Wrestling is not all about men in tights taking fake punches and choreographed maneuvers. It's not just about oiled and waxed bodies, hairdos, and catchphrases. No, wrestling is about escapism. Escape from the monotony of every day life. A way to harness all your built up frustration and find solace in a violent showcase. Is it fake? Sure. But we all know that. However, for a couple of hours a week it sure is fun to kick back and enjoy the circus that is the wonderful world of wrestling.
And like any great show, play or novel, there needs to be a story, a great story. The kind of story that makes you want to come back for more. Hence, the promo. Where a wrestler gets to tell his or her story. The sales pitch of the squared-circle. And of course, every great story needs a great villain. The one who makes our blood boil with disgust. The one who strikes fear in our hearts. The one who makes us sick to our stomachs. The one who fills us with shame. The one who we just can't stand.
In the following article we will take a look at the men who fit these descriptions. From a kilted barrier-breaker to a straight-edge bomb-dropper. From the platinum-haired blond to the savior of the new millennium. From the degenerate who dubbed himself Mr. WrestleMania to the hell-raising Texas rattlesnake.
These are the men who you probably now love and adore but once upon a time; would despise. So, just who is the king of the mountain? The man who stands alone at the top of the trash heap? The ultimate trash-talker and ruler of the microphone?
Let's find out as we take a look at the top ten trash-talkers in WWE history.
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10 Ric Flair
The Nature Boy has been stylin' and profilin' for five decades in the wrestling industry. Undoubtedly, the greatest world champion the business has ever seen. Charismatic and charming with a cockiness unmatched by any performer since. The leader of the greatest faction in wrestling history, The Four Horsemen, and later a prominent part of Evolution. Ric Flair has always captivated the audience with his energetic and erratic speeches which sometimes bordered on insanity. And for good measure? Why not drop an elbow or a knee on an expensive suit-jacket? Only The Natch. WHOOO!
Remember the five second pose? Before he was the “Rated R Superstar,” Edge along with his tag-team partner Christian were one of the top tag-team's in the WWE. Performing outrageous skits which usually mocked the city they were in that particular night and thus creating some high-quality wrestling comedy. Aggravating the hometown crowds to no end and providing some laughter to those from other cities (until they came to your town and you were on the chopping-block). Once he broke off as a singles competitor, Edge became one of the best heels of the modern era with his brash and obnoxious slander.
8 Jim Cornette
Often overlooked by many WWE countdowns and lists, Jim Cornette was at one time an integral part of the company. “Cornette's Commentaries,” which ran on Monday Night Raw back in 1997, were some of the most insightful and insulting segments of a time when WWE was finding its attitude. With a sharp tongue, Cornette would tear apart WCW and Eric Bischoff, ECW and Paul Heyman, and Hulk Hogan and the nWo. As well as any former employee who jumped ship to another promotion. Calling it the way he saw it, even ripping on his own employer, the WWE … Jim Cornette = Great Shooter.
7 "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
The original trash-talker. The first loud-mouth. The man who was telling it like it is before telling it like it is was cool. Hot Rod has certainly left his mark and opinion on the wrestling world. Never shying away from controversy, Roddy Piper has long been associated with some of the best promos in WWE history. And who can forget about Piper's Pit? The original talk-show. Without the Pit there never would have been The Highlight Reel, The Cutting Edge, The Peep Show, Carlito's Cabana, or Miz TV. When it comes to Piper, everything was original.
6 CM Punk
The man who could very well be the biggest jerk to ever step foot in the WWE. Sarcastic and sharp on the microphone, Punk has always been a witty and wicked wordsmith when cutting a promo which includes the infamous “pipebomb” he dropped on the WWE Universe while sitting at the top of the ramp in Las Vegas. It was the most compelling speech delivered since the Attitude Era. What's weird about listening to CM Punk speak is that you sort of want him to belittle everything and everybody around you because he is the guy who you love to hate.
5 Chris Jericho
Perhaps the most underutilized talent that WCW ever had, Chris Jericho finally became a household name when he burst onto the scene in WWE back in '99 by interrupting The Rock in an epic debut. It was clear from the start that Jericho was full of arrogance, looking down on the audience while stroking his massive ego. Come on, who has the audacity to cut-off a promo from The Great One? There was no looking back for Chris Jericho as he went on to become a multiple-time champion in the WWE and one of the most transitional talkers ever.
4 Shawn Michaels
HBK found God … And that was great for him and his family but as a selfish wrestling fan, the boy-toy turning choir-boy was a bit of a bore. However, there was a time when Shawn Michaels was all about Shawn Michaels. As the face of the WWE in the mid-nineties, Michaels was as crude, rude, and reckless as they came. Nearly twenty years later and most Canadians still cannot wash the bad taste of Shawn Michaels out of their mouths following his legendary feud with Bret Hart and the infamous Montreal Screwjob... That's impressive.
3 The Rock
Take a long hard whiff because The Rock is cooking up some smack-talk the likes of which you have never heard. The master of the catch-phrase and champion of the people, nobody could go toe-to-toe or mic-to-mic with The Rock. He was quick with a comeback and to throw a jab with a joke. The most electrifying man in all of entertainment could even serenade you with a slick and sassy song, destroying your character while strumming only three chords. Progressive with his approach and unbridled showmanship, there is just reason why The Rock went on to lay the smackdown on Hollywood. ROCKY! ROCKY! ROCKY!
2 "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
Who else could drink a beer in the middle of the ring and talk trash about the boss?… Nobody! “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is one-of-a-kind. He's one of the best of all time and an absolute redneck delight on the microphone. The attitude problem. The middle fingers. The cussing. The blatant disregard for authority. And of course; the drinking. The fact that Stone Cold said what he wanted, when he wanted without any worry of consequence made millions of people who wished they could tell their own bosses where to get off, live vicariously through him each week.
1 Paul Heyman
In 2001, Paul Heyman replaced Jerry “The King” Lawler as color commentator on Monday Night Raw. Within ten seconds of being on the air, Heyman had already taken a shot at Lawler, disparaging his character. Paul Heyman is the master of the microphone. As a commentator, he brought something new to the announce table. As a General Manager he drove everybody mad. As an advocate; he is simply the best. His current role with Brock Lesnar is not only compelling but completely believable in a world of make-believe. Paul Heyman is the EXTREME trash-talker.
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