It’s Clash at the Castle day in the UK, which means it’s the biggest day for professional wrestling in the UK in thirty years – so it’s a good opportunity to check out the top five wrestling promos of all time!
Though most people think of wrestling as two (or more) participants getting into a ring and pretending to hurt each other (very well and hopefully not for real), there’s so much more to it than that.
A massive part of the appeal of wrestling is the larger than life characters and the rivalries they get involved in, with their time on the mic, calling out future or recent opponents, often proving to be just as riveting or entertaining – sometimes even more so – than the action that transpires in the ring.
Promos add weight and drama to the actual wrestling – without them and the insight into the colourful characters who duke it out, wrestling is just pantomime with muscles. So let’s take a look at my favourite wrestling promos of all time!
5. FTR: Fight Like An 8-Year Old Girl
This is incredibly recent, so perhaps including it on a list of the greatest promos of all time is a bit controversial (but hey, this is all my personal opinion anyway – so there!).
The best wrestling promos, in my opinion, are either incredibly entertaining or skillfully play with audience expectations. Some also bring in details of the wrestlers and their real lives, perhaps blurring the lines between fantasy and reality.
Dax Harwood from FTR here gives a passionate, heartfelt speech – and while you can’t foresee where it’s going at first, by the end it’ll have you punching the air and on FTR’s side for good. Masterful stuff, especially as it paid off beautifully – heartwarmingly and hilariously even – from a storytelling point of view, at AEW All Out 2022.
Is it an all-timer?’ Could I think of any number of timeless wrestling promos (Austin 3:16, as just one example of countless promos I can think of on the spot) that I could place in this spot?
Almost certainly, but this one really resonated with me personally.
4. Scott Steiner: Steiner Math
Scott Steiner had already been a professional wrestler for 20 years before he cut this infamously barmy promo. Majoring in mathematical statistics at the University of Michigan, he certainly had the ability to work magic with numbers.
Which he does here, to absolutely hilarious effect.
3. Ric Flair: Limousine Riding, Jet Flying, Kiss-Stealing, Wheeling and Dealing Son of a Gun!
When I was a kid, I didn’t really appreciate Ric Flair – by the time I’d got into wrestling, Flair felt old and past it, but he was also such an unlikeable character that I just genuinely didn’t gel with him at all.
Funny to think that I thought he was old and past it even in the late 80s, yet he wrestled what’s apparently his last match this year – and I’m convinced that he won’t stop there either; sadly, I don’t think Flair will stop until he dies in the ring.
In any case, his arrogant, insidious asshole heel character was a phenomenal creation – and Ric Flair the person really did seem to become Ric Flair the character in so many ways back then.
There’s a number of his promos I could include, but this phenomenal and oft-repeated quote is one of his most famous and sums him up in one sentence. Absolutely iconic.
2. Macho Man Randy Savage: Cream of the Crop
Randy Savage’s promos with Mean Gene Okerlund were often hilarious improvised skits that neither man seemed to be in control of.
A list of the best wrestling promos ever could easily be filled with Randy Savage promos alone.
My personal favourite, however, is this incredible gem – in which Savage calls himself the ‘cream of the crop’ and keeps producing actual pots of cream, in little feats of what amounts to close up magic. Wonderful stuff.
1. Dusty Rhodes: Hard Times
My choice for the top spot of the best wrestling promos of all time is this blistering promo from the legendary Dusty Rhodes.
The working class hero, son of a plumber Rhodes was the perfect good guy to pit against arrogant, money-flaunting prick Ric Flair – and this note perfect promo calls Flair out beautifully.
With Rhodes as the voice of the common man, understanding and empathising with the plight of workers everywhere, who could fail to be on his side? This is riveting, emotionally powerful stuff from the much-missed American Dream.
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