When you think of Bruce Springsteen you think of a man who embodies the voice of the working-class. The man who sang the blue-collar anthem that made your day just a little bit better or your job just a little less miserable or your life in general just a little more bearable. Springsteen is a man of the people – a common man's less-than-common singer-songwriter – a rough and rugged Jersey boy grown into a rambling all-American man.
However, when thinking about Springsteen, does one ever think about professional wrestling? Most people would probably answer no to that question but fans of professional wrestling and rock and roll may answer otherwise. In fact, you may even recall the voice of Springsteen closing out a wrestling-based movie.
In 2008, a low-budget film titled The Wrestler was released and was quickly dubbed a critical success. The film stars Mickey Rourke as an aging wrestling seemingly trapped in the '80s during a time when he was a huge star in the professional wrestling world and now struggling to hold on to his past glory. Throughout the film, Randy (played by Rourke) is seen living on hard times, attempting to mend a broken relationship with his daughter, and build a romantic relationship with a stripper.
The closing credits of the film features a song titled “The Wrestler,” sang by the legendary Bruce Springsteen. The song was written by Bruce while on tour in Europe and after he received a a letter from Rourke and a copy of the script. Springsteen obviously felt something strong when reading the script because the tune is just as much powerful as it is poetic. The song which Springsteen offered for the film free of charge would go on to win a Golden Globe Award.
In this article we will connect Bruce Springsteen to the wrestling world the best way we can, through music, as we take a look at the top 10 wrestlers whose entrance music could be a Bruce Springsteen song:
10 "Streets of Philadelphia" - Tommy Dreamer
Tommy Dreamer was born in, and currently resides, in the state of New York. However, Dreamer will always be connected in some way to the state of Pennsylvania – specifically the city of Philadelphia where he once worked for, and was known as the “heart and soul” of, ECW.
The wrestling fans in Philadelphia are some of the most hardcore fans around. They are vocal about what they like and don't like and they love the “Innovator of Violence,” Tommy Dreamer.
“Streets of Philadelphia” was written by Springsteen for a movie titled Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks and dealing with the subject of HIV/AIDS – a heavy subject but a terrific song and contribution to the film.
If any wrestler could walk down the aisle to “Streets of Philadelphia,” the prime candidate would be Tommy Dreamer, who while not a native of the city, carries a Philadelphia aura around with him wherever he goes.
9 "Brilliant Disguise" - AJ Lee
The spirit of this list has me feeling compelled to include a native of New Jersey as well as a woman. This entry will appease both those needs with AJ Lee and the song, “Brilliant Disguise.”
The track is from the 1987 Springsteen album, Tunnel of Love and deals with a multitude of human emotions including confusion, jealousy, and anxiety. The song is riddled with self-doubt and uncertainty. The character AJ Lee portrays on WWE television has been labeled, “crazy,” but beneath the surface the emotions found in “Brilliant Disguise” can be found within the character.
Don't worrym she can still skip her way down the aisle to the voice of Bruce Springsteen.
8 "I'm on Fire" - Kane
It probably sounds a little cliche to include Kane in this entry but giving him the song “I'm on Fire” is not a direct reference to his long association with the flame.
“I'm on Fire” is an intense track laced with sexual tension. Upon first listen, you may even find that the song borders on the creepy side of lyrical content.
Using this song as Kane's entrance music would work best if he was paired with a woman. Back during his brief on-screen romance with Lita would have sufficed. Imagine Lita coming out a few steps ahead of Kane as the Springsteen song begins: “Hey little girl is your daddy home? Did he go and leave you all alone? I got a bad desire ...” While Kane essentially stalks her to ring even though she is enjoying the entire process.
Kind of creepy, right? But, kind of a cool entrance.
7 "This Hard Land" - Daniel Bryan
“This Hard Land” was originally meant to be a part of the 1982 album Born in the U.S.A. However, the track went unused and was not released until 1995 when Bruce Springsteen released a Greatest Hits album. The song would become a concert staple for Springsteen and the E Street Band.
The career path of Daniel Bryan in many ways resembles the path of the song. Bryan had been left in the dust by WWE in the past – overlooked and perhaps at times forgotten. However, like the tune, Bryan would eventually earn his place as a crowd favorite.
Springsteen once said of the song: “I don't understand how I could let it be unreleased for so long.” While a similar sentiment is probably not being made by the McMahon family about Daniel Bryan, he has made the most out of his own hard land – living as a real-wrestler in a world of sports-entertainers.
6 "No Surrender" - Chris Jericho
The first ever Undisputed WWE Champion, Chris Jericho was never handed anything from anybody in the professional wrestling world. From his time in ECW where he began to gain attention from North American wrestling fans to his frustrating stint in WCW where he was the most under-appreciated talent on the roster.
Despite his frustrations, Jericho would not give up on his wrestling career and would eventually find a home in WWE as a top superstar. With perseverance and a heart full of passion, Jericho would prove to the world just how good he really was – “no retreat, baby, no surrender.”
Which is why the Springsteen track “No Surrender” is such a fitting Springsteen song for Chris Jericho.
5 "Born to Run" - The Ultimate Warrior
“Born to Run” is the title track from the 1975 Bruce Springsteen album of the same name. The song is a symbol of success for Springsteen who had released two albums prior to Born to Run – both of which were critically acclaimed but dwindled commercially. It is said that Spring penned “Born to Run” as his final attempt at success.
“Born to Run” could have made a great entrance song for the late Ultimate Warrior who himself was seemingly born to run. Warrior had an electric and energetic entrance. As a child, watching him run to the ring and shake the ropes was always super exciting.
If we replaced his power-chord entrance music with a Springsteen track, the excitement would remain. In fact, the voice of Springsteen may add an extra dose. The Ultimate Warrior could come bursting through the curtain as soon as the song reaches the line: “baby we were born to run.”
4 "Glory Days" - Hulk Hogan
“Real American” is one of the most iconic entrance songs in the history of professional wrestling. Whether or not we like to admit it, we all know the words and at one point or another (at least those of us who were kids in the mid-late '80s or early '90s) we were all Hulkamaniacs.
Now, this entry is not suggesting that a Bruce Springsteen song would have suited Hogan in his prime. “Real American” was the red and yellow anthem that could not be replaced. This is suggesting that a Springsteen song would suit Hogan these days, especially a song like “Glory Days.”
The song itself depicts a man looking back on his days of glory which are now a thing of the past – a fitting number for the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan.
3 "Born in the U.S.A." - Kurt Angle
I firmly believe that Kurt Angle should end his wrestling career in WWE. Angle has spent more than enough time in the TNA half-way house and is ready to be reintroduced to the WWE audience.
If you recall the days of Kurt Angle in WWE, then you must recall his entrance music and the chorus of fans that sang along: “You suck! You suck! You suck! You suck!” Our Olympic Hero was a constant target of WWE fans.
Perhaps if Angle came out to a Bruce Springsteen song? Something like“Born in the U.S.A?” I know this may also seem a little cliche but who better than Angle? I suppose this song could have worked with Hogan, but as I already mentioned, The Hulkster was working his own wholesome American theme. In today's WWE, who could really represent this song? Jack Swagger? Not likely.
The best candidate for this true-blue patriotic tune is Kurt Angle.
2 "Blood Brothers" - Edge and Christian
Tag-team wrestling has always been an important part of any wrestling promotion. While deciding just which tag-team is the greatest of all time is certainly debatable, one thing that is certain is that the team of Edge and Christian should be somewhere near the top of that list.
Edge and Christian grew up together in Canada – lifelong best friends who were chasing a dream side-by-side. Early on in their WWE careers, Edge and Christian were billed as brothers and while the pair may not share a bloodline, they appear more like brothers than some actual siblings.
The best Springsteen track for these two to use as their entrance music would be “Blood Brothers.” The song is emotionally-charged and feels like the perfect fit for Edge and Christian.
1 "Thunder Road" - Mick Foley
“You ain't a beauty but hey you're all right, oh, and that's all right with me.” This line from the classic Bruce Springsteen hit “Thunder Road” is describing a woman named Mary who is the main focus of the song, but we can flip that around and make this about a man – a hardcore hooligan by the name of Mick Foley.
“Thunder Road” takes the listener on a journey, a wayward search for a piece of redemption. Mick Foley is the wrestling world's piece of redemption. Never the greatest champion or a long-reigning champion but a champion all the same. The kind of champion that makes you smile if only for a little while.