Best WWE Legend Comparisons for Company's Next Wave of Stars
When WWE's newest wave of talent comes charging into the spotlight, they will be carrying on the tradition of legends before them.
Alexander Rusev will remind fans of a bulldozer from Samoa, Adam Rose appears to be mirroring an "adorable" star from the '80s and The Ascension seem to have looked to the Attitude Era for inspiration. Fans unsure of what to expect from the main roster's latest additions look back on those with similar gimmicks and in-ring styles from the past.
How the brutes and dance-happy stars of yesterday fared can provide a possible glimpse of the future.
The following is an examination of which WWE alums are most similar to the Superstars and Divas who have recently debuted or who are set to debut soon. Will having analogous tools and packaging lead to similar successes?
So far, Alexander Rusev's matches have been short bursts of violence that end in easy victories for him.
Several monster heels have gone this route of domination to open their careers, but the powerful NXT transplant most looks like Umaga when he goes on the attack. Both men are intimidating, excellent strikers and surprisingly explosive.
When Umaga would roll over his opponents, he showed off athletic skill one doesn't expect from a man his size.
He displayed quality footwork as he ran the ropes, charged at his opponent or kicked someone in the mush. Watching him clock Scotty Goldman with a beautiful high kick, one can't help but compare him to Rusev today.
Umaga and Rusev are also adept at working their characters into their matches. Their movements and expressions throughout their battles all add to the role.
While their geographic origins differ, their gimmicks are mighty similar—savage brutes who can only be controlled by their managers.
It's not hard to imagine Rusev following Umaga's path in terms of winning the Intercontinental Championship twice and serving as a dangerous rival for the company's top fan favorites.
Emma-Koko B. Ware
Fans are likely to look back on Emma's career and talk about how underrated as a mat wrestler she was and how her silly gimmick was both limiting and a big part of her popularity.
That was Koko B. Ware's story as well. The jubilant bird lover danced to the ring with a macaw on his arm.
His dance looks a lot like Emma's signature number.
Ware was popular with kids and a fun act to watch, even if he rarely got to show off the ring skills fans saw him display in Mid-South Wrestling. Emma may never have a live animal be part of her routine, but she's mirroring Ware's career path so far.
Adam Rose-Adrian Adonis
Their body types are world's apart, but Adam Rose and "Adorable" Adrian Adonis have a gimmick overshadowing ring skills in common.
Before applying blush to his cheeks and wearing sashes around his neck, Adonis was a brawler. Fans now remember him more for the flamboyant character he eventually adopted than anything he did before that.
As Leo Kruger, Rose was a skilled brawler who just couldn't make it out of WWE developmental. Like Adonis did in the mid-'80s, he found a ticket out of obscurity—a gimmick impossible to ignore.
Rose's matches will be built around his party-goer character. He'll prance and play in the ring, something Adonis did for years.
Watching Adonis clash with Tony Atlas, for example, one can see a tough, talented bruiser hidden under a splashy shtick. That will be what Rose will be as well.
Bo Dallas-Tito Santana
Bo Dallas will struggle to ever be as popular as Tito Santana, but his physical gifts are comparable to the Hall of Famer's.
Santana could excite with his speed and agility, but he was a well-rounded wrestler who told great stories in the ring. When he was battling Greg Valentine for the Intercontinental Championship for much of 1984, the result was often highly compelling.
That's the kind of theater Dallas has shown himself capable of during his latest run of NXT bouts.
Against Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn, he's mixed bursts of speed with grinding holds as part of high-quality matches. This is why WWE believes in him despite his underwhelming charisma and lack of size.
Santana was no wizard on the mic, but he found a home on WWE's upper midcard for years, either in the IC title picture or as part of the tag team division. This is where Dallas is destined as well.
Even with his much-improved character, Dallas isn't magnetic enough to challenge for a headlining spot.
Lita generated fan adoration by way of her toughness, aggressive style and athleticism. Paige shares all those traits with her.
Lita was more of a high-flyer, while Paige is more of a mat wrestler, but both are grittier than their peers.
On a roster filled with former models, Paige is a warrior. That's a big part of what helped Lita stand out throughout the 2000s. Both women are convincing badasses, with Paige being just as capable as Lita once was of being the cornerstone of her current division.
If any current female wrestler is going to compete in a Steel Cage match as Lita once did, it would be Paige. If women are ever going to main event Raw as Lita and Trish Stratus did back in 2004, the smart bet would be for that bout to involve Paige.
The Ascension-The Acolytes
While The Ascension's entrance certainly has a strong Undertaker influence, their overall package is highly reminiscent of The Acolytes.
Bradshaw and Faarooq employed occult images, from the pentagrams on their tights to the mysterious symbols painted on their chests. Konnor and Viktor have their own eerie symbols on their ring gear, including The Eye of Ra.
When the NXT Tag champs step between the ropes, the parallels with The Acolytes can continue to be seen.
Both teams rely on simple, overpowering offense moves. Both delight in hurting their opponents and often steamroll right over them.
While The Acolytes had two big bruisers on their squad, The Ascension has one powerhouse and a smaller wrestler paired together. Even so, their destructive aura is strikingly similar. The Ascension certainly wouldn't mind having the kind of career Bradshaw and Faarooq did.
The Acolytes won the Tag Team titles three times.