Pro Wrestling

10 Wrestlers That Were Complete Imposters;jsessionid=DB48FD832D4445B2DA67B707D79E7E48?r30_r1_r1:page=1 Source:

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and sometimes it is. In professional wrestling, however, imitation can be done for so many different reasons. Whether it’s to attempt to replicate the success of an old gimmick, mock your competition, or pay tribute to a legend, the most successful wrestling personas have often found themselves replicated, sometimes multiple times, to varying degrees of success (although usually horrible failiure). Gathered here, we have some of the most interesting stories of wrestlers who assumed gimmicks that copied those which came before. They weren’t always the best, and sometimes they were downright terrible, but as long as wrestling continues to exist, so too will there be pale imitations of the successes of the past.

10. Fake Kane

Leading up to the release of Kane’s first movie, See No Evil, WWE decided to promote the film by constantly having him interrupted by ominous videos repeating the phrase “May 19th”, which just happened to be the day the movie was opening in theatres. The distractions cost Kane and his partner The Big Show the Tag Team titles, and Kane began attacking anyone who uttered anything relating to that date. An episode of Smackdown aired on May 19th, and aside from Kane continuing to attack people (and the movie hitting theaters to mediocre reviews), nothing special happened. A full ten days later, on Raw, Kane was confronted by a mysterious wrestler dressed as he had been when he made his WWE debut (at this point, Kane had been unmasked for a while). The false Kane would attack the real one, and continue to do so, leading up to a match at Vengeance 2006, which the imposter won. Unfortunately, the match was absolutely horrible, the entire angle was scrapped, and Kane threw the fake version out of the arena on the very next Raw, never to return. Source:

9. “Made In The USA” Lex Luger

With Hulk Hogan off to WCW, Vince McMahon became determined to prove that he could replicate the magic of Hulkamania with any wrestler. Thus, WWF Champion Yokozuna issued a challenge to any American professional athlete to try and body-slam him in a special event that took place on the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid, on July 4th, 1994. After multiple wrestlers and athletes from other sports failed to lift the 500-plus pound Yokozuna, Lex Luger, who up until that point had been working under a heel “Narcissist” gimmick, arrived on a helicopter and effortlessly bodyslammed the Champion. Luger became an American hero, adopting the moniker “Made in the USA”. He was awarded a title match against Yokozuna at SummerSlam, and spent the weeks leading up to the event driving around the company on the Lex Express, a giant American-themed bus, handing out red, white, and blue wristbands to the children of America. Unfortunately for Luger, he had a fraction of the inhuman charisma of Hulk Hogan, and he failed to inspire the same sort of response as the Hulkster had. He won the match at SummerSlam, but failed to win the WWF Championship due to winning by count-out, and would end up losing his position on top of the card to Bret Hart, who would ultimately topple Yokozuna at WrestleMania X. Source:

8. Gillberg

During the Monday Night Wars, both promotions would regularly take shots at their competition. Some of them were clever, but the vast majority were childish insults that did nothing but waste time. One such case was Duane Gill, who won the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship in a shocking upset, and morphed into Gillberg, a parody of WCW’s Goldberg whose entrance took longer than his matches, and who never, ever won. Somehow, he never lost the Light Heavyweight title, though (which should give you an idea how little it actually meant), holding it for over a year until losing the belt to the debuting Essa Rios (in fact, Gillberg hadn’t been part of the active roster for months before he was brought back to drop the title). It was a dumb idea and a juvenile attempt at mocking WCW, who at that point didn’t need any help making a mockery of themselves. Years later, of course, WWE would sign the real deal to a one-year contract, then had The Rock bring Gillberg out of retirement to mock him. As expected, that did not go well for Gillberg, who was never seen again. Source:

7. The Giant

Though many have tried over the years, there has never been anyone who could replace the legendary Andre The Giant. But in the mid 90’s, WCW found a man who would come closer than anyone to matching the sheer size of Andre, in Paul Wight. Standing seven feet tall, Wight was an impressive physical specimen, and although he had almost no wrestling experience, he did show some early aptitude (when he debuted, he was still light enough to throw dropkicks, and there were rumors that he had attempted moonsaults during training). WCW, in their infinite wisdom, decided to bill Wight as “The Giant”, and claimed that he was the son of Andre The Giant, so they could reference Andre’s history for a feud with Hulk Hogan. Fans were less than pleased with the idea, seeing it as fairly disrespectful to the beloved Andre, and WCW quickly back-tracked on that part of The Giant’s gimmick. The Giant would win the WCW World Title in his very first match, and go on to a long and prosperous career, eventually signing with WWE and becoming The Big Show that we all know and love. Source:

6. The Real Double J and Rockabilly

You may remember Road Dogg and Billy Gunn as The New Age Outlaws, one of the biggest tag teams of the Attitude Era. But you may not be aware of the terrible gimmicks that led to them teaming together in the first place. First of all, there was the man who started his WWF career as The Roadie, the sidekick of alleged country music star “Double J” Jeff Jarrett. When Jarrett left for WCW, it was revealed that (gasp!) he was a fraud, and it was his Roadie who had been singing his classic song “With My Baby Tonight” (which wasn’t bad, for a country song) the whole time. The Roadie became “The Real Double J” Jesse James, and much like Jarrett’s act, nobody cared. Meanwhile, former member of the Smoking Gunns tag team, Billy Gunn, was hand-picked by The Honky Tonk Man to become his protege (actually, Jesse James initially was approached, but turned it down), who would be known as Rockabilly. Fans didn’t particularly seem interested in seeing a new Honky Tonk Man, either. Fortunately for both men, they ended up paired together just in time for the rise of the Attitude Era, and shed their cartoonish gimmicks to become two of the biggest stars in the company. Source:

5. Damien Mizdow

In the months after abandoning his “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” gimmick for no particular reason, Damien Sandow spent a lot of time dressing up in a variety of costumes and losing a bunch of matches. Eventually, his imitations led him to the logical conclusion: pretending to be Hollywood “mega-star” The Miz, and acting as his official stunt double. Now dubbed Damien Mizdow, he would spend entire matches tryng to copy everything (and we mean everything) that Miz was doing in the ring, from imitating Miz while he was on offense, to standing on his head in an attempt to imitate Miz being held upside down in a vertical suplex. Mizdow would throw himself around a ringside on a regular basis, and as a result, the fans started to get behind Mizdow, who was ridiculously entertaining in his role. Miz and Mizdow even won the WWE Tag Team titles due to the act’s popularity, but of course, Miz grew jealous of his stunt double and began mistreating him. Mizdow would break away from Miz during the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31, but unfortunately, has failed to find a way to get back on TV on a regular basis since shedding his alternate identity.;jsessionid=DB48FD832D4445B2DA67B707D79E7E48?r30_r1_r1:page=1 Source:

4. Diesel and Razor Ramon

In 1997, losing Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to WCW, then watching them form the nWo and become the hottest thing in pro wrestling clearly rankled Vince McMahon. And as he’d done when Hogan left (which we covered earlier), Vince tried to show that it was the gimmicks he’d created that had been the real stars, not the wrestlers behind them. This time, he had Jim Ross spend weeks promoting the fact that Razor Ramon and Diesel would be returning to the WWF, despite the fact that Hall and Nash were still under contract with WCW (a fact that WWF itself would point out on TV). Finally, the moment of truth arrived, and Ross brought out two wrestlers who were dressed in the Razor and Diesel gimmicks, but were clearly not the same men who had worn them previously. The fans hated the entire thing (especially since it turned Ross, a beloved and respected announcer, into a whiny heel character), and for some reason WWF continued to portray the two imitators as legitimate contenders. Eventually, in the face of overwhelming negativity, they gave up and dropped the entire angle. Source:

3. “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal

In a rare case of TNA actually doing something well, they allowed Jay Lethal to start doing a gimmick where he imitated the legendary Macho Man Randy Savage. Some criticized the gimmick, calling it disrespectful to Savage, but TNA announced that Savage had blessed the gimmick personally (the validity of that statement was later questioned by Lethal himself). In any event, Lethal’s impression was actually quite good, and to his credit, he threw everything into acting as much like Savage as possible. TNA actually ran with the act, giving Lethal a decent push as X Division Champion, and even pairing him with his own “Miss Elizabeth” in ring girl SoCal Val. Of course, they messed it up eventually, having Val betray him in a nonsensical swerve and align with Lethal’s former friend Sonjay Dutt. Lethal would continue to play Black Machismo for months afterwards, but most of the magic was gone, and he would not reach that level of popularity in TNA again. Source:

2. Sin Cara

In possibly the oddest copycat gimmick on the list, Sin Cara was actually imitating…Sin Cara. Better yet, it happened twice! The original Sin Cara was highly-touted Mexican luchador Mistico, who was brought in with a huge amount of hype after years as a big star in Mexico. Unfortunately, Mistico had trouble adopting his lucha style to the WWE environment, and looked fairly terrible in all his matches. Further complicating things, he suffered an injury early into his push. WWE, not wanting to lose what little momentum the gimmick had, simply called up a wrestler from their developmental system and put him under the mask. Eventually, the original Sin Cara returned, and WWE ran a brief “dual Sin Cara” feud, ending when the real Sin Cara defeated the imposter, who would unmask and continue wrestling under the name Hunico. But the original Sin Cara continued to struggle, suffering injury after injury and failing to catch on with fans in the brief periods where he was actually on TV. The final straw for WWE was likely a match on Raw where Sin Cara injured his finger falling out of the ring and determined that he could not continue, forcing the referee to cut the match short unexpectedly. WWE would eventually release the original Sin Cara from his contract, once again putting Hunico into the gimmick, where he remains to this day as part of the Lucha Dragons. Source:

1. Demolition

Look, if you’re a WWE fan, of course you loved Demolition. Ax and Smash (and Crush, if you must) were one of the most popular tag teams of their era But they were also a blatant rip-off of the legendary Road Warriors, who were simply one of the greatest tag teams in the history of professional wrestling. Demolition found a lot of success in their own right, winning the WWF Tag Team Championships and holding them for over 500 days (a record which still stands to this day). But the minute that The Road Warriors signed with WWF and debuted as the Legion of Doom, Demolition was shuffled off to the side, never to regain their prior dominance. In fact, the only member of Demolition to find even mediocre success after the team quietly disbanded was Crush, who wasn’t even an original member and was only brought in to fill in for Ax, who had a serious medical condition that would prevent him from wrestling. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.