The world of professional wrestling has given us some larger than life personalities over time, and most pundits would agree that the music accompanying said superstars is just as important as the wrestlers themselves. Would Hulk Hogan be as memorable if it weren’t for “Real American?” Or how about the signature gong for the Undertaker’s “Graveyard Symphony?”
Over the past several years, the WWE has found a way to monetize this content for the WWE Universe, releasing albums, LP’s and downloadable content for the masses to jam out to their favorite theme song at home or in the car. Face it, even in your favorite sports arena, you’re likely to hear at least one WWE theme song.
Generally speaking, the WWE releases their first new crop of themes at the beginning of each year, and as we round up to 2011, the appropriate 11th installment of the WWE Music franchise is taking shape. Here’s a sneak peek at the songs you should expect to hear on the album, likely being produced as we speak.
When the WWE released their newest John Cena DVD compilation, The John Cena Experience, they included a bonus song preview from Cena and his common collaborator, Bumpy Knuckles. Fans immediately jumped on board with the darker edge to the song that this was to be not only the new Cena theme song in 2011, but also the song that would begin Cena's heel turn.
Rest assured, I'm not writing this to get into the agonizing debate on whether or not John Cena will become a heel anytime soon. Rather, we should just assume that this track leads off the newest album if only because they need a featured act to sell copies and it doesn't get much bigger than Cena. After all, it doesn't even have to matter that Cena may or may not turn heel.
He may never use this music to come to the ring. That was the marketing formula for the Cena song "Untouchables," released on the sixth WWE The Music CD. Despite having an album that included long-awaited themes from Carlito, Evolution and the Undertaker, Cena's single was one of the big selling points.
Ron Killings is quickly joining the ranks of John Cena, Shawn Michaels and Jacques Rougeau in regards to performing his own theme song. When the WWE creative team decided they wanted to see the man known as R-Truth branch out from his "What's Up" antics, they had him record a new crowd participatory song in "Right Time."
And in a mostly typical move for creative, they abandoned the song just a little over a week ago in an attempt to keep Truth connected with the crowd. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean Truth won't be getting crunk in the near future, as they'll likely give it a few more tries once the album drops.
Truth's theme, however, is another one that seems to take on a harder edge than his previous effort, hinting that he too could be turning heel. But far be it from me to start the absurd discussion of what an R-Truth heel turn would do for the company. I still get flack for my constant belief that John Morrison will NEVER be WWE Champion.
It doesn't matter that fans may or may not like a wrestler, because the purest of the WWE Universe just love a good theme song. Almost one year ago, Drew McIntyre debuted his theme, "Broken Dreams" to an audience that embraced it quickly.
Performed by Shaman's Harvest, McIntyre's theme is a brooding trek through the trenches that has a lot of musical similarities to Metallica's cover of "Turn the Page." Seriously, listen to the two songs back-to-back and tell me I'm not all there.
McIntyre may still be somewhere near the doghouse as it comes to WWE Superstars, but it would appear as if he could be climbing out any day now. And again, even if they don't like him, people love the music. Appearing in a full-length version on Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 only further substantiates the claim.
Now things are getting good. And I mean really, really good. Say what you will about the gimmick of the son of the American Dream, but Dashing Cody Rhodes has some damn good theme music.
In the same way that Zack Ryder's "Oh Radio" was so cheesy and awful that it was good, the TV-recorded theme "Smoke And Mirrors" is a mountain of delicious music slathered in awesome sauce. From the first few bars to the overall lyrical content, this theme is so perfect and apt for the Dashing persona that it remains hard to hate him.
"Less is more, everybody says so. Even less is way too much. What comes out of your mouth no one knows and no one cares. Ha!"
We're not asking for a Lennon/McCartney compilation here. Just something that is fun to repeat and even more narcissistic than we can imagine. So there.
It probably qualifies as one of the most unfitting themes in the business today, yet that doesn't stop the WWE from playing this auto-tuned hype machine every time Ted DiBiase, Jr. takes to the ring. "I Come From Money," recorded by a man referring to himself as S-Preme (which took me 10 minutes to figure out was a play on the word "Supreme"), is the perfect mix of annoying and slightly catchy.
It takes form previous money-related WWE theme "Here Comes the Money" for Shane McMahon and yet gives a more current update to the on the rocks Million Dollar Couple. With DiBiase and Maryse together, the theme actually finds more of a purpose than it does when DiBiase flies solo.
Since fans are still getting used to the adjustment after DiBiase dropped the far superior "It's A New Day" (which was the lead track on WWE The Music Vol. 10), this one makes the cut if only to get fans used to hearing it far, far more often.
WWE's second NXT winner has been quietly making an impact on Friday Night SmackDown in the past few months, and while his theme music borders on the slightly general, it still has hints of epic.
The orchestral/rock arrangement (once coined "Rockestra" by Paul McCartney and Wings) actually doesn't do too bad a job of introducing the technically sound grappler. If anything, this music is going to be memorable while also being pretty low key (what a horrible, horrible pun that was).
In fact, I wouldn't put it past WWE to give the song some lyrics so that it feels more marketable when it is placed on the track listing for Volume 11. They've done it only 400 times before.
He's a big deal. We knew that from his debut, when he made Rey Mysterio submit. That, and the horrible leaks on WWE.com that confirmed exactly the same thing. But never mind all of that, because Alberto Del Rio's theme music will likely be making an appearance on this album.
Completely instrumental, Del Rio's music has the same kind of feel as that of Muhammad Hassan while keeping with the extravagant entrance that is part JBL, part Christian and part Randy Orton. If anything, Del Rio's music and entrance are quickly becoming some of the most recognizable things to the impressionable WWE Universe.
So why wouldn't we get a little excellence on our album? After all, he could be competing for huge things within the next six months.
Well, if there's one thing for sure, it is that Nexus isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The faction of relatively new faces in WWE ran roughshod over the company from summer 2010 on, and now they'll likely hit 2011 as an even stronger unit. And the theme song? Well, for that we'll go to 12 Stones.
"We Are One" could not have been a more perfect choice for this group of talented, carnivorous rookies. 12 Stones had already provided a few songs here and there for the company, but this one is truly their masterpiece delivery and is actually just a really, really good song.
"We walk alone in the unknown. We live to win another victory."
WWE has already created their own edit of the song for use on television, which would likely be their way around re-releasing it for the album. Think about what they did on WWF Forceable Entry with "Beautiful People" and you'll get the idea.
So that's eight songs in total, which is not nearly enough for a WWE LP. Typically, the recording studio buffers us with 14 tracks in all, sometimes including bonuses for the online crowd. Since we seem to be six short, here's a quick wrap-up of those that were walking the line, and those that never had a chance.
MVP, "V.I.P. Ballin"
With the talents that were performing on this track alongside MVP, it is really a shame that he had to be released. That said, if everything is on good terms, it could still see a posthumous release for the full album.
Daniel Bryan, "Flight of the Valkyries"
Are you serious? Seeing as how this piece of classical music is within the public domain, we won't be getting a release ever. Just like we never got the Macho Man approved cut of "Pomp and Circumstance."
Perhaps SmackDown's newest Diva and NXT's latest winner will be getting her own theme. After all, we're due at least one Diva track per album to bring us down.
The Usos and Tamina
They're going to have to get a lot more relevant a lot faster if they want to see their names on the back cover of this one.
Tyson Kidd/D.H. Smith
With the breakup of the Hart Dynasty, somebody might be launched to a solo career and a new, arrogant theme. Hey, they could even recycle the "King of Harts" Owen Hart theme and I'd be content.
So with all of that now on the table, I'd like to open the discussion. Thoughts? Comments? Hate mail? Send it this way.