The reason why I could hardly care about IWC darlings like Cesaro or Dolph Ziggler is because, while they may be able to put on 5-star quality matches week in week out without fail, they’re unable to cut a promo even if their life depended on it.
As I have mentioned time and time again, what makes pro-wrestling truly a special art-form isn’t the wrestling itself (although that plays a huge role, duh), it's actually the storytelling. And to be able to tell great stories, you need to have the ability to cut a promo unlike any other. True masters of the craft could make you interested in their upcoming match without even throwing a single punch, what more taking a chair shot to the head.
From The Rock to Austin, from CM Punk to Mick Foley and everything in between, most of the greatest moments of wrestling, involves very little actual wrestling. It’s funny when you think about it. At one point, Hulk Hogan was the most entertaining pro-wrestling con and he merely had 3 moves in his arsenal.
Here are 15 truly great WWE promos.
15 CM Punk Pipe Bomb
CM Punk is a controversial figure. Some call him an egotistical maniac for his unreasonable demands. Some say he’s a psycho with anger issues.
CM Punk may be a lot of things, but he’s also the best in the world and undoubtedly my favourite WWE Superstar of this generation. Unreasonable demands? Hell, the WWE upper management should have got on their knees and worshipped him if that’s what was needed to keep him.
14 John Cena Goes Thuganomics Again
We often complain about Cena’s goofiness. He shows up, smiles, salutes, says some cheesy bullsh*t and leaves. BORING! But there’s no denying that when John Cena brings his A-Game, he’s freaking amazing on the microphone. Now, when most people think, “best John Cena promo” they think of Cena from the Ruthless Aggression era. True, most of his promos during that period were amazing. His best though? Nah, I beg to differ. John Cena’s best work though, was that one time when he went full Dr. of Thuganomics on The Rock.
For the first time in a long time, John Cena didn’t have a smile on his face and he didn’t spew cheesy nonsense. John Cena kept it real. In fact, he kept it so real, he burst my nostalgia bubble, slapped my face and knocked my teeth out. “You left us hanging high and dry, to play a fairy with a tooth?”
13 Fruity Pebbles
Admittedly, this isn’t one of The Rock’s best promos. Be that as it may, this one is perhaps more memorable than any other. It was a cold sunny day, the sun was pouring heavily and the rain was shinning bright. As usual, I was lying down on my couch, watching Monday Night Raw while contemplating why I still watch this watered down product when I could spend my time simultaneously watching reruns of the Attitude Era and Candice Michelle porno.
12 Paul Heyman On Brock Lesnar
A streak that nearly lasted a quarter of a century! The Undertaker. Nobody beats him at WrestleMania. That is until Brock Lesnar did it at WrestleMania 30. Brock Lesnar defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania isn’t just a big moment. It is the most shocking moment in WrestleMania history. When it happened, there was no chorus of boos or loud cheers, just silence. People didn’t know what to make of it. Did it actually happen? Was it a botch? No way! Wait. What? Nah! It’s been 2 years already, but the debate hasn’t ended. Should Undertaker have lost to Brock Lesnar? A story for another day, maybe.
11 Chris Jericho Debut
In WCW, Chris Jericho was treated like he’s the bastard child of Santino Marella and The Great Khali. Fine, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But for the amount of talent he had, he was a total nobody. Yeap, THE Chris Jericho, one of the most talented wrestlers in the world, was nothing but a pointless midcarder in WCW. It’s crazy when you think about it.
But screw it, it’s because he was a pointless midcarder there, he jumped ship to his dream company, WWE. But in the WWE Jericho had to prove himself. Sure, he had the rabid support of WWE’s hardcore fans, but would he be able to bring his A game when it mattered most?
10 The Rock Discusses HIAC Opponents
The second and definitely not the last time The Rock’s name appears on this list. In 2000, The Rock dropped one of his funniest promos ever (and that’s saying something) when he verbally bashed the living daylights out of his Hell in a Cell opponents.
9 Mankind And Jim Ross Interview
Till this day, this sends shivers down my spine. It’s surreal. Look guys, I’m not the kinda person that gets scared watching horror movies. I wish I did, but I don’t. But this. This scares me big time.
We all know Mick Foley is a bit of a psycho. Undertaker threw him off a cage, threw him through the cage, and then threw him on a pile of thumbtacks and he smiled. He freaking SMILED! He’s one of the most popular WWE Superstars of all time. And his interviews, as Mankind, with Jim Ross, really pushed him to the next level.
8 Hulk Hogan Joins NWO
Okay, fine, I’m cheating. This happened in WCW, not WWE. But since WWE bought over WCW, this still counts right? C’mon guys. Please?? Okay? Okay.
Everyone knows this story. Back in the day, Hulk Hogan used to be the cleanest babyface ever. You think John Cena is squeaky clean and cheesy as hell? Well, Hulk Hogan was worse. You think John Cena can’t wrestle? Hulk Hogan could literally do 3 moves – elbow drop, big boot, leg drop. If that doesn’t convince you then this sure will. One of Hulk Hogan’s famous catchphrases was “say your prayers and eat your vitamins.”
7 CM Punk On Jeff Hardy
CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy is arguably one of the greatest rivalries of this generation. It felt very real. Probably because it was very real. CM Punk is straight edge in real life – no drugs, no alcohol. Jeff Hardy, on the other hand, was notorious for doing exactly that. Put these two clash of personalities together in a wrestling storyline and you basically have JLo’s booty (in other words, GOLD).
This high octane feud lasted a few months, without bore, and included three World Heavyweight title changes. Throughout their feud, CM Punk dropped many great promos, but nothing beats the final nail in the coffin. After losing the cage match to Punk, Hardy had to leave the WWE. The next week on Smackdown, Hardy’s music hit. Only it wasn’t Hardy who showed up, but a dancing CM Punk dressed up as Jeff Hardy.
6 Paul Heyman Cons Chicago
This happened back in early 2014 when CM Punk’s sudden, saddening departure was fresh in everyone’s minds. What's more, it was in CM Punk’s rowdy hometown, Chicago. When Raw was held in Chicago back in March 2014, everyone was looking forward to one thing, CM Punk’s emphatic return. I mean at the time, CM Punk’s departure felt more like a work than anything else.
So when Raw kicked off with Punk’s music, the crowd went bananas. Crazy! This was probably the rowdiest the Chicago crowd has been, since CM Punk vs John Cena at Money in the Bank.
5 Bret Screwed Bret
The Montreal Screwjob! The incident where Vince McMahon manipulated Bret Hart, changing an agreed upon outcome of the match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Over the years, we’ve all been exposed to so much of information that we can sorta piece together the whole picture for ourselves. Vince McMahon didn’t actually screw Bret; it was indeed Bret who screwed Bret.
However, at that time, Vince’s action was deemed as extremely villainous. So villainous that it birthed the biggest heel in pro-wrestling history, Mr McMahon.
4 Paul Heyman On SmackDown People
Most of us know the iconic “If John Cena wins, we riot” sign from ECW One Night Stand. ECW One Night Stand still stands till this day, as one of the most memorable pay per views in recent memory, especially because of John Cena vs RVD.
3 Austin 3:16
They say, in the entertainment and arts industry, hard work alone doesn’t pay off. You also have to be at the right place, at the right time. Sometimes, you also have to be at the right place, at the right time and say the right things. Don’t believe me? Ask Stone Cold Steve Austin.
2 The Rock Slams Toronto
The Rock’s return to Raw was a surprising affair, considering that he was part of the Smackdown roster at that time. But come back he did. "Finally The Rock has come back to Toron...Toron...to run his mouth on all your candy asses." Honestly, The Rock is literally the only WWE Superstar to be able to say random bullshit and make it sound cool and funny. C’mon you dare say you wouldn’t wear a “Toron...Toron...to run his mouth on all your candy asses” T-shirt if it existed? The Rock’s promos are so awesome, that when he insults you, you cheer him on and agree!
The Rock: Hey Dash, you’re a dumba*s bi*ch!
Me: YEAHH!! ROCKY, ROCKY, ROCKY!!
1 Mick Foley And CM Punk
“Put one great promo guy on the microphone, he entertains. Put two great promo guys on the microphone in the same ring and the very fabric of reality is shaken.” – Me
Mick Foley motivating CM Punk to face John Cena at Hell in a Cell turned out to be the best promo of 2012 and one of the best in Foley’s career. Punk was doing all he can to avoid facing John Cena in Hell in a Cell as he wanted to prolong his title reign. He had dreams of surpassing Bruno Sammartino’s title reign of 2803 days. Insert Mick Foley!
Screaming, “Do you wanna be a statistic, or do you wanna be a legend,” Mick Foley talked about moments that define who we are as individuals. Foley was so good, by the end of it, I was ready to face John Cena inside the cell and I’m not even a wrestler.
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