Now that the post-Wrestlemania hype has pretty much subsided, I wanted to look at something completely different from the big event – music. Entrance music is a vital part of a wrestler’s arsenal. It’s what identifies them in the eyes of the common fan. When that first note hits… that’s when a wrestler gets the biggest pop. That’s when shivers go down the spine. It’s often the little things that distinguish between a good and great superstar, and the music – often even just the first note or two – is perhaps the most important of those little things. Good music should be instantly recognisable, and be relative to the character they are playing – they should tell the fans something about that individual. And it does help if it’s just a good song. This is a list of music that I rate highly (feel free to disagree, it’s all my opinion), because they do the job they have well.
Stone Cold Steve Austin – I Won’t Do What You Tell Me
The glass shatters – and the crowd goes wild! To steal a line from good ‘ol JR, when Austin’s music hit you knew business was about to pick up! It was a difficult decision to omit this from the top 10 partially just because of how iconic it was during the most successful period the wrestling business has ever seen. It certainly applied to the no-nonsense edge of SCSA’s gimmick, but in the end I just felt as though it wasn’t quite as indicative of the individual as much as some of the others on the list (maybe because of all the tinkering they did to it around 2001, at times it sounded like a different song every week). Nothing wrong with it at all though.
Triple H – The Game
You went from Stone Cold, to Brock Lesnar, to John Cena. One of the few constants through all of these eras? Triple H. Why? Well partially because he used his influence with Vince to keep him there. But also partially because he was the game. He had the look, the charisma, the ability and the backstage influence needed to become a megastar in the business, which is why the moniker of “The Game” suited him down to a tee. This music just summed it up, while having it performed by Motorhead added roughness and aggression during the time when old-fashioned heroes and villains were extremely unpopular.
D-Generation X – Are You Ready
Arguably the group who were the first to break the mould in the WWE and move into the Attitude Era. Shawn Michaels and Triple H, and later X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws, brought a rebellious side that was fresh to the main event scene in the WWE from the mid to late 1990s. The question “Are You Ready?” had to be asked because no-one was ever sure what they were going to do next. They targeted the authority figures, and in many ways were a pre-cursor for the later McMahon-Austin feud. Even in later years, fans still popped big with anticipation when the music hit, as it was always a sign of entertainment.
10. Chris Jericho – Break the Walls Down
BREAK THE WALLS DOWN!!! Reference to the Walls of Jericho, as well as both the literal and metaphorical obstacles Jericho had to overcome to get to the top in the WWE. The countdown was a genius creation, building anticipation to his arrival, while it’s omission in recent years showed a more no-nonsense side of Jericho’s character. I don’t even really know what to say about this, other than nothing else would have suited Jericho better. It’s maybe because he’s had the music for so long, it’s become ingrained into the WWE fan’s mindset. When listening to this music, the only thoughts going through my head are that of Jericho himself – which is a testament to how it has come to define him. Maybe there’s a column about Jericho waiting to be written on another day.
9. Evolution – Line In The Sand
The only faction whose entrance music appears in this list, Evolution could be counted as the modern day Four Horsemen. You had the legendary Ric Flair, who had already assembled his amazing total of 16 world championships. Triple H – the World Heavyweight Champion for the majority of the group’s existence. Randy Orton – the 3rd generation star who had all the potential in the world, and Batista – the muscle of the group who had the look we all know Vince croons over. Evolution as a group were all about progress, building for the future.
“Tomorrow becomes the place to be”
Evolution’s premise was that Flair and Triple H wanted to mentor the future of the business. The song was still sung by Lemmy from Motorhead, retaining the familiarity that HHH had achieved. What was interesting to me is that, at the group’s birth, Flair was used primarily as a manager. But by the end of Evolution’s tenure, Flair was Intercontinental Champion. A far cry from the veteran supposedly at the end of his career. Also HHH is still wrestling (be it sporadically) even after Batista’s career appears to be over for the moment. When that first note hit you knew something big was about to happen, and so it proved for years to come. Orton and Batista became two of WWE’s biggest stars in recent times, arguably only behind John Cena, and with the group having a total of 34 world championships so far, the idea that the group consisted of the best of the past, the best of the present and the best of the future was certainly an accurate one.
8. Drew McIntyre – Broken Dreams
This is the exception to the norm in this column, as McIntyre hasn’t yet reached main event status, nor done that much since his debut, nor does the music have any significant meaning to his overall character. So why is it on the list then? Because it is quite simply an awesome song. Had Drew pushed on after winning the Intercontinental Title and become a consistent main eventer, I would be writing about how it completes the package and tops off the ability he undoubtedly has. As it is, Drew’s music is about the only thing going for him at the minute. He is floundering in the undercard, being fed to guys like Big Show to give them some momentum. He still has the potential to go far, and if he gets the gimmick change that has been rumoured it is very possible that he could be successful. He just seems to be the guy creative never has anything for – which makes me worry for him during the WWE’s “Spring Cleaning” period. For now though, “Broken Dreams” remains one of the few positives left for Drew.
7. Christian – Just Close Your Eyes
This could be either the Waterproof Blonde version or the Story of the Year version. Personally I prefer the latter, as to me it sounds more professional, more polished. As seems to be the case with most of these songs, the lyrics suit the heel personas better. “Just close your eyes” could be asking people to turn a blind eye to any cheating he does. But the lyrics also gave Christian’s character a key element – motivation:
“Dreams you never lived and
Scars never healed.”
This tells everyone that Christian remembers things and holds grudges, something we were seeing pre-Wrestlemania with Captain Charisma still apparently harbouring ill-feelings toward Teddy Long (ok I know it’s not that long term, but for WWE to remember anything nowadays is a stretch) after his refusal to give him one more match for the World Heavyweight Championship. It also shows that Christian is always looking to get to the next level; he is always looking to accomplish something. For years it was to become world champion, for now it is to become world champion again. There is even a ready-made feud with CM Punk for after Mania, after Punk storyline cost him a spot at Wrestlemania. Feuding with arguably WWE’s second biggest babyface can only be a good thing for Christian.
6. Shawn Michaels – Sexy Boy
It went through a couple of versions – one by Sensational Sherri, one even by William Shatner, and of course one by the man himself – but in one form or another it lasted for 20 years. I’ll say that again. 20 YEARS. That’s twice as long as a good career in the WWE, if not longer. That’s a testimony to Michaels’ longevity as a performer too, but he could easily have changed the song at some point over the twenty years. In the early nineties, the lyrics didn’t just describe Shawn – they were the Heartbreak Kid character. He DID think he was cute, he KNEW he was sexy. His mind-set was that everyone loved him, and he knew it. Then after he left in 1998, it almost became nostalgic. When he came back full time, it was still great because it was the sign of the arrival of one of the all-time greats. “Sexy Boy” has been one of the most distinctive parts of Raw since its inception, it has the ability to energise the fans and get them excited for what’s about to happen. It still gets a great reaction whenever it hits, so has to be counted as one of the greatest pieces of entrance music ever.
5. CM Punk – Cult of Personality
2011 was undoubtedly the year of Punk in the WWE. It has been said so many times now. He made fans out of a lot of people that didn’t spend all their time on wrestling blogs and forums while spending the rest of their time watching old Ring of Honour DVDs shouting “I LIKED HIM FIRST!!!” After Money in the Bank, there was one question on wrestling fans’ minds: when will CM Punk be back? In true WWE style, the answer was 8 days. Whether or not that was the right call is another blog, but on his return he debuted Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” (in the WWE). It had already been his theme at one time on the independent circuit, which was another of his nods towards the internet fans (including the mentioning of Colt Cabana, and the promo that lead to the on-screen introduction of “Mr Excitement, the Interim General Manager of Raw and Executive Vice-President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis), and it could not have been a better choice. Punk had a cult following amongst the internet fanbase, and was showing his previously untapped personality to the younger audience. He instantly became a leader, a rallying point for rebels. And aside from Punk, it’s a hell of a song in the first place. WWE showed huge faith in Punk by agreeing to pay royalties for it, but as a result Punk has single-handedly introduced the song to a whole new generation. It is very possible that we will look back on Cult of Personality as the anthem of a revolution in the WWE.
4. Randy Orton – Voices
This music was perfect for Orton’s maniacal, psychotic, Intermittent Explosive Disorder-suffering character in 2009. When it debuted in late-2008, it was the catalyst for his metamorphosis into the Viper – and I immediately loved it. It epitomised the very essence of the bad-Randy character. Yes, the one who attacked each member of the McMahon character in turn to get into Triple H’s head.
“I hear voices in my head, they council me, they understand, they talk to me.”
The lyrics re-enforced this too. THEY understand. If Randy doesn’t even understand himself, then what the hell is he gonna do next? It makes him unpredictable. It makes it seem as though he doesn’t know what he will do, which at the time was appropriate, because the fans didn’t know what Randy would do next – how personal he could go. They kept the short, building intro that Burn In My Light had, so it retained a degree of familiarity. It has since become synonymous with the viper gimmick he has now and survived his face-turn, so while the lyrics don’t quite suit his fan-friendly persona, it’s still excellent and should be around for years to come.
3. Kurt Angle – Medal/I don’t suck
This was music worthy of an Olympic gold medalist. In case anyone hasn’t heard “I Don’t Suck” it was very similar to the original, but with a rockier edge to it. It was only used for a few weeks, but it was on the WWE Anthology CD so it can be included here. The music sounded grand, like whatever it was the anthem of was valuable – and for many years Angle was extremely valuable to the WWE. He was a main event player in the most successful period in wrestling history. He fought greats at the Granddaddy of them All – Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit (remember him?), Kane, Brock Lesnar, Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton. It was helped by the “you suck” chants that accompanied Angle through most of the early 2000s (coined by another superstar whose music features in this list – Edge), which favoured audience participation over lyrics. His character at the time was the Olympic hero who bragged about how he was better than everyone else, but thought the fans should cheer for him because he represented their country. Angle is one of the best at reacting to the crowd, starting with the “you suck” chants all the way through to the “what?” chants we still hear today (for some reason while the Undertaker speaks), so this was a brilliant way of getting his character over. While other superstars have lyrics that quintessentially define their character, in a sense the lack of lyrics in Angle’s allowed him to become more hated than ever. The fans took great pleasure in chanting at him, even if they didn’t like what he was saying or doing, so his appearances were always a highlight. Medal was just the last piece in the puzzle for Angle – he obviously had the wrestling ability, he had the natural charisma and mic skills needed to be one of the best of his generation. He was, and the music was the tip of the iceberg in helping him get there.
2. Edge – Metalingus
Now I may be biased because I really like Alter Bridge, but this song was perfect for the rock star of the WWE for the best part of the last 8 years. When he started using the song, it coincided with his obsession with the WWE Championship becoming obvious to everyone. It was the birth of the main eventer we all know and love (and probably loved to hate at some point). The ultimate opportunist was always meticulously planning his next move, at times it was as though he could see what would happen a few steps ahead. “On this day, I see clearly. Everything has come to light.” This seemed to be the case for Edge, when it appeared he knew exactly what to do to get what he wanted (i.e. goad Mr Kennedy into staking the Money In The Bank briefcase). The opening riff never failed to energise the crowd, and whether it was because of the number of championships Edge won using the song, or because he very rarely failed to be entertaining, for me Metalingus will always be a reminder of greatness in the WWE.
1. Undertaker – Rest In Peace
The gong… the dry ice… the funeral parlour music… the beast of a man you’re about to face. It all adds up to one of the most dramatic and intimidating entrances ever. This is another song that has had many variations throughout the nearly twenty years of its use. The entrance initially adds mystique to the Demon of Death Valley, and then becomes symbolic of the cold fury that is about to be unleashed upon his opponent. For obvious reasons, the funeral march suits the Undertaker character. It could have been interpreted as a pre-mourning for ‘Taker’s opponent, as they may not recover from the hell they have to endure. His slow walk to the ring should have given whoever he was facing time to take it all in – and get the message that Taker is in control: he will get to the ring, in his own time. He will get in the ring to start the match, when he wants to. And usually enough, he dictated his matches too. They are in HIS yard, and they both know it. It’s been made into a cliché by the WWE, but it is spine-chilling, and will psyche opponents out, causing them to have lost matches before they have even started. It is for these reasons that the Undertaker has THE ultimate entrance in the WWE, definitely in recent history, and possibly ever.
So there you have it. I found it really difficult ordering them – on a different day they could have been put in a completely different order. What do you think? Have I put one of your favourites too low? Have I placed too much importance on the music? Have I read too much into some of the lyrics? Let me know in the comments or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.