I was recently watching an episode of WWE Tough Enough.
The judges – Hulk Hogan, Daniel Bryan and Paige – were hammering the importance of promos down the gullets of the contestants.
And its importance cannot be stressed enough.
In the wrestling business, its all about promos.
You can be the world’s greatest athlete or the most muscular or the most powerful, if you can’t cut a decent promo, you are doomed.
Just look at Ken Shamrock, Bobby Lashley and Chris Benoit – amazingly talented performers who could not make it to regular main event status simply because of their lack of promo skills.
They aren’t the only ones – the whole history of wrestling is full of performers who lacked that little something and because of which remained a jobber or a mid carder.
Look at the current roster – people like Adam Rose, Fandango, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Neville, Cesaro etc are all excellent performers – none of them will ever be a top draw because none of them cut decent promos.
Everyone remembers the backlash after the last Royal Rumble – people the length and breath of the world booed Roman Reigns, not because they hate him or because he can’t perform in the ring – but because he can’t cut a single good promo to save the world.
So who cuts a good one?
Undoubtedly, the best promo man in the history of wrestling.
But keep him aside – he is a promo god.
There are 4 types of promos – the gimmicky ones, the uni-dimensional ones, the straight ones and the bloody awful ones.
I have already pointed out the bloody awful ones.
When it comes to the gimmicky ones, Undertaker was the best of all time. Mick Foley was great, so were Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, Raven, Eddie Guerrero, Scott Hall as Razor Ramon, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Macho Man Randy Savage. Amongst the current roster, we have Goldust – a legend when it comes to weird promos – Stardust and Bray Wyatt, who are all very good at this.
Then there are the uni-dimensional ones like John Cena and Randy Orton. They are both good but you know what’s coming – Cena will start off slow, make fun, engage the audience and then slowly build up to a crescendo and “I will kick your ass.”
Its the same shit for the last 10 years now.
Hulk Hogan was cut from the same cloth ‘brother’.
These guys are good at what they do, but its just that what they do is not that good – its a copy paste job ad infinitum.
And now we come to the best of the lot – the straight edge promo givers.
These guys can give excellent promos in their sleep.
And the all time best of these bunch – Chris Jericho, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Edge, The Rock and Shawn Michaels. When it comes to promos, these guys at the absolute pinnacle of their craft.
They don’t need a script, they don’t need rehearsals or directions or prompts.
Most importantly, they are equally effective as a a heel or a babyface.
Hell, I once saw an episode of Monday Night Raw where Chris Jericho kept an entire audience in thrall – despite not saying a single word.
So who are/wee the best when it comes to the straight promos?
We can all admit that Paul Heyman is the best there is ,the best there was and the best there ever will be.
But leaving him aside, among the legends, we have IMO
- Chris Jericho
- Rowdy Roddy Piper
- Shawn Michaels
- Ric Flair
- Dwayne the Rock Johnson
- CM Punk
- Dusty Rhodes
- Bobby the Brain Heenan
- Scott Hall
- Stone Cold Steve Austin
- Vince McMahon
- Kurt Angle
- Jimmy Hart
- Eddie Guerrero
- Road Dogg Jesse James
- Ted Dibiase
- Curt Hennig – Mr. Perfect
- Mick Foley
And among the new breed, the current crop, we have
- Kevin Owens
- Dean Ambrose
- Enzo Amore
- Seth Rollins
- Mike the Miz Mizanin
- Bray Wyatt
- Bubba Dudley
- Xavier Woods
- Big E
- John Cena
- Randy Orton
- Heath Slater
Kevin Owens is one of those legendary artists – the true successor of Chris Jericho.
That would make Dean Ambrose the successor of Rowdy Roddy Piper when it comes to great promos.
Then there is Enzo Amore, and you can’t teach that – how you doing?
Seth Rollins has the people eating out of her hands – be it as the leader of the Shield or as the number one heel in the business.
Special shout out to Stephanie McMahon, the epitome of the power of perseverance. Just check out her promos from about 15 years ago to the ones she gives nowadays. There is a heaven and hell difference.
She is one of those gifts of nature who not only keeps on becoming more and more beautiful with age but also keeps on becoming better and better as a performer.
Now if only someone can stop Roman Reigns from opening his mouth, it would be awesome.