Over the years professional wrestling has seem some pretty wild gimmicks, and to make matters worse some of those were complete rip-offs. During the Monday Night Wars multiple impostors were used while grapplers from the WWF mostly headed to WCW. There have also been several cases of an imitation of another wrestler, which typically ended up with a feud or match between the real character and their impostor. Other times wrestlers have borrowed their gimmicks and personas from real life entertainers such as Elvis or Little Richard. The 12 wrestlers on this list have all been involved with, or actually have been impostors at some point in their careers.
Over the years many wrestlers have actually impersonated the icon Sting. Way back in 1990 Barry Windham dressed up as Sting and impersonated him, and Kevin Nash did the same in 1997 to help Scott Hall win at World War 3. The whole angle with the nWo Sting got a bit confusing, but it started when the real Stinger decided to take a break from the wrestling business. Eric Bischoff wanted to keep the Sting character on television, so he found another Sting to stand in. the nWo’s version of Sting would later wrestle in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he actually spent more time than he did in WCW.
The character of Doink the Clown was portrayed by many wrestlers over the years, starting with the original Matt Osborne, who was also known as Big Josh in WCW. Somewhere along the line a second Doink appeared, and that role was played by Steve Keirn who was also known as Skinner. Keirn also played the “real” Doink from time to time. Later Steve Lombardi (The Brooklyn Brawler) played the role of Doink. Even Jeff Jarrett, Chris Jericho, Men on a Mission, and The Bushwhackers have dressed as Doink at some point, although their versions were a lot more obvious.
Following the character of Sin Cara has been pretty confusing over the years. Originally the former Mistico portrayed the character. It seemed that he had a hard time adapting to the WWE style from his years in Mexico, and he was suspended for 30 days after failing a drug test in 2011. When Sin Cara returned to SmackDown, it was not the same wrestler who had played him up until that point. This new Sin Cara Negro turned heel and feuded with the original Sin Cara. Their feud ended in a mask v. mask match. Sin Cara Negro was played by the former Hunico, who actually became the real Sin Cara when the original wrestler that played him was released from the WWE.
Before he wrestled under his real name Marc Mero in the WWF, Johnny B. Badd made his name in the WCW where he was basically a Little Richard look-alike. WCW made no effort to hide that fact and his theme song even stated “he’s as pretty as a picture; he looks just like Little Richard”. Badd would win the WCW World Television Championship three times before going to the WWF and winning the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Badd retired from wrestling in 2006 and started the nonprofit organization Champion of Choices in 2007. He calls himself the “Happiest Person on the Planet” and is now a motivational speaker.
After Scott Hall and Kevin Nash ditched the WWF for WCW as “The Outsiders”, Vince McMahon and the folks at the WWF were left in a bit of a pickle. Someone decided to bring in another wrestler to play the new “Razor Ramon 2.0”. That man was Rick Bognar and he wasn’t able to pull off being Ramon very convincingly. The character was partially meant to mock Hall’s departure and having Jim Ross introduce him was intended to turn Ross heel but failed miserably. Jim Cornette tried to teach Bognar how to be the new Razor, but things did not go very well.
Although he did not imitate another wrestler, the Honky Tonk Man debuted as an Elvis impersonator. His manager Jimmy Hart was billed as the “Colonel” to mimic Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker. The self-proclaimed “greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time” did hold the belt for a record 64 week run before losing to the Ultimate Warriors in a matter of seconds. Honky is actually the cousin of Jerry “The King” Lawler and was a great entertainer in and out of the ring. With the way the recent WWE Hall of Fame selections have been going, the Honky Tonk Man could one day be inducted into that group.
Along with the fake Razor Ramon came a new fake Diesel. The second Diesel was actually played by Glenn Jacobs who would go on to become very successful as Kane. Luckily for Jacobs he was able to transition into the Kane character, whereas the fake Razor dropped off the map. The new Diesel and Razor Ramon had one big match at In Your House: It’s Time when they faced Owen Hart and The British Bulldog for the WWF Tag Team Championship. Years later the real Diesel would return to the WWE as a surprise entrant into the Royal Rumble.
Duane Gill spent much of his career as a jobber before somebody decided to use him as a Goldberg rip-off. He became known as Gillberg and was a much smaller version of the very popular WCW superstar. Duane Gill won the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship in what was considered a big upset and then changed into the Gillberg persona. He would go on to hold that title for over a year, although he rarely had to defend it. Gillberg returned in 2003 and attacked Goldberg, who was then attacked by The Rock. He returned once again for the 15th anniversary of Raw in 2007.
In 2006 Kane was seriously considering retiring from the wrestling business. He was not selfish, and decided he wanted to try and pass on his gimmick to another wrestler. That man was named Drew Hankinson, who would later become known as Festus and Luke Gallows. The impostor Kane would debut and choke slam the real Kane on SmackDown, which led to a match between the two at the Vengeance pay per view. The fake Kane actually won the match, but the next night on Raw the real Kane attacked him and stole his mask before throwing him out of the arena, never to be heard from again.
The Undertaker made his WWF debut in 1990 as a part of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase’s team at Survivor Series. Years later, DiBiase would introduce the fake Undertaker after the real one took a break to heal a back injury and spend time with his wife. This fake Undertaker was portrayed by Brian Lee who was a friend of the real Deadman and wrestled later as Chainz. The real Undertaker defeated the fake one with three Tombstone pile drivers at SummerSlam. This was an interesting feud and some comedic vignettes were thrown in by Leslie Nielsen playing his role of Frank Drebin from Naked Gun attempting to solve the mystery.
By 1995 WCW had stolen several big name WWF wrestlers including Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. WCW promoted an “Ultimate Surprise” and showed a man with long hair and tassels on his arms, so naturally many fans thought that the actual Ultimate Warrior would be joining as well. What they got was actually a new wrestler known as The Renegade, who was the ultimate impostor. Things did not go very well for The Renegade, although he did manage to win the WCW World Television Championship. In an unfortunate turn of events, the man playing The Renegade, Rick Wilson, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in 1999 and becoming severely depressed about being released from his contract.