WWE: Just Talk! CM Punk and the Greatest Wrestling Promos of All Time
As an adult wresting fan I often yearn the days when guys could just get on the stick and churn out awesome promos. Dare I say back in the day, because an old man I am not.
Plus, it's not like we have to look back to the The Nature Boy Buddy Rogers days. I mean, not even as far back as The Attitude Era you had guys giving us golden gems on the mic.
I must admit, these last few weeks I have become a little spoiled.
CM Punk has recently delivered a series of "shoot" promos on Raw that has helped me remember why I love wrestling so much. Just as much as the guys who can get in the ring and deliver, I enjoy a great promo all the same.
That brings me to this.
Seems like whenever a Raw ending credit rolls after a night of CM Punk blazing the microphone, people start saying things like "that was the greatest promo of all time" or "CM Punk is the greatest promo ever." That made me think... what is the greatest promo of all time?
So in this article I will list what I feel to be the greatest promos of all time.
Honarable Mentions: You've All Been Great
Stone Cold Steve Austin: Austin 3:16
Countless Ric Flair promos
Shane Douglas: New Era
Joey Styles: WWE Shoot
Any Promo you thought was great and I didn't post.
Honorable Mention: The Rock Verbally Destroys John Cena
Like Scott Steiner, The Rock his kills opponents with words of truth.
I can't really count this one because it doesn't happen in the realm of the "WWE Universe." But it was still great all the same.
John Cena had some more kind words to say about "The People's Champ" while on the WWE Australia tour. Word got back to the The Rock... not good.
So in eleven minutes of epic, The Rock continued to push his feud with John Cena towards Wrestlemania and destroy him on the mic in the process. Not much more I can say than that.
Paul Hayman: Since You Want to Shoot, Cowboy
This is more of an honorable mention of sorts as well. Because when I was making this list I was thinking more in terms of wrestlers. But this promo worked for me on so many levels.
Mainly because he got a lot of things off of his chest that were pretty taboo to the casual fan. But who in the ECW arena is a causal fan, right?
Heyman got jabs in on a number of topics in a pretty short period of time. Be it Edge stealing Lita from Matt Hardy, Eric Bischoff now working for WWE and not having a WCW pay-per-view of his own, or someone just standing up to Bradshaw in general.
It helped solidify the One Night Stand PPV and made it come off as a separate wrestling event, away from the WWE brand.
The Rock: You Can't See Me
It's seems like even before CM Punk, The Rock got the "shooting" festivities going for 2011.
Now let me start by saying this. I am no John Cena hater, though I do have an opinion of him. An opinion that has been well documented by others on message boards and wrestling sites throughout the internet.
So what makes this promo so great is that, a lot of the things the The Rock had to say are things that many people feel about John Cena.
Stemming from comments John Cena made in the past, "The People's Champ" came with his sights set on calling him out. The result was about twenty minutes of classic Rock throwing every name in the book at "The Master of Thuganomics", Michael Cole and the anonymous Raw GM.
No one knew this promo would lead to a Twitter war, many clever puns aimed against one another and a epic showdown at Wrestlemania 28. But whatever the case is, this promo was pretty epic.
CM Punk: The Best in the World
Mark out moment.
Wrestling usually doesn't get me. I read the sheets, I am aware of the happenings. So going into this Raw I knew Punk was potentially leaving.
And even with some of the things he continued to say in this promo hinted towards a work (constantly selling the PPV, safe topics) I must admit... I just wasn't sure.
That is the brilliance of CM Punk these last couple of weeks. His worked shoot promos have been so good, that even knowing that they are worked they are highly entertaining. This is something that has been missing from wrestling for a very long time. Someone who can just grab the mic and entertain (no disrespect Mr. Jericho).
The saddest thing to come of all this is that WWE waited this long to give CM Punk the mic and allow him do what he does best. And that is be the best in the world.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan: You Fans Can Stick It, Brother!
Bash at the Beach 1996 was a huge day for wrestling. The story needs not be told. While I had been a fan of wrestling since a child, this angle peeked my interests in wrestling and made me the IWC geek I am today.
In the middle of all the chaos and confusion was possibly the greatest promo Hulk Hogan had ever crafted.
The thing that made this promo great is that Hulk Hogan is the only man who could ever cut a promo of this magnitude, and it be truth. Just as he is the only man who could have joined the NWO and launch it to the heights it reached.
Be it him saying that he "made that big organization from up north a monster", the fans "wouldn't be in the building" if it wasn't for him or if it wasn't for Hulk Hogan "all these Johnny-come-lately's wouldn't be here," he had targets set. Even while playing up to his new heel role, he was still shooting from the vest.
Love him or hate him, only one man can say while he was "selling out the world you were bumming gas to get to high school", and that's Hulk Hogan.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts: The Muck of Avarice
Jake "The Snake" Roberts may not have had the greatest promo of all time but he could be easily the best to ever do it.
No one effortlessly cut a promo like he did. No more evident then in this masterpiece aimed at one "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase.
What is so great about this promo? It's not a shoot. No excessive screaming or pandering. Just a man in control of the mic and everyone who is watching. He makes you believe he is gonna harm Dibiase and teach him a lesson that on he and Damien could deliver.
Classic Jake The Snake,
Steve Austin: No One Who Can Stop Me
Can someone say foreshadowing?
It is said that pressure creates diamonds. And we've seen countless times a wrestler's frustration leading to some of their more successful runs. But I am pretty sure that not even Steve Austin knew what was to become of him.
Back in 1995, when Eric Bischoff released "Stunning" Steve Austin (via telephone) from his WCW contract, I'm guessing Easy E wasn't thinking he was releasing a six-time WWE Champion, WWE Hall of Famer and toughest S.O.B. on the planet. But all that lead up to some of Austin's best mic work.
While having other jewels in his stint with ECW (Steve-a-mania, Monday Nyquil) and in WWE in general, this promo by far was his best with the extreme brand and possibly of his career. And that's the bottom line.
Cactus Jack: Cane Dewey
Most remember Dude Love's... or Cactus Jack's... or Mick Foley's anti-ECW promo from WWE back in 2006. But that was mere child's play compared to a collection of anti-ECW promo's he cut during his stint in the original ECW. This being the best.
Cactus Jack was convinced he could persuade Tommy Dreamer to seek the comfort and paycheck of WCW, while leaving the hardcore lifestyle of ECW in the process. His biggest plead was to show that the fans of ECW simply didn't care about them (the wrestlers), only the harm that they could cause themselves. No bigger evidence came than a sign that was being held in the crowd.
The content of that sign would lead to one of the greatest promos I've ever been privileged enough to hear. What Mick Foley lacks in looks and athleticism he makes up for with passion and realism. So when he spoke about a fan who held up a sign that suggested his son be caned, he spoke as if it was a real threat to his child. He spoke as if it was clear evidence of how low fans would stoop merely to be entertained.
It can't be easy to grab a microphone and do it well enough to the point that people believe in you as a character, but Mick does it effortlessly. He has hundreds of promos in his catalog, but this is by far one of his greatest.
Who You Got?
I know I missed a ton. But these are the ones that resonate with me.
So which ones would you put on the list? Any from any old eras in wrestling? Maybe on the independent scene? Any that shouldn't be on my list?
Conversation is always great amongst great wrestling minds.
Please leave comments below. And thanks for reading!