Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Top 10 WCW Themes

As regular readers of Retro Pro Wrestling will know, we've spent the past few years reviewing every WCW PPV from 1996 onwards and are now getting through those ill-fated final months in the company's history.

Throughout all of that, we've heard many, many theme tunes. The good, the bad, and the so-bad-its-amazing (American Males, we're looking at you), but these -ladies and gentlemen- these are the best WCW themes to ever appear on our TV screens:

10. Hollywood Blondes / Steve Austin 

It's doubtful that there's a wrestling fan in the world who isn't familiar with the shattering glass and crunching guitar riff that makes up Stone Cold Steve's iconic WWF/WWE theme. Years before he began storming his way to ringside to the sound of that Jim Johnson classic, however, he and Brian Pillman swaggered their way to WCW rings with this scathing metal jam as their soundtrack.

Though some argue that the menacing sneer of guitars wasn't entirely suited to the Hollywood Blondes in the way that  Glass Shatters was suited to the Texas Rattlesnake, it was still a damn fine track all the same.

And yes, we'd remiss if we didn't mention the fact this got recycled many times over the years, being used for guys like Marty Jannetty, Greg Valentine, and whoever else was being trotted out to flesh out the midcard on Nitro. 

Still, even that can't take away how magnificent this theme really is.

9. Raven

Diamond Dallas Page's Self High-Five theme may have been WCW's most popular Nirvana rip-off, but let's be honest, the Jimmy Hart Version of Come as You Are was way more bad ass. 

Maybe it's the way that the main riff sounds somehow crisper yet heavier than the Kurt Cobain classic, or maybe it's that scorching solo. Whatever it is, there's something about this one that makes it a must-pick for any list of the best WCW themes ever.

8. Lance Storm

Confession time: The only reason I decided to write this piece was so that I'd have a chance to rave about how awesome Lance Storm's theme music was. 

Though most of his WCW run was squandered in disappointing feuds with Hugh Morrus General Rection and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, there was always something especially cool about hearing that kick ass guitar riff just before Lance delivered his trademark line, "If I could be serious for a minute."

Obviously, this was even better when he had Major Gunns by his side.

By the way, as an honourable mention, Chris Jericho's Pearl Jam rip-off theme could have easily made this list, but in the end, other themes stood out as being just far too iconic to leave off.

7. Eddie Guerrero

There really was nobody else quite like Eddie Guerrero. Unfortunately, the theme for his WCW babyface run, "Generic Rock Track #1837" didn't really reflect that. 

Then he turned heel, was gifted this glorious theme tune, and had kicked off the best part of his WCW career. 

The greatest thing about this theme isn't just that the sleazy bass and scintillating guitars sound so damn good together, it's that there's some intangible quality to this track that perfectly encapsulates all of his Latino swagger and unbridled cool.

After Eddie left, Jimmy Hart remade this theme for Chavo Guerrero and added a gorgeous guitar solo to it. That version was technically better than even this one, but since Eddie's version was the more memorable and iconic of the two, it gets the nod here.

6. Ravishing Rick Rude

There was a lot of notable things about WCW Slam Jam - The Music Vol 1, not least of which being the fact that we never technically got a volume 2. 

This was the album that gave us the famous babyface themes for Sting and The Steiner Brothers. It also that weird song about why Ricky Steamboat was such a great guy for being faithful to his wife.

However, none of those jams compared to this most 90s-sounding ode to the 6'2" of twisted steel and sex appeal known as Ravishing Rick Rude.

A total earworm in the very best sense of the word, when I first heard this album, I spent weeks afterwards singing that ever-so catchy refrain.

Now that we're revisiting the song for this, there's no doubt it'll be stuck in my head again for weeks.

Altogether now..

"He's simply ravishing, he's happening, he knows that he's cool // All the girls go crazy, they don't know what to do. // He'll steal your girl, break her heart and leave you a fool. // He's simply ravishing, dazzling ravishing Rude."

5. Sting

There were really two strong contenders for the number five spot. The classic Goldberg theme that has become as much a part of his whole presentation as his tattoo and Jackhammer, and this, the song Sting used after he started doing The Crow cosplay and hanging out in the rafters.

If you ask me, both tunes have a similar vibe to them, but there's something about Sting's haunting epic that sends chills down the spine in a way that Goldberg's theme never did. 

4. Hulk Hogan 

Again, there's a lot of options here. Do we go with that sweet hip-hop track Konnan recorded that was used for the Filthy Animals? Give some love to the rap-hating West Texas Rednecks? Or shout out Chris Jericho's Pearl Jam rip-off?

We could have done any, but in the end it comes down to this - the best track from the otherwise terrible Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band album.

Though it's certainly not as famous as Real American, with its huge riff and a memorable hook, American Made is arguably the better of Hulk Hogan's two main babyface themes.

3. Harlem Heat

Some themes deserve to be a on a top-ten list like this because they sound amazing. Some deserve to be here because they're iconic. Harlem Heat's WCW theme is both. 

One of the few WCW themes to be still used today whenever Booker T puts in an appearance, this classic is both memorable and utterly enjoyable.

2. The Four Horsemen

I mean seriously, just listen to that lead guitar. Doesn't it just give you chills?

Though it wasn't used as much as say Ric Flair's classic theme or the individual themes of its members, The Four Horsemen isn't just one of the best WCW themes, it's one of the best things to come out of WCW, period.

An absolute gem of a track, it was really difficult not to put this right at the number one spot.

Alas, that honor had to go...

1. New World Order

The following announcement has been paid for by the New World Order:

This is hands down the best WCW theme ever.

Earlier, I mentioned that Harlem Heat got onto this list by virtue of being both awesome and iconic

The nWo theme (also known as the porno music) soundtracked the biggest boom in WCW's history, one that just so happened to give us the most exciting time ever to be a wrestling fan.

Plus, as a mashup of multiple Jimi Hendrix, it gave us some scorching riffage that was just...too...sweeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Disagree with these picks? Let us know in the comments below or dive into the discussion on the Retro Pro Wrestling Facebook page. 

Alternatively, check out some of our other wrestling theme reviews below:

Thursday, 3 October 2019

WCW Mayhem - The Music (1999) - A track-by-track review

WCW Mayhem - The Music album -  A Track-by-Track Review

Give WCW their due, when they hit on an idea they liked, they sure did milk it for all it was worth.

Don't believe me?

Just look at how much mileage they got -or at least tried to get- out of the New World Order or how many Fake Stings we got over the years.

So it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise back in 1999 when somebody decided they liked the name Mayhem so much that they decided to plaster it not only to a video game, but also an entire Pay Per View event and yes, even a tie-in CD.

OK, perhaps it was a little surprising that they even bothered to release an album.

For while the WWF had released numerous albums over the years, World Championship Wrestling had only really put out one release, 1992's Slam Jam Vol 1, an album which gave us songs about how Ricky Steamboat didn't cheat on his wife.

Sure, there was Christmas Brawl in 1996, but that was more of a promotional marketing gimmick than anything else.

Since both of those releases, the presentation of WCW had changed dramatically, and so too had the music which went along with it.

Gone was the cheese and cheeriness of early WCW themes, replaced by kick-ass, take-no-BS heavy metal and hip hop.

WCW Mayhem - Track-by-Track Review

Yes, if WCW Mayhem - The Music stands as evidence of anything (besides WCW milking every good idea dry), it's their last-ditch attempt to appeal to a mainstream audience by updating their presentation with a thoroughly modern soundtrack and bringing in major recording artists like Master P, Megadeth and others.

But don't just take my word for it.

Without further ado, here's your track-by-track review of WCW Mayhem - The Music.

1. DJ Ran - Make Some Noise (Mayhem Mega Mix)

"Ladies and gentleman this is David Penzer, get ready for the Mayhem of World Championship Wrestling!"

You remember DJ Ran, right?

He used to get all up in your area every Monday night on TNT. Here, he kicks off the album with a special Mayhem Mega Mix which is supposed to replicate the way Ran would get the live crowd pumped up at the beginning of Nitro.

In that sense, this works. 

Ran yelling at us to MAKE SOME NOISE, coupled with a greeting from WCW announcer David Penzer really does serve as a great start to the album. Honestly, it's about as close as you're going to get to capturing the atmosphere of a big-time late-90s pro wrestling show on a music CD.

While Ran spins his tunes, WCW's biggest stars are given an opportunity to speak.

Most of them take that opportunity to put themselves over.

Big Sexy tells us he's in the house. Big Poppa Pump tells us he's our hook up. Buff tells us he's the stuff.

But Macho Man Randy Savage

He decides not to put himself over, instead taking his one spot on the opening track to instead put Hulk Hogan over.

"You know something brother?" he asks. "Hogan is the man."

This probably wouldn't be so bad if the two were still nWo team mates, or even still portrayed as friends on screen, but by 1999 the two had almost nothing to do with each other in the storylines which just makes Savage's line a little odd.

Funny, definitely, but odd.

2. Purity - Adrenaline V.1 


If neither the artist nor title of this track are familiar to you, don't worry; you'll instantly recognise it the moment you press play.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, twenty years after the fact, your writer has only just discovered that the theme tune for WCW Nitro was actually a song called Adrenaline V.1 by a London-based, all-female electronica outfit called Purity.

Want to hear the full version of the track?

Here you go.

Rather than just give us that straight-up banger for three-minutes, WCW Mayhem simply gives us the standard thirty-second WCW Nitro intro with Tony Schiavone welcoming us to 'the one and only Monday Nitro.'

Schiavone is his usual hyperbolic self here, bigging up the show -or in this case, the album- as some huge spectacular. 

Sadly, he stops short of calling Mayhem 'the greatest album in the history of our sport,' or anything like that.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Purity are still very much doing their thing, with main songwriter Jill Stark composing a lot of stuff for films and games. 

3. Insane Clown Posse - Take It 

"Everything is up to him // It's all out, you have to take it"

I could be wrong on this (please correct me if I am), but I'm pretty sure Insane Clown Posse have the unique distinction of being the only musical performers not named Jimmy Hart to appear on both WCW and WWF music albums.

Their time with The Oddities in the World Wrestling Federation led to their theme 'Oddities' appearing on WWF The Music Vol. 3. Now, they were here on WCW's album with their kick-you-in the-nuts, nu-metal-style monster, Take It, a track that served as Vampiro's theme during his time with The Dead Pool

I've never been the biggest ICP fan ever, but even I have to admit that this angry noisefest is a pretty decent track, albeit one that is definitely of its time.

This very much sounds like the kind of stuff you'd hear if you hung out in the metal/alt crowds back at the turn of the Millenium, and is absolutely befitting the chaotic, violent world of professional wrestling. 

4. Slayer - Here Comes The Pain 

"I am the new hell on earth // The lord of agony divine // Domination, intimidation // Lives within these eyes"

Oh yeah, now we're talking.

To be honest, I've no idea how Slayer ended up on a professional wrestling album. As far as I know, neither they, nor this absolute bruiser of a track, ever ended up on WCW programming, but hey, it's f'n Slayer, so it's always going to be good stuff.

OK, so Here Comes the Pain isn't the best Slayer song in the world (that's South of Heaven, obviously), but it's still a solid, battering metal track full of snarling aggression and brutality.

Though it may seem out of place at first, this track does perfectly encapsulate the driving energy that WCW Mayhem was supposed to be all about. In that sense, it is actually a pretty perfect fit, even if it might have been even more perfect as the soundtrack to the WWF game Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain.

5. Invasion (Goldberg Theme)

"How about that ladies and gentlemen? GOLDBERG - and this crowd is on their feet!"

And so we reach the first truly recognisable song on the album.

Even if you'd never heard of Slayer, ICP, or DJ Ran, there's no wrestling fan on Earth who hasn't heard of Goldberg and wouldn't be familiar with this iconic theme music.

Sounding like the kind of dramatic fanfare that would play as  Roman gladiator made his way into battle, this short-but-memorable theme was a big part in creating the main event aura around Bill Goldberg and, dare I say it, had a big part in his success.

After all, nobody would argue that Big Bill's legendary status had much -if anything- to do with his in-ring prowess. It was all about the presentation, and this bold, powerful theme was a big part of that.

Fun fact, before Invasion became synonymous with Goldberg, it was used for a spell in the mid 90s by Pat Tanaka.


6. Megadeth - Crush 'Em 

"Now we've found you (crush), we're gonna pound you / We're gonna beat you (crush), gonna defeat you / We're gonna bust you (crush), we're gonna crush you / We're gonna (crush 'em) crush 'em"

While we all remember Invasion as the classic Bill Goldberg theme, there was a time in the summer of 1999 when he used Megadeth's sporting anthem Crush 'Em to accompany him to the ring.

OK, so the song is almost universally derided by die-hard Megadeth fans, but there's no denying that this is a great track to get the blood pumping.

Yes, the lyrics are cheesy and yes, it lacks the scathing guitars of Peace Sells... or the snarl of Sweating Bullets, but we're not  here to dissect heavy metal, we're here to talk about wrestling music and as such things go, Crush 'Em is a solid effort.

It's just a shame they gave it to Goldberg.

Had they kept this as the soundtrack to video montages or even for a PPV opener, it could have worked well. As it was, they tried to fix something that wasn't broken by having Goldberg walk out to this and it just didn't work.

No wonder very few people have fond memories of this song.

7. What Up Mach (Macho Man Randy Savage Theme)

"What up Mach? OOOOHHHH YEAH!"

Speaking of wrestlers with iconic themes, Macho Man Randy Savage is so synonymous with Sir Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 that even when people hear that piece in a non-wrestling context they can't help but yell out OHHHH YEAH!

When Savage returned for a brief and largely terrible run in 1999, however, World Championship Wrestling decided to give him a thoroughly modern makeover and have him come out to a gutsy heavy metal riff which sounds a bit like a thrash metal band upping the tempo on a cover of  Metallica's Bad Seed.

We'll have more from Metallica later on, but for now I'll just say that although few will ever equate Macho Madness with this track (which features his valet, Gorgeous George asking What up, Mach?), it's still an enjoyable piece of metal riffery perfectly in keeping with the edgy, aggressive attitude WCW were going for at the time.

8. Kid Rock - Blast 

"Kid Rock back in this *** house // Feel the effects of my shotgun blast // Mothers crying from theses shotgun blast // Feel the effects of my shotgun blast // People dying from theses shotgun blasts"

Kid Rock fans might know this song better by its full title, Shotgun Blast, the 13th track from his 1996 album, Early Morning Stoned Pimp.

Apparently, as edgy as WCW were trying to get in 1999, they still couldn't include the word shotgun, nor could they include the multiple instances of the F-Word which feature in Kid Rock's original track. 

That aside this is one of those tracks which, like the earlier Slayer anthem, doesn't seem to have any direct link to the world of pro wrestling. 

If you're already a Kid Rock fan, then there's no doubt you'll enjoy this one, but honestly, it's probably the weakest track on the album so far. 

Not bad, but a little meh.

9. Self High-Five (Diamond Dallas Page Theme)

"Ya love me, ya hate me, you'll never forget me. Get ready to feel the BANG"

So far, this is the second album to feature obvious Smells Like Teen Spirit knock-off, Self High-Five.

The track originally appeared three years earlier on the Christmas Brawl album, where I referred to it as "hard, edgy, and full of energy."

I stand by that statement today, partly because it's true, but mostly because I can't think of anything to say about DDP's theme that hasn't already been said before.

Indeed, it's one of the most iconic WCW themes and is still fun to listen to, especially at a time when WWE Network have dubbed over it with their own, less thrilling version.

10. Primer 55 - Loose

"Here I come with the new style kicking // Just can't help it 'cause it's so damn wicked // Insane in the brain with a mind like Cujo // Ya better run 'cause I'm about to get loco // Feelin' this way is an everyday thing // See ya talkin' shit, but you don't know me"

Nu-metal really hasn't aged all that well, has it?

Sure, some bands from that period in musical history have evolved and gone on to do good things but this, this is very much a product of its time.

Whether that's a good thing or not is really up to you.

If you're all about baggy jeans, down-tuned guitars and mixing basic rapping with angry screaming, this is the jam for you.

Interestingly enough, Loose was the WCW theme song of a tag team called Air Raid who competed in the cruiserweight division during the dying days of the company's existence and who featured a young man known as Air Styles, better known to you and me as former WWE Champion, The Phenomenal AJ Styles.

11. 'Sting Theme' 

"Riddle me this, riddle me that, who's afraid of the big, black bat?"

Was there any cooler character in the Monday Night Wars than the re-invented Steve Borden? Ditching the colorful face paints in favor of a look directly inspired by The Crow, the WCW icon was genuinely one of the most intriguing, compelling stars at the time, at least until the debacle that was Starrcade 1997 ruined most of his mystique. 

Sting's Crow Theme was perfectly suited to his character during this time period, and remains one of your writer's all-time favourite WCW themes. 

Stil, by the time 1999 came around, the Sting character had gone through enough of a transformation that this gem of a track was no longer really suited to him.

So it's probably just as well that they swapped it for our next track.

12. Metallica - Seek & Destroy (Live at Woodstock '99)

"Scanning the scene in the city tonight // Looking for you to start up a fight // There's an evil feeling in our brains // but it's nothing new, you know it drives us insane."

As the biggest Metallica fan in the world, I loved seeing Sting coming to the ring to the sound of this scathing thrash metal anthem from the band's 1983 debut, Kill 'Em All, even if I was never entirely convinced that it suited him.

The longest track on the album by a good few minutes, this comes directly from the band's appearance at the infamous Woodstock 1999 festival

Though it might not be the greatest rendition of this classic track, it's still Metallica tearing up like only they can in a track that is undoubtedly a highlight of the album.

13. Buff Daddy (Buff Bagwell) 


We've had the ferocious riffs of old-school metal, we've had the swagger and hostility of hip-hop and we've had the aggression of late-90s nu-metal.

What better way to follow all of that than with, erm, Buff Bagwell gleefully shouting about how sexy he is as a chorus of back-up singers croon "Buff, he's the stuff."

To be honest, I always found Bagwell's post-nWo theme to be pretty hilarious, but it seems a little out of place coming between Metallica and Limp Bizkit.

Still, if you can ignore that, Buff Daddy is plenty of fun in a cheesy, over-the-top kind of way.

14. Limp Bizkit (Ft. Everlast) - Faith (Remix)

"Baby, I know you're askin' me to stay // Say please, please, please don't go away // 'Cause you're givin' me the blues"

Remember when Limp Bizkit were one of the hottest bands in the world?

Every angry teenager you met walked around sporting a backward red baseball cap and baggy jeans while telling you that they wanted to break stuff.

It was a weird time, but it does explain why Fred Durst et al ended up on this WCW music album with what is a pretty lackluster version of their famous George Michael cover.

Gone is the outright brutal chaos of the original track from their abrasive 1997 debut, Three Dollar Bill Y'All.

In its place is a chilled out hip-hop track which, though it may have its fans, does nothing for this writer.

Still Limp Bizkit were still one of the most popular bands around at the time, so it makes sense to include them in here as an incentive for non-WCW fans to buy the album.

15. American Made (Hulk Hogan's Theme)

"He's got the red, white, and blue running through his veins // He was born and raised in the U.S. of A // He's government inspected, he's U.S. grade // If you mess with the flag it's like a slap in his face."

This is the second time this year that I've reviewed this track. If you recall, it features as one of the stand-out songs on Hulk Rules, a 1995 album by Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Bandthat somehow manages to be awesome, awful, weird, and hillarious all at the same time.

In that review, I wrote:

The song was clearly meant to be an updated take on his famous WWF theme, Real American. Though it's nowhere near as iconic as that Rick Derringer-penned track, I'd argue that it's the better of the two in terms of pure rock-out fun.

I stand by that today, partly because it's still very much true, but mostly becuase I feel like this album has been playing for the last thousand years.

16. Lyrical Giants - Bone Crusher 

I honestly can't make out a single lyric in this track...I'm sorry.

As you've probably figured out by now, this WCW Mayhem - The Music review is written by someone who listens to way more rock music than rap.

In fact, I'll go so far as to confessing that I'm woefully ignorant about hip-hop to such an extreme that all I can think of when I hear this is "Hey, it sounds like that DMX track that was big around the turn of the Millenium."

That's not a criticism by the way. 

As hip-hop tracks go, this is a pretty good one, with an upbeat vibe to it that I imagine makes it great for clubs and parties and the like.

Who knows, maybe they played this jam at those Nitro Parties they had?

17. Got Him in the Corner 

"He's got him in the corner and here we go...Oooh! That's gotta hurt!" 

I won't put a video here, this is basically a clip of Tony Schiavone calling a 'ten punches in the corner spot.'

It's not really anything, but I promised you a track-by-track review, so dagnammit, we'll include one here.

18. Ruff Ryders featuring Drag-On, Jadakiss, Eve, Styles - Pay Per View 

"I'm a total savage // Like Lex Luger, you'll get the total package // Straight power bomb like Kevin Nash and Sid Vicious // Small like Rey Misterio put y'all in big ditches"

In case you hadn't figured it out, we're well into the hip-hop section of the album now, with rappers Drag-On, Jadakiss, Eve, and Styles tell us how bad ass they are by liking themselves to various WCW stars.

Jadakiss, for example, boasts about how he's like Sting, you know, all black with a bat, before Eve strangely boasts that "I'm feared like Miss Elizabeth."

Now, God Bless Miss Elizabeth and, apart from in our review of her botched performance at the WCW Mayhem 1999 PPV, you'll find nary a bad word said against her at Retro Pro Wrestling, but I'm not sure too many people actually feared her.

Still, this is a pretty fun, catchy tune, even if it's one I doubt many people are even aware of.

19. Big Pun & Fat Joe - Make the Crowd Roar 

"I'm like Hollywood without the Hogan // I'm like Konnan without the slogan"

If you haven't yet had enough of rappers likening themselves to pro wrestlers, Fat Joe and the late Big Pun have got some more for you here, with Mr. Pun himself telling us that he's going to "make shit messy like Kevin Nash."

Because if there was one thing Big Sexy was known for, it was being untidy. 

I joke, but there's seriously a part of this song that rubs me the wrong way. 

At one point in the original, uncensored version of this song, Big Pun raps:

"Just remember to roll with God
And try not to kill yourself, like Owen Hart.
No disrespect, I know you miss him, Bret." 

I mean seriously. 

OK, I'm probably being a little too sensitive, especially since somebody was clearly smart enough to censor Owen's name out of this version of the song, but still. This album was released about six months after Hart passed away, and yet here we are.

Is it just me or is that pretty bad? Especially given that Hart didn't actually kill himself.

Rant over, let's move on.

20. Kevin Nash - Wolfpac Theme 

"Wolfpac is back, causin mass destruction, guess who's here, the bad boys of wrestling." 

Another one of the more memorable WCW themes, here we have the track that was used for the nWo Wolfpac and for Kevin Nash as a singles wrestler.

Back then, I always thought this was one of the cooler tracks WCW had at the time. It's got a certain swagger and yet is also pretty dark, making it a perfect fit for a guy who was cool, cocky and yet could straight up kick your ass.

21. Cypress Hill - Fist Full 

"Put you to the ground, chokeslam on your back while I'm chillin' with Nash and the honeys, Wolfpac style." 

These rappers sure did love them some Big Sexy, even if the dude was a bit messy.

To be fair, this is a pretty bad ass track. It's exactly the sort of thing you can imagine WCW using as the soundtrack to a highlights package, or as background music for the WCW Mayhem video game. 

Like others before them, the Cypress Hill boys basically brag about how they're going to kick your ass like professional wrestlers, but they do it with an energy and aggression that the likes of Big Fun and Jadakiss lacked.

All in all, this is one of the better songs on the album.

22. Count That Man Out 

"One, two, three...Count that man out!"

No video here, this is just another Tony Schiavone soundbite. This time, the current AEW commentator calls the action as somebody gets pinned.

23. Screwball - Give it Up 

"War you want, war you get." 

I can't seem to find much information about this track, but if you enjoy listening to rappers bragging about how bad ass they are, then you're in luck here.

Honestly, I feel like I've been writing this review forever, I'm getting tired, and as much as some people might like this song, it does very little to change my energy.

Decent, but entirely forgettable. 

24. Konnan featuring Madd One - Bow Wow Wow 

"Bow-wow-wow, yippie-yo, yippie-yay // Arriba la raza, all day, every day"

Of course, you can't have a hip hop section of a WCW album without an appearance by K-Dogg himself. If you were watching at the time, you probably remember this one.

Konnan had debuted in WCW wearing a mask as the 'Mexican Champion,' turned heel to join the Dungeon of Doom and then randomly morphed into a gangsta during his time with the nWo, then released this music video for his team with former opponent, Rey Mysterio Jr. 

Konnan was incredibly popular around this time, so obviously WCW decided that the best thing to do with his video was to use it as the basis for a feud with Disco Inferno.

That aside, this is actually a really good track, not quite as good as the other one he did for The Filthy Animals, but still damn enjoyable all the same.

That's despite the fact that it starts with a soundbite of K-Dog inviting the listener to toss his salad. I mean seriously, Konnan did a bit on the mic before every match, he said all kinds of things over the years, yet out of all the clips they could have picked, the producers of this album went with him talking about someone sticking their tongue up his bum. 

25. West Texas Rednecks - I Hate Rap 

"There's only one thing that I hate, cos it's a bunch of crap, I hate rap!"

If you didn't remember K-Dog's theme, you'll certainly remember this one.

WCW positioned Curt Hennig and his chums as the heels, but the crowd decided that they loved the West Texas Rednecks more than they the gang's rivals, Master P. and the No Limit Soldiers.

Of course, it didn't help that they also gave the Rednecks one of the most entertaining songs to ever come from a pro wrestling country.

Naturally, you have to overlook the fact that  Hennig, Bobby Duncam Jr. and the Windham brothers were now suddenly talented musicians capable of writing and performing a hit country song, but that aside, the whole Rap is Crap thing was a fun time in WCW and was a rare highlight of their programming at a time when so much of the company's output sucked a large one.

26. Loona - Bailando

"Bailando, Bailando, my friends, let's go!"

If the CD had ended with Rap is Crap it would have been perfect. Instead, we got this latin-infused dance number that was apparently used for some of the Nitro Girls dance routines. 

Bailando was a hit for Paradiso in Europe, who reached number one on the charts in Denmark and broke the top ten in a few other countires. A few years later, Dutch artist Loona took her cover of the track to the top of the German charts.

This version closely resembles Loona's version, albeit with English lyrics sung by Stephanie Marano and some dude randomly shouting out NITRO GIRLS! BODY SLAM!

It's a decent song, but it feels kind of tacked on and out of place here.

Not that I'm complaining, at this point, I'm just glad it's over.

If you're wondering how exactly WCW Mayhem - The Music managed to cram a whole 26 songs into one album, it's because a large number of  those songs last barely a minute. While tracks by actual artists are featured in full, the wrestling themes are cut as short as possible.

Despite this, WCW Mayhem still feels like it takes an eternity to listen to and would have been just as good with half of the tracks missing.

Still, as a big rock and metal fan, I won't deny that it's great to find an album which combines my love of pro wrestling with some kick ass tunes by Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. 

If you want to get a copy of this album for yourself and support this blog at the same time, you can buy WCW Mayhem from and we get a tiny percentage of the profits as a referral fee.

Otherwise, thanks for sticking with this review all the way to the end. If you're looking for more pro wrestling album reviews, here's a few more for you:

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

Thursday, 18 July 2019

WCW Christmas Brawl (1996) Album - A Track by Track Review

WCW Christmas Brawl 1996 CD album review - track by track

In 1996, the superstars of WCW went to Germany for their Christmas Brawl 1996 tour. The four-date jaunt was almost entirely devoid of star power, featuring matches like Public Enemy vs. American Males (more of whom later) and Glacier vs. Mortis.

From an in-ring standpoint, the sole highlight looks to have been an Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit match, though for fans of Germany's own Alex Wright, perhaps the real highlight was seeing their fellow countryman in the main event, tagging with Lex Luger to face Harlem Heat.

Make no mistake about it, Das Wunderkind was sold as the star attraction of this tour, which explains why he not only headlined but also took pride of place on the cover of Christmas Brawl Theme Songs.

For the unfamiliar, Christmas Brawl was a collection of ten WCW themes penned by Jimmy Hart and JJ McGuire, the same virtuosos responsible for Hulk Hogan's Wrestling Boot Band.

The CD was only available on the tour itself or via mail order from Germany's World of Wrestling fan club, making it a pretty rare item back in the day.

Today, however, we have YouTube, which means copyright laws be damned, we get to go on a track-by-track treck through this forgotten treasure.

1: American Males 

"American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, "

If there's one theme on this album which really needs no introduction, it's this one.

The theme music for Scotty Riggs & Marcus Bagwell is as famous in the pro wrestling community as the It's Still Real to Me guy or El Dandy being a jam up guy.

And so it deserves to be.

OK, so American Males isn't exactly Stairway to Heaven, but it's a damn catchy song by all accounts and one of the most fun things to come out of the Hart/McGuire hit factory.

Sing it with me now!

American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males....

2: Disco Inferno - Disco Fever 

"Disco Fever, Disco Fever, Disco Fever, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah"

Hart & McGuire really didn't hold back when it came to showing off their lyrical prowess, did they?

Not unlike American Males, this one may not have been a masterpiece but was still a fun little number and did at least add a major component to the character of Disco Inferno.

Sure, the dancing fool was never positioned as a major star in World Championship Wrestling, but he was vastly underrated in the ring and even more underrated as an entertaining character.

His matches against Juventud Guerrera and Billy Kidman back at Halloween Havoc 1998 were some of his finest moments, and there were few people better at playing the deluded coward.

As for this track, it's every bit as enjoyable as Disco himself.

3: The Public Enemy - We Like to Party

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, rock it like hell make it sound like heaven. // Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, come on everybody, let's have some fun!"

We Like to Party can't decide whether it wants to be Ini Kamoze's Here Comes the Hotstepper or Tag Team's Whoomp There it Is. It ends up being a hot mess of both, which might have worked if this were 1992 but otherwise just sounds dated and kind of cheesy.

This is especially true when you consider that The Public Enemy famously came from ECW. We Like to Party basically strips them of anything that might have been cool about TPE and turns them into the white version of Men on a Mission.

4: Jimmy Hart - We're Still Rocking

"We love those oldies but goodies"

To be honest, I'm not sure if The Mouth of the South ever actually used this as a theme song or if he just included it here as an exercise in self-indulgence.

This is basically an old-school rock 'n' roll song in which Hart pays tribute to the stars of the 1960s, including his own group, The Gentrys.

As songs go this one is fairly inoffensive, but it has that patented Jimmy Hart cheese about it that means you just know you're never going to hear it anywhere outside of the world of professional wrestling.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of The Colonel, but this rockin' little ode to the past does nothing for me.

5: Alex Wright - A Heartbeat Away 

Pull yourself together, girl // it's time to step up in the world, I'll help you get on your feet / and something something feel the heat!

American Males may be the most famous WCW theme to appear on this album, but it's arguable that Heartbeat Away is the one thing the album itself is best known for.

An effort to make Alex Wright a mainstream star, this bizarre track sees him rapping -badly- over the kind of Europop that had been popular in the region about five years earlier.

Honestly, it sounds a lot like Ace of Base, which would be fine in itself if the terrible production values didn't make it sound less like an Ace of Base hit single and more like something they left on their demo tape.

That's the weirdest thing about Heartbeat Away. Though some of the writing may be questionable, the production quality of Christmas Brawl has so far been incredibly high. Most of these songs sound very well produced, but this one sounds like Wright recorded his vocals on a Dictaphone and simply played them over the top of the music.

6: Nasty Boys - We're The Boys 

"Everybody talks but we know talk is cheap // If you mess with the boys we'll rearrange your teeth!"

OK, so it's a corny, mid-90s pro wrestling theme that you'd never admit to having on your Spotify playlist in a million years, but despite that, We're the Boys is a very fun song and actually one of the best things on the album.

Much like they did with almost every track on Hulk Rules, Hart & McGuire rework the basic structure they had for Owen Hart's WWF theme, adding a simple guitar riff while Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags rant and rave about how nasty they are.

 It's a joy to listen to... in private...without telling anybody ever.

7: Chris Jericho / Brian Pillman - California sun

"I like 'em hot, I like 'em cold // I like 'em young, I like 'em old // Blondes have more fun"

Speaking of recycled ideas from Hulk Rules. This song appeared on that album as Bad to the Bone, albeit with different lyrics.

Here, it crops up as a song called California Sun attributed to Chris Jericho, even though we all know it better as Blondes Have More Fun, Brian Pillman's song.

Pillman had already left WCW by this stage, so either there were plans for Jericho to use it, or Hart just wanted to get this song on the album and had to give it to a then-current WCW wrestler.

The song itself is, you know, OK, but it kind of sounds like the sort of thing that should be used for an early 90s sitcom about high school students, like if they did a Zach Morris spin-off, you could imagine this being the theme to it.

8: Diamond Dallas Page - Self High-Five 

"Load up on guns, bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend "  "DDP, Tooo cool, etc, etc" 

Whether it was Rick Steiner's Welcome to the Jungle or Raven's Come As You Are, WCW were never shy about ever-so-slightly tweaking famous rock songs and passing them off as their own themes.

The most popular example of this, of course, is Diamond Dallas Page's version of the Nirvana classic, Smells Like Teen Spirit. 

In the age of the WWE Network, when Self High-Five has been dubbed over with something far more generic, there's a danger that this track will one day be forgotten about altogether.

Yet for those of us who lived through The Monday Night Wars this remains one of the most memorable themes of that era.

Hard, edgy and full of energy, there was nothing better for getting you absolutely fired up and ready to see DDP in action.

9: Konan - Konan's Theme 

"Aw yeah, and ya don't stop!"

Poor Konan. Whereas everyone else got a cool title for their theme song, he just got plain old Konan's Theme.

Still, there's nothing plain or old about this, it's actually a pretty good track and a surprise highlight of the album, featuring K-Dogg spitting his self-penned lyrics over a fairly solid hip hop number.

Like Heartbeat Away, the production values leave a lot to be desired here, but if you can overlook that, Konan's theme is good stuff.

10: Taskmaster - Taskmaster 

"haha! haha! mwahahaha! mwahahahahahahah!"

And so it finally comes down to this - two and a half minutes of maniacal laughter and creepy sounds that comes across like something you'd find playing in the background at a haunted house attraction.

It's an odd choice of track to include on this album since most of the others are actual songs whereas this is more atmospheric noise.

It's not bad, and it's perfectly suited for Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan and his Dungeon of Doom stable, but it's no American Males, that's for sure.

For a promotional merchandise item tied into a four-day tour headlined by Alex Wright, Christmas Brawl 1996 is a surprisingly good little release. OK, so a lot of the songs are kind of cheesy by today's standards, but this is an album that is was definitely of its time, and though it may not have aged well, it's still a lot of fun to listen to. 

I'm sorry, what I mean to say is...American Males, American Males, American...ah, you get it.

Thanks for reading. If you're looking for more pro wrestling album reviews, you might enjoy: 
Don't miss our other Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following @Retropwrestling on Twitter or liking the Facebook page

Thursday, 4 July 2019

WWF Full Metal - The Album (1996) A Track by Track Review

WWF Full Metal: The Album Review
If there was any proof that the landscape of the World Wrestling Federation had changed a great deal from the early-mid 1990s, you only had to look at WWF Full Metal - The Album. 

Three years earlier, the company had released Wrestlemania: The Album, an album full of the cheesiest poptastic crap you can imagine.

Looking for an Undertaker dance track (seriously) or Bret Hart mumbling his way through a romantic, spoken-word ballad? That album right there was your jam.

Three short years later, and the company returned to the musical world with Full Metal, featuring musicians from Anthrax and Type O Negative tearing it up on some seriously brutal metal tracks along with a couple of themes that were much darker and more aggressive than anything you'd find on Wrestlemania.

Don't believe me?

Let's dive head-long into this track by track review of Full Metal - The Album and see what's in store.

1: WWF Superstars and Slam Jam - We're All Together Now

Back in the 1990s, pro wrestling companies loved the fact that the words 'Slam' and 'Jam' rhyme. The World Wrestling Federation themselves took advantage of the fact by using those two words as the title for the lead single from the aforementioned Wrestlemania album while -at almost exactly the same time- WCW had used Slam Jam as the name of an entire album

In 1996, the WWF returned to the well, using the Slam Jam name for a group of 90s musicians including:
  • Scott Ian of Anthrax on guitar
  • Kenny Hickey of Type O Negative, also on guitar
  • Jon Oliva of Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra on vocals (for We're All Together Now)
  • Michel Begeame and Olli Schneider of German nu-metal band Such a Surge on vocals (for Thorn in Your Eye)
  • Gary Meskil of Pro-Pain on bass and
  • Tim Mallare of Overkill on drums.
Here, this metal supergroup teamed up with three-fifths of The Clique (Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon), Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Paul Bearer to give us a track that should be familiar to every wrestling fan who was around back in the late 90s.

The song featured heavily on Raw is War for the duration of the Attitude Era, with that beast of a riff still conjuring up images of Stone Cold Steve Austin, D-Generation-X and Sable even to this day.

It's also fair to say that We're All Together Now is by far the catchier of the two Slam Jam songs featured on this album. More so than Thorn in Your Eye, you can imagine having this on your music device and rocking out to it, making it one of those rare 1990s wrestling songs that actually transcends wrestling and works in its own right.

2: WWF Superstars and Slam Jam - Thorn in Your Eye

Over twenty years later, I'm still not sure anybody really knows what the actual lyrics to this song are.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if there aren't any lyrics at all, and the guys from Such a Surge were yelling random garbage down the microphone that vaguely sounded like English.

"Too much sun and not enough sky, I lost again, but I gotta make change? Too much sun and not enough sky, war is like a thorn in your eye?"

I mean, that's the best I can come up with.

The unintelligible lyrics aside, there's no getting away from the fact that the main Raw is War theme was another beast of a track, the kind of beast that grabs you by the neck and punches your teeth down your throat so hard you end up peeing them out.

Yeah I know, ouch, but look:

This ain't The Nasty Boy Stomp, this is pure violent musical aggression of the very best kind and it is -as a metal fan- absolutely awesome.

3: Diesel - Diesel Blues 

Say what you will about Kevin Nash's run as The Leader of The New Generation, his theme was pretty bad ass.

Like Big Daddy Cool himself, Diesel Blues is at once bold, powerful and unrelenting, with a certain charasmatic swagger laid over a deep, pounding beat.

This may not be the greatest theme of all time, but I dare you to take one look at Diesel - WWF Champion, then listen to this track and tell me it isn't absolutely perfect for him.

4: Mabel - The Lyin' King 

Up next, it's Diesel's Summerslam 1995 opponent, King Mabel.

If Diesel Blues was the perfect theme for the powerful and charasmatic Diesel, then it's probably fair to say that The Lyin' King was perfect for Mabel too:

It's slow, plodding, and incredibly boring.

I mean, honestly, there's absolutely nothing exciting, or even interesting, about this one. Let's move on quickly, shall we.

5: 123 Kid - 1,2,3

From the porno-swagger of the nWo theme to the balls-out rebellion of DX's music, all the way to whatever the heck that Uncle Cracker thing was supposed to be, Sean Waltman's theme music history has been hit and miss to say the least.

Yet his first theme in a mainstream promotion is an underrated gem; not necessarily the first thing you'd think of when you think 'great wrestling themes'  but insatiably catchy nonetheless.

Its rough-and-ready guitar riff bounces around over a solid beat, creating a kind of driving, high-energy vibe that is totally befitting the 123 Kid character as it was at the time.

Ignoring that King Mabel debacle, I think it's fair to say that Full Metal is shaping up to be one of the best wrestling albums that had ever been released by that point in history.

6: Goldust - Golden 

By now, I think we're all in agreement that Goldust was a game-changing character when he first burst onto the scene back in 1995.

Following a series of vignettes shot -supposedly- in the Hollywood Hills, The Bizarre One made his in-ring debut against Marty Jannetty back at In Your House 4: Great White North. His very look, his mannerisms and, yes, his entrance, were unlike anything we'd really seen before.

Make no mistake about it, this theme played a big part in that entrance, and in making the Goldust character what it was.

Like the original heel character himself, Golden is dark and dramatic with a certain twisted flamboyance and flair for the spectacular.

It's the kind of theme that still sends a shiver up your spine when you hear it, and I think it might just be one of Jim Johnson's greatest creations.

7: Smoking Gunns - Smoking 

I have to believe that, at the time he created them, Johnson had no idea these tracks would end up on a publically available music album.

Had he known, I like to think he would have given them more interesting titles than 123, Golden, and Smoking.

I mention this here because, well, Smoking is about as interesting as its title. Sure, it was a good fit for Billy and Bart Gunn, but here it comes across as rather generic and uninspired.

It's funny to think that The Smoking Gunns were basically the WWF's top tag team for a couple of years, and that they managed to stay in that position despite a really boring theme song.

8: Psycho Sid - Psycho Dance

It's creepy, it's sinister, it's menacing. In a word, it's a great fit for The Master....and The Ruler...of the World.

Inspired by Bernard Herrmann's legendary score to Alfred Hitchock's film Psycho, this track did what all good themes should do:

It enhanced the entrance, and therefore the entire character, of the wrestler it was meant for.

For a period in the mid-1990s, the colossal skyscraper of a man known as Sid would slowly stalk his way to ringside, sweat literally dripping from his body, soaking his ever-present leather waistcoat, teeth gritted, an intense, almost deranged look in his eye, all while this chilling theme played throughout the arena.

It's only when you think about it like that that you start to miss the kind of entrances we used to get on wrestling shows back in the day. The theme songs of today may have more commercial appeal, but they really don't do anything for the character in the way that themes like Psycho Dance used to do.

You could swap Seth Rollins theme or The Miz theme or Roman Reigns theme with just about anybody on the current roster and it wouldn't make too much of a difference, but there was only one man befitting a song as terrifying as Psycho Dance, and that man's name was Sid.

9: Razor Ramon - Bad Guy

The screeching guitars, the slow, confident swagger of the bassline, enough cowbell to keep Christopher Walken happy for years, few WWF themes were quite as iconic as Bad Guy.

You hear this one and you still see Razor Ramon sauntering to ringside, draped in gold chains, holding a toothpick between the kind of cocky grin that said "I can't wait to beat the piss out of my opponent."

The theme was so iconic in fact, that Johnson would later decide to reuse for none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin.

By now, it's well known that Austin's best-known theme sounds more than a little similar to Bad Guy, though what's perhaps not as well known is that Razor's theme itself is a rehash of another more famous song, Those Shoes by The Eagles.

10: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart - Hart Attack 

Can I just tell you at this stage how much fun I've had doing this album review? Reliving
 classic themes like those belonging to Sid, Goldust and Razor Ramon really takes me back to childhood in a way that even the old WWF shows themselves don't always manage.

Hart Attack is an updated reworking of Jimmy Hart's original composition for the Hart Foundation. While that theme certainly had the driving guitars and sense of energy, it pales in comparison to Hart Attack, a hard rocking tour-de-force of massive riffage and wailing synth.

Bret Hart's track isn't just a good pro wrestling theme, it's an exciting piece of music to listen to in its own right, never failing to get the blood pumping and the heart racing.

11: Hakushi - Angel 

It's a shame that Hakushi didn't stick around in the World Wrestling Federation for longer. He had something different to offer than anybody else on the roster at that time and could have produced a quality body of work given enough time.

Instead, we had to settle for a couple of matches with Bret Hart and -if I remember rightly- an outing with 123 Kid. While those were excellent in their own right, they also left you clamouring for more.

His theme music was pretty good too. Slow, dramatic and at times eerily haunting, I dare you to listen to this and not pine for the fact that we never got a Hakushi vs. Undertaker feud.

12: The Undertaker - Graveyard Symphony 

Speaking of The Dead Man, we next come to what was perhaps his most famous and recognisable theme.

Indeed, while this fan personally prefers the awesome theme he had during the Attitude Era, Graveyard Symphony is really the one that he's best known for.

As it is, Graveyard Symphony is basically a reworked version of the third movement of Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2, better known to you and me as The funeral march.

Take that, throw in some haunting strings and scary cymbal crashes and you've got yourself one of the most memorable pro wrestling themes in history.

13: Shawn Michaels - Sexy Boy 


He thinks he's cute, he knows he's sexy, he's got the...ah you know the rest, right?

We've talked a lot about iconic themes in this review, but I'm not sure they come any more iconic than Sexy Boy. 

A rehash of the original theme with Sensational Sherri on vocals, Shawn Michaels would use this theme for the better part of two decades and, despite being in his 50s, continues to strut out to this one whenever he makes a post-retirement cameo.

As themes go, it's kind of corny and easily cheesy enough to fit right alongside anything on Slam Jam Vol 1, but hey, it's one of the most famous themes of all time, right, so we'll let it slide.

14: Jeff Jarrett - With My Baby Tonight 

Yes, we all know by now that it was Brian 'The Roadie/Road Dogg' James doing vocal duties on this storming country track, but at the time Full Metal was released, the WWF were still trying to convince us that it was Jeff Jarrett on the mic.

That's especially interesting as I'm fairly certain Jarrett had already jumped to WCW by the time this CD was released.

Whoever got the credit for it, it's fair to say that With My Baby Tonight is a terrific track. I'm usually more of a metal/hard rock guy, but damnit if I can't help singing along to this one every time I hear it.

Whereas Full Metal began with the hostility and aggression of the Slam Jam band, it ends on a high note with this absolute barnburner of a track.

A fitting end to what was -at that time at least- the best pro wrestling album ever produced.

I mean that seriously. The likes of Piledriver and the original Wrestling Album may have had their own fair share of iconic songs, but they also had plenty of cringe too.
Apart from the tracks for King Mabel and The Smoking Gunns, however, Full Metal hits the mark every single time.

Even now, over 20 years later, it's an absolute joy to listen to and leaves this fan in particular with just one thought:

Man, they just don't do wrestling themes like this any more.

Thanks for reading. If you're looking for more pro wrestling album reviews, you might enjoy: 
Don't miss our other Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following @Retropwrestling on Twitter or liking the Facebook page

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.