There’s a few things that a wrestler needs to have in order to maintain success in the wrestling industry, especially in the WWE. Wrestling ability is, of course, a pretty good start, but their overall look is probably as important. When it comes to selling merchandise, athletes such as John Cena have managed to build a brand to increase their success, but obviously not everyone is John Cena.
The little things that are taken for granted are what can elevate a mid-carder into a real crowd favorite. Things like charity work or ventures outside the ring can work - Cena does it perfectly, as did The Rock. But at the same time, they both do something else incredibly well. That is what many would imagine is the relatively easy task of walking down to the ring.
It’s something that talent puts hours and hours into perfecting behind the scenes, making sure the music fits the entrance they want, ironing out any little glitches and looking for ways to really wow the crowd. Some of the Superstars on the main roster do this really well, but for others, the entrance is simply a quiet, plain time where fan reaction is minimal. Here are the ten best entrances in the WWE and the ten worst, enjoy!
20 Best: Rusev
WrestleMania 31 was one of the best in a long, long time. The nWo met D-Generation X for the first time, giving fans a crazy sense of nostalgia, as time seemed to stand still during that encounter. Bray Wyatt, at the height of his popularity, took on The Undertaker, who himself was coming back after the streak was broken. Seth Rollins cashed in at the end of the night, having received the greatest RKO of all time earlier. Oh and Rusev rode to the ring ON A TANK!
"The Bulgarian Brute" lost that night for the first time and that spiraled him into an awful storyline which blew up after the real-life engagement between him and Lana. But one thing that didn’t leave him is his entrance. His purposeful walk down the ramp, one of the best themes in wrestling today and his flags! Hopefully in the next year, he’ll be heading out with a title around his waist.
19 Worst: Jack Swagger
It takes some serious un-doing to go from World Heavyweight Champion to jobber in just a few years, but Jack Swagger has somehow managed it. Over the last few years, he really has been one of the most irrelevant performers on the entire roster, putting over talent weekly it seems.
Still carrying on the “We the people” phrase, it hasn’t worked since he lost the management and words of Zeb Colter, so today it seems pretty empty. Even with Cesaro, he had someone to help him on, but his entrance today is usually just the prelude to another defeat. Watching the likes of Darren Young and every NXT talent move ahead of him in the pecking order certainly cannot help. Let's see if his SmackDown run can finally revive his career.
18 Best: Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt should be a main-eventer. At the very least, he should be winning feuds. Unfortunately, neither of these things have happened in the last few years. Seemingly, he has everything it takes to be one of Vince McMahon’s favorites, as he’s a big guy, with an incredible ability to cut a promo and one of the best skillsets in the company. But for some reason, his career is at a standstill.
Where he continues to thrive is with his entrance, which remains one of the very best in the business. Wyatt’s walk down to the ring is truly unique and perfectly suits his bizarre character. But the best thing about it is the lights out effect, the audience interaction with the buzzards, and the appearance of the rocking chair.
Unfortunately, he is yet to be treated properly despite all these qualities. Put a title on him and Wyatt truly will have it all.
17 Worst: Sheamus
It’s hard to know what the WWE thought they could achieve with Sheamus during his re-branding back in 2015. Admittedly, his time as a face had definitely come to an end and there was no way they could continue to put him against Randy Orton every week, because the two could have done nothing else.
Looking at him nowadays, his current entrance is a little weird and, for that, it makes the list. It’s straight forward to understand what they're trying to portray the Irishman as, but it's being executed really badly. The rip off of Russell Crowe in Gladiator with his “Are you not entertained?” is bad enough, but the titantron video of just generic Irish things doesn’t really work. At least his entrance music has improved, so we can take some positives from it.
16 Best: Fandango
What could have been for Fandango, who launced his career by picking up a WrestleMania victory against Chris Jericho. That’s not mentioned too much nowadays, as WWE dropped the ball with the dancer. Instead, it has been left to him and the crowd to make something of the character and boy did he thrive at one point.
In 2014, Fandango’s theme song charted #44 in the UK charts, coming after the “Fandango-ing” phrase that gripped audiences in every arena. And then, WWE dealt him a further blow by changing his music to a more Latin version, which went down horribly. Luckily, he is now back with his original theme and he could have success with Tyler Breeze down the line. It really does take a hell of a performer to pull-off being a dancer, so kudos to him for getting over for a while.
15 Worst: The Usos
In the same way that Roman Reigns can’t get over with a big portion of the crowd, neither can The Usos any longer. It’s nothing to do with their heritage, it’s purely because the modern wrestling crowd isn't entertained by good guys being good and beating bad guys. With Roman, Jimmy and Jey, this is what WWE have continued to offer up.
The Usos recent heel turn has been a welcome break and giving the twins something new to do rather than the good guy act they have been putting on for years is a definite plus. The problem with their entrance is that it only works for about 30% of the audience. As mentioned on this list, if you aren’t getting the reaction that creative hopes you get, the entrance ramp can be a very difficult place.
14 Best: A.J. Styles
The debut of A.J. Styles at the 2016 Royal Rumble shocked the pro wrestling world. The pop in the arena was one of the loudest ever, the scene was set and the graphics were sorted. Unfortunately, the button pushers in the back thought we might prefer seeing another shot of Roman Reigns’ sweaty face instead of one of the greatest wrestlers of the last 20 years, but hey, we can't win them all.
Luckily, we do get to see Styles’ entrance on a more frequent basis nowadays and he’s even accompanied by the WWE World Championship around his waist. A.J.’s TNA theme was great, but his current one is arguably a little better and makes occasional viewers aware that Styles is a very big deal in the industry. Even though he’s a heel, he still gets huge cheers in most cities and it all goes back to that first ever WWE entrance.
13 Worst: The Undertaker
Ok, so let’s start with the fact that The Undertaker has probably the most famous entrance of all-time. Let’s follow that up with the obvious statement that he is one of the greatest of all time. Now that we got that out of the way, we can say his entrance is one of the worst in WWE today. Again, not of all-time, but specifically today.
Over the years, Taker has enthralled the crowd with simply a gong of the bell. His entrances from The Ministry to the American Badass were equally memorable. But today, his entrance takes almost as long as his matches. By the time he makes his way into the ring, minutes have gone by, enough time for anticipation and excitement to fade. Everybody loves The Undertaker, but even with his sporadic appearances today, his entrance is still too long.
12 Best: New Day
When New Day first debuted, they were hated when they were meant to be liked. Then they were liked when they were meant to be hated, which is quite the turnaround. It says an awful lot about Big E, Kofi Koingston and Xavier Woods when you think about the fact that they managed to turn New Day into one of the best and most exciting trios of the past 15 years.
Their entrance and promos are probably the key reasons as to why they are set to become the longest reigning WWE Tag Champions of all-time. Big E’s announcement sets it off, but Xavier has managed to turn it up even louder with his trombone, a genius idea. Then you have the unicorn horns, the Booty-O’s and the clapping. We applaud the New Day for their contributions and that all starts with their tremendous entrance!
11 Worst: The Shining Stars
Let’s start by saying that if we wanted to go to Puerto Rico, we’d probably go to a travel agent. In fact, The Shining Stars being on TV actually makes us not want to go to Puerto Rico, which is a damm shame cause the place looks pretty lovely.
It’s difficult to understand the thinking behind Primo and Epico new personas as The Shining Stars and their entrances haven't really blossomed either. Their bland and boring theme song is matched by a highly uneventful walk down to the ring. They do bring a flower with them as well, as if that's adding anything of note. We here on The Sportster cannot reach an agreement on what's worse; the song, the flowers or the shirts? Definitely the shirts.
10 Best: Daniel Bryan
The "Yes" movement is the greatest thing to happen in the WWE when looking back at the last ten years, that much is clear. And that was as much to do with Bryan’s entrance as his wrestling and mic work.
In reality, saying the word “Yes!” over and over as you run sideways down the ramp shouldn’t really work, but Bryan is so charismatic that he made it the greatest catchphrase since the Attitude Era, which featured some of the most iconic phrases ever. He even did the same during his “No!” phrase. The split second that the "Flight of the Valkyries" begins to echo around the arena, the crowd knows they are in for a hell of a next minute or two.
9 Worst: Brie Bella
Brie Bella makes the list even though she is recently retired, as her singles theme was so horrible that it deserves a spot on this list. Brie’s theme was on a par with her rivalry against her sister Nikki – you know, the one where she was told that she should have "died in the womb."
“Briiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee Mooooddeeeeeeeeeee” kicked off her solo entrance and from then on, there was no coming back. It’s hard to know why the WWE asked her to sing in her entrance (presuming they did) because it’s never a good idea to actually put your own voice to the music, unless you're Shawn Michaels of course. In doing so, Brie brought back horrible auto-tuned thoughts of Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’. Luckily, Brie made her way down to the ring quickly, so the song didn’t last too long. But it was long enough for her to make this list.
8 Best: Bayley
So the elevation of Bayley to the main roster hasn’t lit up the world in the way we all hoped it would. We shouldn’t be surprised really, as this happens all the time in WWE. But what really helps Bayley is that she already has a huge fanbase and there seems to be absolutely no way she can fail.
Bayley’s walk to the ring could easily be at the top of this list considering how over it is with the WWE fans, young and old. In smaller arenas with more hardened fans, Bayley’s entrance was incredible. Unfortunately, in bigger arenas, it’s still to take off, even though nothing has changed about it.
Hopefully her entrance will transform and resonate on WWE television sooner rather than later. Remember, the more huggers in the world, the better. Oh and a special shout out goes to the "wacky inflatable arm-flailing tubemen" because those things are awesome.
7 Worst: Baron Corbin
In a way, Baron Corbin’s entrance reflects his character. It’s pretty lifeless, uninspiring and, in truth, nobody really notices it. The "Lone Wolf" thing doesn’t make any type of a connection with the audience and, as such, Corbin’s chance of becoming a genuine main-eventer looks dead in the water.
In recent years, the WWE's audio team have created a series of generic themes that are not catchy and do not help in building the performer into one that people can truly get behind. Corbin's theme is exactly that and his entrance is a very dull experience, maybe even for him.
What’s next for Corbin is unsure, having just been through a feud that saw him defeat Jack Swagger (what a shock). His future storylines remain up-in-the-air at this point.
6 Best: Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura has been as much of a success as everyone knew he would be since moving to NXT. As much as some might have wanted to doubt it, there was no chance that anybody could have held back or hidden the talent that Nakamura possesses and it seemed like a matter of time before he became the next huge NXT star.
When he does make the transition to the main roster, let's hope his entrance doesn't get the same reaction as Bayley’s. Nakamura is a genius and his entrance matches him perfectly. His debut saw the NXT Champion receive acclaim across the wrestling world based off his entrance alone. The lights and music are genuinely as exciting as anything seen in the WWE for years and the showman that he is, Nakamura makes it a phenomenal viewing.
5 Worst: R-Truth
During the late 2000s, R-Truth was over with the crowd and pretty fun as well. The problem is that he hasn’t really changed over the last seven years and that means it’s gotten quite stale. R-Truth can rap, we all know about that. But coming out and rapping “What’s Up” is difficult to watch, let alone to listen to, these days.
What his entrance requires is a willing audience to sing along with him. More often than notm however, the gap where the crowd is meant to sing is left hollow and empty. You have to commend Truth for his confidence and persistence with the entrance, but it just doesn’t work anymore. It’s likely Truth will retire from active competition in the next few years and, though that is a shame, not having to endure the minute plus of silence will be a welcome relief.
4 Best: Triple H
The Game has been at the top of the WWE for almost 20 years and, in one way or another, he will probably be there for years to come. Though he might be winding down in the ring, he was still the WWE Champion at the start of this year and produced another phenomenal entrance at WrestleMania, even if the match was hardly a classic.
With three strong themes behind him, it’s difficult to pick out which is the best entrance he has, but his most memorable is to the theme “The Game” by Motorhead. To get the legendary rockers "Motorhead" to record two themes for you takes some doing, but to truly make an entrance great, you have to go beyond the music. Hunter does that better than anybody. The green, dark lighting is good enough, but is there anything better than seeing the pose and spit on the ring apron? If every Raw started with that rather than an Authority promo, the world would be a better place.
3 Worst: Big Show
You have to feel for the Big Show. Having put in such great service in WCW and WWE, the pleas of many to retire are not justified for someone who, at his best, was a huge draw. But it’s difficult to tell which Show we will get nowadays, such is the number of heel/face turns he has put us through.
For many fans, it all started to go downhill for Show when he changed his theme. The worst thing about it is that it didn’t even change much. The lyrics remained the same, but the voice and tempo did – a lot. His original music was powerful, roaring across arenas. But the rejuvenated version is just boring and, in a way, really PG. Maybe if he brought his old theme back, the fans would start to feel that connection back.
2 Best: Finn Balor
It takes a pretty special wrestler to win the top title at their first PPV and Finn Balor managed it after making the step up from NXT. The fact that he had to relinquish it the next night is unlikely to hinder what the WWE has planned for him, as it will merely be a temporary halt.
Balor’s entrance as "The Demon King” is phenomenal and all the work he puts in is truly something to appreciate. The closest resemblance you can think of is with The Boogeyman, but thankfully that is where the comparisons will come to an end. The amount of pyrotechnics, lighting, flames and everything else that goes with it would not be done for just anybody, but the WWE gladly throws the entire budget at making Balor’s entrance a moment you'll never forget. In the main-event scene today, it is a welcome relief to see a performer doing something genuinely different from the others and the sooner we have Balor back, the better.
1 Worst: Roman Reigns
It’s no surprise to see Roman Reigns finish first on a “worst of” list, but it isn’t all his fault. In fact, most of it is probably not his fault. Reigns was never pushed into a different persona following The Shield's breakup, while Rollins and Ambrose grew into something different and compelling. That is why Reigns is not over with the adult audience just yet.
His continued coming through the crowd with his entrance after they broke up and this was a recipe for disaster. In a perfect Vince McMahon daydream, Reigns would be swarmed with adoring fans. In reality, audience members would give him the finger, hold up derogatory signs behind him and boo (a lot). Now he enters through the curtain, which is probably better for him. But perhaps they should just smuggle him into the ring to avoid the heavy boos and the noticeable decrease in volume as the behind the scenes crew try to alter what is being heard at home.