In wrestling, a great promo can genuinely make or break a star. Steve Austin was already rising up, but it was “Austin 3:16” that transformed him into a megastar in WWE. CM Punk made himself an icon with his “Pipe Bomb” while scores of other stars rose more on their mic skills than in-ring talent. While there are complaints about WWE scripting promos too much, it still requires a certain amount of charisma to make them work for fans.
Sadly, some folks can have promos that are not just terrible but also damaging to careers. It’s one thing for some rookie who can’t handle the pressures just yet. It’s another for a major star who’s done promos before stumbling into a terrible one. A few of these promos have even got folks fired for going over the line, and some never recovered.
10 Jake Hits Blackjack
1999’s Heroes of Wrestling is generally considered the worst PPV of all time. The “highlight” would be Jake Roberts, clearly beyond under the influence, slurring out a crazy promo about “hitting 22 in blackjack” amid other babbling.
The actual “match” was even worse as it was clear Jake was far beyond his glory days. He has done well with AEW in the past year, but this moment hurt Jake’s standing in wrestling for a long time.
9 Jumping Jeff Farmer
Jeff Farmer is known for two things in wrestling: Being the imposter Sting for the NWO and one of the most nonsensical promos of all time. Granted, it was the mid-1980s, but Jumping Jeff’s stilted delivery of “I hate it when things don’t get going my way,” and long pauses were ridiculous.
Even crazier was that this was pretaped, meaning it was the best version of the promo Farmer had delivered. The poor guy never had a chance aside from faking being Sting and smartly never talking in that act.
8 Gangrel’s Gabbing
Some guys are simply better off never talking. Gangrel looked terrific when he debuted in WWE. He had a creepy vampire-like look and his entrance rising up through fire was awesome. He formed the Brood alongside a young Edge and Christian who mostly stayed silent.
Finally, Gangrel talked on camera…and it was awful. He made weird statements, and his attempt at an “evil laugh” was pitiful. While Edge and Christan went on to be megastars, Gangrel slowly faded as this promo ruined his mystique.
7 Madusa Dumps Career in Trash
At the time, it was an epic moment, but history has not been kind. For a few years, Alundra Blayze was the star of WWE’s women’s division and its champion in 1995. When she heard WWE was eliminating the division, Blayze did not take it well.
Thus, in an opening segment on Nitro, she showed up under her old name of Madusa and literally dumped the title belt in a trash bucket. It got huge press, but sadly, WCW never used her or any woman properly. Blayze herself regrets the move as she threw more than just the belt in the trash.
6 Maddox’s Justice
Heel heat is one thing. Getting so much heat it gets you fired is something else. That’s what happened to Brad Maddox. The wrestler/announcer was good at riling up crowds and prepped to get a Smackdown crowd going in 2015. But then Maddox crossed a line by calling the crowd a slur that really can’t be repeated.
Maddox defended himself by just acting up his character and being the heel, but WWE fired him immediately. Maddox hasn’t wrestled since this promo killed more than just his WWE tenure.
5 Eli’s Mustache
Before it was a hot brand, NXT was a competition show giving guys a chance to rise up in wrestling. Sadly, a few would-be stars were quickly exposed as not ready for the business. And no one proved that more than Eli Cottonwood. He looked impressive with his seven-foot-tall physique lending itself to being a top heel.
Then he cut a promo bragging on …his mustache. As in, not having a mustache but then remembering he did and how it made him tough except when it didn’t. Confused? So was everyone else, and it’s no shock that Cottonwood was cut and never made it in the business.
4 Luger Forgets His Shirt
Once a fantastic star, Lex Luger had hit the lower rungs of wrestling by 2002. He was working for NWA Cyberspace and meant to do a promo threatening Ron Killings. Stumbling over his words was one thing, but then Luger forgot what promotion he was working for, the name of the upcoming big show, and then had trouble pulling off his shirt.
Once the video of it hit the Internet, Luger was a laughing stock, and this (combined with some major personal issues) led to his career soon ending.
3 The Shocking Debut
It’s hard to find a more disastrous debut in wrestling history. As the build to Fall Brawl ’93 built, Sting and British Bulldog were on Ric Flair’s interview segment when Vader, Sid, and Harlem Heat confronted them. They announced their new mystery partner…the Shockmaster.
You all know what happened next: The fireworks, the figure smashing through the wall, falling on his face and the helmet falling off to reveal Fred “Tugboat” Ottoman. He got it back on in time for Ole Anderson to do the voice-over promo of threats and power. Everyone could barely keep from laughing as this promo ruined Shockmaster instantly.
Chris Harris should have been, at the least, a good upper mid card talent. He showed it in TNA as multiple tag team champion and was skilled enough for a singles push. In WWE, he came out as Braden Walker on the ECW brand and could have risen up.
But then came the infamous promo of “Knock knock. Who’s there? Braden Walker and I’m going to knock your brains out!” Any chance Braden had was ruined in ten seconds, and he was out of WWE soon after. Harris’ career never recovered from this disaster of a promo.
1 Suffering Succotash
It took a while for Roman Reigns to truly win fans over. It wasn’t helped by WWE’s insistence to push him as a classic babyface when he was better suited for a heel. But far worse was WWE saddling Roman with lines that would have been laughed at in the 1980s.
“Suffering Succotash?” What genius thought quoting Sylvester the Cat was going to make Roman this badass hero? It was the start of numerous misfires, and his heel turn shows the main event star Roman should have been without this dumb stuff.
Next: The 10 Most Memorable Promo Botches In WWE History
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