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Top 7 1980s WWE Theme Songs

July 28, 2023 | Posted by Steve Cook
Hulk Hogan WWF, Top 1980s WWE Theme Songs Image Credit: WWE

There was a time when wrestlers didn’t come out to music. At least that’s what people tell me. Wrestlers would simply walk down to the ring to the cheers or boos of the fans. I even hear there weren’t videos or graphics playing behind them, pyrotechnics, or much other than a spotlight. Seems like insanity to me. Music & wrestling go together like peanut butter & jelly.

It’s tough to say who came up with the idea of entrance music, mostly because I’ve heard at least twenty old-time wrestlers take credit for it. What I do know is that it was popularized in the 1980s, and the “Rock n’ Wrestling Connection” helped Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation take over the wrestling universe. The songs played during entrances of this era helped set the tone for what was to come in the future.

Today, we look back at the most magnificent themes for the WWF in the 1980s.

7. “Unstable” – Jim Johnston

Even the biggest Ultimate Warrior fans would have to admit that a large part of his appeal was his entrance. Warrior running down to the ring & shaking the ropes never failed to excite a crowd. The music that played definitely fit the mood & aura that Warrior was going for. Had something else played while Warrior ran down to the ring, who knows if he would have gotten over to the level he did?

It also sticks in your head for hours after you hear it, or even if you think about it.

6. “Common Man Boogie” – Jimmy Hart & JJ Maguire

Most folks tend to agree that Dusty Rhodes’ presentation in the WWF was far inferior to how he was portrayed prior. The whole polka dot thing was obviously a rib no matter what people want to say. While Sapphire was entertaining in her own way, she wasn’t exactly the greatest manager of all time. Dusty was a mid-card comedy act, which was tough for his longtime fans to stomach.

However, there was one aspect of the Common Man character that was superior to Dusty’s glory days…the theme song! One couldn’t help but get down with their bad selves while the boogie was playing & the Dream was getting funky like a monkey. WCW even had a ripoff made to use for Dusty after he came back. Hate the polka dots all you want, but you can’t deny that the music was good stuff.

5. “Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in D” – The Apollo Symphony Orchestra

The first wrestler to come out to the theme of every graduation was the legendary “Gorgeous” George. The first icon of the televised wrestling era. Randy Savage was a big fan of George, so much that he bought the rights to the gimmick during his WCW years for his brother then ended up using it for his girlfriend. He also walked out to a version of the theme George used for most of his career.

This gives me the chance to re-tell my own college graduation story. My mom, dad, sister & grandma came down for the occasion of seeing me walk down Freedom Hall, one of the great college basketball venues of all time and also a place that’s seen some wrestling history. It’s a big facility, so I was sure to tell them where to sit so they could see me. When I walked out, I didn’t see them. Saw some other people that gave me a good pop, but the family was nowhere to be seen. Turns out, they misunderstood my directions and sat on the wrong side of the arena. This is why I advise people that if they only want to do the graduation ceremony for other people, they shouldn’t worry about that too much. Do it for you. I still enjoyed it because my favorite professor was the MC of the thing and we got some time to introduce him to the family afterward. Wonder what happened to that guy, or most of the people I remember from college. Seems like a million years ago.

Randy Savage entrances were always a positive and never failed to get crowds excited for whatever was to come.

4. “A Scottish Soldier (The Green Hills of Tyrol)” – Andy Stewart

The combination of bagpipe music and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s supreme confidence whenever he stepped into an arena always made for an incredible entrance. It flew in the face of the previously-mentioned “Rock n’ Wrestling Connection” featuring a lot of people that Piper would feud against. Not a lot of bagpipe music in rock and or roll.

You don’t see a lot of wrestlers coming out to bagpipes. Drew McIntyre’s theme has some bagpipes and is pretty great in its own right, but it takes some pretty big cojones to walk out to bagpipe music and totally own a room.

3. “Demolition” – Rick Derringer

Demolition was a tag team that generated a lot of opinions. On one hand, they were the WWF’s Road Warriors ripoff. On the other hand, they held the Tag Team Championship for a record number of days, a record that stood up for multiple decades. On yet another hand, their gear was a little bit questionable for folks watching in later years. Let’s face it, one either likes S&M ring attire or doesn’t. No middle ground there.

However, I think one thing that everybody can agree on is the awesomeness of Demolition’s theme music for most of their run. This is one of tbose areas where the WWF had the upper hand on their competition. The NWA had to use “Iron Man” for the Road Warriors for lack of a better idea, the WWF could have actual musicians compose music for their Superstars. Rick Derringer could come up with the perfect lyrics to describe Ax & Smash.

“The Demolition! Better say your Act of Contrition!”

Bill Eadie & Barry Darsow made a heck of a tag team too. Ignore that questionable ring gear and their matches still hold up.

2. “It’s All About The Money” – “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase

Sometimes I wonder why Donald Trump has such a hold over the Republican Party. Then i remember that one of my favorite wrestlers during my childhood was The Million Dollar Man. I wish I could act like I watched Ted DiBiase back in the day and that was why I supported his efforts in the WWF, but that would be a lie. Then again, I was always drawn to “good hands” ever since I started watching, so maybe I don’t give myself enough credit. Ted DiBiase had his flaws in and out of persona, but he was always a good hand in the ring.

The pitch to DiBiase coming back to the WWF after many years out of that loop was that it was the gimmick Vince McMahon would have wanted for himself. The evil rich guy that could make almost anybody do whatever he wanted. Mr. McMahon eventually lived that dream, but Ted got to do it as a full-time wrestler. Wearing more sparkly tuxedos than Vince or Donald would ever dare to. Wearing a better belt than Vince or Donald would ever dare to.

Ted also had a better laugh than Vince or Donald. He was so much better at playing a rich guy than people that were actually rich guys. I’m also sure those guys also didn’t contribute to a song as good as this one. Vince’s “Stand Back” pales in comparison, and I can’t imagine Donald could carry a tune to save his life.

Author’s Note: I would have sworn on all that is holy that this song debuted in the 1980s. According to The History of WWE it didn’t happen until March 1990, after DiBiase’s run in the main event scene was pretty much over. Your guess is as good as mine how it took so long to get this guy some entrance music. It’s a song that pretty much sums up the Me Decade of the 1980s, and I’m not sure it’ll make the cut for the 1990s since it’s so 80s. A commenter that brought this up desperately wants me to bump an Honorable Mention onto the list. However, I’m going to throw a little curveball here and insert a different 1980s classic that I totally neglected earlier into the 2 slot. Yep, all the way from unranked to #2. That won’t make anybody mad…and I’m adding another Honorable Mention because why not?

2. “Snake Bit” – Jim Johnston

Jake “The Snake” Roberts usually won his matches before they started. Intimidation was his thing, and he used different ways to make sure he owned every situation. Damien was important, but so was his theme music. The haunting, driving tune of the music got fans & opponents ready for what was to come. Jake was a sinister man, and this song, though wordless, was perfect in describing his character.

By the way, I originally didn’t include this because I liked a later theme of his better. Will we talk about that next time? Probably!

Honorable Mention: “All American Boys” – Jacques & Raymond Rougeau

Good ol’ Jacques had a voice in three of the best wrestling themes of all time. “All American Boys” certainly makes the cut. Then there was “The Mountie”, and “We’re Not The Mounties”. Certainly makes him a Hall of Famer in my book!

Honorable Mention: “Jive Soul Bro” – Slick

A great song, but totally inappropriate for most of the people that came out to it. It worked for Akeem. Didn’t work for Big Boss Man, Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff or the other people Slick managed. If I ever end up getting married, I hope to have Slick as my priest, as he’s based in Louisville. Probably won’t happen, but it’s a good dream to hold onto.

Honorable Mention: “Cool, Cocky, Bad” – The Honky Tonk Man

How I could forget about the WWF’s greatest singer, performer & Intercontinental Champion? Honky needed a killer entrance tune to really get his gimmick over, and this one definitely fit the bill. If I didn’t know better, I would have said that Elvis Presley himself laid down these lyrics.

1. “Real American” – Rick Derringer

I’ve never claimed to be the biggest Hulkamaniac out there. Others my age grew up worshipping at the altar of the Hulkster while I was drawn towards the dark side. However, I would endorse “Real American” replacing “The Star Spangled Banner” as the United States’ national anthem. For one thing, the SSB is so difficult to sing. It tests even the most capable voices out there. People mess up the lyrics all the time, mostly because they’re antiquated. Who uses the word “ramparts” anymore unless they’re trying to sing the anthem? America needs to get with the times and institute a new national anthem that is more in line with the current era. A national anthem that would be awesome to hear during Olympic medal ceremonies and men’s and women’s World Cup pre-matches.

Other National Anthem Suggestions:

“The Rising” – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
“Living In America” – James Brown
“Don’t Tread On Me” – Metallica
“Don’t Drink The Water” – Dave Matthews Band
“Party In The USA” – Miley Cyrus
“I Won’t Back Down” – Tom Petty

“Real American” seems like the best choice though. It’s a song about how when your friends get hurt, your pride gets hurt. You have to be a man, you can’t let it slide. Who out there can’t relate to such a message? Not only is it the perfect theme for America, it was the perfect theme for a man who never stabbed anybody in the back or let down his fans. At least during the 1980s, anyway. Even jaded fools like me can’t help but get hyped whilst hearing this music.

Thanks for reading! Hit me up at [email protected] or on the social media with thoughts, comments or suggestions. Until next time, true believers!

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WWE, Steve Cook