Here at The Duckpin, I will be undertaking a five-part series to identify what are in my view the top 25 wrestling themes of all time.
This series will be ranked by me alone on the following criteria:
Wrestler participation in creation of the song.
The ratings are mine and mine along and are often influenced by my musical and wrestler preferences, so I make no apologies for not including your song or ranking the songs in a manner you don’t like. I make no promises that my opinion on these won’t be different six months from now. So without any further ado…
#25: “Wave Your Hands”, Joe Hendry
I dare you to listen to this and not have this as an earworm the rest of the day.
The first time I heard this theme was when we attended ROH Free Enterprise back in February. We had no idea Joe Hendry even was when he entered as Dalton Castle’s tag team partner but we were immediately mesmerized by the song and were interested in who Hendry was. I had the song stuck in my head for weeks. Even our four-year-old daughter, attending her first-ever wrestling show, like it. Like a month later she looked at me and sang “I Believe in Joe Hendry.” The song got Hendry over in our house.
If you look at his YouTube page, you realize Hendry is a very talented wrestler and very talented performer. He wrote and performed the song. He performs in all of his song. His gimmicks have been extremely creative. He’s the exact kind of performer who would bomb in the WWE because they wouldn’t know what to do with him and wouldn’t let him use his creativity to get himself over. But if Hendry one day finds himself in AEW, he could be a megastar.
#24: “Line in the Sand”, Motörhead
The first appearance by Motörhead on our list is not their first theme for the WWE. But, artistically, it may be their best.
Evolution of course was a modern-day four horseman, with Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista. And this theme encapsulated what Evolution was about better than the WCW-era Four Horseman theme ever could about the Horseman (to take nothing away from that theme). Evolution was about the lifestyle, but there were also about the winning and about the violence and the physicality of enforcing their will on the company in a way that exceeded that of the Horseman. People still pop when they here the song, as we song in the most recent reunions of Evolution. If Triple H created a new Evolution, they could still use this song today, get the same reaction, and it would mean the same thing now that it did back in 2003.
Sidenote: the four members of Evolution combined have won FIFTY world championships their combined careers.
#23: “My Time Is Now” John Cena
There has been no more polarizing worker in the last twenty years than John Cena, the second wrestler-performer to make the list.
Is the song fantastic? No. It’s probably not even the best song that John Cena used as a theme song (don’t tell me that “Basic Thuganomics” wasn’t better, particularly for getting away with every 8th graders favorite Uranus joke). But you “My Time Is Now” is so synonymous with John Cena, the main event, and the world title that you can’t separate the two. When you heard the first beat drop, you knew that something big was going to happen. The crowd reacted, the most important thing in a professional wrestler. People loved Cena, hated Cena, didn’t matter. They were paying attention and you knew that something big was about to go down.
Want to see an example of how that song can move a crowd? Let us take you back to the 2008 Royal Rumble….
#22 “Catch Your Breath”, Finn Bálor
This is as much an audience participation award as it is for anything else, for how this allows the audience to get into the theme.
I mean, take a look at this.
The best thing about the theme is the fact that it has been representative of basically three different Bálor characters; Finn the babyface, The Demon, and the heelish Prince.
What’s interesting is the fact that this is the first theme on our list that doesn't have any words on it, something that is rare in modern professional wrestler. Back in the day many wrestlers had themes that contained no words, using the music, instruments, and tune to set the theme of who the wrestlers were. Lyrics were irrelevant to getting the wrestler over and to the point, and this is a throwback to that theme. The lack of lyrics has as well contributed to the ability of the song to covey three different Bálor personas and presentations, with no change needed to the song.
#21: “Walk”, Rob Van Dam
The only ECW theme to show up on our list will not be much of a surprise.
Here’s a video of Van Dam explaining how he wound up with “Walk.”
Van Dam’s entrance is yet another audience participation entry on the list for the fact that 1. Van Dam was insanely over in ECW and 2. everybody in every ECW building was chanting “RE!………SPECT!……..WALK!” everytime Van Dam came down the ramp. I wasn’t nearly the ECW mark that some people were, seeing as I didn’t have the exposure to the product that much until the company finally hit TNN, so I didn’t really see the full impact of how this worked for Van Dam. ECW, naturally, didn’t license the use of Pantera for their arena shows or their television broadcasts, so that never made their national television broadcast. But the theme (along with Van Dam’s extraordinary and insane ring work) made Van Dam ECW’s biggest star and propelled the entire company, along with Van Dam, to national stardom.
Next time: #20-16