One night not too long ago, I was traipsing through Bulldog's Basement™ with the expressed purpose of trying to find old wrestling crap to review, when I came across a ziploc baggie with three WWF audio cassettes, which were a vintage of somewhere between 1990 and the year 200 AC.
What was on the cassettes? What even are cassettes, for anyone reading this under the age of twenty? Were they worth keeping in a ziploc baggie for all these years? And did I use the term "traipsing" correctly in the previous paragraph?
LET'S FIND OUT!
WWF Superstar Theme Music II
As shown in the above photo, this cassette was limited to members of the WWF Fan Club, meaning I probably "borrowed" this from my Wrestling Merchandise and Memories podcast co-host Stu Stone (who was a noted member of said club) and am about 30 years late in returning it to him. It's also possible that we purchased these at WWF house shows back in the day, so it was probably one of thsoe two scenarios....
This cassette was essentially a collection of six theme songs boiled down to about one minute each (which is fine if you're listening to The Bushwhackers' ultra-repetitive two-chord song, but quite upsetting when you're just getting to the blues-y guitar solo of Big Boss Man's "Hard Time" theme and it starts fading to black.
Fun fact: Most of these theme songs were given cute names that were never, ever repeated again on WWF programming, and even in later compilations such as the WWE The Music three-disc set. So while they may have referred to songs as "Bushwhacker Boogie" "Hooooooo Hustle" and "Superfly Snuka Samba" (I made the last one up, btw), this was the ONLY place they'd ever have such lame cartoony names. Maybe on episodes of Prime Time Wrestling, too?
Must-listen track: "Demolition Daze" (simply referred to as "Demolition" on the Piledriver album) is an incredible heavy metal anthem composed by Rick Derringer and is a tune that will hopefully find its way into a hall of fame some day.
WWF Superstars Theme Music III
I know what you're thinking.... why was volume 2 called "WWF Superstar" singular and volume 3 called "WWF Superstars" plural? Only Craig DeGeorge knows for sure.
Like WWF Superstar (singuar) II, this was also a Fan Club freebie, I'm fairly certain this cassette was picked up at a house show in Toronto. Although Stu Stone may have picked up the tab for it and I still never gave it up. Whoops.
Unlike its predecessor cassette, this volume didn't have cutesy nicknames like "Don Muraco Disco" or whatever. Having said that, most of the song names were still pure bullshit. For example, the theme song for The British Bulldog (no relation) was NEVER called "God Save The Queen" (™ The Sex Pistols). Why not use the actual name "Rule Britannia" if they've already secured the rights to it? And Ted DiBiase would have been caught dead coming to the ring to the "Million $ Rap". Sorry, folks.
Must-listen track: LOD's "What A Rush" is iconic in that it's totally trying to be "Iron Man" without actually using the same chords.
WWF Full Metal: The Album
Unlike the previous two cassettes, this was an actual, commercially-available, album, containing 14 full-length theme songs from what was (arguably) the beginning of The Attitude Era circa late-1996.
If you're not 90 years old like I am and have no access to a cassette player, all the tracks can be found here. The first two songs, "We're All Together Now" and "Thorn In Your Eye" are actually the themes from the old Raw Is War/War Zone days.
Beyond the opening songs, you've got "Diesel Blues" (the entrance theme for Diesel that, if for not for the truck horn at the beginning, could easily be confused with theme of television's "Roseanne"), "Psycho Dance" (which, sadly, isn't a version of "The Safety Dance" but Sycho Sid's shitty theme song from this era) and "Graveyard Symphony" (The Undertaker's song, for anyone else who is getting sick and tired of the cute theme nicknames already.
Must-listen track: Goldust's "Goldust" -- to me, one of the most iconic entrance themes for any pro wrestler, past or present.