10 Powerful Wrestling Promos That Never Uttered A Word

More than words.

Rock GIF
WWE Network

The best pro wrestling promos scream straight fire down the lens.

Ric Flair, overwhelmed by his own brilliance, declaring it - and his obscene wealth - when utterly beside himself. Road Warrior Hawk, threatening to mutilate whichever poor prick stood in his path. Cody, voice cracking, thanking the fans for believing in his ability to transform the very wrestling business.

The candid sit-down can function to sell the gravity of a storyline development: Hangman Page feeling head-to-toe like poison; Santana hinting at the sympathetic babyface within the defensive exterior; Mankind revealing the humanity within himself in the first, deeply affecting phase of his transition into a folk hero.

It's a pet peeve of your writer, when a great talker is confused with a great promo. The idea, and remember what promo is short for, is to sell the public on a wrestling match or the next beat of a storyline. A good verbal segment isn't necessarily a good promo.

To prove that - in ad revenue-friendly list form! - some performers are more gifted at telling a story through silence than many of their peers are with words.

You can scream. You can emote softly. You can even say nothing.

Basically, just don't do a scripted promo penned by a WWE writer. Ever.

And you'll be reet.

10. The Rock

Rock GIF
WWE Network

Ahead of No Way Out of Texas, Farooq cut a promo promising to draw a line under the Nation of Domination's war against the Disciples of Apocalypse. Everything about those words together in sequence was as dire as it reads. It is bonkers to consider that the Rock, in 1998, was involved in something so listless.

To incredible world-building effect, Rock knew this too.

He did utter a word, to be pedantic; when Dok Hendrix asked for thoughts from the leader of the Nation, hilariously, the Rock tried to take the microphone from him. Farooq cut him off: "Boy, you're just begging me to whoop your ass, ain't ya?"

The Rock then proceeded to enter a bravura boy-popper of a performance - but not after foreshadowing the story to come with a menace-laden stare-down.

It was now time to perform. To entertain. To steal the limelight destined for him. You could listen to Faarooq's promo for millions - and millions - of years, and you'll still never register a f*cking word he is saying. In a spellbinding performance that told a sensational story, it was all about the Rock. So iconic that it continues to dominate Twitter replies 22 years later, Rock dominated the screen. This was a silent peacock strut of a promo in which his eyes orbited the sun, much less rolled around his head, to convey the sheer disdain he held towards his so-called leader.

There are two awesome things a pro wrestling heel can do to put across the idea that they are, in fact, great: they can do the "I have the belt" gesture, and they can do the muscle tiddy-popping flex.

Rock, because he could do it all, did both at the same time.

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Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!