- Shawn Michaels
When people hear the nicknames, HBK, Mr. WrestleMania or “The Show Stopper”, people immediately think of Shawn Michaels. Michaels earned these names through 40 years of memorable moments. But what some people sometimes overlook at first glance is HBK’s legendary ability to captivate an audience while simultaneously getting under his opponents skin. Along with his “D-Generation X” counterpart, Triple H, the duo wreaked havoc around the WWE Universe when the two revived the group in 2005. They tormented Vince McMahon and his clan by hijacking production trucks, refusing to give in to his system, and just being absolute goofballs. Even after the duo reunited again in 2009, HBK was still making audiences laugh for a few more years after. HBK’s legacy as one of the GOATs (Greatest of All-Time) was cemented during his vengeful rivalry with Ric Flair. What ultimately was Flair’s last singles rivalry turned into a classic story. The two legendary heels (bad guys) and arguably two greatest performers had to go up against each other but HBK was placed in the position of “executioner”. Michaels was the one who had to put Flair into retirement and just like he promised, he put Flair “out of his misery like Old Yeller”. After their tense words were exchanged and their classic match was nearing its end, viewers saw Michaels tell Flair, “I love you” before hitting his finisher, “Sweet Chin Music”, and ending Flair’s in-ring, WWE career. Michaels’ ability to turn anything (literally anything!) into a legendary promo or moment is the reason he is on this list. And if you’re not down with that he’s got two words for ya…
- Triple H
D-Generation-X, Evolution, and The Authority. These three stables (groups) were all led by Triple H for one reason (besides his accolades and in-ring performance), he is one of the best the best talkers in the history of professional wrestling. Triple H led the “WCW Invasion” leading DX to WCW’s, Monday Nitro, and going face-to-face with WWE’s then-rival. Triple H could twist words and mentally attack his opposition in the ring and on the mic, which earned him the nickname, the “Cerebral Assassin”. Helmsley has gone to his opponents homes, blown up limousines and even assisted Shawn Michaels in hijacking Monday Night Raw’s production truck to mess with Vince McMahon. Triple H is not just one of the most comedic talkers but also one of the most vicious as he has gone to the lengths to accuse Kane of being a murderer and necrophilia. The Game has delivered some of the greatest storytelling a professional wrestler can. Triple H has had numerous wars of words with his best of friends and the worst enemies. Triple H’s ability to captivate the “thousands in attendance and the millions watching around the world” at any moment is the reason why he is belongs on this list or because he’s “that damn good!”
- The Rock
From being the leader of the “Nation of Domination” to being the “Brahma Bull” he is today, The Rock has never been afraid of the spotlight. The Rock was born into a wrestling family and culture and his background really proved to be influential as he excelled in the sports entertainment industry almost instantly. The Rock was spitting fire like a dragon everytime he grabbed a microphone. Whether it was insulting Michael Cole or honestly anybody in his line of sight or signing a “meaningful” song to one of his opponents. All it took for him to cut a great promo was to just open his mouth. Whether asking people if they can smell what he’s cooking or letting fans know he has returned to their city. His excess of arrogance proved to be the greatest part of his speaking abilities and he is the only man in WWE history to refer to himself in the first person. But the “Rocky difference” is that for some reason we as fans didn’t really care when he did it. The Rock is such an influential person on the mic, he has been brought as a guest on WWE reality show, “Tough Enough”, to help trainees learn the ropes of cutting a promo. Overall, The Rock has very possibly hilariously insulted everybody in the world and I wish that was an exaggeration. To this day, The Rock never (and I really mean never) hides from the spotlight. Despite his ridiculous physical ability, The Rock could absolutely hang with the ENTIRE WWE roster today when it comes to cutting a promo.
- Stone Cold Steve Austin
I feel this one needs no explanation, granted the five guys on this list are five of the greatest performers ever, Stone Cold Steve Austin is the only one who needs no explanation. Stone Cold is responsible for some of the greatest moments in this history of Raw, WWE, and wrestling as a whole. He did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. He cut a promo in front of a bridge and then decided to throw the Intercontinental Championship over a bridge. A BRIDGE! Stone Cold is responsible for the chant that may get under performers’ skin the most, the one-worded insult of, “What?”. Stone Cold was so captivating, he renamed a Bible verse after himself in his “Austin 3:16” promo as he verbally abused the “then-born-again Christian”, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, after Austin defeated and then mocked Roberts during the 1996 King of the Ring event. “Austin 3:16” eventually became one of the most popular catchphrases in wrestling history and subsequently the phrase became one of the best-selling t-shirts in WWE history. Honestly, I can write a full article about Stone Cold promos but I feel that if you are reading this, you can understand the greatness of Stone Cold’s ability to talk and get into his opponents’ heads.
- The Undertaker
When you are in a WWE ring, you are technically never safe. All it takes is the lights to cut out for about seven seconds before you realize what just happened. The reaper, The Undertaker, has just appeared. ‘Taker is responsible for delivering some of the most frightening promos and segments in the history of WWE. In 1998, while he was recovering from a hip injury, The Deadman was unable to compete but was still leading his minions in his stable, The Ministry of Darkness. With help from his minions, ‘Taker would perform sacrifices on performers in the middle of the broadcast. The Undertaker is also the only man in the company who can send chills down your spine with one phrase, “Rest in Peace”. “Big Evil” is soul-ly (see what I did there?) the reason why keeping track of WrestleMania records for each superstar. I mean, the only way you weren’t shocked when Brock Lesnar beat The Undertaker to break his 21-0, undefeated streak, then you either aren’t a fan of wrestling or just because you have somehow never witnessed the essence that is, “The Phenom”. The Undertaker’s ability to captivate an audience no matter how old or young he was at the time, is the reason why he is on this list.