Many talents are required in order to become a professional wrestler, and significant performance-based skills are required on top of that in order for a wrestler to stand out amongst their competition. Winning matches can speak for itself up to a point, but it is connecting with the audience that makes a wrestler become a superstar. The easiest and fastest way for a wrestler to stand out and connect with the audience all at once is to create a memorable and unforgettable catchphrase.
It goes without saying that the greatest WWE superstars in history are responsible for literally thousands of incredible, hilarious, and generally awesome catchphrases, but unfortunately, not all wrestlers are as gifted at coming up with mottos as others. As long-time fans know all too well, some wrestlers are actually pretty terrible at the whole catchphrase game, and have churned out some seriously lame, idiotic, and at worst, downright offensive slogans.
Depending on the era the mantra was created, some of these catchphrases actually took off and became quite popular. That’s all the worse for WWE owner Vince McMahon, who would probably prefer all of these horrible taglines were completely forgotten about. Shockingly, many of the wrestlers who contrived these maxims have gone on to wildly successful and even Hall of Fame worthy careers, but that again only makes it more damaging to remember how embarrassing these alleged legends were at certain points in their careers. Keep reading to learn 15 terrible wrestling catchphrases WWE wants you to forget.
15 Jerry Lawler: "Puppies!"
Jerry “The King” Lawler is a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler and announcer, and rightfully so as he has been an employee of the company for the majority of the past 23 years. Prior to that, Lawler was already a legend for his exploits in Memphis Wrestling, where he earned his royal reputation as one of the greatest wrestlers of his era. Since he joined WWE in late 1992, Lawler has mostly been an announcer, and his tenure in that position is where his career starts to get more controversial. While Lawler has had moments of greatness in his decades as a color commentator, he has also been responsible for some of the lowest and most crass episodes of Monday Night Raw thanks to one word: Puppies!
It’s hard to blame WWE for acknowledging the sex appeal of their female talents, as virtually every facet of entertainment does the same thing. The way Jerry Lawler chose to do so, however, which was by yelling the word “Puppies!” every time he saw a female, and begging her to take her shirt off, which was just about the least respectful way to do this. Not only is it unclear why exactly Lawler was calling breasts “puppies,” it was blatantly misogynistic and overbearing to whatever purpose the women were actually meant to serve in the ring.
14 Booker T: "I'm A Five Time, Five Time, Five Time, Five Time, Five Time WCW Champion!"
Becoming the World Heavyweight Champion of any organization is a major accomplishment for a professional wrestler, regardless of how many times they’ve earned the honor. Booker T is within his rights to have been proud that he was a 5-time WCW Champion, but the way he reminded everyone was both annoying and flawed in its execution. Despite his attempts to bombastically brag, Booker was only drawing out the reminder that he lost the title five times and had yet to regain it every time he said these words.
The motto was killed on WWE TV when Rob Van Dam pointed this out to Booker, or at least it should have been, as he continued using the tagline for years after the fact. It reached a point where Booker’s over-reliance on his past success was making him look old and outdated, thus leaving him in the mid card for years and necessitating a character rehash as King Booker to finally get fans to forget about his previous slogan.
13 Jeff Jarrett: "That's J-E-Double F J-A-Double R-E-Double T"
The catchphrases on this list are bad, but frankly, most of them probably left the mind of the WWE Chairman once his superstars stopped saying them. The only one we can say for sure he remembered, and hated, was the annoyingly arrhythmic manner in which Jeff Jarrett would spell his name out to fans. McMahon pointed this out when he announced he had purchased WCW and Jarrett was G-O-N-E, gone. Why exactly was Jarrett spelling his name, let alone in this manner? That was never exactly clear, which was part of why it was such an idiotic slogan. How does the fact that his name having a few of the same letters affect him as a wrestler or a performer?
Jarrett would come up with a plethora of new maxims as his career went on, including “Don’t Piss Me Off” and “Listen Up, Slapnuts.” Slapnuts deserves special mention for inventing a word that doesn’t make sense, but we’ll give DPMO credit for at least being to the point. It wasn’t particularly original, though, showing anyway you cut it, Jarrett wasn’t great at selling himself in a succinct and natural manner. He’s more the type of talent who needs his father to create an entire company for him to do that.
12 "Diamond" Dallas Page: "That's Not A Bad Thing...It's A Good Thing!"
WCW fans will never get over the dreaded Invasion storyline that dominated WWE television throughout the summer and fall of 2001. WCW wrestlers were treated as pale imitators to the WWE faithful, and few were given as poor of treatment as bona fide WCW superstar “Diamond” Dallas Page. DDP was one of the only main event names to join WWE during the Invasion, but for some reason, WWE decided to completely bury him in a feud with Kane and The Undertaker instead of putting his star power to good use.
Kane and The Undertaker beat DDP so badly that he needed a few months off, and he rejoined WWE with a new gimmick that nearly killed him off for good. Page eventually turned into a real life motivational speaker to great success, but when he tried the idea in the ring with a huge fake smile and a reverse positive message, it bombed big time. Page left WWE a few months later, never able to recapture the fame he once had in WCW.
11 Alberto Del Rio: "It Is My Destiny."
One of the most important qualities of a catchphrase is that it makes sense in relation to the wrestler, their character, and what they are trying to accomplish in the storyline. Even a meaningless expression can sound triumphant if the right type of person says it in the right context, but on that same laurel, something that looks poignant on paper could wind up pointless if it comes out of the wrong person’s mouth. Alberto Del Rio has always been portrayed within WWE as a wealthy Mexican aristocrat, who sees himself as above fans due to his lifestyle and extravagance.
Del Rio attempted to tie his wealth into his oft-repeated motto, “It is my destiny,” claiming it was foreseen that through his success he would be a future World Champion. The problem is, Del Rio lost his first several World Championship matches, and there was nothing mystical or comic about his character outside of the word “destiny” itself. It was reaching a point where it felt Del Rio might not actually have known what the word even meant. Thankfully, by that point, he stopped saying it.
10 MVP: "Ballin'!"
There are a few repeated tropes in looking at bad catchphrases that will no doubt repeatedly come up throughout this list. One is that any slogan stolen from other areas of pop culture is almost never going to work, and another is that wrestling audiences don’t care about other sports. MVP, a superstar who probably couldn’t have escaped that second problem no matter what he tried, nonetheless decided to use both pitfalls in creating his oft-repeated motto.
The term “ballin’” had been used in rap songs and general hip hop culture since as early as 2003 to mean both playing basketball and generally having a good time, and that’s basically what MVP used the term to mean, as well. While a babyface wrestler is welcome to have a good time now and again, MVP would instead accentuate the basketball element of the tag line by miming a “swish” when he said the word and had fans chant along. All this did was remind fans that basketball was on another channel, which was something that Vince McMahon especially wanted fans to forget.
9 Brother Love: "I Loooooove You!"
Heel managers are supposed to be annoying, and certain managers have proven there are ways to make being annoying outright hilarious, if not simply entertaining to watch. To the chagrin of many fans, other managers aren’t very skilled and were simply so annoying fans had no choice but to change the channel every time they made an appearance. One of the worst managers in WWE history, in this respect, was Brother Love. His catchphrase exemplified all of his worst qualities in three simple and seemingly innocuous words.
Brother Love was a parody of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and other televangelists of the 1980s, portrayed by longtime WWE writer, Bruce Prichard. Not only did an evangelist not particularly fit in with the professional wrestling landscape of the time (or ever), but Prichard’s decision to play the character by drawing out vowels to make words extra long served virtually no purpose. Reminding fans he loved them became his most annoying quality as a result, and thankfully he never lasted long on screen. This is especially lucky for The Undertaker, the only client of Love’s to actually become noteworthy.
8 The Miz: "Really? ...Really?"
It takes an incredible amount of charisma to turn a single word into a catchphrase, and only a select few WWE superstars have managed to accomplish that feat. The Miz has a great deal of charisma himself, but unfortunately, he didn’t quite have enough to join that hallowed few when he attempted to turn the word “Really?” into a thing during his initial push to the top of WWE. Part of the problem is that Miz wouldn’t only say the word once, but he’d say it two or three times in a row, repeating whatever his opponent had just said to him in between repetitions of his maxim.
Maybe “Really?” could be considered a good comeback if The Miz were in grade school, but considering he’s an adult pro wrestler, it ranks as one of the weakest slogans on the list. It would have been just as well for Miz to say “nuh uh” or angrily shake his head since all a blank response like this does is prove that you aren’t clever enough to have a response. While that might draw some heat once, turning it into a gimmick is a sign the wrestler simply isn’t creative.
7 Skip Sheffield: "Yep Yep Yep. What It Do?"
When one looks at Ryback’s career in WWE from beginning to end, it’s somewhat amazing that he left on the terms he did. Ryback left the company amidst a contract dispute in August of 2016, ending a near 7-year association with the company. Ryback debuted in WWE as one of the “rookies” competing during the first season of NXT, then known by the name Skip Sheffield. Sheffield didn’t get very far in the competition, getting eliminated in the first NXT elimination poll. Sheffield later appeared in WWE as a member of The Nexus, where he mostly played a background role and was injured before the storyline could take off.
Sheffield was repackaged as Ryback when he returned from injury, and the Sheffield character was almost entirely forgotten. Fans can be thankful it didn’t get a huge spotlight, though, because the little we learned from his debut video already painted a picture filled with bad ideas. Worst of all, “Yep yep yep. What it do,” which Sheffield point-blank says is his catchphrase, despite the fact it was the first time he said it. Considering that was how his career started, he should be thankful he was ever able to get past that and actually become somewhat successful.
6 The Rock: "How's Your Lips? Cause They're About To Get Smacked Off Your Face!"
The Rock is the last wrestler anyone should expect to pop up on this list. The Great One has been responsible for so many catchphrases it almost seemed like every sentence he said turned into a t-shirt for a brief period during The Attitude Era. In fact, a lot of them did, and that’s why he wound up responsible for almost as many failed slogans as legendary ones. The Rock has truly transcended wrestling, and as a result, his every appearance over the past decade has felt special in and of itself. Rocky tries to say something catchy every time he makes a comeback, but he hasn’t always hit the mark.
The two biggest missteps of The Rock’s career on the microphone were “We bring the whooping, you bring the a**,” and “How’s your lips? Cause they’re about to get smacked off your face!” He also tried offering people “a cool glass of shut up juice” while cryptically and maybe a little too vaguely threatening “boots to a**es.” It’s not that hard to make sense of these slogans, but there’s no denying that they’re all more than a bit convoluted in their mixed metaphors. The heightened focus on his enemy’s lips and bottoms aren't exactly threatening either, and a phrase like “you bring the a**” really doesn’t sound threatening out of context.
5 The Headbangers: "Real Men Wear Skirts."
Vince McMahon and WWE, in general, are wildly unpredictable forces, and thus any one of these catchphrases could just as well show up on your TV tomorrow as they could be wiped from history. Surprisingly, this one has the highest chance of being revived, thanks to the recent return of The Headbangers to SmackDown Live. The Headbangers have long been ridiculed by WWE and especially on WWE.com for the fact that they were never particularly successful or popular, and a big part of what held them down was their idiotic and nonsensical battle cry that “real men wear skirts.”
The Headbangers were supposed to be nonstop partying metalheads, or maybe punk rock fans, or industrial maybe? Jerry Lawler called them Marilyn Manson fans, and that seemed to be their only point of reference, so call it what you will. Point is, none of these subcultures are known for the men who celebrate them wearing skirts, and definitely not for inciting violence against men who wear pants. There was really no reason at all for The Headbangers to be wearing skirts, and they never made an effort to explain. Now that The Bangers are back in WWE, time can only tell if their nonconformist attitudes towards legwear will resume.
4 X-Pac: "Your A** Is Grass, And I'm Gonna Smoke It."
It has already been established that one of the worst things wrestlers can do is create a catchphrase that co-opts an expression that already exists in popular culture. Threatening that someone’s a** is grass, or that you’re about to smoke their a**, both feel like terms as old as fighting itself. X-Pac showed a serious lack of creativity in stealing this slogan and presenting it as his own during the Attitude Era, and that’s not even starting to criticize the maxim for what it means in the first place.
One can only assume X-Pac chose this phrase to accentuate the fact that he smoked marijuana, thus sounding cool. However, outside of that context, it sounds like he wants to smoke someone’s a**, which is weird. Even during the Attitude Era, WWE couldn’t make overt references to their wrestlers using illegal drugs, so the message behind this tagline was almost completely lost, in addition to it making X-Pac look lame for even saying it in the first place.
3 The Godfather: "Roll Up A Fatty For This Pimp Daddy, Light That B**** Up And Say: Pimpin' Ain't Easy!"
WWE couldn’t make any blatant references to their performers using illegal drugs, and yet here is WWE Hall of Famer The Godfather, telling fans he smokes weed and they should too, on an almost weekly basis during The Attitude Era. No part of this catchphrase would fly today, from the smoking to the casual use of the word b**** to the proud boast that pimping is a difficult and noble professional, but the truly amazing part is that the “fatty” portion of the line ever made it to air in the first place. Charles Wright, the man behind the gimmick, has gone on to explain that his belief was that he only got away with it because WWE execs didn’t know what the word meant, and honestly, that seems like a plausible explanation.
The Godfather took this gimmick and slogan all the way to the WWE Intercontinental Championship during his run with the company, and it isn’t too surprising that it got over. There were probably plenty of fans ready to follow The Godfather’s orders and blaze with their favorite wrestler. Think about it for just a few seconds, though, and you’ll realize that’s exactly why this was actually one of the most shocking entries on the list.
2 Kerwin White: "If It's Not White, It's Not Right."
The lines on this list have been bad and maybe even a little shocking, but this is the first one that is outright offensive in every way imaginable. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. wasn’t as charismatic as his legendary uncle, the late Eddie Guerrero, and Chavo never quite connected with fans the same way Eddie did as a result. Chavo still had plenty of talent in the ring, though, and thus WWE knew he was a valuable name to keep on the roster regardless of his microphone skills. Typically, in this case, the scenario then becomes for the WWE writers to find a character that helps the talented performer stand out and find a new type of charisma they were unaware they had, to varying results.
In Chavo’s case, the writers created the character Kerwin White, a man disgusted with his own Latin heritage, who thus masquerades as a Caucasian to hide his true self. Chavo dyed his hair, wore fancy clothing, and traveled in a golf cart in order to appear “whiter,” and began saying this atrociously racist slogan to sell how dastardly he was being. It didn’t take long before even Vince and company realized they couldn’t have a wrestler saying this, and the motto was slightly altered to “If it’s not Kerwin White, it’s not right,” but the damage had already been done, and fans will never forget the few weeks actual racism was considered a "hilarious" gimmick. Bonus points for stealing from pop culture, too, as this line was no doubt long familiar with fans of comedian Chris Rock.
1 "Stone Cold" Steve Austin: "What?"
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin is the most popular WWE superstar of all time. He made more money for Vince McMahon in less time than any other performer in history. Austin is also responsible for more catchphrases, more t-shirts, more memorable moments, and even louder crowd chants. He is also the source of perhaps the singular most annoying catchphrase in the history of the wrestling business, and such is Austin’s power that the maxim is a mere four letters long: What?
Austin retired more than a full decade ago, and the “What?” chants persist almost every time a heel picks up a microphone. At first, the term was used by Austin to insult Hugh Morrus, and before that, in a possibly drunken voicemail, he sent to Christian. It wasn’t long before virtually every single segment in WWE was overtaken by fans trolling the show, much to the annoyance of WWE superstars. The chants died down over the years, but they still crop up every now and again when the right crowd is bored enough by the wrong promo. More than any other on the list, we’re certain Vince McMahon and the WWE universe in general, wishes this one would go away for good. That said, we’re also pretty sure how most WWE fans would respond to such a request. What?