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 was 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.
#5 “I Won't Do What You Tell Me”, Steve Austin
Is there one sound in the history of wrestling that has received a bigger pop than the sound of breaking glass?
Steve Austin was the biggest star in wrestling and one of the biggest stars in the world from 1997-1999. His theme song still gets a massive pop 20+ years later. And his song definitely fits his Texas Rattlesnake personality. The danger, the attitude, all emobied in this one instrumental.
Like many others, one of the problems with Austin’s theme was the fact that the company kept trying to tinker with it over time. After the original Jim Johnston version came this unneeded version from Disturbed.
For a brief period, Austin used this dumpster fire of a theme created by H-Blocks.
Mercifully those were short-lived.
But the original is well-deserving of a top-5
#4: “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, Ric Flair
What’s even wilder is the fact that Ric Flair didn’t use this his entire career. For a while, he used this.
I can’t think of two musical composers farther apart on the musical chain than Strauss and ZZ Top.
Would Ric Flair be as iconic had he stuck with Sharped Dressed Man? I don’t think so. Ric Flair was the total package. He was a hell of a storyteller, a hell of an in-ring worker. But Ric Flair was also the gimmick. This is as much as what Flair’s about as anything else.
That gimmick does not fit Sharp Dressed Man. But it does fit a song as epic, as bombastic, as Also Sprach Zarathustra.
#3 “Badstreet U.S.A”, The Fabulous Freebirds
You didn’t think that Vince McMahon invented the Rock n’ Wrestling connection, did you?
The year before Cyndi Lauper and Hulk Hogan’s Rock n’ Wrestling, the Fabulous Freebirds (well, mainly Michael P.S. Hayes) recorded this song to be used as their new theme song. A song that they have pretty much used ever since then.
(Ironically, the Freebirds briefly went to the WWF the next year and were managed by Cyndi Lauper’s manager. Which is kinda nuts being a bit player in a genre they invented).
Was the song primarily a vanity project for Hayes? Yeah, probably, since he wanted to be a rock star as much as he wanted to be a pro wrestler. But the Freebirds were the first unit to record their own theme song in this manner and to get the song massively over.
The funny thing about this was the fact that The Freebirds were at the time part of World Class Championship Wrestling, still technically an NWA territory at the time. WCCW went independent in an effort to become the fourth major national promotion along with the NWA, WWF, and AWA. It didn’t work. But maybe if the Freebirds had stuck around, it would have.
Without the Freebirds and Michael Hayes wrestling music would not be what it is today.
#2: “Pomp and Circumstance” Gorgeous George and Randy Savage
Randy Savage used this song. Randy Savage was a massively popular star. Randy Savage is a hall of famer. Randy Savage is a multi-time world champion. Randy Savage was in Spiderman.
But this song is #2 on the list because of Gorgeous George.
Gorgeous George was the biggest star in professional wrestling in the 1950’s. He was wrestling’s first television star. He was flamboyant. He was a gimmick. He and his ring persona influenced both Muhammad Ali and James Brown, among others.
And Gorgeous George is widely regarded as the first wrestler to use a theme song. And that song was Pomp and Circumstance.
George was not the best worker. George never carried a major world championship, not that he needed it. (He did briefly hold the Boston version of the American Wrestling Association title in 1950). But George invented the genre.
#1: “Real American”, Derringer
Don’t pretend you don’t sing it. Don’t pretend it doesn’t get you pumped up.
The theme song from the biggest star in wrestling history.
Except is wasn’t always his song.
That’s right, Bray Wyatt’s father and Bray Wyatt’s namesake used the theme song before Hulk hogan did.
Here’s a fun story about the creation of the song.
So why is Real American the #1 song? Let’s seeL
Actual established musician? check
Song written specifically for wrestling? Check
Used by the biggest star ever? Check.
So for those reasons, “Real American” is the top theme song of all time.