Based on my experience, there are three things that will make or break a professional wrestler's connection with the audience: a finishing move, microphone skills, and a theme song.
Of those three things, I believe the theme song is the most important. It sets the tone for what kind of wrestling experience the audience is about to be treated to. Stone Cold Steve Austin's glass-shattering theme meant that we were going to see rough-and-tumble action. When the lights go out and The Undertaker's bell tolls, the audience knows they're about to experience something supernatural.
25. Mark Henry - I'm not the biggest fan of "Three Six Mafia." And for a long time, I didn't think Mark Henry was anything special. Today, I love Henry's monster persona. Part of the reason why is because of this song. It makes me think of all the havoc he wreaks and all the people he's inducted into his "Hall of Pain."
24. Ravishing Rick Rude - People debated with me that this song should have been replaced with Val Venis' theme. Rick Rude, however, was the original Val Venis, except he was better. Rude was a walking Old Spice commercial. Any wrestler man enough to strut to the ring with a borderline rendition of a showgirl's tune has serious guts. It was even better by the time Rude got to the ring and said, "Cut the music!"
23. Triple H (My Time) - When Triple H left Degeneration X back in the '90s, it was because he felt that after being held down by fellow competitors, it was finally his time to shine. Thus, a new Triple H persona was born, one that did away with his DX hijinx in his pursuit of a WWF/WWE title. It was during this time that commentator Jim Ross called him the "cerebral assassin." This song was also used during the McMahon-Helmsey era, where he would be accompanied to the ring by Stephanie McMahon. It also helped to usher in the use of Triple H's iconic sledgehammer.
22. Vader Time - Wrestling theme songs are all about the opening hook. And there are few songs that have a better hook than "Oh, it's time! It's time! It's Vader Time!" Honestly, there's no other reason why I have this song on the list beyond those lyrics.
21. Psycho Sid - When you really think about it, there aren't many scary theme songs in wrestling beyond Kane and The Undertaker. Even then, the characters are usually scary because of some kind of supernatural element. This song made you afraid for the complete opposite reason. When that horror-style opening hook hits, a chill went up my spine because I knew exactly what Sid was capable of. The song is horrifying, intense, and strangely gratifying, just like Psycho Sid's Power Bomb.
20. The Ultimate Warrior - What would a top 25 list look like without this theme song? Listening to it feels like being forcefully strapped into a dangerous, highly-experimental roller coaster that was just built and the engineers haven't yet worked out all the kinks, meaning that you're risking your life by riding it. Images of the Warrior bursting from backstage and running full speed to the ring still have a special place in my heart.
19. Sting (Crow Theme/WCW) - This song matched well with Sting's epic, avenger-style character that was born out of people's distrust in him during the era of the NWO.
18. Jeff Jarrett (The Chosen One) - A lesser-known song, this debuted during Jeff Jarrett's push during the dark days of WCW. It has a cool western feel that works for Jarrett and his true persona -- much better than when he was trying to be a rip off of Ric Flair. It feels like a criminal from a west Texas jailhouse just made his escape.
17. Million Dollar Man - Everybody's got a price. I could play this song over and over and never get tired of hearing the crazy, ego-maniacal laughter of Ted DiBiase.
16. Raven (WCW) - I personally think that Raven's character in WCW was the most underused and underrated character in all of my time watching wrestling. Raven had a cool intelligence that made all his rivalries with Diamond Dallas Page, Chris Benoit, and Tommy Dreamer (in ECW) so much better than they should have been. And I think this song is an outward manifestation of that intelligence.
15. Bret Hart - The opening hook when the electric guitar rips through a crowd of thousands is sure to bring back images of black and pink tights, back-breakers, second-rope forearms smashes, and the many opponents who have tapped out to the Sharpshooter.
14. Undertaker (Ministry) - In the late-1990s, The Undertaker evolved his persona from an unstoppable, zombie-style creature to an evil minister with a vision of bringing darkness to the WWF. It still bears a strong resemblance to his original but with a few twists: a even-flowing guitar, a chorus of ghostly voices, and a creepy voice-over of himself speaking in tongues. If the best theme songs are about setting the tone, the mission was accomplished here.
13. Triple H (The Game) - The group "Motorhead" took Triple H's previous song "My Time" and lifted it to a whole new level, helping to give Triple H a ring entrance that rivals The Undertaker's. It also matches Triple H's change in strength and intensity. If you listen closely, Motorhead's vocal performance is similar to that of Triple H's during a promo.
12. Edge (Final Version) - Since his debut in the WWF back in the mid-1990s, I never liked any of Edge's theme songs until this one. One of the things I did like about his other songs was that he kept "You think you know me?" as his opening hook.
11. Legion of Doom - All you need to do is listen to the opening hook, "What a rush!," to understand why this song makes the list.
10. The Great Muta (Concerto) - The Great Muta is in my top three list of favorite wrestlers of all time. I loved his moves list, his in-ring presence, and the legacy he has left for other wrestlers (both Japanese and American) to follow. Listening to it, this song is almost an Asian version of The Undertaker's Ministry theme.
9. Hollywood Hogan - I can't stand the old "Real American" theme song Hulk Hogan used during the height of his popularity. It's the cheesiest, lamest thing I've ever heard. This song, however, is the complete opposite. "Voodoo Child" by Jim Hendrix is already cool enough. But Hogan took it a step further by layering it with NWO voice-overs. It was one of the best songs of the WCW era.
8. Shawn Micheals - What's so ironic about this song is that it's not so much about him being a "sexy boy"; it's about his wrestling style being "sexy" or appealing to the audience. This theme song has been played at the beginning and end of some of the most legendary matches in the history of professional wrestling.
7. No Chance - No other character in a corporate or managerial role has a better entrance theme to date than Vince McMahon.
6. The Rock - Any rendition of the song will do. Personally, I like the old-school "Do you smell what the Rock is cookin'" over the current "If ya smell what the Rock is cookin'" theme song.
5. NWo Theme - The NWO was the epitome of cool during the mid-to-late 1990s. Everybody wanted to be apart of the NWO and walk to the ring with this theme. It worked so well right before an NWO promo when the creepy narrator says, "The preceding announcement has be paid for by the New World Order."
4. Diamond Dallas Page - This song was, by far, the most iconic song of the WCW era. Diamond Dallas Page was the original John Cena, the original people's champion. It conjures up images of him strutting through a crowd of fans, throwing up his hands in diamond formation, and hitting his "Diamond Cutter" finishing move out of nowhere.
3. The Undertaker (original) - The Undertaker has several different versions of this song. But nothing beats the original.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin - So a lot of my friends are mad at me because I didn't make this song No. 1. Believe me, I struggled with this, too. Austin's iconic glass-shattering theme is certain on the Mount Rushmore of wrestling themes, and it is arguably the best song in WWF/WWE history.
1. Goldberg (WCW version) - We always talked about how sports -- particularly those that involve contact like football, boxing, and MMA -- can emulate ancient gladiatorial games. Goldberg's original theme brings an epic level of iconic energy that paralleled extremely well with his in-ring persona.
Aaron David Harris, a lifelong professional wrestling fan, covered sports for four years at the Battle Creek Enquirer, where he interviewed several former professional wrestlers including Dan "The Beast" Severn. Learn more about him at AaronDavidHarris.com.
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