Every moment in wrestling is an opportunity for spectacle.
A wrestler's entrance can be as engrossing as the action that follows. Fog and fireworks, music and costume combine to create a stirring experience.
The following 50 wrestlers managed to maximize the grand ceremony of the entrance.
To determine the best of all-time, I've factored in the music, the pyrotechnics, the wrestlers’ walk/run into the ring, crowd interaction and how they've utilized props, be it low-riders or a pair of sunglasses. They are also rated on their entertainment value, their distinctiveness, how influential or innovative the entrances are and how well it all fits in with their persona or advances their gimmick.
I realize this is a well-covered topic, a highly subjective one at that, but as it is one of my favorite aspects of wrestling, I wanted to pay tribute to the best.
Arriving in a limo with a longhorn hood ornament, JBL entrance was a combination of the two elements of this character; his Texas roots and kayfabe rise in the New York stock market.
Arms raised in victory, grinning devilishly, JBL steps toward the ring.
Aside from the limo, there wasn’t much to his entrance. His song is okay, a bit too subdued for its own good. Lacking fireworks or memorable gestures, JBL earns his place here on how well his entrance ties in with his gimmick.
Is it possible to high-five everyone in the crowd? At some indy matches it sure is.
Bryan Danielson aka Daniel Bryan gets all of his points for crowd reaction and song choice. The crowd chants, "Best in the world" as he enters in his red robe.
"The Final Countdown" is the antithesis of the tough guy entrance song. It's just enough offbeat, just enough epic that it works.
Dressed like a cross between the Green Goblin and a preteen goth girl, Jeff Hardy did not do many things like everyone else.
He lands a spot in the Top 50 for his originality and energy.
While his spastic dance routine was memorable, its goofiness, along with his tepid entrance song doesn't allow him to claim a higher ranking.
Is it creepy for an old hippy to be kissing ladies in the crowd? You betcha.
But it does make for entertaining television. Known as "The Boogie Woogie Man," Valiant straddled the line between fun and forcing the audience to ask itself if a homeless man just sneaked into the ring.
A showman for sure, Valiant did well to work the crowd with such average talent.
His repetitive song hammering into your head, Koko B. Ware entered the ring flapping his wings like his famous pal, Frankie.
Having a bird perched onto the sleeve of your dazzling jacket certainly amps up the entertainment value. This is a wrestler and entrance clearly marketed to kids, but even stodgy adults had to smile at the ridiculous and exuberant routine.
"It's time! It's time!"
Though his entrance song was very typical of the era, Vader's was one of the stronger ones.
He threw his patented "V" hand gesture as he shuffled toward the ring, sometimes looking a little too much like a Seig Heil salute. Throw in some red lights and his prolonged growl in the center of the ring and you have an entrance befitting the man called Vader.
A more flamboyant version of Jimmy Valiant, Garvin came to ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" in sparkling pants, a fluffy boa and Mickey Mouse gloves.
In lieu of fireworks, his valet, Precious would toss white powder into the air as Garvin boogied in the ring.
As a singles wrestler and as a member of the Freebirds, Garvin was ahead of his time, helping to pioneer showier, music-heavy entrances to come.
The hood of his Ric Flair-style robe over his head, a shower of fireworks, AJ Styles pops up into an outstretched pose.
Even though his entrance music, "Get Ready to Fly," sounds a lot like Limp Bizkit, it’s an exciting, rocking song.
Nothing pioneering here, but his entrance is an excellent preamble for his often excellent matches.
DDP's diamond cutter hand gesture is so famous that Jay-Z stole it from him. The throwing down of said diamond cutter as fireworks explode was always a cool moment.
His wild-eyed biker walk was nothing groundbreaking, but that can't be said for the self high-five. DDP self-congratulatory move was another creative aspect of an often underappreciated superstar.
Booker T's entrance isn't world-class, but memorable.
Stealing the best line from The Warriors movie, his theme song is mildly catchy, a serviceable choice.
Booker T starts with a titled headbang, shifting into a one-legged bounce, boom, some fireworks go off.
I can dig it.
Most Japanese wrestlers enter the ring to what sounds like the Power Rangers' theme song.
Kobashi's music isn't that much better, bringing to mind some '80s cartoon metal song, but it's solid enough not to ruin the mystique of the moment.
As the crowd chants his name, Kobashi walks purposefully through colored smoke, a dark robe covering his head. Kobashi's is a simple and successful entrance.
Wearing a sly smirk and wild eyes, Roddy Piper tore toward the ring looking like a soccer hooligan holding back a boiling anger. He always looked convincingly ready for a fight.
His blaring bagpipes are iconic, but a shade grating. They certainly fit his Scottish character though.
A waterfall of fireworks behind him, arms up in an aristocrat's shrug, Alberto Del Rio is so exuberantly proud of himself, it's infuriating. He plays the heel quite effectively, making you want to strangle him with that white scarf.
Being introduced by his own personal announcer is a nice touch that may grow tired at some point, but for now it’s heel gold.
I do think entering the arena in a car has been overdone and at this point it's a bit passé. That in itself drops him down a few spots.
New heel R-Truth's entrance is much more pared down.
But when he first made his way into WWE, he rapped a song consisting of mostly gibberish followed by the call and response of "What’s Up?"
R-Truth's catchy and energetic song had one niche audience-young children who'd never heard a rap song before.
His whole entrance revolves around the song as he hops around the arena, mic in hand. Hard not to have fun when watching him despite how annoying it was.
All of CM Punk entrance songs have been fantastic, from using AFI during his Ring of Honor days to his timely selection of "Cult of Personality" currently.
At house shows and while working for the independents, Punk is much more volatile with the crowd, insulting anyone and everyone. If he were doing this on Raw and PPVs, he'd be much higher on this list.
As it stands, Punk pre-match gesture repertoire sometimes includes flexing his wrists, sometimes kneeling, sometimes skipping sideways in the ring.
Punk is always changing. This is great in terms of his never-stale personas but it doesn’t allow an iconic entrance routine to develop.
Creepily slithering into the ring, Randy Orton enters to one of the better entrance songs, "Voices." Not only is it a solid rock song, but it definitely accentuates his gimmick.
He then climbs onto a corner turnbuckle and strikes a pose reminiscent of a Greek statue. Orton has managed to improve his entrance in small increments, his walk becoming more and more predatory.
When hearing Kofi Kingston’s Jamaican nightclub-inspired entrance music, it's hard not to have fun.
Couple that with Kingston giddily bouncing around and the crowd is always raring to go by the time he steps in the ring.
Fireworks are utilized quite well, timed to his clapping.
To top it off Kingston slaps his hands as the crowd chants, "Boom, boom." All in all, a highly enjoyable experience, especially for the kiddos.
High-fiving fans down the aisle, Rob Van Dam makes his way into the ring with a goofy, stoic look on his face. His point to himself as the crowd spells out his initials routine is simple, but effective.
"One of a Kind" is a fast-paced song that invites the crowd to shout along and ties in well with what RVD is all about. The TNA version is bit more in your face.
His entrance is nowhere near as entertaining as his feats in the ring, but certainly better than average.
A stand-alone quality rock song starts things off.
Edge then stiffly saunters through fog in a long bellman's coat. He always looked frazzled as he ran his fingers through his hair.
He gets extra points for his crazy eyes routine as he waits for his opponent.
Creepy images flash on the big screen as fake lightning hits the arena. Sting emerges from the fog, cups his hands and screams "woo."
Sting has had some great entrances, but drops this far in the rankings in part because of a lack of a signature song. He's used a dozen different songs over his career, changing them before we had a chance to get attached.
Saddled with one of the most blasé songs in wrestling, Bret Hart still managed a memorable entrance.
Doling out high-fives as he made his way to the ring, the Hitman then did a sort of spinning shrug. Had it ended there, his entrance wouldn't have landed on this list.
What distinguishes Bret is that he always climbed back out the crowd and handed a kid a pair of his trademark pink sunglasses. That corny display is the icing on the pink and black cake.
During the Attitude Era, few had more attitude than the New Age Outlaws.
Crowds got keyed up when they heard the Road Dogg call out their famous line, "Oh, you didn't know? Your ass better caaaaalllll somebody!"
This semi-self announced style was the predecessor for Mr. Anderson's entrance routine.
Road Dogg and Billy Gunn find themselves lower down on the list than the Triple H and Shawn Michaels incarnation of DX because of their lower quality entrance song and having no razzle dazzle in the way of fireworks.
Not to mention, the unappetizing focus on Billy Gunn's rear, while unruly like their characters, made their entrance a few steps away from all-time classic.
"This son of a gun is weird."
Gold lights shining, his eerie, epic theme music playing, Goldust made quite a spectacle of heading to the ring.
Rubbing himself, performing some disturbing gyrations, his entrance wasn't so much pleasant to watch as it was entrancing. He gets points here for uniqueness and playing up his gimmick, even if his gimmick was silly.
He managed a compelling mix of grandiose and discomforting.
A hard-hitting metal song sets the tone for Batista.
He bounces angrily before slipping into a machine gun pantomime. Often, he screams.
Like his wrestling style, there is nothing nuanced or graceful here, but it is straight-ahead, powerful and effective.
The standout aspect of John Morrison is the slow motion effect.
He stands with a smug smile, hair flapping, and appears to be in slow motion as fireworks stream behind him. Donning fur coats and big sunglasses and oozing a rock and roll style, Morrison maximizes his gimmick.
The slo-mo look is growing in popularity as other WWE superstars are beginning to join in on the fun.
Music straight out of a horror movie played as Mankind ambled down the aisle, his body contorted and awkward. With his head cocked and face poking out of his macabre leather mask, he’d mime two pistols and shout, "Bang, bang."
His entrance was one of the most fitting and certainly one of the most eerie.
Mankind later went on to become more of a lovable character and changed his music to some forgettable guitar-based junk.
Few wrestlers are more tied to their entrances than Mr. Kennedy/Mr. Anderson.
Standing in blue fog, some rocking music behind him, Mr. Anderson reaches up and a microphone is lowered.
He announces himself in a Michael Buffer inspired style. This allows him to throw in a promo while he’s at it and use some of his southern boy charm.
At a time where flash was unheard of, Gorgeous George wore a sparkly robe, donned a Marcel hairdo and handed out flowers as he sauntered down the aisle. All the while, his attendant sprayed perfume on him.
Innovative and influential, we’d have no Macho Man or Ric Flair had George not done things the way he did.
Though it was of course a product of the times, having no fireworks or other special effects, holds Gorgeous George back in the rankings.
Coming out to Enya sounding music and pointing to the crowd, Sin Cara's entrance doesn't start out fantastically.
After a bit of bouncing in place, that changes quickly. He runs towards the ring and then flips over the ropes as fireworks explode him. The smooth roll to get back to his feet is impressive on its own.
Real or imitation Sin Cara, his entrance is first-rate.
The Rock's entry music smartly uses a litany of his catchphrases starting with, "If you smeeeeeell what the Rock is cooking."
The song itself isn't anything remarkable and neither is his no frills power strut.
He does manage to make an eyebrow raise entertaining and strikes a memorable pose on the turnbuckles.
Kurt Angle comes in at No. 20. It’s true! It’s true!
His dinky entrance song alone wouldn’t be all that entertaining on its own. What elevates it is the "You suck!" chants fan began to build into the rhythm.
Kurt Angle intensity at times was startling, as shook and bounced like a boxer readying himself for the fight. He often screamed, his mouthguard showing through his grimace.
He helped amplify his gimmick when he wore an Olympic (presumably a replica) gold medal to the ring.
"Break the Walls Down" is one of the better entrance songs. It starts with a countdown which has built-in anticipation. Bonus points for tying in his finisher (the Walls of Jericho) with the most-repeated phrase of the song.
Break the wall dowwwwwn!
Jericho was the absolute best at playing a world-class jerk on the way to the ring. Strutting cockily, he shooed away the crowd like them just being near him disgusted him and he wears a convincing look of disdain the entire time.
Mysterio's theme song, "619," named after his finisher, is a festive choice.
Seeing him pop up from out a trapdoor is always thrilling. Unfortunately it is not always a part of his entrance, especially recently. He also usually has some of the best pyro-work behind him.
And how touching is it when he does that headbutt embrace with a kid in the audience? Awww!
The most recognizable first two seconds of a song gets all the kids screaming.
Then there’s a yabba-dabba-do sound and the horns hit, and you have to admit, that swirl of music and crowd reaction is stirring.
'’I've never been much of a fan of Cena's, but the entrance is the one thing he's nailed. He throws in a "You can’t see me" and/or a salute before darting to the ring. The whole thing’s a spectacle and it should be.
He gets bonus points for always going big for WrestleMania entrances, though that Mafia thing he tried at WrestleMania 22 was an awkward belly flop.
The hand to the ear, the flexing, the tearing of the yellow shirt; Hulk Hogan's pre-NWO entrance was loaded with iconic, classic poses.
His entrance music however is a horrible song that crawls in your head like an earwig. It's catchy, but nauseating.
Of course he gets points for being distinctive. Some wrestlers could trade entrances with each other and people wouldn’t notice. Hulk Hogan’s yellow and red-filled, "Real American" arrival to the ring is his and his alone.
Though it is dated now, it remains a classic.
The Big Red Machine you might have guessed comes to the ring with red lights and horror movie-inspired music.
One of the better eerie entrances fits in perfectly with Kane's (especially masked Kane) gimmick. To heighten the dark tones, Kane stomps through pillars of fire.
Kane throws his hands down and boom, fireballs erupt near the ring.
Perhaps there's a bit of overkill on the fire, but a thrill to watch nonetheless.
Rolling into the arena in a low-rider was certainly over the top, but in wrestling over the top is expected and encouraged.
As his entrance song chanted his mantra, "I lie, I cheat, I steal," Eddie popped out and shimmied his shoulders.
Hard not to have fun with that music playing, watching Eddie's infectious smile.
Walking out to epic symphonic music, Mr. Perfect's entrance, like his in-ring style was not flashy, but precise and a delight to watch.
He perfected the cocky strut and took simple props like a towel and a piece of gum made them captivating. Mostly he tossed the towel around and caught it which doesn't sound all that thrilling, but he did it with the same grace and arrogance than defined his persona.
D Generation X was all about defying the rules and not doing what they were told. Their theme song emphasizes that.
It's a pretty rocking song with one heck of a catchy guitar riff throughout.
The crowd held up their green glowsticks in the form of an X and watched as two of the best in the business, Triple H and Shawn Michaels, made an X of their own, right across their junk.
The DX crotch chop is one of the most famous moves in wrestling. Couple that with some timely fireworks and you have one of the best entrances of all time.
Rick Rude doesn't earn this spot because of his music or some clever arrangement of fireworks.
He had a smug confident walk in a robe and then proceeded to cut some of the most scathing and hilarious promos.
Where he made his mark is when he'd demand that the music be cut off and he'd begin a city-specific tirade.
"What I’d like to have right now…"
The ensuing insults usually centered around the men of that city being fat and out of shape. Some of the verbal jabs were pretty generic (apparently there are "sweathogs" everywhere) and some were undeniably witty.
What followed was the Ravishing One gyrating in the center of the ring while the crowd booed. Classic.
A mess of flying tassels, the Ultimate Warrior ran into the ring and became a rabid animal bouncing between the ropes.
While most other wrestlers were walking tough guy style down the aisle, the Ultimate Warrior churned down the ramp to a fast-paced song.
The rope shaking madness that preceded all of his matches was usually tons more exciting than his matches themselves.
Even after he stopped wrestling and was relegated to stunning people and doing promos, the sound of glass breaking before Stone Cold came out always sent the crowd into a frenzy.
His simple entrance music features a somewhat repetitive chunky guitar riff.
There aren't a lot of frills to watch here. The Rattlesnake simply stomps his way to the ring. It was fitting for his tough guy persona as were the double middle fingers he saluted the crowd with.
Those two fingers and that defiance wafting from him epitomized the Attitude Era.
Entering to the perhaps the most apt theme song of all time, Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Sandman's entrance is one of the most original.
Rather than come down the aisle, he zigzagged his way through the crowd. Giddy fans reached out to touch him as he passed by them, beer in hand. Sometimes the Sandman smoked as he entered or as in this video carried a big stick.
My only complaint is how drawn out this could be sometimes as it was often quite a long distance through the stands and overeager fans did not help the situation.
Dressed in outlandish outfits, sometimes appearing to be a cross between David Bowie and a rhinestone cowboy, Shawn Michaels made a show of every entrance.
Inspired by Randy Savage and Ric Flair, Michaels mastered the larger than life quality of a great entrance.
His repertoire of poses and gestures are highly memorable as well, including the rapid twirl in the ring and the iconic semi-split and flexing bit he does while a flurry of fireworks go off behind him.
While catchy and directly tied into his Heartbreak Kid gimmick, “Sexy Boy” loses the Showstopper a few points for being such an annoying song.
Twirling in those blinding neon outfits, "Pomp and Circumstance" blaring, Savages entrances were a grand sight.
Just the 'rainbow cowboy from space' look itself was hard to look away from.
But he also had the brilliant idea of having Miss Elizabeth accompany him. Pairing himself with a glamorous woman during a time when women where rarely seen around the ring helped elevate his entrance to a Hall of Fame height.
The build-up to Goldberg’s entrances were the best ever.
As he waited backstage, usually having a testosterone-fueled tantrum and beating up doors, the crowd chanted his name.
His music sounded like the soundtrack to some epic fantasy video game, but it worked. The song, the delay, and the chanting would have been enough to land him a high spot in the rankings.
Goldberg stood head down among a blinding display of spraying fireworks before throwing a series of uppercuts as explosions boomed behind him.
This innovative combination of components old and new was magic.
Rolling with a goth/vampire gimmick, Edge and Christian teamed with Gangrel in the late '90s. Their entrance was infinitely cooler than their outfits.
Their aptly named entrance music, “Blood” was one of those songs that was hard not to nod your head to.
With red lights flashing, the three men would rise up out of the floor, surrounded by a circle of fire before sauntering down toward the ring.
Taking a sip from a chalice of “blood,” Gangrel would then spit it out into the crowd. Did fans feel that their newly stained shirt was simply ruined or transformed into a souvenir?
It took Triple H a good long while to perfect his entrance, but once he did, it was spectacular to behold.
His early entrance songs ranged from boring, "Blue Blood," to irritating, "My Time," but luckily Motorhead brought us "The Game," a grinding, hard-hitting song.
Starting off with his head down as the music plays is a subtle move. He then rages forward usually with a primal scream. And spitting water all over yourself may sound ridiculous, but when the lights go off and he sprays water into the blackness, it’s just plain awesome.
Pageantry personified, Flair’s simple yet classic entrance with his huge, glittering robes and epic music, is simply one of the best.
Extra points are given for Flair setting the bar higher for future wrestlers. He pushed the grandeur of wrestling to a new level, generations of superstars taking his lead.
Even in his later years, crowds lit up when that music went on, shouting "Woo!" like crazy. Flair styled and profiled for over thirty years.
His entrance remained just as unforgettable and majestic throughout.
The Undertaker's entrance is a visceral, haunting experience.
The bell tolls, the lights go off and blue fog rises. His Titantron video is one of the best ever. Ravens and tombstones and other disturbing images flash before us as lightning strikes.
Balls of fire explode.
Yes, watching the Phenom creep toward the ring may be drawn out, but it’s captivating even after you've seen it a hundred times. And how chilling is it to see him slowly slip his hat off and roll his eyes to the back of his head?
Kane, Mankind and Sting can all thank the Dead Man for blazing the trail for creepy entrances.
The Undertaker deserves the number one spot and I don’t imagine anyone wresting it from him anytime soon.