Julian’s Thoughts: What Makes a Good Wrestling Theme Song?

A good wrestling theme needs one key thing: it has to be recognizable right away. If a theme doesn’t have a strong opening, it can fall flat. Glass shattering, a big guitar chord, “If you smell…”, the list goes on and on. Having a good theme is essential. These days, everyone in WWE has a good theme, but that wasn’t always the case.

Themes like what X-Factor had, Test’s 2nd theme, and David Flair’s WWE theme, just to name a few, are examples of bad themes. A couple of those songs improperly and suddenly change tempo. David Flair’s theme was just the same generic guitar riff over and over, ad nauseum.

Suffice it to say, keeping the same tempo is pretty important. Test had a great theme, for example. Then they took the opening and slapped it on another song. Just like X-Factor’s Uncle Kracker theme, the whole thing changes tempo to become slower for no reason, not to mention the lazy edit of pasting “X-Factor” over “that fact” without even *trying* to remove the original lyrics. If you can’t, for some reason, then you leave it alone and *don’t do the edit*. Changing the tempo *can* work if the transition is good. A good example of this is Doink the Clown’s heel theme. While it retained the same opening, it stepped down into a slower, dark theme. Not only does the theme fit the character, the tempo shift from the opening is done well.

Next thing, the theme has to fit the wrestler. For example, Triple H’s main theme is “The Game” by Motorhead. The Triple H character is a very hard-nosed, tough-as-nails fighter type. The song features heavy guitars and ideal vocals. Adding in his Evolution and “King of Kings” themes and you have the Motorhead trifecta, a band that Hunter was very close with. These songs suit the character perfectly like the themes do these days. The X-Factor theme is another good example of a theme that doesn’t fit the workers who are using it. Uncle Kracker’s “Whatchu Lookin’ At” does not make a good theme where and how they edited it. It doesn’t fit the combination of power and speed that X-Factor was supposed to represent.

Finally, the theme should prepare the crowd for what they’re about. This is a little like fitting the wrestler but, since themes are for the audience, it’s good to prepare them for what they’re about to see. WWE does a really good job of this… these days. Take Randy Orton. His original theme suited his character well. Egotistical and boastful. Now, his character is more stealth than anything and his current theme suits that. Vance Archer used to have a theme that was far too fast for a big power wrestler. It would be better suited for a cruiserweight or somebody who does a lot of aerial attacks or “flippy stuff”. Vance should have a much slower theme. Not slow since he isn’t a slow, methodical character. Something like “Wild Child” from W.A.S.P. is good for him.

So, it needs to quickly be recognized, the same tempo, fit the wrestler, and prepare the crowd. Not too much to ask, right? These days, in WWE, they seem to understand. What themes do you think are good and what do you hate?

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Top 5 WWE Attitude Era Mishaps

Television ratings were at an all-time high. Interest was at an all-time high. Live attendance was at an all-time. WWE couldn’t do any wrong. Their business was booming, and WCW (and ECW) were falling behind in the wrestling war. Vince McMahon and his team had found the right formula and made a fortune during the late 1990’s. It is an era that will never (ever!) happen again and looked back on with many fond memories.

However, let’s be honest. There was plenty of garbage sprinkled in as well. Fans can reminisce now with rose-tinted glasses on, and that is understandable. For lots, it was their childhood. Of course, only the good moments will stand out. The bad? Who cared, right? WWE was on fire, and the top stars made you instantly forget about the previous 15 minutes of terrible television. Well, lucky for all of you, I do not wear rose-tinted glasses. For all the of the amazing moments, I also seem to recall plenty of not-so-amazing moments. Here are just a few…


5. Wrestling – If you think a 2014 edition of Raw features little in-ring action, go watch a 1998 or 1999 edition of Raw. Oh my! You will appreciate the action you see today A LOT more real quick. Outside of big pay-per-views, the actual ‘wrestling’ during the Attitude Era was non-existent until the year 2000 when guys were brought over from WCW and ECW such as Taz, Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero , Chris Benoit, Raven and more. Nearly every match featured Hardcore rules or just broke down into an all out brawl. Very entertaining, just not any kind of mat classic some expect.

4. Risks – It is just cringe worthy to watch some of the stunts from the Attitude Era back now. The obvious culprits came from ECW, but Mick Foley brought that type of thing to WWE. He knows it. This is not some sort of knock on him. He is one of my all-time favorites. However, he just rose the bar so high. Everybody remembers his falls off the cage, but there was just so much more. Not just Foley but everyone! The unprotected chairs. The excessive blood. The ladder matches. The table bumps. The piledriver spots. Absolutely amazing to think that was ‘normal’ back then but now 90% of those Attitude Era stars regret even doing those things in the first place now looking back at it.

3. Stories – Where to begin? The ‘Higher Power’ was Vince McMahon the same man who won the Royal Rumble and WWE Championship in 1999. Yay! I think Jim Ross’ instant reaction after the reveal summed up that story line. A “Vince Russo swerve” took place every week. The WWE Title changed hands over ten times in 1999. If that happened today, the uproar would be unreal. A Hardcore title that just gets passed around? The WrestleMania XV scenario with Triple H and Chyna made zero sense. That brings us to the actual story lines. Mae Young gave birth to a hand. Road Warrior Hawk fell off the stage. Val Venis and his ‘Choppy Choppy’ moment? Big Bossman was ‘hung’ after a match?!?! Come on folks, I could go on forever here. People can smile back on Stone Cold and The Rock feuding, but don’t just forget about THAT programming either folks!

2. WrestleMania 2000 – As noted before, WWE was on FIRE during the Attitude Era. They could do NO wrong. Fans ate up anything given to them and accepted it. That is fine. Sadly, that was the complete opposite of WrestleMania 2000. There were about 800 million problems with this event. I won’t go through every single one of them, but this whole show just never clicked with me. In 2000 and even now! Outside of the triangle ladder match, this event was not Mania worthy at all. There was not even one single’s match. On top of that, the entire main event scene was a mess. The OFFICIAL WWE Title match for WrestleMania was not even announced until less than two weeks before the show. Think about that. Under 14 days, and there was no WrestleMania main event! To this day, the show ranks as one of my least favorite pay-per-views ever put on. Too bad it was smack dab in the middle of the Attitude Era…

1. Stone Cold Turns Heel – It is fitting that many remark WrestleMania X-7 as the final Attitude Era show. The WCW crew was watching from a luxury suite. ECW was about to be bought out. WWE delivered an epic event with tons of great main event matches. A jam packed stadium and tons of rabid fans? Yet, it fell into the same trap as before. A No DQ brawl as a min event with Vince McMahaon getting involved! To make matters worse, Stone Cold turned heel…in his home state…to get back the WWE title…after returning from serious neck surgery! We were supposed to boo that?!?! Sorry, the whole thing was doomed to fail from the beginning. I’m not big on ‘fantasy booking’ at all, but everyone had to know better. They just had to. Sadly, it happened. Vince McMahon shaking hands to ‘end’ the Attitude Era? Perfect on so many levels.

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