Lyrics Tell the New Stories of Pro Wrestling
Back in the day, Hulk Hogan was a real American, and Ted DiBiase Sr. proclaimed that everybody had a price. A while after that, Shawn Michaels was the boy toy, and a while after that it was time to play the game. We know these things because they told us, true, but we also know them because their songs agreed.
Last night, I did done something very typical that ended with extremely profound results. I downloaded the theme songs for a number of wrestlers currently on WWE’s roster, and after listening to their songs from beginning to end, I find that I want to watch them on TV way more often. Music can set the mood for any event, situation, or circumstance, and a wrestler’s entrance theme can not only set a mood but tell a story. Especially in these shaky times, where pro wrestling is seeing ratings lower than they’ve been in a while, anything that brings in new, passionate fans and gets them relating to newer faces/heels, is a positive thing.
Picture: Public Domain
Written In My Face - Sheamus
Read the words that are written in their face
Why believe them? I believe them!
It's a shame for they, lost their head
A careless man who could wind up dead
You wear your sin like it's some kind of prize
Too many lies, too many lies
These words are true, and I'll make you believe
Yeah, ya fight for air and struggle just to breathe
And you wear your cowardice well
And I will see you ride it straight to Hell
This really says a lot about who Sheamus could be. Usually, when he comes out to the ring, the song starts with the riff where “It’s a shame” occurs. However, if you listen to the full tune, the song actually begins with a short jig drum beat and some soft guitar. It really sets a great mood and gets you ready for the gravity that’s about to drop down from the heavens when the beginning of the first verse comes. Written In My Face goes from heavy and grinding in the verses to an entire choir when the chorus hits. The main voice is that of Sean Jenness, whose accent and timbre drive home each word of the tale.
Believe it or not…this song makes me a huge fan of Sheamus, super mega heel or not. A song can go a long way to help us relate to others. Words we hear can give us a speaker who we feel a certain parallel with, and the music behind it can touch our hearts beyond words. This is one song that does plenty of both for me.
If you ever see Sheamus dominate with the efficiency that John Cena has for the past few years, Sheamus WILL become a fan-favorite.
Picture from Wikipedia, Author: Greg
Broken Dreams – Drew McIntyre
Whats that metronome I hear?
Perhaps the end is drawing near,
You never hear the shot that takes you down.
Out of time, so say goodbye,
What is yours, now is mine,
And i dream broken dreams
I make them come true,
I make them for you.
Bad dreams come true, make themI for you (x4)
While I’ll admit that these lyrics aren’t quite as complex as Written in my Face, they don’t have to be. Broken Dreams starts with a short video vignette when played on TV, where we see Drew's name, artsy pencil-like etchings of his face, and droplets of blood spread on what appears to be a parchment. This style initially reminded me of various TNA entrances when I first saw it, though that company seems to have given up on that style because I haven’t seen it in months. Big mistake, because this always sets up an intimidating presence when Drew enters the ring.
The tale told here is very impactful, and the song once again starts with a low toned intro, which sets the right mood, and launches into heavy guitar at just the right moment. The tone and pitch of the voice all the way through give the image of a strong Scottish nobleman, and whether or not he’s living up to that image, I want to see more of him.
Also interesting, upon looking up these lyrics on the Internet, I discovered that there’s a consensus that’s proven me wrong. The third line above says “shot that takes you down,” and not “shock.” When that lyric is sung on TV is when Drew is giving his opponent in the video his trademark Future Shock DDT. I still subscribe to the singer saying Shock. It’s more appropriate.
I’ve never really liked how the songs are chopped up for entrance length, but I acknowledge it’s necessary to keep entrances brief enough to put on TV. My favorite part of Lovefurypassionenergy, Lita’s theme, was when the lyric “so f*** your rules, man” is screamed out, but it wasn’t until I heard the entire song did I find out…that part appears at the very end, and the song goes through numerous tone changes throughout.
Picture from Wikipedia, Author: shstrng
I Came to Play – The Miz
I came to play
There a price to pay
Time for you to get down on your knees and pray
I came to play
Say goodbye to the good old days
They're never coing back
Watch your future fade
I came to play to get my dues paid
I guess you had a dream
But it can't be safe
I came to play
Run away if you see me
Don't even say my name
Don't think that you can know me
Don't try and play that game
Every day that I get better
I watch as you get worse
My script is to the letter
And I'll write your final verse
Not much of a tale here, but definitely an expression of a distinct attitude. For those that are unaware, his real name is Mike Mizanin, and he was a cast member on MTV’s The Real World in 2001. When he first arrived as a contestant on Tough Enough, he was viewed as a little kid in a man’s world. In a way, he still looks to be such, but as we’ve seen from guys like Rey Mysterio and Evan Bourne, little guys can get the job done, too.
Since embracing his confidence, he’s won the United States title on more than one occasion, and even the Money In the Bank contract to challenge the WWE Champion anytime he wants. While his song still encourages his image as a fun-loving boy in a world of rough-and-tumble rumbling, it says a lot that a guy his size, whose strength of wit could easily get him in serious trouble with pros like Sheamus, Hunter, and Jericho, can still shoot off at the mouth and call himself “Awesome.” At least he wins clean most of the time and proves it.
Remember, fun can be a big part of your personality. A clown like Doink, surrounded by characters seriously bleeding for their chance to win a title, would spray water into the faces of his opponents before a match to show how playful he was. He was huge in his hayday.
Picture from Wikipedia, Author: Iruleitstrue
We Are One - Nexus
We walk alone, the unknown, We live to win another victory
We are the young, dying sons, We live to change the face of history
So be afraid, it’s the price we pay, The only easy day was yesterday
So hear our voice, we have a choice, It’s time to face it…
We are one (3x), We will stand together
Number one (2x), The chosen ones
We are one (2x), We will fight forever
We are one, And we won’t tire
This song is a good fit for the talent coming out of NXT, the guys that created a group looking to take on the WWE locker room full of pros. It tells the story of young, up-and-comers, salivating to make names for themselves and who are proud of their strength that keeps them living. After being teased over the possibility that John Cena may join this group, or that some other pro is either pulling the strings or whispering in their ears, as appropriate as this song is to the Season 1 NXT rookies now, if one or more pros were to join, they may need to change this song to something else.
Like The Miz’s tune, it evokes an extremely youthful energy. That can work in their favor, as they are indeed quite young when stacked up against pros like Triple H and Jericho, however youth also carries with it inexperience, immaturity, and a gung ho attitude that can get you in trouble. Thankfully, Wade Barrett seems to have his stable under control, as I’d really like to see these guys stick around for a while. The dynamic has a ton of possible story branches, and in a company that’s seen at least a few years of stagnancy thanks to John Cena being a poster boy that’s quickly losing popularity, the images of Nexus completely ripping WWE’s flagship show to shreds are still quite prominent.
The trick for WWE is to not let it be forgotten, and if it is? Nexus needs to make more examples. Great song, great intro to it, and extremely appropriate for the wrestlers it’s for.
Picture from Wikipedia, Author: Bill Koneski from Bridgeport, PA, USA
Born to Win – Evan Bourne
Some are born to fight
Some Are born to sin
I was born to light the fire
All that you fear
Some are born to fight
I was born, I was born to win!
I see the time is ticking
I see the world is spinning
I see such to be demise
I see the fear in your eyes
I see the bead of sweat there
I see your empty lies too late to say a prayer!
I move as fast as the speed of light
I'll take you into the darkest night
Make you believe what you don't want to see
For the rest of your life you will answer to me!
There’s just no way this guy isn’t becoming a huge star given enough time, and I really believe his song is going to play loud and clear for quite some time. Starting with a voice resembling a radio control tower at an airport, then taking off immediately into a heavy riff, the full version of the song follows the intro with a short Judas Priest wail that’s conveniently cut out when Evan hits the ramp. Not that it’s cheesy, but…perhaps dated is a better way to put it.
The voice goes well with Evan’s size, smile, and ability to play to the fans. The upbeat rhythm is very relevant to rock music of this generation while paying homage to the rock and roll that birthed it. The quick tempo is a fitting soundtrack for Evan’s speed and agility. Lyrics like “Make you believe what you don’t want to see” tell the story of an underdog who will show everyone what he’s made of. And the changing tone of the song, from dark to light and back again, show Evan’s terrific ability to go from a peace-sign waving face to an all-business winner in a matter of seconds.
Like the other songs I’ve mentioned previously, hearing this on my phone will definitely make me want to see Evan Bourne go up high for his trademark flip.
Picture from Wikipedia, Author: Julian Holtom
This Fire Burns – CM Punk
All I’ve ever wanted was destiny to be fulfilled
It is in my hands, I must not fail, I must not fail
Even through the darkest days
This fire burns always
This fire burns always
This is the proving ground, Misery begins to rise
Turn away from yesterday, Tomorrow’s in my eyes
Nevermore to be held down, By the wings of history
Nevermore to be cast aside, This day is mine
Even through the darkest days
This fire burns always
This fire burns always
When CM Punk first appeared in WWECW, this song seemed fitting at the time, as ECW has always been known as a place for extreme wrestling. So, for Punk to come to the ring with Killswitch Engage behind him, even though he was loved by the fans, made a certain amount of sense. However, I think as time went on, the lyrics of this song and the slightly low, dark tone had a different effect.
CM Punk is a huge endorser of the straightedge lifestyle, which definitely sets him apart from a fair amount of wrestlers in the past. And at first, it was just an aside that he was straightedge. He’d mention it a fair amount in interviews and promos, but it wasn’t the driving force behind him. Now that he’s created the SES, the theme of the song seems eons more appropriate. Even when he’s down and tempted to visit substances for support, the fire inside still burns brightly to resist. While Howard Jones’ screaming at the beginning of the song can be slightly off-putting for those who aren’t fans of metalcore music, his talent with pitch quickly takes over before a listener gets bored.
This Fire Burns sets an amazing backdrop, not only for the speed, quickness, and surprise of CM Punk’s in-ring style, but the intensity of the SES’ ideals and the (hopefully) inevitable rise of this stable. The SES has really refueled my appreciation for good heels with sound belief systems. The NWO was an incredibly stylish stable back in the day, with snappy catch phrases, similar modes of dress, and big name (at the time) stars, but their premise was a little too easy. While the SES’ camp’s biggest name is Punk, they could always grow strong enough to sub in different members, and other pros, for varying reasons.
Mysterio was cited in an article on B/R recently that said he should turn heel, or at least asking the question if he would. Personally…I was hoping and praying that he would join the SES. While there may be tons of heels in WWE as it is, you get enough heels in the ring, eventually, the fans will make a choice about who they want to root for. And when they do? Creative usually steps in to get that person to ease up only slightly on their…heelness…to give them that extra boost to send them into the fan-favorites category.
Losing Mysterio, or Cena, wouldn’t hurt them that much, as they could fill the top spot with some new faces, change the landscape, and possibly bring in some very surprised new fans.
Picture from Wikipedia, Author: David Seto
One of a Kind – RVD and Bombshell – Dudley Boyz
Okay…I left these for last to introduce what’s wrong with theme music, primarily that of what TNA has done to these two seemingly powerhouse entities. First of all, neither of their songs has even enough lyrics to bother quoting here. RVD’s song, these days, is just a repetition of his initials followed by “The Whole F’N Show,” in the same exact beat all the way through. Probably why he powerwalks to the ring, so we don’t have to listen to it for very long. While I will concede to how catchy it is (I’ve found myself humming it occasionally), I annoy the crap out of myself doing it for more than a minute because the “song” never gets to the good part. The songs I've referenced previous? I could listen to them three or four times over and still not be bored, in fact, while writing all this, I've done just that. With RVD, I keep expecting a huge build up after the chanting, then to have the speakers explode as Rob enters, but it’s just the same chanting all the way through. Team 3D’s new TNA theme is basically a generic rip off of Powerman 5000’s Bombshell, with “Get up, get up, get up” substituted with “Watch out, watch out, watch out” and I think what follows is a muffled “Mother f****r.”
It’s low rent, lazy, and cheap on TNA’s part.
They can put oodles of cash into Hogan, but guys who at least have enough in them to put on a good match (even if Hardcore Justice is not going to live up to its name) don’t get the strong tunes they deserve. Catchiness does nothing for them aside from getting people chanting, and it doesn’t set up who they are. It only shines light on how DONE these guys really are. Sheamus, Drew, Evan, Miz, Nexus, maybe not so much CM Punk as he’s been around for a bit…those are all fresh faces that are making waves one way or another. Whether it’s taking and keeping Cena’s belt, being heralded as The Chosen One, encouraging a serious underdog rivalry with Chris Jericho, ripping apart Raw, or saving those in need with bodily healing, the future is in their hands. And if their stories get enhanced, and WWE plays this royal flush just right, they could keep their brand extremely compelling.
Rob, D-Von and Ray? They’re yesterday and the crummy songs that TNA gave them are sad, flimsy, and uninteresting.
When they were in WWE, their songs were killer. Rob Van Dam used to truly be one of a kind. He used to be unique and special, and the destruction the Dudleys used to rain down on everyone…EVERYONE…from other wrestlers, to Divas, to Mae Young (I saw her get put through a table live, and it was great)…meant those two (three if you count Spike) earned the right to wear the light blue camo into the ring, because they were soldiers who were made everything blow up. Neither had particularly complex lyrics, though Bombshell does deserve a mention, check it out…
Now look who’s coming, yeah, look who’s back
Quick, drop the bombshell straight to the track
21st century killing machine
Burnt on the inside, a five-headed team
Now I’m not the same because you’re not the same
And you’re not the same because I’m not the same
And we’re not the same this could never be the same
And we just want to survive
Maybe not a Grammy winner, but still, it set some tone, gave a duo that was otherwise pigeonholed by their love of destroying long planks of wood the microscopic sliver of depth they needed. It also, in an arbitrary way, broke a bit of a taboo with WWE policy, in that it made veiled reference to them being ECW Originals. Look who's back. We’re not the same because you’re the same. They weren’t the same when they came to WWE, Bubba Ray starting with a really silly stutter, which Matt Morgan then adopted during his short stay in WWE. But the Dudleys were something new in WWE and they made everyone stand up and take notice.
I feel bad for them now…
Picture from Wikipedia, Author: Nick Noid
What Have We Learned?
A million years ago in professional wrestling, a performer’s theme song probably meant very little to who they were, mainly because the competitors weren’t busy strutting around the ring talking everyone’s ears off. Ultimately, you have to admit, professional wrestling is not about drama. However, in the days of Sports Entertainment, a performer’s personality is paramount.
Everyone thinks your brand’s roster is boring and flat? No one watches.
In my humble opinion as an author and analyst, I firmly believe that tomorrow’s stars will be determined by listening to the words the bards sing to us. The truth can truly be heard between the lines.
Picture from Wikipedia, Author: unknown