5 WWE Superstars who were accused of stealing gimmicks

Seth Rollins (left); Aksana (right)
Seth Rollins (left); Aksana (right)

WWE Superstars cannot become top names in Vince McMahon’s company based on in-ring talent alone. To connect with audiences around the world, WWE’s men and women have to create entertaining characters that fans can really invest in.

Bryan Danielson (f.k.a. Daniel Bryan), for example, is widely regarded as one of the best wrestlers of the last two decades. But would he have achieved the success he did in WWE without his “Yes! Movement” gimmick and impressive promo skills? Probably not.

While some WWE characters are created by writers, many superstars come up with their own ideas for their on-screen personas. Occasionally, problems can occur when a superstar undergoes a transformation, especially when another wrestler deems their new gimmick to be similar to theirs.

In this article, let’s take a look at five WWE Superstars who were accused of stealing gimmicks:

#5 Wolfie D accused John Cena of using his gimmick in WWE

Former WWE Superstar Wolfie D believes John Cena’s Doctor of Thuganomics character was too similar to the rapper gimmick he had in the 1990s.

Wolfie D, one half of the PG-13 tag team, used to rap his way to the ring during his spell with The Nation of Domination.

In an interview with Monte & The Pharaoh, the former Nation member claimed Cena’s character was a “complete rip-off” of PG-13.

“I agree with that [John Cena being WWE’s last truly great superstar]. I just have a personal bias to it because that guy right there standing behind you with the shorts and the tennis shoes and all that, I was the first guy to do that gimmick. I think that John Cena is a complete rip-off of PG-13, Wolfie D, whatever you wanna say,” he said.
Before it was @JohnCena's time, he was all about Basic Thuganomics! #WordLife

Wolfie D worked alongside J.C. Ice (a.k.a. James Dundee) in PG-13. The two men appeared in WWE between 1995 and 1997 before having a short spell with WCW in 1999 and 2000.

#4 Maxine accused Aksana of using her gimmick in WWE

Karlee Perez, better known as Catrina in Lucha Underground and Maxine in WWE, said in 2014 that her gimmick idea was used by Aksana.

Perez performed as Maxine in FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) and NXT between 2009 and 2012. Aksana also debuted in FCW in 2009 before joining SmackDown in 2011 as Teddy Long’s assistant.

Speaking to Headlocks 2 Headlines, Perez said she originally pitched an idea that would have seen her seduce Long and try to take over SmackDown:

“When I pitched that storyline to the writers and the boss man, I had to cut a promo, I had to have a match and pitch the storyline. Within 24 hours, the very next day, I walk into FCW and I’m sat down and I’m told that I have to change my hair and my entire look. And I ask why, and they said it was too similar to Aksana,” Perez said. [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
Come see ME on #WWENetwork 2/24/14! #WWE

Aksana, who previously had bleached blond hair, dyed her hair jet black and started wearing a black catsuit. The following week, she appeared in her first segment with Teddy Long on WWE television. To make matters worse, Perez was asked if she could help her Lithuanian co-worker with her promos.

According to Perez, the other FCW stars “kinda went silent and were just staring” because they knew her gimmick idea had been stolen.

#3 Sienna accused Charlotte Flair of using her gimmick in WWE

Sienna implied in a since-deleted tweet in 2017 that WWE Superstar Charlotte Flair had stolen various aspects of her character. Like Flair, Sienna also uses feathers during her ring entrance and wears eye makeup as part of her on-screen persona.

The former Impact Knockouts Champion said she ignored Flair’s use of feathers and makeup in the past. However, she felt The Queen went too far when she started using a similar “pinky” hand gesture to her:

“I ignored the feathers & the makeup, but the pinky? Really? If you need anything else from me, let me know. @MsCharlotteWWE #PinkiesUp,” Sienna tweeted.

Charlotte Flair’s WWE gimmick is largely based on her father, two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair. Since 2014, the WrestleMania 35 main-eventer has copied many of Ric’s mannerisms and moves.

Indirectly responding to Sienna, Charlotte Flair tweeted a picture of her father being billed as “Wrestling’s Peacock” earlier in his career. As the tweet above shows, the 16-time World Champion wore many robes that Charlotte went on to replicate when she became a WWE Superstar.

#2 Kiera Hogan accused Ember Moon of using her gimmick in WWE

Kiera Hogan said in 2018 that her heart “literally dropped” when she saw Ember Moon use elements of her “Girl On Fire” gimmick in WWE.

Hogan and Moon attended the same WWE tryout in 2015. Moon went on to join WWE while Hogan later signed with IMPACT Wrestling before making her way to AEW.

In an interview with Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp, Hogan claimed Moon intentionally stole her gimmick during her time in NXT:

“I know for a fact I'm the reason she did it. I try not to look at it in a negative way, but in the end it is negative, because it's something that I did first. Something that I brought to my company first. She debuted it at NXT Takeover Mania weekend. I saw her come out and my heart literally dropped,” Hogan said.

Hogan received hate online from fans who accused her of being a “rip-off version” of Moon. She added that it hurt to read comments like that when she had worked so hard to develop the character herself.

2012 vs 2018 "Seek the Truth and let the wildfire set you free..." It's funny how details are lost over time but I will continue to evolve!Know my past to understand how bright my future will burn!#TransformationTuesday #SHEwolf #NightAngel #FreeTheFlame #MythRises

Like the Charlotte Flair-Sienna situation, Moon did not directly address Hogan’s claim. She did, however, post on Twitter that she used her fiery gimmick back in 2012, three years before witnessing Hogan’s “Girl On Fire” character.

#1 Abraham Washington accused Seth Rollins of using his gimmick in WWE

"Not everyone has the capability to be The #MondayNightMessiah ... I do." - @WWERollins #RawTalk

Former WWE Superstar Abraham Washington thought Seth Rollins’ Monday Night Messiah gimmick was too similar to his Reverend Jeremiah Constantine character.

Washington, who was fired by WWE in 2012, uploaded in-character videos to his YouTube channel in 2019 and 2020. After sending his work to WWE, he was informed that a lead writer had seen the videos.

Speaking on the High Spot Podcast, The Prime Time Players’ former manager claimed that his religious gimmick had been given to Rollins:

“It just upsets me the fact that you can’t even acknowledge me and that you’re taking from my stuff, especially with the Seth stuff, the Monday Night Messiah. I’m pretty sure they got that from my promos,” he said.

When Washington made that comment, Rollins performed as The Monday Night Messiah while Bray Wyatt had recently introduced The Fiend.

Washington did not accuse Wyatt of stealing The Fiend idea from him. However, he claimed that Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House newscast segments had similarities to his Reverend Jeremiah Constantine videos.

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Edited by Arjun