Wrestling and music go hand-in-hand. Each one, when matched accordingly, can enhance the other. As you can imagine, this is not always the case. WWE had a fruitful run of songs in the early 2000's, as you can see in my Top 15 Best list, but have been less than successful as of late. Truthfully, most of the themes are not bad, just aggressively forgetful and out of place. There used to be, or at least there seems to have been, a conscious effort to match the tone of the event to the featured track. Today, it feels much more random. Almost as if the company is picking what they think is "in" in a sad and desperate attempt to be viewed as "cool" again.
I was scared to put this list together because people are much more likely to yell at me for not liking something than the other way around. Please remember, this is all subjective. There is no objective, empirical way of measuring art. If you love one of the songs on my list, please don't let it dissuade you from continuing to enjoy it.
- Artists can only appear on the list once (as the lead performer).
- WWE Originals were not included. (Rey Mysterio's Crossing Borders being the most notable omission)
This was a difficult list to compile. After my first pass, I had nearly 70 titles jotted down, any of which could easily be swapped in or out of this unsavoury collection. Wrestling matches should, to me at any rate, feature a sense of intensity and aggression. The choreographed promo packs (which WWE has stopped doing consistently) should hype you up for a big event. The following 15 are the ones that failed most at eliciting any sense of emotion.
15. Demi Lovato - Cool for the Summer
Event: SummerSlam (August 23, 2015)
Location: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
Women’s Three-Team Elimination Match: Team PCB (Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Paige) defeated Team B.A.D. (Naomi, Sasha Banks, and Tamina) and Team Bella (Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, and Nikki Bella)
Winner Takes All match for both the WWE World Heavyweight and WWE United States Championship: Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Champion) defeated John Cena (U.S. Champion)
Notes: Of all the events, SummerSlam has been consistently the most disappointing in terms of WWE’s musical choices. I want to reiterate again that these are not all necessarily bad songs. For me, they either don’t fit thematically, help to amplify the feuds or work in conjunction with a video package. When I picture a show headlined by Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, a song about youthful lust doesn't immediately spring to mind.
14. Pitbull (ft. Flo Rida & LunchMoney Lewis) - Greenlight
Event: WrestleMania 33 (April 2, 2017)
Location: Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida
Fatal-4-Way elimination match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship: Bayley (c) defeated Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax, and Sasha Banks
Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) defeated Goldberg (c)
Notes: A popular song with no tangible connection to the show. The closest it comes is by screaming “Miami” a bunch of times, but even that’s a few hours away.
13. Outasight - Now or Never
Event: Survivor Series (November 18, 2012)
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana
Singles match for the WWE Divas Championship: Eve Torres (c) defeated Kaitlyn
Triple threat match for the WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) (with Paul Heyman) defeated John Cena and Ryback
Notes: Maybe I’m jaded, but hopeful pop songs don’t work for me when it comes to professional wrestling. Maybe if the lyrics told a story that paralleled with what was happening on the show I could get behind it, but that’s not the case. It’s too bad because this was a solid event that featured the debuting Shield.
12. The Weeknd - False Alarm
Event: Survivor Series (November 20, 2016)
Location: Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match: Team Raw (Alicia Fox, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax, and Sasha Banks) (with Dana Brooke) defeated Team SmackDown (Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Naomi, and Natalya
Main Event: Goldberg defeated Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)
Notes: "The Night Wrestling Died". My friends and I almost travelled to Toronto for this event. Imagine our relief when the main event ended so quickly and we hadn't spent all that money. Aside from that though, I find the song rather annoying. The chorus is incredibly grating. Unless the vibe of the evening was supposed to be ‘video game car chase’, I’m not sure why it was selected. I’m not familiar with The Weeknd, but he seems to have a rather large following so I’m hoping he has better things to offer.
11. Fort Minor - Welcome
Event: SummerSlam (August 21, 2016)
Location: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
Singles match for the WWE Women's Championship: Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks (c)
Singles match for the inaugural WWE Universal Championship: Finn Bálor defeated Seth Rollins
Notes: As a fan of Linkin Park I have a hard time defending Mike Shinoda's solo work. I appreciate that it’s a song about underdogs and that they were able to use it on a card that featured some similar stories, but the tonal contrast is too large to ignore.
10. Ohana Bam - Blow Your Mind
Event: Royal Rumble (January 29, 2017)
Location: Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas
Singles match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) defeated Bayley
30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 33: Randy Orton won by last eliminating Roman Reigns
Notes: Nothing about this song (or event) lives up to the title.
9. I Fight Dragons - Money
Event: Money in the Bank (July 18, 2010)
Location: Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri
Singles match for the WWE Women's Championship: Layla (c) (with Michelle McCool) defeated Kelly Kelly (with Tiffany)
Steel Cage match for the WWE Championship: Sheamus (c) defeated John Cena
Notes: I like the attempt to match themes, but WWE picked the most lacklustre song about money possible. Take “Propane Nightmares” for example. Not a great song, but the sound worked for Cyber Sunday. Same thing with “Great Balls of Fire”. Not a great WWE theme, but given the name of the show you really only had one option. This, on the other hand, is dull and unnecessarily sombre. At least use Pink Floyd’s “Money” if you’re going to stray away from the original MITB theme that worked so well.
8. Will Roush - Watch This
Event: Fastlane (February 21, 2016)
Location: Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio
Singles match for the WWE Divas Championship: Charlotte (c) (with Ric Flair) defeated Brie Bella by submission
Triple Threat match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32: Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) and Dean Ambrose
Notes: Will Roush’s music sounds like a cheap carbon-copy of Flo Rida’s. That’s good news for WWE because they get to continue drawing from their preferred sound pool. Unfortunately, we’re still stuck listening to it.
7. Machine Gun Kelly (ft. James Arthur) - Go For Broke
Event: SummerSlam (August 20, 2017)
Location: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
Singles match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship: Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss (c) by submission
Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) defeated Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, and Braun Strowman
Notes: With SummerSlam, WWE seems to be going for a smokey, neon-clad, vinyl bar vibe. It's just not for me.
6. No Wyld (ft. Kamau and Wynne) - Air
Event: Elimination Chamber (February 12, 2017)
Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona
Singles match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship: Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss (c)
Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt defeated John Cena (c), The Miz, Baron Corbin, AJ Styles, and Dean Ambrose
Notes: As a genre fan, this song leaves a lot to be desired. It’s cut from the same mould as every other generic hip-hop track. Also, I keep coming back to this same point, but it was not used to help build the event. WWE’s video package team is great, I just wish they were given something to work with.
5. Flo Rida - How I Feel
Event: Survivor Series (November 24, 2013)
Location: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
7-on-7 Survivor Series elimination match: Total Divas (The Bella Twins (Brie Bella and Nikki Bella), Eva Marie, The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi), JoJo and Natalya) defeated True Divas (AJ Lee, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Kaitlyn, Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae and Tamina Snuka)
Singles match for the WWE Championship: Randy Orton (c) defeated Big Show
Notes: Flo Rida could have been on this list a handful of times, but I decided that this was the worst of his worst. Why WWE continues to use him is beyond me. As for this event, it might actually be worse than the song.
4. Kid Ink - Faster
Event: Fastlane (February 22, 2015)
Location: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
Singles match for the WWE Divas Championship: Nikki Bella (c) (with Brie Bella) defeated Paige
Singles match to determine the #1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31: Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan
Notes: Just because someone sings the lyric “faster” and are shown driving a car in the music video does not make it a good fit for a wrestling PPV. Another lazy selection, which is probably the best word to use when describing most of these song choices.
3. Major Lazer (ft. Wyclef Jean) - Reach for the Stars
Event: SummerSlam (August 18, 2013)
Location: Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
Women’s Singles match: Natalya (with Cameron and Naomi) defeated Brie Bella (with Eva Marie and Nikki Bella) by submission
Singles match for the WWE Championship with Triple H as special guest referee: Randy Orton defeated Daniel Bryan (c). This was Randy Orton's Money in the Bank cash-in match after Bryan had defeated John Cena to win the title.
Notes: How could anyone possibly listen to this song and get excited about “the biggest party of the summer”? As I type this article I’m getting progressively more frustrated because I have nothing nice to say and I feel like a broken record. But seriously, new age-reggae? C’mon, WWE, be better!
2. Nero - Doomsday
Event: Elimination Chamber (February 23, 2014)
Location: Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Singles match for the WWE Divas Championship: Cameron defeated AJ Lee (c) (with Tamina Snuka) by disqualification
Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (c) defeated Cesaro (with Zeb Colter), Christian, Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Sheamus
Notes: Dubstep. They thought dubstep was the best way to tell this story? Nothing against the genre, but please explain the connection to me because I can’t figure it out. This was during the height of the “YES” movement and I never once associated Bryan’s ascension with heavy synth, so clearly there is a huge disconnect between me and the company. Music used to mean something. Go back and watch WrestleMania X-7 and tell me I’m crazy. WWE produces TV. Big moments should be scored appropriately and this is just one of the countless shows that could have been elevated if it weren't for weak production. I understand they can’t all be perfect, but this one seems too obvious.
1. Kat DeLuna (ft.) Elephant Man - Whine Up
Event: SummerSlam (August 26, 2007)
Location: Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender to the WWE Women's Championship: Beth Phoenix won by last eliminating Michelle McCool
Singles match for the WWE Championship: John Cena (c) defeated Randy Orton
Notes: Only fitting we end with another song from SummerSlam. The Cena/Orton era is now in full swing and WWE’s musical selections are becoming increasingly uninspired. Will they ever get better? I’m not sure, but I suppose it couldn't get much worse.