Welcome to another edition of Official’s View with Wes Adams exclusively on PWMania.com. I didn’t watch Summerslam (sue me), but I was glad to see that my prediction of Daniel Bryan winning came true…sort of. It doesn’t look like the immediate aftermath will be as good as the Bret Hart Summerslam 1991 victory I had compared it too in my last column. Geez, imagine had Bret lost the Intercontinental title on Prime Time Wrestling the next night! Anyway, on to the column…
This summer I took a job, in a town that’s approximately 90 miles away from where I live. Don’t ask why, I just did it. Now, I don’t make the drive every day, but I am making it several days a week. That’s a good hour and a half. What gets me through the drive? One thing, if you’re a wrestler, you automatically cut promos in the car. If you don’t, then you’re lying. Wrestlers cut promos EVERYWHERE. You know you’ve done it…you’ve cut that intense profanity laced promo in the car that had so many f-bombs that Shane Douglas would have been offended, look up and see the people in the car next to you looking at you like you’re a raving lunatic.
***Wes’s Tip of the Day: Always hold your cell phone up in your other hand and pretend you’re talking on speaker phone while you cut the promo…they’ll then just think you’re a bad ass who is giving some poor sap a verbal beatdown worthy of a next-car-over-head-nod-of-approval. Trust me.
What else gets me through these car rides? What else! Music! We all have our own cd, ipod, mp3, 8 track, cassette tapes, and whatever other form of music there ever was collections either right at our disposal or in the closet collecting dust. Music is such a big part of everything nowadays and it’s never going to change.
While I was driving today and going through my cd collection I came across WWE Anthology Vol. 2: The Attitude Era and popped it in. As I was listening, I got to thinking about the importance of music in the wrestling business. More specifically, the importance of ENTRANCE MUSIC to the wrestling business, and the importance of having GOOD or GREAT entrance music and the effect it can have on a wrestler’s pop (or lack thereof). But what’s the criterion for that? Everybody has their own opinion on what’s good or bad as far as music goes. But I would think that we could all agree on these three things: 1. the song has to have a good opening riff (10-20 seconds) to give a good buildup for the soon to be popping out of the curtain wrestler. 2. the song needs fit the wrestlers gimmick and (most importantly) 3. the song just has to NOT SUCK. Wrestling themes can be so epically good (Ultimate Warrior’s Unstable), epically bad (Billy/Chuck “Yoooouuuu looooook sooooooooo…….goooood to me”) or so bad that they’re good (William Regal’s Real Man’s Man).
Some folks get lucky and get great music from the get go and use it for an entire career (Ric Flair) some go through several phases of music (HHH) and some never seem to find the right song (too many to name). Within WWE, theme music says to the crowd and the audience “Hey-this guy is here and you better pay attention!” Or at least it’s supposed to. The first few seconds of an entrance song should be a Pavlov Experiment type reaction that makes the crowd automatically cheer or boo. The Undertaker’s gong. The Rock’s If Ya Smellllll…. Austin’s glass break. Most songs feature something that gives the crowd an initial adrenaline shot in order to get them on their feet. WWE began putting wrestler’s catch phrases at the beginning of their songs some time ago. It’s hard to remember a time when Booker T’s Can You Dig It Sucka didn’t open up that old WCW Harlem Heat theme (still one of my top ten faves btw). WCW used a ton of production themes and didn’t create the majority of their wrestlers entrance music.
At one point in 1998, Marc Mero used a production theme in the WWF, while WCW gave it to the Renegade. I actually liked that riff until I heard it as the background music for a TBS commercial promoting a Planet of the Apes marathon (or something wacky like that).
Now ECW was a totally different story! Paul Heyman was somehow able to get the licenses to *gasp* real music while the WWF and WCW couldn’t? Or didn’t want to? That was one of the things that MADE the original ECW! I was fortunate enough to be able to go to a couple of ECW live events in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and wow what an experience that was. Being in a crowd while everyone is singing Pantera’s “Walk” while Rob Van Dam strutted out. “Man in the Box” wailing while Tommy Dreamer makes his way to the ring. Or what about “Enter Sandman” for the Sandman. I STILL to this very day know all of the lyrics to “Natural Born Killas” just because I’ve heard it so many times while New Jack whooped someone’s ass in the ring.
Present day, while the majority of WWE’s main eventers have pretty decent music, I really think that they need to amp up the mid card and stop bringing out these public domain production themes or whatever they are. WCW started that a long time ago and it still happens from time to time. Think about the classic WWF mid card wrestlers (and I don’t mean that in a negative way) and their theme music, and you will never forget it. Brutus the Barber Beefcake. The Bushwackers. Tito Santana. Rick “The Model” Martel. Hercules. Demolition. Look at guys that are in comparable positions today. Wade Barrett has been through about 5 different songs since his 2010 debut. The Prime Time Players have had 2 or 3. What about Curtis Axel. Who knows what Justin Gabriel’s music is?
Now, I really don’t know how much input these guys actually get when it comes to music. My gut instinct says not very much. However, if they have any input at all, I’m begging someone to stand up and say “Hell no, I’m not coming out to that! That was the back ground music to a Geico commercial!” Truthfully, we know that these guys can’t do that. I know I wouldn’t….they could sign me tomorrow and make me come out to the theme song from Family Matters and I’d find a way to get it over. As Dr. Tom Prichard used to say, “Sometimes you gotta make chicken salad out of chicken s$#%!” And he’s right. So the WWE guys get a pass on that.
Now as far as independents go, it’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. If you come up to me at one of my shows and I ask what your theme music is and you say “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” or “Cult of Personality because I used it before CM Punk” then your automatically unbooked. Pick a song that is not only relevant, but people might actually know! For a spell on the indies, I used a song from Powerman 5000 called “Nobody’s Real”. I thought it had a catchy beat to it, and it was just a pretty awesome song. But the crowds I was working in front of didn’t even react to it. Not one bit. So I changed it. One day on a small show as a rib I decided to come out to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”. But the rib backfired on me and the crowd loved it. It gets an automatic pop every time. It surely isn’t my favorite song in the world but the people react to it!
Same concept goes for music as does booking. Book what the people want, not yourself. Come out to the music the people like (or recognize), not the music you like. I despise country music but if I had to come out to “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” in order to sell $50 more in gimmick pictures well then you can bet your ass I’m gonna be doing it. That’s what generates results. Give the people what they want. Tell a story, and then lead the people into a finish that they want. Music is no exception. Neither is a gimmick (a column for another day).
One of the things I love about living in the south is that wrestling can be so much simpler. A little goes a long way down here. It should be like that everywhere. And it can be. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. In everything! Wrestling, booking, and for pete’s sake MUSIC!
Who do you think has some of the best entrance themes of all time? Who are some of the worst? Leave your comments below, any and all feedback is appreciated!
Thanks for reading.