What's up, ladies and gentlemen? My name is Eric Kanes and I am back here today with another "Year-End Awards" list.
This time, we will be looking at the Top 10 Promos of 2011. While 2011 was a very good year in WWE in terms of in-ring action, it was probably even better when it came to promos.
With several returns and character changes, guys like CM Punk, The Rock, John Cena, R-Truth and Christian gave us some very memorable promos this year.
I rewatched a lot of them in the past few days and I have to say that it was hard to narrow it down to just 10. There were many good ones and a lot of them will get "Honorable Mention" at the end of the article but in the end, this is my list.
Before I move on, I'd like to do a quick plug. Make sure to add me on Facebook to be updated on all of the year-end columns and also on the Writer Search that I will be holding at the start of January for my site, QuickWrestlingNews.
And now, without any further ado, here are the top 10 promos of 2011.
This was towards the end of the year and it was one of the shorter promos, but it had a lot of memorable quotes.
The Miz: "Maybe you didn't see what I did to R-Truth. Maybe you didn't see what I did to John Morrison. I took them out!" CM Punk: "You took them out? Like on a date?"
"I'm Mr. Excitement, okay?" - John Laurinaitis
"I'd actually like to take this opportunity to wish John Morrison the best in all his future endeavors." - John Laurinaitis
"Oh god, if you say it's because it's your destiny, I swear to Jebus I'm going to start drinking." - CM Punk
This was 10 minutes of comedy gold with John Laurinaitis's one-liners, CM Punk completely owning The Miz and Alberto Del Rio on the mic, and everybody including Ricardo Rodriguez posing for the photo at the end.
This promo took place on the 3/28/11 edition of RAW, the last RAW before WrestleMania 27. At that point, I wasn't really looking forward to the Triple H vs. Undertaker match. To be honest, the build-up kind of sucked up that point. All they really did was stare at each other and cut the same promo every week.
It seemed like they came out for their same weekly promo when out of nowhere, Shawn Michaels' music hit. It made sense to bring him out because in storyline, he was Triple H's closest friend and also the person who came the closest to ending Undertaker's streak.
It basically came down to Undertaker saying that Michaels gave him his two best matches at WrestleMania but he humbled him when he beat him. Michaels then went for the superkick but Undertaker blocked it and went for a chokeslam.
Triple H broke it up and asked Shawn Michaels to tell Undertaker why he would beat him at WrestleMania. Michaels just said "I'm sorry" and left.
This was a very powerful segment and it is the sole reason that I was interested for the Triple H-Undertaker match at WrestleMania.
It made you wonder if Triple H really could be the one to end the streak (although most people knew he wouldn't). Shawn Michaels was the perfect person to hype this match up.
Just like the Undertaker/Triple H/Shawn Michaels segment which actually took place earlier in the night, this match made me look forward to John Cena vs. The Miz at WrestleMania even more. The match didn't turn out to be what it could've been, but this promo did its job in making me want to see it.
Basically, after weeks of exchanging words, John Cena confronted The Rock and asked him what his problem with him was.
He pointed out that while The Rock may not like the colors that he wears, the music that he listens to, or his target audience, but he really does not have a real reason to dislike him. He ended it by saying "who the hell are you to judge me?"
This led to The Miz coming out and he called The Rock & Cena the "O brothers" - The Rock being overhyped and John Cena being overrated. He questioned The Rock's desire to actually fight again.
This eventually led to The Rock beating down both The Miz and Alex Riley. Afterwards, John Cena nailed him with an AA to end the segment.
I really liked this one. The Rock was on his A-game. His "homeless power ranger" line about John Cena was great, but he was able to get serious too. This really was a great effort by all three men.
On 2/14/11, the night that The Rock returned, he pretty much verbally destroyed John Cena. For the next week, everybody was wondering how John Cena would respond and many thought that he could not possibly hang with The Rock on the mic...until he cut this promo.
This was a brilliantly thought-out rap and I'd say that John Cena one-upped The Rock here. There were many great lines, and John Cena cleverly took several jabs at The Rock's movie career, his seven-year absence, and even threw in a few gay jokes. Here's the full transcript:
"Finally The Rock came back and everyone was gettin’ with it
’til he said I was talking trash but he would never be specific.
Because I wasn’t talkin’ trash, Rock. I was talkin’ truth.
You left us high and dry to play a fairy with a tooth?
And then you walk into this ring and tell these people that I’m lame, man?
He wore lipstick in Gettin’ Shorty and wore a skirt for The Game Plan.
This Fruity Pebble you’re dealin’ with, I’m not your average jabroni.
I’m like a big purple pinwheel, Rock, so go ahead and blow me.
And you’re electrifying, yes, but hang with me? That’s just absurd.
See now you gotta tell your family you just got schooled by Barney’s turd.
Oh no no no no no, wait wait wait, that’s your material – you can have your joke back.
Just don’t go racing to Witch Mountain, Rock, ’cause your mountain is brokeback.
Oh no no no no no, wait wait wait – The Rock’s new movie, well it’s nothing like Walking Tall.
He spends the movie in a bowling alley polishing my balls.
The People’s Champ, he’s never with the people. Rock, your words are see-through.
You imitate me every time you leave. For seven years we couldn’t see you.
And and and is it Rock or is it Dwayne? Pick a side, come on, son.
If I was you, I’d stick with Rock, ’cause Dwayne doesn’t have a John, son.
And you’ll see me at WrestleMania? Well then I’ll make sure not to miss it.
‘Cause you ain’t goin’ a whip my candy ass, dude. I’ll make sure you kiss it.
You’re the WrestleMania host, Rock: that’s your role. Know it.
You tell these people that you love ‘em. I’m here every week to show it.
That’s called a first-round knockout. Now you know that I’m not playin’.
Run your mouth all you want, dude. It doesn’t matter what you’re sayin’."
A lot of wrestlers completely revamped their characters this year but if I have to choose my favorite character, it would probably be R-Truth. This promo was the start of his new character, which would provide us with some of the most entertaining segments of the year.
This promo started it all. It was the birth of many of the characteristics that made R-Truth's character great such as the crazy eyes, "don't what me," Little Jimmy, and talking to himself.
As the year comes to an end, it seems like R-Truth will be turning face once again. Although I prefer him as a heel, I actually think that now that he has this established character rather than being a rapper who raps the same song over and over, he can actually pull it off.
Either way, I'm eager to see where his character goes from here.
All of the other promos are on this list because they were either funny or entertaining. This one was neither. This is one of the emotional promos as Edge went completely out of character and had to announce his abrupt retirement.
It was shocking, too, because nobody really saw it coming. Edge had just come off a WrestleMania World title match win over Alberto Del Rio and he had reunited with Christian just a few months earlier.
Many people were looking forward to a great feud with Christian later on in the year. However, after taking an MRI, he found out that he had to retire for good, or else he had a risk of getting paralyzed.
This promo was completely from the heart, as Edge recalled some of his favorite memories. He ended it by saying that if he was asked if he'd do it all again - get hired by JR, travel all the roads, log all the miles, hop on all the flights, have all the sleepless nights, all the surgeries, all the injuries, all the metal rods in his teeth - he'd do it in a heartbeat.
And you know what? He was being sincere.
Edge seemed like someone who loved what he did and it's a shame that he had to retire before he was ready. At the same time, you have to be glad that it was spotted in time, before he would be prone to a serious injury.
Money in the Bank was probably the most hyped-up pay-per-view of the year but going into SummerSlam, the CM Punk-John Cena rivalry definitely lost a bit of steam.
Some feel that he came back too early and others feel that he lost a lot of momentum the week after he returned, since he and John Cena didn't really have an actual confrontation. Needless to say, any momentum that was lost was definitely regained here.
I won't recap the whole thing as there was a lot going on here but here are the main points:
-John Cena said that CM Punk was a phony because while Cena's there every week, Punk only came back for more money when he was claiming to be the "Voice of the Voiceless." Triple H added that he was a coward because instead of negotiating man-to-man, he had to call in over the phone. Punk retaliated by asking John Laurinaitis and Triple H whether the previous week they fired Vladimir Kozlov, Chris Masters, & DH Smith on the phone or in person.
-CM Punk said that John Cena is placed so high on the pedestal that he has a different perspective than everybody else and looks down on everybody else. He asked Cena who the hell he thinks he is to tell Punk a few years ago that he almost lost hope in him, after Punk won the ECW championship.
-John Cena pointed out that win, loss, or draw, he'd still go on to face The Rock at WrestleMania whereas everything was on the line for CM Punk here. If Punk lost, he'd just be a one-hit wonder. Punk said that he'd rather be a one-hit wonder than a phony.
The segment ended with CM Punk knocking John Laurinaitis out and attempting to fight Cena but Cena shoved Triple H into him. It ended with CM Punk on the outside while John Cena and Triple H were talking in the ring.
It made you wonder if something was going on between them. We would later find out that that wasn't the case but at the time, this promo left us with a bunch of unanswered questions and hyped up the SummerSlam main event like nothing else.
CM Punk was gold on the mic here, "breaking the fourth wall" several times while John Cena had a more serious tone, rather than going into his usual "poop jokes" routine. There's nothing more to say other than that it was a great job by everybody involved.
When it was announced that there would be a guest host at WrestleMania and he would be revealed on 2/14/11, a lot of dirt sheets reported that WWE wanted Justin Bieber to be at WrestleMania, so that is who a lot of people thought it would be. Needless to say, it was more than a nice surprise when that guest host was revealed to be The Rock.
This was The Rock's first live promo after being away for seven years and he could still cut a promo like no one else. He got one of the loudest pops of the year. In this promo, he ripped The Miz, Michael Cole, and John Cena, and this was one of the most entertaining promos of the year with some very memorable quotes.
"After seven long years, FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY The Rock has come back to Anaheim, which means FINALLY The Rock has come back to Monday Night RAW, which means FINALLY The Rock has come back...home."
"If Michael Cole doesn't do as The Rock says you're going to get a beautiful picture of The Rock stepping out of this ring, going over to that computer, shining it up real nice, turning that sumb*tch sideways and sticking it straight up Michael Cole's candy ass! Now sit down, you look like a drunk hobbit."
"So let me get this straight: the WWE has gone from the powerful Austin 3:16 to the dominant and iconic 'If you smell what The Rock is cooking' all the way to 'you can't shee me, you can't shee me.' What are you, playing peekaboo? Believe me, we ALL can see you! A blindfolded, sleeping, stuck in the basement Stevie Wonder can see your monkey ass!"
"You come out here with your bright-ass purple shirt and before that your bright green shirt and before that your bright orange shirt. You run around here looking like a big, fat bowl of Fruity Pebbles!"
The Rock was as good as he ever was here and the Anaheim crowd was loud for all of this, which made for one of the best promos of the year.
This promo was obviously scripted but it felt very real. This was CM Punk expressing his frustrations with the company and asking for all of the things he wanted to stay with the company.
Vince McMahon brought out a brand-new contract for CM Punk to sign but CM Punk brought out a contract of his own and there were a few perks on there.
Among the things he wanted were his own personal jet, his face on everything including turnbuckles, spoons, forks, shoes, and socks, WWE ice cream bars, WWE to start working on "CM Punk: The Movie," and for his match to be the main event at WrestleMania 28.
CM Punk also wanted Vince McMahon to apologize to him. Vince McMahon initially refused but Punk told him that he will apologize and he will like it because if he didn't, Punk would leave with the WWE title at Money in the Bank.
At one point, the crowd started chanting "We Want Ice Cream" which led to Vince yelling, "I don't give a damn what you people want!" CM Punk said, "That's the problem. You don't give a damn what these people want."
There was also a point where Punk pointed out that he's had friends, such as Colt Cabana and Luke Gallows, fired because they didn't fit Vince McMahon's mold. Vince said they deserved it which led to Punk going on a rant about how he punished people for actually liking professional wrestling.
Eventually, Vince signed the contract when John Cena's music hit. Cena called Punk a hypocrite for asking the people what they want and then leaving the following Sunday. He said that Punk lost sight of things.
Punk retaliated by saying that Cena's the one who lost sight of things because he started out as an underdog but turned into what he hated. He is now a 10-time WWE Champion; he has become the New York Yankees.
Cena nailed Punk in the face which led to Punk tearing up the contract and ending the promo by saying "Sunday night, say goodbye to the WWE title, say goodbye to John Cena, and say goodbye to CM Punk."
Wow. This segment was executed perfectly. If you weren't already hyped up for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, you were after this promo.
And No. 1 should come as no surprise. Like it or not, there was nothing not only this year, but probably in the past five years that was even close to this promo. Whether it was worked or not doesn't matter.
CM Punk expressed some of his major frustrations on behalf of everybody and it shook things up in WWE in a big way.
Because of this promo, CM Punk is where he is today. He went from floating around in midcard hell for several years to being the No. 2 face in the company. He's one of the top merchandise sellers and draws in the company. I'd say he's even surpassed Randy Orton, and is on a level just below John Cena.
As of this writing, he's the current WWE Champion and I'd bet you anything that if it weren't for this promo, CM Punk would not even be in WWE right now, while John Cena would have been in his eighth month as WWE Champion.
It might not seem like the promo changed a lot, but it really did. It created a lot of hype for the company and it made CM Punk into the star he is today. I won't even write out the transcript for this promo. If you haven't seen it already, see it now. It's that good. I'd say it might even be in the top 10 promos all time.
These are the promos that didn't quite make the list but I still think deserve to be mentioned:
-CM Punk's "Suicide" Promo as Leader of The Nexus
-CM Punk's Promo On Why He Attacked Randy Orton at Royal Rumble
-The Rock's First "Via Satellite" Promo
-Michael Cole's Promo With Jim Ross Prior to WrestleMania
-Edge's Farewell Promo on SmackDown
-Christian's Official Heel Turn
-R-Truth's Confrontation With Stone Cold & Vince McMahon
-The Rock's Facebook Promo on John Cena
-CM Punk's Return Promo on 7/11/11
-Triple H's Segment With R-Truth
-CM Punk's First Promo With Triple H
-CM Punk's First Promo With Kevin Nash
-CM Punk's Contract Signing With Triple H on SmackDown
-R-Truth's "Pigeons" Promo at Survivor Series
-John Cena & The Rock's Face-Off With The Miz & R-Truth
-Piper's Pit With John Cena
-CM Punk's Post-TLC Promo With Daniel Bryan & Zack Ryder
And that shall conclude the Top 10 Promos of 2011 list. I hope you enjoyed. The next list will be The Top 5 Heel/Face Turns of 2011 and it will be up this Friday. Also, the full "Year End Awards" column will be on Sunday night or Monday morning. Until then, I'm out!
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