Welcome back, for the final time in the first round, to our quest for the greatest theme song in the history of the WWE, The Champion Sound. At this point, we’re nearly into the second round, which actually means a lot of the hard work has been done. Hundreds of themes will have been reduced to just 80 by the time this column is finished, and in another two columns time we’ll have that reduced to the final 16. It’s taken a little while to get here, but it’s about to get brutal, as even great themes are going to be eliminated thick and fast, and our judges – myself, mizfan, Uncle Joe, Yourayatollah and Mazza – are all going to have to make tough choices between the themes that made it through this round.
Before we do, there are 12 more wrestlers who had more than one iconic theme to choose between. It’s a bit of an odd mix between tight battles where you might not expect them, and some blowouts that you’d think could have been closer today. Much like every other column, I guess there’s the odd surprise along the way. But anyway, let’s start this one off with one of the biggest names of the Attitude Era….
Destiny [v1] (1996) vs Destiny [v2] (1996-1997)vs Power (1997–1998)vs You Smell It? (1998) vs The Rock Says (1998) vs Do You Smell It? (1998–1999) vs Know Your Role (1999–2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009) vs If You Smell... (2001–2003) vs Is Cookin’ (2003–2004) vs Electrifying (2011–2016)
The Rock’s theme is pretty shitty. I don’t see it making a huge dent in this tournament. Which makes it doubly annoying to have to listen to so many.
I had no idea so many variations of the main theme existed.
This one is pretty tough, mainly because most of them are so damn similar. And because I don't really like The Rock very much. It's weird, I like him as a human and I dig his movies and stuff but I find it almost impossible to root for him whenever he's wrestling. If it weren't for his Hollywood Heel run when he feuded with Hurricane and stuff, I'm not sure I'd be able to say that I ever really liked him during any part of his career. That being said, I was naturally inclined towards choosing the Is Cooking... variation of the theme from that Hollywood era. In the end, though, nostalgia won out.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Rock either, to be honest, nor his theme – I get the feeling we’re all a bit underwhelmed here?
Holy Christ on a shitter, the Rocks first two themes are hilariously bad.
I’m not sure the second version of ‘Destiny’ is any worse than the majority of the Rock themes, to be honest.
I've gotta go with The Rock Says, mainly because it was the one on WWF The Music Volume 3. That album was omnipresent in my high school when it came out and you couldn't go anywhere without hearing it for a stretch of time, blaring out of car windows just like Master P or Creed, and it was often The Rock Says that was being played. Though I have always secretly loved the fact that Rock quietly sings Smackdown Hotel over the end of Know Your Role, The Rock Says just connects to memories of a pretty awesome time in my life. Plus it was the last version to really feel like it had some muscle behind it instead of being all bombast.
So now we get to the meat of the action here, as all the theme are virtually the same, with varying differences in tempo, bass and speed of the tunes. You Smell it brings me fond memories of getting with my chums after school for numerous rounds of WCW Revenge and WWF wrestlemania 2000. The Rock says is cool with all of its adlibs, but I dont dig the Christmas like sleigh bells. Do You smell it (wow, great name variances Johnston you fucking hack) is trending towards the more modern of Rocks theme, with the heavier bass and drums being more pronounced. The sound of ‘ If ya smell’ honestly rivals the glass shattering of Stone Cold, and I dont care what you say because we live in a Universe that Limp Bizkit beat out Johnny Cash in an opinion/contest of musical...well anything, so there ARE NO RULES UP IN THIS BITCH. Anyway my vote is for Is Cooking, as the build-up is dope as fuck, and the theme is cleaned up and tempo is picked up, overall great theme. Wait, did I vote for the right one? All of the name are so damn similar.
I do have a soft spot for his Hollywood Rock theme, but it comes down to the two most well-known ones, the late 90s and then the early 00s versions. I could go either way but I feel like the one where he was coming up is probably just a bit better. Know Your Role it is.
Having listened to them all through again for this, I like them less than I did an hour or so ago. I mean, that’s not true of the Rocky Maivia themes, but I’m not going to vote for them. The first is garbage and while the second is about as good as The Rock themes, it’s got nothing good enough about it to knock out anything iconic. The only one of The Rock era themes that didn’t annoy me going around again was the Heel theme from 2003-4. So I’m going to go for that one. It’s the biggest change-up that theme has ever had and it really fit what they were trying to do with him at the time.
It’s Know Your Role that pips it from If You Smell for me with Electrifying putting up a good fight too. At the end of the day though, what comes after the famous catchphrase kinda sucks a monkey’s anus.
The Rock Says 1 Know Your Role 2 Is Cooking 2
YourAyatollah casts the tiebreaking vote for Know Your Role
Doink the Clown
Evil theme (1993) vs Babyface theme (1993-1995)
Ah, Doink. Fuckin' Doink.
WWE missed a huge opportunity to run harder with original heel Doink. That theme is straight up terrifying to this day.
Holy shit, evil Doink’s theme is much more evil than I thought; about as Evil as the thought of Limp Bizkit not winning the coveted title of Undertakers best ever theme song. My spine just shattered at such a travesty, you know?
I'm going with the heel version of the theme. Mainly because, if played exactly right, that early heel version of the gimmick could've worked and been pretty cool. It was not played right, though, and thus brought us the dumbassery of the babyface version of the gimmick. The only two good things about Doink's WWF run are that creepy heel theme and his match with Bret Hart at SummerSlam 1993.
I’d add the sequence of matches with Hennig from the middle of 1993 to that list, but yeah, how great was the match with Bret at Summerslam? I think the Doink character was basically over as something that inspired any real emotional reaction once the babyface turn came, so it’s an easy choice for me and it looks like it might be a 5-0 win for the heel theme here….
We’re all of a similar age here so I assume we all grew up being terrified by that fantastic mini-series of Stephen King’s IT. As such I am sure we could all appreciate the awesomeness of evil Doink when we were a bit older and pretending that the movie still didn’t give us sleepless nights. The heel theme really taps into that and is frigging awesome.
Anyway, now I’m fucking scared, so thanks Pete.
Yeah, now I need to sleep next to someone . Unc, I’ll be round after dinner.
That's it. I don't want to talk about Doink anymore. Except maybe one more thing. Fuck Dink. Creepy little motherfucker.
Heel theme wins 5-0.
Rowdy (2000-2002) Vs What’s Up (2008-2016)
Death by anal rape or death by oral rape? Mad to think is that Killings has some amazing tracks in his second career as hip hop artist Mystikal. Why he can’t use something like Bouncing Back as his theme I have no idea.
Whats up is not only the better theme, but it is such a great fucking song in general. When he turned it into You Suck on his heel turn, I loved it so much I wanted him to win the title.
I can’t say I’m crazy about either song. I find What’s Up to be somewhat catchy though so I’ll go with that.
You know, I realize as I type this that I don't know what people think of Truth. I was going to say that I buck the popular IWC opinion in being a fan of his... but is that even the case? Does everyone else recognize the pretty damn great talent of Ron Killings? Whether they do or not, I do. I've liked him since I first saw him alongside Road Dogg. It was kinda cheesy at the time but he was likable. Then the Dogg went bye bye and he wasn't seen a hell of a lot for the rest of his time in the company. I actually probably would have forgotten him had I not stumbled across Gettin' Rowdy on WWF The Music Volume 5. It instantly became a very tongue in cheek favorite, inspiring many a joking threat to crack some hat racks, as well as invitations to shake asses like jang-a-lang. It's just fun. Plus Kwik sounded like Mystikal. So I'm going with Gettin' Rowdy. I've got a lot of love for What's Up? and have participated in it loudly many, many times, both live and from my couch. I was even one of the guys that Truth threw the mic out to at a house show once. It was a goddamn blast. Truth is one of the most fun dudes around, just seemingly a genuinely good dude, and I will honestly be happy with either of these winning. I go with Gettin' Rowdy purely for the nostalgia of when it was one of my favorite dumb jokes.
Funny you mentioned the Roaddogg in there because when I was putting this together I was thinking of that version, and thinking I was going to vote for it. Then I heard his solo version and I didn’t like it so much. In fact, I prefer What’s Up. As for the tag team of Roaddogg and K-Kwik? I guess their theme is just another one to fall through the cracks.
Fuck I dunno, I guess What’s Up is kinda legendary in a lame way. When I hear it all I can picture is Eve’s terrible dancing though. Getting Rowdy really didn’t last long enough though so What’s Up to go through.
Rowdy 1-4 What’s Up
Too Much/Too Cool
Brian Christopher theme (1998-1999) vs You Look Fly Today (1999-2000, 2004, 2014) vs Turn it Up (2000-2003)
Ah Gargano & Ciampa v1. Can’t wait til DIY start dancing with a fat bloke. Fuck me, it’s gonna be Samoa Joe isn’t it and his theme is what they’ll dance to. I hate you, Mizfan.
Man, this is kinda hard. Turn It Up is so damn fun and really reminds me of Scotty 2 Hotty, who kept on using it for some time after the team split. I always liked Scotty a lot. Dude did good work, stayed over like a motherfucker at all times and never really got any credit for it.
You look fly today is my pick, mostly because it’s fun as fuck, captures a west coast vibe, and actually sounds like wigger rap shit, unlike the weird techno one they would use after, post-Rikishi split.
Could have easily gone with Turn it Up. For a tie breaker I checked which theme they used when they danced in the Rumble. You Look Fly Today for the win!
I gotta say, I really couldn’t have voted for Turn it Up, which I never liked at all. I don’t know how much of that is because I’ve got really, really fond memories of ‘You Look Fly Today’ – a lyric I only picked up on when listening to the theme on headphones for this tournament.
When I think back to Too Cool, though, I think about the "dancing with Rikishi" era. That means I gotta roll with You Look Fly Today, which I had no idea sported that name. That somehow makes it even better.
I actually rather like Turn it Up. Makes me think of Lawler Jr dancing around like he’s having a stroke. You Look Fly Today is iconic though. Not that I knew that is what it was called, either. This is such an educational series to be part of.
Final thought here – what would have happened to the person who voted for the Too Much theme?!
You Look Fly Today wins 5-0
Sycho Sid/Sid Justice
Justice theme (1991-1992) vs Snapped (1996-1998)
Hey, that first one is the song I mentioned back when we talked about Crush! It's basically the exact same thing only dirtied up a little bit.
WHO THE MAN?! (YOURE DA MAN!) WHOSE THE MAN?! (YOURE THE MAN!)
Sid sucks, but his second theme isn’t bad. The threatening tones lose some effect when they are accompanied by a video of Sid looking around vacantly, of course.
I love Sid. I’m not sure why. I loved the Snapped theme as well and his facial expressions to go along with it. They always get a smile out of me. Yeah, so Snapped.
Despite that catchy riff so damn nice they used it twice though, I gotta go with Snapped. Sid Justice was alright but he was very little more than just a big muscle-y dude. He may as well have been Warlord with a perm. When Sid came back around later on, specifically in 1996, (his '95 work is best left forgotten), he was badass. There wasn't much of a character there but there was just enough to make him cool and off kilter. I dug it then and I dug it now. I'm actually a pretty fucking big Sid mark. Snapped it is. Because it reminds me of when Sid was briefly recognized for being the pretty badass, if terribly basic, fellow that he was.
Sid had such legit psychotic charisma, I mean it was off the charts, and yes it ripped parts off from Psycho, the rest of the additions more than allow this to win and make it an awesome theme, and hell; I might vote for this shit every time I get a chance to. Wait, he had another theme? Just like Johnny Cash in his grave, he’d be Rollin if we picked Sid’s first theme.
It’s going to be another 5-0 here, and it’s a fairly easy choice. The Psycho Sid theme is one of those that takes me back to a very specific time, immediately. It’s the autumn of 1996, Shawn Michaels is the champion, and he’s unleashed Sid on Camp Cornette, and there’s the whole ‘how long can he control Sid’ angle working. That period gets a bad rap nowadays, because the NWO angle was flying, Shawn had nixed working with Vader, and Sid is not the kind of worker valued in the 21st century framework. Aside from a handful of good looking moves, he’s largely about image and perception. But back then, he had an It factor (no Roode) that really added something to the programme, and I do sometimes wonder if wrestling is now so obsessed with things like ‘workrate’ and ‘deserving it’ that they’ve lost some of the variety that came from guys like Sid. Needless to say, once Shawn threw his toys out of the pram at Summerslam and refused to work with Big Leon anymore, it’s hard to imagine the WWF surviving into the middle of 1997 without Eudy there to step in.
Oh and hey, did you know Sid meant Suddenly I’m Dominant? That’s so fucking cool and psychotic that a 12 year old would think about shit that way.
Snapped wins 5-0.
Burned (1997–2000) vs Out of the Fire (2000–2002) vs Slow Chemical (2002-2008) vs Man on Fire (2008–2011) vs Veil of Fire (2011 – present)
I actually think I'm most interested in seeing what Joe picked, as he has often claimed Kane as his favorite wrestler.
How can it be anything other than slow chemical? I mean, this ones about as obvious as Rollin is Undertakers best theme by a country mile, so why even bother to have a vote?
Some may have noticed that I've actually mentioned Slow Chemical a few times already over the course of this series, once earlier in this column, itself. As such, I suppose I kinda showed my hand as it pertains to what I'd be selecting here. Kane is one of my very favorites, as well, and I think he may have one of the best playlists of awesome entrance themes of all time. They're all badass in one way or another. Oddly enough, Kane almost had an even more badass song at one point that was unfortunately abandoned at the last minute. It was performed by my second favorite band of all time, Type O Negative, and lead singer and songwriter, the late Peter Steele, was apparently pretty upset that it wound up not being used. It's really a pretty fucking sweet variation upon the general vibe we're used to. It would be my easy pick had it ever been used.
They instead chose to go with Slow Chemical. Had I known that at the time, I likely would have held a bit of a grudge against it. I'm glad that's not the case. In yet another random story attached to a WWF/E theme song (I seem to have a lot), Slow Chemical is the sole reason I purchased the Punisher movie soundtrack, as it was inexplicably on there. No clue why, as it's not in the fucking movie. WWE hadn't released it on any of their CDs, though, and I wasn't savvy to downloading and stuff at the time, so I wound up with a random soundtrack for a movie that oddly featured Kevin Nash in a supporting role. That makes two Kevin Nash movie soundtracks I've owned in my life. Just realized that. How fuckin' weird. Anywho, Slow Chemical is one of my all-time favorite WWF/E themes. It's one that I actually still include on playlists and mix CDs and shit to this day and even used as the basis for a column about Kane back in the day. So even though I honestly like them all, I gotta go with Slow Chemical.
I have a feeling one of the more classic sounding themes will win, and I can understand why, but to my mind there has perhaps never been a better fit between a wrestler and a theme than Slow Chemical and Kane. Great song and a perfect match for the time and place.
I pick whichever one Fred Durst did just to fuck with Steve again. Oh really? Ok then, I go with Burned. Original and the best basically because original Kane was the best. Those first few months may have been one of the best character introductions WWE have ever done. Gotta say though, not a fan of any incarnation of his themes.
I think I agree with you. I don’t want to knock Glen Jacobs because I don’t think any of it is really his fault, but Kane’s reputation is as strong as it is because people ignore how much of his career has been spent doing awful shit. Most of the themes aren’t awful, but I think they’re given a better billing than they deserve on their own. Most of these themes are poor. Slow Chemical is OK but it’s uneven; some bits come together really well and others sound rushed to me, like it needed a bit more work to make it come together. The last one deserves some credit for trying to get the best bits of the two strongest themes, but it’s almost a greatest hits for all that. The one I still like the best is the first one – or maybe like is the wrong word, because as a rock solid Undertaker fan, I hated Kane back then. Much like Sid, that version of the theme makes me feel a lot of what it felt like watching the unstoppable Big Red Machine in his first incarnation – and, as Maz, says, his best incarnation. I don’t think it can make a difference now, but I’m choosing Burned.
Burned 2-3 Slow Chemical
Time to Shout (2008-2009) vs I am Perfection [v1] (2009-2011) vs I am Perfection [v2] (2011) vs Here to Show the World (2011-2016)
What is it with WWE making a little change to a song and suddenly it has a brand new title rather than just being a remix? Anyway, I prefered Dolph’s theme when he was proclaiming perfection rather than being here to show the world (quite what, I am not sure). Once again, I prefer the first version to the edgier second version.
I always thought the remix of “Perfection” was just busier and shoutier, not better, and “Show the World” sounded almost exactly the same with mildly different lyrics. I thought both changes were unnecessary, because the original “Perfection” is really good and easily gets my pick here.
I had actually forgotten about I Am Perfection. Here to Show the World has become so connected to Dolph in my head that my brain just subs it in for even my old memories of him. I feel similarly about Here to Show as I do about Dolph himself. It's not a bad song. It's also not a good song. It's just... a song. I'm alright with hearing it and stuff but I'd never go out of my way to do so, nor would I ever advocate for hearing it more often. All of that is exactly my opinion on Dolph. He's not bad but not really good. I don't mind seeing him on my screen but I'd never seek out a Dolph match and would never advocate for him being in the position to appear on my screen any more than he already does. Dolph is filler. So is Here to Show the World. It really is perfect for him and it is thus my pick.
A little harsh, for my money. Dolph’s career has been up and down a lot and there’s been a lot of filler in there, but since the roster split my favourite work has been the stuff he has done with The Miz, and as much as you’ve got to tip your hat to The Miz he wasn’t the only guy in there. I think they’ve both been superb since the split and one of the only reasons anyone could point to, if you wanted to justify it. But none of the themes are great – they’re all only OK. They’ve smoothed out some of the wriggles in the second version of Perfection, and I don’t think they improve it when they change it to Here to Show the World – the final two are really similar, but I think they hit a sweet spot and then moved off it. So Perfection, 2.
Ziggler's them have all been fucking trash, but at least Im here to show the world that Limp Bizkit is better than Johnny Cash, so theres that. I guess I’ll go with Here to show the world.
Perfection [v1] 2 Perfection [v2] 1 Here to Show the World 2
Prime Time casts the tiebreaking vote for Here to Show the World
Out to Kill (2007-2008, 2010) vs Smoke and Mirrors [v1] (2010-2011) vs Only One Can Judge (2011) vs Smoke and Mirrors [v2] (2011-2014) vs Written in the Stars (2014-2016)
Man, I had almost forgotten how many awesome gimmick variations Cody had over the years.
Ugh Cody. I wish he didn’t have any solo themes at all. Coulda been the greatest tag wrestler of all time if it wasn’t for these constant and ill-advised singles pushes. Anyway. Smoke and Mirrors was always his perfect theme because he seemed to have that kinda hold on the internet. I prefer version one.
C’mon, man. I’ve just had to stick up for Ziggles. Don’t make me stick up for Cody, too.
Why the fuck wasn't he ever pushed? The dude was awesome at literally every single gimmick they shoved towards him. What a waste. I'm glad he seems to be enjoying himself and doing such great work elsewhere now. I really thought that Stardust had potential to be awesome and really enjoyed that theme. I did not, however, like it as much as the original incarnation of Dashing Cody Rhodes. As such, I've got to go with the original version of Smoke and Mirrors. The second version was arguably better in many ways, but there was something about that original that just fit so perfectly. Plus I always imagine that backstage video of Cena singing it. "Whooooa, you're just smoke and mirrors. Whooooa, there goes Cody Rhodes". That's beautiful, man.
This was always going to come down to what version of Smoke and Mirrors I like better, because that’s just a fun song. What put it over the edge is realizing that the “evil” version is more than just a remix, it even includes more evil lyrics. That’s just awesome.
I think that I agree with you, and am going to go for the darker, heavier version of Smoke and Mirrors too. But on another note, I’ve got to say that of all the super-generic themes, Cody hit the jackpot. I mean, Out to Kill and Only One Can Judge were probably never going to trouble the judges, and they could have been attached to anyone (especially Out to Kill), but if they’d been out in the mid-nineties we’d have been raving about them. As generic goes, they are both really solid.
So this comes down to Dashing and undashing. I loved loved LOVED the turn and theme for what it did when Cody broke his face (kayfabe anyway) but smoke and mirrors is a better song and I love it, one of my favorite of that era. After much debate, I’ll go with smoking mirrors v1.
Smoke and Mirrors [v1] 3-2 Smoke and Mirrors [v2]
Wrecking Crew (1991-1992) vs Rocket (1992-1997) vs Blackheart (1997-1998) vs Enough is Enough (1998-1999)
Blue Blazer theme is a bit rubbish.
I almost went with the Blazer theme, because I love those little laser sound effects. It’s gotta be Enough is Enough though, it’s a cool background progression over some fun quotes which encapsulate a time where Owen did a lot of his best work.
Ok so this boils down to Blackhart (which sounds like a stage from Sonic the hedgehog 3) and Rocket, which … Give me Rocket, as that is what could’ve saved his life if he had access to one.
Blackheart sounds like a level on a computer game you get as a PS+ freebie which sucks but Unc will swear is the best thing ever. Enough is Enough ups that by having random yet funny lines from Owen over it. Rocket wins by default here. But Rocket is also fantastically awesome. Probably my favourite New Gen theme of all.
Man, I love Owen. He had some of the best cheesy, almost dumb themes of all time. It's a lot like his promos. He cut a lot of great interviews, but he's remembered for those couple of legendarily awesome stinkers. I really like the later themes, which are basically two slight variations upon the same thing, but Owen for me will always be defined by his Rocket theme. There was a time, inexplicably, when it was my favorite theme in the company. I used to go over to his selection screen on WWF Raw on Sega and just let it sit there so I could listen to the 8-bit version of his song. Then I'd pick him and choose Bret as my opponent and kick his selfish, spotlight hogging ass. All Hail the King of Harts. And his cheesy as fuck song.
No brainer for me. Always loved The Rocket theme, which I think started out life as the theme for High Energy, before Owen kept it for his singles run. On the one hand, there’s something actually kind of cool about that jazzy/funk inspired guitar lick that runs through it. It’s a little cheesy, but I love it anyway. It’s also when Owen was going his biggest and best work. Unlike his elder brother, he never really looked like breaking through on his own. He was a better athlete than Bret, but perhaps wasn’t quite so good a storyteller; and while Bret broke through from crappy babyface and resisted cowboy gimmicks and made an unfancied tag team work and built himself up to world champion from that, Owen’s upper midcard career was basically all built on Bret giving him the huge rub at Wrestlemania X, and the supposed animosity between them. It was so great, it set him up for years. He did threaten to get through on his own and maybe even break into the main event as the Blackhart, which is another theme I like, but post-Montreal it was a difficult time to be a Hart in the WWF and D-X pretty much scotched that one before it began. So that has more negative associations for me. So yeah, Rocket to go through, to outlast Bret and join Davey Boy in the second round.
Rocket 4-1 Enough is Enough
Narcissist theme (1993) vs Stars and Stripes Forever (1993-1994) vs Made in the USA (1994-1995)
Wow, those patriotic ones are cheesier than Steve’s feet after a marathon dog walking session on a hot Texas day.
Lex and WWE just never seemed to click, which is probably the main reason he’s remember so poorly (and so unfairly!) by most today. I’ll go with the Narcissist theme, it’s not perfect but at least it stands out as a bit different and doesn’t carry the weight of the poorly fitted American Hero gimmick.
Luger is a tough one to figure out, but I think the two things that most count against him are the number of enemies he made, and the fact that he had all the attributes but never really made the most of them. If you’re going to piss off that many people, you better draw Hogan money, or be as strong a worker as a Bret or Shawn. Sadly for Lex, he was built as a superstar, acted like a superstar, but it’s hard to find a way that he really delivered consistently. But that’s enough of that, and back to the topic. I always hated the Narcissist theme more than any other so I can’t bring myself to vote for it now. Made in the USA is the choice, I think.
Man, I don't really like any of Luger's WWF themes. The only one of his I really liked what the mash-up version used when he and Bulldog were the Allied Powers. Since Made in the USA was the song used in that, it kinda wins by default. Not really much else to say. Fuck Lex Luger for ruining Miss Elizabeth. Yeah, that's right, I hold a grudge.
Narcissist by default for me here, although I do kinda like it. I kinda liked that character too. I wonder what my have been had they not tried to make him Hogan-lite and let him be him. Shane, you out there? Tell us man, tell us!
I’ll go with Narcissist I guess.
Narcissist 3-2 Made in the USA
Eye of The Tiger (1983) vs Hulk’s Theme (1984-1985) vs Real American (1985-1993, 2005-2007, 2014-2015) vs Voodoo Child [Slight Return] (2002-2003)
HOLY SHIT, I had no idea how great Hulk pre Real American theme is! I am fucking SHOCKED, all seriousness. I dont give a fuck how iconic RA is, this trumps it for me. Now between this and VooDoo Child, I cant fucking call it, because I love Hendrix and VC was such an epic theme for Hogan.
I’ll go with Hulks theme, which I am ok with, even though I’m sure Real American gets the nod because the rest of my esteemed colleagues are un-Patriotic (and possibly foreign?) scum.
Yes!! You included Eye of the Tiger!! WWE has done their best to scrub this theme out of history (for legal reasons, I’m sure) but having watched Hogan during the period where he was exploding in popularity, NOTHING fires a crowd up like Eye of the Tiger. I’m sure Real American will win this round due to its iconic status, but having actually watched Hulk use both I would strongly argue that it doesn’t hold a candle to the original arena rocking vibe that EotT brings to the fore.
Goddammit. I can't believe I'm being put in a position where I have to vote against my favorite Hendrix song. Fuck. I do have to, though. Real American, even though it didn't even originally belong to Hogan, epitomizes the man, so thoroughly tied to Hulkamania and all the emotions that it has fostered throughout my life that I actually sometimes tear up a little when I hear it. I've never admitted that before. It's true, though. Sometimes when it hits, not every time but sometimes, it seems as though all the hero worship of my youth balls up like a fist of emotion and pops me right in the cry button. I don't even mean to, not even really entirely sure why it happens, have actively tried to prevent it... but yeah. It does. So I pick Real American. Because I love it.
So later in this column, I will call something the best song in this tournament. I will be wrong because I totally forgot about Hulk using Survivor. Me + 80s Montage + Survivor = Fantabulous. But it’s Real American here. Once again, anyone saying otherwise must be mental or like 12. Love him or hate him, there is no debating his impact and there is no debating what the soundtrack to that impact was.
I actually like all of these, but in different ways. Hendrix is clearly the best song by light-years, but it’s the weakest entrance music, paradoxically. Hulk’s theme is very cool, but to me it’ll always be the theme from the Rock N’ Wrestling Cartoon more than an entrance theme. Can I vote for Eye of the Tiger and throw it to a tiebreaker….. no, I just don’t think I can vote against Real American. In many ways it’s the WWF theme that everything else comes out of, and deserves a place in the next round.
Eye of the Tiger 1 Hulk’s Theme 1 Real American 3
The Main Event
This Fire Burns (2006–2011) vs Cult of Personality (2011–2014)
Possibly the only time CM Punk ever headlines a card that features Hulk Hogan and The Rock, by the way….
Man, this is easy and hard at the same time. I've got a lot of love for This Fire Burns and were it not paired with someone who had such a badass alternate theme to choose from, it'd probably be a strong contender for whatever group it sat in. Killswitch Engage is a pretty damn cool band, especially back in the day when Burns was recorded and they still had their original singer, and it's exceedingly cool that someone had a song done by them. Didn't hurt at all that that someone was CM Punk, who reigned supreme as one of my very favorite wrestlers for the complete duration of his time in WWE. One thing This Fire Burns is not, though, is anywhere as good as Cult of Personality. Not only is it a fucking fantastic song that I loved for 20+ years before it was ever connected with Punk... but it is also now a song that I can't hear without connecting it to Punk. It was perfect for him. Absolutely perfect.
Cult of Personality by a mile here. I know some are fond of TFB, but I never got the appeal. By the time you get to anything coherent, I’ve lost interest. CoP was already a classic before Punk ever touched it though, and the associations with the song are extremely positive.
Cult of Personality is probably the best song in this tournament. Cult of Personality is probably the best wrestler-to-theme tune fit in this tournament. There’s one big problem though. Living Color’s big hit was a perfect fit for Punk in the two years before he actually got it. By the time he had generated enough buzz to actually pull off the coup of getting WWE to cough up the big band royalties, he’d gone past that stage of his career. Now it still made for some awesome entrances but it feels very heelish to me for a period where Mr Brooks was predominantly face. Ironically when he was a heel, it was less of a good fit for him and a better one for his manager. Could you imagine that theme tune on Heyman??? So the question here is whether This Fire Burns worked as a better theme for Punk. Unlike Cult, you’d never catch me listening to This Fire Burns in my car. It’s not my kind of music at all. But I really liked it for Punk. Think it was really good for the boring “I don’t get why everything thinks this guy is so good” pre-2009 Punk. Not quite so good for creepy heel Punk that followed but I still think it strong enough for me to vote for the upset here.
So this smug little kyke has a pretty good theme with this Fire Burns, but it’s so hard to vote against Cult, seeing as how they’re good guys and that theme really fit the arc and change Punk went thru after he dropped that pipe bomb shit. I’m not sure about how this one is going to turn out, but if I am sure about one thing from writing in this shindig, I’ve learned that Limp Bizkit is so much more ridiculously talented than Johnny Cash that it’s been revelatory; I mean Moses speaking to God levels of shock here. Anyhow, I’ll go with Cult of Personality here.
There was a lot of talk beforehand that this could be a really close battle, but it’s not looking that way – and I’m another vote for Cult of Personality. Never got the appeal of This Fire Burns, while Living Color were a great band, and for once the great song has been turned into a really epic entrance theme. Cult of Personality is not only the rightful winner here, but it’s going to be a challenge for anything to overcome in the next round.
Now my only dilemma is that I actually forgot that it was in the mix and I am now, compounded from the previous column, fearful of a group that will include Line in the Sand, Metalingus, Slow Chemical and Cult of Personality.
This Fire Burns 1-4 Cult of Personality
So, there we have it – the first round is at an end, and Cult of Personality knocks out This Fire Burns (and the Orton two-theme loophole is closed off). Also going through are evil clowns, Rockets, Real Americans and Narcissists, and the Slow Chemical theme for Kane survives a late scare to make it through as well. More importantly, though, we've got our 80 themes that have made it into the next round.
It doesn’t get any easier though. The draw has already been made by the time I post this and I can promise you that the difficult choices will be flying thick and fast in the next instalment. Come back and join us then, and watch as we agonize over which of our favourites have to fall by the wayside when we start the second round.