WWE Music: 10 Great Entrance Songs Not Composed by Jim Johnston
WWE and music are synonymous. It would be impossible to think of your favorite wrestler coming to the ring and not having their signature song in the background.
A big part of this concept came from Jim Johnston, an ingenious composer who has been writing music for more than a quarter of a century for WWE. Non-wrestling fans may not know his name, but those of us with an ear for a melody know that The Undertaker's and Steve Austin's themes belong up there with the classical works of Beethoven and Mozart as well as Hollywood legends like John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith.
In the past, though, WWE has brought in outside music to use for entrance songs, and I would like to highlight a collection of 10 awesome choices they made. These are not all of them, and they aren't even necessarily "the best." For me, these songs simply made enough of an impression for me to remember them. I'm going to list them in chronological order pertaining to when somebody first used their respective song.
Let's get to it!
"Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss (Ric Flair)
One of the first people to use music during an entrance was Ric Flair, and the incredible composition from Richard Strauss has followed him throughout his entire career.
While this song was originally featured in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film I own and love, I don't think of monkeys shattering bone fragments when I hear the opening horns of this song. I think of The Nature Boy, walkin' that aisle, stealin' kisses and making this track truly his own.
"Pomp and Circumstance" by Sir Edward Elgar (Randy Savage)
When I was four years old in 1989, I knew nothing of classical music or graduation ceremonies. I did know The Macho Man, and as far as I was concerned, this song was written for him.
Of course, "Pomp and Circumstance" is an incredible symphony with multiple movements. The section that matters most, though, is the one that begins at 4:57. The layers of music are as colorful as the outfits Randy Savage would wear when he walked to the ring.
He was sorely missed at Raw 1000.
"Real American" by Rick Derringer (Hulk Hogan)
I forget sometimes that this was originally not for Hulk Hogan—"Real American" was written and dedicated to Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo, who quickly left the World Wrestling Federation for the NWA.
Hogan decided to adopt it and, well, you know the rest by now. I am pretty sure this is the only wrestling music video to earn a commentary by Beavis and Butthead during an episode of the show.
"American Bad Ass" by Kid Rock (The Undertaker)
After an absence of eight months, The Undertaker showed up at Judgment Day in 2000 on a motorcycle, dressed in leather, sunglasses and a bandana. This was a new version of the Dead Man, and WWE gave him a song by one of the most popular artists at the time—Kid Rock.
Interestingly enough, both The Undertaker and Kid Rock have gone back to their roots since then—The Undertaker with his original music and ring attire, Kid Rock with his down-and-dirty southern style.
Anybody else out there want Heath Slater and Kid Rock to do an album together?
"The Game" by Motorhead (Triple H)
As a wrestler, it is one thing to use a song by one of your favorite bands as your entrance song. It is quite another to have your favorite band of all time record a song specifically for you to use. But for Triple H, that's just what Motorhead did.
I said this wasn't a ranking list, but if I had to pick one, The Game would be my top choice for these songs.
If you want to dig deeper, there is a great extra feature on the WrestleMania 21 DVD of Triple H hanging out backstage with the band. I can't imagine what that must have felt like.
"Back in Black" by AC/DC (Eric Bischoff)
To this day, I don't know of any other moment that shocked the wrestling world as much as when Eric Bischoff walked up to Booker T in the middle of an interview and shook his hand. No spoiler had leaked and nobody backstage was told.
Before Bischoff had his infamous "I'm Back" composition, he used AC/DC. Not a bad call by WWE.
"Metalingus" by Alter Bridge (Edge)
Myles Kennedy is now the main vocalist for Slash, but Edgeheads have known about his voice since one of the most-needed heel turns in WWE history.
This song came about just in time for Edge, whose new R-rated image injected Raw with a new guy for fans to despise...and that was before the Matt Hardy/Lita events.
"Enter Sandman" by Metallica (The Sandman)
When ECW One Night Stand was announced, a lot of skeptics sounded off about how authentic WWE could make it.
Before the rebranding of ECW happened, this was just that—a one-night stand. And it was a night you never wanted to end.
WWE did not have to pay Metallica what was likely an astronomical amount of money to use this song once; they could easily have given The Sandman some generic music or swapped in another choice. But they did use the right music, and I still kick myself for not making it to this show when I had the chance to do it.
"Ride of the Valkyries" by Richard Wagner (Daniel Bryan)
Before Daniel Bryan began using the remixed version of this classic by Wagner, he entered to the original score that was famously used in Apocalypse Now.
While I do have a soft spot for the authentic version, I cannot see him "Yessing" his way down the ramp to the older track.
"Cult of Personality" by Living Colour (CM Punk)
If Merriam Webster's dictionary ever included wrestling vernacular, it would define "marking out" as jumping up and down while screaming and possibly pointing at your television set when some sort of event takes place during programming.
When this song began to play at the end of Raw on July 25, 2011, that is exactly what I did. For someone like me who followed CM Punk from his days in the indies, to see what is essentially the same character using an old ROH entrance song was incredible. Best entrance song in the world?
You can let me know, and you can also tell me which ones I forgot about. Cheers, everyone!