The 20 Greatest Talkers in Wrestling

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Hey everyone! It's The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37PM. This time around I'll be writing about my top 20 favorite talkers in professional wrestling. Professional Wrestling is the greatest form of art and athleticism. The art comes in the form of the stories they tell us. These stories may play out in the ring, but the build-up and monologues to promote the match are just as important. There are certain superstars and legends who just had the gift of gab. They were on a different level when it came to cutting promos. They were either able to draw you in, tell you a story or keep you captivated from start to finish and some of them were just so over the top that you just couldn't help but pay attention.

This IS NOT a list of the greatest talkers in the history of the business done with great research and evaluation. This is a list of the first 20 people whom I enjoy and pay attention to when they cut promos. For example, John Cena and Hulk Hogan would definitely be on the list of greatest talkers of all time, but they're not my favorite promos. I never felt like a Cena promo was must-watch TV and I don't go back to watch his promos over and over again. This is also a list of my favorite male speakers as I hope to do one separately for the women! Enjoy!

Honorable Mentions to Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Jim Cornette, Jimmy Hart, Eric Bischoff, Scott Steiner, Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Mr. Perfect, Ted Dibiase, Edge, Randy Orton, Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Jerry Lawler, Sami Zayn, Kurt Angle, Daniel Bryan, and Eddie Kingston.

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20. MJF

MJF may be newer to the scene, but he's definitely mastered the art of cutting a memorable promo. The young 25-year-old self-proclaimed prodigy never holds back and doesn't care who he is disrespecting when he's on that mic. He'll cross all and any lines which makes his promos must-watch TV. Max is entitled but can honestly back up his words in the ring which makes it even more annoying. Whether it's in the ring, backstage, or doing media, MJF is unpredictable, but one thing for sure is that you know that he's better than you and you don't forget it.

19. Mick Foley

Mick Foley portrayed three different characters in the WWE in one year, cutting three different styles of promos. If that doesn't tell you that Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy knew how to talk then I don't know how else to convince you. Whether he was portraying Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love, or just as Mick Foley himself, he knew how to grab your attention and get into that specific character. The crazy part was that some of his best work was done before he even entered the WWE. There are some classic ECW promos, such as the "Cane Dewey" promo, which is a must-see if you have never seen it.

18. Jon Moxley

When Jon Moxley talks it feels like you're listening to Jon. The character is not far off from the man. When he was Dean Ambrose, I always enjoyed his promos because he understood his character. He knew how to play up being the lunatic in the Shield and kept it up even when he was on his solo run. However, the Moxley in AEW reminds me of the promos I would see online of Jon before his WWE run from the independents where he had this unique delivery, but it was authentic. He broke the news to the world that his wife Renee Paquette was pregnant in one of his more recent promos like he was just talking to his friends.

17. Cody Rhodes

It may be in his genetics, but if Cody got anything from his father it was the gift of gab and that familiar lisp. Cody Rhodes was young and learning when he was in the WWE, but still a solid promo. He showed his versatility when he adapted to the Stardust character while teaming with his brother Goldust. It wasn't until he left the WWE that he really found himself and his voice as Cody Rhodes that Cody became the American Nightmare and his promos became more authentic. Nowadays it's hard to figure out what Cody really believes and what is fiction for the angle in his promos, which can sometimes lead to online ridicule or judgment. Regardless of when Cody Rhodes talks, we listen.

16. Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins has a really distinctive voice. I feel like that is part of the reason his promos resonate so well. Seth also can back up the claims he makes, which makes what he's saying even more important every time he speaks. Although Rollins is really good at firing up the fans and getting them behind him as a good guy, he always cuts the best promos as a bad guy. Recently he has shown us his range adopting new personas as the Monday Night Messiah and the Visionary. However, nothing will ever beat that 2015 slimy heel run of Rollins and that unforgettable evil laugh.

15. Kevin Owens

I think the trend you're hearing a lot in the first half of this list is that I love promos that sound authentic. In the modern era of WWE where most promos are scripted from top to bottom, it's truly an art when a superstar can still deliver the promo in their own voice. A lot of this has to do with knowing your character and how they would express things in their voice. I have never heard a KO promo where it didn't sound like he meant what he was saying. Kevin Owens has never been far off from who Kevin Steen was on the independents, which isn't far off from who he is in real life, which really made the delivery of all of his promos seem natural.

14. Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon knows his audience and he knew how to get them in the palm of his hand to narrate their reactions. He was the boss of the company and the one to blame for all the times the fan favorites got screwed over. It was easy to hate the boss with all the power to do what he wanted. Mr. McMahon embraced this hate and would rip into the fans, even more, capitalizing on this natural heat. Vince McMahon would insult his own audience that put money in his pocket, he would make a fool of himself on a regular basis and he would embarrass his family with his actions too. McMahon never held back and would have the fans chanting "asshole" in unison sometimes so loud that he couldn't get a word in.

13. Jake "The Snake" Roberts

In an era where screaming and yelling were the norm for a wrestling promo, Jake "The Snake" Roberts spoke softly and to your soul. Roberts would deliver his promo slowly and he would look directly into the camera to make it seem as if he was looking into your eyes. It was a chilling experience and he spoke with credence. Jake would end some of his promos by saying "trust me," but everyone knew you could never truly trust a snake. If you go back and look at the promos of some of the biggest stars of the '80s, nobody cut a promo the way Jake Roberts did.

12. Triple H

When Hunter Hearst Helmsley showed up on the scene with his "blue blood" gimmick, it was evident that he was a decent talker. He would become known as Triple H when he would align himself with Shawn Michaels forming DX and he would become so much more comfortable on the mic. When HBK left, he took over the role as the leader of the group and eventually ventured into a singles career, dubbing himself The Game. From there on it became the norm for Triple H to open a show or at some point have time during the show to cut a 10-20 minute promo. Although all of them weren't the best, there were some great promos over the years. You cannot deny that Triple H could talk.

11. Dusty Rhodes

Americannnnn Dreeaaam! Dusty Rhodes was a master of the mic. Rhodes was the common man and the son of the plumber. He was someone wrestling fans felt like they could relate to. Rhodes didn't have the bodybuilder physique, he dressed like the people, he talked like the people and he created a backstory of humble beginnings that the American people could resonate with. Rhodes was also the polar opposite of rich stuck-up superstars like Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen who were some of his main enemies. If you have never seen this "Hard Times'' Dusty Rhodes promo, can you really say you're a wrestling fan?

10. Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho has been one of the most entertaining superstars on the mic since the 90s. Jericho always made the most out of the time he was given to cut promos before and after his matches in WCW. From the conspiracy theories promos to the list of 1004 holds, his promos were hilarious. The thing about "Y2J" is that he is always evolving as a character to keep things fresh. He even had his own talk show in "The Highlight Reel" in the WWE. Whether he was dissing Stephanie McMahon or going one-on-one on the mic with The Rock to being a suit-wearing egotistical man who called out the hypocrisy of the fans, you listened when he talked. In recent years, he entertained us with his "List of Jericho" and being "Le Champion" in AEW, but the point is that Chris Jericho always knocks it out of the park. He's the absolute entertainer.

9. The Miz

The Miz may not be everyone's favorite wrestler and he may not have had a ton of five-star matches, but he has been able to talk since day one. Initially, I found The Miz to be annoying. But then over the years, the more I began to respect him, the more he would grow on me. Although The Miz could always talk, he became better and more confident at it over the years. It got to a point that even though we are supposed to hate him and everything he stands for, he would be speaking so much truth that you couldn't even argue what he would be saying. The Miz has also been privileged to have his own talk show segments in the WWE for years too in the "Dirt Sheet'' and "Miz TV."

8. CM Punk

CM Punk is one of my favorite talkers and it goes back to his promos I would see when he was still wrestling for Ring of Honor. Punk is straight edge, meaning he doesn't drink and doesn't do drugs. This showcases just how strongly he stands with his values and beliefs. When he cuts promos, there is a level of conviction he has that everything feels real and like a shoot. It's as if Phil Brooks the real person and CM Punk aren't even that different at all. He knows how to get the people against him just as well as he is at being the voice of the voiceless with the people behind him. CM Punk on the microphone is dangerous. It took one pipe bomb to shake up the world of professional wrestling.

7. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

It took one promo at the King of the Ring 1996 to change the course of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's career. Nobody thought that when he made the "Austin 3:16" comment after winning the tournament, it would take off the way it did. Austin would go on to cut some of the most memorable promos in the years that followed, being the face of the Attitude Era. He was a badass rebel that the fans could relate to and said whatever was on his mind. Austin said and did the things people wish they could in their real lives. Phrases we still hear till today like "that's the bottom line" and the infamous "What?" chants were popularized by Austin. During his time in ECW, Austin did some of his best mic work because he expressed his frustrations with the business directly from the heart, although he hit an entirely new level in the WWE.

6. Paul Heyman

Hello, his name is Paul Heyman. He has been cutting some of the best promos for himself and his clients for nearly 30 years. Starting back in the AWA he had the gift of gab. He even had his own stable in WCW in the Dangerous Alliance where he was the spokesperson for a plethora of legends. Paul Heyman would go on to become one of the founders of Extreme Championship Wrestling where he would really find himself as a promoter on the mic. I always found his run on commentary with Jim Ross to be underrated in the early 2000s. Heyman would later become the advocate for the likes of Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, and more recently the "Tribal Chief" Roman Reigns, when he sometimes would assist them on their promos or talk on their behalf. If a superstar aligned themselves with the Evil Genius, it was like joining the dark side.

5. Bobby Heenan

I don't know if there has been anyone else in the business as quick with a funny response or with a witty comment as Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Heenan originally broke into the business as a professional wrestler and as a manager in the AWA—although he is more remembered for his time as a manager. Bobby would manage a handful of different superstars at a time and under his tutelage, they would be called the "Heenan Family." Heenan was a big part of the 1980s managing two of Hulk Hogan's early Wrestlemania opponents, doing the talking for them. Similar to Heyman, if you align yourself with Heenan it was like joining the dark side. Later in his career, he would become more of a personality and commentator for the shows. Every segment, match, or show where Heenan is on commentary was instantly elevated. He was truly one of a kind and one of the best pure trash talkers in the business.

4. "Macho Man" Randy Savage

Oooooh yeahhhhhh! The "Macho Man" Randy Savage was one of the biggest stars in the 80s and 90s. Savage's larger-than-life personality, unique raspy voice, and colorful attires made him stand out. The association with Slim Jim made him a pop culture icon. Every wrestling fanatic over a certain age has a favorite Randy Savage promo. It might have been the "cup of coffee in the big time" promo or one of the gems from the times he appeared on shows like Tuesday Night Titans but they all have one. Regardless, any time Randy Savage appeared on TV, he was always in character. He said things that would catch you off guard and were hilarious but could also be serious and intense when necessary. To this day he has to be one of the most imitated wrestlers, but never duplicated.

3. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper

I remember more Roddy Piper promos than I do matches. When he was brought into the WWE, he was brought in as a wrestler and a manager. Roddy might not have had the physique that many of the stars of the 1980s did, but he definitely knew how to draw heat and get the fans riled up with his words. It was his trash-talking and anti-establishment antics that helped kick off the "Rock N' Wrestling" partnership, which eventually led to the first Wrestlemania. Hot Rod was the host of the first popular wrestling talk show on television with Piper's Pit, which also helped back up his ability to talk. It was the show which all wrestling talk shows would be compared to or try to emulate in the future. When Roddy Piper talked, the people listened, because you really had no idea what he was going to say but you knew you didn't want to miss it.

2. The Rock

Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest Hollywood stars in the world today. However, he found his confidence in the squared circle before taking over the silver screen. When Rocky Maivia first showed up on the scene as the third-generation blue-chip wrestler, he already appeared to be comfortable on the microphone. It was not until he embraced the fans' "Rocky Sucks" chants and turned heel by joining the Nation of Domination that we got the arrogant Rock who would refer to himself in the third person. As time went on, The Rock's hilarious catchphrases and insults made him more popular with the fans. Catchphrases such as "If you smell what the Rock is cooking?" and "Shut your mouth and know your role" are still iconic today. Smackdown was named after the Rock's phrase about laying the smackdown on his opponents. There are so many popular one-liners and Rock promos available online. It got to the point that even when he was a bad guy again, it was hard to not be entertained by his segments. He truly lived up to being the "Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment."

1. Ric Flair

"The Nature Boy" Ric Flair was the stylin', profilin', limousine riding,  jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a gun. The Dirtiest Player in the Game is still known for his unforgettable promos in 2021. Flair carried himself like a millionaire and lived the life of a World Champion. He would cut promos talking about all of his parties, the women he had and the celebrities he hung around, but the crazy part was that none of it was a lie. Flair lived the life he portrayed and spoke about on television and it led to some of the most entertaining interview segments on television. Ric Flair had the gift of gab, but he was also super energetic with it. It didn't matter if that meant stripping down to his boxers, dropping elbows on his jackets, throwing his expensive shoes in the crowd, or busting himself open. He was going to get his point across by any means necessary. 99% of the time he would end his promos with a WOO to sign off, but it was an experience every time.

I hope you all enjoyed this list of MY favorite male talkers in professional wrestling. Tell me if you disagree and let me know what you think over social media. Ya dig? Oooh Yeah!

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