As a reminder, this is 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 alone 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.
#10: “Cult of Personality” Living Colour
I remember the first time that heard “Cult of Personality” on a wrestling show. You probably do too if you were watching wrestling in the early 2010’s.
I don’t know if John Cena’s reaction to the song was a shoot or what, but it’s the reaction that most people watching the show that night, because they had absolutely no idea what the song was playing…..before C.M. Punk showed up.
This of course was part of the WWE version of the “Summer of Punk.” What I wasn’t as familiar with at the time was the fact that Punk had also used “Cult of Personality” in Ring of Honor, where he had his own “Summer of Punk” after winning the ROH World Title as he was heading out the door to the WWE.
The song fits C.M. Punk. It always fit his character. It also fits his personality, even if it’s in a vaguely ironic way. And, like 2011-era Punk, the song was over. From the time he started using this as his theme up until his 2014 exit from the company, the crowd popped and the crowd reacted as soon as that guitar hit.
#9: “The Rock Says” The Rock
The Rock’s theme, or should I say themes, have the same issue that The Undertaker had with his theme song. Again, way too many variations of the same exact song.
So why is The Rock ranked higher than The Undertaker? Because of the audience participation factor and the fact that the song itself and its opening words are so tied into The Rock’s character that it rates higher on audience participation alone.
Plus one more factor: Have you ever heard the audience reaction any time The Rock returns?
#7: “Break It Down” D-Generation X
Few songs define a stable, a group of wrestlers, or even an era like the D-Generation X theme. The song perfectly encapsulated the late 90’s era, the foul-mouthed, sophomoric, anti-authority ethos of the time. Does it hold up now, when it’s used by a corporate suit and a long-retired wrestler team up to face a semi-retired wrestler and the Mayor of Knox County, TN? No, it does not. But for what it was, the audience reaction it gets (even today) and the generation it defined, it ranks just a little higher ahead of some of the other songs on this list.
#6: “Cool, Cocky, and Bad” The Honky Tonk Man
This is going to be a controversial selection.
The Honky Tonk Man is of course the Greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. Just ask him. This of course is based on his 454 day reign as Intercontinental Champion that happened almost by accident.
The Honky Tank Man was a natural heel, particularly after the disastrous attempt to turn him into a babyface, which you might have forgotten about.
So why does this get such a high ranking from me? For one, it was one of the early songs that was written specifically for a character. It was also a rare instance of a wrestler singing their own theme song, something that really had only been done by Hillbilly Jim to that point.
The song, like HTM himself, had heat. It was an original concept song, for an original gimmick that had nuclear heat during one of the peak times for the WWF. And besides, how can you not like the Honky Tonk Man singing the line “Honkymania is Runnin’ Wild.”
NEXT WEEK: The best of the best, the top five themes of all.