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Actor Allusion / Professional Wrestling

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Examples of Actor Allusions in Professional Wrestling.

  • This happens more often than the average person might think in the world of pro wrestling. Because a wrestler's career - provided that he or she is successful or famous enough - can easily span a decade or more, and given the often limited talent pool within a single promotion, it's inevitable that many of these characters are going to cross paths more than once, and sometimes under dramatically different circumstances that can make viewers forget what happened before. So it's not too unusual for them to bring up their past encounters, whether just as a joke or as part of the current angle's serious subtext; in the latter case, past footage from those earlier feuds will be played in montage fashion during breaks in the action.
  • John Cena once said, about Kane, that "He gets uneasy during the holidays and hates trips to the dentist." Glen Jacobs, the wrestler who portrays Kane, once had roles as Issac Yankem, DDS (a deranged dentist) in WWE from mid-1995 to mid-1996 and as "The Christmas Creature" in the USWA in Memphis.
    • One time on Sunday Night Heat, Todd Grisham compared Kane to Dr. Isaac Yankem. (Kane's old gimmick) Todd said to Josh Mathews, "Do you think they could be related?" Josh tries to change the subject by saying "I wasn't going to go there!"
    • Jerry "The King" Lawler at a Christmas party said "he looks like some sort of Christmas Creature."
  • Shawn Michaels' infamous "Sunny Days" promo on Bret Hart from 1997, alleging that Hart (who was married) and Tammy Sytch (who was billed as "Sunny") had an affair. Word of God has stated this was a semi-shoot promo, as both Hart and Michaels were legitimately enemies at the time.
  • Professional Wrestlers occasionally go out of their way to acknowledge real-life relatives, even if they're not officially related according to Kayfabe. An example of this would be Survivor Series 1987, where commentator Gorilla Monsoon comments on the prowess of referee Joey Marella, who was in fact Gorilla's son.
    • More infamously were the many non-references from Jerry "The King" Lawler towards his son, Brian Christopher. Lawler refused to acknowledge any kind of relationship with Christopher out of vanity; as someone trying to portray a suave ladies' man in his prime, he didn't want to appear old enough to have a 25-year-old son (he's 63). His adamant on-air denials became a big open secret, and eventually a Running Gag.
      • In a similar vein, Lawler once seemed extremely happy when the Honky Tonk Man showed up on the January 12, 1998 Raw. Announcer Jim Ross eventually said, "What are you, his cousin?" Lawler and Honky are actually cousins.
  • When Stephanie McMahon's real life pregnancy was revealed on the air, Triple H (who was divorced from Stephanie in Kayfabe but was and is still married to her in Real Life) began gushingly speculating on what a stud the father must be.
  • When The Rock goes on a rant about how the Hurricane pales in comparison to other superheroes ("Batman could beat the Hurricane" etc.), the Hurricane responds with "there's one person The Hurricane can beat... The Scorpion King". In The Mummy Returns, Richard "Rick" O'Connell beat the Scorpion King (played by The Rock.)
  • Wrestlers occasionally make references to previous gimmicks in this way, most famously "Stone Cold" Steve Austin using the Million Dollar Dream, his finisher as The Ringmaster, out of desperation at WrestleMania X-7.
  • In TNA, Kevin Nash was giving Jay Lethal suggestions for new nicknames. All of them were previously used by Nash.
  • As part of a Take That! in a promo, Mickie James sarcastically said to Michelle McCool "Are you smarter than a 5th grader". Michelle made an appearance on the game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and performed abysmally.
    • What makes the gag even more embarrassing for McCool is that she actually once was an elementary school teacher.
    • In the same promo, Michelle ribbed Maria Kanellis for her appearance on Celebrity Apprentice.
  • When HHH saw Abe "Knuckleball" Schwartz, he said the Brooklyn Brawler must have been busy that night. Steve Lombardi portrays both characters.
  • In a promo for his WrestleMania XV match with X-Pac (Sean Waltman), Shane McMahon said "I'm going to pin you 1,2,3, kid," alluding to the name Waltman had used from 1993-1996.
  • While she was in WWE the second time around Gail Kim was referred to by the announcers as a 2-time Women's Champion. She held the WWE Women's Championship only once and the other title was the TNA Knockouts Title. It's especially notable not only because it's one of the closest times WWE has ever come to acknowledging TNA on screen, but also because the WWE has failed to acknowledge the TNA World Heavyweight Title on a few occasions (such as whenever tallying up world championship reigns).
  • Torrie Wilson was once in an angle where she got in trouble for laughing at The Big Show backstage while he was in a bad mood. This was likely a reference to the famous WCW segment where Macho Man Randy Savage was on a rampage backstage and found Torrie Corpsing and slapped her in the face as a result.
  • When Freddie Prinze, Jr., was the guest host of WWE Monday Night Raw, Santino Marella came down to the ring and imitated characters from some of Prinze's movies, including "The Fisherman" from I Know What You Did Last Summer. Marella also referred to Prinze's wife as a "werewolf-killer" - which is close but not quite accurate, since she's Sarah Michelle Gellar from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • On an episode of Monday Night Raw a couple of years back, Chavo Guerrero Jr. was chasing Hornswoggle backstage and opened the door to a dressing room, expecting to find the midget inside - only to get smacked in the face by a swinging paint can on a string. Someone then emerged from the dressing room, and it turned out to be...Macaulay Culkin. (If you have to ask why that's funny, you should see this movie.)
  • In the fourth Highlander movie, 2000's Highlander: Engame, Edge had a cameo as a highway robber. He's quickly defeated in a sword fight and then taunted with "Looks like you've lost your edge, lad."
  • On the December 10, 2007 episode of Raw, billed as Raw's 15th Anniversary Show, there was a battle royal featuring wrestlers from the past 15 years. During the match, JR and Lawler referred to Skinner (Steve Keirn) as a "fabulous one." Steve Keirn and Stan Lane were known in Memphis, Florida, the American Wrestling Association, and other territories as The Fabulous Ones from 1982 until 1987, when Jim Crockett Promotions closed down Florida, and manager Jim Cornette took Lane as Bobby Eaton's partner in The Midnight Express after Dennis Condrey left without any kind of warning.
  • At CHIKARA King of Trios 2009, Night 1, March 27, 2009, the UnStable (Vin Gerard/STIGMA/Colin Delaney) were scheduled to face the Cold Front (Al Snow/Glacier/Iceberg), but Iceberg wasn't there, so they brought out a hat to draw the name of a replacement. The names Shinobi, Avatar and Leif Cassidy were all mentioned, which were all alter egos of Al Snow.
  • The Ultimate Warrior made his WCW debut on the August 17, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro by confronting "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan and cutting a melodramatic promo. Hogan was standing with Eric Bischoff and the Disciple (Brutus Beefcake). Warrior pointed to the Disciple and said, "Let's see- this dude must be your barber."
  • The main event of the WCW Fall Brawl 1997 PPV, September 14, 1997, was the NWO (Kevin Nash/Syxx [Sean Waltman]/Buff Bagwell/Konnan) defeating The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair/Chris Benoit/Steve "Mongo" McMichael/Curt Hennig) in War Games after Hennig had turned heel on the Horsemen. The following night on WCW Monday Nitro, Hennig presented "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan with Flair's robe. Hogan accepted the robe, saying, "This day has been perfect," alluding to Hennig's WWE name Mr. Perfect.
  • Ekmo (better known as Umaga), who had last been seen in WWE as Jamal of the tag team Three Minute Warning, showed up in Major League Wrestling in Florida to team with his cousin Samu as the Samoan Island Tribe in a successful Falls Count Anywhere match against Monsta Mack and B-Boy at MLW Summer Apocalypse, August 22, 2003. On MLW Underground TV, announcer Joey Styles said that he made an impact and that it took him less than three minutes to do it.
  • The tag team the Heavenly Bodies (Dr. Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray), best known for their work in Smoky Mountain Wrestling (and, by extension, WWE because of the working relationship via SMW promoter Jim Cornette, who managed the Bodies in SMW and WWE), had a brief run in ECW in late 1995 before Prichard went back to WWE to become Bodydonna Zip. After Prichard went back, Joey Styles mentioned that Prichard had "zipped" back, and added, "If you don't get that, you will in about two weeks."
  • During Sabu's final WCW match, against Disco Inferno on the October 30, 1995 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, commentator Bobby "The Brain" Heenan said, "Sabu's extremely dangerous, don't take him lightly."
  • At WWE Night of Champions 2012, during the match between WWE United States Heavyweight Champion Antonio Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli) and Zack Ryder, the camera found a fan holding a sign that read "Kassius Ohno is my Hero," referring to Chris Hero, Castagnoli's Kings of Wrestling tag team partner in Ring of Honor, CHIKARA, Pro Wrestling NOAH, and other promotions, who, at the time, was in WWE NXT as Kassius Ohno.
  • On the December 31st, 2012 Raw,, CM Punk, and Paul Heyman cut a promo about Punk's injury where Punk brought out his "doctor," "Dr. Samuel DeCero," a reference to Sam DeCero, the long-time promoter of the Chicago independent promotion Windy City Pro Wrestling.
  • The February 2009 issue of WWE Magazine featured an interview with Jesse and Festus, (well, Jesse), where Jesse compared themselves to the Fabulous Freebirds. Jesse's real name is Terry Ray Gordy Jr., and his father, the late Terry "Bamm Bamm" Gordy, was one of the original Freebirds with Michael Hayes.
  • At ECW When Worlds Collide, May 14, 1994, the main event was Bobby Eaton and Sabu (w/Paul E. Dangerously [Paul Heyman]) vs. Arn Anderson and Terry Funk. During the match, announcer Joey Styles made a joke about Doink the Clown in re Eaton and his tag team partners, since Eaton had been teaming with Steve Keirn, the second evil Doink, in WCW at the time as Bad Attitude.
  • On the 2007 Halloween Episode of WWECW, October 30, 2007, Tommy Dreamer dressed as Paul Heyman for his match against Nunzio (formerly ECW's Little Guido Maritato), who was dressed as Dracula), with announcer Joey Styles and commentator Tazz saying how they sort of recognized who Dreamer was imitating but they couldn't actually say it, as Heyman had left the company in December 2006. Dreamer even hit Nunzio with a cell phone, much like Paul E. had as a manager in the 1980s and 1990s, though, while technology has greatly improved, the fact that Dreamer used the kind of small cellular phone we have today instead of one of the big brick kinds from when they were first introduced qualifies as Badass Decay. Apparently, it was WWE's idea for Dreamer to dress up as Heyman here, but he did it with no discernible irony, even leading the crowd in an "ECW" chant.
  • On the May 2, 1999 episode of Sunday Night Heat, while Al Snow and Hardcore Holly were feuding over the WWE Hardcore Title, Al rode out on a toy car, a combined Actor Allusion and Take That! in reference to Holly's previous gimmick, NASCAR driver Sparky Thurman Plugg (later renamed "Sparkplug" Bob Holly).
  • Jim Ross sometimes referred to "Road Dogg" Jesse Jammes as "'Bullet' Bob Armstrong's little boy." Road Dogg, real name Brian Gerard James, is indeed the son of southern wrestling legend "Bullet" Bob Armstrong, though he never acknowledged it in character in WWE.
  • During the Survivor Series 1995 match between the Bodydonnas (Skip [Chris Candido]/Rad Radford [Louie Spicolli]/Dr. Tom Prichard/The 1-2-3 Kid) and the Underdogs (Marty Jannetty/Barry Horowitz/Bob Holly/Hakushi), Marty hit the Rocker Dropper on Skip, prompting commentator Mr. Perfect to say, "That'll break a neck." On December 11, 1990, the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) defeated the team of the Genius (Lanny Poffo) and Charles Austin in a match in Tampa, Florida where Austin suffered a broken neck due to setting up for the Rocker Dropper incorrectly, trying to do a forward roll instead of the correct face-first bump. Jannetty quickly rolled Austin over and Shawn came off the top with a fistdrop for the pin. The match was taped, but never televised. Doctors at the time thought Austin might be paralyzed from the neck down for life. By 1994, he had regained some feeling in his arms and legs and was able to move around on crutches. He later sued WWE, Michaels and Jannetty for $3.8 million. On April 29, 1994, a Hillsborough County, FL jury awarded Austin $26.7 million, ruling that Titan Sports (WWE's official parent company) was 90% responsible, Jannetty was 5% responsible and that Austin himself was 5% responsible.
  • Multiple references to Scott "Raven" Levy's past gimmicks were made in ECW in 1995.
    • On the December 14, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Kanyon said that Raven had grown up as a spoiled rich trust fund baby in Palm Beach, FL. Scott Levy was known in the Global Wrestling Federation for a time as "The Palm Beach Heartthrob" Scott Anthony.
  • On the September 6, 2000 episode of WCW Thunder, "Mean" Gene Okerlund interviewed Crowbar prior to his match with Shane Douglas. Crowbar mentioned Douglas' real name of Troy Martin and referred to himself as "Devon." Prior to coming to WCW in late 1999, Crowbar, real name Christopher Ford, had wrestled for various promotions as Devon Storm.
  • During the Horace Boulder-Juventud Guerrera match on the May 21, 1998 episode of WCW Thunder, Lodi could be seen holding a sign that read "Horace- The Real Man of the Family." This is a combined Actor Allusion and Take That!, since Horace is Hulk Hogan's nephew, although this was not acknowledged until he joined the NWO and renamed himself "Horace Hogan" on the October 26th WCW Monday Nitro, as it suggested that Hulk Hogan was not a "real man."
  • Commentator John "Bradshaw" Layfield will mention Hardcore Holly when Cody Rhodes, Holly's former WWE World Tag Team Championship partner back in 2007-2008, uses Holly's Alabama Slam finisher..
  • When Christian made his return to WWE on ECW in 2009, Matt Striker said "This moment has just become instantly classic!" After leaving WWE in 2005, Christian had moved to TNA where he was known as The Instant Classic Christian Cage.