Professional Wrestling has always been about showmanship and utilising said showmanship to get over with an audience. Sure, a lot of this is down to a fiery in-ring ability to deliver tremendous feats of performance art, but a crucial part of the pageantry that accompanies pro-wrestling is the performer’s entrance, in terms of both theme music and physical explosiveness. Just like a boxer or an MMA fighter’s choice of walkout song can become iconic and really serve to define the fighter (Anderson Silva with “Ain’t No Sunshine by DMX, Jose Aldo with “Run This Town” by Jay-Z and Rihanna, Michael Bisping with “Song 2” by Blur, Conor McGregor with “The Foggy Dew” by Sinead O’Connor and The Chieftains…you get the idea) a professional wrestler’s entrance theme can eventually transcend the industry and become a mainstream phenomenon (Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and The Rock to name but a few). One of the songs on my upcoming list was even played in a nightclub in Newcastle of all places!
As a 24 year old, shameless, pro-wrestling fan (that finally has his pesky MA dissertation completed) I figured I’d list a couple of my favourite entrance themes for some of the WWE’s current crop of superstars. I did place a couple of rules on myself for this list, in that the talent had to be currently and actively competing within the WWE so no Stone Cold, DX or Hulk Hogan here. I also decided to include NXT this time (because let’s face it, it’s basically another brand now).
Right. Now that all of those pleasantries are out of the way, lets have some music!:
10. Glorious Domination – Bobby Roode
WWE have made a habit of taking rival TNA’s top talent and escalating them, well, recently anyway, and this is absolutely true for Bobby Roode. He’s only been on NXT television for a few months now, but his presence has been, well, glorious. In adapting an almost Ric Flair meets Randy Savage entrance presence, bedazzled ring coat and macho-man poses aplenty ,”Glorious Domination” adds a greatly energetic power rock feel, adding both a sense of pomp and badassery to mister Robert Roode’s entrance.That and the song’s damn catchy. Good luck watching an NXT show without the whole crowd chanting the few words that there are to this song. It’s intense.
9. Southern Proud – The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson)
The Revival’s theme music absolutely reflects the slogan emblazoned on their t-shirts: “No Flips. Just Fists.” From their early bearded mechanic gimmick, all the way through to their current prize fighter personas, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder have been portrayed as a set of no-nonsense brawlers throughout their tenure, and their theme music reflects that. As soon as the opening shouts of “SAY YEAAUHHH” hit a crowd’s ears, they can be absolutely sure that they are about to layeth the smacketh down…eth. It’s almost WWE’s answer to TNA’s Beer Money Inc. theme (okay, I’ll stop), crude, simple and hard-hitting. They even added harmonicas to the latest remix!
8. Celtic Invasion – Becky Lynch
Everyone that knows me, knows that I love pop-punk music. So much so that I could probably write a whole piece about them (and stay tuned #foreshadowing). Therefore, it comes as a no brainer that Becky Lynch’s theme would land itself on this list. It’s fast, it’s punchy, and is the perfect reflection of Lynch as a performer. Combined with her smoke jet infused entrance and her steampunk aesthetic, “Celtic Invasion” puts some pretty hefty icing on a tough as nails cake.
7. Fight – Kevin Owens
If there’s one thing that I love more than pop punk music, it’s heavy metal (well, that and food) and if there’s one WWE entrance theme that’s as metallic as C-3PO in a moshpit, it’s Kevin Owen’s theme, “Fight.” “Fight” is both a deliberately simple and completely appropriate way of summing up both the music and Kevin Owen’s character. His standing as WWE’s prize fighter accomapnied by his brutal moveset (I mean, I don’t plan on taking a Pop-Up Powerbomb anytime soon!) and his suffer-no-fools attitude are all perfectly summed up by chugging guitars and a driving bassline. If there’s one WWE tune that’ll get you ready to fight, this is it!
6. Break The Walls Down – Chris Jericho
This is the oldest song on the list. No surprise as Chris Jericho is probably one of the oldest active performers on the roster (and I am now on “The List”…great). “Break the Walls Down” has been one of my favourite WWE theme songs since I started watching it in the early 2000s. Within every incarnation of Chris Jericho’s character, from flamboyant rockstar to suit-wearing sellout to terrible scarves and an awful goatee, Y2J’s music has remained an iconic part of his act.Whilst part of me would like to see the current Chris Jericho play himself to the ring (Joe Hendry style) with his band Fozzy, “Break Down The Walls” is a great example of the longevity of certain theme songs….and the riff is fucking tasty.
5. Phenomenal – AJ Styles
Of course, the first time this music was heard, nobody knew it was The Phenomenal One (until about three seconds later anyway). For all we know, Anderson Silva could have been entering the Royal Rumble. But out swaggered AJ Styles to this remix of the now iconic DMX song “Ain’t So Sunshine” (see, that Anderson Silva reference had a purpose!). It took me a while to warm to “Phenmonal”, but it’s now gotten to the point where I’ll be at BJJ training, or even just walking down the street chanting “No, they don’t want none” to myself, whilst onlookers gaze in pure shock and bewilderment.
4. Catch Your Breath – Finn Balor
Symphonic metal elements in a WWE theme song haven’t been heard since The Undertaker or The Brood’s theme songs in the late 90s. Enter The Demon King, Finn Balor. I can imagine that Balor was a tricky guy to pick a theme song for, given the dual nature of his character between the leather-jacket toting badass and the warpainted demon. “Catch Your Breath” sums this up in the darkest of veins. From the infernal opening riff and double-bass drum pairing, to the punctuated organ and choral thunder brought by the hammer of heavy metal…sorry that got flowery on me. There’s even little nuanced light shimmers and a hand gesture to go along with interludes of the song, making it look like entire crowds are worshiping at the feet of WWE’s new favourite demon.
3. Here to Show the World – Dolph Ziggler
Long standing fans will draw a lot of parallels between Dolph Ziggler and Shawn Michaels in terms of in ring style and general aesthetic. However, unlike HBK’s synth-pop infused barking on his entrance theme, The Showoff’s music provides a theme song on the lighter side of heavy. Yes, it may seem like more alt-rock shyte from WWE’s library of douche rock, but the song itself is actually pretty fun! That and Downstait (the band responsible for most of WWE’s rocky themes) actually don’t sound half bad (not as bad as the discount Avenged Sevenfold that WWE insist on calling Rev. Theory).In short, it’s punchy, it’s heavy and sure to get anyone pumped.
2. The Rising Sun – Shinsuke Nakamura
Being the smark that I am, I really enjoyed Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance music from New Japan Pro Wrestling (and stay tuned…). However, when the King of Strong Style made his debut in April of this year, “The Rising Sun” became an instant classic, for two reasons. 1.) It’s an absolutely beautiful track, combining awesome violin/string work with a backing bass drop to end all bass drops and 2.) It’s a sign that (unlike WWE’s main shows in the past) NXT don’t assign entrance music based on ethnicity (see Funaki, Taka Michinoku, Tajiri, The Great Khali etc.).The song has maintained notoriety amongst the WWE Universe, with NXT audiences singing along to the entrance whilst Nakamura makes his way to the ring, throwing out shocker symbols in every direction.
1. Worlds Apart – Sami Zayn
A ska based entrance theme was always going to top my list. Not only is Sami Zayn possibly my favourite performer on the WWE roster currently and the reason for my now controversial love of flat caps and Harrington jackets, but his theme song is simply the most positively charged thing on the planet. I challenge anybody to listen to this and not feel like you can skank on water. It’s both a guaranteed pick-me-up and a crowd pleaser. “World’s Apart” is so energetic that Sami Zayn even injured his arm hyping up the crowd during an entrance on an episode of Raw, and proceeded to work a full match despite this. True, said shoulder injury also forced Zayn out of action for close to a year, but it just goes to show just how amped this song can make you feel! This song is on pretty much every playlist I make, even my sleeping one, which probably explains my rampant insomnia and panda eyes. It will stick to you like a limpit with attachment issues serenading you sweetly with ska melodies!
Well, there’s the list. Obviously I’ve missed out a few that I’m sure some people love, and that’s okay. My list is probably completely different to yours (if you even have one!). You probably only listen to Ring of Honor or Lucha Unerground music ripped directly from the TV broadcast like a bootleg wrestling live record. But in the end, we can all agree that New Japan is better anyway. Take it away Shinsuke!