In wrestling, the catchphrase is king. A good catchphrase can etch even a mediocre wrestler into the memory. A bad catchphrase just becomes an attempt that (hopefully) doesn’t get repeated. Below are 10 of the most memorable catchphrases uttered in pro wrestling.
The catchphrases selected are those that made an impact on the fans or the industry both during the times they were used and left their mark on history.
#10 “The champ is here.”
If this catchphrase were uttered by anyone other than John Cena, it might not have been noticed. At first it just seems obvious, and were it said by a one time champion, it probably wouldn’t make anybody’s list. However, John Cena’s 16 reigns as WWE champion as well as his long-standing role as the face of the WWE earn him the moniker “The Champ.” And if he walks into a building, what else would you say other than “The champ… is here.”
#9 “Pencil-neck Geek”
Classy Freddy Blassie’s oft-repeated insult “Pencil-neck geek” is one of the rare wrestling catchphrases that made it into the mainstream. It is an insult that went from the ring and into the mouths of people who didn’t even know it came from wrestling.
According to legend, Blassie first used the insult against a carnival performer known as “The Geek.” For those who are unfamiliar with Blassie, he wrestled from 1952 to 1974 before becoming a manager. As a manager he pioneered the way for the style managers like Bobby Heenen and Paul Heyman would use.
#8 “Excuse Me”
You probably hate Vickie Guerrero’s catchphrase, but the fact that when you just read “Excuse me!” you did it in her voice and either got chills up your spine or became highly irritated, is the reason this simple two-word catchphrase made the list.
For years, Vickie tormented Smackdown fans by loudly screeching “Excuse Me!” from the top of the ramp before using her position of faux authority to wreck some poor wrestler’s night, life or both. The fact that she could probably get the same heat from fans with or without a microphone only speaks to her surprisingly superior mic skills. An unlikely catchphrase and an unlikely heel, but boy did those two words coming from her mouth get a rise out of people.
#7 “What’cha Gonna Do?”
Regardless of your personal feelings for Terry Bollea the man, the character of Hulk Hogan changed professional wrestling forever and is directly or indirectly the reason most wrestling fans enjoy pro wrestling today. The 80’s icon’s frequently repeated question “What’cha gonna do?” loomed large for three decades. Sometimes it was “What’cha gonna do when the 24-inch pythons run wild on you?” other times it was “What’cha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on you” but regardless of how he said it, his opponents had to think about what they were going to do when something ran wild on them.
By today’s standards, it may seem like a catchphrase that is trying too hard or that is too old-school, but it was the catchphrase of The Hulkster. Hogan proves that even a mundane catchphrase can become iconic. Wait til you see the #1 entry.
#6 “Everybody’s got a price”
Hogan’s nemesis in 1988 may be responsible for the jaded views of a generation of young wrestling fans who tuned in every week to hear him proclaim that everybody had a price and everyone could be bought. Ted DiBiase had the difficult and fun gimmick of basically portraying Vince McMahon before Mr. McMahon was a character. Week in and week out DiBiase would humiliate fans, kids, his body guard Virgil and his opponents while laughing maniacally and proclaiming “Everybody’s got a price.”
His catchphrase is probably true, and his character was widely hated, but “Everybody’s got a price” defined an era of wrestling when there were good guys and bad guys, and nothing in between.
#5 “The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be”
Who wouldn’t want to use Brett Hart’s familiar catchphrase in a sport or in their professional life? It is one of the most boastful catchphrases in the history of wrestling, and if you like a certain style of wrestling, you believed it to be true for The Hitman. It may have lost its luster for some fans considering how Hart’s tenure with WWE ended and how his post-wrestling career has gone, but for a moment in time this catchphrase was emblematic the skills of the man who said it.
#4 “If ya smell what The Rock is Cookin'”
It’s iconic, it’s in his theme music, it’s what everyone — even those who know him only as Dwayne Johnson — think when they hear him referred to as The Rock. Like much of what The Rock said in promos, it’s a little hard to wrap your mind around what this particular catchphrase actually means, but it is a hit with both fans and non-wrestling fans.
#3 “To be the man, you gotta beat the man”
Ric Flair’s catchphrase rings true in all of wrestling and in many aspects of life. Ric Flair and the Big Gold belt were seldom apart throughout the 80s and early 90s. He was the man and if you wanted to be the man, you had to beat Ric Flair.
This phrase could be said by any champion and would be true for any champion, but it just rings more true and more valid when Ric Flair says it, especially when followed with Flair’s iconic “Woooooo!” Like with many catchphrases, this one is more about who says it and the way he says it than what is being said.
#2 “Ooooohhhh Yeaaaaah!”
Speaking of catchphrases working because of the way someone says it, that is what this catchphrase from Macho Man Randy Savage is all about. Savage’s catch phrase is just “Oh Yeah,” but the way Savage says it brings a whole new life to both words. Savage was one of the most skilled in-ring performers in the history of wrestling, but the first thing you’re going to think about when you hear his name isn’t his moveset, it’s his catchphrase.
One word. One simple word that we all say probably 10 times a day. And yet in the hands of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the word “What” morphs into an iconic catchphrase that has so resonated with audiences that they chant “What?” repeatedly at heels cutting promos years after Austin’s last match. There is quite possibly no other catchphrase that has had the same lasting impact as Stone Cold’s favorite question.