During a chat in the Cageside offices about WWE being far too overproduced for any of our liking, the subject quickly turned to promos and my utter disdain for the rampant overuse of the term “opportunity.” We realized quickly that, well, the overly scripted nature of today’s shows ensures no one is allowed to say anything that stands out.
Then I started thinking about memorable lines from past promos, and I tried to figure out what I felt was not necessarily the best promo itself but the best line from a promo. Because I was curious to get multiple takes on this, I asked the entire staff to chip in with their answer.
Here’s what we got:
Sean Rueter: “I’m addicted to the satisfaction that I get to tell everybody like you that didn’t believe in me ‘you can stick it up your ass!’”
I thought of colder, more badass lines (mostly Biker Taker trash talk and CM Punk quotes from 2011 - 2013), but nothing I love more than this one from Eddie Guerrero. The entire promo segment with Brock Lesnar on the No Way Out ’04 go home is, in my eyes, perfect. Brock turns up the villainy to the max, bring up Guerrero’s past while running him down as weak (he also mocked Latino Heat’s Mexican heritage with a mariachi celebration you’ve seen in GIFs, but probably explains why WWE doesn’t have video of this segment on YouTube, though it exists on Daily Motion here). We’ve seen this stuff plenty of times from the company, most recently with Sheamus/Jeff Hardy. But here Eddie channeled all his pain and guilt into an epic response that felt real and worked naturally as a pro wrestling promo. That the babyface actually won the belt a few days later was just icing on the cake.
Kyle Decker: “This is my yard now.”
Is this my favorite promo of all time? Nah. But it’s one that sticks with me. Partially because I was there. Partially because it works. And the reason this works is because it played to the audience. An audience that absolutely hated Roman Reigns before the company wanted you to do so. After he defeated the Undertaker in the main event of WrestleMania the night before, he opened Raw in front of a hostile crowd that booed him for almost three minutes before he could even get a word out. His words needed to be chosen wisely. He couldn’t say something to garner sympathy; that was never happening. He couldn’t say something long winded; the audience would never let him. So he went with short, sweet, and f’n badass. I was in those stands surrounded by the deafening boos and shouted “Oh shit!” when he dropped the lined, dropped the mic, and peaced out.
With one sentence, coopted from the man he just beat, he just let the audience of folks who despised him know that he was here to stay no matter what they wanted.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t followed up in any meaningful way. They soon came back around to selling him as a babyface despite many fans rejecting that idea (until now that is). Like many times with Reigns, strong momentum wasn’t properly capitalized on. But for one night, he owned an angry crowd with a kickass line.
Claire Elizabeth: “Paul Jones, you and your whole entourage of people, Dick Slater... ...KABUKI! ...the names, the list, it goes on and on!”
It’s a little silly but Harley Race, with, as my wife describes, “a voice like gargling hot asphalt,” running through the list of names of men that he thinks might take him up on his offer of “twenty-five thousand dollars... [to] ...any human bean that can eliminate Ric Flair from wrestling,” and getting SO “dad’s home and he’s pissed” angry that he can’t remember Great Kabuki’s name at first and then just gives up on enumerating any more potential names... it’s just perfect.
Pure simple pro wrestling at its finest and realest.
Cain A. Knight: “And you know something brothers, whether it’s the millions and millions of Rock fans, or 20,000 Hulkamaniacs, or 20,000 screaming Kanenites, the question is brothers, whatcha gonna do?”
Kane is a terrifying monster most of the time, but his promos occasionally include brilliant moments of comedy. One such moment occurred during this promo from Raw in 2002, where he was set to team up with The Rock and Hulk Hogan. His legendary partners didn’t know if they could trust the big, scary monster. So Kane enters the room and does the unthinkable; he breaks the ice by stealing The Rock’s catchphrase and spoofing Hulk Hogan’s famous “Whatcha gonna do?” promos. Kane’s incredible delivery left Hogan and The Rock speechless, and created a new word for Kane’s biggest fans — Kanenites. That term would go on to serve as the inspiration for some of the very best usernames in pro wrestling blog communities across the world.
Stella Cheeks: “I wish you died in the womb!”
Okay, when Geno asked this question, my gut instinct was, “I wish you died in the womb!” Cue me as the Kombucha Girl gif...hahaha..no..unless?
Brie Bella was admittedly terrible in this segment. (She is not the best actress, but we love her anyway.) But Nikki? Nikki was transcendent. She committed completely. Everything that came out of her mouth was dripping in vitriol, and as an audience member, it was easy to believe that she did hate her sister. And storyline wise it also made sense! In her mind, Brie abandoned her and left her alone to fend off Stephanie McMahon and the entire women’s locker room. She didn’t have Brie by her side, and she survived. She proved that she didn’t need twin magic to win. Brie Mode was irrelevant.
“I wish you died in the womb!” is such a shocking, ridiculous, classic line that could only happen in a daytime soap opera or a wrestling ring. It was the beginning of Nikki establishing to every hater in the WWE universe that she was more than a pretty face. She could hand in the ring and on the mic.
Also, she hit Jerry Lawler and called him an old man; we have no choice but to stan!
Marcus Benjamin: “Who’s your daddy, Montreal?”
I’m a fan of promos with meat on them and play to reality. To this day, there’s nothing that felt more real to me than Shawn Michaels in Montreal on Aug. 15, 2005. Canada hated Shawn and he leaned into that hate for legitimate heat. Those four words set off an explosion in that arena. They hung on every word, got played by every fake he threw at them, and were angrier at him when it ended than they were when it started. And that’s saying a lot. It doesn’t have any catchphrases, but based on history and context, it’s the coldest line I’ve heard any wrestler say.
Which just leaves me, and I’m going to cheat and give you two because I couldn’t decide on which one I liked more. Both are courtesy of Kevin Nash, who absolutely ruled in his prime and that’s a hill I am now fully willing to die on.
The first line happened during an episode of Monday Nitro on Mar. 31, 1997, right at the end of it. The nWo was having some issues, it seemed, and Nash was out with Syxx to hit the commentary table to close out the show. Nash talked about being upset with Hulk Hogan and a few others for attending a Dennis Rodman movie premiere. He seemed to wrap his promo up but there may have been more time to fill, so he kept going and threw a killer line in there.
“So you boys in Chicago, if you’re watching, you better get focused. Because I’ll tell you something right now, I’m getting pissed off. I’m getting tired of sitting around having you guys take my time. I’ll tell you right now, you don’t want to get me mad because I’m one person in this business that can stand alone. … And all you Napoleons back there, and you know who I’m talking about, all you guys that can’t get on the adult rides because you don’t make the height requirement, the only reason you people breathe is because I allow it. … I’ll tell you right now, as long as I got breath in my lungs, I’ll fight WCW by myself.”
That’s a badass line right there.
Another one came almost a year later to the day on Monday Nitro on Mar. 30, 1998. The nWo was almost fully fractured by this point, as Nash was having issues with Hollywood Hogan. Hulk was in the ring with nearly the entirety of the bloated nWo roster standing behind him when he called out Nash, who quickly hit the scene and got in his face. Here’s what he had to say:
“Take heed to what Macho Man said. Behind you there may be one or there may be many waiting to stick a knife in your back. You don’t have to worry about me — cause I’ll shoot ya right between the eyes.”
It’s all subjective, of course, but that might be the best line from any promo ever. Just an incredible veiled threat made even better by the look he gives Hogan after saying it.
Now it’s your turn, dear reader. Get in the comments and blast us for our choices but just make sure you tell us the best line you ever heard in a wrestling promo too.