Our 10 favorite fictional Superstars
Some of the squared circle’s most memorable characters never actually set foot in a WWE ring. Television shows, movies and video games have offered plenty of interpretations in recent years on what makes a Superstar. Some have missed the mark, but others have been so spot on that we want to see those fictional competitors step inside the squared circle.
We’ve combed through pop culture’s best parodies to find our 10 favorite fictional Superstars.
Birds of War, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
When Dennis, Mac and Charlie, the gang from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” decided to put on a wrestling show for American troops, one thing was clear from the start: Making a spectacular ring entrance would be of paramount importance.
Dubbing themselves the “Birds of War,” the Paddy’s Pub trio struggled with every other detail of their performance, such as how to convey that their characters were bird-men, and not simply birds, or whether their entrance song, which they sang themselves, really required a second verse to get across their backstories.
The audience, it turns out, did not respond to the pageantry of feathers and faux beaks. Don’t worry, gang: Red Rooster feels your pain. — JOHN CLAPP
M.U.S.C.L.E. (Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere)
Long before its current line of WWE action figures, Mattel invaded toy aisles in the 1980s with an unusual line of pink, rubbery, grapplers, including a walking Parthenon and a wrestler with a teacup for a head. These tiny figures — based on the Japanese “Kinnikuman” manga and anime series — were insanely collectible, allowing kids to wage miniature matches pretty much anywhere.
True M.U.S.C.L.E. champions owned the Battlin’ Belt carrying case, which allowed you to trap the tiny monsters in the title’s face plate and strut around with them on your waist. Ric Flair did some awesome things in his prime, but he never did anything like that. — JAMES WORTMAN
Captain Insano, “The Waterboy”
Big Show has starred in several movies and made countless film and television appearances, but one of his most memorable movie moments is one of his earliest.
The World’s Largest Athlete appeared in the 1998 Adam Sandler flick “The Waterboy,” as Captain Insano, the idol of hydration specialist Bobby Boucher. After going on a tirade on an upcoming opponent, Insano took a call from Boucher, who offered to become the titan’s personal waterboy.
Upon finding out that Boucher was actually a 31-year-old man, Insano let out a hearty laugh, which filled the downtrodden waterboy with such blind rage that he ultimately became a ruthless linebacker on the gridiron.
Despite his mockery, Boucher still found inspiration from the massive grappler. After all, Captain Insano shows no mercy! — BOBBY MELOK
The Amazon, “Pro Wrestling”
Sorry, Starman. Of all the characters in Nintendo’s 1986 cult-classic button-masher “Pro Wrestling,” none accomplished more with 8-bits than The Amazon. While the game’s roster was outfitted with sports-entertainment archetypes — from bronzed god Giant Panther to foreign menace Kin Corn Karn — the head chomping fish monster seemed to have been developed as a “Metroid” villain and dropped into “Pro Wrestling” at the last minute.
There’s probably not a commission on this planet that would have sanctioned an amphibious mutant from the jungles of Brazil for official competition, but we’re glad the crooked promoters behind “Pro Wrestling” did. The Amazon, a winner is you! — RYAN MURPHY
Zangief, “Street Fighter II”
When you think of big Russian brawlers in fictional settings, there are two imposing individuals that come to mind: Ivan Drago from “Rocky IV” and Zangief from “Street Fighter.” Zangief is a large and ridiculously strong professional wrestler who entered the World Warrior Tournament to battle the likes of Guile, Ryu and Ken.
Since his initial appearance in “Street Fighter II: The World Warrior,” the Russian grappler has become a video game icon and a staple of the series. Zangief’s popularity as a villain also landed him a small role in Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph.” There are few characters — and competitors — who have endured the test of time like the brutish “Red Cyclone.” — KEVIN POWERS
Randy “The Ram” Robinson, “The Wrestler”
Mickey Rourke portrayed Randy “The Ram” Robinson in the 2008 film “The Wrestler,” a gritty depiction of a grappler who, with his salad days behind him, is forced to cope with life outside the limelight.
Whereas his likeness was used for action figures and video games in the 1980s, The Ram is relegated to weekend-warrior status by the new millennium, competing in injurious death matches for meager pay on the dimly lit independent circuit. Searching for redemption, Robinson forgoes a short-lived retirement to fight rival The Ayatollah (played by Ernest Miller) in a highly publicized anniversary match that pushes The Ram to his physical limit. Robinson’s story wasn’t pretty, but it sure was gripping. — JOHN CLAPP
Glamorous Godfrey, “The Simpsons”
It’s hardly a surprise that Springfield, USA, has a rich history of sports-entertainment. Bret Hart moved to “The Simpsons” town in the mid-’90s, after all. But in the 1950s, Glamorous Godfrey, aka Grampa Simpson, ruled the sports-entertainment scene.
With a sense of vanity reminiscent of WWE Hall of Famer Gorgeous George, Grampa was such a great bad guy that he would get booed everywhere, from parades to church. He rode to the ring in a chariot and commissioned portraits of himself during matches.
In the 2013 episode “Gorgeous Grampa,” he and Mr. Burns even sang about why it’s so good to be evil. You’d think they would have offered Mr. McMahon a cameo. — JEFF LABOON
“Bone Saw” McGraw, “Spider-Man”
In Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” a newly super-powered Peter Parker figured the best way to earn some cash for a sweet ride was to answer a local wrestling promotion’s ad for a three-minute bout against “Bone Saw” McGraw. Played by WWE Hall of Famer “Macho Man” Randy Savage, McGraw made Parker regret it pretty quickly.
After easily dispatching the appropriately named Flying Dutchman by hurling him out of the ring and through a table, McGraw turned his attention to The Webslinger. McGraw gave him his first real fight inside a steel cage, forcing the superhero to use his wall-climbing abilities to upset the burly fan favorite. Even in defeat, McGraw no doubt continued to dominate the fictitious NYWL, because when it comes to competition, “Bone Saw is reaaaady.” — JAMES WORTMAN
Nacho Libre, “Nacho Libre”
Ignacio was just a simple cook at an orphanage in Oaxaca, Mexico, who desired to provide better food for the children and win the heart of Sister Encarnación. In an effort to accomplish his goals, Ignacio donned a mask and entered the squared circle as NNNAAACCCHHHOooo!
Although he lost several matches alongside his partner Esqueleto and had his identity exposed, Nacho eventually battled the champion, Ramses, and won. He refused to give up, ultimately using his in-ring career to make life better for the children he served — kind of like a portly, mustachioed John Cena. — KEVIN POWERS
The Foreigner, “Futurama”
Sports-entertainment fans are intensely patriotic. They love rooting for grapplers from their homeland. And when a foreign menace comes to tear down their beloved country, it only raises their ire more.
“Futurama” broke that tendency down into the simplest terms possible in the episode “Raging Bender,” with their character, The Foreigner. The grappling bot clad in matador gear battles the cigar-chomping Bender when the android enters the Ultimate Robot Fighting League.
The Foreigner taunts the Madison Cube Garden crowd, proudly stating that he has different customs than the New New Yorkers and a “crazy passport.” Even though Bender shut him up by stuffing the American flag in his mechanical face, we’re sure he came back with the combined might of Ludvig Borga, Yokozuna and Nikolai Volkoff. — BOBBY MELOK