The music that plays while a WWE superstar makes his or her entrance should speak volumes about their character and hundreds of brilliant themes have been composed or coopted in order to do just that. WWE has employed a variety of in-house composers to craft or select these tunes and, sometimes, the sound designers felt the best theme song for a hot new competitor was an old theme song a different superstar had already used. This isn’t that big a deal if the initial wrestler either wasn’t very famous or rarely used the song, but in some cases, downright iconic themes were shuffled from one wrestler to another, and WWE more or less simply hoped no one would notice.
That isn’t to say it never worked—in a few instances, the second superstar owned the entrance music to such a degree history has almost been rewritten to imply they originated it. Other cases looked pretty silly, however, especially when the company didn’t allow enough time to pass between taking the song away from one performer and giving it to another. Keep reading to learn which superstars like going green and discover 15 legendary entrance themes you had no idea were recycled.
15 Águila Recycled Marc Mero
Most of the wrestlers on this list at least waited a few weeks, or better yet a couple years, before recycling a theme used by another superstar. Águila made his WWE debut in November of 1997, entering to the theme music then associated with fellow WWE performer Marc Mero. Not only was Mero still using that same entrance music, he made an appearance while using it on the very same episode of Raw where Águila first entered the ring. Águila debuted as an entrance in the initial WWE Light Heavyweight Championship tournament, and the only explanation anyone can contrive for this one is that the company didn’t really plan to use him much after his first match, so they played whatever random song they had on hand as he made his entrance. Águila would finally be given his own music a few years later when he signed a longer term deal with the company and was rebranded as Essa Rios.
14 Layla Recycled Tiffany
Tiffany is probably most notable to WWE fans for her strange tenure as the final GM of ECW, although she also experienced an even shorter career as a wrestler on SmackDown shortly after that position was made irrelevant. During this time, Tiffany switched up her theme music from her rocking corporate tune (which was actually stolen from Torrie Wilson) to a more electronic-tinged pop number. Tiffany would be released from WWE amidst personal controversy in late 2010, but the pattern of recycled theme songs would continue, as her new electropop number would be gifted to Layla El. Unlike many songs on this list where there’s not a great deal of explanation behind the decision, it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to assume Layla got the song so the company could distance themselves from Tiffany. Of course, the overall story paints a picture of WWE simply not caring about what music the women entered to during that era, so apathy could be an equally likely possibility, as well.
13 Jerry Lawler Recycled Harley Race
Theme songs get recycled fairly often, as this list implies. Less likely is the case of an entirely recycled gimmick, although it may be derivative to the efforts of both Jerry Lawler and Harley Race to imply either’s gimmick as “The King” was necessarily lifted from the other. Lawler had been The King in Memphis for years before Race introduced the moniker to the WWE Universe in the mid-80s, but Harley was such an incredible talent it hardly felt like a pathetic knock-off. Ironically, it was Lawler who slightly felt like a knock-off when he debuted for WWE in the early 90s, although again it wasn’t the gimmick work that made it feel passé. Rather, the fact “King” Harley Race and Jerry “The King” Lawler both entered to “The Great Gate at Kiev” by Modest Mussorgsky is what made them feel just a little too similar. Truth be told, though, it must be good to be The King, because by now most fans have completely forgotten about Harley’s short foray with the music, inexorably associating it with Lawler.
12 Randy Savage Recycled Gorgeous George
Fans of Randy Savage would agree few words better described the Macho Man than “Pomp and Circumstance” and wrestling historians would in turn point out the legendary Gorgeous George was a performer much in the same vein. Gorgeous George was one of the first true superstars of professional wrestling and is thus perhaps the first grappler ever to enter the ring to his own theme music. He chose “Pomp and Circumstance” when doing so and, decades later, Randy Savage would find himself attached to that same song, at least partially in tribute. Savage would adapt a variety of other theme songs throughout his career, but it was “Pomp And Circumstance” he was most associated with, despite the fact he stole it from an earlier legend. The connections between Savage and George wouldn’t end there, as Macho Man later also purchased the copyright to the Gorgeous George name and bequeathed it upon his girlfriend and WCW valet, Stephanie Bellars.
11 Ricky Steamboat Recycled Ultimo Dragon
Despite having similar ring names, the gimmicks of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Ultimo Dragon (or Último Dragón, if we’re being technical) didn’t have anything of note in common. Steamboat had the spiritual strength of a dragon, while Ultimo’s name was actually a reference to his status as the alleged final student of Bruce Lee. Nonetheless, rumor has it someone in the WWE production room got things a little confused when Steamboat made a brief return to the ring in 2009 and he was thus given Ultimo’s theme music when he did so. Throughout the peak of Steamboat’s fame, he had generally entered to the song “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project, which WWE most likely didn’t want to pay the copyright fees for anymore. Fair enough, although the faux pas of confusing the Dragons still isn’t entirely excusable.
10 CM Punk Recycled Randy Orton
Occasionally, a superstar will make their entrance to music that doesn’t fit them in the slightest. Hopefully someone will notice and give them something more fitting, although it can be a little awkward when they do so because that first theme gets tossed away and the one weird time they used it becomes destined for YouTube and other video sites. Unless, that is, another superstar comes along and the theme does fit their personality, which is how CM Punk wound up with Randy Orton’s discarded “This Fire Burns.” Orton only used Punk’s future theme one single time, during an episode of SmackDown in 2006. Punk turned the theme into an iconic battle cry, while Orton simply treated it like another tune to walk to the ring during, so it isn’t a big surprise it worked better the second time around.
9 Brodus Clay Recycled Ernest Miller
Plenty of wrestling theme songs can be fun and/or enjoyable, although few quite start the party on the level of “Somebody Call My Momma.” If it feels like we’re being harsh on the concept of recycling throughout this list, let’s be clear about something: WWE could recycle “Somebody Call My Momma” once again for their next silly dancing gimmick and we’d be all for it. The song lends itself to funk like few other WWE creations and that’s why both Ernest “The Cat” Miller and Brodus Clay have juked and jived their ways down the ramp to the song. Miller’s time in WWE was rather forgettable, with his theme tune serving the sole exception, so WWE was well within their rights to bring it back for Clay and his Funkadactyls. The one person who seems to have a problem with WWE recycling this song is The Cat himself, who admitted he was “a little pissed off” about it, although he seemed to hold no particular malice towards Brodus or The Funkadactyls on a personal level.
8 Linda McMahon Recycled WrestleMania
With modern WrestleMania’s featuring multiple theme songs that are often performed live by pop stars during the show, it may be a surprise for newer fans to learn the theme songs of WrestleMania’s past weren’t quite as spectacular affairs. In fact, WrestleMania VI, VII, and VIII all had the same theme song and the trend would again follow for WrestleMania IX through XV. The second time around, the recycling wouldn’t stop there, as the song plainly named Jim Johnston’s “WrestleMania Theme” would again find play in WWE during the Attitude Era, now serving as the entrance music for WWE CEO Linda McMahon. It makes sense a McMahon would coopt from WrestleMania and the breezy tune definitely fits Linda’s wooden persona, making this recycle job one of the more understandable on the list. Now that Linda is in politics, it may be time for her to update and consider stealing another Mania theme, though. Hopefully, next time she’ll make things more interesting and try for some Metallica.
7 Maria Kanellis Recycled Stacy Keibler
Such is the nature of the entertainment business in general that most of the men, and especially the women, who become stars on television are exceedingly beautiful. The women of WWE are no different, although most anyone would have to agree that these women are beautiful in a variety of different ways. Maria Kanellis and Stacy Keibler have plenty of talents and assets in common, but if the two were standing next to one another and someone crassly yelled out “Nice legs!” it would be pretty obviously which of the two they were yelling at. Keibler’s gorgeous legs were so largely part of her persona that her entrance music for years was a cover of “Legs” by ZZ Top, and when WWE felt it was time for her to get a new song, they again went with the leg motif with a song called “Legs Like That.” As fate would have it, Stacy decided to leave WWE before she ever switched songs and the company decided to instead give “Legs Like That” to Maria. Beautiful though Maria remains nearly a decade later, her legs still don’t quite compare to a woman like Stacy, and the song always felt off as a result.
6 Cesaro Recycled Dean Malenko
Dean Malenko is accepted as one of the true greats of the pro wrestling industry, although certain parts of his career are better remembered than others, as is often the case. Malenko carved a solid niche for himself near the top of the midcard in WCW and his jump to WWE as one of The Radicalz made history. Malenko’s actual tenure in WWE was slightly less fondly remembered, however, due to the company turning him into a weird womanizing James Bond character, a role that didn’t fit his personality in the slightest. More than a decade later, suave European Antonio Cesaro would come along and suddenly WWE had their James Bond. Unlike most cases on the list, however, the company didn’t want to be entirely blatant about their recycle job, and therefore they added lyrics and made some other musical adjustments to Malenko’s theme before giving it to Cesaro. Still, if one was to listen to the tracks side by side, it would be very obvious Cesaro’s theme wasn’t an original and the string sections of the themes in particular remain absolutely identical.
5 Santina Marella Recycled Billy and Chuck
The Cesaro-Malenko example included new lyrics over an old instrumental, which at least masked some of the recycling to those with less perceptive ears. Likewise, WWE remixed “You Look So Good To Me” before giving the song to Santino Marella’s female alter ego, Santina, but they kept the lyrics and the intro entirely the same, so fans were hardly hoodwinked by these adjustments. Granted, that could have been the entire point, as no one was being fooled by Santina’s attempts at passing as his own sister, either. The subtle differences between the songs were virtually nonexistent, but they most certainly existed, which is probably what Santino/Santina would have told us had we confronted him/her about it. Billy and Chuck’s one-time manager, Rico, also used the theme song when he embarked on a solo career after their union split. Santina never quite came close to Billy and Chuck’s success, although she didn’t come near the PR disaster that was Billy and Chuck’s wedding, either, so the entire Marella family can rest easy that they dodged a bullet with this one.
4 Droz Recycled Man Mountain Rock
It can be a lot easier for a wrestler (or wrestlers) to steal an old theme if the person who first used it never amounted to much in the business. Man Mountain Rock was a very short-lived WWE gimmick, performed by former minor WCW star Maxx Payne. Rock’s gimmick was basically just that he played guitar and was implied to perform his theme song, “Rock On.” In reality, Jim Johnston performed the song as was the usual case for WWE themes, and that’s why the company was able to reuse it for Droz and his band of freaks during the Attitude Era. After a terrible accident left Droz paralyzed, the theme shifted to his enforcer at the time, Prince Albert. In fact, Droz and Albert weren’t the first to recycle Rock’s earlier theme, as The Can-Am Express (Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon) also used the tune during their few stay with WWE from 1996 to 1997.
3 Daniel Bryan Recycled Stevie Richards
Obviously, Daniel Bryan was far from the first person to popularize Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.” Sports entertainment fans may not remember he wasn’t even the first one to do so in wrestling, though, as Stevie Richards very briefly used the tune as his theme while in ECW. Richards, while still acting as the head lackey of Raven, would wrestle as parodies of various classic wrestling gimmicks each week, once performing as Baron Von Stevie in tribute to Baron Von Raschke. Baron Von Stevie entered to Wagner’s iconic battle song, and some 10 years later, Daniel Bryan would begin doing the same on a much regular basis. Incidents like this are especially silly, in that Stevie was basically parodying the idea of a wrestler being such a blowhard they’d enter to the song and then Bryan made his career out of being able to back-up such an outrageous boast. WWE composers later rearranged Wagner’s classic into Bryan’s new theme, “Flight of the Valkyries” and we’re pretty sure that if this version of the song existed back in the 90s, Baron Von Stevie would’ve found a pretty great use for it, just like he did with the original.
2 Hulk Hogan Recycled The U.S. Express
The point of this list is that one of the performers to use a given theme song became far more famous than the other people to try and use it. However, perhaps it would be an exaggeration to call every given successful wrestling theme “iconic.” With that in mind, there is no denying the song “Real American” by Rick Derringer of its iconographic status, considering the song is as synonymous with Hulkamania as The Hulkster himself. It must come as a surprise, then, to learn the song wasn’t even composed with Hogan in mind. In fact, “Real American” was written for the tag team tandem of Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo, then performing as The U.S. Express. Hogan took the song once Windham left for the NWA and though he brought the song and WWE to epic heights, the company would actually continue recycling it after that, although in a parodic manner. “Real American” was revived twice more in WWE after Hogan, first for Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco during the Attitude Era, and then again for Hogan, when he created the persona of Mr. America. Fight for the rights of every man, indeed.
1 Kurt Angle Recycled The Patriot
Kurt Angle may not have stepped into a WWE ring in over a decade, but if his iconic theme music were to blare over the speakers any time soon, one could rest assured fans would recognize it. Unlike most top WWE stars, Angle only used one theme during his entire stay in the company, although it would slightly morph and mold over time when appropriate. Despite these eventual changes, when Angle first received the song, it was actually untouched from the version that had then just recently been used by both The Patriot and Sgt. Slaughter. The theme was particularly attached to The Patriot, who like Angle, used it during his entire WWE stay. Of course, Patriot’s time in WWE was far shorter than Angle’s and Slaughter’s turn with the music only lasted a handful of shows during his time as Commissioner. And perhaps more importantly, neither Patriot nor Slaughter were able to make the theme their own, or truly own it in a manner the crowd could respond to. Sure, Angle did so by making fans chant “You Suck” in tune with the music…but considering that’s what makes the song so iconic in the first place, what they were saying was less important than the fact Angle’s charisma made them say it. Oh, it’s true. It’s damn true.