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Friday, September 22, 2023

4 Best Promos Of WWE’s Attitude Era (& 5 Worst)

In many ways, promos are the glue that holds together professional wrestling. They provide the link between matches and help audiences understand the wrestlers as they evolve. For all the great work wrestlers may be capable of between the ropes, it is what they say in the mic that really gets fans to invest in them, especially in a sports entertainment-centric product like WWE.



RELATED:10 Best Matches Of WWE’s Attitude Era, According To Dave Meltzer

Often cited as the best period in WWE’s history, the Attitude Era is jammed full of amazing characters who routinely cut incredible promos. However, not all of them were good. For every emotionally impactful or downright hilarious promo, there was an absolute stinker waiting just around the corner.

10 Worst: “Bark Like a Dog” Vince McMahon


In wrestling, it’s easy to think of a “bad promo” as someone fumbling over their lines or just being stilted and awkward. Sometimes, the content of the promo is just weird and doesn’t connect. In the case of Vince McMahon’s infamous “dog” promo with Trish Stratus, it’s just a matter of being downright disgusting and offensive.

This promo saw the ever-present heel McMahon force Stratus, one of the most prominent female stars in the company, to crawl around the ring and bark like a dog before stripping to her underwear. While not exactly an uncommon appearance within WWE at the time, the overtones of someone’s boss forcing them to act like a dog and strip is just beyond uncomfortable to watch and genuinely disgusting. This promo isn’t even bad in a “it’s still fun to watch way,” it’s just plain wrong and easily the worst part of what’s widely considered WWE’s best era.

8 Best: The Rock Turns Face

The Rock & Shane McMahon Raw February 15, 1999 Cropped

In the spring of 1999, the fans who had once hated Rocky Maivia’s guts were ready to cheer The Rock. The radical heel turn and change in character catapulted Dwayne Johnson straight into the hearts of every fan in every arena.

RELATED:5 Best The Rock Promos That Are Funny (& 5 That Are Serious)

When the time for a big face turn came, The Rock simply got to turn on Shane McMahon and the Corporation on Raw. It may not be the most memorable promo ever cut by The Rock, but the excitement in the air is palpable throughout the whole thing. And nothing can top the absolutely bananas reaction as soon as The Rock tells the younger McMahon that he’s “three seconds away, and The Rock means three seconds away,” from having the former corporate champion unleashed on him.

7 Worst: “One way OR ANOTHER” Steve Blackman

Steve Blackman

By no means is this the worst promo ever, but it’s just bizarre. On an episode of Raw, Terry Taylor approached Steve Blackman backstage in the run-up to a match with Ken Shamrock. Blackman’s delivery is stilted and rushed the whole time, but most distractingly, he’s facing away from the camera the whole time.

However, his awkward mannerisms and delivery are melted away for the last two words of the promo. Blackman finished the promo by saying things will end “one way or another,” but Blackman bizarrely opted to absolutely roar the “or another” at the end. The promo is quick, bizarre, and hilariously bad.

6 Best: “Bret Screwed Bret” Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon Bret Screwed Bret promo

Vince McMahon is perhaps the central character of the Attitude Era. During the late 90s, for better or for worse, just about every big star had a storyline with McMahon. The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and so many more saw their fame skyrocket alongside storylines with the boss, but it was a non-storyline incident that saw McMahon playing the biggest heel of all.

Just one week removed from the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” that saw Bret Hart lose the WWE Championship at Survivor Series in 1997, McMahon had a sitdown promo on Raw with Jim Ross. During the segment, McMahon uttered the now-infamous phrase, “Bret Screwed Bret.” The whole thing is filled with McMahon being a spectacular tool, and the promo helped to cement the Mr. McMahon character as the best heel of the era.

5 Worst: “It’s Me Austin” Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon is revealed as the Higher Power

The Ministry of Darkness is one of the greatest “What If?” storylines in pro wrestling history. It’s also one of the worst storylines WWE has ever run. What if the Higher Power was Christopher Daniels? What if the reveal had been literally anyone else? Alas, the Higher Power was Vince McMahon.

Naturally, as one of the most prolific characters of the era, McMahon had some absolute stinkers on the mic. While the execution of this promo isn’t truly the issue, it doesn’t help either. After all the build-up for who could possibly be behind the Ministry of Darkness, for it to just be McMahon was nothing short of disappointing and nonsensical.

4 Worst: “I did it for The Rock” Rikishi

Rikishi Did it for the Rock

The Attitude Era is looked back upon with fond reverence most times, but there is nothing more demonstrative of the booking vices of the era than the storyline surrounding “Stone Cold” Steve Austin getting run over. The storyline began at Survivor Series 1999 when Austin was run over and written off of TV.

Intrigue and mystery built as to who could’ve run over the Rattlesnake, and eventually, Mick Foley pressed the issue on Raw with The Rock. Austin had been run over by Rock’s car. However, the driver was none other than Rikishi. In one of WWE’s worst reveals ever, Rikishi then admitted to everything and said that he “did it for The Rock.” The whole thing is nonsensical in and out of context, but the promo itself is stilted and cold. The story following the reveal also leads into some of the most convoluted storytelling in the Attitude Era. On the bright side, the payoff leads into the incredible Armageddon six-man Hell in a Cell match.

3 Best: “Raw is Jericho” Chris Jericho

Raw is Jericho debuts

There are few multi-generational stars as successful and as enduring as Chris Jericho. His success inside the squared circle spans decades and multiple promotions. Although he was on TV for WCW first, his debut promo in WWE made that easy to overlook. After weeks of countdown clocks, Chris Jericho finally emerged on the September 8, 1999, episode of Raw.

RELATED:5 Best & 5 Worst Debuts Of The Attitude Era

Jericho’s entrance interrupted the Rock and saw the newly debuting star welcome the crowd to “Raw is Jericho” for the first of many times. Jericho proceeded to establish himself as a big deal in WWE in just a couple of minutes before ultimately being shut down by the Rock.

2 Worst: “We will become what we will become” The Brood

The Brood

Edge and Christian are two of the biggest stars in wrestling history. Their first major promo in WWE does not reflect that fact at all. The team that would go on to define a generation of stipulation matches debuted as The Brood alongside Gangrel. Things quickly went off the rails for the spooky trio after being given live microphones for the first time on Raw.

With Gangrel’s incoherent rambling intermixed with “heh heh hehs” that sounded less Dracula and more The Count, the promo was DOA. What did nothing to help was Edge somehow being even more incoherent and uttering the absolutely baffling phrase, “We will become what we will become.” Whatever momentum the three alleged vampires had beforehand got a stake through the heart that night.

1 Best: “This is Your Life” Mankind and The Rock

This is Your Life

Top-to-bottom, this may just be the best promo segment in WWE’s history. The “This is Your Life” promo put the stamp on why The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection worked so well, with both men exuding every bit of charisma they had in this segment.

The promo’s setup is simple, with Mick Foley bringing out an assorted cast of characters from The Rock’s past. Each person would have some significance that Foley would establish before The Rock verbally dismantled each one in a way that only he could. The whole thing is a masterclass in why this oddball pairing worked and why both men are some of the best of all time on the mic.

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