- Kurt Angle
Nowadays in the WWE, we’ve become used to seeing Kurt Angle perform as kind of a nostalgia act. He embraces the “You Suck!” chants he once infamously despised, and it seems all we talk about no matter what is his “Broken. Freaking. Neck!”. However, in the 2000’s, Kurt Angle was in his prime and killing it every single night. Kurt was doing milk showers and rap battles and just toying with his opposition. Kurt could either be the baddest heel in the industry or the most captivating face in the business. The “Gold Medalist” had a rivalry with the “Beast Incarnate”, Brock Lesnar, that became one of the greatest heavyweight rivalries in business at the time. The two had a bitter rivalry to see who was the true superpower in the WWE. The rivals’ classic match at WrestleMania XIX sits as one of the greatest main events in WrestleMania history. But Angle didn’t stop there when cementing a legacy. Although the two never had a WrestleMania moment, Angle’s rivalry with the then-”Doctor of Thuganomics”, John Cena, was a hilariously iconic one as every week it felt, Angle thought of a new way to get under the battle-rapping skin of John Cena. Through all of Angle’s years in WWE and the wrestling industry overall, the leader of Team Angle has always utilized his three I’s; “Intensity, Integrity and Intelligence” to create incredible wrestling content.
- Eddie Guerrero
Despite Latino Heat already having his own article on our site, we thought we had no choice but to include Eddie Guerrero on this list. Guerrero is responsible for some of the funniest WWE content in history. Eddie had some of the highest highs and lowest lows in WWE history. Some of his classic moments include stealing JBL’s limousine tires or embracing best friend, Chris Benoit, in the middle of the ring after Benoit won the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XX. Or honestly, any time he lied, cheated, and/or stole to get to the top of the mountain. But aside from his incredible days as a babyface (good guy), he had one of the meanest and insulting runs as a heel (bad guy). Guerrero was so compelling and vindictive in his ways that he took it so far to claim he was the “Papi” of his long-time friend, Rey Mysterio’s son, Dominic. Latino Heat came out every week in what seemed to be a custody battle for Mysterio’s son to say he was his son. Guerrero has one of the most important legacies in WWE history but even today, there aren’t many (if any at all) who come close to Guerrero’s legacy as an entertainer.
- Chris Jericho
Ahhh, Y2J, the “Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla”, the Alpha, Chris Jericho. Jericho is one of the most deserving members to be on this list. From his debut in 1999 when he infamously interrupted The Rock on Raw and cut his “Raw is Jericho” promo, Y2J has never avoided the spotlight. From the second he stepped foot on stage, he caught the crowd’s attention. Jericho is one of the few to ever be given creative leeway when speaking as for the early part of his WWE career, Vince McMahon allowed him to speak freely for 30 seconds and then go perform. Aside from his creative freedom, Jericho is one of the few to have his own talk show on WWE TV, The Highlight Reel. The show saw the “Jeri-tron” itself became iconic and it was just a plain television used as a set piece. Jericho was a key, essential puzzle piece for WWE in the Monday Night Wars and Jericho has always and will always be, one of the best talkers of all-time because as he would say he is “The best in the world at what I do”.
Now some may be surprised to see Kane on this list but he is my darkhorse or underdog pick for this list. The Big Red Machine is one of the most underrated talkers of all-time because he actually didn’t speak for a good portion of his career. Kane had only spoke for the first time in 1999 by using an electrolarynx (device the size of a electric razor used to produce clear speech by people with no voice box). But when Kane began speaking unaided and freely, he was actually really funny and sometimes used as an ironic comedic relief. Once Kane removed his mask for the first time, he became 10x more demented. He became one of the few performers to get their own movie as Kane was the star of See No Evil franchise. To promote the franchise, he would hear the phrase “May 19th” (the movie’s release date) and it would drive him crazy as the phrase was supposed to represent him “losing it”. But Kane is one of the most important yet forgotten superstars in WWE’s effort to take down WCW. The Devil’s Favorite Demon is not just one of the most underrated performers but also undervalued. Kane’s consistency and longevity of his career is one of the main reasons he was recognized on this list. But if him going into politics and becoming Mayor of Knox County doesn’t resemble a great talker, then I don’t know what does.
Edge, one of my personal favorite heel characters of all-time. The “Rated R Superstar” was one of the meanest and ruthless heels of the 2000’s. Edge was a real life villain. He attacked John Cena’s father in his own home, He stole Matt Hardy’s long-time girlfriend, Lita, when the two cheated on their significant others with each other and then had a storyline about it. (Gotta love classic, pre-PG WWE) After Edge won the WWE Championship, he had a “live sex celebration”… WHAT? Only a guy like Edge could pull that off. However, Edge was one of the best babyfaces the WWE has ever seen. Starting as a tag team partner to Christian, the two Canadian best friends were one of the funniest teams of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Their “5 Seconds of Flash Photography” is still one of the most iconic tag team shticks. But it really was Edge’s true work as a heel that propelled him to the top of the mountain. Edge’s remarkable 31 championship reigns is just part of why he is so legendary. Although his career was cut short due to a neck injury, retiring the World Heavyweight Champion cemented his legacy as one of the most important and best talker and performer of all-time.