WWE has built their industry over the years on the backs of truly iconic moments that keeps fans clamoring for more. From devilish heel turns to heroic comebacks, veteran returns and fresh NXT call ups, one of the things that can elevate any situation is a great theme song.
The tunes of Jim Johnston and CFO$ are an important part to what makes the product so great, but sometimes their own creativity isn’t enough to craft a great song.
Many times, they take suggestions and notes from the wrestlers themselves to truly get it right. In other cases, they don’t write the music at all, as the talent take it upon themselves to find the perfect fit.
Whatever the case, the impact is evident in the swell of emotions each time the first few notes blare out into the arena.
Here are ten fan favorites and the stories behind the theme songs.
*WARNING: Some of the tracks feature strong language and are NSFW*
The New Day – “New Day, New Way”
Without a little context, the New Day’s entrance music might not make much sense.
Although it has since faded into the background of the gimmick, Xavier Woods was leaning heavily on a pastor character during the infancy of the team.
It was this reason that led WWE to decide that their theme needed a little gospel music flair.
According to Big E, the original song they were given was severely out of date, sounding as if it had come from a few decades ago. To remedy that, they provided the music team with tunes from popular urban Christian star Kirk Franklin.
If you listen carefully enough, you can hear some very familiar riffs in one of his most popular singles, “Revolution.”
Bray Wyatt – “Live in Fear”
When Husky Harris resurfaced in the WWE after his original main roster debut with The Nexus, he was sporting a fresh new look and song.
Matching exquisitely with his manner of speech and the way fans lit up darkened arenas with their cell phones, his appearance started with the lyrics “Catching flies in his mouth.” It would seem as if that the song was written especially for him.
Actually, this was not the case.
It was originally written by English musician Mark Crozer as “Broken Out in Love”, who had no connection with WWE beforehand.
After Bray heard the song for the first time, he knew it was perfect for the character he was cultivating. WWE bought the rights to the song shortly after, and renamed it to “Live in Fear”.
Crozer even appeared at WrestleMania 30 to play the maniacal cult leader to the ring.
Hulk Hogan – “Real American”
Speaking of Bray Wyatt, this next song was actually originally written for Mike Rotunda, his real-life father.
Mike wrestled in the 80s and 90s, and once teamed with his brother-in-law Barry Windham as the US Express. They played heavily into the patriotic gimmick, which was the basis behind the theme written for them by Grammy Award-winning musician Rick Derringer.
Windham left the WWF shortly after the song was produced, and it hadn’t been given enough playtime to be associated with the tag team. They only came to the ring a few times with it, and it would have been a waste to just toss it out.
It was then passed onto Hulk Hogan and the rest is history.
Samoa Joe – “Destroyer”
Samoa Joe fits perfectly into the persona of a merciless destroyer, and the harsh brass notes that accompany him to the ring bring a level of ominous fear.
The first few notes of his theme actually hasn’t changed since his initial NXT debut, but the rest of it has. First appearing at TakeOver: Unstoppable, the song had a breakbeat kind of vibe to it, far different from what it is today.
He didn’t quite dig the tune, and he went to the producers with something specific in mind: Simon Says by Pharoahe Monch.
The song sampled audio from the famed Godzilla March, which is apt given that Joe stomps through the WWE roster like a monster. This is a big reason why it matches his gimmick so well.
Matt Riddle – “Hey Bro”
This reasoning is quite a bit of a stretch, especially compared to the confirmed status of the rest of the list. However, it makes a lot of sense once you make the connection.
Back during his UFC days, Matt Riddle was eventually suspended from the company after he failed multiple drug tests due to his marijuana use. He made the transition smoothly to the squared circle shortly after, appearing in WWE after growing his fan base on the indies.
Perhaps leaning on his perchance for cannabis, his WWE debut was accompanied with a song very reminiscent of another famous smoker.
The piano chords and high-pitched synthesizers sound very similar to the stylings of Dr. Dre, whose hit song “Still D.R.E.” was on an album that had a marijuana leaf drawn on it. He hasn’t actually come out and stated this to be fact, but it can’t be 100% coincidence, right?
Edge – “Metalingus”
One of the most beloved theme songs of all time, Edge’s entrance almost doesn’t need to be mentioned.
Most older fans already know the story behind the words “You think you know me”, but you can’t have a conversation about the best tunes in wrestling without mentioning this Alter Bridge song.
After using Rob Zombie’s “Never Gonna Stop”, he needed a new intro because WWE’s rights to use it ran out.
As told in interviews, Edge met Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti while he was out with an injury. While hanging out with him, he got a sneak peek of their future debut album, “One Day Remains”.
When he heard “Metalingus”, he knew he had to have it and asked if he could use it when he returned to the ring. Tremonti agreed, and the exposure actually helped the band get even more fans.
T.J. Perkins – “Playing with Power”
TJP is a big fan of video games from all eras, and his twitter handle MegaTJP is a direct reference to one of his favorite characters.
1987 saw the debut of the Japanese video game icon Rockman, who is otherwise known as Mega Man in the United States. However, the connection between the two doesn’t stop at just social media titles.
When TJP appeared at WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic, he was sporting a song that was extremely familiar to fans of the video game franchise. The drum beat and fast pace made it sound like it was written for the popular side-scroller.
More keen listeners were able to hear the similarities to the tune that plays at Dr. Wily’s castle in Mega Man 2. The official Mega Man twitter even gave him a shout-out!
Brock Lesnar – “Next Big Thing”
Almost the entire WWE fan base is aware of Brock Lesnar’s forays into other sports, including his run in the UFC and a brief stint in the NFL. He was on the practice squad for the Minnesota Vikings, but his current theme actually has ties to the sport as well.
Those not in the know might be surprised to learn that the song wasn’t originally written for him at all.
Back during the XFL’s first run in 2001, each of the teams had their own theme. Brock’s intro music was the fight song for the Chicago Enforcers, then it was re-purposed for The Beast Incarnate later down the line.
Of course, most people who can recognize the tune probably don’t know it because of the XFL, but the fact that it has ties to football just like Brock is ironic.
Street Profits – “Bring the Swag”
Sometimes, the inspiration for a wrestler’s intro doesn’t wander too far away from home. Although some songs become firmly attached to certain performers, others get reused once it has run its course.
When NXT Tag Team Champions Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford made their debut in 2016, their music was very familiar to fans of the WWE Divas.
Less than a year before the pair showed up in developmental, the song was in use by another tag team. The women’s division at the time was dominated by factions, and their future intro was in use by Team B.A.D.
Consisting of Naomi, Tamina, and Sasha Banks, the latter split from the heel group when she turned face early in 2016, freeing up the track to be recycled.
John Cena – “The Time is Now”
When John Cena first showed up on the main roster from OVW, he was an extremely bland character with nothing to really set him apart.
He hit on the Basic Thuganomics gimmick almost exactly two years after his debut, but he felt that he needed to grow past it to match his rising popularity.
Wanting a change of pace, he asked the music production crew to put together something that sounded like the theme from the movie “Rocky.”
American producer Jake One’s career was taking off in the early 2000s, cranking out hits for G-Unit and De La Soul. He had sent a CD of beats to the WWE, which included a song that heavily borrowed from a song by Pete Schofield and The Canadians.
The brass-inspired intro and ending to “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” will immediately be familiar to wrestling fans, even if have never heard of the band before. If you don’t believe me, well, just have a listen.