As we all know, there are -alot- of pop references in WoW. Actually most of the WoW-lore comes from some sort of pop-reference. Arthas is for example nearly an exact copy of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. There are many funny and interesting pop-references in WoW, some not so well known and many that are quite obvious. I thought I'd list some that are good because they're rather elaborate. They're not just some name, but so much more.
5. James Brown
Someone over at the dev/designer team must really have alot of power and alot of fanboyism for James Brown. No other celebrity has become an entire instance made to be a pop reference in their name (that I can think of anyway). One of the first things I thought about when entering Forge of Souls for the first time was actually the odd music. And then I got to the first boss and the pieces started to come together. Bronjahm? Drops Papa's Brand New Bag? Says "babadooo" when he dies? Quite obvious actually, but neat. He's even a black guy, and we know there aint many black human npcs in WoW. The boss music is special, but the entire instance has this sort of spacey funk jazz melody, if you haven't heard it yet you really should run over to FoS and listen to it!
4. H.P Lovecraft
There are alot of references to the world of H.P Lovecraft in WoW. One I haven't seen posted anywhere is that of Dextren Ward in Stockades which is a reference to the story about Charles Dexter Ward, who turns mad (as is so common in the stories of H.P Lovecraft). But there is one special reference I like the most, and that is that of Yogg-Saron, a clear reference to the old god Yog-Sothoth. I love it because Yogg-Saron has infested everything about Wrath of the Lich King expansion, and perhaps even more than that. We don't get to know much about where he comes from or why he is there (as in the stories of H.P Lovecraft) but he is one mean fucker and one hell of a funny bossfight. Actually, the final boss of AQ is also a reference to H.P Lovecraft as C'thun clearly is a copy of Cthulhu. These old gods seem to have a finger/tentacle into every pie and yet we know so very little about them. They probably have way more power than say Arthas so their mystery is really intriguing. I want to know more about their part in WoW-lore!
3. Indiana Jones
We first got to meet Harrison Jones (clearly a reference to Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones) when we entered the mighty troll city of Zul'Aman. Harrison Jones helps you to get into the city and then quickly meets his demise as he is nearly instantly shot down. But fear not! Harrison apparently doesn't die there, but turns up again in Northrend, Grizzly Hills where he yet again helps you fight the trolls. This time with a better outcome for himself. He brings a special feel to Zul'Aman that really makes you feel like you're part of a matinée, and it's sad that few people today do that raid instance anymore. If you ever get the chance, you really should take it.
2. Fairy Tales
One of my favorite raid instances all time was Karazhan. I've written about it before, but it has the perfect setting, boss designs and feel so as to never tire you. One of the best boss events is that of the Opera Event, that is because it's actually three different bosses randomized. You can either get the Oz-event, the Little Red Riding Hood-event or the Romeo & Juliet-event. It makes you feel like you're part of this crazy ass theater and they've really put some love and effort into designing these bosses. No matter which event you get, they're all fun and interesting. I'd really like to see more bosses like these!
Yes, my favorite elaborate pop-reference in WoW isn't due to me being a crazy fangirl of Zelda. I've actually played very few Zelda-games (but know most of them). I love this pop-reference because it comes with a long quest-chain that is close to a game in the game, and every step of the chain is another reference to the Zelda-series. This is also one of Blizzards first really elaborate pop-references in the game and as it turns out, the best one (according to me). If you haven't done the Linken quest chain, I strongly suggest you do for some out of the ordinary fun in WoW. If you have some knowledge of the Zelda-series it'll be extra fun to see all the references to the game althrough the chain. It starts at A Wrecked Raft (Wind Waker!) in the south-eastern part of Un'goro and is a 13-part quest chain, so that'll keep you busy for a little while and give you some fun rewards!
Did I miss any fun and elaborate pop-references?
EDIT: As a funny coincidence I noticed that WRUP today over at wow.com also asks about favorite in game-references. (It's really a coincidence :P Come to think of it, I posted my post before them!)