Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and CM Punk. Ask your average IWC member and he'll tell you that these three men are among the best mic workers in WWE.
That said, I agree to a certain extent. I'm not really sold on Dolph Ziggler, but Miz and Punk have proven they can hold their own when it comes to dealing with the other main-eventers.
However, back to Dolph Ziggler. People are foaming at the mouth over his recent improvement in the area of mic skills. So much so, you'll find many people commenting that he should be WWE Champion by either winning it at the Royal Rumble or winning the Rumble and competing in the WWE Title match at WrestleMania.
Now, call me crazy, but I don't see Dolph's mic skills, even coupled with his ring ability, as being good enough to warrant a second World Title at this point, but the whole topic has gotten me thinking about the mic skills of the talent in WWE.
For a long time, before CM Punk did his shoot, a lot of people spoke of Wade Barrett, Christian, Cody Rhodes, R-Truth and The Miz were the guys with the best mic skills, and all were essentially mid-carders, save for The Miz, who often gets shuffled between mid-card and main-event. That said, the top guys in the company, are/were Randy Orton and John Cena.
Fast forward to a little bit in the future. Punk says everything the IWC has been thinking, and he instantly becomes the best mic worker in WWE...no questions asked, in most peoples minds.
"The Voice of The Voiceless" became the IWCs platinum child, for that shoot (Don't lie. A lot of people weren't fans til the shoot).
Which era had the best mic workers?
However, it got me thinking. It took a shoot promo, to get Punk to where he is now. Could he have become a relevant main-eventer on RAW without it? Personally, I don't believe so, but then I was thinking. 'Is this it? Do we really need shoot promos to make main-eventers now?"
Long gone, it would seem, are the days when you could cut a promo about opponents and matches on a regular basis, within the realm of kayfabe, and become a main-eventer like The Rock, Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan did. However, I'm not blaming CM Punk. It was an easy pick. I mean, he essentially has to be anti-establishment, which people love.
My gripe lies with the fans. The IWC and WWE. I'm not saying that CM Punk wasn't good on the mic before. I mean, CM Punk was turning people into mindless sheep before that promo, but honestly, when it gets to a point where people take notice of Dolph and his mic skills (cause he was a better wrestler long before he was a good talker), and start touting him as a WrestleMania headliner, I think something's wrong.
Don't get me wrong, people. He's a good mic worker. That said, he's nowhere near ready to do a WrestleMania program or to win The Rumble.
Especially when we have a lot of guys higher up with better mic skills. I mean, my god, what the hell happened to make people get so jaded with the current top guys' mic skills, that we see something a little different, (and to be honest, I see Dolph Ziggler's style of mic work as somewhat similar to John Morrison's) and all of a sudden it's main-event worthy?
We used to have guys in the mid-card that were great mic-workers. That didn't mean, however, they could be main-eventers. In fact, we still do. We have great mic-workers, but not everyone gets pushed to the main-event.
Between These Men Who was the Best Mic Worker?
Though, I will say this, if we pushed all the talented guys to the main-event (Zack Ryder, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, etc.) then who do we have left for a mid-card?
Back to my point however, Dolph Ziggler is good, but he's not ready to main-event, but I have to ask: Has the lack of mic workers people like lowered our expectations of how a main-eventer should talk?
Are the best of today, like R-Truth, CM Punk, John Cena, The Miz, and apparently Dolph Ziggler, as good as the mic workers of yesteryear, like The Rock, Mankind, HBK, Ric Flair, and Undertaker?
Or have we just gotten so bored, that with a little improvement, a mid-carder during the Ruthless Aggression Era or Attitude Era can be touted as a main-eventer in PG times?
Now, again, don't get me wrong. R-Truth is my second favorite guy on the roster (following Zack Ryder), but even I'm not 100 percent sure he could have been a main-eventer in WWE in the Attitude Era (Maybe Ruthless Aggression, but around that time).
That said, I'm going to do a little social experiment. I'm going to show promos of all the men up above and I want to know. In there prime, could the WWE Superstars of today compete with the ones of yesteryear?
To be fair, I'm not going to use Punk's shoot promo, because not working within the realm of kayfabe is an unfair advantage. Instead I'll use another promo of his that was critically acclaimed.
Can WWE Reach the level of Popularity it had
I want you to look at a few of these promos, then a few of the legends promos. Then ask yourself. Could the people we cheer for, (as good as they are,) hang with the legends of wrestling?
Stars of Today:
R-Truth - (Heel WWE) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJmJCSd7Fo / (Face TNA) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRQfBVGYDok&feature=related (Why I think he could have been a main-eventer during the time of Ruthless Aggression.)
CM Punk - (Heel Smackdown,) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeAVVzZuTqo
John Cena - (Now) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QStBadC8P-o / (Then) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Tr605Ir7rs&feature=related
Dolph Ziggler - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_9VC1PWuD8&feature=related
Stars of The Past:
The Rock - (Now/Not Live) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAlkzzKVbNY / (Now/Live) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIcbip5xj4w&feature=fvwrel / (Then) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euHLMAWtKlY
Ric Flair - (Then) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9enMPQtsdA&feature=related
Shawn Michaels - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AFji2r3GVI
Stone Cold - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGM1o8CDLs8
The Undertaker - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVZqk1s7dHQ&feature=related
Now, you can argue that it's not fair to compare in different eras, but at the same time we compare so many stars to each other, (I.E. Dolph Ziggler is the next Shawn Michaels, or CM Punk is the new Stone Cold,) I feel it's a fitting comparison when it comes, at least, to mic skills.