Ah, one of the age-old debates in professional wrestling: who was the greatest ever on the microphone?
There's no secret that you have to be able to talk, for the most part, if you want to become a legend in the wrestling business (see Vince McMahon's treatment of Asuka).
The stories and rivalries are what makes the money in wrestling, so a wrestler's ability to convey to the crowd their emotions and why the match is a must-see event is crucial.
As the business has evolved, so have the talkers. The criteria for this list was hard to define given the generations involved and the varying degrees of exposure that said generations had. Thus, the list is quite heavy with names since the turn of the millennium.
However, they're all deserving of a place on this illustrious list and they have all either garnered huge money from their promos, made memorable moments or wildly entertained fans who click in their droves to re-live their moments on YouTube. Let's get into it.
This man deserves far more credit than he actually gets. The Miz has been in the company for 12 years now and at 38-years-old, he has seen and done almost everything. He was won Money in the Bank, held multiple titles and has headlined WrestleMania, defending the WWE title against John Cena.
The Hollywood A-Lister has been wildly entertaining on the mic in feuds with Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan - their Talking Smack altercation is legendary - and his entire run with the Miztourage was top grade stuff. However, one of his all-time great put-downs was the way he dismantled Enzo Amore on the mic.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
The Rattlesnake doesn't appear on many of these lists, but how can you leave off the man who created arguably the most profitable phrase of all-time - 3:16? Austin's promo following his King of the Ring victory in 1996 is legendary, but if one of our main criteria is making money, Austin's mic work opposite Vince McMahon, The Rock and Triple H was incredible.
He had the most believable character in the business at that point and his catchphrases 'and that's the bottom line because Stone Cold said so' and 'what?' were smash hits. Many fans criticise his heel run in 2001, but that's some of the funniest stuff you'll ever see.
Ah, the master at work. Admittedly, Paul Heyman only has so many dimensions. He sells fights, not himself. But, in what would seem like a limited avenue for talking, Heyman has managed to be the most captivating man in the business while advocating for Brock Lesnar without ever really changing much up - pretty remarkable.
The man behind ECW has long been a fantastic talker going way back to the Dangerous Alliance in WCW, but many will point to his sit down interview with Renee Young ahead of Roman Reigns' clash with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam as proof of his greatness. That man can sell a damn match.
A lot of the WWE Universe are hesistant to credit the Leader of the Cenation purely because of the character he has represented over the past decade or so. In recent years, his feuds with The Rock, Roman Reigns and AJ Styles have shown how a serious Cena can deliver a shoot-style promo and sent the internet crazy, but what really proves how great he is was the birth of Cena in WWE - the Doctor of Thuganomics.
His entertaining raps got him over with the crowd like crazy and even though he had to evolve into a more rounded character sooner or later, everyone remembers how entertaining he was on SmackDown. During his developmental days, he used to spit his promos in reverse, too. No question that the 16-time world champion is crazy talented and creative.
Every wrestler seemingly attempts to imitate Dusty's voice, that says it all, doesn't it? Rhodes's lisp and southern twang played a huge role in the most lucrative rivalry in NWA history opposite Ric Flair and, at that time, it was probably the biggest rivalry the business had ever seen.
The 'Common Man' resonated with the audience on a level that the opulent Flair never could and the American Dream was exactly that, personified. A rather rotund individual making it in the world of chiseled beasts needed to have an ace up his sleeve. His mic work was exactly that.
Gone too soon. The Voice of the Voiceless was a great wrestler, let us not forget that. But, the pipebomb promo in the summer of 2011 is one of the most famous moments in WWE history and is instantly memorable in the minds of the fans. And, this was at a time when business was not doing great.
As the leader of the Straight Edge Society and even the New Nexus, Punk was too entertaining to silence and he could turn any average segment into a thing of beauty. He had a very real charisma about him that is so hard to find and the WWE wishes some of its muscle-bound freaks could exhibit - Punk was undeniable. Plus, it always seemed like Triple H was on the end of his sharp tongue...
Y2J is one of the most irrepressibly creative minds the wrestling business has ever seen, bar none. As soon as he picked up the stick during his debut in WWE back in 1999, fans knew they were in for a treat if they knew him previously or not. His promo battles with the best in the business will stand the test of time, but he ranks high on this list for being able to completely change himself and remain entertaining on the mic.
As a babyface? Brilliant. As a heel? He starts using long words and acts condescending to the audience, and they eat it up. The reason he jumped up a couple of places here is because of his last run in WWE opposite Kevin Owens. He could literally get anything over from a list to a plant - anything. It was incredible to watch.
The Nature Boy! The Stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a gun is a 16-time world champion and, arguably, the greatest superstar of all-time. But, the persona he created in the 1980s changed the wrestling business forever.
Flair has charisma coming out of his eyeballs and most of his promos consist of extremely wide eyeballs at that. And, of course, virtually screaming. But, his delivery is unparalleled and he could rightly be viewed as the number one pick on most lists. The fact that he carried several promotions on his back as a real, traveling world champion for the NWA back in the 80's means he drew serious cash in multiple places. His WWE run in the 2000's was great and gave us many memories, but Flair in his prime was untouchable.
This man has never cut a bad promo - he is literally a master of the craft. from 1998-2003, he was insanely good and drew more heat than anyone I can remember, with Triple H perhaps the only exception. He made stars like The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin get over way bigger than they would have without him and the money he made from feuding with the latter and simply creating two huge stars like that - it's well worthy of a spot on this list.
Vince could effortlessly transition into a babyface, too. During the Invasion angle he did it with ease and as soon as that was done, he was back to his devious ways. The Mr. McMahon character has so many layers and such history in the buisiness that there will never, ever be another one like him. Truly genius.
Anyone who has ever watched a Rock promo and doesn't consider him the top three of all-time has something wrong with them. That man had more charisma and personality on screen than almost anyone, ever. His catchphrases became a worldwide phenomenon, created shows and entered dictionaries. He is, bar none, the greatest trash talker in the history of the business and that is why his segments are so damn memorable.
You could get lost on YouTube for hours watching The Rock's best moments and interviews and in 2000, no man has been more universally loved than Rocky, perhaps not even Austin in 1998/99. However, to show the other side of the coin, his run as Hollywood Rock in 2003 was absurdly entertaining. After the fans turned their back on him for going to Hollywood, they couldn't help but cheer for him again because of how amazing he was as a heel. He's number one in our book.
Of course, many deserving individuals missed out here. Jake the Snake Roberts, Shawn Michaels and Roddy Piper are just some names who were very hard to leave out. Who would you have on your list?
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