No Celebrities Were Harmed / Professional Wrestling
During the 1970s, a couple Cuban wrestlers, Fidel and Raúl Castillo, made rounds through the Caribbean (especially the Puerto Rican World Wrestling Council), Canada (Maple Leaf Wrestling, Stampede) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Physically, they actually did not resemble a famous pair of Cubans with those same first names (Only Fidel was Cuban, Raúl grew up in the Dominican Republic. Raúl also had an Afro) but it was obvious to everyone what they were going for.
Kevin Nash, known as "Diesel" from 1993-1996, and Scott Hall, known as "Razor Ramon" from 1992-1996, left WWE for WCW in May 1996. In September, announcer Jim Ross started talking about "Razor" and "Diesel" returning, which sparked online speculation about the status of their contracts with WCW, where they, along with the heel-turned"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, were at the forefront of the red-hot NWO storyline. On the September 23, 1996 Raw, Ross cut a shoot promo, essentially turning heel on the company due to how he had been treated a few years earlier after developing Bell's Palsy, and the fans loved it. Then They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, as Ross brought out "Razor Ramon." Instead of Hall, it was Canadian wrestler Rick Bogner, best known for his work in FMW in Japan as Big Titan, doing a BAD imitation. "Razor" was followed by "Diesel," real name Glen Jacobs, who had last been seen five months earlier as Jerry Lawler's evil dentist Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS. The gimmick — inspired after McMahon invoked his rights to retain the characters due to them being trademarked — was unpopular and was dropped quickly, but not until after wrestling fans expressed how unamused they were by it. "Diesel" and "Razor" disappeared from television after the Royal Rumble in January 1997 and were shipped down to Lawler's USWA (United States Wrestling Association) in Memphis, TN for repackaging. Bogner cut a promo where he buried the gimmick and renamed himself "The Free Spirit" Ric Titan. Jacobs went back to his previous Memphis gimmick of Doomsday, even winning the USWA Heavyweight Title under that name. Jacobs returned to WWE on October 5th at In Your House: Badd Blood as Kane, The Undertaker's evil "brother," costing Taker the win in his Hell in a Cell match against Shawn Michaels. Bogner likely would have been repackaged as well, but he chose to jump to New Japan Pro-Wrestling instead to join NWO Japan.
As a heel, CM Punk is (appearance-wise, anyway) clearly supposed to be a knock-off of notorious serial killer Charles Manson because of his oversized beard. Many fans started speculating that the CM stood for Charles Manson. And when he was a commentator, he actually wore a Charles Manson t-shirt. However, some of his facial expressions are closer to those of the late great comedian George Carlin. And even without the facial hair, Punk bore an uncanny resemblance to Che Guevara, which made his "Cult of Personality" gimmick from 2011 to 2014 all the more fitting.
NWA Wildside had a send up to the notorious attorney F. Lee Bailey, an evil lawyer known as Jeff G. Bailey.
Los Compadres, Dominican heels of the Puerto Rican World Wrestling Council had a valet named Destiny, a light skinned black woman with long blonde hair. Basically an evil version of Destiny's Child singer Beyoncé.
CM Punk's gimmick has been parodied by the wrestling federation CHIKARA, who used a mascot character CP Munk, the Straight Edge chipmunk. The gimmick includes references to Punk, such as X-marked wrist tape, a Pepsi logo on the costume's left shoulder, and a high-pitch version of Punk's best-known independent circuit theme song "Miseria Cantare – The Beginning", by the band AFI. Whereas Punk, particularly in his Heel days in the independents, used the Catch-Phrase "Drug free, alcohol free and better than you," CP Munk is billed as "He's almond free, he's acorn free, and he's better than you." At times, CP Munk, real name Dylan Keith Summers, better known as the hardcore wrestler Necro Butcher of CZW and The Wrestler infamy, has teamed with "Colt Cabunny," a rabbit parody of Punk's longtime friend and tag team partner Colt Cabana, played by another CZW regular Joker, real name William Posada.
On his website, Punk has said about the CP Munk gimmick, and the people behind it (Punk had apparently no-showed a CHIKARA event, it was their response):
"I'm split 50/50 on it. Some days I get real pissed about it, because it's disrespectful. I'm sure it's no secret that the dorks that run Chikara and I don't get along, so they're [sic] judgement on trying to "mock" me is a little off. Most other days I just laugh it off because nobody from Chikara will ever be over enough anywhere for anybody else to parody them."
NWA Cyberspace and later, On Fire had a Luda Kash from the "All Money Is Legal" group. What, you think he supposed to resemble some rapper? That's Ludacris!
Jillian Hall's last gimmick was a Britney Spears-esque singer (complete with headset mic, outfit, and monotone "sexy" singing voice, although done to new levels of horrible). It's now more seen as a Take That! against Brooke Hogan, the daughter of Hulk Hogan, who the WWE had another falling out with after promoting her music on Raw around the time of SummerSlam in August 2005 (Hogan's last appearance in the company, which was a condition of his return), esp. since the fans did not really care about the musical talents of a Hogan. In a hilarious twist, Jillian Hall's Christmas album outsold Brooke Hogan's latest album, despite the fact Jillian's was not only a joke album, but was also only available through iTunes. Jillian would later go on record that her gimmick was not meant to be an insult to Brooke but Hulk Hogan took it that way and went to TNA.
John Morrison (really "John Hennigan," and the former "Johnny Nitro") is a pretty blatant clone of the Doors' Jim Morrison. When he first appeared as a heel in the summer of 2007, he even quoted Doors lyrics ("Some are born to sweet delight / And some are born to endless night") and at one point outright scream-sang: "I set the night on fire!" The character mellowed quite a bit after Hennigan turned face, and became more of a knowing tribute to Jim Morrison instead of essentially his long-lost relative. The only weird thing about the gimmick was that his theme song was inspired by Jimi Hendrix more than The Doors.
Mexican Lucha Libre Promotion King Bulls Wrestling hosted an event in 2010 where Fake Undertaker defeated Fake John Cena and Fake Rey Mysterio in the opening match. Fake Rey Mysterio is better known as 5to(sic) Rey Misterio, as a riff on the original Misterio (though he's actually 5'5, the point is he's still obviously shorter). Fake Mysterio and Fake John Cena have also worked as a tag team in Lucha Libre Unida against their rivals, Fake Umaga and Fake Big Show.
Sting's then new makeup design and mannerisms during the summer of 2011 (when he was feuding with Hulk Hogan's "Immortal" stable) were pretty blatantly swiped from Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight, with Ric Flair outright noting the resemblance and Sting riffing on the Joker's "Why so serious?" catchphrase with "Why so nervous, Hogan?" It might have been more effective if this hadn't been nearly three whole years after the Batman sequel had come out - and after just about everyone else had already done a Ledger tribute. What probably saved the gimmick from being a complete fiasco was that the voice and manic manner of the new Sting were clearly inspired by Jim Carrey, who never played the Joker anyway.
Booker T's classic gimmick of bellowing "Can you dig that, suckaaaaa?!" just might be a tip of the hat to Roger Hill's performance as Cyrus in The Warriors, since Cyrus also said "dig" and "sucka" quite frequently. If not, it's just a standard Jive Turkey rip-off.
Paul Heyman was known as "Paul E. Dangerously" at the beginning of his career because it was thought that he facially (if not quite physically) resembled Michael Keaton, who played the title character in Johnny Dangerously.