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Posted in: The Schoolhouse
The Music of Wrestlemania- Chapter 4.2 (2006-2009)
By JCool
Mar 26, 2017 - 2:56:58 PM



THE SCHOOLHOUSE


Welcome back to the Music of Wrestlemania series, hosted here in the Schoolhouse. For those who may have missed the first 3.5 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.


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 I-VWrestlemania VI-XIV
Wrestlemania XV-2000 Wrestlemania X-7- 25 (Part 1)
Wrestlemania X-7- 25 (Part 2) Wrestlemania XXVI-33


Wrestlemania X7-25: Rock, Rock On! (Part 2)

22: Peter Gabriel-"Big Time"
Click here to listen.

It’s a throwback to the 80s but very little of the actual event harkened back to that decade. In a friendly nod to echo-drenched vocals and synthesizers, Gabriel’s song serves its purpose primarily through its chorus, which starts the song and acts as the hook as well. This kind of song structure hasn’t been heard since Wrestlemania 2000. Anyways, Big Time makes a simple albeit grand statement about what Wrestlemania is all about: big words, big boys, big names, the big time! The contrast provided in the verse about being a big man or big voice in a small town offers a commanding image of a star who is confident in their talent and ready to prove their abilities on a large scale.

At WM22, stars like Mysterio, who was small in stature but so much bigger because of his abilities, and Edge impressed everyone by defeating some of the top stars in the business. Rob Van Dam, who was known as a top athlete, had not won a major match at Wrestlemania until he accomplished such a victory by winning the MITB briefcase. Although the comparison is not as extreme, his reputation as a big time performer was cemented due to his efforts in Chicago in 2006.

A secondary theme for the event was Shinedown- "I Dare You".

23: Saliva- "Ladies And Gentlemen"
Click here to listen.

Saliva’s reprise as Wrestlemania theme composers may be one of the most purposeful since the days of Jim Johnston’s instrumentals. Josey Scott is quoted as saying this song was written specifically for WM23, “for our friends at WWE”. Although it definitely fits into the genre of hard rock and its electric guitar riff shows off all that is right with power chords and distortion, Ladies and Gentlemen is a song that is easy to hear and easy to decipher lyrically. The chorus features a calmer, more flowing section where the vocals sit high in the mix-- “welcome to the show” and the guitar part is more of a ringing distortion, akin to the chorus of “Whatever” by Our Lady Peace, composers of Chris Benoit’s theme. The second part of the chorus hits a little harder and quicker with bursts of “Boom” and “do you need it”, which are more similar to Batista’s theme, also written by Saliva. Was it a direct nod to Batista who came into the event as World Champion, facing The Undertaker? Perhaps. I would add that the verse of Bobby Lashley’s theme, minus the singing, even connects to the theme, too. Lashley also played an important role at this event, fighting and winning for Donald Trump in the Battle of the Billionaires.

So, Saliva’s attempt at encapsulating the essence of Wrestlemania and the attitudes and motifs of the wrestlers at that time was very accurate. It may have been quite a change from WM3 when the event first visited the Detroit area, but for a city that is very gritty, tough and blue-collar, a rock anthem of this nature works.

A secondary theme for the event was Default- "The Memory Will Never Die".


XXIV: Rev Theory- "Light It Up"
Click here to listen.

WMXXIV began the new era of Wrestlemania events being hosted exclusively in football stadiums. It was also the first to take place in Florida, and the second to take place outdoors. Thematically, however, the change in venue was not reflected musically, as WWE continued to depend on the hard rock genre to sell the event. Again, we have a power chord riff that alternates between 3-4 notes and a moderate, quick-walking tempo, emphasizing the intensity and the power of the event, rather than speed and precision, which would be reflected in a song that was quicker moving with quicker notes being played. While the lyrics of the song are quite specifically about a man and his vices, and his desire for some kind of sin (likely lust or greed), the chorus fits the event quite well. “I ignite, so hold on, cause we’re about to light it up...it’s on tonight” speak to the immediacy of the event where the excitement and exhilaration will take place.

Lighting it up is also a basketball term for a player who is shooting consistently well and could be extended towards wrestling where the wrestlers are going to put on an amazing performance. Two underdogs who lit it up at this event were Randy Orton and Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather, the more obvious underdog, may be a great boxer but, by facing the Big Show, put himself at a huge size and reach disadvantage. Still, he ended up winning by knockout, taking advantage of the opportunity to light it up. Randy Orton, although WWE Champion going into the event, was at a disadvantage by facing not one, but two of the best wrestlers in WWE history, John Cena and Triple H. He was able to overcome the threats to retain the championship and light it up, as it were. On an even deeper level, the Undertaker’s victory over Edge for the World Championship can also be seen in a similar vein. Although he was not a new star by any means, it had been over 10 years since he last headlined the event, and he proved that he was still capable of winning the gold.

A secondary theme for the event was Red Hot Chili Peppers- "Hey Oh (Snow)".


25th Anniversary: AC/DC- "Shoot To Thrill"
Click here to listen.

The rock continues and, although the original version of this song is also an 80’s tune, the theme for Wrestlemania 25 is actually a live version. It’s a real stomper. Seriously, try stomping along to it and you’ll find it quite satisfying, and the tempo allows for a tireless effort. The notable, high-pitched edginess of Brian Johnson’s vocal delivery gives the theme the character needed for the grandeur of the event. It affirms the celebrity connection to Wrestlemania by drenching the listeners with everything that is bombastic and cliché about big stadium heavy metal. For an event that took place at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, aside from a stereotypical country tune which may have pleased local fans but not the event, this was as good a pick as they could have made. The lyrics, however, leave a lot to be desired as they are so clearly about a male pursuing a female for sexual relations. Not even I am going to attempt to connect these lyrics to a wrestling match, they’re just too obviously sexual.

A secondary theme for the event was AC/DC- "War Machine”.

*BRRRRRING*

The discussion period is about to begin. Share your thoughts on part 1 of the fourth chapter of Wrestlemania music.

Do you like the idea of WWE picking songs from the past if it matches the mood and theme of ‘Mania?

Why do you think WWE began the practice of secondary themes for Wrestlemania, using them consistently during this time period (and beyond).


Chapter 5 is on deck for Wrestlemania week and it encompasses the modern era of ‘Mania as we know it today. The genre of choice changes significantly from the rock songs of the past 8 years. It’s not my favourite but it may be yours. Join in the discussion during the next 7 days.

Peace!




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