5 – “MINISTRY” BY JIM JOHNSTON
When The Undertaker started to lead a cult of similarly evil characters, there needed to be a theme that represented his new status as their leader. Ministry is a very good theme that conveys the faction’s demonic presence and the epic nature of the evil they promise to bring, but certain elements of a greater theme (“The Dark Side”) had to be dulled in the process. Instead of a ripping guitar intro, we get Undertaker chanting in Latin while gongs play. It’s pretty cool and a nice mix, but it came at the expense of a better song.
4 – “GRAVEYARD SYMPHONY” BY JIM JOHNSTON
It would be sacrilege to put this theme anywhere near the bottom, since it’s the one associated with The Undertaker’s true rise to superstardom and the template here is more or less still used in his current theme. Gone are the shrill-sounding pipes of the original, replaced with the stuff his theme should have had all along; the musical chanting and thunderous sound effects that really portrayed the fact that this was a god damn wrestling demon.
3 – “AIN’T NO GRAVE” BY JOHNNY CASH
Only in the context of the WWE can a Johnny Cash song take bronze to a pair of tunes by WWE’s in-house studio musician, but here we are. In 2010, after retiring Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker suffered a rash of injuries that kept him out of action for months at a time, culminating in a feud against Kane where he was buried alive. Up until WrestleMania 30, Taker had never looked as weak, so a song reaffirming his strength and power was in order. It’s still got a sense of somberness and is slightly creepy thanks to the sound of dragging chains that accompanied the actual tune, but it never had the legs to be a long-term theme, both because the WWE probably didn’t want to pay the likely pricey Johnny Cash music rights for very long, but also because this isn’t a wrestling theme that can really grab a crowd’s attention.
2 – “THE DARK SIDE” BY JIM JOHNSTON
Here’s another short-lived theme ‘Taker only used the tune during the six-month stretch where he was a satanic heel figure set out to destroy Stone Cold Steve Austin and take his championship. That’s a shame, because it’s one of his greatest themes ever. At the point in his career where he had to play the evil “final boss” in the WWE rankings, this song fit him perfectly. The opening guitar chords mixed with the customary gongs lend a different sense of foreboding than any other theme ‘Taker’s ever had, and the use of Taker’s creepy old-latin chants showcased how much darker the character had become. It’s a shame there’s never been reason to resurrect this one.
1 – “REST IN PEACE” BY JIM JOHNSTON
Yeah, it’s a bit of a cliche to go with the longest-running (and current) Undertaker theme for the top slot, but it’s really the culmination of his core theme from 1990, refined and perfected. It has the eerie gongs at the beginning to rile up the crowd and then reaches the first peak just as the audience goes wild when ‘Taker first emerges from the smoke and fire. From there, it ever-so-subtly mixes the creepy funeral dirge with a guitar that adds even more layers of rock than the already iconic “Graveyard Symphony” without taking away from the frightening core. For the current iteration of The Undertaker who (usually) only manifests to stand guard as the WrestleMania gatekeeper, it’s the perfect theme for an immortal demon.
What do you think of this undertaking? What’s your favorite and least-favorite ‘Taker theme? Which wrestler’s discography would you like to see covered soon? Sound off below!