WWF Superstars: Wrestlemania - The Album (1993) - A Track by Track Review

WWF Superstars - Wrestlemania - The Album (1993) Album cover

Today is a sad day for me. After the longest time, I'm finally getting rid of the two vintage cassette recorders from the late 70s/early 80s that I've held onto forever for no apparent reason.

I can't tell you it has anything to do with sentimental value - I wasn't born until 1984.

Nor can I tell you that it has anything to do with sound quality. Trust me, vinyl this is not.

But for some reason, I've held onto these things forever, and now it's time to let go.

Before I do, however, I just had to do one thing - give my official Wrestlemania - The Album cassette -yes, cassette, look it up kids- one last listen.

WWF Superstars - Wrestlemania - The Album (1993) on cassette

Bizarrely, given how utterly terrible it is (and we'll get to that in a moment), Wrestlemania - The Album, was a top ten hit here in the UK, despite going nowhere in the US Billboard charts.

Perhaps it's success on British shores had as much to do with the company's popularity over here at the time (this was, remember, not that long after Summerslam 1992 at Wembley Arena), as well as the names behind the product.

Simon Cowell, better known today for being mean to crappy singers on The X-Factor and American Idol served as your executive producer, whilst Mike Stock and Pete Waterman (of the famous Stock, Aitken, and Waterman songwriting trio) put the same talents to work that had previously helped them develop hits for Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, and a slew of other 80s/early 90s popsters.

The resulting album was, quite frankly, odd as hell, but don't just take my word for it.

Join me, as I take one last listen to Wrestlemania - The Album in this track-by-track review.

1) Wrestlemania - WWF Superstars

And so, in a reverse from tradition, we get our main event of the evening first.

Wrestlemania wasn't only one of the two singles from the album, nor was it merely the one song  nor was it the one song that -in its instrumental form- would go on to become synonymous with Wrestlemania all the way through to 1998 (and later enjoy a second life as Linda McMahon's theme tune).

It was also -and I say this with complete sincerity- the best song on the album.

Look, I know that's not saying much, but here's the thing:

It simply isn't fair to review Wrestlemania in the same way as you might review say, Michael Jackson's Thriller or Metallica's Master of Puppets. This isn't music created for purposes of artistic expression or anything like that.

No, it's a straight-up novelty pop record designed to cash in on whatever popularity the World Wrestling Federation had left at the end of 1992 when this was recorded, and early 1993 when it was released.

As novelty pop records go, I have to admit, Wrestlemania is a pretty catchy little number, with a memorable chorus and the kind of guitar riff that, once you've heard it, you can never quite get out of your head completely.

Lyrically, this one is obviously nothing to write home about.

Apart from random catchphrases and threats shouted out by a crew including WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, The Nasty Boys, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Big Boss Man, and Tatanka, all we got here was a refrain of "Wrestlemania, yeah, this is our lives," which is meaningless and dumb, and also a brief bit of equally meaningless rapping.

To be fair though, a cameo from some no-name rapper was required by law to be in every pop song ever back in the early 1990s, so you have to cut them some slack.

Of note here, of course, is that this song about Wrestlemania starts off with a guy asking us if we're ready for The Survivor Series, and The Nasty Boys telling us that we were gonna get 'nasty stuff' down our throats throughout 1993.

Quite apart from being gross, Sags and Knobs would be gone from the WWF by April of that year.

2) Slam Jam - WWF Superstars

Our second single follows a very similar formula to the first one: Take one lively guitar track, add some generic backing singers chanting "woah-oh" and sprinkle a bunch of wrestlers shouting at each other. Finish off with that legally-required rapping we talked about, and apparently, that was enough to create a single.

This time, our wrestling group included The Hitman, Savage, The Undertaker, and The British Bulldog, who had gone from the company by the time of the record's release.

Slam Jam may not be as memorable as the more well-known Wrestlemania theme, but compared to what was about to follow, it was certainly the best thing on the entire album.

And yes, for those of you wondering if I'd mention it - there was indeed a Slam Jam album released by WCW in 1992, and I'll be getting to that in a few weeks time.

Don't want to miss it? Follow Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter and I'll let you know when the WCW Slam Jam review is published! 

3) USA - Hacksaw Jim Duggan 

What I think happened here, is that the producers had taken one of Hacksaw Jim Duggan's promos (in which he talks about being nervous backstage but then going out to the ring and beating people up), recorded it, spliced it up and loaded it into a sampler, then blindfolded each other and slapped the sampler at random intervals.

If you want a better way to describe this one, try this:

Remember that time Peter Griffin became a club DJ on Family Guy? It's like that, except twice as cringeworthy and not half as funny.

I mean OK, I know I said that this was basically a novelty pop record and shouldn't be judged by the same standards of, well, an actual album, but even by novelty pop record standards, this was terrible.

4) The Nasty Boys - Nasty Boys Stomp

"The Nasty Boys are just plain nasty," says Bobby Heenan as this obvious Janet Jackson rip-off gets underway.

You know, as I've been reviewing old pro wrestling shows for Retro Pro Wrestling, I've always had to stop myself from making off-colour comments about The Nasty Boys and all their talk of being 'nasty.'

But here, I can no longer contain myself. As an adult, I have a whole different idea of what the word 'nasty' means, and to hear two grown-ups spouting it off as often as Knobs and Saggs do is both hilarious and disgusting in equal measure.

As for the song itself, despite the blatant attempt to get as close to Miss. Jackson's big hit as they can without paying her anything, this actually turns out to be one of the better pop songs on the album.

Again, however, that's not actually saying very much.

5) Bret 'The Hitman' Hart - Never Been a Right Time to Say Goodbye 

Here, we get Stock/Aitken/Waterman's typical fare:

Synth-heavy pop concerning matters of the heart. This time, however, the vocals are delivered by a sombre-sounding Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

I can't even begin to describe how many things are wrong with this song.

For one thing, it sounds incredibly dated, even for 1993. It's as though the producers dug out something they'd discarded back in the mid-1980s, polished it up and had Bret Hart talk all over it.

Even back in the 1980s, this would have been terrible, but here on a wrestling album, it served only as a complete WTF moment -and yes, that's after several minutes of two grown men promising to do -ahem- nasty stuff to you.

This was obviously an attempt to make top babyface Bret Hart sound like a caring, sensitive kinda guy.

Instead, it made him sound like a complete doofus.

6) The Undertaker - The Man in Black 

Honestly, I've just sat here for the last couple of minutes laughing my ass off at this so-bad-its-brilliant track.

Bringing side one of this cassette to an end, this is part Addams family, part Nintendo game soundtrack, but 100% funky.

Yes, funky.

For a song about The Undertaker.

You know, Mr. Doom And Gloom?

The Dead Man?

The guy who goes on and on about harvesting souls and rising from the dead and all that stuff?

Yep, here The Man in Black tries to be as frightening as he can be, even going so far as to threaten us with embalming, but the music is just so darn lively and upbeat that it's hard to take this one seriously.

It's like the intro to the Addams Family if said intro had been recorded on LSD by a bunch of happy hippies.

I might not recommend Wrestlemania - The Album for much, but I do recommend you get this song just for the comedy value. Hillarious.

Side two....

7) Randy Savage (Macho Man) - Speaking From The Heart

What? Don't look at me, Randy Savage (Macho Man) is exactly how his name is written in all the liner notes for the album.

Here, Randy Savage (Macho Man) cuts a bunch of his typically out-there promos over a hip-hop beat and a gushing chorus which goes a little something like this:

He gets your heart up pumping, he gets the party jumping, he’s the Macho Man! Everybody saying, he’s really quite amazing, he’s the Macho Man!

All the while the music comes across like something left over from The Bart Man (remember that?).

I'm not even sure what to make of this song. I don't get why it's called Speaking From The Heart, especially when you've got Bret Hart right there to make the obvious pun, but hey, we'll let that go and leave with this:

This is actually fun in a typically early-90s cheesy fashion.

8) Tatanka - Tatanka Native America

You'll notice that this is called Tatanka Native America, and not American. Quite why it wasn't just called Tatanka - Buffalo! is beyond me, because that's basically all you get here for a couple of minutes.

Of course, this song needs no introduction. Tatanka (BUFFALO!) has become a running joke on one of my favourite websites, Wrestlecrap, and it's all because of this one song, this one, long song, this one, long, repetitive song.

This one, long, repetitive, boring song.

This one, long...well, you get the picture right?

It's as if the producers already begun to lose the will to live here and were just trying to hurry up, get it done, and go home.

9) Mr. Perfect - I'm Perfect

"Mr. Perfect, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Perfect, I'm perfect!"

Imagine that, repeated for a couple of minutes over a disco remix of Hennig's famous WWF theme, and that's basically what you've got here. Just that, over and over again with Perfect occasionally bragging about being perfect.

I swear, this album just gets harder and harder to listen to as it goes on.

10) Crush - Cold Crush 

This ode to the former Demolition member followed the exact same formula used throughout this album:

Drop a funky disco beat and randomly play soundbites of the wrestler in question over the top of it.

This time, the soundbites had Crush telling us that the competition was getting tougher in the World Wrestling Federation, but that he was loving every minute of it.

To put it bluntly, it was stupid and instantly forgettable.

11) The Big Boss Man - Hard Times

I was actually looking forward to this one, believing that this was going to be just the Boss Man's original theme.

Instead, it was a disco remix of it with a random guitar solo just dumped haphazardly over the top of it. Of course, we got some Bossman soundbites, with the big man telling us about the importance of respecting law and order and such.

Again, you start to get the distinct impression that the record makers were rapidly running out of what few ideas they'd had to begin with here, making the second half of this album almost intolerable.

12) Slam Jam 12"

I'm not making any jokes about a 12-inch slam jam, that stuff writes itself.

Here, we get the greatest evidence which exists that those involved in making this record had just about had enough of it. Instead of a new track or even a different version of Slam Jam, we get a slightly -and I do mean slightly- modified version of the original.

And that, my friends, is that.

Remember, that this was a cash-in, not a straight-up music album, so you have to cut it some slack, but apart from the catchy Wrestlemania single and that hilariously upbeat Undertaker track (why they didn't call it The Dead Man Jam is anyone's guess), this was largely terrible.

What I don't get is who would listen to this and when?

I mean, it's not 'driving in the car' music and it's certainly not 'rocking out at home' music. It's more 'play once and go LOL' music. Now that I'm finally getting rid of my old tape recorders, I guess it will be played no more. 

Thanks for reading. If you're looking for more pro wrestling album reviews, you might enjoy: 

Don't miss that, or any other Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following @Retropwrestling on Twitter or liking the Facebook page

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