Everyone borrows from everyone else. Music, sports, and entertainment - they all have inspirations. Pro Wrestling is no different. Some of the characters we know and love seem, well, familiar. In some cases, like the Blue World Order and New World Order, the gimmick is a parody. In others, like Oklahoma Ferrara and Jim Ross, the gimmick is because the person is a mean-spirited douche. But this list isn't about them. It's about stars who were saddled with someone else's saddle. Some were able to ride it into success. Others weren't so lucky. And so we look at Ten Copycat Wrestling Characters (and The Gimmicks They Copied)…
Buzzkill - Road Dogg
Oh you didn't know? Your ass betta callllllll…. your brother.
That was the storyline WCW went with upon Vince Russo's apocalyptic arrival. Fed up with the boring nature of Brad Armstrong, the Powers That Be informed him to call his little brother for a gimmick. So that's what he did.
Now, I know you think that last line was written by me as a sarcastic aside. You know, as if to say, "His gimmick was similar to Road Dogg's gimmick in WWF." But it's not. According to WCW TV, he literally was told to call his brother in WWF and show him some personality or…well, here. Look. He even told Curt Hennig about it.
So how did Bradley react to this slap in the face by management? Did he pull a Stone Cold and drive a monster truck through their office? Did he beat everyone up around him? Nope. He called little brother and did this.
You may have noticed that his music and entrance was pretty much identical to his brother.
You may have also noticed that Chavo was selling Amway as a gimmick and the match you just saw had one move in it despite being seven minutes. WCW was a sad place towards the end…
- Sin Cara
Oh good ol' Sin Cara - the fail so epic that it actually got someone fired in another company.
When Sin Cara was signed by WWE, he was given a huge amount of fanfare. The signing was momentous and the former Mistico was touted as the next big star. It all seemed like a big deal until you remembered they did the same thing for Taka Michinoku once.
Upon his debut, Cara's matches were given special lighting. Blanketing the entire arena in a blue tint, it felt like each bout he had was taking place at a strip club. We waited for it to end. It never did.
When the WWE 12 game was about to be released, I saw an interview with the game developer. He was asked about Sin Cara's inclusion in the game and said his special lighting was in. When the interviewer said, "Yeah, but you can turn that off, right?" He responded, "Uh, no," then added nervously, "But why would you want to?"
Because it sucks, that's why.
That's neither here nor there. The important thing about Sin Cara was how TNA responded. They responded by creating their own Sin Cara and giving him a name that sounds like a cross between cheese and a girly alcoholic drink. They also gave him the same crappy lighting that we can't turn off in the video game.
The Mexican under the mask - Amazing Red. Yeah. I don't think it's racist to point out that there aren't too many ginger Mexicans around.
So guess what happened to Sin Cara next. Go on. You know. Boring feud with Chavo Guerrero (no longer selling Amway) followed by a Wellness Violation. During his suspension, someone else played his gimmick. Then he…whatever. None of that's important really. The main story here is that the next greatest gimmick ever was a big flop.
As everything was flopping in WWE, Amazing Red was released from TNA - ending his Sangriento gimmick. Yes. The Legend of Sin Cara - The Fail So Epic It Got Someone In Another Company Fired. If that's not the basis for a Mexican folk song, nothing is.
Powers of Pain/Demolition - Road Warriors
This one is an interesting one. The Powers of Pain, Warlord and Barbarian, were created to be imposters to the Road Warriors. Their first feud was against the duo and the fact that they're remembered to this day speaks volumes to their talent.
Everything about the Powers of Pain mimicked the Legion of Doom. From the "____ of ____" format of their names to the bizarre hairdos they shared to the face paint to the outfits. They were an alternate Animal and Hawk.
Around the same time, we got Demolition. The Demos were WWF's version of the Road Warriors. Although they looked very little like Hawk and Animal, they seemed to embrace the S&M aspect of it all. With spiked entrance attire, Ax and Smash intimidated opponents before stepping in the ropes and beating them silly.
A really strange observation I made when looking through this? Despite being out of the picture when they fought the LOD, Mr. Fuji served as manager for both Powers of Pain and Demolition. Apparently Mr. Fuji had some sort of Road Warrior issues that we didn't know about.
Here's what gets me. The Road Warriors were such an amazing gimmick that they were able to spin-off not just one, but two teams from it. Both the teams are still regarded highly today. So…where the new generation of LOD? Anyone? In a business dying to find ways to get guys over, you'd think one of the main companies would have face painted asskickers. Hell, everybody used to have them.
If this listing proved anything, it's that copycat gimmicks aren't all that bad. Sometimes homage is a good thing. You know, like…
Ric Flair - Buddy Rogers
Diamonds are forever and so is Ric Flair, but long before the Flair Diamond existed, we had one named Buddy Rogers.
The original Nature Boy is legendary for his flamboyant style and wrestling ability. With blonde hair and an aura of superiority, Rogers enraged fans who felt his cocky demeanor were too much to take. With his manager Bobby Davis by his side, Buddy used his dreaded figure four to finish off many foes. Here. This is Buddy Rogers. If you've never seen him before, watch this. There's no reason why any wrestling fan should have seen Snooki wrestle, but not Buddy Rogers…
The similarities between the two were intentional. The only real differences between Flair and Rogers are that Buddy never wore a feathered robe and yelled "Woooo!" Well, maybe when he banged his thumb with a hammer or something.
Sure, there were those who felt Ric was too similar to Rogers early on in his run. But then "Nature Boy" Buddy Landell showed up and shut 'em all up.
Sebastian - Jameson Winger
You might not remember Jameson Winger from WWF TV. And I'm almost positive you don't remember Sebastian from the GWF.
Know how I know? Because a Google search for "Sebastian GWF" mostlybrings up results from my interview with Jameson on ClubWWI.com and a big image of our site's logo. Nothing else. Proof of this is that the picture above is the only one I could find of him...and it's him in a full wrestling suit, so it loses some of the visual copycattiness, but they looked alike. I swear.
I can't find a picture of the guy anywhere. Nowhere. But he existed. Showing on ESPN each day, the GWF was known for being the precursor to insane sports entertainment. Featuring the infamous Bungee cord match, Maniac Mike Davis, and an announcer with amnesia doing an Elvis impression, Global Wrestling was a trend setter.
At the time, WWE had a character named Jameson Winger. The whipping boy of Bobby Heenan, Winger was a goof with an over-the-top dorky gimmick. He was a lovable bumbler that added comic relief.
Well, apparently GWF liked it because they created their own evil version. His name was Sebastian and his Bobby Heenan was Gary Hart. Here, check out this match with Sebastian at ringside. During it, Gary Hart at the announce table, talks about how he's sending Sebastian to recruit Booker T and Stevie Ray. In GWF, they were called the Ebony Experience. I kid you not.
See? I knew I didn't imagine the guy.
As for the interview blurb that Googles up, it proves that there's more than just me on planet Earth who remembers Sebastian. So does John "Jameson" DiGiacomo. When I asked him about it, he said…
"Yeah, I remember that. But for me, I didn't really take offense to it. I knew they weren't on a level with WWF. It was more flattering that they thought enough of Jameson that they thought it was a recipe for success. Listen, I wasn't even insulted when people thought Andy Kindler was Jameson. I had friends who took more offense to it and I think I even had friends who contacted Kindler's management to complain. If I remember correctly, someone did call him out for that…"
Seems everyone wanted to be Jameson Winger in 1992. Who could blame them?
Eugene - Evad Sullivan
Quick. Name a mentally handicapped wrestler who's enamored with the main star in the company and has an evil relative also employed by the promotion.
Depending on your age, you either answered Eugene of Evad Sullivan.
A decade before Nick Dinsmore was sucking his index finger, Evad Sullivan was playing the simple gimmick in WCW. The on-air brother of Satanic Kevin Sullivan, Dave Sullivan had some - well, problems. Here watch this:
Struggling with dyslexia, Dave eventually became "Evad Sullivan". The assumption was that he spelled his name backwards. If that's true, wouldn't changing his name to "Evad" mean that he would now pronounce it "Dave"? It's a riddle wrapped in an enigma, but whatever. So it goes. He was Evad Sullivan.
So Evad Sullivan, the embarrassment to his dark sibling Kevin, became the biggest Hulkamaniac in the world. He loved the yellow and red and went on to become the embodiment of how WCW saw Hogan's fans.
Fast forward ten years later to WWE. WCW is dead and Eric Bischoff, your Raw General Manager, presents the world with his mentally handicapped nephew - Eugene. He is the embarrassment of the family (although Eric comes close at times).
So who was Eugene's Hulk Hogan? Who was the wrestler he was in love with? Who was the Hulk Hogan of 2004? Triple H, of course! Triple H was 2004's version of everything!
With Triple Hogan using his friendship story with Eugene
to bigfoot Chris Benoit's title reign, we learned that WWE viewed Hunter's fans in the same light WCW viewed Hogan's fans. It was all just too eerily similar.
Oh. If you're still not convinced, did you see the bunny Evad was carrying in that video above? Yeah? Well, do you remember this furry stuffed guy?
Wow. Creepy when you put it all together. Know what I mean?
Bray Wyatt - Waylon Mercy
This is another example of copying actually being a good thing.
Waylon Mercy was awesome. In just a few months, Dan Spivey left more of a lasting impression with a Robert Deniro impressionthan he ever did as a Skyscraper or US Expresser. Ht just wanted to squash people and eat their picnics. You know what he means?
When an injury ended Waylon's run prematurely, everyone was let down. So much potential in a gimmick that barely saw the light of day. We all knew, though, that when enough time had passed, it'd be back.
So, here we are. 17 years later. Yup. 17. You're old. Deal with it. WWE has taken FCW's Bo "Don't Call Me Husky Harris, I'm Big Boned Harris" Rotundo and turned him into Waylon Mercy 2012 (with a bit of Survivor's Russell Hantz thrown in).
For any fan of 90s wrestling, this character is money…
The story on this one is still to be written and hopefully we'll see what WWE can do with a gimmick like this. It'll be a little while, but apparently, ti-i-i-ime is on his side…
Before Scott Hall was famous for battling more demons than the Ghostbusters, he was famous for being the "mang" who told the kids to forget about school, get the chicas, and spit some fruit in people's faces.
Now I can blah-blah you death about similarities here and there between Hall and Carlito Cool a decade later. Or, I can just show you this.
So what did we learn today, everyone? Well, first, Razor Ramon is one of the only gimmicks to be copied twice in less than ten years by the same company:
And that you best keep your produce away from Puerto Rican wrestling characters. Something tells me that Vince McMahon took a vacation to Puerto Rico as a kid and someone spit a papaya at him. Just a thought.
The Juice- The Rock
I struggled with this one. A lot. I know it's a parody, but it sort of became more than that and morphed into Juvi's long term character even after WCW died.
I loved Juventud Guerrera's "Juice" gimmick. The guy barely spoke English and they gave him an exact copy of the top talker in WWF's gimmick. If 1000 of WCW's copycat gimmicks failed, this is the one that worked. I always laugh at it…
If the Rock had a baby with one of the Milli Vanillis, raised it in Mexico, and it developed exhibitionist tendencies, it would be Juventud Guerrera.
A gimmick so silly would probably pass right under Rocky's radar, right? Wrong. According to Juvi's ClubWWI.com interview, the Rock noticed. In fact, he even took a shot at Guerrera in a promo with Chris Jericho. No fast forwarding required. I started the video from the point where he says it…
Or, as Juvi would say, "For you in face, ha! The la-la-la juicy juice!"
Asya - Chyna
Sometimes WCW had no shame at all. None. While Buzzkill was presented with the understanding that Brad Armstrong was copying Road Dogg, Asya was presented as nothing more than a huge knockoff of Chyna. It's sort of funny when you think about all the knockoff products that are actually made in the country of China, but that's a different story.
In many ways, World Championship Wrestling had really begun to give up at this point. Barely there a year, Asya's career is an afterthought. The real insanity here? Asya was a beast. She was a marketable woman with a look similar to WWE's female cash cow. Had they named her anything else in the world, she probably could have gotten over.
It's as if Hulk Hogan left the AWA in 1983 and Verne Gagne came across a kid who looked very similar to him. He had everything that made Hulk the star he was. So Verne debuts him…and calls him "Bulk Bogan."
That's what happened. Even when handed something on a silver platter, WCW managed to tank it. I'm just glad the company died before they got around to doing all the continents.
Remember, you can hear from Jameson, Demolition, Road Warrior Animal, Evad Sullivan, Eugene, Road Dogg, Juventud Guerrera, and hundreds more top stars on ClubWWI.com. Click here for the full list!