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

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: 
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Thursday, 11 July 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Bash at the Beach 1999

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Event poster
July 11, 1999
National Car Rental Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

WCW's Bash at the Beach pay per view is always considered as something of a milestone here at Retro Pro Wrestling.

We didn't start covering WCW shows properly until Bash at the Beach 1996, the event made famous by Hulk Hogan turning heel to form the nWo.

That event kicked off the company's most successful run ever. It was a run that saw them dominate the competition. It was a run that saw them hold a legitimate claim to the title of 'Hottest Pro Wrestling Company in the World.'

It was a run that, by the time Bash at the Beach 1999 came around, was basically over.

By this point, the nWo was essentially nothing more than a jobber gang, the World Wrestling Federation had reclaimed their position atop the pro wrestling mountain, and Hogan himself was nowhere in sight.

What made things worse, is that recent shows like The Great American Bash 1999 had bombed, at least from a quality standpoint, thanks to questionable decisions like having a match ending by pre-recorded dog attack.






Still, there was always a chance that the company could at least put on a decent show every once in a while.

Was tonight's event one such show?

Let's head down to Florida to find out.

Separating the Men from The Boys

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Tony Schiavone & Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Tonight's show began with one of WCW's typically terrible opening video packages. This one highlighted the four men in tonight's main event; Macho Man Randy Savage, Sid Vicious, Sting, and WCW Champion Kevin Nash.

Savage and Sid would be teaming up to take on Sting and Nash in a tag team match. The video merely showed each man looking dangerous and dominant in clips that were quickly spliced together to the sound of some generic heavy metal music.

Honestly, the whole thing looked like some fan-made video a 14-year-old might post on YouTube.

With that out of the way, we went, as always, to the announce table where Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan were waiting to welcome us.

Schiavone told us that a new twist had been added to tonight's tag team match.

If either Savage, Sid, or even Nash's own tag team partner Sting, could pin Nash tonight, they'd become the new champion. Trust WCW to make even a simple tag team match complicated and dumb.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Mike Tenay ready for the Junkyard Battle Royal
If you're wondering why Iron Mike Tenay wasn't at the announce table, that's because he was down at the junkyard. We even got a handy graphic to tell us that's where he was in case the mountain of scrap cars just in case Schiavone saying "Mike Tenay is at the junkyard" didn't give it away.

We went to Tenay -via a quick hotline shill from Mean Gene Okerlund- next, and he told us all about tonight's upcoming Junkyard Hardcore Invitational Match in which a bunch of wrestlers would fight it out, with the winner being the first man to escape the junkyard.

I know this match has been largely derided online, but as someone who has never actually seen it, your writer is quite looking forward to that one.

Alas, we'll have to wait for that one as up first came Ernest 'The Cat' Miller and that ridiculous theme music he has on the WWE Network.

Ernest 'The Cat' Miller (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Disco Inferno

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller faced Disco Inferno
We normally cut Disco Inferno some slack around these parts. Though not the greatest wrestler in the world, he knew how to play the cowardly, deluded heel better than many, and it was usually this well-performed character that elevated his matches to some degree.

Here, however, he was playing the babyface against an Ernest Miller whose character sadly wasn't enough to hide his abysmal ring work.

As such, this one pretty much sucked.

Things started with Miller threatening to "whoop everybody" about fifty times and challenging Disco a dance contest before attacking the 70 throwbacks as he shook his booty.

From there, we got an uninspired match that had only one redeeming quality:

The fact that it eventually ended.

That ending came when The Cat put on his loaded red dancing shoe and kicked Disco upside the head while Sonny Onoo distracted the referee.
Your Winner: Ernest Miller

Out in the WCW Internet Location, boxing referee and Celebrity Death Match star Judge Mills Lane told Mark Madden that, as special guest referee, he would cut Rowdy Roddy Piper and Buff Bagwell some slack -but not a lot of slack- when the two met in a boxing match later on tonight.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW Television Champion Rick Steiner vs. Van Hammer

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Rick Steiner defended the TV title against Van Hammer
Prior to this one getting started, we were shown a video package which told us how Van Hammer got his title shot. Basically, he won a bunch of matches then asked WCW President Ric Flair for a title shot. Flair gave him a shot at Rick Steiner, and here we were.

For Steiner's part, he began the match by cutting a promo reminding us that he and brother Scott Steiner had reunited and claimed that the two were "running the show."

Once the bell rang, the whole thing turned into a hot pile of garbage. Steiner hit Van Hammer with such brutal offence that you actually felt bad for the challenger, especially when The Dog Faced Gremlin refused to sell any of his opponent's offence, including a chair to the face.

At one point, long-time veteran Ric Steiner apparently forgot how the rules of pro wrestling had worked for decades and tried to pin Hammer on the outside. It looked stupid and made everybody involved look stupid too.

When the referee refused to count the pin, Steiner simply no sold more offence and bullied his way to a win courtesy of a top rope bulldog.

Man, that was bad.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Rick Steiner

Before the next match, we went back to the hardcore junkyard, where Mike Tenay told us that they had no idea about who would be competing in tonight's match besides Hardcore Hak and Brian Knobs.

While I get that this was probably a kayfabe way of hyping the 'invitational' aspect of the match, it wouldn't surprise me at all if WCW legitimately had no idea who would be competing in one of the show's biggest matches.

Up next, David Flair: US Champion

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion David Flair (w/ Tori Wilson, Ric Flair, Charles Robinson, Arn Anderson & Aysa) vs. Dean Malenko

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - United States Champion David Flair w/ Torrie Wilson
Flair had been handed the title by his father, Ric, and was defending it here against Dean Malenko in what was barely even a match.

Malenko basically wrestled himself for a minute before his entourage stormed the ring. Arn Anderson hit the spinebuster on the referee, Robinson donned a referees shirt, and Flair hit Malenko with the title belt as The Man of 1,000 Holds held Aysa in the Texas Cloverleaf.

One three count later and David Flair retained the title.

I've often said that I've never seen a bad Dean Malenko match, but this was about as close as you'll ever get to such a thing. Still, nobody could blame Malenko here. The booking and execution of this thing was utter garbage.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: David Flair

Afterwards, Anderson beat up on Malenko some more.

Eight Man Elimination Tag Team Match
West Texas Rednecks (Curt Hennig, Barry Windham, Bobby Duncum Jr., Kendal Windham) vs. No Limit Soldiers (WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr., Konnan,  SWOL and BA w/ Chase & 4x4)

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Curt Hennig of the West Texas Rednecks
Curt Hennig and the West Texas Rednecks were booked to be the heels here, even though half the crowd were singing along to their theme song, Rap is Crap.

Can you blame them, though? That tune was catchy.

Here, the group looked to settle their country vs. rap feud once and for all by locking up with Rey Mysterio Jr., Konnan, Brad 'BA' Armstrong, and Master P's bodyguard, SWOL in an eight-man elimination match.

The weird role reversal thing continued once the match got underway as the heels were constantly booked to look like the underdogs, forever outnumbered by their opponents and almost constantly on the defence.

Still, the illogical booking aside, this turned out to be by far the best match on the show so far.

OK, so that's not exactly saying much given what we've already seen, but hey, at this point, I'll take whatever I can get.

Of course, the highlights all came courtesy of Rey Jr, who was undoubtedly the workhorse of his team and got all the biggest pops of the night by trading offence with Hennig, Barry Windham, Kendal Windham and Bobby Dunacum Jr.

He was also one of the last two men standing for his team, along with SWOL, finally eliminating sole-surviving West Texas Redneck Curt Hennig to win the match for the soldiers.
Your Winners: No Limit Soldiers (Rey Mysterio and SWOL remain as sole survivors)

Up next, ladies and gentlemen, we'd finally get to our junkyard match, but not before taking a breather so that Schiavone and Heenan could run down the rest of the card.

We also got a quick look back at how Hardcore Hak invited everyone to compete in his junkyard match.

Junkyard Hardcore Invitational Match
Featuring: Hardcore Hak, Brian Knobbs, Fit Finlay, Jerry Flynn, Public Enemy, Steven Regal, La Parka, Horace Hogan and others.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Junkyard Battle Royal
Remember earlier, when I said I was actually looking forward to watching this one?

Yeah, man, was I ever disappointed.

Like almost everything on this show so far, the whole thing was terrible.

The action itself wasn't necessarily bad, although saying that, it might well have been. The match was so dark and poorly lit that you couldn't really see what was going on, or even who was involved.

It was like trying to watch the Doomsday Cage Match at Uncensored 1996 all over again, spending most of the time just trying to figure out what was happening.

Despite being Hak's match, he was shown on camera for all of a nanosecond, doing nothing more than staggering around on top of a car.

The rest of the wrestlers, including a returning Public Enemy, just kind of wandered around in the dark hitting each other with stuff for what seemed like an eternity until Fit Finlay finally escaped the junkyard to win the match.
Your Winner: Fit Finlay

"Man, what a great match," lied Bobby Heenan afterwards.

Up next, we got a look back at how the build-up to the upcoming tag team match pitting tag team champions The Jersey Triad against Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Champions
WCW Tag Team Champions The Jersey Triad (Chris Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Diamond Dallas Page) vs. Chris Benoit & Perry Saturn

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Bam Bam Bigelow puts a hurtin' on Perry Saturn
Throughout this match I went back and forth on listing who the official participants were for The Jersey Triad until I realised that all three men were swapping in and out, basically making this a handicap match.

Despite the odds being against the challengers Benoit and Saturn held their own against Diamond Dallas Page, Kayon, and Bam Bam Bigelow in the early going before finally succumbing to the number's game.

The result was the best match on the card by a thousand miles, though to be honest, your writer was so burned out from all the garbage that went before it that I actually found myself less enthusiastic about this one as I'd like to be.

still, even with all your energy drained, there's no denying that the five men worked incredibly well together to produce a solid effort which ended with a win for the champions.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Jersey Triad

Up next, we were taken back to Nitro, where Judge Mills Lane announced that he would be the special referee for the Piper/Bagwell boxing match.

"Next Sunday, let's get it on in California in Florida!" yelled Lane.

10-Round Boxing Match
Rowdy Roddy Piper (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Buff Bagwell (w/ Judy Bagwell)

Special referee: Judge Mills Lane

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Judy Bagwell accompanied her son Buff in a boxing match agianst Booker T
In The Great American Bash 1999 review, I said that Buff Bagwell was so popular that he could have easily enjoyed a solid main event run.

Then, he brought his mum out to be his second in this boxing match and all but killed any momentum he might have had.

The match itself was a far cry from Piper's boxing match with Mr T back at Wrestlemania 2. To be fair, I don't remember that being very good either, but at least it was more than a non-descript five minutes of nothing.

The end came when, in true WCW fashion, Buff Bagwell won a boxing match by pinfall.

Honestly, this f'n show.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

Finally, we got a look at the convoluted build-up to tonight's main event.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash & Sting vs. Sid Vicious & Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Gorgeous George, Miss Madness, and Madusa)

WCW Bash at the Beach 1999 - Macho Man Randy Savage, Gorgeous George, Sid Vicious
As Randy Savage and Sid Vicious made their way to the ring, Michael Buffer told us that the two cared little about title belts, which kind of made you wonder why they'd bother fighting for one in the first place.

Whether they wanted the title or not, Savage and Sid certainly battled like they did, taking the fight to Nash and Sting in a relatively average main event.

In the early going, Gorgeous George defected to the champion's corner, then stood by with Nash as Sting did most of the work for his team.

Predictably, George eventually turned on Nash, helping Savage to pin him and become our new WCW Champion.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Macho Man Randy Savage

Savage celebrated his big win as this absolutely awful show went off the air.





You know, I've reviewed around 15 years' worth of pro wrestling shows on this blog so far, and I don't remember the last time I was more disappointed, frustrated, and downright miserable watching anything as much as I was watching Bash at the Beach 1999.

Though I'm sure I've reviewed worse shows in the past, I honestly can't think of any off the top of my head.

Only the tag team title match was any good on this one, but if you're anything like me, you might be so fed up by everything else on the card that you don't enjoy it as much as you otherwise could.

My advice? Go straight to that one match and avoid everything else that came before and after it.

Thank goodness there are only another 18 months or so worth of WCW pay per views to watch. I'm not sure I can take much more of this.



1999 events reviewed so far
Other WCW Bash at the Beach reviews
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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.


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Thursday, 27 June 2019

Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band: Hulk Rules (1995) - Track by Track Album Review

There once was a time when Hulk Hogan was one of the biggest stars in popular culture, when his was a name which transcended pro wrestling and made its mark right across the entertainment world.

There once was a time when cashing in on that popularity with a music album would have been the smart thing to do.

1995 was not that time.

There was also once a time when cheesy, novelty rap records and songs that sounded like they came from a Super Nintendo game went down pretty well.

1995 was not that time either.

Unfortunately, nobody told Hogan any of this.

That must be why, smack in the middle of the 90s, he released Hulk Rules, an album which would have still sounded terrible had it been released ten -or even five- years earlier, but would have at least been fitting for its time.






Make no mistake about it, with grunge music, the eventual rise of ECW and alternative culture surrounding it, Hulk Rules would have already sounded incredibly dated when it was first released.

Over two decades later, it's practically unfathomable that anybody would listen to this album and think "Yeah! You know what? We should release this to the public!"

Still, release it they did, and today, we get the ahem pleasure of going track-by-track through the one and only release from Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band.

Ready?

Let's do this.

1: Hulkster's in the House 

"The Hulkster's in the room. // You know he's on the move. // I can feel it in my feet. // We're moving to the beat."


True story, the official video for this song featured Macho Man Randy Savage on the keyboard.

We'd have to wait a good few years before we got a Randy Savage music album but until then he was apparently quite happy to hang out on what would prove to be one of the best tracks on the entire Hulk Rules album.

The huge, driving guitar riff and first-day-in-drummer-school beat may have been better suited to a Deff Leppard or Motley Crue demo from the turn of the decade, but you have to admit that when combined with that melody, it makes for a pretty catchy rock song.

If you just listen to that and tune out lyrics which range from either cheesy ("when the going gets tough, the tough get rough!") to just terrible (everything else), you could almost argue that Hulkster's in the House is a good song.

I mean, not a good song that anybody would actually buy and listen to if they weren't writing a review for a pro wrestling blog, but good for saying its on a novelty pop record by a professional wrester.

2: American Made

"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."



Up next, a song that probably needs no introduction.

American Made was the theme song that Hogan used in World Championship Wrestling whenever he was the red & yellow babyface Hulkster.

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

Another big scorching riff, another catchy hook, American Made is far superior to the opening track. In fact, it's far superior to anything else on this album which of course means only one thing:

It's all down hill from here.

3: Hulkster's Back

"Fortune and fame was his middle name. // He got as high as the sky, he remained the same. // With the training and the prays and the vitamins too. // Don't mess with us or we'll beat you too."



What happens if you play the basic, pre-programmed drum track on your kid's toy keyboard, add some sprightly keys that sound as though they come from the theme song of a Saturday morning TV show about streetwise high school kids, and get Terry Bollea to spit lyrics over the top of it all?

You get Hulkster's Back of course.

Remember earlier, when I told you this whole album sounded dated? This is one of the main reasons why. Even in 1992, people would have been rolling their eyes at what is basically the first of several Hulk Hogan rap jams, but in 1995, I can't imagine that anyone not involved in The Wrestling Boot Band would have thought this was a good idea.

It's cheesy and it's terrible, but if it does have one redeeming quality, it's that it is at least hilarious.

When Hogan's not rapping, he's busy shouting out random soundbites like "check out the pump, brother!" and "Test the power! all while some California valley girl randomly quips 'oh my god!"

It's kinda silly, but then it gets really funny when Hogan randomly yells "Oh! Look at that new vein in my tricep!"

That line alone is worth sitting through this entire album for.

4: Wrestling Boot Travelling Band

"I met a girl on the beach yesterday // And she looked a lot like you. // She heard the band play late last night // and she thought the bass player was cute. // She was down here on her vacation // 'Cos she needed her time and space // so we laid on the beach and got us a tan." 


The hilarity continues next with this little gem on which Jimmy Hart takes lead vocals.

I mean, one listen to this and you can't help but feel sorry for The Mouth of the South.

He meets a girl on the beach and invites her to a show but instead of falling for him, she gets a crush on Hogan instead. Cuckholded by his own bass player, Hart lies on the beach with this wandering-eyed Jezebelle anyway.

Poor Jimmy.

Also, poor us, because we're the ones who have to hear him tell this story over what sounds like the backing music to the worst country and western karaoke song you've ever heard.

Awful, but really, really funny.

5: Bad to the Bone 

"Come on baby, we're going for a ride // Just put your arms around and hold on tight // Turn up the music 'cause we want to play it loud // The girls all know it's a boys night out // 'Cause we're bad, bad, bad to the bone. (To the bone)"



No, this isn't a cover of the George Thoroughgood classic. Rather, it's a cover of Brian Pillman's old theme, Blondes Have More Fun, albeit with different lyrics.

You know what? It's not half bad.

Give this one to Motley Crue and let them add a bit of sleaze and sex appeal to it, and you've actually got a pretty damn good hair metal track.

6: I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac 

"I Want to be a Hulkamaniac // Have fun with my family and friends"



I find it impossible to believe that the people who let rip with an electric guitar on Bad to the Bone and American Made are the same people who are responsible for this...this..whatever this thing happens to be.

I won't even call it a song.

This is literally the Owen Hart WWF theme that Hart and McGuire also wrote, only like a million times worse because it has Hulk Hogan rapping over it and some people chanting "Have fun with my family and friends" like something straight out of Barney the Dinosaur.

I mean this beyond bad. This is an absolute mess, but I suppose if you have a sense of humour about these kinds of things, I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac could well be one of the funniest things you ever hear.

7: Beach Patrol 

"Whoomp, there it is, check it up, check it in // You'll be six feet deep if you touch my girlfriend // You know this home boy could lose control, You just don't mess with the beach patrol."



Whoomp! There it is! 

Who do The Wrestling Boot Band think they are? Men on a Mission?

Honestly, though this isn't quite as bad as the previous track, it's still pretty terrible.

Hart and McGuire use a MIDI keyboard to create a track that sounds like it should be Jobber McJobberton's theme music on a NES pro wrestling game while Hogan busts a rhyme about a lifeguard hitting on his girlfriend at the beach.

Every now and again, Hogan will go slightly insane and yell out "Hey girlfriend"  or "hey dudes!"

In that respect, it's kind of brilliant. In all other respects, it's fifty different kinds of terrible, girlfriend.

8: Hulk's The One

"They say your heart is made out of stone // You got me hanging by a string // My friends all tell me you're bad to the bone // Please be bad to me"



I could be wrong, but I think this is Linda Hogan singing an 80s-throwback power-pop ballad about how Hulk forced her to give him oral sex and then left.

First, she begs The Hulkster to be bad to her and it seems he's more than happy to oblige.

"You got me down on my knees // When you turned on the charm, I heard the alarm // I should have called the police"

So he makes her get down on her knees and this makes her think about calling the cops?

What?

I don't like where this is going.

"You held on so strong and then you are gone // You turned the lights out on me"

Nor does Hogan, apparently. After using Linda for his tawdry act, he promptly leaves.

Forget hanging and banging, brother, this is hump her and dump her time.

9: Hulkster in Heaven 

"I used to tear my shirt // But now you tore my heart // I knew you were a Hulkamaniac // Right from the very start."



Oh dear.

This is one of the more famous songs from this album because of the story surrounding it.

According to Hogan himself, this song is about a young fan with a terminal illness who Hogan invited to sit in the front row and watch him wrestle at Wembley Stadium on the Summerslam 1992 show.

Yet just hours before Hogan was due to head to the ring, the little Hulkamaniac tragically passed away.

So far, so tear-jerkingly sad.

Except for the fact that Hogan was nowhere near Wembley Stadium in 1992 and certainly didn't compete at Summerslam.

While I'm willing to give Hogan the benefit of the doubt in that he did have a young fan pass away (albeit not in London), I do wonder why he would choose to pay tribute to said fan with such a poorly produced mess of a track.

10: Hulk Rules

"If you ever get in trouble and you need a helping hand // Just call on the Hulkster and he will be your friend // He'll stand up for your freedom, he'll stand up for your rights // United you both will stand, together you will fight."



Man, Jimmy Hart and JJ McGuire really loved that Owen Hart theme.

For the second time on the same album, they recycle The Slammy Award Winner's entrance music, this time adding electric guitar, an ear-piercing organ, and to complete the cacophony of noise, a random saxophone solo.

The result is, erm, interesting to say the least.

It's not the worst thing on the album, that's for sure, but like the other nine tracks, it's not something I'll ever be in a hurry to listen to ever again.



I started this review ready to write
Hulk Rules off as simply a really terrible novelty music record. Yet now I realise that it's so, so much more than that. 

It's not just terrible, it's also brilliant, cringe-inducing, hilarious, awful, embarrassing, wet-your-pants-funny, and at times just plain weird.

Part rock, part rap, part recycled Owen Hart themes, I absolutely guarantee you that, for better or worse, listening to Hulk Rules will be like no experience you've ever had before, brother.

Having said all that, there's one thing left for me to say.

Whoomp, there it is.





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Thursday, 20 June 2019

WCW Slam Jam Vol. 1 (1992) - A Track By Track Review

WCW - Slam Jam Vol. 1 - Album Review - Album cover

In 1992, WCW and the WWF both realised that the words "Slam" and "Jam" rhyme, and rushed into their nearest music studio to take advantage of this fact.

The result was that the World Wrestling Federation gave us a catchy little single called Slam Jam which would be released later that year before featuring on the poptastic curiosity that was 1993's Wrestlemania: The Album.

Not to be outdone, World Championship Wrestling decided to go one bigger and lend the Slam Jam name to an entire album of theme music for their biggest stars, some of whom would continue using those themes for years afterwards.

While WCW's Slam Jam: Volume 1 album may not quite be as well known as Wrestlemania: The Album, I'd like to assure you that it is at least every bit as cheesy and is exactly what you'd expect from a pro wrestling album released in the early 1990s.

But don't just take my word for it.

Today, for your listening pleasure, we'll dive into a track-by-track review of this oft-forgotten album, containing gems such as Mr. Bang Bang and a song about how much Ricky Steamboat loves his family.





Slam Jam - The Game-Changing Music of Jimmy Papa

All eleven songs on this album were produced and arranged by a guy called Jimmy Papa, a man of whom little is known outside of his work with WCW and Michael P.S Hayes.

Papa is credited as a writer on all but one of the songs featured here and also played a key role in creating The Fabulous Freebirds' famous track Bad Street USA.

Back in 2013, Papa took WWE to court in a dispute as to the ownership of both Bad Street and the songs featured here on this album. Yet while that may be what the man is best known for, we here at Retro Pro Wrestling would like to argue the case for Mr. Papa being recognised for being way ahead of his time, at least in terms of pro wrestling theme music.

These days, almost all wrestlers' original entrance themes are "proper songs" that combine music with lyrics, yet back in the early 1990s, this simply wasn't the case. Most themes were instrumental tracks that somehow represented the wrestlers' character.

With Slam Jam, Papa basically ignored the norm and did his own thing, creating an album of eleven original songs with lyrics and vocals which were very different from what was around back in the day and which - though they may sound dated today- are still pretty catchy.

Very little may be known about Jimmy Papa, but at least you can say this - the dude was ahead of his time.

With all that out of the way, let's get into the music itself.

1: Ron Simmons - Don't Step to Ron 

"When I'm in the ring I'm a wrestling nightmare // Straight from Georgia // And if you don't think I'm hard // Ya oughta // Put on your trunks // Let's go to war // Straight up knuckle, Imma slam your hea against the turnbuckle."



Straight from Georgia, Slam Jam 1 gets underway with a catchy little number that tells us how much of a badass Ron Simmons is.

Combining catchy guitar hooks with hip hop vocals, the track sounds pretty much like how a lot of credible hip hop sounded at the time, and is actually pretty enjoyable.

The lyrics sound like the sort of thing Jim Ross might come up with if he decided to ditch BBQ sauce for beats and rhymes, focussing mostly on Simmons' football career and how that made him a dominant force inside the ring.

Though a little bland compared to some of the tracks on here, Don't Step to Ron is at least a credible song which, unlike others on this album, is by no means embarrassing to listen to.

2: Sting - Man Called Sting

"He does this, he does that // He big as bull and quick as a cat // He looks fine, he looks cool // He's own man and he's nobody's fool"



WCW got some good mileage out of this track. Sting was still using this track throughout 1996 and only stopped using it after he disappeared into the rafters to become Crow Sting.

On the one hand, you can understand why WCW played this one every time their franchise player made his way to the ring. With its scorching riff, driving beat and scintillating solo, this upbeat rock song perfectly encapsulates the kind of vibrant energy The Stinger was known for.

So far, so good, but did you ever stop and listen to the lyrics of this one? I mean, really listen to them.

I mean, the song  starts off by telling us that "he does this, he does that." 

I don't know about you, but I'm always intimidated by a guy who does such vague and unspecified things as "this and that"

Other lyrics highlights here include:

"Alll the kids, they go wild // And all the old people start to act like a child"

And my personal favourite:

"He's not like, anybody else // If his friends ever need him, he's there to help"

Because, you know, Sting is literally the only person in the world who helps out his friends.

All in all, this makes for very conflicting listening. The riff is actually pretty cool, at least for 1992, but the lyrics are so cringeworthily terrible it sounds as though a pre-school child wrote them.

Or may be it was an old person who turned into a pre-school child as soon as he saw Steve Borden?

3: Cactus Jack - Mr Bang Bang 

"He's not on a team or a member of a gang, he's Cactus Jack, or better known as Mr Bang Bang!"



At the start of this review, I talked about what a pioneer Jimmy Papa was for giving wrestlers' entrance themes some actual lyrics.

The more we dive into it, however, I'm starting to wonder whether we might all be better off if he'd left the lyrics in his notebook.

I mean, Mr Bang Bang is a seriously bad ass piece of music. Like Cactus Jack himself, like the character himself, the guitar riff is a little rough around the edges and comes with a certain bluesy-swagger that does a great job in making Mick Foley's alter ego seem like a total outlaw renegade - exactly the kind of image you'd want to create, right?

Yet the lyrics...oh man, the lyrics.

"A long career is not expected // but he really doesn't care, when he's in the circled square // he knows he'll eventually be ejected."

Ejected?

Ejected from what? The ring? Booted out of the arena? I almost imagine some spring mechanism in the "circled square" sending Jack flying from the ring and crashing through the roof.

Seriously, what does that even mean?

4: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts - Master of the DDT

"Jake the Snake, well he slithers and sldies // Jake the Snake, he's one of a kind!"



I mean, yeah...

While the story goes that his heat with Bill Watts was the reason why Jake 'The Snake' Roberts didn't last long in WCW, I prefer to pose my own theory:

He took one listen to this theme song and hightailed it out of the company before he was forced to use it.

In its own right, the song actually isn't that terrible. It sounds like something you might get if members of various Van Halen and Motley Crue tribute bands came together to write a song about a pro wrestler.

That would be great if Roberts were a brash, flamboyant superstar, but he wasn't.

He was, or at least was supposed to be, a dark, brooding, twisted and slightly sinister wrestler, something which really isn't reflected at all in this catchy, upbeat hair metal track.

Had they tweaked the lyrics and given this to Van Hammer or, you know, just about anybody else, it might have worked, but well,  I mean, just listen to it.

I swear the people who came up with the song had never actually seen Jake, they just heard his nickname and assumed that a rocking hair metal track about how "slithers and slides" would do just the trick.

5: Michael Hayes - Freebird Forever 

"I'm a Freebird forever, you can't change me, no not ever."



Michael P.S Hayes and The Fabulous Freebirds already a hit with Bad Street USA, but rather than include that here, Hayes teamed up with Papa to create Freebird Forever, which basically takes the Lynyrd Skynyrd song which gave the group its name and reimagines it as heartwarming ballad about how Hayes came to team with Terry Gordy and Jimmy Jam Garvin. 

It's a competently written song, but it seriously is just a Freebird rip-off, right down to the way it starts off all slow and mellow before finally cranking it up into some high-octane solo'ing down the final stretch.

The whole thing seems a little self-indulgent on the part of Michael Hayes yet at the same time its also incredibly bland and forgettable.

6: 'Ravishing' Rick Rude - Simply Ravishing

"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 and break her heart and leave you a fool. // He's simply ravishing, dazzling ravishing Rude."



I won't lie, this is hands-down my favourite track from Slam Jam Vol 1.

The ultimate ear-worm, I'll occasionally find myself just wandering around singing the chorus and jamming out to that catchy guitar hook.

OK, so it is absolutely a song of its time and wouldn't be well received if it came out today, but this ode to Ravishing Rick Rude and his adonis-like good looks is actually a pretty fun listen.

Rude's WWF 'Stripper' theme may be more famous, but Simply Ravishing is by far the best theme Rude ever had.

7: Johnny B. Badd - Johnny B. Badd

"Here comes Johnny B. Badd, and you don't wanna make him mad. He's as pretty as a picture, he looks just like Little Richard."



The lyrics above pretty much tell you everything you need to know about this Chuck Berry rip off: It tries so hard to remind us that Marc Mero's WCW character was not only tough but also pretty.

It makes sense, sure, but I can't think of the last time I was out somewhere and thought "Man, I better not make that guy mad, he looks just like Little Richard!"

Still, credit where it's due, this one of the album's more memorable tracks, even if it does sound way too much like the theme from Saved by the Bell.

8: Dustin Rhodes - The Natural

"He's the son of a son, and a son of a gun." 



Years ago, there used to be this guy who would write his own songs on what basically sounded like a MIDI keyboard, then bring them into our local bar and sing them on karaoke night.

They were terrible.

The Natural, a song about how Dustin Rhodes -a son of a son- was as natural as can be reminds me very much of that guy and his terrible songs.

Both were bland. Both had terrible lyrics. Neither should ever be listened to again.

It's almost hard to believe that the guy who had this boring steel-guitar filled slice of tedium would go on to become the ultra-charasmatic Goldust.

9: Ricky Steamboat - The Dragon

"I'm not saying that women don't fall all over him // but he don't give in // he's a family man."



I want you to remember that the name of Ricky Steamboat's theme is The Dragon. 

That makes you think of a kick ass, fire-breathing beast, right? Perhaps some mythical, magical creature that inspires shock and awe in all who see him?

Yeah, me too.

Not the makers of Slam Jam, though.

When they think of a dragon, they think of a guy who doesn't cheat on his wife.

I'm serious, The Dragon is basically four minutes of singing about how Ricky Steamboat loves his wife and son and "does the best he can."

There's nothing about what an awesome wrestler he is. Not even a single line about why they call him a dragon, just terrible lyric after terrible about what a nice guy he is.

It's supposed to make you root for Steamboat as a heroic, loyal babyface.

Instead, it makes you want to punch him in his stupid face.

The worst part is that it's all set to some horrible music that sounds like it got rejected as the theme song for some mid-80s sitcom...a really bad sitcom that got cancelled after one season because nobody cared about a guy who's only redeeming quality is his fidelity.

Honestly, this isn't just the worst track on the album, it's one of the worst wrestling themes of all time.

10: Barry Windham - He's Smoking

"He likes to beat people up // he likes to have fun // you know who I'm talking about // It's Barry Wind-um!"



OK, the lyrics are terrible, I'll give you that, but would you really expect anything less by now?

Besides, if you imagine the vocalists aren't singing terrible lyrics, this groovy boogie-rock track is actually a lot of fun.

If it sounds familiar to you, you're probably a fan of Boston and their song Smokin'. 

Windham's song is basically a straight rip-off of that song but hey, if you're gonna rip something off, at least rip off an absolute banger, right?

It's funny how He's Smoking is the least memorable track on the album yet is also one of the most enjoyable.

11: The Steiner Brothers - Steinerized

"Here's the story of two brothers, Rick and Scott // They don't use drugs and they're always on top"



The best part about Steinerized is that, for a brief period in the year 2000, Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner returned to using it as his theme song, sauntering down to ringside with his, erm, enhanced physique while the lyrics praised him for being drug free.

The theme was totally ill-suited to the Big Bad Booty Daddy at the turn of the millennium, but it was at least kind of fitting for the All American good boys that Rick and Scott were supposed to be for the majority of their babyface career.

I mean, sure you could argue that it was outdated when the brothers were using it at the same time that the edge New World Order was running wild, but then Shawn Michaels used Sexy Boy for years past that song's best-by date.

That's the kind of theme this is. It might not be perfect, but in its own way, Steinerized is kind of iconic. It's up there with Harlem Heat and DDP's Nirvana rip-off and the nWo theme as being one of WCW 's most recognisable themes.

Yet alas, like everything else on this album, it is entirely cheesy.


And so, that was that, a track-by-track look at Jimmy Papa's biggest contribution to the world of professional wrestling; eleven tracks of pure cheese, terrible lyrics, and the occasional catchy guitar riff.

Sure, I'd still rather have this than Wrestlemania: The Album, but I must admit, I'm really glad there wasn't a Slam Jam Volume 2. 


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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.