Proximo in the 2000 Academy award winning smash, Gladiator, said "win the crowd and you will win your freedom." Obviously, the WWE superstars aren’t slaves, but winning over the crowd is paramount for a wrestler. Vince McMahon, for the most part, tries to listen to the fans when they're chanting for their favorites or booing the guys they love to heat. In wrestling, as long as you're getting a reaction from the fans of any kind, they generally will keep putting you out there. Nowadays, most of the wrestling community just wishes that Roman Reigns would either be a heel or just go away...one instance of Vince not listening to the fans at all and going with his own desire to see Regins as the top face.
We can't blame the guy, as it is his company after all and the wrestlers are his chess pieces to play with. Thankfully for many fans though, unfortunate injuries have shuffled the old guard out for a while and while they are licking their wounds, The New Era has risen. Men and women from NXT and the main roster have ushered in this era, where work rate is slowly but magnificently becoming more important. The fans know it and night in, night out, they demand it.
They demand it, as centuries earlier in the aforementioned ancient battle arena, with their cheers and jeers. As the New Era is in its infancy right now, here are the top chants that are defining it.
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15 Please Retire
With all due respect to Andre the Giant, whose celebrity in wrestling was the equivalent to Ali's in boxing, the best and most versatile big man in the sport's history is Big Show. Debuting way back in 1994 in WCW, the big guy won the world title in his first match out. While the company comically tried to convince us all that he was the son of Andre, Eric Bischoff would eventually claim the guy wasn't worth the money he was asking for. Show jumped ship in one of the (no pun intended) biggest acquisitions by the WWE during the Monday Night Wars. Since then, he has been nothing but a loyal solider, doing literally everything and anything that he was booked to do. It has led to strange decisions and questionable turns for the big man, but it has never dampened his skill in the ring and his ability to put people over.
That is why it is kind of sad that during this New Era, the fans demand the bug lug to hang up his tights forever when they chant "Please retire," whenever he is on the screen. Whether he should or shouldn't is up for debate, but the fans doing that for anyone who puts it all on the line for their entertainment is wrong and this is the one chant on this list that should stop immediately.
14 This is Awesome
While This is Awesome actually originated in TNA of all places and existed long before The New Era started, since there is a definitive time the New Era began - thanks to WWE Marketing, that was at 2016's Payback. Thankfully, The WWE universe doesn't chant it every 30 seconds like they used to and sometimes chant it for things that are truly awesome. Before this era began, some of its veterans, The Shield and The Wyatts had an intense stare down on Raw in 2014. The fans declaration of awesomeness was merited and both groups never even laid a finger on each other that night. A similar thing happened on the most recent NXT, when The Demon stood in the ring with The King of Strong Style to discuss what was next for both of them, which is each other. Whatever the reason, be it an entrance, a debut, a move, or a moment in time, the WWE fans know how to voice their opinion with three words – This is Awesome!
13 You Deserve It
The journey it takes from a scrappy young boy with dreams of entertaining the world to actually realizing that dream is an arduous one is not an easy one and it's wrought with obstacles on your way to the top. Injuries can happen and creative setbacks can occur. Virtually, any number of things can go wrong on a superstar's way to the top. Then their epic run happens. Be it two former collegiate wrestlers who struggled to make a name for themselves or a scrappy female babyface that the fans believed in and felt for. The fans felt nothing but adoration for their heroes and praised American Alpha with a "you deserve it chant" in Dallas after their emotional tag team title win over The Revival. Just as they had done several months prior, after Bailey's match of the year with Sasha Banks. Most recently, they showered Dean Ambrose with that chant after he won the belt at Money in the Bank. Here's to hoping the fans keep this tradition alive. Getting to the top is magical and hearing that validation from the fans is the icing on the cake.
Speaking of guys who deserve respect from the fans, there's The Perfect Ten, Tye Dillinger. Currently a solid hand on the NXT roster, Dillinger is filling a role that Tyler Breeze had before being called up. He can have a great match with just about anyone, just ask guys like Apollo Crews, Solomon Crowe, Austin Aries, and Shinsuke Nakamura. No he's not always successful, but Dillinger has won the NXT faithful over, as the rapid fan base loves to shout "Ten" at Dillinger when he pulls moves off like the Superkick, the running Death Valley Driver or even his finisher, which is aptly named the Perfect 10. Most recently, Dillinger had the crowd going bananas, counting to ten at the most recent TakeOver event. Hopefully, Dillinger's hard work will pay off with a main roster run, but the longtime journeyman has finally found his niche with this character and the fans love to comply.
11 Bayley's Gonna Hug You
Sometimes, the toughest Superstars elicit an "(insert name here) gonna kill you" chant at their opponents, signalling just how badly they're going to be trounced or at least how badly the fans want to see it happen. Lately, that has been reserved for guys and girls like the current NXT champ and Women's champ, Samoa Joe and Asuka. But the fun and lovable Bayley gives the fans inspiration for a slight variation - "Bayley's gonna hug you," playing off the plucky babyface's affinity for hugging everyone in sight, whether they want it or not.
Since just about every marketing item for Bayley likes to play off of her wanting to toss her arms around everyone, why shouldn't her fans adapt this cheer for her as well? Bayley has adopted one of wrestling's ultimate hugs as her finisher, with the Bayley to Belly Suplex, proving that if anyone's actually threatening with a hug, it's Bayley!
10 New Day Rocks / Sucks
As of this writing, The New Day has held the WWE titles for close to 300 days and pretty much everything they do and say goes over like gangbusters with the WWE Universe. But it wasn't always like that for The New Day. Early vignettes showcased some sort of weirdo gospel gimmick that was about to bury Kofi, Big E, and Woods into obscurity. Luckily for all involved, they were smart enough to switch gears into the snarky threesome that they have become.
Their antics don't always hit with the live crowds, but the group makes up for it with their infectious personalities and their belief in what they're doing. The Power of Positivity didn't always resonate with the WWE Universe,as it was just too saccharine at first and the crowd turned on them, and they were the only ones in the building chanting New Day Rocks, while the rest of the arenas chanted that the group Sucks. But since the Royal Rumble of this year, The New Day has won the crowd over and the three man group has finally been getting the cheer they themselves created, "New Day Rocks."
9 Yes, Yes, Yes
Had Daniel Bryan not have been forced to retire due to an injury, he'd be right in the middle of The New Era, having amazing matches with everyone. Luckily, his influence still reverberates around the WWE Universe, as over the years he has has had great matches with Seth Rollins, Roman Regins, and, although never meeting them in WWE, A.J. Styles, Hideo Itami, Samoa Joe, and Finn Balor. There aren't too many in ring competitors today who haven't crossed paths with D-Bry and they all readily admit he's one of the greatest. Oddly enough though his greatest gift to the sport might be the chant he co-opted from the UFC's Danny Sanchez. The Yes! chant started a grass roots movement that saw the fans propel Daniel Bryan to the top of the card and the fans continue to use it, not just to honor him but to voice their appreciation for something cool that's going down. Occasionally Yes Yes Yes turns Espanol, with Si Si Si, when it has been used by Alberto Del Rio and his fans.
8 Enzo Amore, Part 1
In 2003, an experimental two person band, The White Stripes, released the single, Seven Nation Army. The song's defiant lyrics and catchy riff made the song wildly popular as it became the Detroit Duo's signature song. It also gained popularity in the sports world and has shown up at various events over the years, most notably becoming the Italian soccer/football team's own fight song during their World Cup championship run. Oddly enough, it's not the song's kitschy lyrics that they're singing along to, but the riff itself, humming as a giant epic chorus to the tune's acoustic guitar beat kicks in.
In the WWE, the skinny Guinea from the tri–state area, the ringmaster for The New Era, Enzo Amore's name itself lends to a nice variation for wrestling fans–"Oooohhhhh Enzooo Amoree." It started in NXT, then at the Raw after WrestleMania, continued at Raw in London and hopefully will grow louder and louder at events, because a man as raucous as Enzo needs a chant to match.
The New Era's great babyface in the vein of Ricky Steamboat is Sami Zayn. Another chant from the sports world, most notably with the French national soccer team, is the Ole chant, used exclusively for everyone's favorite Underdog from the Underground. Back in his Ring of Honor days, the real life Arabian-Canadian worked under a mask as the insane (InZayn?) luchador, El Generico.
Comically bad name aside, Generico won over the hearts and minds of the ROH faithful, having brutal wars with Kevin Owens, there as Kevin Steen. So many of Zayn's exhilarating moves, like the suicide dive/DDT combination and the Helluvakick, have earned the fan's adoration and they'll sign for his efforts. Something that was not lost in translation from Ring of Honor to NXT to the main roster was the infectious cheer of Ole! for the charismatic superstar, as the fans try to will him to get back into the fight.
6 Fight Forever
Speaking of Sami Zayn, for three years, the WWE superstar was learning how to meld his unique style with WWE style showmanship down in NXT. He learned so well, that Zayn became one of the big time MVPs for the brand. It then became apparent that there was nothing left for him to do in NXT, except move on and crush it on the main roster. But the underdog who never gives up deserved a proper send off.
It would happen at Takeover: Dallas as Zayn's last day for NXT would prove to legendary, when he would be given the privilege of greeting Shinsuke Nakamura, The King of Strong Style in battle. Nakamura is considered to be the best in the world right now by some fans and considering how awesome Zayn is, every member of the NXT Universe knew this would be a match for the ages. But they were simply not prepared for how special the encounter would be and decided to celebrate both gladiators with a cheer to "fight forever!"
5 Holy $#!+ing Nakamura's Entrance
The fans might have chanted fight forever for Nakamura and Sami in their first ever encounter, and both men deserved the adulation for the instant classic. But long before the match was signed, the mere announcement that The King of Strong Style had signed sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling industry. The anticipation for The King to take his throne had grown to mythical proportions and his debut was befitting of such wrestling royalty at Takeover: Dallas. Plenty of fans have chanted "Holy Shit" over the years for insane moves of mayhem and plunder. But after months of hype and buildup, the enigmatic King had arrived and there was only way to describe it. Nakamura's saunter to the ring was a moment of the highest excremental order. Even Triple H was taken aback, seeing him backstage at the latest Breaking Ground special, he exclaimed, "they're holy shitting the entrance, we must be doing something right."
4 Enzo Amore / Big Cass
With a notebook that is filled with decades worth of ideas for taunts, insults, and catchphrases, it's no wonder that Smacktalker Skywalker himself, Enzo Amore, is on this list twice, but this time it's with his tag team partner, Big Cass. Not since The New Age Outlaws has a tag team come along that is perfect as the opening act to every show. 'Zo and Cass, The Realest Guys in the Room, took Joey Tribbiani's catchphrase, added some of their own flair and bada boom! They had instantaneous, quotable quotes to send the live crowds into a frenzy when they see The Certified G and Bonafide Stud, Enzo, along with his seven foot tall monster of a friend, Big Cass.
On the Stone Cold podcast, The Rattlesnake himself was tickled at their litany of lines like, "you can't teach that." Then you add the finger wag Cass does to Enzo's entire promo and you have the "oh you didn't know," of The New Era. Cass is no slouch either on the mic. No, his part in their banter isn't as quotable, since he rattles off something different every night, but the ending is always the best part for the fans to get behind, helping Cass spell that one special word to describe their opponents, S–A–W–F–T!
3 Bayley, Be My Girl
Last year, Bayley went from being just another girl on the NXT roster to one of the Four Horsewomen and the heart and soul of not just NXT, but the entire wrestling industry in general. Her love for the business and her fans is infectious. She had the match of the year and, quite possibly the decade, at Takeover: Brooklyn against Sasha Banks to win the NXT Women's Title and was been a fighting champion for a long time. Her greatest challenge came to date against Nia Jax this past December in London. While things looked grim for the diminutive champion taking on the mammoth challenger, the fans would be with her every step of the way. In London, the British fans showed their love for the champ and began chanting the words to D.J. Otzi’s "Hey Baby," naturally replacing baby with Bayley. It was a big time moment in the career of Bayley and a new chant was born, currently heard throughout all of the raucous NXT crowds the world over.
2 Singing Nakamura / Sami's Theme Songs
Fans have been known to sing along with wrestlers theme songs before. When The Sandman used to treat the arena like his personal bar on the way to the ring, the fans sang his "Enter Sandman" in unison. Fellow ECW alum, Rob Van Dam's theme was Pantera's Walk and the ECW madcap fans sang in chorus as RVD strutted to the ring. Most famously, Bryan Danielson used to come to the ring to Foreigner's "The Final Countdown," and by the time Danielson had stood on the second rope, the Ring of Honor crowds were chanting the song's chorus in concert with one another.
Today, the WWE Universe likes to sing along with both the theme songs for Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura, but the only caveat is that neither theme has any words to them! The fans hum along as loud as they can for both stars, a new tradition that started recently for Nakamura. But for Sami, it started in the greatest of places, his last night in NXT and his first night as a fully-fledged member of the main roster, at WrestleMania 32.
1 AJ Styles
It might seem a little strange for us to put a chant for a guy who has been working for eighteen years at the top of this list. But the very fact that the face of TNA for over ten years, who has worked for both ROH and New Japan, is now in the WWE and pulling out HBK-level performances every time out of the gate means he deserves to be the top of this list.
Already consistently ranked as one of PWI's top wrestlers in the world, he has excelled in his short time in the WWE and when The Phenomenal One steps onto the stage, as long as he's been around the business, he makes everything he touches feel fresh and new, mainly because he hasn't worked with a lot of guys in WWE yet. Every era needs at least one highly respected veteran to guide all of the talent to the next stage and it should be Styles. Why not stand up and chant for the leader of the New Era – A.J. Styles!
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