The first thing you notice about a wrestler is the entrance. In the WWE, you have the TitanTron video, the pyrotechnics or other showy things, and the entrance song. Of these elements, it is the entrance song which I think is the most important. Think back on when your favorite wrestlers would come to the ring. The broken glass, the gong, “Do You Smell…” You knew from the first sound who it was going to be and you responded. Maybe you even found the songs you liked and put them onto a mixtape back in the day to psych yourself up. (No? Just me? Okay, anyway…)
Theme songs have been used to re-establish a character after a heel or face turn. They have been used to differentiate between former tag partners after a break-up. They have been used to signal the return of a wrestler to active duty. They have been used to recognize and alliance with an existing faction. Theme songs play a very important role in the shaping of how we experience the product of wrestling.
There was a time when wrestlers and promotions used existing songs for entrances (before the record industry decided it needed a cut of that sweet wrestling money). Now, some promotions have their own music departments/musicians on staff to create new themes for wrestlers. Sure, Jim Johnston has created some good themes and some bad ones, but most of them are just … there. There is nothing much to them. For a while there, the WWE was just filled with crunchy, grungy guitar themes which just sounded all the same. There was nothing in them, especially at the beginning of them, that made the crowd roar in anticipation.
Take CM Punk for example. When he switched over to Cult of Personality by Living Colour, his pops got huge! The song fit his character perfectly. It also had a very recognizable guitar riff to start the song and allowed everyone a chance to turn and check out the entrance. It was a song, a sound, that people remembered. And it built on Punk’s personality. You couldn’t hear that coming over the loudspeakers at a wrestling event without think Punk was coming out. To me, that is worth whatever the WWE had to pay for the rights to use that song.
Those of a certain age, think back to the Road Warriors coming to the ring to Iron Man by Black Sabbath. Or the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express using Rock ‘n’ Roll is King by ELO. Or Hulk Hogan with Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger. Or even the Freebirds using Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. You knew those songs. You liked, or disliked, those songs. But they were recognizable. They were in your head already. Installing them as theme songs really helped you associate them with a wrestler or team. They were already established entities and, while having to pay for the rights to use them, they added immediate mental correlations with the product you were trying to sell – the wrestlers and their personas.
In the current WWE product, some themes are better than others. John Cena’s theme song, as horrible as it is, works for this purpose. Everyone knows when Cena is coming out, for better or worse. The Undertaker’s theme is still incredible. Chris Jericho’s theme, while not a personal favorite, at least has a a great beginning to rile up the fans. I am partial to Motorhead’s theme songs for Triple H. And I think the Wyatt Family is one of the more recent additions to be spot-on with its psychological effect on the crowd. Everyone else though? Be honest with yourself and think, if you closed your eyes in an arena, would you know who was coming out just by their theme music?
So, in today’s Fantasy Book, I am going to try to rectify that. I will select a handful of WWE superstars and fantasy book new theme music for them. Let’s see how this goes…
Enzo Amore and Big Cass – For this popular tag team, their entrance starts with some cliche Italian instrumental music before breaking into some generic new rap. Given the “New York” of these guys, wouldn’t a popular Beastie Boys song work? Maybe Sabotage or No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn? Both have very recognizable opening riffs and would get the crowd jumping. Either would work, but I am a little more partial to So Whatcha Want. I think it is used a little less in the mainstream but still is very distinctive in its sound.
Becky Lynch – Want a way to play up the Irish Lass Kicker’s heritage? How about instead of a vaguely Irish undertone in her theme, we go all out and let her enter to a rowdy Celtic punk song? I think Flogging Molly’s Drunken Lullabies would work perfectly here.
The Miz – The Miz has moved away from his “awesome” stage and become a big Hollywood star. It would make sense that he would want his theme song performed by a star worthy enough for him. We’re not talking some grand cinematic score from John Williams. Nor are we talking about a music industry giant like Beyonce. No, The Miz would only want the best. The best singer. The best leading man. Plus, I heard he needs the money. I can only be talking about one man – The Hoff. Think of the great promos The Miz and The Hoff could pull off. In fact, I see WWE Network original programming in the works.
Zack Ryder – Poor Zack Ryder. He just can’t seem to catch a break. He is popular, but not popular enough to really push. Every time he gets a bit ahead, the haters pull him back. He needs a theme song that gets stuck in everyone’s brain. Something that can not be denied, no matter how hard you try. Much like Zack Ryder himself. And really, he just needs to shake it off.
(And really, what wouldn’t the WWE do to get a guest appearance by Taylor Swift sometime?)
Roman Reigns – His current music bores the hell out of me. So let’s put some hell back into his entrance. While I am not a huge Slayer fan, Raining Blood works with a slow build and then a deafening riff before kicking into some righteously evil thrash. Plus, it is a good pun on his name. Everyone likes a good pun. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Roman Reigns headbanging on the way to the ring?
Seth Rollins – The former champion also has a very generic metal riff masquerading as a theme song. Since we decided to go thrash with Roman Reigns, I think his Shield partner should get in on the metal action. I propose a rarely heard Metallica song that was on the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack, I Disappear. And Metallica has the mainstream crossover appeal Vince McMahon loves.
Dean Ambrose – I don’t like Dean Ambrose’s theme song. At all. There, I said it. The beginning, an engine revving, could be the beginning of anything. Actually, it reminds me some of the crash at the beginning of Mick Foley’s theme music, and I don’t want to be reminded that the WWE is trying to play up Ambrose as Foley’s heir apparent. Then the rest of Dean’s song is just generic musical gibberish. What would be good for Ambrose then? Well, since the other two former members of The Shield have metal songs, I have to assume that a mutual love for heavy, thrash metal is part of the bond that formed the group. So we will stay in the metal world … but Dean Ambrose is crazy… I got it! BabyMetal!!!
I tried not to go too obscure because we want the crowd to recognize and remember the theme songs for the different wrestlers. But, at the same time, we don’t want the songs to be things already associated with others. Except for Taylor Swift. Damn her catchy earworms.
What do you think? Do you like these ideas? Are there other songs out there which would be better fit for current superstars? Let me know if the comment section. Until next week…
Tags: Becky Lynch, dean ambrose, Enzo and Cass, Roman Reigns, seth rollins, The Miz, zack ryder