Friday, December 10, 2010

The Top 50 Greatest Wrestling Catchphrases Past and Present: #10 - #1

We’ve arrived at The Top 10 now. Once again I’ll reiterate, I believe these 10 catchphrases are the most important, the greatest, in the biz. They aren’t my personal favourite 10. For instance, one of my favourite ever catchphrases is “DAMN!” by Ron Simmons. But that’s already been. It would be wrong of me to put that in the Top 10, it’s simply not important or revolutionary enough.

Anyway, here we go, the Top 10, and also, why…

Catchphrase: “To a nicer guy, it couldn't have happened!”
Wrestler: Buddy Rodgers

This is the catchphrase that pretty much popularised and revolutionised the need for wrestlers to use words to back up their great wrestling prowess. It’s been debatable about Buddy Rodgers, did he mean it? Was it kayfabe? Or was he just an egotistical man? Or was he winding people up, the way so many other guys do it today. At the time, the use of a catchphrase was pretty non-existent. That’s why Buddy Rodger’s deserves a place in the Top 10. If it wasn’t for him, where would we be today?

Catchphrase: “And that's the bottom line, cuz Stone Cold said so!”
Wrestler: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold has already featured in the Top 50 once before, and he will once again. His second entry is the catchphrase he usually finishes off his promos with. And man, it stuck. From the first time he said it, to his sporadic appearances now, it gets a fantastic response. Almost everything that came out of Stone Cold’s mouth was golden; he said what he wanted to say and didn’t give a shit what you thought. But then again, in The Attitude Era this was a good trait to have, he was so over at the time!

Catchphrase: “The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.”
Wrestler: Bret Hart
Not one of my particular favourites, but you can’t underestimate how popular this was. Bret Hart is a legend. This was his key phrase. Whenever people talk about him, this is one of the things people think of. It’s as simple as that. It’s a phrase so easy to think of, yet so particular to one man only – Bret Hart. That’s why he’s so high in the list.


Catchphrase: “You're fired!”
Key figure: Vince McMahon
It’s the highest up two worded catchphrase on the list. These two words are pretty much the epitome of Mr McMahon, the evil boss of WWE, and his character. It’s not just the words, but how he says it. Man, he says it with so much vinegar, it’s so iconic, his face, his scowl, everything. It’s a fantastic catchphrase and yes, he does say it better than both Donald Trump AND Sir Alan Sugar!

Catchphrase: “Rest in peace!”
Wrestler: The Undertaker 

Whenever I think of this phrase personally, I always laugh because in one of the video packages leading upto Wrestlemania last April, it sounded like ‘Taker said “Rest in… BEEEES!” which was funny. But on an iconic level, it’s quite simply, like Bret Hart, the phrase associated with the wrestler. But unlike Bret Hart, The Undertaker had a gimmick, one that he has used for a very long time. The character, the phrase, they just combine so easily. I don’t even know how popular “RIP” was before The Undertaker, I’d probably have to ask people who were adults in the eighties. What? I’m only 21!

Catchphrase: “If you're not down with that, we got two words for you, suck it!”
Wrestlers: D-Generation X
This phrase, along with the crotch chop, are what went part and parcel with the Attitude Era. This is on here ahead of a few just because it’s a better line for crowd interaction. It’s so popular, Shawn Michaels doesn’t even have to say the last two words if he doesn’t have to. He can just let the crowd do it. It’s popular enough to bypass the double standards that is the WWE PG era, despite “sucking it” is most certainly not PG.

Catchphrase: “If you smell! What the Rock is cooking!”
Wrestler: The Rock

Similar to my Top 50 Final Fantasy Characters listing, there’s a Top 4 cut off point. I’d say the Top 4 are that much better than the rest. We start off with The Rock’s ending to his promos. There are so many of the Rock’s catchphrases that could have been in this list, quantity wise. But how revolutionary they all are, is up for debate. For me, the true catchphrase The Rock used consitently was this one. He chopped it, changed it, said it more than once sometimes, and also used delays. He had the audience in his palm whenever he said the final line in his inevitably brilliant promo. Even more recently, when he did taped promos to promote something, he’d know when to stop, when to say “… is cookin’, it didn’t matter that it was taped, the audience probably didn’t even notice it wasn’t live. He’s a true legend on the mic, and this is truly his best line.

Catchphrase: “Whatcha gonna do, when Hulkamania runs wild on you!”
Wrestler: Hulk Hogan
Which brings me to Hulk Hogan’s second and final entry into the list. This line was just phenomenal. It’s truly, like many in the Top 10, associated with the wrestler. And what a wrestler he was. Not in his in ring ability, but in his ability to work a crowd. He knew how to excite an audience, which his mannerisms, his voice, his pointing. “Brother”. But despite what he did, he wouldn’t be as big as he is today without the above catchphrase. So tell me. Whatcha gonna do?! Whatcha gonna do, when Johnny Mercyside reveals the top 2?!

Catchphrase: “What?”
Wrestler: Stone Cold Steve Austin
The top two phrases do something that no other phrases do. There’s a big two, in a big four in this list. What? What? What? Stone Cold’s “What?” phrase, is just stupid. He knows it, we all do. But it’s fantastic. He just interrupted people mid sentence, got in their face and said, “What?”. As I said, this and #1 do something that no other phrase does. These two phrases are used universally, in any situation, in any wrestling company, with any wrestler. How many times, since the early noughties, have you heard “What?” in the background, the crowd saying it, when someone delivers a promo? Almost every heel out there, will get this. The crowd just love saying it. They love saying that one word, they love to try and piss off the heel, acting. It’s great. It’s unique. It’s simple. 

Oh the other quote that falls into this category? Well quite simply, it’s:

Catchphrase: “Woo!”
Wrestler: Ric Flair

It may not be too much of a surprise. It may be. But it’s not really a dispute. What catchphrase, what word, is associated with wrestling more than anything else? Woo! More so than “What?”, this is used all the time. Primarily when a wrestler uses the chop, I used to love seeing Chris Benoit go gung ho with chops while the crowd tries to get a “Woo!” in between each one. Seeing the wrestlers chop, seeing the red skin on the wrestlers chest, hearing the “Woo!” from the crowd, that’s wrestling. One of my favourite ever promos, was when Kurt Angle got drafted to Raw a few years back, and he had a “Woo-off” with Ric Flair. It was hilarious. Of course, Kurt Angle has tried to reincarnate the “Woo!”, and does a great job with it. Ric Flair is responsible for millions (…and millions, thanks Rocky!) of fans to say that three lettered word, in almost every match on every card in every wrestling organisation.

So Ric Flair, this trophy is for you! Woo!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list. I hope you agree with it too, I tried to be unbiased, as I said. If you disagree, let me know, convince me that I’m wrong. I’m more than willing to change the list if many people thing a phrase is unfairly omitted, or if the order is wrong. I don’t think many in the Top 10 can be disputed though, but try me!
Before I finish, here’s another 10, a consolation list, in order of wrestler’s name, not in order how good they are:

“You didn't just say that. Tell me, you did not just say that?” Booker T

“I'm the best in the world at what I do.” Chris Jericho

“That's how I roll.” Christian

“Listen here, you pencil neck geeks!” Fred Blassie

“SmackDown!'s number one announcer!” Funaki

“Will you stop?” Gorilla Monsoon

“He's being beaten like a government mule!” Jim Ross

“If I could be serious for a moment.” Lance Storm

“Ohh yyes!” Paul Bearer

“I came to fight and chew bubble gum and I'm all out of bubble gum!” Roddy Piper

Once again thank you for reading this listing, I enjoyed writing it. Also again, as Mick Foley says, “Have a nice day!”

See other parts in the listing!
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
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  1. no "i did it... for the rock" ?

  2. I did it for the people! Haha good one. Rikishi's big push really flopped didn't it? Nice little catchphrase, but he never used it for very long.

  3. ah there's loads more in my head but i can't remember them right now! very good list, the only ones i would have moved higher up are 33, 32 and 28. but that's my opinion. :)

  4. It's funny how many stay with you in everyday life. I caught myself saying Stone Cold's "and that's all I've got to say about that" to my kids recently. What?! is a daily. My kids enjoy "You just made the list!" I do still use Jericho's never eeeever. One for the old fellas like me that I like is Ox Baker's "You know how I get things done? Coz I'm organised!!!" Great post Johnny. Glad I stumbled onto it.

    1. Thanks for your comments Matt G! Yeah I did this article 7 years ago now, it could do with a fresh update! Like you said, Jericho's list is brilliant and there have been others like Daniel Bryan's "Yes!" which would definitely be really high on the list. I may re-do it one day :)