It is, for those of us of a certain age, hard to imagine that there was a time when wrestlers would make journeys to the ring with no music accompanying them. Theme songs have become so associated with the wrestling business that the idea has been copied/stolen by other sports. Professional boxing and Ultimate Fighting Championship events would, at this point, be empty without competitors having loud bumping music blaring as they prepared to take on opponents. Wrestler theme songs are even heard in stadiums that showcase football/soccer matches, American football games and other similar events.
Certain wrestler theme songs have become iconic on their own, so much so that fans inside of arenas will pop even if the performer associated with the tune is nowhere to be seen. “Real American” is just one example of a song that has been use to pump crowds up inside of stadiums all around the United States. You do not have to be anywhere near a wrestling event to hear multiple individuals yell out “Wooo!” whenever the tune that was associated with all-time industry great “Nature Boy” Ric Flair sounds out in any public setting.
Then, there are the wrestler theme songs that have, for one reason or another, faded away into obscurity. It could be a simple case of a tune being replaced by one that the performer and also fans happen to like better than the forgotten song. Sometimes, a wrestler gets a new theme song when he turns from babyface to heel or vice-versa. Time also naturally erases certain themes from the memories of even diehard wrestling fans who understandably forget. There are some great theme songs in mainstream wrestling today, but that does not mean that the ones showcased in this piece should be undersold by anybody.
20. Sting’s Early WCW Theme
Wrestling fans will remember the “Crow” theme that Sting had during his feud with the new World order. Then, there was the Metallica remix that was given to him once that storyline had run its course. A decade before, when he was the top babyface in the company, he was, from his song, known as “The Man Called Sting.” Sting was an up-and-coming babyface worker in World Championship Wrestling when he, like so many in the company was saddled with an entertaining, though generic, theme song. Who could have imagined, at that time, what Sting would become in the industry.
19. Jeff Jarrett’s/Debra’s WWE theme
Odds are that, whenever you have come upon this piece, Jeff Jarrett is probably trying to launch some new wrestling company so long as he is alive and well. Jarrett has been a controversial figure in the industry for well over a decade, and his attempts to make an organization that can remotely hang with the WWE have thus far failed to net positive results. Jarrett’s first ever run in the WWE included that fantastic “J-E-Double-F J-A-Double-R-E-Double-T” tune, but the song that was given to him upon his return to the company in the second half of the 1990s was even better.
18. Mankind’s First Theme
Portions of the reading audience are going to feel old upon learning that it has almost been two full decades since Mick Foley had this song for the first edition of the Mankind character. Foley would play the villain for, among others, the likes of Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker during his early days in the WWE until he was finally given a chance to shine. Part of that included Foley playing out the Dude Love character and also Mankind being given other versions of the song, but it is this first rendition that is the perfect theme for the original character.
17. Steve Austin’s Ringmaster Theme
One would have thought, considering how he left WCW and then how he got himself over while working for Extreme Championship Wrestling, that those in charge of the WWE would have instantly come up with a better idea for Steve Austin than to name him the “Ringmaster” and put him with “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. That, of course, was not the case, and thus Austin was given this theme during his first run as a solo act in the WWE. Austin and the “Stone Cold” character eventually became one, and this theme was let go.
16. Dean Malenko’s WCW Theme
Here is a brief summary of the Dean Malenko character for his run in WCW during the 1990s: Malenko was noted to be a talented wrestler, the “Man of a Thousand Holds” and also known as “The Iceman” because of his no-nonsense attitude before, during and after matches. Could there be a better wrestler theme song for Malenko than what WCW gave him? It is fierce and yet bland, dark and at the same time generic. Malenko never needed a flashy theme or a showy gimmick, and he was one thing that WCW got right before the company began overshadowing midcard talent.
15. Lex Luger’s WCW Theme
Of all of the themes that Lex Luger had during his runs in WCW and the WWE, this is the one hardcore WCW fans will remember. Luger used this music when featuring as both a babyface and a heel, which is fine when you consider that its generic nature works for either type of character. Those who re-live the company’s history will, via WWE Network, remind fans of when Goldberg defeated “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship during an edition of Nitro. Luger once pulled off the same feat and it was this song that blared as his hand was raised in victory.
14. Kurt Angle’s ECW Theme
Those running WWE had a small conundrum on their hands when it was decided that Kurt Angle was going to feature as part of the re-branded Extreme Championship Wrestling: they had to come up with a way to get fans to stop chanting “you suck” whenever the former Olympic gold medal winner, who had been given the nickname “the wrestling machine,” would appear at events. By making just a few tweaks to the song that Angle had used throughout his WWE career, the task was easily completed. A decent theme happened to be created in the process.
13. Hollywood Blondes WCW Theme
There are some out there who would probably take shots at WCW for doing whatever possible to save a buck and for creating generic rent-a-song themes that could be used for a variety of wrestlers. Whatever your opinions on that practice, you have to admit that plenty of those songs were fitting for heels and babyfaces. The song that was used by the Hollywood Blondes was a classic heel theme song, one that would not work in today’s wrestling industry but a tune that was acceptable back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Remember, everybody, that the WWE also was not against using generic music for performers.
12. Rick Rude’s WCW Theme
Older WWE fans will remember “Ravishing” Rick Rude for the song that he used while with that company. Those who watched Rude perform in WCW could, upon thinking of it, probably recall his “Simply Ravishing” anthem. Rude’s theme in his early WCW days, a simple instrumental that happened to be a catchy tune, matched the character in its own way. It is not the best wrestler theme song that you will hear on this list, let alone from that time of WCW, but the company had way worse over the years. At least this one was all Rude’s and nobody else’s.
11. D-Generation X: The Kings
The D-Generation X stable, like many other parts of the WWE and of the industry, in general, was in a need of a change after several incarnations of the faction when the wrestling federation linked up with music group Run DMC. What fans got was a remixed version of the DX theme that had been associated with the group since its early days, a song that was not long for WWE television before it was abandoned. The old DX theme has only been used whenever Shawn Michaels and Triple H have resurrected the stable, which is a shame if only because “The Kings” is a solid song.
10. new World order’s B-Team Theme
One of the things that sunk the old WCW was that the new World order faction was allowed to grow…and grow…and grow, so much so that the group was eventually overfilled with midcarders, some of whom seemingly had jobs just because they wore the colors of the stable. Rather than have all of those wrestlers come out to the same theme, WCW hooked certain individuals up with a song that practically screams “B-team.” It was fitting, because that is exactly what those wrestlers made up; a group filled with forgettable acts that became associated with this anthem.
9. Ric Flair’s WWE theme
Decades before the WWE began changing the names of performers for marketing reasons, they would put their own spins on wrestlers in attempts to sell merchandise and to distinguish those individuals as being under their umbrella. The idea of changing Ric Flair’s theme song may be equal to heresy in the eyes of those who have followed the legendary career of the “Nature Boy,” but the song that the WWE gave to Flair in the early 1990s is not all that bad. It’s a decent knock-off of the original and it also suits the character well.
8. Owen Hart: Enough is Enough
Of all of the opportunities and talent that the WWE has wasted over the past two decades, Owen Hart is probably well atop the list. Hart had an ideal feud written for him when Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon “screwed” Owen’s older brother at the 1997 edition of the Survivor Series, and yet the company squandered that chance almost as quickly as it arose. This theme was the best thing to come out of the final run of Hart’s career, and the truth of the matter is that his life likely would not have been cut short had the WWE gone all-in on pushing him in late 1997/early 1998.
7. Triple H: My Time
Has any WWE performer had more awesome theme songs than Triple H? “King of Kings” and “Time to Play the Game,” both performed by Motorhead (live, even, at some events), would be equal to any song associated with a wrestler who works for the company today. He has also been linked with two phenomenal versions of the D-Generation +X theme. It was during his first run as a solo heel that an instrumental song that was pretty good on its own evolved into “My Time,” the theme that Triple H would eventually share with Stephanie McMahon during the early days of the McMahon-Helmsley Era.
6. Big Van Vader’s WCW Theme
Big Van Vader is unquestionably one of the best big man to ever work in the pro wrestling business both abroad and in North America. Vader had several themes while working in the NWA/WCW and the WWE, but this simple instrumental was all that he required when he was the baddest man in the WCW and the champion of that promotion. Fans would stand, almost in awe of what they were about to behold, whenever the opening bars of this theme would blare out. WWE has not yet had another big man of Vader’s quality and the company may be searching to find one for years to come.
5. Steve Austin’s Alliance Theme
The WWE, in attempts to capitalize on the popularity of the biggest draw in the industry and sell music albums, changed the theme music linked to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin several times during his runs with the company. While fans will only hear his standard theme song whenever Austin appears at events, it is this one that may be his best. Austin needed a switch to match the persona of the paranoid heel who was leading The Alliance in the storyline war with the WWE. The company could not have done much better than what it came up with here.
4. The Brood’s Theme
Admit it, those of you who grew up watching the WWE during the Attitude Era. You and your friends would flick lights on and off while recreating your own version of the entrance that Gangrel and The Brood utilized during their runs with the company. Back in the days of the old Playstation and Nintendo 64 consoles, video games players could give this entrance to either Create-A-Wrestler male and female performers or to wrestlers who were already in the game. Yes, you could have Vince McMahon enter the stage via The Brood’s music and entrance. Awesome.
3. Four Horsemen’s Theme
WCW had a long history of recycling theme songs for different wrestlers during the 1990s. These instrumental tracks could essentially be linked with just about any performer, babyface or heel, but this tune is, among fans who followed that company, most often associated with the members of the Four Horsemen who were not Ric Flair. That only Flair was deemed worthy of having his own iconic theme was not a hit at the other wrestlers in the stable, as those three sharing a common theme let fans know that a member of the Horsemen was about to enter a ring.
2. The Rock’s Hollywood Theme
Part of what made The Rock one of the biggest draws in the industry during his prime was his ability to expertly play heel and babyface roles, seemingly at the drop of a hat or the flip of a switch whenever asked. The Rock’s last heel persona in the WWE was his “Hollywood” character that was based on the fact that some fans had turned on him after he left the wrestling business to pursue a career as an actor. That decision worked out rather well, as Dwayne Johnson is a legitimate movie superstar who has been part of hit after hit.
1. John Cena: Basic Thuganomics
There is, in fact, a sect of younger wrestling fans or of viewers who are newer to the WWE who only know John Cena for his current theme and for his “Super Cena” persona. Long before the days when Cena was a cartoon-esque babyface, he played the role of a heel rapper that was based upon the fact that he had some decent game in the art form. This song, not to mention the promos that he cut on opponents while playing this gimmick, offered more than enough proof that Cena could go on the mic. Is this the greatest theme in the history of the SmackDown brand split? Maybe.
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