In professional wrestling, there are 2 main components each wrestler must possess to become a star. These components are athleticism and charisma. Some performers utilize their evil side when trying to portray a heel or villain, while some use their softer side to be the lovable babyface or hero. The biggest make-or-break factor in the industry is one’s ability to captivate the audience on a weekly basis as this ability is still centered around the entertainment aspect. In this series, we will break down the overall five best talkers of each decade.
- Ric Flair
Woooooooooo! That is the first thing people think when they hear the name, Ric Flair, and sometimes wrestling in general. Flair is arguably the greatest to ever speak into a microphone in the history of professional wrestling. Flair could cut a legendary promo in his sleep. The “limousine ridin’, jet flyin’, son of a gun” was the most outspoken and polarizing figure of the 1980’s (and even through today) and it’s because everything he said, he did. Every city he really did “spend more money, on spilled liquor, on one side of the world to the other” than everybody else made. Flair really was/is “The Man”. He was stylin’ and profilin’ everywhere he went. There’s not much more about the GOAT that I can say that most people don’t already know. There really is nobody else like the “Nature Boy”, WOOOOOO!
- “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Debatably the greatest (or second greatest depending on who you ask) career heel and talker of all-time, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, was not the man to mess with. Aside from the fact he would give you a good pop to the mouth after all was said and done, Piper also drew some of the best reactions from crowds around the world. The host of the legendary, “Piper’s Pit”, Piper would insult every one of his beloved guests. In fact, the “Hot Rod” was such a great talker, he became an actor while performing. And anybody who loved Piper knew he was there to “chew bubblegum and kick some ass”. Unfortunately, he never seemed to have bubblegum. Ultimately, the late, great “Rowdy” Roddy Piper will go down as one of the greatest career heels and talkers of all-time.
- Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Ahhh, the late and legendary, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, is one of the greatest talkers to never be a full-time, in-ring performer to ever speak on a microphone. Heenan is one of the greatest examples of a manager and even commentator in the history of professional wrestling. The combination of “The Brain” and Gorilla Monsoon is still one of the most iconic commentating teams ever. Their hilarious and weekly banter and bickering is some of the best wrestling commentary one could find. One of the most infamous scenes is Shawn Michaels breaking up and super-kicking Marty Jannetty through the window of “The Barber Shop” is as famous as it is because of the back-and-forth bickering of Heenan and Monsoon. Overall, Heenan was the model for heel managers you see today like Paul Heyman.
- The Iron Sheik
Possibly the greatest non-North American talker and performer in history, nobody drew heat better then The Iron Sheik. While the wrestling industry was beginning to boom in the 1980’s, the USA found themselves in the midst of the Persian Gulf War. After turning long-time American hero, Sgt. Slaughter, heel and into an Iraqi sympathizer alongside Mustafa (Iron Sheik). The duo drew some of the most legitimate and powerful heat from the USA-loving fans. The two would bash America every chance they had and the crowd hated it! When he teamed up with the Russian, Nikolai Volkoff in the middle of the Cold War, the Sheik once said, “Iran number 1, Russia number 1, USA (followed by a simulated spitting act)” that made the American crowd’s skin crawl and made fans enraged. All in all, there is arguably no better non-North American talker and performer of all-time.
- Hulk Hogan
Now let me tell you something, brother! There is nobody interested in the wrestling world who doesn’t know “Hulkamania” and Hulk Hogan himself. Prior to the rise of “Hulkamania”, Hogan was first introduced to the entire world when he was casted and played the role of “Thunder Lips” in the 1982 film, Rocky III. Soon after this, Hogan broke out in the WWE and the rest is history. “Hulkamania” and the “Hulkamaniacs” took over the wrestling world and the entire world in all. Hogan’s 24-inch pythons were featured in the main event of WrestleMania eight different times, the last five being consecutive. As a babyface, Hogan is known for his loud, energetic and inspirational promos. However, as a heel in WCW when he formed the nWo, Hogan was the most ruthless heel in the business. He took over any promotion he was in (we won’t bash his ego in this) and even was so powerful, WCW gave him a right to creative refusal clause in which he actively used to his advantage. Hogan is cemented into the “Mount Rushmore of WWE” and will never be replaced by anybody. Hogan is very possibly the main factor of why the wrestling business, especially WWE, became an international product. So, WHATCHA GONNA DO, WHEN HULKAMANIA AND THE FIGURE FOUR BLOG RUNS WILD ON YOU?!