One of my favorite songwriters is — and will always be — Jim Johnston. Jim doesn’t have an easy job, to say the least, as the theme song can make or break a wrestler. After all, the wrestler’s theme song is often the cue that someone will be appearing, and a bad theme can make the fans less eager to see someone on the roster.
WWE has been really been proactive over the past few years with its online presence, and unbeknownst to me, they’ve uploaded a lot of the classic wrestler themes to iTunes, Spotify and the usual digital music outlets. And some of these themes run on the “interesting” side of things:
- “No Way” – To date, No Way Jose has wrestled fewer than three times on NXT programming. So naturally he’d have a theme song readily available, right?
- “Death Is My Best Friend (Undertaker Tribute)” – As the longest-tenured wrestler on the active WWE roster, The Undertaker has had his fair share of theme songs. Apparently, Jim Johnston was responsible a whole album of Undertaker-related songs, including this “tribute.”
- “Repossessor Blues” – Repo Man was one of my favorite characters in the early 90s, even though I was smart enough to know that it was Barry Darsow. After listening to this theme, listen to the Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka theme and note the similarities.
- “All American Boys” – Those Fabulous Rougeaus made for a great tag team, and they wonderfully sang their own theme, which references listening to Barry Manilow as a way of generating heel. The Mountie’s theme is also available, yes.
- “Crank It Up” – The Young Stallions, a team consisting of Jim Powers and Paul Roma, had a theme of their own. I didn’t realize that this was a legitimate tag team, but either way, Jimmy Hart is clearly the vocalist on this one.
- “Buff Daddy” – This, well, interesting WCW theme is fortunately there to remind us that “Buff is the stuff.”
- “American Males” – If one Buff Bagwell theme isn’t enough, then there’s one for his tag team with Scotty Riggs, The American Males. Reminds me of a song from Revenge Of The Nerds.
- “Bite Me” – If you’re a fan of Eric Bischoff soundbites, then this theme may be for you. It also includes screaming vocals and Helloween-esque guitar riffs.
- “Blondes Have More Fun” – This theme was written for Brian Pillman. The vocal harmonies resemble David Lee Roth, circa mid-80s solo career, while the riffage resembles “American Made,” the WCW knock-off of Hulk Hogan’s WWE theme.
- “Big Brother Booty” – The Booty Man was one of Brutus Beefcake’s characters in WCW, and this theme is clearly a knock-off of KC & The Sunshine Band’s hit “Shake Your Booty.” Definitely a Jimmy Hart joint.
- “Latino World Order” – Are you a fan of “Low Rider” by War, but wished it sounded more like Razor Ramon’s theme, which itself is a knock-off of “Those Shoes” by the Eagles? Well, look forward than this gem.
- “Tank In The Night” – For the Tank Abbott fans that hoped for something a little softer, there’s this lullaby-esque theme.
- “The Lyin’ King” – Mabel had a long career with the WWE with a variety of characters, but this theme may not be one of his best remembered. It’s full of police sirens and soft percussion.
- “You Start The Fire” – Bret “The Hitman” Hart had one of the most iconic themes of the early 1990s — as still heard on TV when Natalya comes to the ring — but he was given another one by Mr. Johnson at some point later in the 1990s.
- “Destiny” – The Rock’s theme song sounds dated, but remains iconic and used whenever he returns. But when he was Rocky Maivia, he used a different theme, which surprisingly hasn’t been erased from history.
- “Gangrel / The Brood” – The title of this theme doesn’t hide who it was for, although it sounds like background music for an adult video. Or so I’ve heard.
- “Sexual Chocolate” – Similar remarks are intended for this Mark Henry theme as the Gangrel theme, but that was probably intentional. At the point this theme was recorded, they probably could have hired Isaac Hayes for very little.
- “AssMan” – Dolph Ziggler is known to be a big fan of this Billy Gunn theme, but truthfully, everyone ought to be a fan of this one.
- “Crank The Walls Down” – Like the Big Show theme? But also enjoy the Chris Jericho theme and don’t have time to listen to both? Well, this theme solves your problems by mashing the two into one theme.
- “Biscuits & Gravy” – Now that Festus is back in the WWE fold as Luke Gallows of The Club, I’m surprised this theme hasn’t been erased from history.
- “You Look So Good To Me” – Billy & Chuck’s storyline probably wouldn’t work for the WWE in 2016, but luckily their theme can still be heard in 2016.
But the grandaddy of all WWE-related themes, Rick Derringer’s “Real American” — as recorded for The U.S. Express and later used for Hulk Hogan — is not easily found for download or streaming. To find it, search for the Playlist: The Very Best Of Rick Derringer album and you ought to find it.