CM Punk and the WWE's Top 10 Comedians
Vince McMahon's idea of funny is repeatedly firing and back-benching a talented, loyal company man, only to blatantly mock the disfigurement he has suffered as a result of Bell's palsy on worldwide television.
Vince is the man who named his 47-foot yacht "Sexy Bitch".
While Vince is a bit of a maniac, his PG era creative team seems mostly lazy.
So who is the anonymous general manager of Raw? I dunno. Where are we going with this Punk/Nash feud? Whatever, man. Who should win the Royal Rumble? The big Irish bloke, I guess.
These guys couldn't script a funny sentence if their line-toeing, misogynistic, homophobic, fart-loving lives depended on it.
And yet there are rare moments of comedic brilliance on WWE TV, sort of like plump, scrumptious shrimps in an otherwise bland and okra-slimy gumbo.
I credit the performers themselves for these flickers of hope, and here they are:
The WWE's top 10 comedians!
Potent Quotable: "ECW’s version of the Jumping Bomb Angels: Kung Funaki and Jimmy Wang Yang."
You probably didn't expect the best high school teacher since Rich Franklin to be our first stop on the giggle express.
Well, I'm afraid this conductor thinks he's awesome.
Anybody who references Morrissey every time William Regal steps into the ring is all aces at my poker table. I mark out for almost nothing, but whenever Striker calls Regal the "Ringleader of the Tormentors," I mark out huge.
He can be a touch pedantic and unnecessarily verbose at times, but he easily possesses the sharpest wit in WWE history.
Oh, I'm serious. Perhaps the heel versions of Rock and Cena have been funnier than Striker, but they've never been as literary or subtle.
In fact, it's largely Striker's unwillingness/inability to dumb down his commentary that's caused him to vanish from any relevant WWE programs.
The under-appreciation and demotion of Striker actually speaks to my chief qualm with the current state of WWE.
They think their fans are dumb.
And granted, the vast majority likely are, so it makes sense from a business point of view. I've been to live WWE events, and within seconds of listening to the people around me, it was always obvious they were the stock that enjoy monster truck rallies, canned meatballs and gravy from the dollar store and purchasing life insurance from telemarketers.
However, I believe the next Attitude-like boom in pro wrestling will involve WWE crafting a product that is artful, intelligent, adaptable and fresh.
Striker is all of those things.
Potent Quotable (re: Hulk Hogan): "I mean, why would you worship a man who prances around like a 50-pence tart in these feather boas!?"
Ah, the Ringleader of the Tormentors himself!
William Regal is one of the most misused and underrated professional wrestlers in the history of our great sport.
A quick tip of the hat to my boy, Tony Schiavone.
But truly, Regal is gold in every dimension of the game that isn't coming off the top turnbuckle.
I loved the sadistic, vicious mauler he played in and around his 2008 King of the Ring push and at other points in his vast career, but he's equally captivating as a conniving, prissy British jerk who is more of a threat on the stick than in the ring.
From his amusingly underhanded run as Lord Steven in WCW, to his pinnacle of exposure as WWF/E Commissioner, to his needlessly low station on the barely existent NXT, Regal's unique expressions (both facial and colloquial) have always been entertaining.
Father Time and Mother Laughter take Jerry Lawler behind the barn and save him the trouble of Yahoo searching "Funny Jokes" every Monday afternoon. Booker T and his loose grip on the English language move over to Raw. Regal and his teapot and always wonderful hair settle into SmackDown.
Rest in Peace, U-man-ga!
Potent Quotable: "With limited ability and skills, John Cena has been able to hold onto the WWE title for quite some time."
Picking a quote for this guy was difficult. He's impale-yourself-with-your-own-rib funny on an amazingly regular basis.
I think one of the reasons the Internet has fallen in love with Booker's commentary is because of his unmistakable enthusiasm. He's so psyched to watch wrestling that he has little to no control over his vocabulary and volume.
That, and having the most instantly recognizable voice in WWE commentary, makes him someone you actually want to listen to. If Jerry "Got My Phone, Gonna Call Home" Lawler ever actually watched an episode of SmackDown, he might learn a thing or two.
My favorite part about his current role is how effortlessly funny he is in it. Booker's always been an over-the-top character—his eyes hopping out of their sockets and his most famous move being a b-boy dance trick—and it's translated to the announce table in glorious nonsensical miracles.
Booker T is just like Tazz, except tall, fit and funny.
Potent Quotable: "We understand that Jerry Lawler has bruised ribs...and, well, uh...with all due respect, he's also suffering from...from anal bleeding."
Another commentator, I know. It's almost like their job is to talk a lot or something.
OK, Michael Cole isn't exactly Mitch Hedberg, but I must confess I've found him increasingly smile worthy as of late.
When Cena wrestled Tensai a couple weeks ago for the right to face the "Voice of the WWE," I almost liked the match based solely on Cole's nutty cries of support for Tensai. Over and over, he referred to a 350-pound bald slob as "Baby."
He also excels when pointing out Booker T's inaccurate calls and incomprehensible sentences and Lawler's archaic one-liners. He voices what most people at home are thinking, but in his own demented, egotistical Michael Cole way.
Cole gets a lot of flack for "burying" the workers in his commentary, and there's definitely some truth in that, but I see his approach as doubly effective.
Not only does he say mean-spirited, disrespectful things that make us think he's a bad person (i.e., a heel worth his salt), but he mocks Superstars so relentlessly that most fans start to feel offended for them. The best example was babyface Daniel Bryan. Cole couldn't call a Bryan match without using the word geek 35 times, and I think it made lukewarm Bryan fans jump to his defense.
That said, when the guy puts on the singlet and Rick Steiner autographed ear guards, I cease to be amused.
Potent Quotable: "How many times did you say, 'Well, ya know, I just don't think he has what it takes,' while you're lying in bed with your wife?"
One of CM Punk's greatest assets is his quirkiness.
He is counterculture in character and lifestyle, and it makes him a cool specimen to observe.
It also makes him quite funny because not only does he say things other wrestlers are afraid to say, but he says things they would never even think of.
Punk first mentioned bringing back WWE ice cream bars in July of 2011, and every week there are still fans holding up signs that depict or demand the elusive sports entertainment dairy snack.
Punk outclassed the once verbally comfortable Kevin Nash in their insult battles to the point that you couldn't help but feel sorry for Big Kev and his dyed goatee. Triple H felt so badly that he offered to wrestle the giant gimp himself.
Granted, Punk hasn't served up many ROTFLMAO lines lately, but the looks of charmed bemusement he shoots crazy girl AJ are still good fun.
Potent Quotable: “Carlito likes to swap spit with men who don’t want to be cool!"
Don't get me wrong.
I find most segments featuring Santino about as appetizing as that parasitic mollusk the Boogeyman bit off Jillian Hall's face.
But when Santino pulls back just slightly on the ham and isn't stuck in a storyline of Miss WrestleMania-grade tripe, he can definitely bring the funny.
A heel Santino is best. You give him a microphone, and then he goes to the ring and riffs cleverly on another character's gimmick. His digs are always grounded in truth, but he's grinding the English language into Italian sausage the whole time, so he's the one who looks like an imbecile. It's a slick way of keeping Santino entertaining while putting over his adversaries.
Remember his promos on Stone Cold and that inexcusable mess, The Condemned? You better, or I will stomp a "mud pie" into you.
Potent Quotable: "I'm sorry to Big Jimmy. I'm sorry to Little Jimmy. I'm sorry to the soda that I wasted it on. It was refreshing."
I like my R-truth crazy. Really crazy. Like, "I'm a GOOOOOOOOOD R-Truth" crazy.
And I don't think he should have friends. Or if he is going to strike up a friendship, it should be a strained one. Because he's so crazy.
The man speaks to imaginary persons. They are little, and they are all named Jimmy. I know Kofi's not a judgmental type of guy, but it would have been cool to see him a little disoriented by R-Truth's schizophrenic antics. It also would have been cool to see those antics amped up to the level of bat-crap kooky we saw last year when R-Truth first turned heel.
When R-Truth's foot is all better, Little Jimmy should convince him that it was Kofi that put him out of action, not Big Show.
Kingston deserves a real feud based on his consistent athletic wow factor alone, and I can already hear the R-Truth promo in which he accuses Kofi of Shawn Michaelizing him through Little Jimmy's barber shop window.
Potent Quotable: "My name is Mr. John Laurinaitis. I am the executive vice president of Monday Night Raw."
Hey, I didn't say you had to try to be funny to qualify for this list.
Everything about this guy is humorously stiff.
His speech. His movement. Even his hair and face shriek awkward Republican glad-hander.
He's the only guy I've included in this article who hasn't a creative thought in his skull. Everything that is funny about him stems from his lack of ability to emotionalize or even memorize script.
And indeed, there is a tickling irony to a man with a real life reputation for being stuffy, clueless and corporate christening a ho-hum period of WWE storytelling as the era of "People Power."
I won't lie: The Rascal scooter clinches it for me.
Potent Quotable: "I'll be the first guy to tell ya, I've got a massive ego. And right now that massive ego is telling me to slap each and every one of those silly little rotten ass tattoos off your skinny fat ass!"
I'm so reluctant to include this guy.
I really am.
Ninety-eight percent of the time when I listen to him speak, it's like getting a lobotomy in slow motion.
His promos are so overly scripted I'm beginning to suspect there's a reason he has all those lines on his forehead.
But then there's that two percent of the time when he says something kind of funny, and I'm reminded of why the guy was my favorite wrestler for the last couple years of the '90s. I was 13 at the time, so naturally, chopping one's crotch was both funny and therapeutic.
I think I'm giving ol' Terra Ryzing the nod here because he held his own during last year's verbal jousts with CM Punk. Of course, the one time they fought it was mysteriously the part-time wrestler that won.
Oh, but his designer suit and damp ponytail combo? Hilarious.
Potent Quotable (to Terri Runnels, Backlash 2003): "First and foremost, ol' lemon panties, giggle panties...the Rock has done it all! The Rock has...the only thing the Rock hasn't done is make a white baby! Yeah! You smell it!"
I'm of two minds when it comes to Dwayne Rocky Maivia Scorpion King Johnson.
His movies exclusively suck, and sometimes his wrestling promos depend far too heavily on long-toothed catchphrases and threats of forced suppositories.
But when he's on, he's right on.
Know Your Role Boulevard is on the corner of Jabroni Drive, and the Rock will check you into the Smackdown Hotel even if he doesn't know who in the blue hell you are.
His comedic output is arguably unmatched in the business.
Clearly, he puts some thought into it. And if there's one thing I'd ask every man and woman currently on the WWE roster to do when they are scheduled for mic time, it is precisely that.
Make stuff up. Dare to say you're going to kick someone's ass without actually saying you're going to kick their ass (sorry, Brock!), and maybe even spend a little time writing down funny observations about the people you work with. I can almost guar-an-damn-tee that's what Dwayne does.
Like a lot of you, I think Dwayne piqued comically as cocky Hollywood Rock in 2003, but you know you tuned in for his Cena-dissing "Cleveland Rocks" song earlier this year.
Here are some WWE players who just missed the list:
Chris Jericho: Used to be funny, but now suspended because patriotism = insanity.
Christian: Used to be funny, but has been trying for several years now to prove to the WWE that he's a serious Superstar.
John Cena: Used to be funny, but now yells a lot and wears Bret Hart's jorts.