Professional wrestling, as least in the form popularly presented on television, has long been a curious combination of athletics, circus, and live theater. The truly great grapplers of all time, both good and bad alike, are known for their outsize personalities as well as for their outsize physiques. What a wrestler says and does outside the ring, building up his own image and tearing down his opponent’s image, is at least as important than what he does in the squared circle. Trash talk of this nature long predates the WWF era of wrestling that began in the 1980s with Vince McMahon. As evidence, just listen to classic novelty songs like “The Crusher” by The Novas or “Pencil Neck Geek” by “Classy” Freddie Blassie. Catchphrases have always gone hand in oily hand with wrestling.
But, in the minds of most people today, the modern era of wrestling truly begins in the Reagan years with superstars like Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. The WWF became the WWE back in 2002, but the tradition carries on today with a new generation of combatants. In order to commemorate the recent WWE SummerSlam event in Brooklyn, an online retailer called Costume Super Center has created a rather incredible infographic that collects some of the greatest wrestling catchphrases from the 1980s to today. Faces and heels are both well represented here.
Anyone looking to psych out an opponent during a tense Foosball match or a round of high-stakes Jenga would be well advised to consult this infographic. It’s a goldmine of tough talk. As a matter of fact, pretty much of all these phrases could be used to spice up an otherwise boring conversation. Cornered by an unknown uncle at a dreary family reunion? Try Bray Wyatt’s “I am the eater of worlds and the new face of fear.” And that big presentation at work could easily end with this gem from the 1990s: “That’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so!” If there’s one phrase that doesn’t fit the egocentric mold here (many of the phrases start with “I am…”), it comes from that eternal exception to the rules, Mick “Mankind” Foley, whose catchphrase is “Have a nice day.”