Promos are an essential part of professional wrestling, WWE and other promotions often needs their superstars to be able to wrestle and be able to talk on the mic because promos are a huge part of building up some of the biggest matches that happen in wrestling.
Paul Heyman is one of the most famous stars who can talk on the mic, as well as the likes of CM Punk and The Rock. Despite WWE signing some of the best Independent Superstars on the circuit right now, there are still a number of guys who can’t talk on the mic, which leaves the WWE Universe second guessing if they can be booked in the main event picture.
Roman Reigns was a great example of this and has managed to mess up so many promos over the past four years, but has recently been seen to have improved both in the ring and on the mic. Brock Lesnar is another example but now it seems that WWE has allowed Paul Heyman to step in and do all of the talking for him so that he no longer messes up any promos and does anything to make him look any less of The Beast that WWE wants him to be.
The following list looks at 15 of the best promos that have been delivered in the world of wrestling over the past few years, and the superstars who delivered them. They will also be weighed on the basis of how much of a key part they played in the buildup to a match.
15. The Original List Of Jericho
Chris Jericho has always been a superstar who can adapt. This is the reason WWE is able to bring him back to the company year after year and he is always able to steal the spotlight regardless of who is attempting to be the main event star at that time.
Back in the late 1990s, while many of the wrestling audiences were busy watching the NWO and WCW bookers were busy overlooking Jericho and allowing him to do as he pleased every week in an attempt to get him over, he came out with his first list. This was a list of 1004 holds that Jericho could do and he stated that he could beat the original “Man of 1000 Holds” Dean Malenko by just four moves before he began reading all the holds out in a way only Jericho could. Jericho managed to reach number 725 before he was interrupted as he talked all the way through a commercial break, but even though he was just reading a list, it was perhaps one of the best things many of the WCW Universe had seen from Jericho at that point.
14. Bash At The Beach – 1996
It is perhaps one of the most famous promos of all time after Hulk Hogan joined up with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall at The Bash at The Beach back in 1996 but turning on Randy Savage, he cut an incredible promo where he talked about WWE in no unspoken terms and ripped the company apart when it comes to the things that they promised him and never followed through.
The audience pelted the trio with rubbish from all angles as Hogan stated that this was now The New World Order of professional wrestling and was one of the biggest turning points for WCW. It was an iconic scene that marked the heel turn of Hogan for the first time. Hogan even ended the segment by putting his hands on Mean Gene Okerland, which obviously annoyed the fans even further into accepting the character that he was going to become alongside Nash and Hall.
13. Paul Heyman – SmackDown 2001
As already stated, if WWE gives Paul Heyman a microphone, he can spin anything into a goldmine. Heyman has been the advocate for a number of stars in WWE over the past few years including Cesaro, Curtis Axel, Ryback, CM Punk, and currently, does all of Brock Lesnar’s talking for him on WWE TV.
But before all of this, back in 2001, Heyman was given a live mic ahead of Survivor Series where the WWF took on The Alliance. Heyman had no problem telling Vince McMahon exactly what he thought about him and then ripped him apart for his many crimes against wrestling by airing some of Vince’s own dirty laundry, but it seems that Vince was not happy about what Heyman was saying about him in a public domain and fired him. It may have seemed as though it was slightly harsh but it was exactly what WWE needed to hype up the upcoming Survivor Series match.
12. Ultimate Warrior Returns To WWE
Ultimate Warrior returned to WWE back in 2014 ahead of his Hall of Fame induction, but on the Raw following WrestleMania 30, Warrior ran down the ramp to the ring and delivered an epic promo that many of the WWE Universe have questioned as foreshadowing since he passed away just days later.
The words Warrior spoke on that night have been immortalized as the WWE Universe thinks back on how passionate his final promo was and remembers him as the star that he once was, not the man he later became. Warrior was able to return to WWE, put aside all of his problems, and even run to the ring and shake his ropes one last time, which is exactly what a legend like him deserved to be remembered for. Of course, it isn’t possible that Warrior would have known that those would be his final public words, but they will live long in the memory of the WWE Universe as they mourn the passing of one of the all-time greats.
11. Stone Cold Vs. Vince McMahon Begins
It was one of the fiercest and most personal rivalries in WWE history, when Stone Cold Steve Austin went against Vince McMahon’s wishes and defeated Shawn Michaels back at WrestleMania 14. It seems that he had reached a point of no return with the Chairman of WWE when he told Austin that from now on it Austin would not be having everything go his way.
Austin made a choice that day when he was told he could have it the easy way or the hard way, but when he hit McMahon with that stunner it was sealed that there was no backing out from the challenge that had been laid down in front of him. Austin was the original outlaw when it came to authority figures and even though WWE has tried to recreate this iconic storyline many times since, there will never be anything that comes close to the original.
10. Chris Jericho Makes His WWE Debut
It was the build up to the millennium and there was a countdown clock that had fans excited as they anticipated what was set to be a huge surprise. It was later revealed that the surprise was Chris Jericho who had made the switch over from WCW and decided to interrupt The Rock as he ran his mouth in the middle of the ring, which wasn’t really a wise idea.
Raw became Jericho for the very first time as Jericho stepped forward and changed the landscape of the company with one of the best promos of his career. Jericho has been one of the best promo deliverers in WWE for a number of years and he definitely got his career off to the best start here as he upstaged The Rock in the best way possible and made the best kind of impact in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world.
9. WrestleMania 30’s Biggest Moment
WrestleMania 30 was built up to be one of the biggest shows that the company had ever aired and Daniel Bryan managed to walk out with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship following an incredible main event match. Even though the ending was what many of the fans were talking about the next day, it was the opening of the show that hit the all the right buttons when it came to nostalgia.
Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and The Rock all made their way to the ring to celebrate together as the WWE Universe witnessed three of the biggest stars in WWE history sharing a ring and celebrating in style inside the Superdome (even though Hogan accidentally called it the Silverdome but managed to easily laugh it off). It was an iconic moment between three of the biggest legends that WWE has ever created and perhaps one that could never be recreated in the future.
8. Dusty Rhodes’ Hard Times
It would be hard to make a list of the best promos in WWE history without including one of the most iconic promos of all time that was delivered by one of the biggest legends. WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes delivered his “hard times” promo back in 1985 when he was set to return to action after he was injured at the hands of The Four Horsemen.
Dusty managed to get over the fact that he was coming after all four members of the group and that no man would escape his revenge but also that he was doing it for all the people out there who were just like him, who were working class people who had a dream. Dusty’s most memorable lines were when he spoke in rhyme about the hard times he had suffered on the way to the top, times that had shaped Dusty into the man he had become in front of the eyes of the WWE Universe.
7. AJ Lee’s Pipebomb
AJ Lee is the only female to have been able to make the list here since women in wrestling are not considered to be able to talk on the mic very well. AJ was different and on many occasions, she proved that she was able to back up her ability in the ring with mic skills that surpassed her peers and none more so than when AJ stepped up to the Total Divas back in 2013.
AJ told the women exactly where they ranked on WWE’s hierarchy and how none of them would ever be able to lace up her Chuck Taylor’s because she had come through the ranks in the company based on her talent and ability when it came to smashing through glass ceilings. It was passionate and it was true, but sadly AJ’s words meant very little a few years later when she walked away from the company and WWE defaulted back to allowing The Bella’s to run the Women’s Division.
6. Austin 3:16 Said I Just Whooped Your…
King of the ring 1996 made Stone Cold Steve Austin the man he later became in the company when he first used Austin 3:16 for the first time, as he used the bible verse to his advantage. While the WWE Universe may have forgotten most of the promo that Austin delivered that day and they may have even forgotten that it was Jake Roberts that Austin was aiming much of his dismay at, but they will never forget that this was the first time that the words “Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass” were first uttered on WWE TV.
This was a game changer for Austin who then used this on a regular basis and it was a game changer for WWE. This promo could well be one of the most iconic in the history of the company and shows just how easily a catchphrase can be made.
5. Randy Savage Is The Cream Of The Crop
Randy Savage is a WWE Hall of Famer and there is a reason he is remembered as one of the biggest legends in the company. Randy once delivered one of the best promos of all time when he talked about how “the cream would rise to the top” whilst holding a small container of cream.
Savage was over the top for much of the promo but that was the way his character was, he seemed quite mixed up and much of the time hard to understand but it seemed that he had one thing on his mind and he was going to prove that he was that cream and he was going to rise to the top. Savage was one of the very best and when promos like this are taken into consideration it is easy to see why. Savage made the promo work for him as he made it clear that he was after both Hulk Hogan and Ricky Steamboat.
4. The Miz Talking Smack Appearance
Talking Smack may have been cancelled recently by WWE as a weekly talk show but there are still fond memories of many of the shoot promos that WWE stars managed to get away with during their appearances on the show.
The Miz took full advantage of being one of the best promo deliverers on SmackDown following the draft and was able to appear on Talking Smack and continue one of the biggest feuds that he had ever been part of with General Manager Daniel Bryan. Miz delivered a lot of home truths that visibly upset Bryan after the GM had the audacity to call him a coward. It was a well-worked episode of the show that allowed the network to gain the views that it had obviously been lobbying for. Miz has since gone on to become one of the best parts of Monday Night Raw as he continues to use his incredible mic skills to his advantage.
3. Bret Hart And Shawn Michaels – Raw 2010
The Montreal Screwjob became one of the biggest scandals in professional wrestling for a number of years and made Shawn Michaels public enemy number one for a long time while Bret Hart left for WCW and refused to speak to Michaels or Vince McMahon for more than a decade.
In 2010, the animosity finally came to an end as Michaels and Hart stepped into the ring together when Bret Hart was made the guest host of Raw back in January. Hart and Michaels put their problems aside and it seemed as though this was about to build into an angle until Michaels grabbed hold of Hart and took him into an embrace, much to the delight of the watching WWE Universe who finally felt like one of the biggest and most iconic real-life feuds in professional wrestling had managed to reach a beautiful ending and both men could finally move on.
2. Daniel Bryan Retires From WWE
There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena back in February 2016 when it was revealed that Daniel Bryan would have to retire from professional wrestling after a career that had spanned almost two decades because of a recurring neck and shoulder injury. Bryan was visibly emotional and broke down in tears more than once as he realized for the first time in his life that he was no longer going to be considered a wrestler.
WWE gave Bryan the respect he deserved by allowing him the time to say goodbye to the fans that had supported him through some of the toughest years of his career and always cheered him on as the underdog that he had become recognizable as. Bryan was one of the best technical wrestlers that WWE has ever had at their disposal and this was a fantastic showing of respect on their behalf. Bryan stated that he was grateful for the gesture and this now allows this segment be remembered as one of the best and most realistic promos of all time.
1. CM Punk’s Famous Pipebomb
CM Punk was one of the all-time best talkers on the mic. He was always able to carry a match and talk it up to the point where the WWE Universe would always expect an instant classic. This was never more apparent than when CM Punk was given a live microphone and allowed to talk for as long as he wanted about all the problems he had in WWE and why he was walking away from the company after Money in the Bank in 2011.
Punk talked about his former Independent scene rival Colt Cabana and the fact that he could return to Ring Of Honor as well as dishing out a number of truth bombs to John Cena and the entire WWE locker room who were obviously clinging on to his every word. The pipe bomb is one of the most memorable promos in the history of WWE because many of the WWE Universe now debate whether or not that was real or whether Punk was told what to say.
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