A Tribute To Wrestling's Best Mic Workers
February 15, 2006 by Michael S.
Have you ever watched a wrestler cut a promo that sent chills down your spine it was so good" It is an ability that very few wrestlers showcase in the industry anymore, but their are a few people that have the art of the promo down to a "T". This is my article dedicated to those wrestlers who have "It". What is it you ask" "It" is the ability of a wrestler to cut a promo and take the audience into the palm of their hand. They are the people who can make you laugh your tail off or can cut a promo so serious that it make you think "Wow that was just awesome."
Rob Van Dam - Personally RVD is a man who is underrated as a promo person. WWE has turned him into some sort of burn out that can only say "cool" or "whatever". Not too long ago in a little federation known as ECW Rob Van Dam was a promo star. He was the outspoken, laid back man that the fans were paying their hard earned money to see. It is sad to see him ruined in WWE, because RVD can make you laugh or can show you his passion for what he does if you just give the chance. According to him now that he is back in WWE after his serious injury he is going to be the "Old" RVD the one that the ECW faithful love. A feel a battle of words coming on between Vince McMahon and Rob Van Dam in the near future of RAW
Steve Austin - I am not a huge fan of WWE's "Redneck", but I will say that he can cut a decent promo. Well at least he could when he was in ECW. For a short time ECW had a heel by the name of "Superstar" Steven Austin and he could cut a great promo for them. After coming off his recent firing from WCW Steve Austin was bitter and hate fill. ECW Mad Scientist Paul E. Heyman gave this man a microphone to air out his anger, and he did with most of it directed at one man Eric Bischoff. Austin would say just about anything to make WCW look like the wrestling "antichrist" and also show his love for the business at the same time. Austin's ECW Promo's were always thought provoking.
Chris Jericho - He is Y2J and he is a talker. Chris Jericho has proven that he can entertain people on the mic. He even had his own "Talk Show" at one point in time The Highlight Reel and it was one of RAW's most entertaining segments. Jericho is not the most serious guy in the world, but if you want a laugh he is one man that you can turn to. His promos are a comedic gold mine. He as the man that provided the RAW faithful with the whit and humor that we all craved after listening to some one like Eric Bischoff talk.
The Rock - I am not a fan of The Rock, but I have to say he is a good talker and the fans love him for it. Proof is the thousands and thousands of people who hang on this mans every word whenever he makes an appearance on WWE programming. He has "it" and has turned "it" into a mediocre film career.
Triple H - I have to say that Triple H is a great man on the mic. He is a true heel when it is given to him for long enough. He has a great deal of in ring psychology and that comes out all the more when he is given time to cut a live promo. He is RAW"s answer to a foil of John Cena. Cena is a wise cracking, snot nosed punk that apparently has some sort of street credit. Triple H is the straight laced, blue blooded, rich man whom has not had any sort of live on the streets other than what his servants tell him about. If most people were not really loving (or in some cases loving to hate) the current Triple H this would be a great time bring back the old Triple H who would wear a suit and tie out to the ring. Think of it Cena vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley the feud practically writes it self out to be a success.
Kurt Angle - He is our Olympic Hero, even if we do not like it. Kurt is a special talent when it comes to promos, because he can be either serious or he can bring you to tears in laughter. In his serious promos you all get a glimpse of his Three I"s ( Intensity, Integrity, and Intelligence ). His more funny promos are my personal favorites. I think that a funny Angle is more entertaining than a serious Angle, and I am sure most of you can agree with me on that.
Carlito - This guy is one word Cool. Carlito is a man that is set to be a huge superstar someday in WWE, and if his in ring talents were not enough, his mic work is nothing sort of excellent. Think of it this way. Carlito is supposed to be a heel ( bad guy ) right" Well he tends to get quite a few face pops when he is on the mic and why" Come on people who out there does not like a man with a nappy looking fro, a Caribbean accent, and a good sense of humor"
Christian Cage - Cage has been one of my favorite guys on the mic ever since he and Edge where teaming up giving us (with the benefit of flash photography) a three second pose every week. Since his jump over to TNA he has really got a fire lit under his rear and has somehow improved on his already excellent mic skills. He has given us some of the funniest moments in both TNA and WWE history in his short career. The people have been eating this guy up and his recent NWA World Title victory is only proof of his talents as a sports entertainer.
CM Punk - Yeah that"s right I am a mark for ROH. Ladies and gentlemen if you do not already know it CM Punk is straight edge. That means he is drug free, he is alcohol free, and oh yeah he is better than you. I first got a look at this hot young superstar in his now legendary ROH feud with fellow promo master Raven in 2003. This feud was taken to another level when on an ROH Show in Boston Punk cut a promo disrespecting Raven and his former addictions. What happened next was pure wrestling gold, a war of words that will not be forgotten in the hearts of ROH faithful for a long time to come. On the mic CM Punk displays the heart, the soul, and the knowledge of some who has been in this wrestling business for twice as long as he has. Heel or face it does not matter, because CM Punk can deliver on the mic either way. He was signed to a WWE developmental deal in 2005 and is in OVW right now wowing crowds with his work on the mi
Raven - The master of the mic. Raven is the man that people love to listen to. Paul Heyman turned this man who hardly ever spoke in WWF to a main event star and how" By giving him a chance to show what he could do when he opened his mouth. It is a known rumor that Raven is a very intelligent man and if you have ever heard him talk you can not doubt that this man is a genius. He is dark, he is disturbing, and that is just the way that we want him. A creative genius and a man that would no doubt be on a lot of peoples list as a true hall of famer.
Mick Foley - He is Dude Love, he is Cactus Jack, he is Mankind, and above all he is professional wrestling"s loveable nutcase Mick Foley. A man that so many people around this world love for his dedication to the business, he will risk life and limb to make you happy, and that is just the way you want it. The other thing about this man is his innate ability to show his love for the professional wrestling business through his work on the mic. Misused in WCW, he went to ECW and Paul let him loose on the mic. He turned the wrestling promo into an art form, and he was Vincent Van Gogh. He could string together of words that could have you laughing one minute and in tears the next. Foley is quite possibly the greatest mic man the business has seen.
by Michael S...
Steve Feds wrote:
There is no doubt in my mind that the amazing Ayatollah Y2J is at the top of that catagory though the one person that may be better than him wasn't even mentioned, that's right I'm talking about Eddie Guerrero his in ring talent was undeniable he was crisp he was a master of his craft but that may not be the only thing he's known for. His wacky antics and hilarious jokes on the mic and out of the ring will always put him just head and shoulders on top of all the other legends. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, just waiting for the next words to come out of his mouth. I would stop everything while watching a Guerrero promo I would try not to blink it was that good! So though your list does name some of the best I would definetely put Guerrero in there, because he had a serious side too he could talk about his addictions or his problems and no one would care that there wasn't a fight going on or that no one was getting a chair in the face they would all listen. So let's give it up for the man who could make us laugh and cry Eddie Guerrero
Hey! You left out the best one of them all! Road Warrior Hawk! End of story. ;)
I agree about Raven having good mic skills. I always liked him a lot
and I still do. I was mad when he lost at the ppv before against all
odds. I also liked Chris Jericho's mic skills but not at all in the
wwf/e. I think they killed his character. I loved hearing him in wcw.
One of my favorites was when he was fueding with Dean Malenko and he
said I am the man of 1004 holds and he he stood in the ring with a
list reading off holds and everyonther one was arm bar. Then they went
to a break and they came back and he was like number 635 the arm bar.
I got a rela good laugh out of that. I also liked his collum he wrote
in wcw maggazine but I think wwf/e killed his character he was not
nearly as funny there. One person you did not mention who I enjoyed
listening to was Scott Hall. While the nwo was fudeing he would go hey
yo, who came here to see wcw who came here to see wolf pack and who
came here to see black and white then he would go survey says one more
for the good guys. He also cut a good promo before his tag team match
with Ric agasint mr perfect and macho man when perfect turned face
(another one of my favs I think Curt was better as a heel then face
though)The nature boy Ric Flair also has very good mic skills. I
remember watching his wcw promos and counting how many times he would
wwwooooo each promo and seeing if he would wwwwoooo more then the
Al Fucsko wrote:
Carlito" And you left out Jake Roberts, Dusty Rhodes, Eddie Guerrero and Roddy Piper" OKAAAAAAAAY, maybe WATCH some wrestling before doing any tributes.
I agree with majority of your list definitely glad to see Raven on the list he is one of my all time favorites and I don't think he gets as much credit as he deserves but you leave out quite a few. First one being Shawn Michaels, sure his promos these days may not be entertaining but back when he was in DX he was absolutely hilarious. How about Rowdy Roddy Piper, to this day he can cut a promo and keep the fans entertained. and Last but certainly not last, The Nature Boy Ric Flair his promos are downright legendary
Joe Dixie wrote:
You forgot to include JBL. During his feud with guerrrero we saw some of the best mic work ever. I wanted to kill him every night. Especially at Judgment Day 04 when asked the crowd in Los Angeles to turn to an american for a translation of his speech because he would be doing it in english.
While I like the concept of this column and agree with all of your selections, my only problem is your biased of ECW and and dislike of the WWE. I'm as big of an ECW fan as the next guy, and although right now the WWE product is shitty ... How could you say that you don't like Stone Cold's WWE stuff but his ECW stuff was amazing" While in ECW, he was a very good mic worker - he simply always was - his stuff in ECW was not even close to being half as good as some of the legendary promos he's cut as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. In ECW, he was a much better wrestler, but there's a reason he became the megastar and legend in wrestling he is today ... It's because of the character he portrayed in the WWF, despite your apparent dislike of their current product. Here's something to support my point ... If Steve Austin had broken his neck or something of that sort and left ECW when he did, but not go to the WWF and disappear from pro wrestling, you would not have him on your list today. That's because it was when he got to the WWF when he really showed off his skills and became known as one of the greatest talkers - and one of the greatest wrestlers PERIOD of all time ... ... period.
The same goes for Mick Foley. It was Vince McMahon who truly let him loose on the mic and allowed him to become known as one of the greatest speakers in pro wrestling history. Hence why you instinctively call him Mick Foley, rather than Cactus Jack.
The Neck Break Kid wrote:
Although I think that people like the Rock and Austin where utterly fantastic just to listen to but they were good wrestlers also. It seems like you can make it by just being an actor like John Cena, Carlito ,Mr Kennedy...Kennedy and The Boogey man although I admit I do like some of these guys but that's why TNA is much better because they have good wrestlers. I know that with a lot of the old school wrestlers this was everything for them but not anymore and wrestlers who can do both are rare like Randy Orton who wasn't mentioned above.
Chris Pugsley wrote:
I think you got a great list going but I think that even for the short time we have seen him in the WWE Ken Kennedy should have made this list. His pompous and arrogant ways on the mic are blasted in your face every time he is on the mic and his smooth talking and letting the words roll is hard to overlook.
This was an interesting column, which had some very good points. however, to my disbelief, you did not include Ric Flair. I could hardly believe my eyes as I scrolled the pages down and found out that you hadnt wrote a piece about Ric flair. The natureboy revolutionized the way wrestlers used the mic as a weapon to manipulate people. He also cut some of the greatest promos ever commited to celluoid. When Ric flair spoke, the fans listened, in fact, even to this day he can still keep the fans on the edge of their seat in excitement as to what words he will next utter. As a wrestling fan, I can find nothing better than seeing the Natureboy let rip on the mic! The mic skills of Ric Flair have inspired countless wrestlers from The Rock through to Carlito, so please acknowledge the natureboy as a great performer on the mic, because im sure im not the only person who feels this way!
Vallery Ward wrote:
what in the world is wrong with you" how could you make this list without Rowdy Roddy Piper" Or paul Orndorff" And what about Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, Jesse Ventura, "Superstar" Billy Graham, Scott Hall, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts" this list is crazy man. how in the world could you have triple h on this list" his mic skills are terrible. you really need to go back and re-evaluate this list and who you've got on it, because as it is, it's horrible
Brad Dykens wrote:
I was watching some ROH dvds today and I was reminded of this column. I had to come on here and throw Jim Cornette's name into this discussion because he is a genius on the microphone!
Joe Poulton wrote:
You missed out Randy "Macho Man" Savage oooohhhh yeeeeeeaaaahhhh!!!! Greatest on the mic ever
Triple Hs change of character is a great idea WWE take note
Jonothan Wine wrote:
This column is very interesting but being a fan of wrestling for a long time, there are a nmber of wrestlers that were left out. Many were mentioned through other replies to this subject. Shane Douglas first comes to my mind as a great talker. Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson were others. Others would include Austin Idol, Jim Cornette, Terry Funk and Michael Hayes. The best promo ever was with Ric Flair and Roddy Piper after he just beat Flair for the NWA US title (I think it was in 1980). Announcers David Crocket and Bob Caudle were standing there with mics.They traded verbal shots at each other which were both very entertaining and funny. If anyone has a chance to see it (I have a tape of it), you will know exactly what I mean. Flair said in an interview that he had to keep in his laughter during this promo. Flair was the best talker ever.
Douglas Nilson wrote:
I can't believe Triple H made the list. He hasn't made an interesting out-of-ring speech since he and DX invaded WCW back in 1998. Half of his heat is from the fact that the fans hate how boring and uninteresting he is and that he wastes so much time in WWE programs. Unless he's beating the crap out of someone backstage, he's useless out of the ring. Now that they keep shoving Maria in the ring every few RAWs, can I log a vote for her and her always funny interviews"
FJ Parlan wrote:
Alright. I agree with all of the names you've thrown in your article, but it is crystal clear that you miss out a lot of them. You mentioned Christian, but Edge is out. I also have to say John Cena too. The way you wrote this article shows us that you are quite bias to the WWE. I mean, The Rock is a super mega entertainer on the mic, but it seemed to me like you just put his name in there after you forgot. Triple H, so you "have to say" he's good at the mic" Man, he's so damn good in the mic. He and The Rock deserves more credit than that. How about Ric Flair" If it weren't for him these mic worker would not be here. Eddie Guerrero, the funniest guy ever, well maybe, on the mic, where is he in your list" Jake "the Snake" Roberts" JBL, when he speaks on the mic we definitely hate him more and more, an indication of how good he is in the microphone. Shawn Michaels too is good at it.
You put some of the young 'uns like Carlitoand CM Punk in there but your title "A Tribute..." actually goes to show that the content will be about the legendary mic workers in the business. Well, among the young guns you can put Cena, Mr. Kennedy, and the likes.
Guys like "Superstar" Billy Graham, Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper (who, in my opinion, along with Mic Foley, the greatest mic workers ever), and probably Gorgeous George and the likes are those whom a "Tribute" should be made.
Mike Adams wrote:
I would like to add a few guys to your list, since its not quite fair to
name a list like this while overlooking some of the best at cutting promos
in the biz(the managers.)
1. Ric Flair: to do a list and not mention Ric Flair(one of the greatest mic
men of all time) makes the list not credible. Opinions aside, you can't
leave out the Nature Boy. Now that is cleared up.
2. Jim Cornette: The man can talk the legs off of a donkey, end of story.
3. Bobby Heenan: In his day in the WWF, Heenan was simply the best at
getting you to hate his wrestlers by speaking for them. Think of some of
the great heals of WWF/E's past and there is a chance that they were managed
or at least associated in some way with Heenan. Andre, Rick Rude, Mr
Perfect, Orndorf all were helped by Heenans special ability to make you hate
anyone associated with him.
4. Paul Heyman: He showed his ability in ECW and in WWE. He's loud,
obnoxious, egotistical and an abject coward whats not to like"
5. Freddie Blassie: He was so good he created a catch phrase that
transcended wrestling to pop culture "Pencil neck geek."
Some guys I would disagree with--
Ultimate Warrior: I wouldn't consider him one of the greatest talkers. He
cut a few decent promo's but more than not he rambled on incoherently
talking about Hulk Hogan crashing planes into the Silverdome, snorting,
yelling and making no sense and saying Ultimate.
RVD: Van Dam cut better promo's in ECW than he has in WWE, but thats because
many of his style of gritty promo's wouldn't fly in WWE on National
Television. Van Dam shouldn't be on a list of the top mic men in wrestling
if you want it to be realistic.
Trips: Sometimes Tripple H can cut a good promo when he is focussed, but
they just don't happen that often. More than not his promo's tend to lose
steam which leaves him droning on and on for what seems likes hours and puts
the crowd to sleep,or make them wish he would just shut up.
I think you answered your question in your own article. Sting was the equivalent of the Undertaker in that he didn't really need the belt to be over. But now that you mention it, he is a former 9-time World Champion: 1 NWA, 6 WCW and I always count those 2 WCW International World titles. Come on, if the WWE has 2 champs now, why couldn't WCW at that time. All the guys that held that International title were championship material guys: Flair, Rude, Sting and Vader. In being such a multiple time world champ, I think he was also very similar to the Rock because like you stated the reigns were all pretty short. Most face runs in the 90s and early this decade are very short though. Most of Austin's runs were pretty short. Actually his longest run I think is when he was a heel, when he aligned himself with McMahon at the 2001 Mania. It was always more interesting when the faces were chasing the heel champions like Sting did with both Flair and Hogan. His actually chase of those two during all those years is what truly made him over with the fans. The WWE needs to look back and do this now with Cena (or should have done already) as most fans would rather see him chasing the title than being champion for such a lengthy time. I, like you, was really disappointed when Sting dropped his NWA title back to Flair in early 91 but when you think about it, he did have a decent 6 month reign. His feuds just stunk because of the bad writing and WCW really didn't build up any new heels to the main event spot, instead just relying on Flair - who was also a booker for awhile himself.
Simeon Hubbard wrote:
Well let me just say this: I've been a fan of WCW b/c it was family oriented and WWE started becoming more trash w/all their outrageous behavior, but I agree, Sting will always be known as the man who never sold out to Vince McMahon, even now choosing TNA over the WWE and yes, he is without a doubt a legend an icon, and a fan favorite.
STING WAS WCW and he has never left the company and went to the WWE (formerly known as the WWF) and came back, Ric Flair left when it changed to WCW, he went to the WWE and came back to WCW, but not STING, STING has been Da Man when it came to WCW and he's one of my favorite wrestlers and STILL is to this present day, I mean STING isn't the only one that has been misused in WCW, so has other people like Chris Benoit, the late Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam, and even Rey Mysterio, as well as The Macho Man Randy Savage, WCW Management has been poor b/c of 3 reasons, Guaranteed Money, Having Creative Control over their own characters, and ever since 2000 they have had bad bookings and matches, WWE is the same way and STILL is, I mean WCW wanted to focus on people like Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash, they even wanted to use Bret Hart, but then they wasted their money on him as well.
WCW had some great matches, yet STING has not been getting too many World Title Shots, I mean it had to take STING 3 years just to get back the World Heavyweight Championship, but he was a great United States Heavyweight Champion, yet in 1996 he had to job to The Giant @ Slamboree 1996 b/c they wanted to focus on another Hogan/Giant Feud, also in 2000 when Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff took charge @ writing, STING has never held another title (any title), Russo and Bischoff has handed the belt to Jeff Jarrett, hired an annoying announcer named Mark Madden, and not to mention, disgracing Miss Elizabeth as well as having some of the new Nitro Girls do all that degrading Cage Dancing during commercial breaks, WWE has gotten the same thing these days, I mean would rather push people like Triple H, JBL, John Cena, and Trish Stratus, yet they wanted to push people w/useless gimmicks like The Spirit Squad, Matt Striker, Trevor Murdoch, and even Candice Michelle.
Booker T. STING'S old buddy from WCW said that he feels that Sting was not getting his just due, and now that STING is in TNA, he's finally getting his just due, TNA is doing a whole lot better than what the WWE is doing right now, I mean you got the top talent, the TRUE professional wrestlers like Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, RVD, Lashley, Shelton Benjamin and even female professional wrestlers like Victoria, Lita, Jillian Hall, Mickie James, and Melina, yet WWE decides to waste these wrestlers talents by having them job to people that are made by Sports Entertainment and NOT their wrestling ability, I mean they call Triple H the King of Kings, they call Edge the Rated R Superstar, they call John Cena The Champ, they call JBL a Wrestling God, and they call Trish Stratus The Queen of Queens, and they call Candice Michelle Too Hot for TV, and those people IMO were made by Sports Entertainment and NOT their wrestling ability, TNA has TRUE wrestling, yet WWE wants to turn their wrestlers into actors, and that's not the way you do your business.
People like STING, A.J. Styles, Christian Cage, Konnan, and even females like Traci, Gail Kim, and Jackie Gayda are made by their wrestling ability as well as their fans, but WWE has misused their talents, I mean Shelton Banjamin becoming a Mama's Boy, Kurt Angle jobbing to John Cena, and even females like Lita jobbing to Maria and even becoming a trashy diva, Jillian becomes an image consultant, and Victoria always being accompanied by that no good Candice Michelle.
I would LOVE to see the TRUE talented guys and they TRUE talented females like Victoria, Jillian, and Lita come to TNA one day, so that TNA Management would give them a BIG push and judge them by their talents and not on their looks.
and the Bottom Line is this: STING will ALWAYS be the man that have NEVER sold out to Vince McMahon and I hope that TNA will be The New Facec of Professional Wrestling.
But I can guarantee you this: WCW may be gone, but TNA is here to stay and STING will always be a true icon.
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