The origin of Professional Wrestler Entrance Music, is a bit blurry! According to producer Jim Johnston; “I can’t remember a specific conversation about it…it just happened over time”. On the inside of the WWE Anthology, Johnston describes that the release of The Wrestling Album in 1985, Cyndi Lauper‘s manager; Dave Wolff, produced a collection of tunes with a focus on the superstars of the time. Included in the album was Real American, which became Hulk Hogan’s theme, and then the flood gates just opened from then on really.
The Federation years of the Anthology collection is a collection of real classic tunes, produced for some of the biggest and well known stars in the early history of WWE‘s 1980’s boom. The style of the music is very different in comparison to the more contemporary music that has evolved since. There is more of a gimmick to the songs, as Wrestlers were characters with Gladiator style names rather than what sound like real names like many have today. These gimmicky ideas and names do sound rather camp and silly by today’s standards, but back then it was the scene in nearly all of major pro-wrestling companies. The collection we have here are genuine classics, which through music greatly demonstrate and represent the era/time before the Attitude Era shook everything up!
I remember reading something somewhere which was very interesting (which I have been unable to find in my research to make this post!). A Radio DJ was asked to choose his five favourite music albums. Unable to decide, he simply chose the first five Black Sabbath albums. In this instance, with the first disc of the WWE Anthology, I do find myself drawing to almost the same conclusion. There are many really good tracks in the first disc, but the quality of them does flow down hill the further you go into the collection. Choosing my Top 5 from a disc containing over 30 tracks, was difficult, but I find that some of the stand out favourites, are amongst the first few. But, so that these songs can get a mention to, here are the unlucky few who didn’t make it into the Top 5:
Walkabout, Together, Snake Bit, Bad Boy, No Holds Barred, Cool Cocky Bad, One Two Three, Sweet Lovin Arms, I’ll Be Your Hero, Los Boricuas, Smokin, Tell Me A Lie, Enough Is Enough, You Start The Fire, Diesel Blues, Dude’s Shack, Power, Corporate Ministry.
And so, for the third and final time (going backwards); here are my Top 5 Favourite tracks from the first disc (The Federation Years) of the WWE Anthology; Enjoy!
5. Real American (Hulk Hogan) – You can sort of see why this song helped in launching entrance music for Wrestlers. If it had been chosen for anyone else, it probably wouldn’t have worked so well. Hulk Hogan is probably the single most famous wrestler in the world, and his character and charisma helped send WWE into the stratosphere, so it was only natural that his entrance needed to be as big as he was. It’s quite a simple, easy going riff, packed to the teeth with energy. It’s patriotic and catchy, even if you’re not American! It sends a surge of pride through you, like it’s you singing about your own country, your beliefs, what’s important to you! It was released at the correct time, and for one wrestler; it just works beautifully, and perfectly!
4. It’s All About The Money (Ted DiBiase) – I mentioned that a lot of the songs on this disc were based on gimmicks surrounding gimmick characters; well this is probably the most gimmicky! From the first note it begins to sound like a classic Abba song. It has this funky riff like someone’s chopping a guitar in the background, with some loud shouty effects. We then get treated to DiBiase filling in the song with his own character’s thoughts and ideas. It’s not singing, it’s bragging; bragging about who he is and what we are in comparison. It’s almost the ultimate song for a villainous character, and it’s just brilliant!
3. Unstable (The Ultimate Warrior) – About 15 years ago, I spent a couple of weeks in hospital with a broken knee cap. It was painful! One of the things I had to do before I could leave, was I needed to get the knee bent to a 90 degree angle using this knee bending machine. One day, I was listening to the anthology while strapped into the machine, and after listening to the Ultimate Warrior’s theme, I just pumped up the machine to 90 degrees (the first time I got it up to that bend). It was painful, but listening to this theme over and over again, just made me feel unstoppable! I will always have that connection with this song, as it helped me to get through those difficult days in the machine. It’s a cool song to listen to when not in a machine too, as it has a great deal of power an energy behind it, suggesting something big, bad, and dangerous is on it’s way…and at great speed. Could be a great piece of music to play when a runaway train is on the loose!
2. Sexy Boy (Shawn Michaels) – Much like Hulk Hogan’s theme above, this song just melts in with the character being portrayed so well. Sexy Boy is a gimmicky song, but it just oozes charisma, just like the wrestler walking out to the theme. It features song lyrics sung by it’s portrayed performer which are just so funky and catchy. The riff is really cool too, starting with those drums to get you pumped up, then launching into the funky riff. It features a great lyric style too as it has a verse and chorus, twice, then a sort of mid chorus which brings it all home. It’s simply a really cool song for a really cool wrestler!
1. Hitman (Bret Hart) – There is something really cool about this theme; it’s irony! Bret Hart was an incredibly popular wrestler, a major international draw, and is still widely considered as one of the best wrestlers in the history of the industry. As a face of the company, you would expect his theme song to be light and energetic, like Hulk Hogan’s. This theme though isn’t. It’s dark, and brooding! It features a slow, low, but heavy riff, which sounds ominous and deadly. As a theme, it works well with the nickname Hitman, but as a theme for a face; it just warps your mind trying to conceive the two together. It doesn’t paint a picture of a superhero, instead, it paints a picture of a vigilante, and that’s what makes it so cool and ominous. It’s a funky riff, but one that just impales terror upon you!