An entrance theme can really make or break a wrestler. Would the Ultimate Warrior have taken off so well without that fantastic rock beat charging up the fans? Would John Cena without his great rap entries? Even a poor worker can be served by a fun entrance as Emma got over well with some fun songs in NXT. Of course, not every worker is so well served. When Triple H started, all he had was a lame “blue blood” theme and then a variety of changes before finding one that worked. And too often, a good guy is saddled with a bad theme and that can hurt how well they’re accepted by fans. But when a great theme hits, it clicks and fans will respond no matter how rough someone is.
WWE is of course tops when it comes to this music. While WCW had some good ones here and there, they often wouldn’t serve their wrestlers well, giving them really bad tunes. TNA likewise has themes that often sound generic and interchangeable. Even a great worker can fall prey to a bad theme, especially jumping to another company. But an otherwise forgettable guy can have a fantastic theme that fans love even if they hate the rest of his act. Here are 8 great wrestling themes wasted on poor stars and 8 great stars who had some damn bad music to show how a great entrance is needed to really cement a performer.
16 GREAT THEME: Gangrel
The Vampire Warrior was an okay worker in the indies, nothing too sensational. In WWE, he was pushed as Gangrel, again decent work but nothing that screamed stardom. He’s best known for his Brood which had a then unknown pair of rookies named Edge and Christian. Their entrance was fantastic, rising on a platform to the stage surrounded by fire while Gangrel would be drinking from a goblet of “blood.” Accompanying them was a terrific theme, a dark rocking song that sold them as an otherworldly force, brooding and dark and mixed with the entrance brilliantly. Edge & Christian, of course, would become mega-stars while Gangrel faded and was fired after showing off a large belly in a TV match. Still, the guy should be remembered not just for helping two future WWE icons rise up but for also boasting one of the coolest tunes of the Attitude Era.
15 BAD THEME: Kurt Angle - Third TNA Theme
Many forget that Kurt Angle’s WWE theme music was originally used by the Patriot during his brief 1997 run in WWE. It’s since become far more attached to Angle with its bold tone, marching theme, patriotic beat and great sound. Of course, it became famous thanks to how, in 2002, fans began chanting “you suck!” in rhythm with it. It was soon a key theme and led to Angle’s huge success.
He couldn’t quite replicate that in TNA of course but sadly, he ended up saddled with a very damn bad song. The weird opening seems completely wrong for Angle, a twisted sound more like some sinister Undertaker-type figure. The lyrics are horrible dropping his name and TNA and the rock beat with a metal edge doesn’t suit him either. Nothing about it screams to a patriotic Olympian and didn’t fit him at all. While Angle did great in TNA, his music didn’t fit so it’s great to have him back in WWE with that “sucking” song.
14 GREAT Theme: Fandango
The character is bad but somehow, that’s what makes him so appealing. At first, fans rolled their eyes at the idea of a ballroom dancer wrestler, a gimmick out of the 1980s. He didn’t help with his early bits of refusing to wrestle until his name was pronounced right. But he did impress when, after taking a savage beating from Jericho in his first match, he got on the mic and, still selling the pain, insisted on saying his name right.
Also helping was that music, a nice dance mix that fans were soon hum along to. Even if Fandango hasn’t done anything really fun in wrestling, that music is just amazing and a wonderful bright tune. It’s even better mixed with Tyler Breeze yet Fandango’s alone became something of a hit and showed how a guy can make a bad gimmick work right.
13 BAD Theme: Hulk Hogan - American Made
Long before every single guy had his own entrance music, Hulk Hogan had the best. As soon as the guitar riffs of “Real American” started, the crowd would rise to their feet and roar as Hogan came out. It was perfect, especially when mixed with waving a flag or doing his victory pose-downs. It just became part of the Hogan mythos, impossible to imagine him without it. So any theme would have been lacking in WCW but this was just horrendous. The opening guitar is bad and that’s before the loud yelling and the horrible lyrics. It just comes off as an ultra-cheap parody of a much better song and was just one of the reasons Hogan’s WCW run was so poorly accepted by its fans. It didn’t seem right with him using it so almost a joy it was dumped for the New World Order theme. Thankfully, Hogan went back to “Real American” in WWE as that’s a song so close to him you can’t top it with anything else.
12 GREAT Theme: League of Nations
It should have been great. Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev and Wade Barrett coming together as a heel team, powerful, cunning and joining to clash with heroes. This could have been a group to dominate WWE and pushed to hold multiple titles and maintain Control. Sadly, as all too common lately, WWE wouldn’t give them the push they deserved, often shown up as the losers to John Cena, the New day and more. It wasn’t helped by Del Rio’s suspension and then leaving and Barrett’s injuries that cut the whole thing short so this ranks as one of the worst “mega-groups” of recent years.
What makes it sadder is their fantastic kick-ass theme. It was bold and loud, a mix of various styles fitting for this multi-national gathering, coming off boastful and commanding and the perfect music to march to. No lyrics made it better, just the fantastic mix of trumpets and drums and too bad WWE couldn’t let the League live up to their music to dominate the ranks as they deserved.
11 BAD Theme: Sting
From his early days, Sting had a great look, amazing ability and a fantastic knack for getting the fans going. He became the face of WCW, changing his character but still tops. His “Crow” theme was terrific, dark and brooding and made him look even more sensational. Which was a hell of a lot better than his previous theme. “A Man Called Sting” put too much emphasis on the “California surfer” stuff with its cheesy guitars, that stupid howl and very bad lyrics. It was a whole thing of “stuff he does” that did little to sell him as a mega-star. Sting deserved something more rocking, far more effective to push himself and having this be his big entrance during his brighter face days was silly. Thankfully, he got much better themes and that includes in TNA and WWE as this just reminds you how goofy the ‘90s were.
10 GREAT Theme: Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger is the classic case of a guy pushed way beyond his talents. He was a good upper-mid card heel, his amateur wrestling style doing well in ECW and could have done nicely in pushing other guys. But WWE tried to shove him into the main event with runs as World Champion, a position he just wasn’t suited for. His fall down the card hard, with a brief shot as a face but it didn’t suit him and was eventually cut. Even his nickname “The All-American American” was terrible. Eventually he got a change in gimmick and was paired with Zeb Colter. While Swagger's character didn't really improve, he did have a pretty cool theme, which sounded like a battle cry.
Giving him that rather than some cheesy patriotic tune was a good move and too bad Swagger couldn’t live up to that in the ring.
9 BAD Theme: Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Everyone has to start somewhere. Before he was “The Game” or “The King of Kings,” Hunter Hearst Helmsley was just a rookie pushed in WWE as a snobby upper-class type, a shot at the folks Vince hated. Thus he came out looking like a lawn jockey in his outfit, doing curtseys and selling himself as a gentleman who could get rough. Even Hunter laughs at how bad it all was despite how he was showing his talent. They shifted it later to a take on “Ode to Joy” but having a classic choir for what was supposed to be a top heel didn’t quite take either.
Thankfully, the addition of Chyna and his joining DX was enough to get Hunter going and by the time he moved onto a singles heel, he had some better music. It took a while to find “The Game” but at least it was loads better than this to show how far Hunter has come from his early days.
8 GREAT Theme: Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre’s first run in WWE isn’t that notable. The guy was pushed way too hard as “Vince’s chosen one” and fans turned on that fast. Even a run as IC champion didn’t help much as McIntyre’s pushes seemed to outweigh his in-ring talent and while he was good at times, it was also clear that he was losing passion thanks to how his stock lowered.
But his theme was great, hitting hard and making him sound like a deadly predator and if WWE had just put as much stock in his character as the music, he would have done great.
Drew left for TNA where he had a run as champion that seemed to improve him as an overall performer. That’s paid off as he’s back as NXT champion and a new theme but his older one was actually better so while he’s improved in the ring, it’s a step back in his song.
7 BAD Theme: Chavo Guerrero - “Kerwin White”
There are angles WWE should be ashamed of. Kerwin White is high on that list. Chavo Guerrero had proven himself an amazing worker, high-flying, hard hitting and a star Cruiserweight. But in 2005, the company had him undergoing a transformation, putting down his heritage, dying his hair blonde and lightening his skin. He went around in golf shirts, acting like a country club type putting down “minorities” as he rode to the ring in a golf cart.
It was horrible and not helped by his entrance theme, made out like the theme to a 1980s sitcom. True, that was part of the gag but it didn’t make it any better. The whole thing was ended by Eddie’s death but that it took place at all is frankly appalling.
6 GREAT Theme: The Ascension
For a time, The Ascension looked like the final second coming of the Road Warriors. They dominated in NXT as champions, tearing up the ranks, holding the belts for a long while and looked sensational. When called to the main roster, most thought it only a quick time before they held gold. Instead, they have been exposed as frankly not that good in the ring, only dominating as NXT was smaller but once surrounded by veteran teams, their shortcoming became obvious. Their act failed to catch on with the larger crowds and the team is lost.
At least WWE gave them a great theme as “Rebellion” fits them perfectly, marching to the ring to smash what’s in their path and terrific for them. Too bad they never lived up to their potential as the Ascension’s music promised a top team to handle.
5 BAD Theme: Chris Jericho, King of My World
In his various books, Jericho is clear on how badly he was misused by WCW. He had a great drive, a fun arrogant character, fans were responding and he was amping up the heat. But WCW refused to see the potential and obvious following Jericho had, shoving him lower and lower until Jericho had no choice but to go to WWE. That worked out great, aided by his terrific “Break the Walls Down” theme that had fans going from day one. It was loads better than his WCW theme as it is amazingly bad. It just screamed generic ‘90s, nothing really suitable for Jericho, the lyrics a mish-mash and just sounding like it could be for any worker. Giving him a better song did wonders for Jericho in WWE big time to launch him to stardom at last.
4 GREAT Theme: Alex Riley
Alex Riley could have been a bigger deal in WWE. His early stuff backing The Miz and then turning on him was very well done and seemed to have promise. Sadly, that was lost thanks to bad pushes and some rough stuff that led to his eventual release. Too bad as the guy’s theme was spectacular. The title “Say It to My Face” said it all, making Riley a guy who wouldn’t back down from a fight and ready for anything. The lyrics were good, the guitar riff spectacular, it just came together into a great package.
Sadly, Riley could never live up to that promise in WWE with his bad run and clearly losing passion for it all before he left. The guy had the ingredients of stardom and that includes an awesome theme but couldn’t live up to it.
3 BAD Theme: Bret Hart, WCW
Even Vince McMahon could never dream WCW would drop the ball so badly with Bret Hart. This was a man who was a proven star across the world, especially in Canada (a country WCW could never crack) and coming off the hottest screwjob in history. Instead, WCW made him a pawn in the never ending WCW-NWO war, bad pushes, bad turns, meaningless title runs and more that ruined Bret’s drive. Indeed, a bad kick from Goldberg ended his career sooner than it should have.
Not helping was a bad theme. True, nothing could match the fantastic guitar chord of his WWE music but Bret’s WCW theme was just a mix of guitars and drums, nothing as notable as he should have had. That should have been the early sign that Bret’s WCW tenure was not going to be something he, or fans, would want to remember in glowing terms.
2 GREAT Theme: Dana Brooke
Dana Brooke had potential in NXT, looked to be rising up well with her hot, muscular looks. She did well in WWE as the aide for Charlotte and looked like she was ready to break out. But Brooke has been exposed as not as great in the ring as other NXT divas and the rise of Alexa Bliss means her stock has faded as RAW needs only one hot blonde worker (not to mention Bliss being far better in the ring). Thus, Dana has slipped down the ranks, a shame as she boasts a really great theme. It’s ironic some good female workers have some bad themes (Nia Jax comes to mind) but Brooke boasts a great one, rocking hard and truly amazing, a shame the rest of her run in WWE couldn’t match it.
1 BAD Theme: Rick Rude, “Simply Ravishing”
Rick Rude was one of the greatest heels ever. Great in the ring, his muscled body was a winner with ladies. But Rude was a master on the mic to insult crowds and always make sure the fans booed him no matter how good he looked. In WWE, his theme was fun, showing his arrogance and a “stripper” chord for his showing off yet still fit him well. But WCW gave him a rather terrible theme, from the lady gasping “It’s simply ravishing” into a terrible mix of ‘80s synth and bad rock guitars. It doesn’t have the flair of his WWE theme, just coming off really cheesy and generic compared to so many of the great themes WCW really had back then. It’s a shame as Rude’s tenure in WCW was really great despite a pretty poor theme.