While you may be the type of professional wrestling fan that admires a wrestler’s in-ring abilities more than how well they talk, there is no denying that some of wrestling’s biggest stars earned their reputation thanks to their ability to captivate an audience with their promos. You can be the master of a thousand holds, but if you can’t take that microphone, look into the camera and draw fans by the thousands with your mere words, there will always be a ceiling on how high you can go in professional wrestling. Like it or not, the best talkers rule the wrestling world.
That’s especially true of trash talkers. A good trash-talking wrestler is what promoters lie in bed at night dreaming about. Their ability to draw heat, sell tickets and keep fans coming back for more has been wrestling’s greatest draw ever since the first wrestler decided to run down a city’s professional sports team years ago. Still, there is a special spot of admiration reserved for the most relentless of put down professionals. These wrestlers don’t just insult someone’s hometown, they reach deep into their soul and yank out their dignity. They are the 15 most vicious trash talkers in professional wrestling history.
15 15. Enzo Amore
14 14. Scott Steiner
13 13. Superstar Billy Graham
12 12. Kurt Angle
11 11. Triple H
It’s a good thing that HHH’s legacy among hardcore WWE fans has taken a turn for the better in recent years as it means that the man’s rightful place as a world-class mic worker can now be properly admired. Though HHH’s WCW tenure as the unfortunately named Terra Ryzing and his early days as the blueblood Hunter Hearst Helmsley didn’t exactly allow him to showcase any extraordinary smack-talk skills, the moment that Hunter formed DX with Shawn Michaels, we were all gifted with a steady stream of professional grade insults that live in infamy to this day.
10 10. Vince McMahon
9 9. Bobby Heenan
8 8. John Cena
7 7. Steve Austin
6 6. CM Punk
CM Punk was scrawny, weird and, to be perfectly honest, not that great of an in-ring wrestler when he first started out. The one thing that the kid did have going for him, though, was the ability to turn a microphone into a pipe-bomb that devastated anyone caught in its audio radius. By dialing his straight-edge persona up to 11, CM Punk was able to fashion one of the most creative villains wrestling has ever known early on in his career. He could find a vice or flaw in just about every wrestler that he came across and use them as fuel for his hate-filled teardowns.
5 5. Chris Jericho
4 4. Jerry Lawler
As a young WWE fan, I had no clue who Jerry “The King” Lawler was. I had no idea that this man had one over 160 championships across the course of his career, nor that he took part in one of the most important wrestling angles of all-time when he broke the lines of reality during a feud with Andy Kaufman. The only thing I knew is that I hated Jerry Lawler. Here was this old guy who was not only beating down the likes of Bret Hart in the ring, but disrespecting his opponents through a series of verbal tirades that caused parents to scramble for the remotes whenever Lawler would grab the microphone.
3 3. Roddy Piper
During his days as a heel wrestler, Roddy Piper’s only goal in life was to make sure that he was the most hated man that was going to take the ring that night. This is especially true of his days working the California scene in NWA where Piper would cause actual riots by cutting unbelievably derogatory promos against the area’s Mexican community and their hero Chavo Guerrero Sr. But that was the great thing about Piper. He either lacked that filter in his head that most of us have that keeps us from saying something that is definitively over the line, or he was simply able to ignore it in favor of cutting his opponent’s as deep as words possibly could.
2 2. Ric Flair
Watching Ric Flair talk trash in the world of ‘80s professional wrestling is a lot like watching Steph Curry play basketball against a group of infants; it’s just not fair and fundamentally wrong. Flair may not have been the first trash talker in professional wrestling , but nothing that came before could have possibly prepared fans for the kind of derogatory promos that Flair would cut with seeming ease. The type of blue-collar crowd that wrestling typically attracted at the time didn’t know what to make of this man who wore the World Championship around his $1,000 suits and claimed to have more cars than most people have friends.
1 1. The Rock
There will never be another professional wrestler like The Rock. Dwayne Johnson may have debuted with a stupid grin on his face and a silver spoon in his mouth, but it wasn’t long before Rocky Maivia began to turn against the fans and adopt a sports jock persona known as The Rock. While most young wrestlers would struggle with such a transition at first, The Rock’s inhuman levels of charisma allowed him to quickly become the smoothest run down machine the world’s ever seen. Every single week, The Rock managed to outdo himself with a promo so vicious that you actually started to feel bad for any wrestler that had to go up against him.
It wasn’t long before people who had never seen a professional wrestling match in their life soon became infatuated with this wrestler whose gift for gab was simply electric. A few have come close, but nobody has ever been able to match The Rock when it comes to laying the verbal smackdown.
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