FearlessRiOT’s Tuesday Top 10: WrestleMania Theme Songs

Welcome to another WrestleMania edition of the Tuesday Top 10, and before I begin, I must ask: Is anyone tired of the Flo Rida song WWE has been using lately? Once again, a fun, catchy beat has ended up in the lap of the Floridia rapper and he has managed to make it an annoying, radio-friendly earworm through his terrible, bland, devoid-of-personality style of rapping. The guy got schooled by Bo Dallas in a rap battle, for crying out loud. But side he (and to a lesser extent, Florida Georgia Line) is WWE’s new favorite music artist, we have to be subjected to him for weeks on end leading up to WrestleMania (instead of the Avenged Sevenfold and Motörhead songs they’ve also acquired for the event. Safe to say that song won’t make it on today’s countdown, which looks back on some of the most rocking, upbeat, or even emotional tunes to ever take on the role of theme song for the Show of Shows. These songs either get you hyped to watch some wrestling, play in well with a WWE storyline going on at the time, are an interesting parallel to the success that making it to the grand stage entails, or just sound nice as a standalone song. It wasn’t easy narrowing these down to ten, but let’s just see how I do!

#10. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Snow (Hey Oh)”
(WrestleMania XXIV)

#10

OK, I have to be honest: this song is mainly on the list because I enjoy the song itself more than how it fits into a wrestling context. In fact, I kind of have to stretch this thing out like an elastic yeast in order for me to even find a way for it to make sense in a wrestling context. If I were to make a list of my favorite bands, Red Hot Chili Peppers would be somewhere high on there; they have an infectious energy and such timeless, catchy songs that it’s really easy to enjoy their general work. And while I don’t know if many people would call Stadium Arcadium their favorite Chili Peppers album, it was still super successful, won Grammy Awards, and notched them some hits, including this song that I read Anthony Keidis claims is about surviving and starting fresh. This was only the secondary theme song for the event, after the less-mellow “Light It Up”, so I think it actually got less play in the WrestleMania build. And it’s kind of a weird pick right off the bat seeing as WrestleMania XXIV took place in Florida despite the Chili Peppers generally being a band that loves singing about a state on the opposite coast. But the song’s smooth atmosphere allows me to give it a bye to #10.

#9. MGK featuring Ester Dean “Invincible”
WrestleMania XXVIII

#7

Like all WrestleManias, the 2012 installment had more than one theme song. Actually, I think it sets the record for the most theme songs used for a single PPV. They used “The Memory Remains” by Metallica to promote the Hell in a Cell match, “Girl Gone Wild” by Madonna for the Divas match, and three songs in-particular for the rest of the show, two of which were unfortunately by Flo Rida: “Good Feeling” and “Wild Ones”. MGK was the smallest name in the theme song pool, but he had my favorite song of the bunch. An inspirational rap ballad that featured the vocals of Pitch Perfect star Ester Dean on the hook, the joint was used to hype up the John Cena side of the Cena/Rock rivalry, with Mr. Lace Up himself getting booed on the ‘Mania stage for endorsing him. White rappers gotta stick together, I guess. Like Maria Menounos (who competed at WM28) in my previous WrestleMania Top 10 article, wrestling fans seem to have a genuine dislike for the rapper to the point of enjoying seeing Kevin Owens powerbomb him off the RAW stage, and while I can’t call myself a fan of the artist, I’ve personally always admired this song.

 

 

 

 

 

#8. Default “The Memory Will Never Die”
WrestleMania 23

#8

In the 2000’s, WWE would choose two different theme songs to represent WrestleMania, and they’d both make it in the show-closing montage recap. While the harder rocking or more upbeat of the songs took up the meat of the package that recapped the matches of the night, it is the slower songs that kick the videos off, probably with the intention to make you emotional about the event you just watched. “The Memory Will Never Die” served as that song in the 2007 edition of the event. At a show that saw John Cena hang with HBK, Undertaker and Batista steal the show, and Vince McMahon get his head shaved by two other bald guys along with a reprehensible force of evil (I will get into all of that during my eventual WM23 review), pop music one-hit wonder rock band Default contributed a song that makes me want to put my lighter in the air upon hearing it (right after I actually buy a lighter). A song about reflection and moving on, it was a song fit for an event as emotionally huge as WrestleMania with a title that sums up the very purpose of WrestleMania in the first place.

#7. Saliva “Superstar”
WrestleMania X8

#7

Remember in the intro when I said a song could make it on if it sounded cool in the background of the match graphics for the PPV? I was specifically talking about this track. From what I hear, Saliva is one of those bands many people regret listening to back in the day; to me, I just figured they were one of those go-to rock bands WWE always had on speed dial in case they needed to borrow a song from their album to score a PPV with. This isn’t even the only time they’ve provided a WrestleMania theme; they did a few years later as well for WrestleMania 23 (more on that track in the Honorable Mentions). But every time I watch the match graphics for WrestleMania X8, I realize that not only could I watch those cool visuals for hours, but I could also listen to this song all day. The guitar lick could stand to have a less sludgy sound, but that might take some of the track’s aggression away, and seeing as this was shortly before the transition from Attitude to Ruthless Aggression, it’s just the sound of the time. I don’t know if this song holds up for anyone else, but it does for me. Don’t worry, though, rock purists; it’s the only Saliva song on my iPod, I swear.

 

#6. Kid Ink “Money and the Power”
WrestleMania 31

#6

The most recent WrestleMania theme on this list comes from an artist that I really don’t like; the fact that his first big hit was that godawful song with Chris Brown didn’t exactly leave a great first impression on me. In fact, aside from this song, the only other thing he’s been on that I even remotely liked was a song that I know Fifth Harmony could have gotten a better rapper to contribute a feature for (was Missy Elliott not available?). But of course, even the worst artists can have a gem in their catalog, and Kid Ink owes a serious “Thank You” to WWE for playing this so much in the build to WrestleMania Play-Button and getting me into it. Yeah, it’s a party song, but unlike most offerings from the likes of Pitbull or Flo Rida, I can actually jam to this. The beat, complete with a catchy piano, is nice by modern mainstream rap standards, the hook is strong and works in more than one context. The WWE Superstars and Divas definitely ‘go hard for too long’ in pursuit of not only the money and the power, but also the opportunity to prove that their efforts are worth a spot on the biggest show of the year. Plus, this is a theme song that just sounded nice in the background of the match graphics. So yeah, I like this song; I didn’t need him to actually perform it on the show, though.

 

#5. AC/DC “Shoot to Thrill”
WrestleMania 25

#5

AC/DC seems like one of those classic rock acts that will always be around. They’ve proven to be timeless despite the fact that their sound hasn’t exactly changed with time. They’ve sounded pretty much the same musically for the longest time, but luckily, I think some people are willing to let it slide because their songs rock out loud. So in a time where WWE were still using rock theme songs regularly and a year before the Australian band rocked out the soundtrack to Marvel’s Iron Man 2, the decision was made to have AC/DC provide the music for the 25th edition of the sports-entertainment spectacle. They provided two theme songs for the show: “Shoot to Thrill” and “War Machine”. I went with the former for this list, because of how big and exciting it sounds. The guitar work on this song is explosive, as you would expect from AC/DC. And even though Brian Johnson’s high vocals are hard to decipher sometimes, it has a natural effect to get me hyped. Plus, like Alanis Morissette and Ellie Goulding, he’s one of those artists I’ve developed a parody voice for whenever I sing his music. Let’s make no mistake about it: WrestleMania 25 was pretty bad, and I’ll get into why at another time. But their choice in theme song was anything but, even if the song came out in 1980. But you know, it’s not the first time WWE used an 80s song to hype up a 2000’s event; I’ll get to another one soon.

#4. Mike Stock, Pete Waterman, & the WWF Superstars “WrestleMania”
WrestleMania 9-14

#4

I almost left this song out. I was too busy focusing on songs from WrestleMania X-Seven and after that I almost forgot that for a solid few years, the WrestleMania theme song was essentially the song WWE used as Linda McMahon‘s entrance music in the 2000’s. It’s a dated instrumental that could only have been a thing in the pre-Attitude Era. And as entrance music, it’s no wonder why they gave it to the two-time failed Senate candidate for her rare television appearances. It is not at all threatening and it’s very, very cheesy. But so was the World Wrestling Federation in the early 90s, so it fits. Plus, the music is easily recognizable and memorable, so why let it go to waste? And if you really want to experience this song the right way, listen to the version that was included on WrestleMania: The Album that features soundbites from then-Superstars like Big Boss Man, Bret Hart, and the Nasty Boys, plus a rap voice from a no-name. It also begins asking if we’re ready for the Survivor Series, which is just misleading? “Are you ready for the Survivor Series? Well, here’s a song about the much-more important WrestleMania instead!” It’s a trap, but it’s for your own good; listen to this enjoyably catchy cheese!

#3. Peter Gabriel “Big Time”
WrestleMania 22

#3

Yes, even before the AC/DC track lit up the WrestleMania 27 hype machine, WWE was not above pulling out songs two decades old to score WrestleMania. This time, a VMA-nominated track from the eccentric Peter Gabriel. This song came out in 1986; meanwhile, the event took place in the Allstate Arena in 2006. Usually WWE would use a more recent song to hype up a pay-per-view, so I have no idea why they decided to use a song that was two-decades old to be the soundtrack for WrestleMania 22. I dunno, maybe then-huge names like My Chemical Romance and System of a Down wasn’t cutting it for them. Not the weirdest thing they did in the build for WrestleMania 22 (remember those pizza boxes I can’t find a picture of, but they totally happened?), but it was one of the most confusing for me because here I was at 14 years old at the time thinking Peter Gabriel was some indie 2000’s artist before I actually looked him up. That said, one of two songs with this title to contend for this list, Peter Gabriel sings in this upbeat ditty about making it to the big time, which for most wrestlers, means making it on WrestleMania, and the stars did it big at WrestleMania 22. I’ll elaborate further when my review of the show goes up.

#2. Tinie Tempah “Written in the Stars”
WrestleMania XXVII

#2

This was almost #1. Almost. A great song that was utilized as the theme tune for a terrible, terrible event. I think we all figured WrestleMania 27 would suck going in because the card overall was kind of so-so, but we did not expect the sewage backup we ended up getting, did we? I’ll go more in-depth about what sucked so badly about WrestleMania XXVII at a later date, more specially on March  27th when I post a review of it (spoilers), but right now, let’s focus on the few redeeming factors of it. Despite the lukewarm card, hearing this song in the background of the graphics for it is part of what made me want to order it in the first place. It’s like they tricked me into being interested in this show. This is another song that fills out pretty much every box on the ballot: along with sounding cool in the background of the match graphics for the show and sounding so great as a stand-alone song for me long after Tinie Tempah has already been forgotten in America, it can also fit in the context of pro wrestling too. This was like the audio equivalent of Alberto Del Rio going on about his destiny, only it doesn’t get annoying after 4 or 5 spins. Awesome song all around.

#1. Limp Bizkit “My Way”
WrestleMania X-Seven

#1

Not to be confused with the Fetty Wap or Usher songs of the same name. For a while, Limp Bizkit were one of the biggest bands around; notice I did not say ‘critically-acclaimed’. They were a polarizing act who dominated the MTV airwaves at a time when the World Wrestling Federation was beginning to experience it’s waning point of mainstream relevance. While Limp Bizkit is now looked back on as a regrettable punchline in music history, thanks in large part to their immature man-child of a lead vocalist, their song “My Way” is a part of pro wrestling history due to the fact that it was the theme song for what many consider the all-time greatest WrestleMania. It was also the track used in one of the all-time greatest wrestling hype videos (although I prefer that Daniel Bryan one), getting fans excited to see the epic collision between The Rock and Steve Austin. As a standalone song, it’s probably one of Limp Bizkit’s best as it’s one where Fred Durst is at his least obnoxious despite using a really dated and entitled saying. And musically, it’s well done, in an era where most PPV themes were much more messy sounding. So yeah, better than “Rollin'”, and this is probably one of the rare times anyone will call something Limp Bizkit-related the #1 best anything.

 

Honorable Mentions:

+ The Soundtrack of Our Lives “Big Time” (WrestleMania 21)

The other song titled “Big Time” to score WrestleMania; I think I can name this the unofficial #11. It’s catchy and has the common courtesy to welcome me to the future; how nice of you, TSOOL.

 

+ Godsmack “Touché” (WrestleMania XX)

Godsmack went acoustic for this track that for it’s simplicity, is really fun to air-guitar.”I only will do for you what you do for me”; well, sorry I can’t make a long-running sports entertainment juggernaut for you too, Mr. McMahon.

 

+ Saliva “Ladies & Gentlemen” (WrestleMania 23)

Josey Scott sounds like a discount Michael Buffer telling you what you’re witnessing is so amazing you’ll have to place your hand directly over your chest to make sure you’re still capable of breathing with a video featuring women in a bloody boxing match.

+ Rev Theory “Light It Up” (WrestleMania XXIV)

Second song in a row that feature a music video where women get bloody by knocking each other the hell out with their fists; you may also remember this band for that music video featuring former WWE Diva Ashley Massaro getting her Fast and the Furious on. Or for singing Randy Orton‘s current theme, one of the two.

+ Eminem featuring Skylar Grey “Legacy” (WrestleMania XXX)

Between this, “Coming Home”, and “Rise”, Skylar Grey is always sneaking her way into the WrestleMania theme song cannon these days. For WrestleMania XXX, she joined one the greatest modern rappers for another Cena hype-up anthem.

+ Kevin Rudolf “I Made It” (WrestleMania XXVI)

Birdman has an annoying habit of ruining songs with his very presence. While he doesn’t completely do that here, he’s still limited and should have immediately been removed. Rudolf and Jay Sean sing about about how far they’ve come, Lil Wayne‘s verse is OK by 2010’s Lil Wayne standards, the song has a totally bomb beat.

+ Audioslave “Be Yourself”

This song is more associated with the second WWE Diva Search than with WrestleMania XXVI; I think they only used it a couple of times, so if you forgot they used it for WrestleMania at all, I completely understand.

+ Shinedown “I Dare You”

The first Shinedown song I’ve ever heard, and one where Brent Smith truly trusts you with his life…I’m being too literal about this one.

What do you think of this edition of Tuesday Top 10? Leave a comment or tweet me up @FearlessRiOT with your opinion or even to suggest a topic for a future edition! Join me next week for the payoff of my “WrestleMania Main Event” marathon!

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