE, but a lot fewer fans had seen the story in ROH.
2 Abyss: Modern Kane
The joke on Abyss has always been that he’s basically the lovechild of Kane and Mankind, and while his look is more Mankind, his size and story is more like Kane. Before the whole Joseph Park split-personality story came into play, Abyss was mostly known for being an evil monster that had a sinister manager named James Mitchell, and he was eventually revealed to be Abyss’ father. If this sounds familiar, Paul Bearer was also revealed to be the same while managing The Big Red Monster.
1 Team Hell No Rip-Off
Depending on how much you believe in conspiracies, Team Hell No was basically a way to cool down the white-hot Daniel Bryan. Whenever a guy was put into the tag division (as a comedy duo, no less) it’s usually a sign that his WWE career trajectory is going to take a nose dive. This was not the case for Bryan, though, as both he and Kane became one of the most popular tag teams in recent memory. With their “Yes!” and “No!” battles, these two hated being around each other, but worked well in the ring, winning the tag titles once.
The dysfunctional tag team idea went over to TNA, when they teamed Austin Aries and Bobby Roode together as two heels that needed to get their careers back on track. Thanks to their massive egos, both men would argue intensely with each other, which would come off as hilarious to the fans. In fact, this wasn’t a bad pairing by any means; it’s just funny after months of Team Hell No, TNA decided to forego originality for something that would guarantee success.
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