It seems simple enough. You have a microphone in your hand; thus, you command the attention of the listener. We as fans have always gravitated to those whose oratory skills match their athletic abilities. Occasionally, the gift of gab will completely supersede the wrestler’s ring work (see: Miz, The). Other times, a wrestler’s gimmick impedes his/her ability to have great stick skills sway a crowd’s acceptance of their work (I’m looking at you, Bray Wyatt!). The following are moments in wrestling in which yours truly popped like Orville Reddenbacher.
Mick Foley Denounces ECW
As Cactus Jack began his promo from the bowels of the hallowed halls of the ECW Arena (later revealed to be play-by-play man Joey Styles’ basement), you can tell his mind is on more than just promoting an upcoming feud with a young Tommy Dreamer. While he remains true to his maniacal style of promo in the opening, reminiscing upon a previous death match with Terry Funk, Mick Foley finally lets the viewers past his hardcore persona and into his soul. The fans of ECW had truly begun to call the shots in the company, in terms of brutality. Foley knew that his time in ECW would be short, as buddy Jim Ross was now in Vince McMahon’s ear to sign him to WWF. What better way to exit a hardcore existence than as a traitor to hardcore? Cactus eventually name-drops the antithesis of ECW, his former employer Eric Bischoff, and his intentions to sign Dreamer to a WCW contract as a verbal middle finger to the bloodthirsty degenerates plaguing the Philadelphia bingo hall. To this day, the words, “Cane Dewey!” evoke both the passion and cruelty of the followers of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
The End Of Hulkamania
The scene was set at the 1996 WCW Bash At The Beach. As the WWF “outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were laying waste to the babyface contingent of Lex Luger, Sting, and Randy Savage in the main event, the crowd began crying for the return of Hulk Hogan to save the day. Hogan emerged from the back, and marched down the sandy walkway with his Hulkamania blood boiling. His longtime running buddy Savage lay prone in the ring. Surely, Hogan would annihilate Hall & Nash (and whoever their mystery partner would be), right? Hogan couldn’t betray the company he just signed with less than two years ago! As the Outsiders looked on in fear, Hogan proceeded to do just that, landing an Atomic Legdrop on Macho Man and pinning him to win the match for the heels. Never a wordsmith on the microphone, Hogan began to dodge flying garbage while lambasting owner Ted Turner for lack of character development (which is hilarious, as the Hulkster had Creative Control over his matches) and outside ventures for his brand. As he disparaged young Hulkamaniacs for following his mantra of saying prayers and taking vitamins, he announced that Nash & Hall would become the New World Order of wrestling, brother!
You Will Never Forget The Name Of… Seven?
For readers of my previous masterpieces, you two will recall the affinity I have for the quickly scrapped WCW gimmick “Seven.” You see, Dustin Rhodes was going through some… well… hard times as Goldust and The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust up north in WWF. Never one to let an opportunity to nip at Vince McMahon’s heels slip through their fingers, Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo quickly signed the woefully out of shape son of Dusty Rhodes to spit a venomous promo towards his former employers. Vignettes were shot, an elaborate entrance was designed, and… the Russo & Bischoff collaborative known as The Powers That Be fired Dusty in a cost-cutting measure. Instead of merely focussing his anger upon WWF, Dustin turned his vengeance towards his new employers. While his feud with management would be quickly forgotten (much like everything else in WCW at this time), this promo will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Millennium Man Arrives!
Since the moment I saw him putting on classics in ECW as Lionheart Chris Jericho, I have been an unabashed Jerichoholic. His mic and ring skills were welcome reprieves from the onslaught of NWO, NWO Wolfpac, and even LWO time. From legendary work with cruiserweights to making a truck driver named Ralphus famous, there was nothing that the Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla couldn’t do in WCW. Except, sadly, break through the concrete ceiling fortified by president Eric Bischoff & Hogan. After brawling with Bill Goldberg backstage following Goldberg’s refusal to wrestle another cruiserweight, Jericho became the Y2J problem for WWF. His scathing, yet entertaining interruption of The Rock put the entire locker room (especially WWF champion The Big Show) on notice. In a mere eight minutes of no physical interaction, the wrestling world would never… evvvvvver be the same a-gain!
The Definition Of The Pipe Bomb Promo
Some people love CM Punk. Some people hate Phil Brooks. But one thing that no wrestling fan can ever doubt is Punk’s ability on the microphone. A lot of people have attacked John Cena in the ring by surprise, but none have worked such an oratory following the beatdown. Punk sat down upon the entrance ramp, admired his handiwork, and proceeded to tear apart part-timer main eventers at Wrestlemania, talk openly about his contract status, threaten to bring the WWE title back to Ring Of Honor, and mock the future operators of WWE. Perhaps the biggest result of this momentous promo is the effect it had on booking practices. Although Punk himself would not reap the benefits of non-bodybuilder wrestlers main eventing WM, it’s safe to say that folks like Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins owe their eventual pushes to a man sitting crossed-legged on a ramp and speaking from the heart.