The Music of Wrestlemania- Chapter 3 (1999-2000)
Mar 20, 2017 - 12:50:12 AM
Welcome back to the Music of Wrestlemania series, hosted here in the Schoolhouse. For those who may have missed the first two chapters, check out the table of contents below for the link. There you’ll find the full introduction, which explains why we’re talking about Wrestlemania theme songs.
After 14 years of instrumental Wrestlemania themes, a new era was dawning in the WWE. The Attitude Era brought with it some of the most iconic theme songs in wrestling history. For much of this short but exciting time, Wrestlemania themes turned from an anthemic or pop feel to rock, heavy metal and rap. They also began to incorporate words and voices, starting in 2000; a decision that would have a lasting impact on the music of Wrestlemania.
For new readers, or to remind continuing ones, here are some of the questions that guide the discussion for each ‘Mania theme:
Does the music accurately reflect the stories and matches of each individual ‘Mania?
Does the music support the grandeur and size of this massively successful sports-entertainment celebration?
What kind of mood and theme is suggested by a Wrestlemania theme?
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the music of Wrestlemania.
Table Of Contents
The musical themes in the history of Wrestlemania fit into 5 distinct eras. Each era features discussion on each theme in that era and how it reflected the time period, the card, and where applicable, a more specific explanation of the theme’s connection to wrestlers on the card or the geographical location of that year’s Wrestlemania. The chart below divides the music of Wrestlemania into 5 distinct eras.
Wrestlemania XV-2000: In Transition
XV: "Rage" (Instrumental)
Click here to listen.
Wrestlemania XV’s theme, “Rage” hits hard with a thick wall of fuzzy distorted guitars and a walking pace, hard hitting drum beat. It’s the kind of rage that burns slow and steady, like a simmering gravy, really. Rage succeeds in bringing Wrestlemania into an era of swaggering hard rock themes akin to those of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Big Bossman, Kane and Test. Really. If you listen to any of those themes, you will find commonalities between them and XV’s theme. It’s an all guitar affair, power chord driven affair with a softer section where a one chord piano riff can be heard filling in the spaces where the guitar is not. The cymbal hits of the section that follows are almost identical to Austin’s theme. Obviously, I can’t say for sure if that’s on purpose but I can tell you that XV was a night that would belong to Stone Cold who would regain the WWE Championship by defeating The Rock. It’s not a far stretch to suggest that this theme would have fit just as well for XIV, since that was another night that ultimately belonged to Austin.
Furthermore, the connections between this theme and that of D-Generation X’s further prove that this theme characterized the event and the time accurately. D-X was still running strong as a 3-man unit at this point, with X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn busy winning and defending singles titles. Their edgy, alt-rock/rap theme meshes well with “Rage”.
Click here to listen.
This theme reflects and specifically references the location of the event, Los Angeles, CA. Well, the event took place in Anaheim, but close enough. The theme channels the mid to late ‘90s West Coast hip hop scene. The hook of the song is sung by a chorus of females, singing “ooooh, California” and the beat and instrumentation is a distant cousin of “California Love” by Tupac Shakur.
The rap spits about living in LA, how great LA is, how it is full of models, stars, nice looking girls, some who have undergone plastic surgery and goes on to say that there’s gonna be trouble in LA, presumably because of Wrestlemania. WWF had never used a rap theme for Wrestlemania until this one but the swaggering tempo that was present in last year’s edition remains present here, albeit with a change in the instrumentation and a decision to add vocals. The sung chorus and rap mark the first occasion of vocals in a Wrestlemania theme, and that’s not the only ‘Mania first. Wrestlemania 2000 is also known for being the first event to feature a four way contest for the WWE Championship, and the first to feature a Triangle Ladder match for the Tag Team Titles. There were quite a few firsts on this evening so, in that respect, the theme also fits.
The discussion period is about to begin. Share your thoughts on this third chapter of Wrestlemania music.
Wrestlemania 2000 is the last year that an in-house WWE produced theme is used for the event. Do you find merit in a WWE composer writing a song for a specific event or is that approach passé?
Do you like hearing different genres of music used for themes or should WWE stick to one style for Wrestlemania?
With the WWE transitioning from instrumental themes into vocal ones, and in-house productions to commercial rock and pop songs, plenty of change is occurring for Wrestlemania in the 2000s. One concern might be that songs written by other artists may not have as strong a connection to the event since they were written for reasons not associated with wrestling. The first few songs of Chapter 4 will prove that the WWE had the ability to make a great match, stylistically and lyrically, between the major stories of Wrestlemania and the chosen promotional song. And if you’re not down with that, I got 2 words for ya: “My Way”. Stay tuned.