Hey, kids! It’s the Botching One with another look at WWE music. As a sound engineer by trade and overall music freak, I do this from time to time and while I was watching the end of “Smackdown Live!” listening to Randy Orton’s incredibly tired theme, I thought of another I like infinitely better and, thus, the seeds of an article began to form. Of course, the CFO$ did them all and they deserve credit for much-needed music facelift WWE has gotten over the last few years. Let’s go!
Lars Sullivan – “Freak”
I absolutely love this! The best themes are the ones that capture the worker’s personality perfectly and this one does it as well as any of them. Fun fact: the screams belong to Alicia Fox. They were sampled from what I think was a scene in “205 Live” with Cedric Alexander. It’s also certainly possible that they had her come into the studio to do it again. Either way, it’s Alicia for sure. I love the metal groove with the lightly-reverb’d synth piano and the juxtaposition that creates. Any other instrument would have drowned beneath the metal-ness so this was a perfect choice. The whole thing sounds just diabolical and when you hear it, you know things are about to get ugly. A perfectly-done theme and the one that inspired this entire article.
The Undisputed Era – “Undisputed”
This is another one that’s just perfect. It just screams arrogance and dominance which speaks perfectly to what the Undisputed Era are all about. Love the flanged Les Paul guitar and the intermittent hype screams. The wah-wah’d guitar is a nice touch too. The best part? Of course, the “BOOM!” Adam Cole plays to it perfectly by pointing to himself and mouthing it when he’s in the ring. Don’t lie and say you don’t do it with him. You probably also do the air guitar with O’Reilly, don’t you? Of course you do. As far as wrestling themes go, you can’t get much better than this.
Lio Rush – “I Came to Collect”
Yeah, I know, shocker to see this here, right? I’m a Lio Rush fan – a HUGE Lio Rush fan – and you should be too. This is another one that just screams arrogance and bad intentions. The hype rapping and the gang chorus just force you to pay attention and that’s what Lio does too when he’s in the ring. The whole thing works perfectly when he’s on “205 Live” actually working matches. I’ll go so far as to say Cedric Alexander and he are the best workers on that brand. I love what he does on “Raw” for sure but he’s only working as Lashley’s hype man thus far there. If he ever works a match on the main roster, the perfection of this theme will manifest itself there too.
Ricochet – “One and Only”
All the best themes prefigure what we’re about to see and this one does it as well as any other. This just sounds absolutely epic because we’re about to see someone truly epic. There’s nothing he can’t do in the ring and the driving beat and string arrangement accentuate his unstoppable nature. I don’t love the repetitive “Ric-0-chet” chanting because it simply isn’t needed but this is an epic theme for an epic superstar.
Samoa Joe – “Destroyer”
This one is good for all the reasons the others are. It prefigures who we’re about to see. The opening brass suggests this is someone completely and utterly dangerous and when the beat comes in, that suggestion becomes uncomfortable reality. The best thing about this theme is the way it’s mixed. Note that it doesn’t have a wide stereo image. It’s very mono and that gives it a grit it wouldn’t have if all the instruments were “panned” or spread around the left and right channels. The strings don’t float around either; they’re confined to the same mono space as everything else – making the whole thing sound really claustrophobic and cramped. This is perfect for the torment and anger that Samoa Joe exudes as a superstar. Great theme!
Okay, there are my current top 5 favorites. I intentionally didn’t mention themes I’ve covered before in this series as not to be repetitive. What are the ones you love? You’ll probably thing of themes that just didn’t come to me in the 15 minutes I spent writing this. Sound off below. I love a good discussion so let’s have a few!