It’s one of the most unique programs on Canadian Television, a show that assesses the good and the bad of two other shows right after they finish airing on the same channel.
For three years, Aftermath has cast a critical eye on the WWE’s two weekly mainstays, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown. Appropriately scheduled to come on immediately after each show concludes (in the case of Raw, it follows the Tuesday afternoon replay just after 6 p.m.), the three-person panel breaks down the latest episodes and offers commentary on what worked and what didn’t in a half hour or less (depending on how long the last Raw replay goes over) twice a week on The Score.
Last October, Aftermath established its own blog on The Score’s official website. Besides following media stories involving professional wrestlers, there’s extended commentary on WWE programming, regular podcasts and even several exclusive video interviews with notable figures in the business.
Recently, just for fun, the site established brackets for a tournament to determine the greatest entrance theme of all time. (You know, the songs that play when wrestlers make their way to the ring.) 63 were selected by the bloggers themselves while the last spot, a wild card entry, was voted on by readers. It’s a great idea that’s already generated a lot of online comments.
Unfortunately, there are several problems with the way the whole concept has been laid out. Let’s go through them one by one:
1. Unspecified themes
When you examine the full list of contenders, for the most part you’ll notice a lot of wrestlers’ names without actual song titles beside them which in a good number of cases leads to considerable confusion. Consider the selection of Randy Orton. One would presume that Voices, the theme he’s been using since the spring of 2008, is the one that was picked because it’s the most recent.
But he’s had other notable themes. During his Legend Killer phase, he used Burn In My Light, which I always felt was a better song. Whatever theme was chosen should be listed in his bracket to clear up any doubts.
Kane is another performer who’s had more than one memorable theme over the course of his career. Currently, he’s using Veil Of Fire, a variation of at least one of his earlier heel entrances. But between 2002 and 2008, he used the Finger Eleven song, Slow Chemical, regardless of the direction of his character. So, which of his six themes is in the tournament?
Granted, when you see Shawn Michaels’ name, you immediately think of Sexy Boy and nothing else. In the case of Kofi Kingston, S.O.S comes to mind. Kurt Angle? I Don’t Suck. And even though he originally used Eye Of The Tiger and, for a very brief period, Hulk Hogan’s Theme (also used for the short-lived cartoon series, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N Wrestling), Hulk Hogan is most closely associated with Real American which was actually written for Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo during their US Express period. (Aftermath panelist Arda Ocal confirmed recently on the show that Real American is indeed in the tournament even though it’s not listed in the Hulk Hogan bracket. Hollywood Hulk is a separate contender.)
However, for those of us who remember more than one entrance theme for a number of these performers (The Fabulous Freebirds used Freebird before Badstreet U.S.A., to name yet another example), simply adding specific song titles next to their names would be a big help with the voting process.
2. Too many recent themes
I grew up in the era of The Wrestling Album and have many fond memories of the songs that were conceived for the wrestlers of the mid-to-late 80s and early 90s. Quite a few of those entrance themes have stood the test of time which makes me wonder why some of the stronger ones from that period weren’t selected for this silly tournament.
When he turned ‘face in 1987, Jake “The Snake” Roberts had a fantastically ominous instrumental entrance theme that perfectly suited his dark character. When wiley manager Slick, The Doctor Of Style, danced to the ring before a match, usually with Akeem (the former One Man Gang) grooving right next to him, we heard the delightfully hooky Jive Soul Bro, one of the earliest wrestling rap themes.
In the early 90s, Hacksaw Jim Duggan started coming out to his own catchy instrumental song helpfully punctuated with his trademark “Hoooo!” catchphrase. And what about All-American Boys which features The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers? (I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting.)
All were sadly snubbed for more recent themes for Brodus Clay, M.V.P and Kofi Kingston among others. (Honestly, are those tracks better than the ones I mentioned that were rejected?) Just because you’ve heard a relatively new entrance theme millions of times in the last few weeks/months/years doesn’t automatically make it a good choice for this tournament. (It’s only memorable because you can’t escape it, not because it’s anything spectacular.) Although there are a number of strong selections, past and present, that did make the cut, the overemphasis on the new hurts its overall credibility as a best-of-all-time tournament.
3. Why only one Wild Card spot?
What’s the point of having a fun little tournament like this when readers could only select one of their own favourites? It’s too late now but wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to have all interested parties vote for as many entrance themes as possible and then the 64 that acquired the most votes would make the cut? Perhaps this would have eliminated a number of unwelcome recent themes from the list.
4. Gorgeous George should share a bracket with Randy Savage
At some point during the beginning of his WWF run, Randy “Macho Man” Savage started using Pomp And Circumstance as his entrance theme. He did this for a very specific reason. He worshipped Gorgeous George.
Perhaps the most famous wrestler of the 50s and 60s, George was also the most influential. He dyed his hair blonde, wore colourful robes, had the squared circle sprayed with perfume so it wouldn’t smell of sweat, and generally behaved like a feminine narcissist. He also had an entrance theme: Pomp And Circumstance.
While the song is now mostly associated with Savage, give credit to the guy who did it first. Add Gorgeous George’s name to The Macho Man’s bracket.
Round one of voting for the Aftermath Blog’s Greatest Entrance Theme Tournament begins on Monday. Let the arguing begin.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, May 5, 2012