On our last Shouts from the Back Row podcast about “The Most Embarrassing Albums We Own”, I talked about all the albums in my collection that feature singing from professional wrestlers. Of course, if you know me well, that revelation shouldn’t surprise you at all, but that still doesn’t make it okay. Here is the cover art for World Wrestling Federation-produced music albums that I bought on their original release and still own today – on cassette tape, no less!
Anyway, the cross-promotion between professional wrestling and music began in the mid-1980s with the explosion of MTV and the evolution of “The Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection”. It all started when legendary WWF manager Captain Lou Albano became friends with Cyndi Lauper and played her father in the music video for her smash hit, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”.
Cyndi Lauper would soon find herself involved in a wrestling storyline that built up to the WWF’s first Wrestlemania event and the mainstream exposure the WWF received from this cross-promotion to the music industry made for a successful pro wrestling boom the likes of which had never been seen before. It was probably inevitable that a music album would be released where wrestlers tried their hands at singing. The end result was The Wrestling Album, and wrestlers have been churning out atrocious music ever since. Truth be told, some wrestling music out there is actually pretty awesome and I’d be happy to a column on the best wrestling songs of all time in the future. However, given the podcast we just did, I thought it only appropriate to do a spotlight on ten of the very worst. There’s no way I could really rank these songs by their awfulness as I wanted to give a full sampling of bad wrestling music from many different albums and eras.
Have yourself a listen, if you dare…
“Captain Lou” – Captain Lou Albano:
We have Captain Lou Albano to thank for the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection”, so it’s only appropriate that he would get his own track on The Wrestling Album. Unfortunately, it would up being the very worst track and an all-out assault on the senses. With the legendary George “The Animal” Steele providing background vocals (or should I say, background noises), “Captain Lou” is actually a cover of a song performed by a band named NRBQ in the 1970s. Unfortunately, Captain Lou himself did the singing here and if there is anyone with a voice that does not mesh with the concept of singing, it’s him. This would not be the last time that Captain Lou attempted to unleash his musical gifts upon the world, as anyone who’s ever watched The Super Mario Bros. Super Show can attest to. Do the Mario, everybody!
“Stand Back” – Vince McMahon:
Well, since Vince McMahon used the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection” to earn millions, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that he would want to try his hand at singing as well. It would be the WWF’s second musical release, Piledriver – The Wrestling Album 2, when Vince would finally test out his vocals for a little number called “Stand Back”. Vince would soon perform a live rendition of this song at the 1987 Slammy Awards and show off such embarrassing dance moves that this footage has haunted him ever since. Nowadays, it’s pretty obvious that the song was a metaphorical message from Vince McMahon to all the other wrestling promoters in the country that he was going to put them out of business and they had better “Stand Back”! The message itself is unpleasant enough, but imagine receiving it in the form of a terrible song!
“Wimpbusters” – Jerry “The King” Lawler:
The “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection” was not the first time that wrestling promotions had experimented with the idea of doing a cross-promotion with popular music. I’m a big aficionado of old-school Memphis wrestling, and even non-wrestling fans are probably familiar with the legendary feud between Jerry “The King” Lawler and comedian Andy Kaufman. After Elvis Presley, Jerry Lawler is probably the most popular figure in the history of Memphis, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he would try his hand at singing. Lawler was frequently embroiled in feuds with wimpy manager Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart, who had a legitimate background in music before he got involved in wrestling. Since Ghostbusters fever was running wild in 1984, Lawler and Hart decided to team together to create a parody song called “Wimpbusters” and even produced a full-fledged music video for it. Unlike many of the other selections on this list, I’d say this song is both awful and awesome at the same time!
“The WrestleRock Rumble” – Verne Gagne:
After the WWF’s massive success with the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection”, you just knew that other wrestling promotions out there would try to copy their formula – with disastrous results! The rival American Wrestling Assocation was run by old-school wrestling legend Verne Gagne, who always believed that wrestling didn’t need a lot of razzle dazzle and should just be a simple formula of two guys in tights fighting each other. However, when business was going down the tubes, that didn’t stop Verne from trying to do his own cross-promotion between wrestling and music and a godawful rap song called “The WrestleRock Rumble” was born. The tune is an obvious knockoff of the “The Super Bowl Shuffle”, the hugely popular rap song from the 1985 Chicago Bears, and this video features numerous AWA wrestlers like Shawn Michaels, Curt Hennig and Scott Hall making sad attempts at rapping. My God, you could not find a person who looked lamer or less cool while trying to rap than AWA announcer Killer Ken Resnick, i.e. this guy!
Well… except for maybe the 60-year old Verne Gagne, who tries his hand at rapping by reading the lyrics off a piece of paper! Needless to say, “The WrestleRock Rumble” did not solve the AWA’s financial woes and they would be out of business less than five years later.
“Tatanka Native American” – Tatanka:
Whenever Simon Cowell was being unfairly harsh while criticizing a contestant’s musical ability on American Idol, I always thought their obvious retort should have been: “Yeah… well, you executive produced Wrestlemania: The Album, motherfucker!”. Produced in the United Kingdom in 1993, Wrestlemania: The Album is a godawful collection of songs which are basically a techno remixes of wrestlers shouting out their catchphrases. Most of the wrestlers here don’t really sing per se, but the results are still painful on the ears. Each and every one of these songs is irredeemably terrible, but the worst may be the tune for Native American wrestler Tatanka. The main reason for that is probably the chorus, which repeats the words “Tatanka… Buffalo!” over and over again! Listen to this song if you must, but you may soon find yourself wearing a straitjacket in a rubber room, repeating a constant loop of “Tatanka… Buffalo!”.
“Never Been a Right Time to Say Goodbye” – Bret “The Hitman” Hart:
You know, Wrestlemania: The Album is just so bad that it deserves to have two tracks featured on this list! I think the sappy love song “Never Been a Right Time to Say Goodbye” deserves its time in the sun because it may be the only time you’ll ever hear the legendary Bret “The Hitman” Hart making an attempt to sing. Well, I guess it’s not so much singing as reciting some lyrics into the microphone. While all the other songs on this album at least focus on the wrestler and their persona, I really don’t know what the fuck a song about breaking up with someone has to do with Bret Hart! It’s not like he was ever involved in any wrestling storylines where he broke up with someone and he didn’t get divorced from his real-life wife until many years later. However, in Bret’s autobiography, he was pretty open about screwing around a lot while he was on the road, so maybe this song was intended as a message to one of his mistresses. Whatever the rationale behind it, it’s still a pretty godawful song. So, once again: thank you, Simon Cowell!
“Put a Little Ass On It” – Rikishi:
The WWF finally got out of its habit of allowing its wrestlers to sing, and most of the albums they’ve released during the last 15 years have only featured their wrestlers’ entrance themes, which are generally a lot of fun to listen to. However, in 2004, they inexplicably decided to let their talent test their vocals in front of a microphone again for an album entitled WWE Originals and the results were about as awful as you would expect. Most of the songs featured aren’t even fun on a camp level and are just kind of boring, but it does have at least one tune of standout awfulness. Their popular 400-pound Samoan superstar, Rikishi, had a gimmick where he would perform a move called the “Stinkface” which involved him rubbing his large ass in his opponents’ faces (don’t ask!), so they let him perform a love ballad on this album called “Put a Little Ass On It”. Rikishi’s rendition of this song is embarrassingly off-key, but all other problems are secondary to the fact that… well, the song is called “Put a Little Ass On It”! I don’t care what kind of fetish you have, rubbing your ass in someone’s face is not romantic!
“Beach Patrol” – Hulk Hogan:
Some wrestlers have been so inspired by the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection” that they have made the ill-advised decision to release a musical album of their own. Such was the case when Hulk Hogan formed a group called “The Wrestling Boot Band” and they released a much-maligned album entitled Hulk Rules in 1995. The album is somewhat infamous for being a huge ego trip for the Hulkster since eight of its ten songs feature the world “Hulk” in the title! There are so many awful songs for the choosing that it’s hard to make a definitive decision about which one is the worst. The rap song, “I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac”, is probably the most infamous, but for my money, the most hilarious tune is probably “Beach Patrol”, mainly because you get to hear the Hulkster make a pathetic attempt at being hip by rapping out popular catchphrases from the time such as: “Whoomp, There It Is!” and “Hey, Girlfriend!”.
It’s also worth noting that Hulk’s wife, Linda Hogan, sings a song on the album entitled “Hulk’s the One” where she exclaims that Hulk is the only man for her. Well… except for her son’s 19-year old friend, whom she eventually divorced Hulk for! Anyway, if the last track didn’t satisfy your Hulk Hogan rapping quotient, I’m including the aforementioned “I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac” as a bonus.
“Be a Man” – Randy “Macho Man” Savage:
I already showcased this tune in my tribute to the late, great Randy Savage, but it bears repeating on this list. The Macho Man pretty much kept himself out of the spotlight for over a decade after retiring from the wrestling business, but he briefly surfaced to make a cameo appearance in Spider-Man and to record his own rap album entitled “Be a Man”. The album was not successful and pretty much killed Savage’s hopes of becoming a rap star, but his title tune is an interesting study in batshit insanity. “Be a Man” features Savage throwing out an open challenge to fight Hulk Hogan, but this wasn’t part of some wrestling storyline. All indications are that Savage was REALLY pissed at Hogan at the time and wanted to fight him for REAL! Apparently, the two men eventually buried the hatchet and were at peace with each other when Randy died, but he did leave behind quite a musical reminder of his former hatred for the Hulkster. The rest of the rap album is a bit too generic to be memorably bad, but “Be a Man” is a comedic work of art.
“American Males” – The American Males:
Unlike the other selections on this list, this track doesn’t actually feature the wrestlers themselves making an attempt to sing, but it is regarded by many fans to be the worst wrestling entrance music of all time. The American Males were a tag team formed by WCW in 1995, which consisted of Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs, who always talked about how much they loved women, but came out to the ring looking like Chippendales dancers while clapping over their heads in time to their music. As you can see by the above photo, there was nothing remotely homoerotic about these guys at all! I don’t know why anyone thought “American Males” was a good name for a team. I mean, aren’t the majority of wrestlers out there American males? Anyway, the team had their own title song and I don’t think I need to explain to you what’s wrong with it. Just listen to this track for a couple seconds and once you hear the main chorus, you’ll exactly know what I’m talking about. Warning: Once the chorus from this song enters your head, it will NEVER leave! Listen at your own risk…