I'm going to be honest, here: As a pro wrestling fan who swore off the stuff after WCW hired Vince Russo (come on), I was under the impression that WWE Raw--at the US Airways Center next Monday--was basically a miasma of post-grunge and post-post-grunge and rap-rock at this point, and that its wrestlers were basically into the same stuff. Compared to Jake the Snake's theme, this was obviously a huge step down.
But Benjamin Leatherman, our actual clubs editor and de facto pro wrestling editor, let me know I was wrong. Which was easy for him, since he'd interviewed CM Punk about it a while back on this very blog. Here, then, as penitence, are five wrestlers whose musical tastes might surprise you.
Especially if your last Favorite Wrestler was Koko B. Ware.
5. Daniel Bryan
The erstwhile Bryan Danielson's idiosyncratic tendencies earned hima GQ interview
. ("He carries himself like your friend's half-awkward stoner little brother.")
It also led the all-too-brief WWE Champion to a song with Kimya Dawson about Lou Albano--you may remember him from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, if you weren't a WWF fan. It's just proof that pro wrestling crosses considerably more cultural boundaries than those of us who were made fun of for it in middle school had any right to expect.
4. Chris Jericho
What's surprising isn't the music Fozzy plays--their aggressive guitars and Jericho's growling vocals could fit into aRaw
promo without any trouble. It's that it exists at all, and still exists. Unlike most celebrity-fronted bands, Fozzy has continued apace for 13 years, now, touring regularly and putting out five albums.
It's not his day job, exactly, but it's definitely crossed over from hobby into a job. So here's to the Man of 1,004 Holds, even if I'll never enjoy "Spider in My Mouth" quite as much as I do a good lionsault.
(Related note: What was with those WCW theme songs in the late '90s that were just karaoke versions of grunge anthems? Jericho had a barely disguised version of "Evenflow," and I'm not going to lie--I heard Diamond Dallas Page's "Self High Five" before I heard Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit.")
3. Randy Savage
One of the greatest wrestlers of the '80s--seriously, YouTube that match with Ricky Steamboat everybody talks about if you aren't one of the people talking about it--took a late-career trip into slow-jam territory to pay tribute to Mr. Perfect on "My Perfect Friend."
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The best thing about it: It sounds exactly like you'd expect a Saturday Night Live sketch about the Macho Man doing slow jams would sound. The worst thing about it: Everybody involved with wrestling in the '80s dying young, which is both sad on its face and makes "My Perfect Friend" a surprisingly fraught novelty track at parties.
2. Mick Foley
All three of Mick Foley's pro wrestling gimmicks are big-enough fans of Tori Amos towrite an article about their fandom on Slate
, even though that's ahuge
breach of kayfabe for the Dude Love character.
I looked out the dressing room door and saw the Japanese preliminary wrestlers taking down the ropes, beginning the process of putting the barbed wire around the ring. The wire they used was the real stuff: cold and uncaring, capable of tearing flesh in a hurry. I knew I had about 30 minutes before the wiring process was completed--a half-hour to undergo a drastic mental transformation. I took out my battered Sony Walkman and, after great deliberation, bypassed the obvious hard-rock selections. Finding solitude in a far corner of the frigid backstage area, I saw a cloud of my own breath as I pressed the play button. "Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens/ Wipe my nose, get my new boots on."
"When you gonna make up your mind?" Tori Amos asked me inside that frigid dressing room. "When you gonna love you as much as I do?"
1. CM Punk
Unlike, say, The Rockers or Techno Team 2000, it's pretty easy to tell that CM Punk's gimmick is not just a gimmick. Well--if itis
, at least, he takes kayfabe more seriously than anybody has in 20 years, seeing ashe held court with us
back in 2010 about straight edge favorites old and new.
NT: What are your top five bands of all time?
CM: Oh my god! Top five bands of all time? (whistles) That's a big deal. This is knee-jerk list, definitely nothing that's concrete and it'll probably change the instant I hang up the phone with you. In no particular order: The Clash, Misfits, Faith No More, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Minor Threat.
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And given pro wrestling's long-standing substance abuse problems, namedropping Earth Crisis has to be the most surprising musical taste of all.