The Undertaker has been in the WWE for almost 25 years, and he’s had plenty of entrance themes during that time. Which is the best? Which is the worst? We count them down in the kickoff for Wrestler Theme Friday!
Greetings! Welcome to what I hope will be a regular feature here at Laser Time; Wrestler Theme Friday (or WTF for short). We talk a lot about wrestling here at Laser Time (listen to Cheap Popcast, by the way), but for all of the talk about great matches and behind-the-scenes action, we sometimes forget to talk about one of the biggest facets of creating a star in modern-day wrestling; having a memorable entrance theme.
I’m hoping to use this space each week to go through the careers of many wrestlers. Some will be legends who have constantly reinvented themselves. Others will be guys who struggled to find their personalities. One thing will be common; they all had a crap-ton of wrestling themes and I have an opinion on just about every single song.
To kick things off, we’re going to rank the themes of The Undertaker. He just took part in the main event of SummerSlam, is a bona-fide WWE Hall of Famer (provided he keeps his murders fictional), and he’s had more themes than just about anyone else in WWE history. From Dead Man to Cult Leader to Biker, he’s had the song to fit every change in style, so let’s discuss where each one rests in peace on this list!
11 – “AMERICAN BAD ASS” BY KID ROCK
The Undertaker and licensed music are like oil and water, and it was never more apparent than when The Undertaker used a song from Kid Rock. While the WWE tried to make “American Bad Ass” scary by having creepy children utter some sort of Freddy Kreuger poem before the crap-rock kicks in, it’s probably the worst preamble to any Undertaker song. That’s followed by a crappy Kid Rock song (even by Kid Rock standards) that doesn’t have much of a hook or a decent build. There’s the “HEY HEY” part that everyone seems to know, and when that’s the only thing in an Undertaker song that people recognize, you know you’ve got a garbage fire of an entrance theme.
10 – “DEAD MAN WALKING” BY JIM JOHNSTON
This theme was only used for about four months of The Undertaker’s career, and it was replaced for good reason. There’s a neat intro, and then generic butt-rock. Was The Undertaker sick of lyrics overshadowing the sweet revving noises of his Harleys? This is the kind of song I’d expect to hear in the Nintendo DS version of a WWE game because the version with lyrics takes up too much space.
9 – “CORPORATE MINISTRY” BY PETER BURSUKER
As far as WWE mashup themes go, this isn’t as bad as most team tunes. However, there’s a bit too much of “No Chance in Hell” in this song, and the parts that aren’t sung over don’t sound Undertaker-y enough. At a time when The Undertaker was using some of his best entrance music ever, this was reason to hate the Corporate Ministry megafaction (besides the fact that it made no sense). Also, it sounds like a scary Final Fantasy town at the beginning, which also doesn’t mesh with Undertaker’s style.
8 – “YOU’RE GONNA PAY” BY JIM JOHNSTON
So this is almost the best mix between The Undertaker’s motorcycle-enthusiast and undead mortician motifs, which makes it the best apple in a pretty nasty bunch. It keeps the great intro of “Dead Man Walking” and puts decent-at-best lyrics atop it. The first verse is pretty good and the refrain of “you’re gonna pay” is effective, but god, everything else is pretty lousy. The lyric “bad-asses/always kicking asshole’s ass” really could have used another pass.
7 – “ROLLIN’ (AIR RAID VEHICLE)” BY LIMP BIZKIT
As much as I hate The Undertaker’s biker phase and as much as I despise the entire Limp Bizkit’s discography, I had to admit, shyeah, this song worked for this particular phase of ‘Taker’s career. With Austin gone and The Rock starting his movie career, The Undertaker needed to be a big hero with a big song that could pop a crowd anywhere, and Rollin’ is that song. It still has the necessary gongs, a hint of revving noises, and then a song that does confirm that The Undertaker is indeed “rollin” to the ring. The lyrics don’t exactly fit what Bikertaker was all about (“American Bad Ass” actually did a better job of that), but who cares? People go nuts for the hands up, hands down, keep rollin part.
6 – “FUNERAL DIRGE” BY JIM JOHNSTON
I know, I expected this to be higher, too. This song is the essence of “Zombie Undertaker,” who seemed impervious to pain, never said a word besides “Rest In Peace,” and would destroy jobbers every week on WWF Wrestling Challenge. I can’t hear this song without picturing children looking scared in the crowd as ‘Taker and Paul Bearer shuffled to the ring. That said, holy crap is this song tinny. I know the WWE wanted to evoke the sound of a church organ, but how come it took so long for them to discover the deep notes?
Where does The Undertaker’s current song and his brief Johnny Cash-penned theme land? Find out on the next page!