Wrestling's greatest imposters

To many, professional wrestling is just a soap opera skewed toward men. With storylines that dip into romance and drama, it’s no surprise one would feel that way. Much like pro wrestling, soap operas involve reoccuring storylines that a lot of time resemble wrestling angles. Every seven years it feels like they pop up again. A popular soap opera cliché (or angle to use wrestling terminology) is the imposter. The Days of Our Lives Stefano DiMera kidnapped Roman Brady and his son-in-law and replaced them both with imposters was a popular example of this.

Wrestling’s greatest imposters

Pro Wrestling is not to be outdone and in recent history there’s nothing better for wrestling TV than to see a wrestler come out but just be a little different. Something a little wrong. I’m not talking about a gimmick being passed down from wrestler to wrestler like the Tiger Mask or a new version of a wrestler appearing like Super Liger. I don’t mean parodies like the D-X Nation either. I mean a wrestler coming out to be another wrestler to either mislead the fans or get into the mind of the original. Here are some of the most popular examples of wrestling’s greatest imposters.

(Note: Imposter can be spelled like that or as Impostor. Both words existed since the 16th century. Blame the English language for not making up their mind.)

Sting and the Fake Stings

Sting and the Undertaker’s careers have this odd relation to each other which for a lot of reasons is accidental. While a lot have felt that the “Crow” Sting character was just a way to rip off the Undertaker, Sting had been having imposters as far back as 1990. At Halloween Havoc, Sting squared off against Sid Vicious for the World’s Heavyweight Championship, only for Sting to get pinned. It turned out it was noticed that Sting really wasn’t the one pinned, since it was Barry Windham dressed up as him.

Sting soon found himself dealing with an imposter again, this time a lot more regularly. Prior to Fall Brawl 96, “Sting” lured Lex Luger into a limo and beat him up. Luger didn’t believe it when Sting told him it wasn’t him. At Fall Brawl, Sting even entered the War Games match when the imposter was there and beat him up. Being doubted by Luger caused Sting to leave WCW for a while, only returning soon in his “Crow” attire. The fake Sting wasn’t lazy about it and also started dressing up like a Crow Sting to match Sting with it. Fake Sting actually spent more time in the gimmick in New Japan than he did wrestling in WCW.

Another instance of a Fake Sting came at World War 3 1997 when Kevin Nash decided to don the costume and help Scott Hall win the match. There were other times where fans or plants would all wear Sting outfits to trick the New World Order. Makes you wish protesters would wear Sting masks instead of Guy Fawkes masks. At least it would make a lot more sense.

The last two times anyone tried to dress up like Sting was Jeff Jarrett dressing as “Surfer” Sting to mock him in their feud, and over in TNA Wrestling when Ken Anderson dressed like “Surfer” Sting to mock Sting, only for Eric Young to come out as “The Fake Muta” and wrestle a match far more entertaining than anything any of the other fake Sting’s did in the ring. WWF fans might think of imposters to the Undertaker but it was happening to Sting before Undertaker even came around.

Undertaker vs. Underfaker

At the 1994 Royal Rumble, the Undertaker was buried by Yokozuna in a match that took close to a dozen heels to assist Yoko in putting Taker away. Taker’s body soon floated up the arena (played by Marty Janetty) before disappearing for months. Soon, Ted DiBiase, the man who brought Undertaker to the WWF in the first place had claimed to have purchased the Undertaker. Soon the Undertaker had returned to squashing jobbers but he clearly looked to be played by someone else. That someone else was Brian Lee (who even got a role playing the Undertaker in a Bollywood film. No seriously. Crush is in it as well. Look up Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi sometime), who worked in Smoky Mountain wrestling. It was one of the great examples of pro wrestling theatrics, having a clone run around. Undertaker soon returned to take out the “Underfaker” in an awful Summerslam main event which at least gave us the comedic antics of Leslie Nielsen to help swallow it all down better. But at least it was entertaining. Brian Lee would work in ECW for a little while before coming back to the WWF in the Disciples of Apocalypse as Chainz. Undertaker would soon return the favour in 1999 by changing his gimmick to a biker that looked exactly like Chainz.

Diesel and Razor Ramon

In 1996, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall left the WWF to join WCW and embark on quite possibly the greatest wrestling angle in the history of the business. The WWF, still sour at the departures, decided to announce the return of Diesel and Razor Ramon. It was a way for Vince to try to take the steam out of the New World Order angle, which was made to make people think that it was the WWF invading WCW. Unfortunately, not only did it flop, it flopped miserably. While Rick Bogner playing Razor the end of his time in the company, the man playing Diesel moved onto hellfire and brimstone as the man they call Kane.

Kane vs. Fake Kane

There is nobody more experienced with imposters than Glenn Jacobs. As I stated earlier, his second job in the WWF was impersonating Big Daddy Cool Diesel. Now entering the WWF as Kane, it was common for him to either impersonate the Undertaker or for the Undertaker to impersonate him, due to their common physical stature and history as brothers. Kane himself went from a man in a full body suit and mask to a bald man without a mask, so by the late 2000s he hardly looked like himself upon debut.

It became no surprise then that he became easy to impersonate from his older days, as after the release of the horrible horror film See No Evil, Kane was soon harassed about MAY 19. The harassment led to the return of Kane… as in, the Kane we remember from 1997. The angle was actually quite interesting. Kane went through so many transformations it’d make sense if he at one point slipped out of the character in order for someone else to take his place. Unfortunately, Kane matches were hard to make exciting without a gimmick and seeing two Kane’s fight each other like you were playing a video game wasn’t what one would call riveting television. It was the same issue to when Undertaker fought himself at Summerslam. Seeing the tepid reaction for such a storyline, the fake Kane was soon tossed out of a building on Raw and never heard from again. Much like with fake Diesel, the man playing the role was still a useful hand and returned first as Festus before becoming Luke Gallows. Proof that even the biggest failure of gimmicks doesn’t mean your career is gone.

Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara

Lucha Libre has a long history of imposters and shared gimmicks. It was at one point a story of curiosity when former WCW Chairman La Parka was now going by L.A. Park while another wrestler worked as La Parka. A more interesting example is when Jorge Arias and Luis Alvirde both made their Mexican wrestling debuts as Mistico. Arias changed his name eventually to Incognito and eventually made his way to the WWE. Mistico soon did the same and became Sin Cara. In 2011, Sin Cara seemed to make a heel turn out of nowhere, only for it to be revealed it was an imposter the entire time. The Sin Cara’s soon distingushied themselves by being Sin Cara Azul (the original wearing blue) and Sin Cara Negro (the imposter played by Arias wearing black). They eventually had Sin Cara Negro unmask on a throwaway episode of Smackdown to become Hunico.

Where things get real tricky is that in December of 2013, Sin Cara returned after some time away from the WWE. It was clear however that he wasn’t played by Luis Alvirde but Jorge “Hunico” Arias, who was originally his imposter. This time it wasn’t to re-ignite an angle as the WWE was giving the original Sin Cara his release and having Hunico play it instead. One would think Alvirde would just return to Mexico as Mistico but has instead been continuing to work as Sin Cara, claiming he owns the character. At the time of this article, we now have two Sin Cara’s wrestling and neither are technically an imposter. Such is the oddity of the world of professional wrestling.

Can you think of any other imposters? Be sure to tweet us with #LWOS and let us know. Or even just talk about your favourite imposter moment!

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