WWE: The Rock, Stone Cold and the Dying Art of the Catchphrase
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For many old-school fans, today’s WWE leaves much to be desired. Though there are still some really entertaining spots, wrestling never seems to be as exciting as it was in the Attitude Era.
It can’t be stated enough that there are a number of differences between today’s product and the late 90s.
One factor that is plain to see is the clear drop off in mic skills and overall charisma. To be fair to the superstars of today, they are constantly being compared to the superstars of wrestling’s Golden Age, where there was a surplus of talent. But something that the WWE needs is a simple fix when you think about it.
Whatever happened to having a good catchphrase!?
When you think back to the Attitude Era, several quotes come to mind:
“If you smell what the Rock...is cookin’!”
“And that’s the bottom line!...’cause Stone Cold said so!”
“Oh it’s me, it’s me. It’s the D-O-double G!”
“If you’re not down with that, we’ve got two words for ya!”
The list goes on. Everyone who was anyone had a catchphrase. It’s a simple, but effective way to get the fans engaged.
Phrases like these were so popular, it was just second nature for a fan to recite the exact lines. As long as it was, almost every fan in the arena knew the beginning lines of the Road Dogg Jesse James’ promos.
The Rock is one of the greatest superstars in recent memory because of his uncanny ability to cut a promo. The “most electrifying man is sports entertainment” had a slew of catchphrases.
From “It doesn’t matter!” to “Finally…the Rock has come back,” the Rock had more catchphrases than the entire current WWE roster.
Stone Cold Steve Austin made his impact with his no-nonsense style as he stomped mudholes in people night in and night out. Austin could command the crowd with the best of them.
He can still energize an audience just by saying “Give me a hell yeah!” Heck, he worked the crowd so well that he made saying “What?!” the thing to do at WWE events.
The crowd participation was so much higher back then, largely in part to a few catchy, creative catchphrases that were used often and the audience could follow.
In the modern-day WWE, the catchphrase is practically an endangered species.
The first catchphrase from today that comes to mind is “I’m the Miz...and I’m awesome!” That’s a problem. I applaud the Miz for trying to come up with something. But this catchphrase is just too vanilla, too generic.
“I’m awesome” is something that a little kid says on the playground at recess to boast to his friends. It’s not creative or the least bit riveting. And because he is a heel character, it’s not a catchphrase that will generate crowd participation because most people don’t like him.
Which WWE Superstar(s) had the best catchphrase?
John Cena rarely ever uses “You can’t see me” anymore. Chris Jericho and C.M. Punk talk about being the “Best in the world” and R-Truth mutters bits about getting “got” and Lil’ Jimmys. You can even throw in Vickie Guerrero’s “Excuse me,” but you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan that says that one regularly.
The most effective catchphrase, as silly as it may be, is “Woo woo woo!” by Zack Ryder. Long Island Iced-Z has a fun, charismatic personality and a likable character. He even has the fist pump and the vicious-looking “Broski Boot” to accompany the chant during his matches.
The WWE needs more of that. A little ingenuity will get the crowd excited once again. A few more catchphrases can remedy the situation to a point where there won’t be dead crowds at RAW and Smackdown! events anymore.
More fun, catchy lines will make audience involvement second nature. Instead of crickets, you’ll hear more of those loud pops that it seems only the Attitude Era could bring.
WWE has a lot of young talent. There are many superstars in the locker room who are looking for an identity, who want to establish themselves as premier players. There is no better time than now to get creative.
“Woo woo woo! You know it!!”
Don’t forget to mention what is your favorite WWE catchphrase in the comments section!
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