We all hate ripoffs, well most of us do. In the world of wrestling, fresh ideas are often scarce and implementing ideas one may have seen elsewhere in wrestling or in pop culture is often commonplace among performers and companies. Whether intentional or not, the following ripoffs either made us groan, really hate them, or laugh at how terrible they were.
At some point, every company is susceptible to this. "Let's do what's worked in the past" is a philosophy that every major promotion has subscribed to at least once. Looking at it on a smaller scale, some wrestlers and ideas have been massive successes despite being lifted from someone else. However, with every Nature Boy Ric Flair lays several Fake Sting's and Undertaker's, which we'll get to momentarily.
As wrestling fans, we've seen plenty of good to go with the bad in our beloved genre, but there are just certain things we can agree on that royally sucked.
Nas once put out a song called "No Idea's Original." The chorus went, "No ideas original, there's nothing new under the sun/there's nothing new it's just how it's done." The following entries will live up to those statements. Let's see who the ripoffs are.
15 15. The Band In TNA
In 1996, The nWo was formed in WCW. Hulk Hogan joined forces with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to run over the promotion and dominate over the next three years. By 1999 the nWo was running on fumes, as it had gone through splits, Wolfpacks and general fatigue.
However, in 2002, it was time to cash in the nostalgia chips and that they did with a six month run in WWE selling a ton of T-shirts in the process. That should have been the end of the line.
However, someone thought relaunching the nWo in 2010, when these guys were several years past being washed up, was a bright idea. Assuming the name "The Band," they proceeded to suck the life out of TNA and put themselves over as they reminisced about the old days. Ripping off someone else is usually a crime, but doing it to yourself seems to go way worse.
14 14. Johnny B. Badd
Never once did I ever look at Little Richard and think, "Hmm, I'd like to see him fight one day!" However, in the mid 90s in WCW, Marc Mero was given a gimmick based on the flamboyant Rock singer who he strangely resembled despite being a caucasian male.
With a truckload of make-up, a cape, and some tassels, Johnny B. Badd was born. Winning a few TV championships in WCW, Badd was a consistent reminder of mediocrity at its finest. In some regions, he'd be referred to as "wiggity wiggity wack." Soon he would join the WWE to become The Wildman, where his gimmick was that he had a hot wife who ended up completely overshadowing him. Maybe fake Little Richard wasn't that bad after all.
13 13. Kama "The Supreme Fighting Machine"
One of Charles Wright's many gimmicks, this was probably the worst one, though it has some tough competition from Papa Shango. At the time, he was known as Kama "The Supreme Fighting Machine." Whatever the hell that was. Upon reflecting on it, it seemed like a cross between a UFC fighter and Balrog from Street Fighter, which is fitting I suppose now, since he's the manager of a strip club in Las Vegas (only Street Fighter fans will get this joke). This is not the last time we'll see video games being wavesurfed on this list .
The highlight of this ill-fated period of Wright's career had to be when he melted down The Undertaker's urn and turned it into a huge gold chain. Aside from that, he was a member of The Million Dollar Corporation for most of 1995 and into 1996 before disappearing again.
12 12. Stardust
This wasn't Cody Rhodes fault at all. Beyond being a talented performer, Rhodes could assume just about any persona and make it work to a certain degree. But just because he was able to do something like that, didn't mean they should have done it (and let it go on for so long).
Stardust was essentially the gimmick that drove Rhodes to quit WWE. It was originally a ripoff of his brother Goldust, but he took it in another direction that connected with absolutely no one. For months, fans and Cody himself begged WWE to allow Rhodes to embrace his true persona, but it never ended up happening.
The sheer damage this gimmick caused to Rhodes career is a reason we still hate it.
11 11. The Honky Tonk Man
Perhaps the only thing on this list that was actually hated for the right reason, Elvis ripoff, The Honky Tonk Man rode this gimmick to the longest Intercontinental Championship reign ever and sold out arenas around the country, as fans begged for someone to beat Honky Tonk Man and ended his run as IC Champ. Literally, anyone could've beat Honky Tonk Man and the fans would've lost their minds.
Every single thing about The Honky Tonk Man was hateable. From Jimmy Hart praising him during matches over the megaphone to his theme music, to his simple wrestling style, to even his hair. Elvis rip offs are some of the world's lamest humans anyway and seeing a wrestling one just drove fans up the wall.
10 10. The UnderFaker
In 1994, The Undertaker lost a casket match to Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble and floated up to the heavens (You had to be there). He was gone until SummerSlam 94, where he was in the main event. However, let's back it up a bit.
Prior to that main event, Ted DiBiase showed up with "The Undertaker" under his control, as it was remembered that The Deadman originally came into the company with him at Survivor Series 1990. However, there was something off about this guy. He wasn't as tall as remembered and had A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FACE than the other one.
They tried to get around this by covering Brian Lee's face with his hair, but when Paul Bearer told the world he was returning with the real Undertaker, crowds began referring to Lee as "The UnderFaker." It could have been worse.
Although it was a short term thing, they stunk out the joint in the main event of SummerSlam. Watching it back is hilarious too seeing the purple-clad Taker tower over the gray version.
9 9. The Corre
Following the squandering of The Nexus, some of the members split into "The New Nexus" with CM Punk as their leader (Husky Harris, David Otunga, Mason Ryan, Michael McGillicutty) and others who refused the initiation went to join with Wade Barrett to form the most inconsequential faction ever, The Corre.
Making up The Corre was Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, and Justin Gabriel. The premise of the group was that all of them were equals, which literally is the dumbest thing ever when it comes to running a faction. The idea is to elevate lower guys, by giving them the rub of associating with bigger players and eventually create a new rivalry. This came off as a third rate Nexus, with the second rate version being occupied by the CM Punk led group. Within months they were disbanded, but the stench of The Corre followed a few of their members.
8 8. Fake Sting
I'm sure Jeff Farmer had plenty of fans who thought he did a wonderful job in his professional wrestling career. Sadly, those people are probably his friends and family. Whenever Farmer assumed the persona of "nWo Sting" it drove fans absolutely nuts.
Not only was the real Sting not wrestling much at the time, "Fake Sting" was a smaller less athletic version, who at least nailed the aesthetic of Sting. With a quick glance, the average fan could get fooled into thinking this was the genuine article. However, looking at him for any extended period of time made it crystal clear that a phony was on our screens.
Larry Zbyszko referred to him as "Stink." If that isn't a sign that he was a horrible rip-off nothing would be.
7 7. Oklahoma
Beyond being absolutely disrespectful to Jim Ross, this was groan inducing. It made fun of people with Bell's Palsy and literally added nothing to WCW. Not a rating, not a PPV number, it was just cruel.
Ed Ferrara a former writer in WWE, portrayed "Oklahoma" who was a spoof on Jim Ross in WCW. Decked out in a cowboy hat and using an exaggerated southern accent, he repeated things three times on air to a comical degree. There may have been people who thought it was fair game and some people may have laughed at it. I'd also say those people are low-class and should really check their humanity levels.
Since then, Vince Russo has apologized numerous times to Jim Ross for greenlighting this on television and we should be thankful Jim Ross doesn't take this as hard now as some fans do.
6 6. The Renegade
The Renegade was a character in WCW who was a direct rip-off of The Ultimate Warrior. During a feud between Hogan/Savage vs. Flair/Vader in 1995, Hulk Hogan, who was pretty much a cyclone of terrible in 1995, began talking about an "ULTIMATE SURPRISE." In wrestling, when the word Ultimate is said, that typically means one guy.
In one of the greatest cases of how to rip something off, The Renegade showed up, painted like Warrior, using similar moves, and entrance music. Like we were about to let this slide. Shamefully, Arn Anderson once had to lose a championship on Pay-Per-View to this man. Poor Double A.
However, it wasn't a long run, he was soon buried on television for the world to see when his manager Jimmy Hart threw water in his face, and said "You're not a Renegade, You're Just Plain Rick!" Now I'm not sure if he was a Renegade or not, but he definitely wasn't a Warrior.
5 5. The WWE Light Heavyweight Division
WWE has never truly understood what to do with cruiserweight performers. In the most glaring instance aside from the current misfortune, purple lights and all, late in 1997 as a response to WCW's legendary cruiserweight division, the WWE Lightheavyweight Championship was created.
This is not to say they didn't have the talent to do it. Taka Michinoku, and Kaientai were awesome, The Great Sasuke made intermittent appearances and Brian Christopher wasn't even all that bad, they just never got proper showcase time, and within a year the belt was a non-factor. It is never a good thing when the first man who comes to mind with a championship is Gillberg. Despite how hilarious he was, 453 days is far too long for a joke to go on.
4 4. The Ascension
It was all good in NXT. Konnor and Viktor of The Ascension demolished opponents to loud chants of "YAH" with their every strike and towered over the competition. When they got called up to WWE, most (NXT) fans thought the dominance would continue.
Unfortunately, we underestimated WWE's ability to try to spice things up. Gone was the intense act we saw destroy guys on NXT and in its place were two Road Warrior ripoffs, who weren't in on the joke they had become. Suddenly, they also appeared to be the same size as most of their competition, which took away their imposing element. This gimmick is a career killer and WWE would be wise to change it up, because from the second it appeared, all fans have done is hate it for what isn't.
3 3. The WCW Mortal Kombat Division
In 1996, WCW debuted a few characters based on the video game Mortal Kombat. After spending months on video packages for Glacier, he debuted dressed as a Sub-Zero tribute act, complete with a mask, and fictional snow that somehow came down indoors. It was almost like WCW didn't expect us to notice. The cool thing about the actual Sub-Zero, was that HE RELEASED ACTUAL ICE FROM HIS HANDS.
After Glacier's entrance there was not much else to him but some YMCA karate kicks and regular wrestling moves. The major problem with Glacier as a character was that WCW was in such reality-based storylines at the time, he couldn't logically feud with anyone. But aha! WCW thought of that and introduced some foes specifically made for him.
Chris Kanyon was one of my personal favorite wrestlers from the moment I saw him. However, making him a combination of Shao Khan and Reptile just was awful. He was a really good wrestler wearing a terrible costume. As Mortis, he appeared as Glacier's chief rival and showed up with some guys named Wrath and James Vandenberg. Vandenberg was essentially Shang Tsung. If you said to yourself, there's not much else for these guys to really do except fight each other, you would be correct. Their angle faded out after a few months.
2 2. Fake Diesel/Razor Ramon
The logic behind this one will never cease to amaze. After Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, who performed as Diesel and Razor Ramon in WWE from 1992-1996, defected to WCW, they obviously couldn't bring their characters with them. It worked out for them upon hitting it big with the nWo angle and the WWE was left holding the bag. Well not quite in their eyes.
You see, WWE still owned "Diesel" and "Razor Ramon" and saw them as characters who could easily be duplicated by someone else. Rick Bognar assumed the Razor character and Glenn Jacobs (Kane) would become Big Daddy Uncool Diesel.
They took the entrance music, the movesets, the mannerisms, and even the hair styles. To say people hated this was an understatement. It just made people miss the real Razor and Diesel even more. Thankfully, WWE gave up on this after a few months and shut down the angle. At least we got Kane out of this.
1 1. The WWE Goldberg Theme
With Goldberg coming back to WWE for a showdown with Brock Lesnar, only one thing was on my mind. "Will WWE do the right thing?" Let Goldberg win? Book him competently? No!
"Will they use the correct version of his entrance music!?"
I'm proud to say they did. Even if they snuck in their karaoke version when he left the ring.
The WWE remixed version of his theme feels like a soulless valley, where memories go to die. This version of his theme replaced his original music after his debut in 2003. Even WWE was smart enough to debut him with his most recognizable music. His original music is a chilling, hair-raising anthem of destruction. The other one just isn't. It's really that simple. A real rip-off.
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