The Power Of Words

Wrestling isn’t just about your skills in the ring. While this is an important part of the job for wrestlers there is another key aspect you need to get over with the fans – You need to be good on the microphone and a good catchphrase can very quickly catapult you to superstardom over night. There have been many who have tried and failed to get over with a phrase but when there have been successes they have really taken off to another level. I look at 3 of the greatest phrases in my opinion that have gotten over in a huge way.

Bryan

Clearly the most over phrase right now is Daniel Bryan with “Yes! Yes! Yes!”. Monday’s Raw really highlighted the popularity that Bryan has risen to since he began using this phrase to not only over exaggerate his celebrations as World Heavyweight Champion, but on his way to the ring. The crowd since he has started doing this, and even when he switch to “No! No! No!” were literally eating up the phrase and it has gone on to be one of WWE’s biggest selling t-shirts. My two and a half year old son loves copying this every time he see’s Bryan on TV, and I think this shows how much Bryan has a connection with the whole WWE Universe.

You can argue Bryan was already over in a sense with the WWE Universe as his in-ring work literally blew others away and very few people with the exceptions of CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler could really compare. However, it has to be said his mic work was not at the level most would have liked. Bryan was ok but he lacked something. Luckily for him, the “Yes!” chants took off and his confidence has grown further both in the ring and on the microphone as a direct result of this.

Austin

Stone Cold Steve Austin – This man has more than one phrase that had an impact upon the WWE Universe – You could argue the cases for “Oh hell yeah, “DTA” and “Cause Stone Cold said so”. However, the phrase I find had the biggest impact was one Austin used at the 1996 King of the Ring, simply put “Austin 3:16 just whipped your ass”. After defeating Jake Roberts in the final, Steve Austin used that phrase in an interview and literally transformed himself overnight.

The night after King of the Ring on Raw the stands were literally full of Austin 3:16 signs, and this helped further catapult Austin to a level of stardom that had not been seen since the peaks of Bret Hart or Hulk Hogan. Would Austin have become such a huge success without having talked about Austin 3:16? I’d say probably but I can’t say I think he would have become as big a star as he did in the long run. His other phrases spawned off this and it’s possible they may never have had the same impact had Austin not uttered those words at King of the Ring.

Rock

Much like Stone Cold, The Rock spawned many catchphrases over time such as “Know your role”, “The Rock says” and “It doesn’t matter”, however it was something that he ended his promo’s with that really launched him to another level with the fans, “If You Smell What The Rock Is Cooking”. Granted, this phrase did not immediately take off, probably due to the fact that people still remembered the not so popular Rocky Maivia character. However, when he became The Rock and started to use this phrase and became more of a bad ass you couldn’t help but want to cheer for, the copying of this phrase only grew more and more with the fans.

You could argue the case for phrases such as DX’s “If your not down with that…”, Miz’s “I’m the Miz and I’m awesome”, Mick Foley’s “Have a nice day”, Ric Flair’s “Woo”, Zack Ryder’s “Woo Woo Woo”, Bret Hart’s “Best there is, best there was, and best there ever will be”, or Undertaker’s “Rest in peace” being over, and while I agree they have had a huge impact on the stars and fans and are worth a mention, the three above really stick out as the ones that have had a major impact throughout WWE and the wrestling industry.

Phrases such as John Cena’s “You can’t see me” or Ryback’s “Feed me more” may well be over with the fans, but this has not really made the same connection with the WWE Universe. John Cena can literally only be described as the Marmite of WWE in that you either love him or hate him, and Ryback for me is floundering, given that his catchphrase of “Feed Me More” was more over than he was. However, notice that since the heel turn Ryback has dropped this, which on all accounts is probably a wise move.

What are some of your favourite phrases used by WWE superstars? Do you agree that the three mention above are the most successful of all? Is there someone you wold add on that I have missed out? As always, I hope you enjoyed this article. Coming up next time, I take a look at my favourite wrestler of all time, Bret Hart, and explain why I think he is “The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be”. Until then, thanks for reading.

  • Shashank Bhandari

    One on the tip of my tongue is, "If you're not down with that, we got two words for you…". This is really over with the fans. Also, "I'm The MIz, And I'm Awesome".

    • Jamie Welton

      Agreed Shahshank, two that I will be honest, I totally missed out and forgot to include. The DX one is probably more over than Miz's but both are and were over with the fans…So much so I added them into the article for mentions :-) However, the fact I didn't really think of them at the time shows they didn't have the same profound impact on me as perhaps others

  • Numero Uno

    "Whether you like it, or whether you don"t…WOO!!!! It's still the best thing going."

    • Jamie Welton

      Another great Flair saying Numero Uno – There are so many stars with so many phrases it was hard to nail down a top 3

  • Chris

    Pretty simple, Austin’s biggest is one word…WHAT? I said one word…WHAT? It’s one god damned word…WHAT? You get the picture, right?

    WHAT?

    • Jamie Welton

      Agreed Chris, another fantastic example of a word that simply gets over with the fans – Infact it’s still over today!

  • Chris Owen

    Brilliant once again my friend. It has been said by both of us that Hulk Hogan and Flair need to stop wrestling and hopefully sooner rather than later they will. I can't help it however by thinking that they probably with the exception of Stone Cold, Rock and DB that maybe they had 2 of the top 5.. WOO is so over and every time the Miz locks in the figure of four. That catch phrase always makes sure he is in peoples thoughts. Hulks “Whatcha gonna do, when Hulkamania runs wild on you!” I feel a big one and he was so over with the crowd every time he said this and hopefully I won't here it again lol. From a personal standpoint I can't stand the bloke but there is no denying how over he was. I think however, that Stone Cold has the best catchphrase and here is my reasoning. Flair, Rock, Bret and and Daniel Bryan (active) have been in the WWE in some capacity in the last year. When was the last time Stone Cold was? 'WHAT' has to be the best. There must be a handful of times I have never heard it on a show, Raw or Smackdown. Every time that word is said most people in the audience know why it is being said and who made it, they think of Stone Cold without them seeing him for a good few years. How many times in a show will people think of the Rock unless mentioned by a superstar, think of Rick Flair because Miz locks in the Figure of Four or think of Takers Rest in Piece because Kane does the cutting motion against his neck? So for me 1 word is the best catchphrase, when Daniel Bryan's hangs up his boots in the future Yes, Yes, Yes or No, No, No etc will be just as big as WHAT. Why?because it is one word and can be used at any point in a conversation or promo. It is hard to imagine someone doing a promo and the audience in the middle of each word of it saying If you smell what the Rock is cooking lol. Let me know what you think :) I do agree that the 3 you have chosen are right at the top and I have to be honest I like all 3. But I don't think of wrestlers until I hear a catchphrase or see them where as Stone Cold and Bryan I think of them all the time because the fans saying What or Yes/No!!

    Oh and Jamie you will be miffed as you have forgotten CM Punks "Best in the world" and Jericho's Best in the world at everything I do? and just as a footnote in honour of Eddie "I lie! I cheat! i Steal!" lol

  • Jamie Welton

    Thanks again Chris, always appreciate the comments. Whilst I agree with you that ‘Woo’ is over as a phrase I don’t think that particularly made Flair, he built a reputation on his in ring work. Higan I feel was already over given Hulkamania and didn’t need the catchphrase so I left that out purposely. I fully agree with you that ‘What’ is majorly over and you rarely don’t hear it now. I agree with you on all the points raised – My main focus was what made these guys big and those were the 3 that came to mind with all those guys as if they didn’t get to the top with these phrases then we may never have heard phrases like ‘What’ being used.

    Punk I left off deliberatly as ‘Best In The World’ didn’t make him, his indy reputation, in-ring work and the pipebomb blew him up big style.

  • Nicholas Larks

    Great article! I’ve always said how important catchphrases were in developing a main eventer.

    • Jamie Welton

      Thanks Nicholas, appreciate the kind words. Being a main event talent isn't just about what you can do in the ring, it's about your mic work and connecting with the WWE Universe in a unique way. Without that, your never quite going to make it to the top