Jamie Lithgow, Brian Damage, Benjamin Trecroci and Amerigo Diehl
There are certain boxes a top wrestler has to tick, certain attributes they must possess; in-ring talent, charisma, ‘the right look’, flashy finishing move and of course; a cool catchphrase. Today the team discuss their favourite one-liners with their Top Five wrestling catchphrases.
5. “The Rock says…” The Rock
So simple and so subtle – in a wrestling context – that this catchphrase from The Rock probably gets overlooked due the presence of everything else he says also being a catchphrase. It’s so simple that I’m amazed that no wrestler before him referred to themselves in the third person. It may have been the case, but I cannot recall any. I understand the origins of this line came from Jim Ross pitching it to the freshly turned heel Rock after hearing Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders start sentences by saying “Deion thinks…”. So simple but such a good way of highlighting someone as an arrogant big shot, which The Rock originally was before backing his arrogance up and becoming a megastar.
4. “Beat me if you can, survive if I let you” Taz
Back when Taz was a killer in ECW this was a proper badass thing to say. I liked it for that reason and also because it was somewhat honest and self-deprecating, which wrestling catchphrases are usually not. He accepts that he may lose – and it’s important for fans to believe that either guy in a match could win or lose – but does allude to his opponent’s fate still being in his hands. He’s honest and still sounds like a badass.
3. “Straightedge means I’m better than you” CM Punk
I cannot recall CM Punk saying exactly these words during his Straightedge Society phase in WWE, but he did use this catchphrase when he wrestled in Ring of Honor and elsewhere. It basically tells you all you need to know about his character in just six words. Any new fan hearing this would surely know that he’s a bad guy, he’s self-righteous and he’s a dick. You don’t even need to know what straightedge means to get this. It’s this kind of simplicity and directness that Punk was lacking when he appeared in WWE’s ECW as a bland babyface with ‘Straightedge’ tattooed on his stomach. Thankfully that changed soon enough.
2. “If I can be serious for a minute…” Lance Storm
Not unlike the CM Punk line above, this catchphrase pretty much encapsulated the Lance Storm character, especially the WCW version. The irony is that the funniest thing Lance said was almost always this line about being serious. This guy was a boring nerd and anyone hearing this catchphrase at the start of his promos would get that straight away.
1. “And that’s the bottom line ‘cause Stone Cold said so!” Stone Cold Steve Austin
For me, this is the daddy of all wrestling catchphrases. During the Attitude Era, and still to this day, there was just as much fighting on the microphone as in the ring. If the Stunner was Austin’s in-ring finisher, this was his verbal finisher. This statement insured that Austin got the last word and book-ended any segment he was involved in. Like most good catchphrases, it also had a sing-along element to it too.
5. “We Snack on Danger and Dine on Death!” – The Road Warriors
Hawk and Animal were legitimately one of the most intimidating tag teams in the history of professional wrestling. When Hawk and Animal spoke, you’d better listen. I loved this catchphrase of theirs…it was the Legion of Doom aka the Road Warriors were all about.
4. “Just When You Think You’ve Got All the Answers, I Change the Question” – ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper
This catchphrase started in the mid-1980’s when Roddy Piper was a heel hosting Piper’s Pit. It is one of my personal favorites and Piper used it often when talking about a guest or an opponent he was about to face.
3. “And that’s the bottom line, cause Stone Cold said so!” – ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin
Steve Austin was the poster boy for the rebellious fans of the Attitude Era in the 1990’s. When he spoke these lines, you knew as Jim Ross used to say “Business was about to pick up.” The quintessential anti-hero, Stone Cold said this catchphrase and the sold-out arenas would go into an absolute frenzy.
2. “Heaven Don’t Me and Hell’s Afraid I’ll Take Over” – Michael ‘PS’ Hayes
Freebird Michael Hayes was one of the best promo guys in the business and this catchphrase of his always stood out as being great for various reasons. One of which was that he was truly a bad boy from Badstreet and lived the life he spoke of.
1. “To Be the Man, You’ve Got to Beat the Man” – ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
The main reason why this to me is the greatest catchphrase of all wrestling catchphrases is the fact that it is still being used to this day. Not just in professional wrestling, but other sports as well. Of course, nobody encapsulated that phrase better than the 16-time world heavyweight champion…but you get the idea.
5. “Cut the music” – Rick Rude
How good was Rick Rude? With three words, Rude took over the arena and you know he was about to rip on whichever city he was in and get your girl at the same time. Such a great talker, he was believable and all the way into his character.
4. “The Rock Says” – The Rock
It’s so crazy to remember how fast The Rock took off. First, he was the spunky rookie, then he was the hated guy in the Nation then all of a sudden those boos organically turned to cheers and we know the rest. Go back and watch in ’98 when “The Rock Says” music hits and the arena absolutely explodes. His gift of gab and his delivery of it is what made him the megastar and made him the man in Hollywood as well.
3. “Everybody got’s a Price for the Million Dollar Man” – Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase
What a jerk. Who else can still remember those vignettes WWF ran for weeks Dibiase making people do things for him and ending it with “Everybody’s Got a Price…” The heat that DiBiase would receive was unbelievable, nobody likes the rich guy who gets anything he wants by flashing cash.
2. “That’s the bottom line, cause Stone Cold Said So” – Stone Cold Steve Austin
Much like The Rock, Austin took off like a rocket from his mic work and strong character. Austin had everyone in the arena repeating every word he said and also became on the hottest t-shirts in a long time in WWF.
1. “Wooooooo” – Ric Flair
One word that’s been a part of wrestling for over 30 years. It’s become a hit rap song, almost everybody knows who started it. It’s one of the most recognizable sayings in all of sports for that matter. Flair would end almost every amazing promo during his early days in TBS studio with a drawn-out Wooooo. The Best.
5. “What’cha going do when Hulkamania runs wild on you” – Hulk Hogan
Gotta give this one its due. Yeah, so much has come out about Hogan in recent years from the racist comments to the abuse of creative control, however, this phrase in a way launched the global presence of wrestling. When Vince decided to bring Hogan back to the then WWF and make him the champion, Vince had envisioned the course he wanted for his company. Hogan’s catchphrase was a part of every promo, every pay per view etc.
4. “Cut the music” – Rick Rude
I loved Rude, one of the greatest on the mic. Loved how he drew the attention, and the heat, but uttering that phrase. Once he said that you knew he was about to insult 99% of the males in the audience, but comparing their physiques, occupations, etc. to his. This same tactic was later adopted by Shane Douglas in ECW, with Douglas changing it to “Cut the F’n music”. Once both of them said it, you knew something good was coming. I miss the days of unscripted promos.
3. “The Rock says” – The Rock
Few wrestlers if any could pull off speaking in 3rd person so consistently and so well. He barely ever said “I”, instead of using “the Rock” every sentence he spoke. Super charismatic, and super electrifying. The Rock says, shut your mouth and know your role!!!!
2. “That’s the bottom line, cause Stone Cold said so” – Stone Cold Steve Austin
Like others have said, this one launched the attitude era and kept it going during the Monday night wars. So charismatic, and so spiteful in your face, like a parent to a moody child, I don’t care what you want, or need. This is what you are getting, cause I said so”.
1. “To be the man, you gotta beat the man” – Ric Flair
Along with Woooooo, this was so iconic of Flair especially during his Jim Crockett/NWA/WCW run, when the Horseman were at their peak. Flair was laying down a challenge, saying I am the man, and no one can lay legit claim to that title until you have beaten me. Say it all you want, but until you beat me, it’s just simple talk. Take a look at the best champions in the history of wrestling, and you will find the ones who come across as the most confident are usually the best. Flair was at the top of that list.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.