Mic Skills Not Required: 12 WWF/E Champions Who Were Awful on the Mic
The common thought process is that in order to be the top player in the WWE, you have to have the ability to talk on the microphone.
It's believed that if you don't have the ability to keep up with the WWE's top talkers throughout history, whether it's CM Punk or The Rock, that you won't have a chance to make it to the top of the hill. And because of this belief, some feel that guys like John Morrison or Daniel Bryan will never be a heavyweight champion in the WWE.
Well, this article will show that mic skills aren't always a necessity to be a World Champion, as we highlight the worst the talkers on the mic who eventually ended up holding the WWF/E or World Heavyweight Championship during their careers.
*Note, only those who held the World title in the WWF/E will be on this list, as opposed to those who held it in WCW/NWA. Also, wrestlers who speak a certain way because of their gimmick are also not listed, such as The Undertaker (Deadman Version), The Ultimate Warrior, Psycho Sid Vicious and Bill Goldberg.
Pedro Morales is a Puerto Rican and professional wrestling icon.
Pedro was the first man to ever become a Triple Crown champion in the WWWF/WWF, as he held the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship, The WWF Intercontinental Championship and the WWF Tag Team Championship with Bob Backlund.
He had one of the longest title reigns in WWF history at two years and nine months.
He accomplished all of this, in spite of the fact that he wasn't a very good mic worker. Not only was his thick Puerto Rican accent hard to understand, but he also stumbled over his words from time to time.
Nevertheless, he became a legend in the world of professional wrestling and an eventual WWE Hall of Famer.
Backlund comes in at the 2:00 mark of the video, after Superstar Billy Graham.
If "Vanilla" is a euphemism for "boring", then Bob Backlund would be vanilla extract, homemade vanilla ice cream and vanilla beans, all rolled up in a vanilla flavored crepe.
He had absolutely no ability on the mic, he had no presence, and he had no special look.
And yet, he is one of the most legendary WWF champions in professional wrestling history.
Some fans may remember the repackaged Bob Backlund who pretended to be a psychopath in a bow-tie with political aspirations. I am not referencing that Backlund from the '90s.
I am referencing the man who held the WWWF title for almost six years in the late '70s and early '80s. He did it solely on technical wrestling ability. No gimmicks needed in an era where "Sports Entertainment" did not exist.
Backlund would hold the WWF title as well, though that would be one of the shortest reigns in history at three days, when he lost it to Diesel in the shortest WWF title match in history at only eight seconds.
But holding the title at all, without even the slightest ability to speak, is a feat in and of itself. Holding it for five years and 10 months is the stuff of legend.
The Iron Sheik
The man who stopped Bob Backlund from reaching a full six year title reign, was this man, The Iron Sheik. Sheik would go on to hold the WWF title for just one month before dropping the title to Hulk Hogan at the start of the Hulkamania phenomenon.
The Iron Sheik is one of the most iconic heels of all time and yet, he is one of the most indecipherable wrestlers to ever touch a microphone in the history of wrestlers or microphones.
With almost every interview, you could hardly tell when he was speaking English or Iranian, or just making up some gibberish on the fly.
Nevertheless, the Sheik had a legendary career and was enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
He is still beloved by wrestling fans today for his no-nonsense shoots on other legends and his wild appearances that can be seen all over the web.
The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.
Except on the microphone.
Bret Hart exemplifies the wrestler who is able to make it to the top based upon technical ability, presence, look and having a firm understanding of how to get heat as a heel, or a face.
Bret's delivery on the microphone was almost always the same. Caustic and bitter, with a touch of rasp and monotone. Almost every single time.
But it didn't matter. The overall package that is Bret Hart was so profound that no one cared if his mic skills weren't on the same level of a Shawn Michaels.
The Excellence of Execution would hold the WWF title five times. As the second Triple Crown champion in WWF history, he actually held enough gold to triple crown twice, by having two Intercontinental Championship reigns and two Tag Team Championship reigns with Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart in The Hart Foundation.
Bret Hart has also won the King of the Ring twice, and the Royal Rumble once.
He's a WWE Hall of Famer, and undoubtedly one of the best all around professional wrestlers the business has ever seen.
Bret Hart has done it all, even though he was never that great on the microphone.
The WWF never let Yokozuna speak much.
Once he did, it was very clear why.
Yokozuna promos had only one gear: "RAWR!"
Not to mention he was supposed to be a Japanese character, but sounded more like Samoa Joe having a bad day.
Once Yokozuna turned face and started speaking more often, his career went downhill until he was eventually released by the WWF in 1998 for not being able to pass a required physical from the New York State Athletic Commission.
Unfortunately, Rodney Anoa'i, the man behind the Yokozuna character, passed away due to a fluid build up in his lungs only two years later.
Before his downward spiral, he held the WWF title twice. The WWF used Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji as his mouthpieces during those runs as Yokozuna mainly remained silent, save for the very rare sentence, here or there.
In my opinion, Brock Lesnar is one of the most talented big men the world of professional wrestling has ever seen.
Not only was he as strong as an ox, he had superior technical ability as well. The matches that he used to put on with Kurt Angle were instant classics.
But one thing that was never Brock's strong suit was acting. When it came to Brock's microphone skills, it wasn't that he had a speaking problem, he didn't stutter or fumble his words all that much, and he had no thick accent that made him indecipherable.
He was just a bad actor. His delivery on the mic was for the most part, devoid of any emotion other than rage. And when he tried to reflect other emotions, it wasn't a pretty sight.
However, with someone as massive and skilled as Brock Lesnar, practically nothing was going to stand in his way of becoming a WWE champion, and you knew it the moment you first saw him destroying mid-carder after mid-carder in his earliest days in the WWE.
Brock would go on to win the WWE Championship three times, before eventually leaving the WWE to try out for the NFL, ultimately ending up in the UFC, where his talents won him the UFC Heavyweight title as well.
Rob Van Dam
Take one look at Rob Van Dam's eyes in this video, and you will see the exact reason why the man could never cut a good promo.
It's kind of hard to deliver on the mic after smoking four blunts behind the arena, I suppose.
But RVD is another professional wrestler that didn't need to have great mic skills, because he has a tremendous presence and aura about him. RVD is the definition of cool. He had the "laid back hipster" appeal down to a science and his unique look and in-ring maneuvers sealed the deal.
He almost has no choice but to be a fan favorite.
And he rode that fan favoritism all the way to the WWE Championship. RVD also became a Grand Slam Champion, as he held the Intercontinental Championship six times, The WWE Tag Team Championship once with Rey Mysterio, The European Championship once, and the WWE Hardcore championship four times.
He also was the only man in history to ever hold the WWE and ECW championship at the same time.
All with the mic skills of a smoked-out hippie.
The Great Khali
Not only is the Great Khali abysmal at speaking on the mic, he's equally atrocious in the ring.
His promos are akin to hearing a grizzly bear trying his hand at speaking Punjab, so he's generally given interpreters like Ranjin Singh and Jinder Mahal.
But, for some reason—that reason being the fact that he's 7'1"—he was allowed to hold the World Title in the WWE once.
He shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath with the other guys on this list, so I'll be moving on.
Rey Mysterio is another performer who can't act. He doesn't flub his lines much, but he struggles to put inflection into his speech and convey emotions.
Nevertheless, Rey has a heavy fan following due to his aerial maneuvers and exciting matches. It is that fan following that elevated him to becoming a two-time World Heavyweight Champion and one time WWE Champion, though that reign only lasted about an hour before he dropped it the same night to John Cena.
Some fans feel that Rey isn't World Championship material, and that he only rose to those heights out of sympathy over the death of Eddie Guerrero.
Whether that's true or not, Rey Mysterio is still another wrestler who made it to the top of the company, in spite of the fact that he's very small and doesn't have excellent mic skills.
The Charismatic Enigma, Jeff Hardy, owes his success to the fact that he has an amazingly unique look, skill set and presence that draws the fans to him.
He owes a lot of his success to his charisma, because he has absolutely horrendous mic skills. Not only is he a horrible actor, but he messes up his lines a great deal. I remember some of his older promos in the WWF where he would just say things that made absolutely no sense.
Seeing the substance abuse problems he and his brother Matt are dealing with now, it makes me wonder if he wasn't high on something during some of the promos he cut years ago.
Nevertheless, he's an extreme high flyer who puts his body on the line in almost every match he wrestles.
It is that ability and his natural charisma that has gotten him to the level of a two-time World Champion and one-time WWE Champion.
Just like RVD, he is also a Grand Slam champion as well, with six WWE tag title reigns with Matt Hardy, four Intercontinental Championship reigns, three WWE Hardcore championship reigns and one European Championship reign.
But, he's still just plain awful on the microphone.
As Christian hilariously points out in the video, Jack Swagger has a very distinct lisp. What's worse, is that Swagger tries to speak more slowly so that his lisp isn't so prominent. So, now Jack speaks very slowly and has a distinct lisp.
Plus he looks like Gary Busey and dresses like an old man, but that's a topic for another article.
Nevertheless, he does have one reign as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Swagger has good wrestling ability and is a big man at 6'6", but in spite of that, he still wasn't ready for prime-time and his title reign wasn't very well received. He would eventually lose the title only two and a half months later to Rey Mysterio at the Fatal Four Way PPV last year.
He has since been pushed back down to the mid-card where he now appears to be entering a program with Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero.
Here are some things you can do with the gaps of time in between when Randy Orton ends one sentence and prepares to start a new one:
A. Enjoy a cup of coffee.
B. Microwave a TV dinner and eat it.
C. Watch an episode of Law and Order: SVU.
D. Play a round of Team Deathmatch on Call of Duty: Black Ops.
E. All of the above, one after the other. Perhaps twice.
Randy Orton is one of the slowest talkers that I have ever seen. It's like Stone Cold Steve Austin foresaw his title reigns and started the "What?!" chant just to give the crowd something to say while waiting on Orton to finish a thought.
And when it finally does come out? It's just one octave above monotone.
Now, I actually like Randy Orton, but to be honest, his promos are sleep-inducing at times. But at least he doesn't repeat the same statement twice, back to back, all the time, like he used to.
In spite of the deep flaws in his mic game, Randy Orton has serious presence. He just feels like a WWE champion whenever you see him on television or live. He also has one of the best finishers in the business right now, in the RKO, as well.
So, it's not hard to see why he's a six-time WWE Champion and three-time World Heavyweight Champion, and one of the main faces of this generation.
Even though this generation will pass away by the time he finishes his next conversation.