There were really only a few elements you need to stand out for an old-school professional wrestler. Good skills on the microphone. A solid gimmick. High-test steroids. Perfecting the insane look of a man who has just done 10 rails of cocaine and stumbled into an Orlando-area Planet Hollywood only to find that every single person who has ever wronged you is sitting inside, and you've suddenly been given the green light to crack every single one of them over the head with a chair without repercussions. And, of course, a solid entrance theme.

But not everyone can come out to the iconic glass shattering of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Most wrestlers will never set the tone for their match by matching the theatrics of the Undertaker's slow, dark walk to the ring. Most, truthfully, will have some completely forgettable track that pairs perfectly with a completely forgettable career. But there are an unlucky few who had to strut down that ramp with a score that sure makes it feel like their biggest rival wasn't waiting in the ring, but was backstage somewhere with a keyboard and some truly bad intentions …

Hulk Hogan - Real American

If a thin blue line Punisher skull on the back of a lifted truck came to life, it would be Hulk Hogan's early entrance theme Real American. This one is an absolute classic for all of the wrong reasons. It paired perfectly with the Hulkster's jingoistic gimmick of the time. I just love picturing that Hogan here is a "real" American.

 With how popular he was at the time, I'd wager that a lot of people from around the world saw this and heard this and just thought that all adult men in the US were like. Stupidly goddamn jacked, tanned to the point of having skin that looked like the mystery meat in a Subway lineup, and so goddamn psychotic and reckless that despite going completely bald on top of their heads, they still grew out perfectly straight yellow doll hair out the back. 

No wonder we were so feared at the time. If there was an army of these mutant Americans charging at me, I'd bang a U-turn, too.

Mr. Ass - I'm An Ass Man

I'm an ass man.

Yeah, I'm an ass man. Yeah!

I love to love 'em.

I love to kick 'em.

I love to shove 'em.

I love to stick 'em.

Truthfully, I don't know that a song has ever had a better opening than the Mr. Ass theme. And you know what's wild? It just goes off the rails even further from those insane lyrics above. I've got a love/hate relationship with this theme song because it's undoubtedly bad, but it's also a song that I'm requesting to be buried to when they lower me into the dirt. Only in wrestling could there be a man whose entire gimmick is that he's love ass, and, because of that, a professional musician has to lock himself in the studio and write a song about how much he likes cool asses but also loves kicking cool asses, sticking cool asses, and present it back to him so that the Ass Man can walk to the ring to a song about cool asses. Goddamit, this song sucks, but it's a cool ass song.

Kung Fu Naki

Oof.

When it comes to wrestling history, particularly its portrayal of Asian wrestlers and gimmicks, there's really no other word than oof that comes to mind. There was a long lineage of taking extremely talented wrestlers from Japan and trying to westernize them by giving theme characters and gimmicks that old-timey cartoon artists might even not pick up the pen for. This pile of crap is from 2008. Two thousand EIGHT. 

Forget the fact that the wrestler here is Japanese, while Kung Fu is Chinese; it's a perfect example of this weird time stasis that wrestling sometimes exists in. Specifically, Vince McMahon's wrestling brain. A brain which has, of course, produced plenty of hits, but also a brain that will sometimes dribble down out of his nose, slither across a conference room table, slip into a time machine to spend a week back in 1954 in Vince's youth, pop back in, right up through his nose, and Vince will come to, wild-eyed and grinning and say, "I've got it. By god, I've got it." And it, of course, will be a dated, steaming pile of stereotypical stuff.

Red Rooster

The Red Rooster's theme song proves that you don't always need lyrics in a wrestling entrance to make it truly horrific. Starting a wrestling song with a sound effect is common. Stone Cold's shattering glass, or a car coming to a screeching halt, when it works, it really works. When it's one of life's most universally-agreed-upon annoying sounds, a damn rooster screeching in the morning, you're not exactly stepping onto that ramp with your best foot forward. You'd have more luck if the AOL dial-up tone was played at seven thousand decibels in the audience before your song hit.

Forget that; I'd feel more confident stepping out in my tights if the opening note of my theme was the stiff, through-the-teeth inhale your boss makes right before he tells you you're about to have to work over the weekend. If the company music guy came to me with this theme, I'd have to have been boning his wife because there's absolutely no justifiable reason to do this to man's career unless he's done you great harm.

The Big Show

The Big Show's theme proves that you don't need the sound of a blindingly annoying animal to ruin something right off the bat. You just need what sounds like a man birthing out a Chipotle burrito-sized dump into a urinal at a Buffalo Wild Wings to make it even worse. The Big Show's theme here sounds like something made and sung by the guys from South Park. Nobody actually sings like this, right? It's like the guy from Police Academy doing Eddie Vedder through his butthole instead of his mouth. 

Even if you're seven feet tall and five hundred pounds and stomping down the ring towards me, the second this music hits, I'm going to be laughing at your ass. Come on down, big man, come beat my ass, but I'm still going to be laughing before you put me into a coma because you mic'd up actual explosive diarrhea and walked down here to it to knock me out.

Rob Conway - Just Look at Me

"Alright, so hear me out. I've got a great idea for a wrestling theme that's going to really set the stage for a fight. Let the audience know that a big bad bastard is about to step through that curtain and kick somebody's ass. I mean, really stomp a mudhole in their ass. This song is going to play, and you're instantly going to know that this dude means business. That he's the toughest man in that locker room, and he's here to take over. That's because this song? This song is going to be performed by Randy Newman's talentless cousin. Because guys, nothing says wrestling like Randy goddamn Newman."

Big Boss Man - Hard Times

You might think that creating a character off of a violent, insane, redneck corrections officer would be a bad idea, but that's just because … well, that's because you took one goddamn second to think at all. Back in these old days of wrestling, that just didn't happen, so you needed a theme song to match the hair-brained BS characters themselves. Every cop that gets punished for abuse should have to do their perp walk down the aisle to this song. Someone should be holding their white frame Oakley's tantalizingly out of reach as this butthole theme ushers them to their new life on the other side of justice.

Ted Dibiase Jr.

One of the things about most of the themes we've heard is that they lean more towards "rock." Or for the older ones, that more synthesizer, '80s sound. But don't worry, they still tried to ride newer waves and failed as spectacularly as well. In the theme song for the son of the legendary Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, Jr.'s autotuned track raps about how cool money is and how cool it is to come from money. 

It's actually kind of perfect. While it feels like his dad earned it and had the great theme to back it up, this is the audio equivalent of a trust fund kid to its fullest. It's lazy. It's uninspired. And it sounds like it would be played in the basement of mommy and daddy's palatial mansion by their forgotten child who's just down there doing drugs and has been given zero tools to leave this bubble and interact in the real world with people who maybe don't… COME FROM MONAAAAAAY, AND COME FROM CLAAAAAASSSS.

Steven Regal - A Real Man’s Man

You know what real men do? They commission other dudes to write songs about how manly they are. They say, "Hey, bro, I know you know I'm a real goddamn man. But I need more people to know about it. So I'm going to need you to write a song and sing a song about me being a man so that other people can finally get it. Oh, and yeah, we're going to need to make a music video to go with it. That's just what men do. Write and record music videos about being a top, tough guy. We'll just throw in footage of me carrying wood around and shaving and, hell, I don't know, I guess I'll squeeze a buttload of oranges, and we'll call it a day. People will finally know I'm all man when my music video comes out to prove it."

American Males

The words "American males" blare out at the beginning of this song, sung by a nasal wiener voice that seems to undergo puberty mid-intro. At that point, it morphs into the generic rock vocals every divorced dad does over an REO Speedwagon/VanHalen/Winger karaoke track before dropping pipping hot lines like:

When you see them comin' better run for cover,

Girls, you don't need a weekend lover,

Uhhh, American males

If they want to talk to you, you better not listen,

You might wind up in critical condition,

Ha-Ha! American males

Then the phrase "American males" just repeats FOREVER. For the rest of your days, this guy saying "American males" runs through your head. It guides you through life, becoming your life. You can no longer separate your life from the lives of the American males.

You are the American male, American male, American male, American male …

"But, I'm a woman from Canada?"

Doesn't matter; pull your driver's license out. It now says you're an AMERICAN MALE.

Top Image: John McKeon/Wiki Commons, kskhh/Wiki Commons

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