I have a confession: I’m a pro wrestling fan. I know it’s considered bad to be one in the United States as of late, but all over the world, the art of professional wrestling is widely acknowledge as a impressive form of entertainment. In Latin America, “lucha libre” is considered a sport of true art and passion with high-flying moves and colorful characters. In Japan, wrestling is just as respected as MMA or boxing and even appears sometimes as a under-card match in those type of events. Either way, we all know it’s predetermined, but films and television are as well and those are respected. The world of professionally is still awesome (at times) and is a nice way to forget reality.
With that said and done, what makes us watch wrestling like TNA, WWE or ROH is the wrestlers themselves. They cut promos, show off what they are about and usually have a bitchin’ moveset. What also helps us determine who is heel (a villain) or face (a hero) is their theme songs. When that music hits for these superstars, you know what going to happen. They are going to get an amazing pop and the crowd will eat it the hell up. It defines who the superstar is. Now, it’s time to know your role and shut your mouth because we are opening a can of whoop ass with my personal top 12 wrestling theme songs. Jim Johnston will be proud.
12. Booker T’s Theme Song- “Rap Sheet”
Can you dig it…sucka?! Coming straight from the Harlem Heat is Booker T with this impressive theme song. Something about this theme is so old-school and wonderful. Booker T, if you don’t know by now, is the five time WCW Champion that impressed with his “spinaroonie” move and his cool babyface antics. Booker was a delight and the theme song captures his unique presence in the ring. “Rap Sheet” is hip-hop and house married together with synths, a thrilling drum beat and progressive tones throughout. Even better, the last version started with the famous “Sucka” quote with Booker got from 1979’s The Warriors. That alone makes it earn a place on the list.
And, just because it’s obligatory, here is that classic Booker blooper:
11. Brock Lesnar’s Theme- “Next Big Thing”
A dominant force in the WWE ring is the one in 21 and 1 in The Undertaker’s streak, Brock Lesnar and his theme makes it clear he is not one to screw around with. The aforementioned Johnston above decides to make a hard rock anthem that gets those listening jacked with fans knowing “here comes the pain.” Lesnar has proved that he is a great monster heel, with the help of the best talker in the business, Paul Heyman. No punches are pulled as every guitar riff represents another step to coming close to getting three F5 or 16 German Suplexes from the “Next Big Thing.” This song is also great for workouts as you automatically want to go for a run and do some kickboxing. Whatever it is, the “Next Big Thing” won’t be that far behind.
10. Chris Jericho’s Theme- “Break the Walls Down”
This theme blew my freakin’ mind as a kid as out of nowhere the clock finally ticked to it’s final number in front of The Rock. The beginning line said “Come on, I know I got ya” and out appeared Chris “Lionheart” Jericho ready to cut a promo on The Rock. One of my personal favorite wrestlers of all time came to bring us into the new Millennium with his killer Y2J gimmick. The song itself oozes the hardcore rap-rock sound of the late 90’s while single handily reminding you that Jericho is simply better than you. He has arrived to put you in the Walls of Jericho (or if you prefer, the Liontamer) and not letting go. On a recent episode of WWE Countdown, Jericho didn’t know what the hell the song was saying, but said who cares because it’s badass. It’s epic, will get the fans pumped and has been doing that for over a decade. Funny enough, at one point, Jericho recorded a new theme song with his band Fozzy. As you can see, it didn’t work out.
9. CM Punk’s Theme- “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour
This is a complete cheat since this song is from way back when, but who better than to have this theme than the always controversial CM Punk? This was his thing back in his Ring of Honor days. He had some generic theme before hand and was lucky enough to get his ROH theme back thanks to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s Hall of Fame induction. They license the song to use in a video package for the event and decided to keep it for Punk’s theme. When it hits and the TV statics whirls with the sweet opening riff, Punk is ready to speak his mind and lay a pipebomb down. Punk is an amazing athlete and uses quite an impressive moveset, including the much beloved Go to Sleep (GTS to the WWE faithful). The song itself is filled with thoughts about being the better than those beneath you while using your authority to be over them.Punk’s motto of being the best in the world fits. It has an impact with a thumping hard rock sound and a thrilling chorus that alone captures your attention. A very badass guitar solo appears in a later portion of the track as the song reaches its climax. Sadly, Punk left after the Royal rumble this year with no signs of coming back, even actively suing WWE for merchandising rights and royalties for the upcoming WWE 2K15 game. Despite this, Punk’s impact remains as being the only true rebel in a PG era version of sports entertainment.
8. Hulk Hogan’s Theme- “Real American” by Rick Derringer
If the 80’s era of the World Wrestling Federation could be summarized in one theme, it would be “Real American.” It’s glorious patriotic cheese at it’s finest with a sweet pounding guitar riff and Derringer’s sweet buttery voice. Armed with a chorus of people cheering for their pride, “Real American” captures the sentiment of the Cold War era with the sounds of sweet stereotypical freedom. This theme was fit for Hulk Hogan to get out of the ring, flash his smile, rip his shirt and wave the American flag for the right to fight anyone standing in his way (usually “Macho Man” Randy Savage). It’s one of the first real themes in the fed and gets a higher position for practically being the one that started it all. It helped the audience figure out that Hogan was the All-American man with the American Dream practically written on his oily steroid fueled 24 inch pythons. This song of course came from the totally awesome “The Wrestling Album” that is the launch point of wrestling music as we know it today. It’s nostalgic and still gets a pop from the fans as Hogan appears in his signature red and yellow to entertain fans of the past and present.
7. N.W.O.’s Theme- “Rockhouse”
The following is a paid entry by the New World Order. One of the best factions growing up was the n.W.o. and it was everywhere from t-shirts to graffiti with virtually no escape. It’s been years and I’m a 22 year old man still clamoring for some n.W.o. gear. WCW had a brilliant group and that group needed a badass theme song with some similarities to the style of Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” The theme hits and thus begins the Black and White invasion. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan lead the faction alongside manager Ted DiBiase and Eric Bischoff, practically taking over the WCW product and becoming its own entity. This faction of bad guys and anti-heroes was the coolest and felt real as the 90’s was hurting for a real take on the concept of sports entertainment. Unfortunately, it ran its course by the late 90’s splitting into two different version of the group, which is really stupid to continue beating a dead horse. The song itself capture the cool nature of the group with suaveness and sounding more close to theme for a bike gang than anything. The song got quite a pop when Hogan returned to WWF in 2002 with the entire n.W.o. showing that the n.W.o. impact was still felt. It’s still holds up, even if the n.W.o. didn’t.
6. The Rock’s Theme- “Do You Smell It?”/”Electrifying”
They are the pretty much the same song, yet one is just a little bit more badass than the other. The Rock, without any shadow of a doubt, is one of the best wrestlers of all time with a charming heel charisma, heroic strength and a mouth made for cutting promos and trashing others in the locker room. Dwayne Johnson still electrifies stepping into the ring and the crowd is always pumped to hear from him. In the late 90’s, we all heard the sound of “Do you smell what The Rock is cooking?” in a dry monotone manner with the dynamic music with a melodic guitar raging onto the scene in “Do You Smell It?” It’s quite sobering to hear at times, but The Rock is ready to roll, pun intended, with random pops of “The Rock says” and “know your role”. In the remix for his comeback in 2011, the monotone is replaced by his signature yell of “IF YOU SMELL” and amps up the original to freakin’ eleven. Everything is taken a step further with a barrage of drums hitting the eardrums like the People’s Elbow crashing down, a loud arrangement of guitars pounding each power chord and capturing the lighnting of the original in a bottle. I still personally mark out when I hear this theme as we await Dwayne Johnson to finally come back..home.
5. Triple H’s Theme- “The Game” by Motorhead
Time to play the game and that phrase was never more clear when Triple H came out to the sound of the metal legends Motorhead. Hunter Hearst Helmsley is somewhat of a controversial figure with marks and smarks alike, but he always puts on a show with great ring work and actually has tons of knowledge of the industry inside and out. Personally, he kicks major ass and Motorhead help it come full circle with thumping theme as Lemmy wails “It’s all about the game and how you play it. It’s all about the game and who’s gonna make it.” It’s badass written all over it with a pulse-pounding guitars and bass, dramatic drum fills and bringing the old blues-inspired metal track of pure badassery. Badassery isn’t even a word, but dammit, it’s this song in a nutshell. Motorhead would go do two other songs for Trips with the faction Evolution and Trips other gimmick of the King of Kings. Both songs shared there respective title for each, but none come close to “The Game.” It also helps that he is friends with Lemmy. It seems to have great benefits.
4. Edge’s Theme- “Metalingus” by Alter Bridge
You think you know him. From Toronto, Canada, here comes the Rated R Superstar, Edge. Adam “Edge” Copeland was an awesome wrestler with great heel tendencies, winning over crowds, a kickass spear and a functioning psycho persona. It makes Edge what he is as the song itself is about a hero rising above his defeats and overcoming the obstacles in his way which describes much of his career. He started out part of the vampire gimmick with The Brood that was a bit odd, ended up with his buddy Christian in a fantastic tag team, then wrestled solo overcoming everything. Edge, by the way, has won every title in the Fed along with King of the Ring, Money in the Bank and the Royal Rumble. Edge was a fantastic face and an even better heel as, just like CM Punk, stretch the limitations of what could be done in a PG era of WWE. Alter Bridge’s song was released before the theme change, yet gets the character across well with its hard rock vibes and early nu-metal roots with a driving rhythm in the opening of his song after the famous “You think you know me” line. Edge would have an early retirement in 2011 due to a severe neck injury, which was disheartening to hear such sad news from a talent. If one day he heals up and is done with acting and shows up in the ring in the future, I hope this theme comes along for us fans to mark out once again.
3. Shawn Michael’s Theme- “Sexy Boy”
Shawn Michael, the Heartbreak Kid, former Rocker and member of DX, is still my favorite wrestler of all time. His trademark style, his trademark superkick and Sweet Chin Music and his trademark song he sings himself, “Sexy Boy,” makes me smile everytime. This song amps me the hell up because I know the show is about to begin and it’s going to be great. Michaels does sing his own little throwback to cheesy hair songs of the 80’s with a choir of girls (I think it’s Michaels being really terrible at girl impressions) saying “sexy boy.” His singing, while horrid, is made up with such memorable lines like “I think I’m cute, I know I’m sexy” or “They hear me walk, they hear me talk, I make them feel like their on cloud nine.” It’s unintentionally hilarious and perfect for his sexy boy gimmick. Their is even a version with one of my favorite managers, “Sensational” Sherri Martel, singing the theme. It’s not very good, but it gets the job done and perfect for his “Heel” persona at the time.
Michaels himself is one of more respected men in the industry and a complete athlete from head to toe being dubbed “Mr. WrestleMania” for his great matches at the event that made people cheer for him to succeed. His last two matches at the Showcase of the Immortals was with the Undertaker, which lead to his retirement. Guess The Undertaker was the perfect man to retire t…
2. The Undertaker’s Theme- “Rest in Peace”
The Deadman from Death Valley has come for the next superstar to make sure they rest in peace. The Undertaker, arguably one of the most famous & greatest wrestlers in history, leaves his mark with this dark Gothic entry on the list. As the lights go dark and the theme begins, he makes his presence known. There are no words beside an ominous choir singing for his arrival with organs and strings that would make the composer of “The Funeral March” crap his pants. The gimmick, in all honesty, should not have worked from day one, but as eras changed, so did Big Evil. From being an undead zombie with Paul Bearer to the leader of the Ministry of Darkness to being the American Badass, Taker has survived the industry for longer than expected. Like Michaels, Taker at WrestleMania was special with the streak and always makes an awesome entrance with druids, fire, flames and sometimes lightning striking him with the superstar ready to break “The Streak” collapsing to his feet in fear. Brock Lesnar ended “The Streak” this year, but Taker still looked as dark as ever ready to take him down before taking three F5 and suffering a concussion. The theme is still chilling and no doub i due time when Taker comes back for a retirement match, fans will still be in shock by the theme.
Before we get to number 1, let’s get some honorable mentions out of the way. Here are the five that just couldn’t make list:
John Cena’s “Basic Thuganomics”
Vince McMahon’s Theme- “No Chance in Hell”
Bret Hart’s Theme- “Hart Attack”
Kurt Angle’s Theme- “Medal”
Degeneration X’s Theme- “Are You Ready?”
And number 1 is…
1. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s Theme- “I Won’t Do What You Tell Me”
From Victoria, Texas, weighing 252 pounds, it’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. No one else’s theme comes close to getting the tone and character as pitch perfect as “I Won’t Do What You Tell Me.” Steve Austin, the “Texas Rattlesnake,” lived up to his name by coming in to kick some ass, raise hell and stun the hell out of whoever was in his way. As the glass breaks, an impactful orgy of thunderous guitars and drums sunk the audience is as Austin makes his way down the ramp flipping the bird. Austin is the most popular wrestler of all time right next to Hulk Hogan. As with every other theme on the list, when it’s played at an arena or stadium, the pop is massive because you never know if Austin is going to come by himself, on a zamboni, or even a beer truck. Disturbed did a new version called “Glass Shattered,” which in its own right is pretty hardcore and badass, but the original is the one that will always be amazing.
What are your favorite wrestling theme songs? What is your personal list of the best ones? Comment below.