WWE have always done a great job of using the popular music of the day as themes for their big shows. Whilst NXT is now holding up the metal and rock end of the spectrum, back in the day WWE definitely mined the nu-metal side of things to soundtrack their events. Here’s the top ten WWE pay per view themes of all time, before insipid R & B was their default. This list is presented without shame.
10) Over the Limit 2011: Rise Against – Help Is On The Way
This is Rise Against’s biggest hit in the mainstream American charts, but we have to admit that it’s pretty unusual to have a song about the pace of the response from authorities to Hurricane Katrina as the theme tune to a wrestling show… that is several thousand miles away in Seattle and had Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole in the semi-main event. Good song, though.
9) Hell In A Cell 2015: Shinedown – Cut The Cord
The newest song on this list, and it’s included purely because of the annoyingly catchy kid’s choir bit. Well, we presume that they’re kids, they don’t sound quite as young as those on Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2), so it could just be some very high-pitched adults. It’s definitely creepy and angry enough to be the theme for a show featuring Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker.
8) Unforgiven 2003: Sevendust – Enemy
With a huge main event of Goldberg vs Triple H, this pay per view has a theme that utterly suits WWE at the time. Sevendust’s brand of abrasive nu-metal sounds like it could almost have come from the mind of long-time WWE theme composer Jim Johnston, and it’s an enormous guilty pleasure track.
7) Survivor Series 2005: P.O.D – Lights Out
If you wanted to earn the sweet WWE money for having a song used as a PPV theme, just be in a nu-metal band at the turn of the century, write a song with a vague combat title and wait for a phone call. This song gets bonus points for saying the phrase “chiggy check” without irony, and for guitarist Jason Truby looking like Seth Rollins in the video.
6) Invasion 2001: Marilyn Manson – Fight Song
The first (and only) Invasion PPV should have been awesome. Sure, it’s the highest grossing non-Wrestlemania WWE show of all time in terms of people buying the show at home, but as a show it was a bit of a letdown. Luckily, the theme tune was one of Marilyn Manson’s finest and not his only brush with WWE as The Beautiful People was the theme for both RAW and Smackdown at various points.
5) Unforgiven 2008: Motörhead – Rock Out
Lemmy and co. have a long association with WWE, thanks to providing the theme music for Triple H (and playing him to the ring at Wrestlemania X-Seven). ‘The Game’ is known for being a huge fan of Motörhead so it’s not really a surprise that they got to soundtrack at least one PPV. Side note: The video for this song shows Lemmy briefly playing the quiz machine in LA’s Rainbow & Grill, as he was famed for doing almost daily.
- Oscar Dronjak’s Top Five WWE Moments
- WWE Diva Paige discusses her love of rock and metal
- WWE's Becky Lynch Explains Why Wrestling Is Definitely Metal
- WWE Superstar Xavier Woods picks his favourite Babymetal songs
4) No Mercy 2001: Saliva – Click Click Boom
You can’t make one of these lists without including Saliva, as they seemed to provide at least a hundred WWE themes in the early part of the century. Even if you can’t stand them, this song will stick in your head and is surely the quintessential slice of their brand of nu-metal. It was probably written with the purpose of either being used by WWE or in a video game. Damn catchy, though.
3) Wrestlemania X7: Limp Bizkit – My Way
The greatest Wrestlemania of all time had a suitably massive theme tune. We might all sneer at Fred Durst now, but back in 2001 who else could have delivered a song as bombastic enough to work with the biggest show of the year, in front of nearly 68,000 fans? Limp Bizkit were always the answer, and with events at the end of the show – Steve Austin turning villain – the sentiment of the song was echoed around the arena.
2) Judgement Day 2006: Killswitch Engage – This Fire Burns
A largely forgettable PPV that featured Great Khali beating the Undertaker and Booker T becoming ‘King Booker’, it did feature an awesome theme from Killswitch Engage. Clearly somebody at WWE really loved it as well, as it ended up becoming CM Punk’s music for a long time (even if it was briefly Randy Orton’s first).
1) Summerslam 2001: Drowning Pool – Bodies
If you think of WWE between 2000-2003, this should be the song that plays in your head. It’s just a perfect fit for their product at the time and has no doubt been the walk-in music for many an independent wrestler ever since. WWE liked it so much that they used it again – the only theme to have this honour – for ECW One Night Stand in 2005. Several bodies hit the floor.
Jim Smallman is a comedian and wrestling promoter for Progress Wrestling. Progress’ biggest ever show is coming to the Brixton O2 Academy in London on Sunday September 25. Tickets are available now!