WWE has had some absolutely incredible theme music. For all intents and purposes, the very first theme was “Badstreet USA” – a theme used by the Freebirds and written by Larry Velez, Jimmy Papa, and Michael Hayes himself. Ever since then, most wrestlings have come out to some sort of music. Of course now, it seems completely unnatural for a wrestler to come out of “Gorilla” without music. Dolph Ziggler is doing it now and it’s really jarring. Heck, WWE even wanted to do it with Cesaro at first but it was deemed so bizarre that it never happened.
The main composer for years in WWE was Jim Johnston. He debuted right around the time “The Wrestling Album: Piledriver” came out and his level of success speaks for itself. He did some great stuff but we’ll get to him later. Today, all theme music is created by CFO$, a duo made up of John Alicastro and Michael Lauri. They first debuted on July 23, 2012 as Kromestatik performing “The Night” as the new theme for “Raw”. Jim was moved to WWE Films to work on music for the movie division.
CFO$ have, in my opinion, been a real breath of fresh air. They have turned out some truly fantastic work. Here are my personal favorites:
10. “Force of Greatness” – Nia Jax
The very best themes show us who the competitor is, what her mission statement is, and they do it with a decent hook. This one sports a statement of individuality that works well not only for Nia but speaks to a generation of young girls who want to set themselves apart from the norm. Nia’s “not like most girls”, and female fans have responded to that beautifully. It absolutely deserves its place here, not just for how it sounds, but for the positive message it sends.
9. “Around the World” – Rich Swann
Rich is set up as an energetic guy who comes out and dances his way to the ring. That’s something he’s always done. He used to use “All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Richie, but of course, that wasn’t going to work in WWE. The CFO$ certainly weren’t going to be able to match that tune in terms of song craft but they needed to match the energy of the tune…and they pretty much did. This is very good dance track and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It allows Rich to come out dancing and to generate excitement.
8. “Controlled Chaos” – SAnitY
Has there been a theme during CFO$ era more menacing than this one? If there has, I can’t think of it. This was one frightening stable when it first surfaced and it need a theme that was almost unlistenably harsh. They got it here. The laugh is just blood-curdling too. The graphics and their demeanor on the way out to the ring make this work even better than it already does.
7. “Glasgow Cross” – Nikki Cross
When she branched off to work on her own, she needed a new theme and this was the result. It’s kind of “Controlled Chaos” sideways but the soundscape CFO$ create makes it absolutely incredible by itself. The screams are absolutely blood-curdling. As a character, Nikki is completely nuts so the theme had to be too and this does the trick beautifully.
6. “SAWFT is a Sin” – Enzo Amore
Enzo is brash and doesn’t care about what anyone thinks. This song is absolutely perfect for him. Better yet, he wrote it and performs the rhymes. Of course, this began as theme for Enzo and Big Cass in NXT and I was so glad when he kept it after Big Cass split the team up. The combination of the tune and him coming out dancing to it is just perfect. Given his involvement with it, it’s no wonder it suits him perfectly. This has to be his theme song for as long as he wrestles.
5. “The Future” – Asuka
Another stroke of brilliance from CFO$! Asuka is meant to be mysterious and we aren’t really supposed to understand how she ticks. This theme goes a long way to creating that mystique. This is one of rockier themes and it suits Asuka perfectly. She also plays to it perfectly by dancing her way to the ring with mask and great long robe. We all love Asuka but we love her even more because of this amazing theme.
4. “Phenomenal” – AJ Styles
I always love the mood this sets. AJ comes out, raises the hood comes off, and we know a very big deal has arrived. He would be slightly less of a big deal, though, without this incredible theme. For someone who came directly in to the main roster without even 10 seconds in “NXT”, this theme had to nail and it absolutely does. The Hip-Hop approach is just perfect for him.
3. “Catch Your Breath” – Finn Balor
Is there anything cooler? The multi-octave lead guitar work here is absolutely stellar and the huge synth strings work really well here too. No matter what the visual looks like, it’s really this theme that ties the whole thing together. It’s majestic, yet it’s also the sound of complete and utter rebellion. Of course, Balor is more than game when his arms go up during the climaxes and the audience is right there with him. I could listen to this play over and over again and I might have done just that while I was writing this… 🙂
2. “Glorious Domination” – Bobby Roode
This thing is just brilliant! It starts with low notes on the piano. Then, we get the choir singing that melody. You know it – don’t act like you don’t. It’s a truly regal way to introduce a character. The first time I heard it, I knew it was one the hooky-est themes I’d ever heard. It rocks hard and it’s incredibly in-your-face – perfect for who Bobby Roode is. The word is that theme was originally intended for Shinsuke Nakamura but he picked…
1. “The Rising Sun” – Shinsuke Nakamura
This is one of those cases where theme meets wrestler and they’re really one and the same. Nakamura comes out to those strobe lights and until it stops playing, he’s one with the music and it moves him to do the movements we see him do before the match begins. It must be quite exhausting but it’s also really mesmerizing and I have to watch. Further, it lent itself perfectly to live performance. Lee England, Jr. has come out a couple of times during PPVs with his violin to wow the crowd and it always adds another dimension to an already-very-cool theme.
This is the best of the best from CFO$, in my opinion. What are yours? Sound off below and let’s debate, shall we?