We all know that good theme music can make or break a wrestler's career. As we have seen throughout the years, when the glass shatters, the countdown starts, or the electric guitar strums, we know (and get excited) that Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, or Triple H is appearing, respectively.
However, in the creative world of WWE theme music, sometimes the composer (mainly Jim Johnston) decides that either a certain theme song fits better on a different character, or an unused theme song is just going to be dumped on someone else.
Hence, the topic of this article—WWE recycled theme songs.
Let's open the vault.
Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda—better known as the U.S. Express—were a very popular tag team in the early-to-mid 1980s, becoming two-time WWE Tag Team Champions in 1985.
They were involved in an intense feud with the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff in 1985, leading to a tag team match at the first WrestleMania.
Although their theme song is widely known to be "Born in the USA," they once were donned "Real American"—which later became popular by Hulk Hogan.
In 2008, they returned for one night only at the March 10th episode of Raw. This time, they came out to Jamie Noble's old theme music (which was also used by Jack Swagger for a short time in ECW).
Del Wilkes made his "Patriot" gimmick popular in the Global Wrestling Federation, being one of the company's top babyfaces. His popularity in the GWF earned him a spot in the WCW, forming a team with Marcus Alexander Bagwell—known as "Stars and Stripes"— eventually becoming two-time WCW Tag Team Champions.
This success led him to the WWE, where he was involved in an intense feud with Bret Hart.
During this time, he used the theme song that was later popularized by Kurt Angle.
Randy Orton made his WWE television debut in 2002, immediately making a name for himself by defeating Hardcore Holly.
Months later, he honed his craft as a heel, becoming a member of Evolution.
As Evolution dissembled, he further developed his persona as an upper midcard heel, known as the "Legend Killer."
During this heel run, he used the "This Fire Burns" theme song on an episode of SmackDown in 2006. This song later became popular by CM Punk.
After she debuted as nWo-affiliate Samatha, Torrie Wilson quickly become recognized in the WCW by aligning herself with David Flair in an angle against his father, Ric. Eventually, she would be linked with her then-mate Billy Kidman and later with Shane Douglas.
Fortunately—after the WWE purchase of WCW—she was one of the former WCW roster members chosen to remain employed by the WWE.
She capitalized on her retention, becoming one of the most notable divas in the WWE.
During her WWE stint, she was mostly a babyface. However, in 2005, Torrie turned heel when she defected to Raw after the draft, aligning primarily with Candice Michelle.
Her theme was "You're Not Enough For Me," which later become the theme for Team LayCool. Layla would keep the theme when the duo split up.
At the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in April, Nikki Bella was scheduled to defend her Divas Championship against a mystery opponent. Many believed that it would be the return of Kharma.
However, we got Layla.
Layla would also win the title that evening and successfully defended until the Night of Champions PPV in September.
In the midst of all this, she entered the ring with the same theme song as former ECW General Manager and current TNA Knockouts referee Tiffany (aka Taryn Terrell).
Ernest Miller made a name for himself in WCW. First, by annoyingly repeating his achievement of being a three-time karate champion. Then, he eventually became a fan favorite with former Nitro Girl Ms. Jones at his side. His popularity landed him a brief position as general manager.
Miller was not nearly as impressive in WWE as he was in WCW. However, during the 2004 Royal Rumble, he had a highlighted moment, coming out to the ring and dancing for a considerable period of time while Chris Benoit and Randy Orton were down.
The theme song he come out to is Brodus Clay's current theme song, "Somebody Call My Momma."
During a two-month span in the summer of 1998, the WWE decided to have a shoot-fighting tournament named Brawl for All. Former WWE Tag Team Champion Bart Gunn was the winner of the contest.
More than 10 years later, the WWE added some vocals to the tournament theme song and dumped it on Ezekiel Jackson.
- Bret Hart defeats Yokozuna to become WWE Champion.
- Lawrence Taylor defeats Bam Bam Bigelow.
- Shawn Michaels defeats Bret Hart in an Ironman match to become WWE Champion.
- The Undertaker defeats Sid to become WWE Champion.
- Steve Austin defeats Shawn Michaels to become WWE Champion.
With the exception of WM 11, it is very interesting that the common thread is that every other main event resulted in a world title change.
Well, there was also one thing in common with all of these WrestleMania events—the theme song.
Interestingly enough—without the lyrics, of course—the WrestleMania 10-14 theme music was given later to Linda McMahon.
What other theme songs do you notice have been recycled? Comment below.
Chris Featherstone is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, as well as a writer for WrestlingInc.com. He hosts a wrestling talk show, Pancakes and Powerslams, which airs live every Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET on Blog Talk Radio.