In its own weird way, professional wrestling is often a reflection of modern times, and that reflection often includes some hints of popular culture. It’s great when wrestling can resonate with the crowd on a more current and personal level, but unfortunately, not all wrestlers are particularly adept at incorporating popular culture into their original and unique gimmicks. To combat this, they cut out the middleman, and outright rip-off the most successful movies, TV shows, and even video games of the day.
It’s fair to ask what exactly qualifies a rip-off, versus what qualifies as a parody or tribute, and the answer is usually the level of originality involved in the imitation. Some of these rip-offs admittedly managed to be quite creative and take the stolen ideas to new and dazzling heights, but the fact remains the basic idea was still stolen from pop culture. Wrestlers big and small have been guilty of this, and it’s brought wrestlers both incredible success and quick, merciful failure. Music generally serves more as an influence than a direct source, so gimmicks based on singers and bands were exempt, but any visual media was kept well in mind when creating this list. Keep reading and learn which 15 wrestlers blatantly ripped off pop culture with their gimmicks.
15 Sting Ripped Off The Crow and The Dark Knight Returns
14 Razor Ramon Ripped Off Scarface
13 Waylon Mercy Ripped Off Cape Fear
12 Glacier Ripped Off Mortal Kombat
11 Mike Awesome Ripped Off That 70s Show
10 The Road Warriors Ripped Off Mad Max: The Road Warrior
9 Beetlejuice Ripped Off Beetlejuice
8 Beaver Cleavage Ripped Off Leave It To Beaver
7 Aces & Eights Ripped Off Sons of Anarchy
6 Zack Ryder Ripped Off Jersey Shore
5 The Blue Meanie and Stevie Richards Ripped Off The Blair Witch Project
4 The Blue Meanie Ripped Off Yellow Submarine
3 Tiger Mask Ripped Off Tiger Mask
2 Arachnaman Ripped Off Spider-Man
1 Paul Burchill Ripped Off Pirates of the Caribbean
There has been a popular rumor surrounding Paul Burchill’s short-lived but briefly popular Pirate character he portrayed throughout 2006. There’s no denying the gimmick was heavily influenced by the popular Pirates of Caribbean film series starring Johnny Depp, but the question arises in whether or not Vince McMahon was aware of the rip-off. The popular rumor says Vince had never seen the films and didn’t understand the gimmick, so he forced Burchill to repackage himself into a new character. Burchill himself claims the gimmick was Vince’s idea, and he was more than happy for the chance to play it. Whether or not that’s the case, eventually Vince decided a pirate should be a uniformly bad person and not a babyface like Burchill was playing the role, proving that even if Vince had heard of the films, he didn’t actually take the time to watch them or understand their appeal.
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