10 Rip Off Wrestling Gimmicks (That Messed Up What They Copied)

9. Pirate Paul Burchill

Ultimate Warrior Renegade

I have fond memories of 'Pirate' Paul Burchill, although they could just so easily be the toxic nostalgia of seeing a British wrestler on WWE TV that wasn't Davey Boy Smith or William Regal. It could also be the novelty of seeing a pirate on WWE TV. Alternatively, it could be because I was young, and young people are stupid.

Brits in WWE may be all the rage these days but that wasn't the case back in 2005. Burchill was something of a novelty, a curiosity accentuated by a then-unique finishing move. Of course, he was immediately placed with countryman Regal (all Brits are friends, after all), before turning babyface in a backstage segment and informing the world about his pirate ancestry. One week later, Burchill was swinging to the ring on a rope and dialling up the twee, like an impressively-athletic Jack Sparrow.

The gimmick didn't last long before it was jettisoned, supposedly because Vince McMahon couldn't get his head around the idea of a babyface pirate. Could it have been a long-term success? It is difficult to tell, but the whole thing wasn't helped by Michael Cole's announcing and the OTT nature of it all. WWE has a wretched track record when it comes to lifting from popular culture, primarily because it only sees the surface and not the intricate layers.

'Pirate' Paul Burchill could have worked, if WWE had approached him like some sort of swashbuckling onion, but fans were instead treated to HE'S A PIRATE over and over again.

Besides, people really need to start reading about how terrifying pirates actually were.


Born in the middle of Wales in the middle of the 1980's, John can't quite remember when he started watching wrestling but he has a terrible feeling that Dino Bravo was involved. Now living in Prague, John spends most of his time trying to work out how Tomohiro Ishii still stands upright. His favourite wrestler of all time is Dean Malenko, but really it is Repo Man. He is the author of 'An Illustrated History of Slavic Misery', the best book about the Slavic people that you haven't yet read. You can get that and others from www.poshlostbooks.com.