If you don’t give a shit about pro wrestling, don’t bother reading this post. I’m aware it’s fake/scripted/whatever, but so is professional boxing, the NBA and every television program worth watching.
CM Punk on RAW June 27, 2011
Easily the best professional wrestling moment I’ve witnessed in the past 5 years (on the big stage, at least). Ric Flair’s money-grubbing dropped his retirement match/celebration from this spot. The relevancy of this promo also helps it top-out Steenerico winning the ROH tag titles in Boston (which I saw live) and the Ladder War series of The Briscoes vs. Steenerico. Nothing from TNA/Impact from the past 5 years makes this list (The 5-star X-Division Samoa Joe v. AJ Styles v. Christopher Daniels match at Unbreakable took place in 2005).
CM Punk on Smackdown July 10, 2010
The “worked shoot” was predominantly used as a way to make the fake world of professional wrestling appear “real.” It was supposed to used to add gravitas to the product as a whole, as evidenced by the 3 following promos (preceding in date). No one uses the “worked shoot” more effectively at actually feud and match-building than CM Punk. Punk skates that thin line between what’s “real” and what’s fabricated better than anyone. Hardy’s substance abuse problems are real and well-documented, but it’s doubtful that Punk actually has any ill-will towards Hardy. However, they way he weaves the two together makes the faked hatred seem as realistic as another Jeff Hardy trip to rehab.
Joey Styles on RAW 2006
One of my favorite promos of all-time. For my money, Joey Styles is the best commentator of all-time. Yes, better than Vince McMahon. Yes, better than Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Better than Gorilla Monsoon, Jerry “The King” Lawler and even good ole JR. That’s not a dig at any of those guys, but rather a summation of how great Styles was at his job. This promo does an excellent job of indicting the WWE’s childish story-telling, stupid gimmicks and boring angles. Unfortunately, as evidenced by Punk’s promo… nothing has changed.
Paul Heyman on ECW One Night Stand in 2005
The best part of this promo is not so much what Heyman says, but how he says it. It comes across how much of himself he poured into ECW, and if it hadn’t been for him no one would have ever heard of ECW and certainly the WWE wouldn’t have made millions on it’s grave. This was probably the last time I was a pro wrestling fan, though I occasionally flirted with it the past 6 years. Rob Van Dam also had a great shoot on this show, but no where near as impacting.
Paul Heyman on RAW 2001
Basically a preemptive eulogy of the “Attitude” era that Heyman actually gave birth to with ECW. It’s a eulogy of interesting professional wrestling that ECW almost brought to the mainstream, but ultimately lost out to the merchandise-laden cartoonism that is World Wrestling Entertainment. Paul Heyman is the king of the “worked shoot” promo. He pioneered it in ECW only to have it stolen and over-used by the WWF/E, WCW, and TNA/Impact. The fact the WWE went back to “kayfabe” post-Attitude actually makes CM Punk’s promos entertaining because of their rarity and their current taboo. The thing about Vince McMahon - despite how vilified he is in this promo - is that he’s willing to “take his lumps” if it’s good for business. And this promo was great for business. Probably the only good 11 minutes of the Invasion angle.