10 Greatest Promo Men in the History of Professional Wrestling
With the Great One set to host WrestleMania 27 this Sunday, expectations are high from wrestling fans all over the world.
But why is everyone so excited about the Rock's return? Why was the People's Champion so popular in the first place.
It was because of the electricity that the Rock brought to the ring every time he got hold of a microphone.
The Rock could be funny, intense and emotional in the same promo and he was able to get over because of his mic work and his many catchphrases.
So I decided to compile a top 10 list of the greatest talkers in the history of the wrestling business.
Managers are not included, which is why Jim Cornette, Paul Heyman and Bobby Heenan are not on the list.
10. Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase
The Million Dollar Man fit his gimmick so well by playing the part of a millionaire to perfection.
It was not a stretch to imagine DiBiase living that way outside the ring!
The ease with which DiBiase was able to get himself over as a heel came about due to the authenticity of his promos and his characters.
Combined with his demonic laugh and his natural air of superiority, Ted DiBiase will go down as one of the greatest heels of his generation.
9. Chris Jericho
One of the best promo men of the modern era, Jericho was able to hold his own in verbal showdowns with Austin and the Rock and delivered a highly memorable promo on his WWF debut by interrupting the Rock.
Jericho was also the highlight of the WCW Cruiserweight Division providing comedy in abundance and Y2J never had problems making people laugh.
But it was the more psychotic and sadistic incarnation of his character that brought out the best in Jericho.
Jericho was the top heel in the WWE from 2008-2010 and provided some extremely entertaining feuds with Shawn Michaels in particular.
The arrogance and the narcissism that he was trying to portray was extremely convincing.
8. Hulk Hogan
It is telling that the biggest superstar in the history of wrestling had very limited wrestling skills.
Hulk Hogan endeared himself to so many fans of all ages because he was able to play the part of the American hero so convincingly.
The moral values that Hulk Hogan represented gave children the ideal role model and Hogan was able to convey this with charisma and passion.
It says a lot about Hogan's capacities that he was able to make the transition between superface to the ultimate villain as leader of the NWO.
The man who had always triumphed against evil was able to get the fans to boo his every word with no difficulties.
7. Mick Foley
Foley brought intelligence and feeling to his promos and they never failed to engage a crowd.
Foley provided us with so many classic moments during the days of the Rock N Sock Connection but was also skilled at more serious promos.
His rivalries with Ric Flair in the WWE and TNA have produced the most intense and emotional promos that I have ever witnessed and it is all the more real considering the legitimate personal issues that Flair and Foley have had in the past.
Foley's key skill on the mic was his ability to make the audience empathize with whatever problem he faced.
6. Terry Funk
Few spoke with as much intensity or passion as the original Hardcore Legend and Mick Foley's mentor, Terry Funk.
Funk came from one of the greatest wrestling families of all time and he had learnt his craft at the knees of some of the greats.
Funk's stiff wrestling style combined with the mad look in his eye while delivering promos made him a huge star in the WWF, ECW and the NWA.
His feud with Ric Flair will go down as one of the greatest rivalries of all time.
5. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin is the face of the Attitude Era and achieved higher pay-per-view buy rates and television ratings than any other champion in WWE history.
But there were two separate promos that transformed the career of Steve Austin from Ted Dibiase's lackey to the most popular wrestler of all time.
Days after being ignominiously fired from WCW by Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman gave Austin a microphone in ECW and told him to speak his mind.
What followed was the promo that changed Austin's career and put him on the pro wrestling map. Austin's time in ECW was ultimately short-lived but it was this single promo that first attracted Vince McMahon to the intense Texan.
The second and perhaps more famous of the two promos was where Austin coined one of the most successful catchphrases in wrestling history in terms of merchandise sales.
Austin 3:16 was a catalyst in elevating him to main event status and eventually superstardom.
He would excel on the mic for the rest of his career.
4. Dusty Rhodes
Dusty Rhodes was one of the most popular wrestlers of his era and his classic feuds with Ric Flair characterized what the NWA was all about.
He represented the common people and although he did not resemble an elite athlete in any shape or form but he was able to get over with the sheer emotion of his promos.
His "hard times" promo after coming back from injury will go down as one of the most heartfelt speeches in history.
The way he reached out and appealed to the people and made it clear that he was going to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the people was inspirational.
It was very obvious why the "American Dream" received such adulation from the adoring fans.
3. Rowdy Roddy Piper
Hulk Hogan's greatest ever rival, the man that was given his very own talk show, arguably one of the greatest heels of all time!
Roddy Piper was given a chance to shine in Piper's Pit, the interview segment where he would invite a whole host of guests and question them.
Piper's Pit inspired so many talk shows in WWE such as the Heartbreak Hotel, the Barbershop and the Highlight Reel but it was the original that yielded so many classic moments.
He delivered so many classic promos during his feud with Hogan in the build-up to the inaugural WrestleMania but it was a WCW promo that will go down as one of Piper's greatest.
A contender for the best promo ever, Piper would debut in WCW by interrupting Hollywood Hulk Hogan after a pay-per-view victory with the NWO.
Piper said that the only reason the fans loved the Hulkster so much was because they hated him so much!
Delivered in his familiar rasping tones, it epitomized the reasons that the Hot Rod will go down as one of the all-time greats!
2. The Rock
The most electrifying man in sports entertainment, the People's Champion, the Great One!
Probably the most charismatic wrestler in the history of the business, the Rock has been able to fashion himself a hugely successful Hollywood career off the back of his time in the ring.
The reason being that whenever the Rock got hold of a microphone, everyone knew something special was about to happen.
There has never been a more natural promo man than the Rock and he would have surpassed Ric Flair if he had continued his career as a wrestler.
But the fact remains that the Rock achieved more in four full-time years with the WWE than most wrestlers achieve in their whole careers.
Rock was talented in the ring but it was his natural charisma and ability to run his mouth in whichever scenario he was presented with that made him stand out.
Who can forget the great back and forths with Austin or the comedy segments with Mankind?
Whether as a heel or a face, the Rock always brought it on the mic!
1. Ric Flair
Ric Flair revolutionized the wrestling business in so many ways. He formed the first-ever wrestling stable in the legendary Four Horsemen and he was the first wrestler to strut his stuff so effectively on the microphone.
In the NWA, Flair would give so many iconic interviews, coining so many timeless catchphrases and paving the way for the future stars such as the Rock to follow in his footsteps.
This was Flair in his prime feuding against such legends as Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat and Sting. These rivalries were well-constructed and Flair's interviews added so much.
Well-known Flair trademarks such as "To be the man, you gotta beat the man" and "Shut up, fat boy!" came about at this time and this was also when the Nature Boy started referring to himself as the "wheeler-dealing, kiss-stealing, jet-flying, limousine-riding son of a gun!"
Flair would go on to deliver various memorable promos in WCW, WWE and even TNA. My personal favorites from each company would be the worked shoot promo on Eric Bischoff, the tirade at Carlito and the spat with Jay Lethal on iMPACT.
It was very difficult to exclude the best promo man in wrestling today CM Punk but he just missed out on a top ten spot due to the relative shortness of his WWE career. Given time, he will eventually make it on to the list.
Shawn Michaels, Arn Anderson, JBL, John Cena, Bret Hart, Rick Rude, Jake Roberts and Randy Savage all narrowly missed out as well.
In a few years time, I also think the Miz will have broken through as one of the best mic men in the history of the business.