5. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper
Roddy Piper was perhaps 20 years ahead of his time. With a character as unpredictable as a live grenade and promo skills that allowed him to foray into serious acting roles at a time when most wrestlers did cheesy action films or played background characters, Piper was a gem. Anytime Piper got on the microphone, you just knew that magic was about to happen. While his in ring abilities declined rapidly after the early 90’s, his promo skills are still intact and he even tours his classic “Pipers Pit” talk show on indie wrestling shows all over the country and occasionally on WWE’s Monday Night Raw.
4. Mick Foley
Mick Foley is perhaps the most creative promo man in the history of the business. Always interesting and always realistic, Foley did everything he could to stand out in the crowd by giving incredible promos. Be it as Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love or as himself, Mrs. Foley’s baby boy Mick Foley, the master of thumbtacks proved time and time again that he was gold on the mic. As he aged and injuries took his toll, much of his worth to televised wrestling came in his acting and promo ability. Now working part time in wrestling and part time as a standup comedian, maybe Foley has found the right combination for the unique talent that is the master of Hardcore.
3. The Rock
No one wrestler represents the modern style of promo cutting than The Rock. With his stream of consciousness style rants that included a bevy of weekly updated catchphrases, The Rock became an icon in the WWF/E and with good reason. As his skills transcended to Hollywood, The Rock remains a part timer in the wrestling world and uses it to prove time and time again that he is one of the best to ever handle the mic. If you smell what he is cookin’.
2. Dusty Rhodes
“If you will,” as he would say, ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes was one of the greatest wrestlers to ever open his mouth near a microphone. With his ability to draw on the viewer’s emotions, Big Dust would make sure to talk the fans into the building no matter who he was fighting. Dusty could make a viewer believe that anyone was dangerous, and yet, with their help, he could defeat them. Dusty’s feuds during the 70’s and 80’s with the upper echelon of the NWA made him a legend in the ring and his passionate promos made him a god among men on the microphone.
1. Ric Flair
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair is perhaps the most iconic wrestler of the 80’s and early 90’s outside of Hulk Hogan. His feuds with Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Sting, Barry Windham and many, many others made Flair the last of the ‘touring’ champions of the territory system of the NWA. Because of his touring nature, Flair was accustomed to doing several promos a day, promoting matches against a bevy of opponents in hundreds of cities a year. By playing the cocky bad guy who always found a way to win, with help from his Four Horsemen group (including Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson and Tully Blanchard who were no slouches on the mic either), Flair would hold the title for the better part of the 80’s and 90’s and would slowly evolve from the ‘talk ‘em in the building’ style to the more storytelling style of the late 90’s and 2000’s. Even still to this day, Flair is highly sought after simply to come in and talk, a feat very, very few wrestlers could ever hope to achieve.