The Greatest Theme Song of All Time: A 78 Song Tournament

WrestleZone


On the heels of my Top Ten Best Finishing Holds of All-Time list from a few months back, I’ve been wanting to do more columns like that…and boy oh boy, did I take on a fun task this week. THEME SONGS! Initially, I was going to make a simple top 10 list, but there were waaaaay too many that deserved consideration. As a sports lover, my mind immediately went to the best possible way to solve this dilemma – a tournament! Things quickly got epic. I enlisted the service of dozens of friends, colleagues, industry experts etc. – all hardcore wrestling fans/personalities/employees for anywhere from 20-30 years. We voted round by round on the basis of many factors: personal preference, how the song fit the wrestler, the quality and catchiness of the song, did it get you excited for the wrestler to appear, etc etc. Even a full on 64 song tournament could not contain all of the options, so we took a page from the NCAA’s book and first had a play-in qualifying tournament for the songs that didn’t make the main field to earn their way into the last 2 spots in the main bracket.

A ton of work went into this…literally hours and hours of discussion, debate and voting. Naturally, you can’t please everyone and my panel did express remorse that certain songs did not appear: Golddust, Johnny B. Badd, Batista, Bulldog, FBI, Bret, Benoit, D Lo, 3 Count, Sunny, LOD…however, there’s only so much room – and one has to draw the line somewhere. I attempted to spread the songs amongst WWE/WWF/WCW/ECW and offer a wide variety of song types. I could have probably divided this into about 5 columns, but I thought what the heck, let’s just do one huge one. As you can imagine, I couldn’t possibly comment on each and every matchup, so I chimed in at the end of each section.

Without further adieu, I give you the qualifying field (these songs did not earn a top 62 ranking and competed to earn the final 2 slots in the main draw). This is just a taste of what’s to come…obviously, the main tournament possesses most of the songs we know, love, and are expecting.

THE PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT (ROUND ONE) – The winning songs will be bolded.

THE ODDITIES

CHRIS CHETTI (ECW) – Livin’ La Vida Loca

THE STEINER BROTHERS (WCW) – Steiner-ize

SHANE DOUGLAS (ECW) – Perfect Strangers

CARLITO – Cool

UMAGA

VENIS VENIS – Hello Ladies

DUSTIN RHODES (WCW) – Call Him The Natural

MEN ON A MISSION

WILLIAM REGAL – Real Man’s Man

THE NASTY BOYS (WCW) – We’re The Boys

ROAD WARRIORS – Iron Man

KID KASH (ECW) – Bawitiba

JILLIAN HALL – Sliced Bread

NIKOLAI VOLKOFF – Soviet National Anthem

STRIKE FORCE – Girls in Cars

* The two songs that emerge from this preliminary tournament will face the top 2 overall seeds in the tournament anyway, so they will be real long shots. Nothing too shocking here in the early going. Live rap is always exciting, so personally I am pulling for Men on a Mission to emerge. Too early to tell on anything else.

THE PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT (ROUND TWO)

THE ODDITIES

SHANE DOUGLAS (ECW) – Perfect Strangers

UMAGA

VENIS VENIS

MEN ON A MISSION

ROAD WARRIORS – Iron Man

KID KASH (ECW) – Bawitiba

NIKOLAI VOLKOFF – Soviet National Anthem

* Three closely contested battles, but a real force is emerging here in the qualifying rounds. The Soviet National Anthem has won both of its first 2 rounds in a unanimous clean sweep. Interestingly enough, if it qualifies, it will be moving on to face Real American – a cold war rematch!

THE PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT (ROUND THREE)

SHANE DOUGLAS (ECW) – Perfect Strangers

VENIS VENIS

MEN ON A MISSION

NIKOLAI VOLKOFF – Soviet National Anthem

* So, Val Venis’ “Hello Ladies” and Nikolai Volkoff’s rendition of the “Soviet National Anthem” have advanced to the main bracket. One voter described Val’s theme as the quintessential WWE ATTITUDE era song and a well deserving entrant into the main field. Volkoff dominated this qualifying tournament – is it possible that we will see a qualifier oust a top seed in the main bracket? Both of these songs will have their hands full moving forward, but they should be honored just to have come this far. Now…on with the main event.

THE MAIN BRACKET (ROUND ONE – 64 SONGS)The winning songs will be bolded.

BRACKET #1

NATION OF DOMINATION

RODDY PIPER

HONKYTONK MAN – Cool, Cocky, Bad

BALLS MAHONEY – Big Balls

RANDY ORTON – Burn My Light

JIMMY SNUKA – Superfly

SLICK – Jive Soul Bro

TED DIBIASE – Money, Money, Money

GOLDBERG

BIG BOSSMAN – Hard Time

RAZOR RAMON

RANDY SAVAGE

DDP – Self High Five

EDDIE GUERRERO – Latino Heat

HULK HOGAN – Real American

PLAY-IN FINALIST NIKOLAI VOLKOFF – Soviet National Anthem

* The tightest races were between Orton & Snuka and Goldberg & Bossman. In a bit of a potential upset, Roddy Piper went down big time. Hogan showed why he was the top seed in the upper half of the bracket, as he dominated qualifier Volkoff. Up until I was roughly 10, I thought the lyrics were “When it comes crashing down and it hurts your spine.” Hey, it made sense. Also one time as a crazy teen, I actually broke a futon practically in half after flipping backwards during Self High 5 – ahh, the memories.

BRACKET #2

THE GANGSTERS – Natural Born Killers

CHRIS JERICHO – Break the Walls Down

THE GODFATHER – Ho Train

DEMOLITION

THE ROUGEAU BROS – We’re All American Boys

MR. PERFECT

FREEBIRDS – Badstreet, USA

REY MYSTERIO – 619

SHANE MCMAHON – Here Comes the Money

NWO – Wolfpack

HHH – My Time

BILLY GUNN – Ass Man

OWEN HART – Enough is Enough

JOHN CENA – My Time Is Now

DX – Original

KOKO B. WARE – Birdman

* This bracket did not waste any time sparking off some big debates. Two of my cohorts almost fought to the death over The Rougeaus vs Mr. Perfect…it was universally agreed that Mr. Perfect was one of the better songs to get ousted in the 1st round. Owen vs Cena was a very hotly contested battle and naturally, there was a big upset at the bottom of this quarter of the draw with my main man, Koko B. Ware taking down those rascals from DX. This bracket possesses some real sleeper potential, with Koko, Shane, Badstreet, and the Rougeaus poised to make a serious run and come out of this section.

BRACKET #3

STONE COLD – Step Up

ROAD DOGG – Alone With My Baby Tonight

BIG SHOW

SHELTON BENJAMIN – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Me Now

SANDMAN – Enter Sandman

DX – The King of Rock (Run DMC version)

THE QUEBECERS – We’re Not The Mounties

KURT ANGLE – Medal

CHRISTIAN – At Last You’re On Your Own

THE ROCK

RIC FLAIR

DUSTY RHODES – Common Man

VADER – Vader Time

EDGE – Metalingus (You Think You Know Me)

ULTIMATE WARRIOR

NWO – Original

* DX falls in the first round for the second time in this tournament. As did the Olympic Champion. And the People’s Champion. But this is about theme songs, not talent or career status. Later down the line, we could see former partners face off (Edge & Christian). I must say, I love The Quebecers (this doubled as a song for his singles career prior to this) and I was thrilled that they were victorious. Backstory…the Canadian mounted police were NOT happy with The Mountie claiming to be, well, a mountie. So, in a truly f’n funny decision, the WWE simply changed the theme song to state “We’re Not The Mounties.” Problem solved. However, sadly my opinion only counted for one, and as we’re about to see in the next bracket, I lost a ton of my personal faves.

BRACKET #4

VINCE – No Chance In Hell

X FACTOR

STING – A Man Called Sting

BOOKER T – Can You Dig It Sucka

TRIPLE HHH – Time to Play The Game

2 COLD SCORPIO – Everybody Here Comes 2 Cold Scorpio

RVD – Walk

KAMALA

THE UNDERTAKER

PUBLIC ENEMY – Here Come The Hot Steppa

HULK HOGAN – Voodoo Child

ROAD DOGG & K KWIK – Gettin’ Rowdy

JYD – Grab Them Cakes

HILLBILLY JIM – Don’t Go Messin’ With a Country Boy

SHAWN MICHAELS – Sexy Boy

PLAY-IN FIELD FINALIST – VAL VENIS

* Several of my iPod favorites bit the dust – X Factor and Gettin’ Rowdy have both been played on the loop for years. Sexy Boy lived up to its advanced top seeding in the lower half of the bracket by absolutely decimating our resident porn star. Hogan was the only the second entity to advance two different theme songs to the second round (joining HHH). I was surprised about the lack of love for Kamala – he didn’t stand a chance. The biggest debate came over A Man Called Sting…lots of nostalgia love for it, but then everyone seemed to remember that it was being remembered for being ridiculously bad.

THE MAIN BRACKET (ROUND TWO – 32 SONGS)

BRACKET #1

NATION OF DOMINATION

HONKYTONK MAN – Cool, Cocky, Bad

RANDY ORTON – Burn My Light

TED DIBIASE

BIG BOSSMAN – Hard Time

RANDY SAVAGE

DDP – Self High Five

HULK HOGAN – Real American

* The Mega Powers will rematch in the next round, and if Savage advances, there’s the prospect of a Wrestlemania 4 tournament finals rematch in the next round with The Million Dollar Man. I think people were sad to see Cool, Cock, Bad go, but the general consensus was the The Nation was the better of the campy selections. “Clarence Mason is the boss, cross the T’s and dot the I’s, he only tells the whole truth, he never tells a lie.”

BRACKET #2

CHRIS JERICHO – Break the Walls Down

DEMOLITION

THE ROUGEAU BROS – We’re All American Boys

FREEBIRDS – Badstreet, USA

SHANE MCMAHON – Here Comes The Money

HHH – My Time

JOHN CENA – My Time Is Now

KOKO B. WARE – Birdman

* We have a Cinderella story brewing here. The upstart, lowly-seeded Birdman has taken out DX and Cena consecutively in back to back huge upsets. I love this bracket! Not the most traditional options, but all 4 of the songs moving on are extremely catchy and were perfect for their respective wrestlers. These are going to be tough match-ups in the next round – I’m very curious to see who emerges. “C’mon everybody, get up on your feet, hit ya hands together, and DO THE BIRD WITH ME!” Go BIRDMAN!!!

BRACKET #3

STONE COLD – Step Up

BIG SHOW

SANDMAN – Enter Sandman

THE QUEBECERS – We’re Not The Mounties

CHRISTIAN – At Last You’re On Your Own

RIC FLAIR

EDGE – Metalingus

NWO – Original

* No major upsets here. The panel credited the originality of The Quebecers as the deciding factor over Sandman. Stone Cold has been dominant in the first two rounds, with nobody even blinking before advancing it through. We did lose potentially the greatest opening in theme song history here, as CHRISTIAN goes down…that was beyond stupendous.

BRACKET #4

VINCE – No Chance in Hell

BOOKER T – Can You Dig It Sucka

TRIPLE HHH – Time To Play The Game

RVD – Walk

THE UNDERTAKER

HULK HOGAN – Voodoo Child

JYD – Grab Them Cakes

SHAWN MICHAELS – Sexy Boy

* Father in law versus son in law for supremacy in the next round. Huge names abound in this bracket. Many of you know my personal feelings towards JYD, so it was tough to see him ousted…even though I know it was the right thing to do. None of these were even close – all winners advanced by destruction.

THE MAIN BRACKET (ROUND THREE – 16 SONGS)

BRACKET #1

NATION OF DOMINATION

TED DIBIASE

RANDY SAVAGE

HULK HOGAN – Real American

* Nothing too major to speak of here. Nation of Domination leaves the field with its head held high, as it received rave reviews in defeat. One correspondent said, “If I could marry JC Ice and Wolfie D., I would.” And yes, that person was indeed a man. Hogan has absolutely steam-rolled his opponents.

BRACKET #2

DEMOLITION

FREEBIRDS – Badstreet, USA

SHANE MCMAHON – Here Comes the Money

KOKO B. WARE – Birdman

* The clock finally struck midnight for our Cinderella story. However, this section is certainly the most diverse and obscure of those remaining. It has produced two songs that have been universally lauded by our panelists, but I don’t think they are necessarily tunes that everyone would have expected to see this far along. From the talk surrounding this one, it’s going to be an absolute bloodbath in the next round. My friend has made a career of doing Shane O Mac’s dance around bars nation wide and is campaigning hard for the son of the chairman to pull this off.

BRACKET #3

STONE COLD – Step Up

THE QUEBECERS – We’re Not the Mounties

RIC FLAIR

EDGE – Metalingus (You Think You Know Me)

* The Quebecers wit and humor was no match for the powerhouse that is Step Up. In comparison to bracket two, this bracket represents some major heavy hitters who we all might have expected could have ended up here. My friend’s 7 year old brother used to roll around on the floor every time Stone Cold’s theme came on – giving everyone in sight the finger. Often wearing nothing but his BVD’s while doing it. No wait, that was me…like a week ago.

BRACKET #4

VINCE – No Chance In Hell

TRIPLE HHH – Time To Play The Game

THE UNDERTAKER

SHAWN MICHAELS – Sexy Boy

* The chairman takes down the champ…yielding 2 McMahons still in play. Guess that shouldn’t really be too surprising…of course they’d make sure they had good songs written for themselves. I tried convincing people that we were using the Sherri Martel rendition of Sexy Boy, but no one bought what I was selling.

THE MAIN BRACKET (QUARTERFINALS – 8 SONGS)

BRACKET #1

TED DIBIASE

HULK HOGAN – Real American

* Kudos to Money, Money, Money for putting up a stronger fight than expected, but ultimately Real American was just too much. The general sentiment was that $$$ was the perfect theme song for Ted’s character. However, it could not overcome the history. As one fellow repeatedly stated, “What can I say, I don’t care if it’s embarrassing…Real American gives me chills.” He’s right – that is embarrassing. He also fell down a hill once while playing a kazoo – true story.

BRACKET #2

DEMOLITION

SHANE MCMAHON – Here Comes The Money

* This was the most closely contested quarterfinal matchup and for good reason. Bracket #2 brought us some pretty surprising songs, but ones that had a ton of steam coming into this round. Extra bonus points were credited to Demolition for rhyming SMASHER and DISASTER, which a) don’t rhyme and b) his name was Smash, not Smasher.

BRACKET #3

STONE COLD – Step Up

RIC FLAIR

* The glass shattering…the Wooooooooooo…a showdown for the ages, but Stone Cold was victorious. I think the reason that Step up is so renowned is because of the manner in which it was used. Flair’s theme was pretty much reserved for ring entrances only. Austin’s was used to wreak havoc, interrupt, disrupt…and used in so many seminal moments in WWE history. When it hit, you knew something crazy was about to go down.

BRACKET #4

VINCE – No Chance in Hell

SHAWN MICHAELS – Sexy Boy

* This was not very close at all. Sexy Boy has been dominant from the beginning, living up to its advanced seeding.

THE MAIN BRACKET (SEMIFINALS – 4 SONGS)

HULK HOGAN – Real American (Bracket #1 Winner)

DEMOLITION (Bracket #2 Winner)

STONE COLD – Step Up (Bracket #3 Winner)

SHAWN MICHAELS – Sexy Boy (Bracket #4 Winner)

* Both of the pre-tourney top seeds made in to the semis, but only one made it out alive. In what can only be described as an unlikely, but seemingly well received matchup, Rick Derringer went up against Rick Derringer in the first semi. Good day for the Derringer family. A great run to the end for Demolition, but unfortunately after all this – this semi was a bit of a letdown. This is like a team making the NCAA Final Four only to lose by 30. Our other semi was extremely close and hotly contested. An absolute barn-burner. I actually think friendships may have ended as a result of this one. But in the end, it was like Wrestlemania 14 all over again, with Stone Cold coming out on top.

THE MAIN BRACKET (FINALS – 2 SONGS)

HULK HOGAN’S “Real American”

versus

STEVE AUSTIN’S “Step Up”

* Well, once again…the age old battle. Generation vs Generation. Superstar vs Superstar. Theme song vs Theme song. What a battle! They are the epitome of what a theme song should be. Perfect for the characters? Check. Pops the crowd? Check. A part of the biggest moments in wrestling history? Check. Catchy? Check. Recognizable? Check. I’m not entirely certain that these would have been my personal preferences, but honestly it’s awfully hard to argue with the selections. It’s hard to say there is a winner or loser here…this is just one of those epic competitions…two greats meet and only one can prevail. No time limit draws or double count outs here…we need a winner.

THE WINNER – THE GREATEST WRESTLING THEME SONG OF ALL-TIME:

HULK HOGAN’S “REAL AMERICAN”!!!

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