With Wrestlemania in town for its 25th anniversary, Rocks Off thought we could take a little stroll down memory lane and relive some of the WWE's best wrestling theme songs.
Nowadays, the WWE can afford to purchase the rights to slick, well-produced songs by popular music acts such as Saliva, Our Lady Peace, Rob Zombie and plenty of others. It wasn't always this way, though. In the earlier days, wrestlers had to come up with a way to incorporate older, public-domain music as their themes, and nobody did this better than "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Whoooo!
For a theme that shouldn't have worked but did, look no further than '80s icon Junkyard Dog (R.I.P.). It seems... oh, let's say "incongruous" that an African-American from North Carolina would choose a flamboyant English rock band's hit as his theme, but the funky bass groove of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" actually worked a lot better for JYD than did his second theme, a goofy self-recorded number called "Grab Them Cakes."
"Cakes" sounds like the work of an untalented studio musician who once heard a Rick James song somewhere and attempted to come up with his own Super Bowl Shuffle, armed only with a dirt-cheap Casio keyboard and a mound of cocaine to rival the one at the end of Scarface
These days most of the wrestlers of the WWE have generic modern butt-rock theme songs (you know, the genre of Limp Bizkit, Disturbd, and similar acts that appeal to 'roided-up frat boys looking to punch the locker-room walls fresh off the field from a lacrosse game).
Only one of these loud, crunchy guitar songs really stands apart from the rest, and that's Mötörhead's "The Game", an ominously plodding titan (like the wrestler to which it was so long attached, Triple H) that reminds you who it is, exactly, that invented this hard rock business in the first place.
plucked from the crowd by Rowdy Roddy Piper and tutored in wrestling by none other than Hulk Hogan, this bizarre throwback of a Kentucky moonshiner looked like he walked straight out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Underneath Jim's gimmicky, decades-outdated Hatfield/McCoy attire, however, beat the heart of a true hillbilly.
This is clear in both his surprisingly decent self-recorded theme song and the depth of musical knowledge Jim displays on his current gig, the gloriously, unashamedly shitkicking Moonshine Matinee
(Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.) on Sirius XM's brilliant Outlaw Country
Koko B. Ware:
He was a little before my time. Speaking of time, before Koko, like the Junkyard Dog, began using his own terrible self-recorded theme song (above) - there was a whole album of them, you can find it on YouTube complete with "Mean Gene" Okerlund and Jesse "The Body" Ventura sniping at one another in between songs - Mr. B. Ware made his entrances to Morris Day and the Time's classic "The Bird."
That's really all the reason we need to include him here.
Randy "The Ram" Robinson:
Wrestling was made somewhat hip again recently thanks to Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler
, in which crazy asshole Mickey Rourke earned multiple accolades for his performance as crazy asshole Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a wrestler whose peak was in the 1980s and who has ever since struggled to keep his life and career from completely falling apart.
Randy favored the original butt-rock of the 80's, from a time before "that Cobain pussy ruined it all." Maybe he should have thanked Kurt for booting girly-metal ballads like Extreme's "More Than Words" off the charts, but we're not going to argue with a wrestler, especially not a fictional one.
His theme song, Guns 'N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" was so ubiquitous by the end of the '80s that even now it's slapped all over YouTube in versions you wouldn't have dared imagine (above).
Of course, we'd be way out of line if we didn't include the Hulkster. Now, Hulk Hogan's career spanned most of two decades, so not surprisingly he did have more than one theme song. Hell, he even had better theme songs than the one we chose, utilizing Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" during his later years.
But even that timeless guitar anthem can't match the sheer Hulkness
of the one song Hogan used when Hulkamania was running wild at its peak in the mid-80's, the song he was moved to pick up a guitar and rock himself
out to. Ladies and gentlemen: "Real American."