Wrestling Shame Hall of Shame Summer Exhibit: Shameful WCW Themes

Hello and welcome to the Wrestling Shame Hall of Shame. I'm "John Dos Passos" which is, of course, my in-museum persona. I'm also the curator, head archivist, and tour guide here at the Hall of Shame. 

I get three pay checks this way.

In any event, to answer a question you've all been asking, yes, this is only our temporary space. Rick_City and I are currently in negotiations with several cities to build a new, permanent facility for the Hall of Shame. However, Moose Jaw is no longer in the running.

I'd also like to offer my apologies for the temporary closure of the "Shockmaster Experience." The glitter was just getting too difficult for the cleaning staff to deal with. 

I'd like to welcome you to our summer exhibit, Shameful WCW Themes. We've been planning for this exhibit for several months, and we hope you enjoy the weeks --- er --- hours we spent putting it together.

For those of you who --- umm, please, no photography, thank you --- for those of you who don't know, World Championship Wrestling was the primary competitor to the WWF during the 1980s and 1990s. At its peak, WCW featured Ric Flair, Sting, Hulk Hogan, and Goldberg, and nearly drove the WWF out of business during the Monday Night Wars of the late-1990s.

Also, any veterans of the Monday Night Wars receive a ten-percent discount at our museum store. We thank you for your service.

But the focus of our exhibit is the less-than-stellar entrance music that accompanied many wrestlers to the ring during this time. While our exhibit is not exhaustive, we have decided to highlight a few examples here that illustrate this unique time in wrestling history, as well as how generally...um...shitty these themes were. 

So put your head-phones on and follow me for a shameful tour of WCW history!

"He's a Man Called Sting." / Sting

Our first stop is for Sting's entrance theme. Thanks to Brian Zane of Wrestling with Wregret (one of the best YouTube wrestling channels), it's hard not to focus on some of this song's more odd lines. For instance, Sting loves "the rock" and "does this" and "does that" but it's not really clear what these things are.

But after listening to this song a lot -- no one said being the archivist of the Hall of Shame was easy -- it's striking how damn long this song is. At roughly the two-minute mark, you think the song will end, but it keeps going for another whole two minutes. At the three-minute mark, you begin to think that you could do your taxes before this song ends. At the four-minute mark, you begin to suspect there's a longer version of this song that makes "Ina Gadda Da Vida" look tame.

"American Males." / American Males

I've listened to this song a number of times and, to be honest, it just confuses me. The lyrics -- like most WCW themes -- really make no sense. And no, I'm not talking about the repeating of "American Males" roughly 3,000 times in 4 minutes, but lines like "when you see them coming you'd better run for cover -- girls you don't need a weekend lover." I have a PhD and I have no clue what that's supposed to mean.

"Buff Daddy." / Buff Bagwell

Buff is the stuff. He's delicious. Buff. Buff Daddy.

For those astute visitors, you'll notice that Buff Bagwell is featured throughout the museum as not only is he an inaugural member of the Hall of Shame, but he also is our security guard on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We actually don't remember hiring him. He's just shows up. It's kinda sad actually.

"Self-High Five." / Diamond Dallas Page

Parody -- the act of one artist commenting on the conventions of the work of a genre or of another artist -- is well established throughout the arts. Throughout history, artists, poets, and writers have used parody as a form to satirize both the arts and social norms. And in recent times, the act of parody has been protected by the court system as freedom of expression.

Now, in regards to many WCW themes of the late 1990s....*takes off glasses, puts down tour notes, clears throat*....I have no idea how they weren't fucking sued by record companies for their blatant rip-offs of really, really, really fucking popular songs. I mean some of the cords are changed, but come-on!!!

Case in point: "Self-High Five," which was the entrance theme for Diamond Dallas Page, quite overtly uses most of the cord structure of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" -- one of the most important "Pop" songs of the last 30 years -- and then morphs into a weird hybrid of DDP yelling "DDP!" and "TOO COOL!" with an electronic Nirvana cover.

"Chris Jericho's 2nd WCW Theme" / Chris Jericho

This is "Even Flow" by Pearl Jam. That's it. Let's move on....

"Raven's Theme" / Raven

Recently, I noted that I really love Raven's entrance music in ECW. I also have always enjoyed Raven as both a character and a wrestler. So I was actually legitimately excited to see him move onto WCW in the late 1990s.

We can certainly debate how successful Raven was in WCW, but can we all agree that his WCW theme was a touch unfitting? For starters, the song's opening chords are clearly Nirvana's "Come As You Are," but then the song morphs into an early 1990s WCW-style guitar riff that goes on, and on, and on. 

Come to think of it, on the whole WCW themes tend to just keep going. On a certain level, they don't really contain a beginning, middle, or end. Perhaps we should consider them as abstract art or performance-theatre, where the traditional rules of structure do not apply. 

*tour group laughs hysterically*

"Johnny B Badd" / Johnny B Badd

Before his, um, interesting run in the WWF, Marc Mero toiled in the WCW undercard as Johnny B Badd, a wrestler who was packaged as a, well, muscled Little Richard wearing boxing gloves.

Badd reminds me of a footnote from David Shoemaker's book about wrestling in which he describes the Honky Tonk Man as a "wrestling Elvis mixed with a, well, wrestling Elvis." But Badd is a wrestling Little Richard mixed with a, uh, Chuck Berry rip-off song and a name referencing a Chuck Berry song. 

Here's my question: why did WCW hate Little Richard and Chuck Berry so much?

"What Up Mach?" / Macho Man Randy Savage

Before we make our next stop, I want to advise you as a group -- by the way, you've been great -- that the next exhibit is not for the faint of heart and is unsettling to even the most hardened of persons.

Okay, *deep breath*, this is "What Up Mach" from 1999.

I think we can all agree -- and I've argued this -- that Randy Savage had one of the greatest theme songs in wrestling history. And during a late-career mid-life crisis of sorts, Savage had his theme music changed to....well, press play on your audio devices and...

*the theme music is drowned out by the cries and screams of the tour group*

"The Four Horsemen Theme" / The Four Horsemen

Now, ladies and gentlemen, we here at the Hall of Shame do not avoid controversy. Indeed, one of the difficult things about working in at a museum is interpreting the complex stories of our artifacts.

That said, the Four Horsemen's theme is shameful garbage.

Let me just pose this question to you: honestly, does this theme work with arguably the greatest heel stable in professional wrestling history? It sounds more like the music you would hear in a movie starring Tom Cruise as a heroic, loner professional wrestler than it does for a group of men who broke Dusty Rhodes's arm in a parking lot. 

Don't judge us. You know we are right.

"Shockmaster Theme" / The Shockmaster

The crown-jewel in our exhibit this year is the little-heard theme from our beloved Shockmaster. While the Shockmaster also had another, more electronic theme, this one appeared only a few times on WCW television. Of special note, Tony Schiavone -- before Starbucks -- and Jesse Ventura -- before becoming the biggest American political shock / joke prior to 2017 --- can't help but bury the music on-air.

 Critics have described in a number of ways, such as:

-"The sound of someone trying to play "Day Tripper" for the first time
-"Akin to a monkey attempting to tune a guitar."
-"Bad takes from a Chuck Berry cover band."
-"a rare recording of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" by Earl Richards, brother of Keith."

Well, there we are! The end of the tour. We hope you enjoyed, and we encourage you to pick up the companion album for the exhibit featuring Cactus Jack's entrance, Ricky Steamboat's horrible theme, the terrible rip-off of Black Sabbath that was Vince Russo's theme, and many, many, many, many, many others. 

Also, a brief reminder: please, as you exit the Hall of Shame, no climbing on the "Shawn Michaels vs Hulk Hogan Summerslam" statue. We cannot be held accountable for over-sold injures. 

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