Talking is not a professional wrestler’s first priority, but doing it well can certainly help. After all, it most certainly wasn’t Hulk Hogan’s in-ring technique that made him a star, and it’s no stretch to say that more people remember the promos of Dusty Rhodes, The Rock, and Ric Flair more than they do their move sets. Over the last few years, CM Punk changed the fabric of the industry with the now-iconic “pipe bomb,” while The Miz pretty much propelled himself back onto the company’s A-list with one explosive, off-the-cuff promo.
Mic-in-hand interviews and promos weren’t always the only way for a wrestler to flex their personality, however. Before social media and supplemental video content and backstage skits, wrestlers were often tasked with introducing their characters via pre-taped vignettes that would air during the likes of Monday Night Raw or WWF Superstars or any number of the franchise’s programs. They were especially common in the ‘80s and ‘90s, though they kept it up well into the 2000s. And, unless you were Mr. Perfect, they were almost always awful.
Below, please enjoy some of the best of the worst, beginning with the man who, a few years after this promo was filmed, would change wrestling forever as an architect of WCW’s nWo. In the WWF, however, he was a Cuban tough guy named Razor Ramon who refused to pay the bill, maing, after eating in front of a pair of plastic flamingos, maing.
Droz, on the other hand, is probably most famous for being the guy WWE CEO Vince McMahon dubbed “Puke” in 1999's controversial Beyond the Mat documentary. Here’s his first promo, a Real World-style clip where we see his namesake in action between shots of him playing with snakes and flicking his tongue around. “Well, you never know when some freaky, big-haired Jersey girl is gonna show up, man,” he says while polishing his guns. This shit is bananas.
Waylon Mercy (a.k.a. journeyman grappler Dan Spivey) made even less of an impact than Droz, wrestling only a handful of matches before injuries prematurely ended his career. In retrospect, his schtick, which found him adopting the mannerisms of a “southern gentlemen” and apologizing after manhandling his opponents, is actually kinda fun, but his promos were nothing but. The below clip, for example, finds him creepily pontificating about a family’s picnic before ominously intoning, “I’m gonna show you people what a picnic is all about, know what I mean?” Spoiler alert: Nobody did.
Here’s Sean O’Haire, and the only reason you know this is a wrestling promo is because we’re telling you it is. In truth, O’Haire was ahead of his time: A men’s rights activist would make a killer heel these days.
Kofi Kingston is one of the most venerable wrestlers of the modern era, having won a slew of singles titles before joining The New Day, one of the current highlights of the WWE product. When he first debuted in 2007, however, Kofi had an “I’m Jamaican” gimmick, despite him not being Jamaican, and, in the below, minute-long promo, says the word “paradise” three times.
And then there’s Kizarny. Kizarny was...oh, fuck, just watch it.