Aside from in-ring ability and having decent charisma, a wrestler's entrance is probably the most important part of a wrestler's arsenal. While some are memorable and add to the entire experience, others make their way down to the ring without fans turning their heads towards the ramp. Fireworks and pyro are nice touches, but it's the entrance theme that gets people genuinely excited and pumped up. That's why it certainly helps quite a lot to have a good one.
Some of the greatest Superstars of all-time have unsurprisingly had some musical gems. But occasionally, the WWE attempts to spice things up by changing it to something that doesn’t have anywhere near the same effect that the previous song had.
Some themes are excruciatingly bad and haven’t found there way into the top 15. For instance, the Right to Censor theme was one of the most irritating noises known to man – but it was meant to be. For RTC, a horrible theme matched their personas in that faction, and it was a great faction. These songs, however, are just plain bad on all levels. Whether it’s a bad tune or lyrics, here are the 15 worst entrance changes of all-time.
Although the Fandango character might be a little bit sketchy, his original theme was insanely good. Really, it’s just a bit of salsa dancing music. But after his victory over Chris Jericho at WrestleMania (yes that happened), the WWE Universe went crazy over his music after months of nothingness. All of a sudden his theme found its way into the UK Charts, finishing #44 after selling thousands of copies in a single week.
But as the character started to lose its way, they threw a new entrance song at him, a flamenco version. Why? We don’t know. It meant that the one thing Fandango had going for him was taken away, until he finally brought it back and the act of "Fandangoing" became a thing again.
There’s something about Samoans in the last 20 years that have made them struggle to act as heels. While we have Roman Reigns and The Usos getting booed on a regular basis (when they weren't supposed to be heels), 2000 had the previous babyface in Rikishi. While Edge & Christian, The Dudleys and The Hardyz were dominating the Tag Team Title scene, Too Cool were arguably the most over at that point. And Rikishi was without a doubt a big part of that.
But they abandoned this with the whole running over Stone Cold thing, leading to Rikishi becoming a bad man. How bad? His music was named “Bad Man” and we were consistently told just how bad of a man he was. The heel spell didn’t last long before he was back to his "stinkfaceing" best.
13 Stone Cold Steve Austin
Why on earth would you ever change the greatest theme of all-time? No matter who makes the argument or what reasons they give, Austin hands down entered the arena to the best music. In fact, any time a glass shatters, most wrestling fans instantly assume someone is in for a Stunner. There were a few little tweaks to his entrance music over the years, but there really didn’t need to be any.
Around the time of the Invasion angle, Austin made his heel turn and sided with WCW (a terrible creative idea) and took on a new theme. Even though the glass breaking stayed, this one had lyrics in it and was more of a mumbled rock song. While it might have helped his heel persona, any change to his entrance wasn’t well received because Austin was the one man who could have carried on for 15 more years without his entrance getting even the slightest bit boring.
12 Val Venis
If the Attitude Era could be represented by just one person, The Big Valbowski would be the ideal man to do that job. At no other time in wrestling history would an adult star be an acceptable character and yet Venis made it popular with both genders in the audience. His entrance summed Val up completely, with the towel, purple lighting and women screaming.
But the music was the crucial part of the entire character. As soon as “Helloooooooooooo Laaaaadddiiiiiieeeesss” hit over the speakers, it was inevitable that you were in for something you probably hadn’t ever sat through before. But then, Val cut his hair and they changed his music and put a techno beat instead. Normally a haircut wouldn’t change much for a wrestler, but that spelled the end for Val and his marketable persona.
11 Rey Mysterio
While entering to "Booyaka," it’s fair to say that Rey Mysterio had the most success he has ever had. But that wasn’t really down to the entrance music, was it? Having worked his way up the ladder into the World Heavyweight Championship scene, Mysterio was able to achieve things that even he never thought were possible.
Debuting in WWE in the early 2000s, Rey’s 619 theme caught the attention straight away with that strange rebound sound at the beginning. And for some of us, it’s one of those rare occasions where a song with lyrics works well. Actually related to the persona of Mysterio (which helps), it was impossible not to get the tune stuck in your head for hours on end and even without being a big fan you’d get to learn the main parts. Sadly, in his later runs, they changed it to a weird metal version, that really didn't hit the mark.
10 The Rock
Second only to Stone Cold’s, The Rock’s variation of themes over the years have been instantly recognizable as soon as he starts to question whether you can "smell what he’s cooking." Surprisingly, this entry isn’t in relation to his Hollywood theme of 2003 – that was a genius reinvention. Instead, this relates to his earlier efforts which took on a bigger emphasis on drums.
The absolute best theme Dwayne Johnson had was arguably in the late 90s, during his heel days. Back when he was insanely cocky and the hottest heel in the company, his music was slower and the focus was away from instruments and on the repetition of The Rock speaking. In fact, his 1998 theme was so good, it's still my ringtone (fun fact). The ones since have been fine, but nothing could live up to the earlier efforts.
When it comes to irritating wrestling themes, X-Pac has it down to a tee. As part of X-Factor with Justin Credible and Albert, the former DX man saw his previously decent song replaced by Uncle Kracker’s(?) truly ear-bleeding effort, really foreshadowing the whole X-Pac heat he was about to generate.
WWE has always had an issue with allowing professional mainstream musicians to produce music, with many efforts being poor. This is even true when it comes to PPVs, as they regularly invite Flo Rida to record some random words completely unrelated to wrestling and giving him a hefty pay cheque to do so. Of all the professional recordings though, this is truly the worst. Whining its way around arenas, if X-Pac was purposely trying to get the crowd to hate him, he did a great job.
8 Rob Conway
Rob Conway’s theme is generally considered to be among the worst entrance songs of all-time, but it only ranks in the middle of this list due to the fact he wasn’t really around for too long and it didn’t hurt the character which is already fading from the start.
Going from the obviously non-French one in La Resistance, Conway became a mainstay of Sunday Night Heat with his egotistical persona, accompanied by a quite horrendous song. “Just look at me” said the French voice and Conway would appear in dark sunglasses posing for the audience. This could have worked had he been at all over, but unfortunately more often than not he was greeted by little crowd reaction. From the powerful La Resistance to a French playboy, the transition didn’t really work in all aspects.
7 Chavo Guerrero
The worst thing about the transformation of Chavo Guerrero wasn’t his entrance music – but it certainly didn’t help. The Kerwin White character was disastrous and one of the most baffling decisions by the WWE in the last 15 years. Having done relatively okay for himself in the shadow of Uncle Eddie and Rey Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero then became a middle class American golf player.
This meant the sad loss of “Oooooh Chavo!,” probably one of the most memorable things about Chavo in the mid 2000s. What you want from an entrance theme is something to match the character and that arrogant theme summed up the arrogance that the Chavo character had. But with Kerwin White, an entrance that includes a golf buggy is never really going to get over. The theme played its part, but he could have come out to Michael Jackson and it still wouldn’t have worked.
What’s more offensive and stereotypical than dubbing over a Japanese person talking with comedic words? How about laughing at the fact that some Japanese people do Kung-Fu?
WWE has managed to avoid real controversy with many of their gimmicks over the years, particularly the ones that don’t even disguise the stereotyping they had going on. With Funaki, they turned him from SmackDown’s ‘Number 1 Announcer’ into Kung Fu-naki, with his entrance music clearly stolen from "Kung Fu Fighting".
Clearly thought of highly by those in the back, Funaki is still on the scene as a commentator and trainer. Even though he wasn’t exactly celebrated during his in-ring days, he definitely deserved more than the gimmicks he was given. After all, he was given the task of picking up the pieces after the Val Venis incident.
5 John Cena
When he was "The Doctor of Thuganomics," John Cena recorded an entire album of rap music. Some of us are not afraid to admit we've listened to it all (more than once) and it’s actually not bad. Sadly, Cena moved from his bad guy phase into the superhero gimmick that he still has today, almost ten YEARS LATER.
The "Word Life" entrance had real character, with Cena truly being believable and entertaining. However, "My Time is Now" is everything that the original Cena wasn’t. Though it might have become immortalized forever in the form of memes and that prank call, it’s still a reminder that the WWE turned their most entertaining character into the face of the company during an era where McMahon targeted the program at the wrong audience.
4 Booker T
One of the only standout stars of the Invasion, Booker T was as popular and over in the WWE as he was in WCW. While many around him disappeared or only came to the company two years later, Booker was a mainstay for years and won gold on a number of occasions. There was a time where he got a bit lost though, which was the time where he sang his own theme.
WWE Originals was an album which saw Superstars like Kurt Angle sing their own songs, just because. For Booker, his version of “Can You Dig It” became his theme for a short time and although the album was a bit of a laugh, making it his entrance music was a pretty terrible idea. Thankfully it didn’t last and he went back to the norm.
3 Big Show
The change in Big Show’s music is the stand out reason as to why his later years in the company have been such a flop. In the same way as Kane’s music has become too tailored for a younger audience, Big Show’s once powerful entrance has turned into a boring attempt at rock music.
Around the 2008 mark, Show went from the strong “Crank it Up” to a slower version, focused more on guitars and tailored towards a younger audience (not sure how, it just was). But in comparison to the theme he debuted with, one which served him so well, his current effort is just irritating. Ironically, pretty much in the same way many people find Show nowadays. All of his best moments in the WWE came under the previous entrance music, so please bring it back before he retires. Signed every fan.
Go back and watch Kane’s debut in the WWE and one of the things that make it so great is the entrance. The music, the red, and the look of The Big Red Machine at that time was a perfect combination. It’s hard to know why the company started to make little changes to Kane over the years, likely because they had no idea what to do with the character after his initial destructive debut.
His original entrance music was one of the best in WWE history, a song that wouldn’t have been out of place in a horror movie. It built up tension with the flames on the titantron before exploding. However, over time, his changing music has failed to represent the man who has made such an impact. It has more of a PG feel now, as does the look of Kane. He no longer looks scary as he once did and his theme does nothing to genuinely give those in attendance a feeling of dread and terror.
1 1.The Undertaker
The most iconic wrestler in the history of sports entertainment, The Undertaker would likely have never achieved the success he endured without his instantly recognizable entrance. Although there have been a number of variations to the gongs that guide ‘Taker down to the ring, all have worked and kept the suspense around The Undertaker going for over two decades.
There was a time where the gongs went however, a time where ‘Taker became "The American Badass." At the start of the Millennium, The Undertaker went through several themes which strayed away from the norm and whether that be a Limp Bizkit song or “You’re Gonna Pay," none of them really worked.
Luckily he has gone back to the norm for the past 12 years and although the biker phase did change the character, it never rivalled what he will be forever known as, "The Deadman."