If you're a big fan of professional wrestling, you tend to take it a little more seriously than the casual viewer. You're fully aware of the risks these performers take when they step in a ring and you appreciate the form of art these wrestlers display. You appreciate intense storylines and crave hard hitting action.
That being said, a little comedy sprinkled into wrestling is fantastic. While the show has to be taken seriously at some points, finding a way to balance the two is important. It's a variety show of sorts, so some comic relief is required. Even the greatest dramas will have some laughs thrown in and when they are, it makes it all the more effective.
We definitely have seen some terrible attempts at comedy in wrestling. Grown men wrestling in diaper matches, Ed Ferrara trying to imitate Jim Ross via the 'Oklahoma' character and Vince McMahon performing colon surgery on a figure meant to be J.R. (Basically when you try to insult J.R. it never works, because he's amazing.)
However some wrestlers thrived on playing a purely comedic character, or by incorporating some in their promos and even their matches. A wrestler's purpose should always be to illicit a reaction from the crowd. The best ones could get a wide range of them and while some are better off not trying to be funny, there have been plenty that could get laughs at will. How hard was it not to laugh when The Rock would cut a promo? How about when Kurt Angle would take a break from being the serious Olympic hero and acting like a complete goof? How about Eddie Guerrero's cheating antics in the ring? Guerrero made cheating, usually an act meant to garner heat, so funny that fans couldn't help but cheer him when he would break the rules to win.
The purpose of this list will be to acknowledge wrestlers who gave us a ton of laughs while performing on screen. It's becoming a lost art in wrestling with the reduction of over the top characters, but even the most hardcore fans could appreciate a good laugh from these wrestlers.
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15 William Regal
William Regal is underrated in just about every category and one of them is his ability to be funny, while being super serious. Some of the facial expressions Regal has pulled in his career still stick with us, including drinking tea that Jericho tainted and having to join Vince McMahon's newly formed 'kiss my ass club'. His run as WWE Commissioner is also very underrated as he was constantly foiled while trying to come off as the classy British gentleman.
14 Triple H
Triple H's career has mostly been spent being the company's top heel. From 1999 to 2006, he was the company's biggest heel, safe for a six-month face turn following a return from injury in 2002. However in Triple H's time as a babyface, he got in touch with his funny side, most notably while with D-Generation X. Among his funniest moments include impersonating The Rock and Vince McMahon. Triple H is also capable of pulling off some hilarious facial expressions at will.
13 Owen Hart
Now, if this was a list of funniest wrestlers in real life, Owen Hart would easily get the no.1 spot. Owen played a heel for the majority of his career, mainly showing jealously to his brother Bret's success, but when Owen would get the chance to be humorous, he always delivered. Among his funniest moments on-screen include stealing a Slammy Award in 1997. Owen would find a way to get laughs and boos at the same time as a heel, which is a tough balance to master.
When Gregory Helms took the Hurricane gimmick, many felt that it would doom his career. However against all odds of having to make a mock superhero gimmick work, Helms pulled it off beautifully. He was able to take all the elements fans loved about cartoonish superheros and apply it to wrestling. The fact that he was able to hold his own in a mini-feud with The Rock speaks volumes of just how well he portrayed the gimmick. This is a testament to the fact that funny gimmicks can work in wrestling, as long as it's right for the person portraying the character.
11 Shawn Michaels
Many call Shawn Michaels the greatest all around performer in the history of wrestling and it's a case that has many great arguments. One side of Michaels that never disappointed was his humor. It changed over the years as the human being evolved, but he was always able to make it work, whether he was a raunchy degenerate in the Attitude Era, or if he was playing the goofy middle-aged man in the latter stages of his career. HBK is one of the few wrestlers that can act goofy one minute, then flick the switch and become the showstopper we all knew and loved.
10 Santino Marella
Santino Marella is one of those wrestlers that managed to get over no matter what situation he was put in. This gimmick might have looked awful on paper and wouldn't have worked for many, but Anthony Carelli took the ball and ran with it, making his debut as a fan out of the crowd in Italy. While some of the antics got incredibly hokey later on in his career, including pulling the cobra sleeve out of his tights, he was always able to get laughs, whether it be butchering names or even while wrestling.
9 Kurt Angle
Would anyone ever think that such a clean cut Olympic gold medalist would enter the WWE and end up becoming one of its funniest performers ever? Nobody picked up professional wrestling quite as quickly as Kurt Angle. While Angle picking up in-ring ability quickly probably wasn't so surprising, he was able to master a promo so quickly and whether he was playing the nerdy crybaby, or the shameless kiss-ass, Angle always made fans laugh and while he wasn't always cheered, you could feel the respect reigning down from the masses, just for how much Angle entertained us.
8 Edge & Christian
While Edge and Christian are funny on their own, they were even funnier as a pair. Edge and Christian would engage in a 'five second pose' which was always meant to piss off the live crowd. They also were among the few wrestlers that could always deliver an entertaining backstage segment. Their nerdy humor felt like a real extension of themselves, as both guys have admitted to growing up huge nerds. Wrestling's always at its best when performers are able to exaggerate their own real life personalities.
7 Eddie Guerrero
As mentioned earlier, Eddie Guerrero took an action that is meant to garner hatred and turned it into a comedic artform. His antics in the ring included fooling referees into thinking his opponents cheated, when in fact he was cheating and he was never afraid to make a fool of himself on screen. Just think, a guy with all that ability as a wrestler, to the point where many with that talent would take themselves too seriously, was still able to have fans laughing. It was truly a gift from the late great Guerrero.
6 Jerry Lawler
It's a shame fans of today can't see how funny Jerry Lawler truly was. Back when King was able to play the cowardly, obnoxious heel, he was a riot. Some of his antics would include wrestling while providing in-ring commentary while taking on jobbers or providing punch line after punch line regarding Stu and Helen Hart. While King was wrestling in the WWE for some of its worst years featuring some of its worst attempts at comedy, King was one of the few who could get laughs (and boos). Not to mention his amazing work at the announce table alongside Jim Ross.
5 Stone Cold Steve Austin
One of the reasons Stone Cold's heel turn of 2001 didn't really work was because Austin being a heel allowed him to do things he couldn't do as a badass babyface. His heel run revealed a comedic side to Austin that hadn't been seen before. While Austin's antics against Vince McMahon always made us laugh, the laughs were more at Vince's expense, rather than the Texas Rattlesnake. Even when Austin turned back, he retained many of his funny traits, proving that even the greatest of superstars always have to find a way to evolve.
4 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho got himself over in WCW with little to no help from management. Nobody else could have thought of what Jericho pulled off. He engaged in a funny feud with Goldberg in which he'd constantly come up with ways to 'beat' the undefeated Goldberg without actually wrestling him. It took him a while to find his footing in the WWE and his breakthrough came when he and Stephanie McMahon began trading insults, with Jericho pushing the envelope week after week. Jericho isn't afraid to get goofy even in the most intense moments.
3 Mick Foley
Mick Foley had spent a lot of his career playing a psychotic Cactus Jack, then a deranged Mankind. The Mankind character eventually evolved into a goofy, nerdy persona. The formation of The Rock n' Sock Connection further allowed Mankind a chance to shine, playing the goofy sidekick to The Rock's ultra cool persona. Foley was then able to buck the trend of an evil authority figure while playing commissioner in 2000 as he was a great babyface foil to the heels. Foley's ability to get a laugh is further evident in his books and his recent stand-up work.
2 Bobby Heenan
Bobby Heenan was a wrestler way back as a young man, going as "Pretty Boy" Bobby Heenan, and keeping a similar persona over the years of being a tough talking heel who would cower in fear at confrontation. Heenan's wit though would be on full display when he was a manager and eventually a commentator alongside Gorilla Monsoon. While many have tried to be that entertaining heel foil to the babyface, play-by-play announcer while still giving the fans a show, nobody has been able to match Heenan in this category. Watching some matches back in the late 80s, early 90s is a treat, just for the fact that Bobby Heenan is on commentary.
1 The Rock
Did you really expect anybody else? When The Rock got a hold of a microphone, nobody controlled a crowd quite like The Great One. The Rock had it all as a performer and part of what got him so popular was his humor. Whether he was the arrogant, cocky Rock of the Nation of Domination and Corporation years, The People's Champion or even his Hollywood heel persona, The Rock always found a way to get laughs. His endless catchphrases and charisma further enhanced just how funny he could be. You could watch his promos for hours and hours and never get bored.
If there was one wrestler who could make anybody, even those who aren't wrestling fans, laugh, it was (and still is) The Rock.
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