The art of changing one’s entrance music is tricky. It normally accompanies a character change or realignment, and it has to fit like your favorite pair of jeans. The music needs to match the new persona. If it doesn’t? Well, then it’s back to the very expensive drawing board.
Change is hard. Especially when the audience is used to a certain thing. But these ten are the best to ever do it. If you’re reading this and know we’re starting at number one and working our way down, the first entry really shouldn’t surprise you.
1. “Voodoo Child” - Hollywood Hulk Hogan
In the mid-late 1990s, Hulk Hogan—not Terry Bollea—went to the side of the demons. Gone was the yellow, the red, the prayers, the vitamins, and everything associated with the character during the ‘80s. For this new persona, one playing off his desire to conquer Hollywood like he conquered the ring, Eric Bischoff opened up WCW’s wallet and went big. Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” is probably as associated with Hogan and the nWo as it is with the man who created it. And that’s saying something considering Hendrix is one of the greatest musicians to ever breathe air on this planet.
Hollywood’s strut to the ring while playing air guitar on the WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt is an indelible image of that era. Hendrix made Hollywood just as cool as Kevin Nash and Scott Hall did. Jimi’s classic cemented the greatest heel turn in pro wrestling history by establishing a brand new character playing by a completely different set of rules.
2. “Done With That” - The Usos
When The Usos showed up as heels in 2016, they were completely rebuilt from the ground up. The tag team added some much needed edge to their characters and the proceedings on SmackDown. Despite their greatness prior to the switch, even they knew they weren’t getting their props. The tribal paint paid homage to their heritage but raise your hand if you knew who these cats actually were beyond the elaborate entrance? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
“Down With That” says all we need to know about Jimmy and Jey in a really short time. The Uso penitentiary? Check. That creeping feeling down the back of your neck? Check check. The fact they will always be down for each other and always were since day one? Triple check. The song gave these cats swag and menace when they had none, while allowing them to be themselves on screen. Looking at where they were and where they are now, it the heel turn and the song was so necessary.
3. “Know Your Role” - The Rock
Let’s keep it real: the Rocky Maivia thing was never going to work. Especially with the direction WWE was going. Maivia was an anachronism; a relic of a bygone era the audience was ready to see in the rearview mirror. The Rock, on the other hand, was perfect for his time. Pretty much any one of Rock’s 100 theme songs could go here, but I went with my favorite. In fact, I waxed poetic about it not too long ago, so there’s no need to rehash.
It’s a dope song, perfect for the heel turn and brand new character. Worked in ‘98, works today.
4. “Eddie Guerrero” - Eddie Guerrero
Apparently this theme is self-titled. Either that or someone at WCW was too lazy to title it. But I digress. Mid-90s WCW gave us two versions of Eddie Guerrero. The first? A guy happy to be here who rocked a white and red singlet, a white jacket, with a very powerful mullet. He also entered the ring to this generic little number.
The second version is the guy who came out to the theme above. He had wet hair, couldn’t wait to fight, and welcomed every single boo in the arena. Eddie laid the groundwork for what ultimately became his WWE persona by taking a hard left turn from his first several years in the promotion.
The disgust he wore on his face when he stepped in front of the camera probably mirrored his real dissatisfaction with WCW. The character, like the man, was frustrated with every step he took. The matches served as a way to channel his anger into something he liked to do, which was beat people up and look fly while doing it. The music, along with Eddie’s character work in the ring, shaped his persona since his mic time was, well, less than limited. Eddie did a lot with a little. He used this music to set up the story he wanted to tell every night.
5. “Wreck” - Mankind
Once Mankind became everyone’s favorite underdog, the horror music just didn’t fit. Neither did the remix version. Jim Johnston eventually found the right notes with “Wreck,” a song that evokes images of Mankind falling down steps, getting bashed by a chair, thrown off a cage, but also brandishing Mr. Socko. Mick Foley bled into Mankind, giving him tons of personality while making him lovable. The car wreck at the beginning summarizes Mankind’s philosophy and most of his matches. Mankind risked life and limb to get the W every single night. He got back up no matter how hard he went down and created a real bond with the audience in the process.
The Mankind who used this music 180 degrees from the original incarnation, it’s sometimes hard to believe it's the same person underneath the mask.
6. “Deliverance” - Bayley
Speaking of a 180, let’s talk about Bayley. The former hugger took a page from Eddie’s book. Bayley became so disgusted with the fans and her opponents, she decided to become a role model for us all. This is role model music. Everything about Bayley is different since she told the fans her truth. She even has a catchphrase now!
Bayley inverted everything about her good girl persona. She went from a great wrestler who just so happened to be the world’s biggest wrestling fan, to a great wrestler who loves being really good at wrestling. Her face character was so unique that she needed a drastic change for the heel turn to work. The music is a direct reflection of that. This song isn’t bouncy or the least bit inviting. It’s actually a bit obnoxious. Sounds perfect, right?
7. “Metalingus” - Edge
For a certain generation of fans, Edge as the “Rated-R Superstar” is all they know. The rest of us remember the brooding—no pun intended—guy who ran with Christian and Gangrel, then eventually just Christian and became a part of one of WWE’s greatest tag teams. Edge’s good guy character was like a high school senior pulling pranks with his best friend and just having a good time. Once he went solo with a desire to be the big man on campus, he became a hard-edged college senior. No longer content to play “little boy” games, he needed to pull out all the stops to achieve greatness. The “ultimate opportunist” was born and the rest is...you know.
The song incorporates the opening lyrics from his very first WWE theme and then goes in a completely different direction. That’s a dope nod to continuity but also audio storytelling. Edge grew as a character before our very eyes in every possible way. The angsty teenager turned into driven and despicable man ready to kill everyone on sight if need be. Like Eddie Guerrero’s WCW theme before it, “Metalingus” does subtle character work on a pretty big level. Props to everyone involved on picking that song and making it fit as well as it does.
8. “Head of the Table” - Roman Reigns
There’s not much to say about this one yet other than it needed to happen. The Tribal Chief rules and his story is still going strong. In a few years, this may go higher. But as for now, I had to Acknowledge Him.
9. “Sting” - Sting
Another aptly named WCW theme. When Sting went from a colorful guy who may or may not be surfer to an instrument of vengeance, clearly this song wasn’t going to cut it anymore. What WCW came up with was something ominous, heavy on strings, brimming with percussion, and filled with dread. It fit Sting’s mood as a man who felt betrayed by his people (WCW) with no love for the enemy (nWo). He rebuilt himself as a loner who loomed in the shadows and struck only when necessary.
One could argue that mystique went away the more he showed up on TV and the song lost its...sting, but hey, hindsight is 20/20. It’s also the only example of this list of a face altering their persona and music while still remaining a face.
10. “Time Is Now” - John Cena
When John Cena switched from heel to the mega face who ran the place, he went to this absolute banger. “Time Is Now” is perfect “good guy” music to get an area on its feet.
There’s not much more to say about it. Cena embodied this song and no matter what he does outside of wrestling, he still does.
That’s our list. Anything you’d change to make it better?