I am a huge fan of pro wrestling. If I am not drowning in school work, I make an attempt to watch it every week. I mainly watch WWE, since I do not have the free time to keep up with the other promotions, some of which are in Japan.
For my speeches, I decided to select the promo between AJ Styles and John Cena before their match at the 2017 Royal Rumble. They have had a long feud; Styles and Cena had their first pay-per-view match at 2016’s Money In the Bank PPV. They have met multiple times in the ring, the most notable encounter being their match at SummerSlam 2016. The conflict between the two regards John Cena’s absence in the WWE and AJ Styles’ background in the Indy wrestling scene. Both topics are extremely well-known to wrestling fans, as John Cena is regarded as a part timer, wrestling a few matches a year, and AJ Styles’ background in the indy scene is infamous yet unappreciated by the CEO of WWE, Vince McMahon.
Both superstars are regarded as some of the greatest wrestlers of all time, John Cena being the most popular one and AJ Styles being the most talented one; both John and AJ have been wrestling since the late 90s, and have culminated an enormous following where they wrestled.
John Cena and AJ Styles both speaking in the linked promo above. AJ Styles is furious because he has achieved and conquered so many obstacles in the year he has been in the WWE, yet he feels that John does not respect him. He is enraged and perplexed, questioning John Cena on what else he must do to earn “some respect around here” and when will he finally be respected by John himself. AJ is mainly speaking to John, as he feels that John Cena would know how to earn the respect of the fans since he has been in the WWE for well over a decade. It could be said that AJ is also speaking to the crowds when he asks “[what he needs] to do to earn respect around here.” The reason he is not actually addressing the crowds is because he is probably the most respected wrestler in the modern roster, as his skill and dedication to the art earned him that respect long ago. AJ repeats his question so much, that it makes the audience think why he hasn’t achieved the respect of everyone, including John. In the short amount of time that Styles speaks, he is able to utilize ethos, pathos and logos. Since he is AJ Styles, he already has the credibility to be respected; if this man speaks wrestling he always uses ethos. He brings up all the achievements he has accomplished and speaks in such a powerful way that he is able to use pathos and logos at the same exact time. His speech ends with the transition to John’s rebuttal, furthering their feud and raising the stakes at their Royal Rumble match. From that we transition to John’s speech, where John directly answers to AJ. Cena ridicules AJ for wanting/mocking such petty things, like John’s appearances of Good Morning America or complaining about not being pictured on a promotional poster. John contuniues by adding his personal story of respect, saying how people boo him every time he walks into the building. He systematically dismantles AJ’s argument for wanting respect, as AJ has only been in the WWE for 6 months. The implied message in John’s promo is that he will soon turn heel, and that he really is the face that runs the place. John, much like AJ, is able to use all three of the ethos, pathos and logos appeals. He has been in the WWE for over a decade so if anyone knows the business it would be him- essentially granting him eternal ethos. He speaks about his trouble with the fans while explaining to AJ why he will never compare to what John has achieved, using both pathos and logos. From John’s speech, we see the beginning of a long awaited heel turn, and possibly the start of a new chapter for AJ.
The entire promo is so magnificent that it uses a lot of the canons of rhetoric to execute perfect storytelling.
This was a rushed blog, as there is so much that could be said on 4 minutes of wrestling. I hope you have enjoyed.