Considering we live in a world where parodies are a dime a dozen, it’s no surprise that WWE also falls under that umbrella.
Much like in wider pop culture, professional wrestling has featured parodies for decades – the problem is that, much like in wider pop culture, those parodies are incredibly unfunny.
Given the sometimes spiteful landscape of professional wrestling since the early 1990s, and the demand for more a risqué from both WWE and WCW during The Monday Night Wars, it will come as no surprise that professional wrestling boasts a number of terrible and offensive impersonations.
It’s not all terrible, however. Wrestling impersonations and parodies have paved the way for some of the most hilarious wrestling content to be created.
Whether it be D-Generation X’s brilliant impersonation of The Nation of Domination, the witty one-liners that made the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin-The Rock feud so much fun, or even as recently as The Rock laying the verbal smackdown on John Cena, wrestling impersonations are able to be pure gold so long as they are done so correctly.
Unlike when Stone Cold Steve Austin impersonated Eric Bischoff during his time in ECW, when WWE picked on WCW's acquisition of older talent during the Monday Night Wars, or even when Damien Sandow mimicked The Miz, these impersonations are either in poor taste, extremely unfunny or just terrible rip-offs.
While there are plenty more terrible impersonations out there – type any wrestler’s name and the word ‘impression’ into YouTube and you’ll be cringing until the cows come home – these 15 have been limited to impersonations from inside the world of professional wrestling.
These are the top 15 worst impersonations in wrestling history.
15 Rated RKO as DX
To kick of a 2006 episode of RAW during the feud between Rated RKO and DX, Randy Orton and Edge came out dressed as Shawn Michaels and Triple H respectively, copying the mannerisms during the entrance to a tee. The promo appeared as though it might be somewhat humorous, but it quickly turned into a dull "we're better than them" verbal snorefest that resulted in the real DX coming out to beat up on the fodder. It's a classic example of WWE doing just about everything wrong during that time, especially when the feud's purpose was to push Orton and Edge as the future of the company.
14 The Meta Powers
As the careers of Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow came to a standstill in mid-2015, the pair were placed together as a gimmick tag team impersonating Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage's short-lived union titled 'The Mega Powers'. As Axelmania and Macho Mandow, The Meta Powers were restricted to appearances on WWE's minor TV programs and never really managed to take off, acting as unfunny comic relief. After WWE effectively cut Hulk Hogan from the company following his recent controversies, Axel was forced to shed the gimmick and was sent into gimmick limbo, further making the awkward pairing even more of a failure.
Seeing as the Eugene character portrayed by Nick Dinsmore was a seismic screw up in itself, it's no surprise that absolutely anything and everything to do with the character was also terrible. Eugene was effectively a intellectually challenged man who dreamed to be a successful WWE star like his idols and part of that was him using signature moves performed by legends of yesteryear. Instead of just laughing at the mentally handicapped man, let's laugh at the mentally handicapped man doing impersonations of 'real' wrestling legends. Classic.
During a time when WWE had just about everything WCW did not, Goldberg was the one exception, becoming a phenomenon in WCW during the time of his impressive undefeated streak. WWE's response was to do the exact opposite; using Duane Gill as Gillberg and having him lose every match he competed in. The impersonation was one of the very few in wrestling history that received a positive reaction, with the use of sparklers during Gill's entrance and altered catchphrase "Who's First?" serving as enjoyable comic relief. However, it can't be denied that the whole gimmick was one big facepalm, with plenty of air time being dedicated to raising awareness about a rival company's top competitor. One impressive feat Gillberg holds is being the longest-reigning Light Heavyweight Champion in history, having won the title in November 1998 before adopting the Gillberg gimmick. He lost the championship to Essa Rios in February of 2000, but the title was essentially worthless given it had been off TV for almost 15 months.
11 nWo as The Four Horsemen
On Nitro one week prior in 1997, Arn Anderson had announced his retirement in an emotional interview, which received the praise it should have given Anderson's long and illustrious career. However, nWo members Kevin Nash as Anderson, Sean Waltman as Ric Flair, Konnan as Steve McMichael and Buff Bagwell as Curt Hennig decided to mock the retirement speech just one week later, with the four taking their impressions to the limit. The angle was rather humorous to everyone but The Horsemen, as both Flair and Anderson felt that Eric Bischoff was tarnishing their names to help the progression of the nWo faction. Rather than just bash the Horsemen, it's said that Nash swayed Bischoff to turn the angle into a full-blown parody. As a result, Flair, who was supposed to do an interview later in the show, left the arena and never made an appearance, most upset by Nash portraying Anderson as a womanizer and an alcoholic.
Although it was usually Goldust doing creepy impersonations of WWE wrestlers, he got a taste of his own medicine from The Blue Meanie in 1999 when Meanie reprised his mock gimmick of Goldust used in ECW in 1996, Bluedust. After the two battled at WWE's St Valentine's Day Massacre, the pair united in one of the most cringe-worthy pairings since Doink and Dink. Supposedly The Blue Meanie was pulled under Goldust's spell and served as his manager, regularly referring to him as "mommy." Despite the short-lived success The Blue Meanie had as Bluedust, his ECW popularity could not transfer to WWE and he was cut in 2000.
9 Little Naitch
While you probably know Charles Robinson as a WWE referee today, most forget that he was a major part of Ric Flair's kayfabe WCW Presidency during 1999. Competing as a heel referee, Robinson would constantly favor members of the Four Horsemen in matches, resulting in a feud between himself and Randy Savage. Upon Savage being suspended by Flair, it was proposed that Savage would be reinstated if his girlfriend, Gorgeous George, could defeat Robinson in a match at Slamboree. Robinson appeared at the event decked from head to toe in Ric Flair gear, dubbed "Little Naitch" and mimicking The Nature Boy's mannerisms and "wooo" catchphrase. Not only was he defeated by Gorgeous George, Robinson was the victim of a botched Randy Savage elbow drop a week later. Robinson joined WWE as part of the WCW purchase and has acted as an impartial official since, also working as part of the company's production and ring crew.
8 Fake Sting
Having previously wrestled in WCW as Cobra, Jeff Farmer joined the WCW vs nWo battle in 1996 by attacking Sting's long-time friend Lex Luger. When Luger wasn't convinced that his buddy had nothing to do with the attack, the real Sting made an appearance at that year's War Games match and shoved Luger, leading to the imposter Sting picking up the victory for nWo. The fake Sting played a major role in the transformation from "Surfer" to "Crow" Sting, however the imposter's character soon became nothing more than comic relief, losing frequently and requiring the entire nWo to win the simplest of matches. Despite this, nWo Sting began splitting his time between Japan's New Japan Pro Wrestling and America, and even became more popular than the real Sting in Japan. As far as his future in WCW, nWo Sting got lost in the sea of nWo factions in 1998 and eventually finished with the company in 1999.
7 Fake Undertaker
Brian Lee joined WWE in 1994 and began working an angle as an imposter of The Undertaker after the real 'Taker had lost a casket match to Yokozuna earlier that year. Ted DiBiase introduced the imposter, claiming to have convinced him to return to the company thanks to his vast riches. Paul Bearer began claiming he would bring back the real Undertaker at that year's SummerSlam, resulting in a match between the two Undertakers that the real 'Taker eventually won. Although Lee was meant to continue his role as the fake Undertaker in a long-standing feud, the story was dropped after the SummerSlam match. Wonder why.
6 Fake Kane
Although the Fake Kane story appears to just be lazy writing from WWE (WWE being lazy? Who knew?), it was actually meant to lead to Glenn Jacobs retiring from professional wrestling while allowing the Kane character to live on. In 2006, Drew Hankinson, later known as Festus and Luke Gallows, began interfering in Kane's matches dressed in the traditional Kane full-body suit, as well as providing frequent attacks and intimidating promos. The two faced off in a match at Vengeance, which the imposter Kane actually won; however, the story was cut short the following night on RAW when the real Kane removed the imposter Kane's mask. Who would want to be a WWE booker?
As WCW hyped up the appearance of the "Ultimate surprise" in 1995, the company did the best it could to make fans believe The Ultimate Warrior was to join the company, even going as far as showing a silhouette of a man with long hair and tassels tied to his arms. When Richard Wilson made his debut as Renegade, an obvious cheap imitation of The Warrior, it’s no surprise the company’s fans were irate. After claiming the World Television Championship and making a number of retentions, the real Warrior appeared in a number of wrestling magazines and shot down Wilson's imitation, severely halting Renegade's momentum. As a result, WCW did a complete 180 and booked Renegade to lose and be made a mockery, leading to his release after jobbing through to 1998. Severely depressed about his WCW release, Wilson ultimately committed suicide in early 1999 at just 33 years old.
4 Fake Diesel
Glenn Jacobs - you know him best as Kane - had two horrible gimmicks in WWE before breaking out as the Big Red Machine, but Fake Diesel is definitely the worst. After Kevin Nash and Scott Hall left WWE for WCW in 1996, WWE thought it would be a wonderful idea to mock the departure of the pair in the unfunniest way possible, by giving their characters to someone else. In the case of Diesel, Glenn Jacobs took up the role in September 1996 after working as Isaac Yankem, Jerry Lawler's personal dentist, in 1995. Jacobs continued to work as Diesel up until April of the following year, eventually being taken off camera to develop the Kane character.
3 Fake Razor Ramon
You knew this one was coming. While Glenn Jacobs went on to carve a path as a unique performer, Rick Bognar was a one-and-done character in WWE, serving as the fake Razor Ramon before being tossed aside when his one-year contract expired. Both the fake Razor and fake Diesel actually competed in a traditional Survivor Series tag match during their cringe-worthy five-month lifespan and the pair were finally removed from TV after the 1997 Royal Rumble match. The lesson to be learned here is that Vince McMahon should never try to be humorous.
2 Triple H as Kane
You probably know all about the horrible Katie Vick angle, but how about one more time for the road? Not only is this one of the worst impressions of all time, it was also one of the worst storylines of all time and one that Triple H is embarrassed about recalling. Supposedly a young Kane had too much to drink behind the wheel while accompanying his sweetheart, Katie, on a date around the ol’ town. They crashed, she died, Kane got a boo-boo, now he's a murderer. Yay WWE. This led to arguably the worst promo in wrestling history, when Triple H, wearing Kane's mask, entered a funeral home and began dirty talking an obviously fake body in a casket before disrobing and having sex with it. Again, yay WWE.
After a falling out between WCW and Jim Ross, WCW responded to the incident in potentially the most distasteful way possible. In 1999, Ed Ferrara took up the Oklahoma gimmick he had previously portrayed in WWE in an attempt to air Vince Russo's grievances with Ross on live television unnecessarily. Ferrara began to use Ross' mannerisms and mocked his Bell's Palsy, causing a significant amount of backlash from wrestling fans during a time when a lot of controversial acts were allowed to pass by without criticism. Both Ferrara and Russo have apologized to Ross since, with Russo saying: "The one thing I do regret that I wish I never did - and I take responsibility for it, not Ed Ferrara - was the Oklahoma character." Despite apologizing, the Oklahoma gimmick still remains one of the most maligned mockeries in wrestling history.