If you listened to this past week’s episode of Doing the Job (episode 89), then you’ll have heard M2J, Denny and I discuss WWE’s Signature Sounds DVD, which breaks down the top 25 entrance themes in the company’s history. Considering I am a guy who has always loved comprising lists on just about anything (I actually have a list of my top 500 songs ever…like a five, with two zeroes in front of it), I felt it would be a fun little exorcise to do a top 25 of my own here.
There’s no mathematical equation to how I broke this down, but clearly the main factor was the piece of music itself. The wrestler’s character and overall entrance was kept in mind as well in most cases, as was the emotion it elicited upon hearing it. I did not, however, limit it to just Jim Johnston tracks (the guy who writes/composes most of the tracks for the superstars) and included songs from outside/mainstream bands as well. Where it is not obvious what the entrance theme in question is, I will parenthetically specify.
Hopefully you decided to read up until now instead of jumping straight into the list to allow me to give you the disclaimer that this is simply a list of personal favorites, and is a living, breathing thing where, like all music, any track can jump or fall a couple of spots on any given day. Lastly, something like this is clearly subjective, so to quote Rita before our show begins each week, if you have a problem with anything, please write it an email and go f*#% yourself. Enjoy the list.
25. Kane (Slow Chemical)
I really dug Kane’s original music he used during the Attitude Era, but with the evolution of his character, I felt like Finger Eleven’s version really nailed home the unmasked version that came to be.
24. Mr. McMahon
As M2J pointed out on the podcast, this was originally the theme for the Royal Rumble PPV in 1999 (as in, “Austin, you have no chance in hell of winning the Rumble). But No Chance in Hell truly became the backbone of what the Mr. McMahon gimmick was, and could not have been a better choice for him and, at the time, the Corporation.
23. Curtis Axel
Whoa! What the hell is Curtis Axel doing anywhere near ANY top 25 list of, well, anything?? The truth is, Mr. Perfect’s theme is excellent, and, in my opinion, when they remixed and updated the track for his son, it became that much better. Simple as that.
22. CM Punk (This Fire Burns)
I’ve personally never been a fan of Killswitch Engage, but that has nothing to do with this list. Talk about a song that fit a character so perfectly for what CM “my only addiction is competition” Punk was when he came up at the time. Even more so, when you go back and watch Money in the Bank from 2011, I couldn’t think of anything to get that crowd even more riled up than it already was. Rumor has had it that Randy Orton was originally the one who wanted this song before they gave it to Punk, but who knows.
21. Hollywood Hulk Hogan
I mean, it’s Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix, come on. The opening to that song is gold, and once it kicks in after a few seconds, you’re totally jamming. Of course, considering the list this falls on, if any Tom, Dick, or Harry came out to this, the song wouldn’t sniff it. But Hogan played it up so well with the boas and all that it became something else.
20. D’Lo Brown
Come on man, you lookin’ at the real deal now. Here’s your receipt! I was just down with this one; sue me.
I really don’t know if there’s a more powerful, imposing theme in wrestling. I was never a Goldberg guy, but for real, if you were going to lead an army into war and had to pick one theme, I don’t know how you don’t pick this. Like, if I were in the ring awaiting competition, having no clue who is on the other side of that curtain when I heard this go off, I’d already be crapping bricks. Taking into context the Goldberg character and the fans doing the slow chanting of his name with it, and that totally embodied who he was.
Not much to say here. It’s just a good song that feels right for the group. It’s nice to be able to hear it again regularly now that the faction has reunited.
17. Randy Orton (Burn in My Light)
Yes, this one, from when he was a younger Orton without all of the ugly tattoos and still had the whole world in front of him. Not the crappy Voices song that embodies everything boring about that later version. To speak further on reading random Orton rumors pertaining to his music, I’ve read that he never actually liked his original song, but that’s too bad, because I did.
16. Christian (Just Close Your Eyes – both Waterproof Blonde and Story of the Year versions)
I was a huge fan of Christian’s theme before he left to waste time in TNA. Not only did he seem to be the only guy who could pull off a female vocalizing his entrance, but it actually fit really well, also. When he came back (to somehow no fanfare whatsoever on WWECW, but that’s a whole other thing) with a more upbeat version by Story of the Year, I was super with it, and still am to this day. Very catchy.
15. Eddie Guerrero (Lie, Cheat, Steal)
Such a smooth track, this is. As mentioned already, there are some themes that embody wrestler’s persona. This one, however, flat out tells you the entire gimmick – he lies, he cheats, he steals. You have to respect that.
14. Triple H (The Game)
Years ago, this would have ranked much higher, and perhaps I’m too low in this because quite frankly, this is a kickass song. But first, I feel like the song is only one part of an overall package of the entrance, and second, I feel like I’ve just seen that entrance way too many times over the years. Still, I don’t know how you put this on before something major you’re about to do and not get pumped.
Alright, here’s where I have the strange task of acknowledging how great this song is, yet somewhat sort of going against it. I agree, it’s an all-time great. But I feel like over the years the love for this song by fans has taken on a life of its own. It is very, very good. But it’s not top five like so many people feel, I’m sorry.,
12. Shane McMahon
Yes, M2J, Here Comes the Money is up here. Straight up, this song is fun, and like many others on the list, it fit him so well once be broke away from his dad. One of the biggest reasons I’m upset Shane hasn’t been involved with WWE in a while is because I don’t get to regularly hear this song. Smell my cologne, it’s called brand new money…brilliant.
11. John Cena (Basic Thuganomics)
Let’s double up on the hip-hop. This is one of those things that some people think is corny, and others are totally with; there’s generally not much in between. I felt like the lyrics that Cena laid down here were fantastic for what he was trying to accomplish with this theme.
10. Rob Van Dam
Even considering that I rank his theme in the top ten, it’s still a shame that WWE never had the rights to “Walk” by Pantera when RVD came over from ECW, since, aside from it being an awesome song, the crowd interaction was excellent. Still, once they had Breaking Point revamp and add lyrics to his original lifeless WWE theme, I felt like they had a winner on their hands.
9. Hulk Hogan (Real American)
I can picture the “Yeah! Hulk Hogan!” now. Despite my feelings on Hogan, I mean, come on. It’s the most well-known and iconic theme in the history of the business, and rightfully so. You just can’t be in a bad mood when this song is on. It makes me want to no-sell and finger-point all over the place. YOU!!
8. Mr. Ass
There is a lot of people going hell mother-effing-yes right now, and a lot of other people who completely don’t get it. This song had so many levels of amazing that it is indescribable. Plus, it makes me laugh every time. Billy Gunn sure does love butts.
7. Triple H (My Time)
I believe Trips got this song only a month or so after Billy Gunn got that Ass-Man theme. Anyway, I really, really miss this one. I can’t imagine the Triple H that he became having this song, but for the post-DX, hungry Hunter, the ample aggression displayed here really hit the mark. Lots of replayability if you haven’t heard it in a while.
6. The Brood
This theme, much like the entrance that accompanied it, is a total spectacle. I genuinely feel bad for any fans that came along after 1999 that didn’t get to hear this on a regular basis. I also never realized how many other people loved this as much as I did and recognized it as an all-time great until recently. That makes me happy.
5. D-Generation X
This is what got the top spot on WWE’s list. While I don’t put it there, it’s absolutely in the discussion. Denny seemed to have some beef with that on the show but don’t let it fool you; back in the day we were all about that DX life. Say what you will, but the green and black never leaves the bloodstream. Going back to the song itself, one of the greatest moments in any theme is where we get the “Break it down!” You know it’s just on from that point. To me, if you were to give the Attitude Era a theme song, this is it, and it’s not close. That has to mean something.
(I felt it important enough to give the Run DMC version during the McMahon-Helmsley era in 2000 a shout out because that version is super underrated and seems to have been almost forgotten about over the course of time.)
(Bonus footnote: Normally I’d shake my head and say, “typical,” when noticing that Triple H appears in some fashion four times on a top 25 list. But, like…I’m the one making the list. Can I get a Ron Simmons “damn!” please?)
Directly from the get-go, this theme is a complete shot of adrenaline every time, and is the main ingredient in what makes up one the greatest entrances of all-time. It is an absolute energy burst of a track, and it’s about as damn near perfect of a theme for Edge to have had. For whatever it’s worth, my biggest back-and-forth on this list was choosing between this one and…
3. Shawn Michaels
But after all was said and done, this had to be in the top three; it’s just too iconic. It is awesome that he has had this for over two decades now, and the theme has almost become synonymous with great matches. Plus, I’m also partial to the name that the girls are clamoring for before it kicks in.
2. Chris Jericho
Speaking of guys who have had the same music forever, aside from a minor tweak from the first few appearances way back in ’99, Jericho has had the same music throughout his entire tenure with the company. There is no other music I would rather enter a room to, and the opening countdown serves basically as a signal of awesomeness to come. It is my belief that no other theme completes their wrestler’s entire entrance like Break the Walls Down does for Y2J.
1. CM Punk (Cult of Personality)
Honestly, it’s almost unfair. Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” was already one of my favorite songs ever. Then in 2004, Rockstar put it in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (my third favorite video game of all-time – you can view my list for that here), which only increased my love for the song as it became one of my favorites to catch in the in-game radio. And finally, CM Punk returned from his walking out with the WWE Title in 2011 with this as his theme. I understand that this list is supposed to specifically take wrestling into account, but that’s too many things not to factor in.
Sure, he was gone for way too short when he left with the belt, but I’ll never forget hearing the opening chords and jumping off of my bed, knowing it was going to be Punk coming back on Raw before he came out, remembering that he used it at the end of his Ring of Honor run. The simple sound effect at the beginning is such a great addition, too. Simply put, the theme just fits.
Honorable mentions: The Nexus, Cryme Time, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Lita, Dolph Ziggler, Mankind, and the most difficult cut of all, Muhammad Hassan.