Recently, we looked at WCW's first commercially-available music collection, the 1992 atrocity known as Slam Jam 1. In brief, it was a compilation of one-dimensional songs that were likely written without any prior knowledge of the wrestlers they were designed for - and none of the music stuck.
Fast forward seven years later, and WCW was a completely different wrestling company. They had experienced tons of success competing with WWF's Monday Night Raw, and while they were no longer steadily winning the ratings war, they were still a powerhouse and a strong number two.
WCW Mayhem: The Music, was released in 1999 by Tommy Boy Records, and featured a strange collection of mainstream songs, random commentary and popular entrance music.
This week, as part of WCW Wednesdays, we look track by track at the entries for this album, and pray that what we get is somewhat better than Slam Jam 1....
Make Some Noise (Mayhem Mega Mix)
The opening track of WCW Mayhem features voice clips of DJ Ran, David Penzer, Goldberg, Sting, Kevin Nash, Buff Bagwell, Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner and other WCW stars, speaking over a repetitive guitar and drum riff.
On the plus side, the track is only one minute and eleven seconds long, so definitely nothing too offensive.
Overall rating: Whatevs.
This song, performed by Purity, is billed as the WCW Monday Nitro theme song... but it SO isn't! Instead we have Tony Schiavone hyping Nitro for a thirty-second period (in fact, it sounds like it was taped during an episode of the show), and then the entire track is done. Makes as much sense as it sounds. And why not use the ACTUAL Monday Nitro theme here?
Overall rating: WHY?
This is the first of many songs on this album that are included for no apparent reason.
Don't get us wrong, this is perfectly fine as an Insane Clown Posse song, but there's no wrestler that it has been written for. So you could have easily skipped this track and no one would have been the wiser.
Overall rating: It's ICP. Either you love it or hate it. There is no in between.
Here Comes The Pain
Nope, nothing to do with Brock Lesnar. This is another song that was never used for a wrestling entrance theme - but it totally could have been! I actually like it a lot; it's sounds like something off the menu screen from SmackDown vs. Raw 2010, if that reference makes any sense. Slayer puts together a perfectly good theme song here, but of course, this being WCW, they completely ignore it.
Overall rating: A heavy metal theme that could have been used for virtually anyone on the roster.
After we hear Goldberg should his "Who's Next?" catchphrase and Mean Gene Okerlund introduce Da Man, this is just Goldberg's original entrance theme. Everyone's heard it before, and it worked a lot better than his WWE ripoff theme years later. There's also some crowd noise and "GOLD-BERG" chants piped in here, just like they did on Nitro.
Overall rating: I'm just happy that an actual WCW entrance theme is on this album of WCW entrance themes.
WCW devotees will remember that this was actually Goldberg's theme song for about three weeks in 1999, following an appearance by the song performers Metallica on Nitro. Personally, I don't really like the song too much - especially when "Invasion" was perfectly acceptable, but I get why WCW tried to co-brand with a band like Metallica.
Overall Rating: Meh.
What Up, Mach?
This may be the worst track on this CD, and yes, I'm talking about a soundtrack that includes a track where wrestling fans are counting to ten. Over a very confused heavy metal tune, some woman keeps asking "What up, Mach?" (as though Randy Macho Man Savage was EVER referred to as 'Mach') while Savage grunts "Oooooh yeah!" at random intervals. It's as though the producers realized at the last possible minute that they were contractually obligated to compose a song for Randy Savage.
Overall Rating: Shut up, Mach.
Another completely random song placed on here for no discernible reason. Although in all fairness, it was performed by Kid Rock, who was a very big deal back in 1999. But with lyrics like "From a 5th of ol' Jimmy Beam/We fryin' emcees up just like some motherf*cking Jimmy Dean Sausage pattys/ and smoking cabbies like it's no thing/Drinkin' more Colt's then the 45 king", I'm not sure this was "wrestling theme song" appropriate, especially at a time where WCW was backing down from their edgy image around this time due to the Standards & Practices department at Turner.
Overall rating: Fine. I guess. I don't care.
This track may be one of professional wrestling's most blatant rip offs EVER.... which certainly covers a lot of ground. This was the theme song for Diamond Dallas Page that is almost exactly "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from Nirvana. Weird Al Yankovic did a better cover than this! I mean, I'm shocked that they weren't sued by Nirvana for this one, or at the very least, I half expected to see the ghost of Kurt Cobain jump DDP in the ring one night on Nitro as payback. This version of "Self High-Five" is enhanced by Page saying such things as "D-D-P" and "Too Cool" into the microphone, and lots of crowd noise.
Overall rating: This was, at least, DDP's actual theme song.... so nevermind.
Oh, good.... ANOTHER random nu-metal song that has absolutely nothing to do with WCW. This one was written by Primer 55, a band that was (probably) last relevant when WCW was... but I don't follow them closely enough to know that for certain. Is the song okay? Yeah, I guess, and "Loose" actually became a hit single for the past the following year... but since WCW never did anything to promote this track, I don't feel super-obligated to do so, either.
Overall rating: They couldn't have at least made this, like, the official song of SuperBrawl or something?
One of the best theme songs WCW ever produced, this was the song for "Crow" Sting. The orchestral, vigilante-like tune is just perfect for the character, and I actually wish that WWE would have kept it for Sting's brief run there last year, instead of the dreck they ended up composing for him. One small complaint: at the very end they have a voiceover with Sting saying "Riddle me this, riddle me that. Who's afraid of the big black bat?", which is ABSOLUTELY unnecessary. The song spoke for itself, guys!
Overall rating: One of the two best tracks on this CD, hands down.
Seek And Destroy
Oh, for the love of.... WHY?!? This was the Sting theme song from back when he was regular old Surfer Sting (no, not "He's The Man Called Stiiiiiiiiing" that we reviewed last time). This was the heavy metal, very-typical-of-WCW theme that they used for him in the early 1990s, where you could almost hear Gary Michael Cappetta's voice crack as he shouted "This - Is - Stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!" Is the song the worst thing ever? Definitely not, but why would you remind people that your anti-hero Sting used to come to the ring to this crap?
Overall rating: Riddle me that, riddle me this - why would WCW include this shit?
This song actually makes me smile. Sure, it's on the cheesy side, but so was Buff Bagwell, so the theme actually fits him like a glove. I believe they even used it during his one WWF appearance, it was that synonymous with the guy. They even included his "I'm Buff, I'm The Stuff, And The Girls Just Can't Get Enough" catchphrase at the beginning.
Overall rating: Laugh at this tune if you must, but at least it gave Buff Bagwell a very distinct personality.... which is about all you can ask for in an instance like this.
WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK?!?! In 1998, Limp Bizkit did a cover of George Michaels' "Faith" - and it was remixed here for inclusion on an album about WCW wrestling. I mean.... the lyrics begin with "Well, I guess it would be nice/if I could touch your body/I know not everybody/has got a body like me (baby)". Absolutely not trying to come across as homophobic or anything; I'm just wondering what part of that makes sense for the intended audience here?
Overall rating: I heard that WCW Mayhem: The Music Two was set to include a remix of "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go"....
Where to begin here.... well, the obvious point would be that this is a BLATANT ripoff of Hulk Hogan's iconic "Real American" theme from the WWF. I mean, it wouldn't be any more obvious if the singer was "Dick Rerringer" instead of "Rick Derringer".... although Jimmy Hart actually wrote this ditty for The Hulkster. But the bigger problem is that this track has commentary by Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan for the ENTIRE SONG! Why?? It's like they recorded the audio off an episode of Nitro and turned it into a track. Seriously.
Overall rating: I feel strong about what's right and wrong. And I don't take trouble for very long...
And we're back to songs that having nothing do with WCW. Again, I definitely don't mind this song by Lyrical Giants (no relation to The Giant) - it's an aggressive rap track and the constant "Augh-OOH-AH!" makes for a catchy tune. But it doesn't, you know, belong on this CD given there's no connection to WCW or its competitors.
Overall rating: They should have put Hugh Morrus under a mask and called him Bone Crusher for the sole purpose of getting some use out of this song on their apparent WCW soundtrack.
Got Him In The Corner
This track begins with Tony Schiavone saying "He's got him in the corner, and here we go...." followed by the fans counting to ten, and Schiavone countering with "Oooooh, that's gotta hurt." And that's quite literally it. No music or anything. I'm not sure who in their right mind thought this would be a good idea to produce or include. If one had to pinpoint the exact reason WCW went out of business, it's probably because of "Got Him In The Corner".
Overall rating: I'd love to see someone call their local radio station and request "Got Him In The Corner" from WCW Mayhem: The Music. Wait... do radio stations even exist any more?
Pay Per View
This original track by Ruff Ryders (featuring Drag On, Jadakiss, Eve & Styles) starts with a Barry White-esque intro and then delves into a rap that mentions Kevin Nash, Thunder, Rey Mysterio, Ric Flair, The Four Horsemen, Kidman, Nitro, WCW, Jesse The Body Ventura, nWo, DDP, Bobby Heenan, Miss Elizabeth, The Cat, The Steiners, Sting, Goldberg, Eddie Guerrero.... and basically everything else you could think of when it comes to WCW.
Overall rating: This was never used for anything..... but it's not a bad track on its own. You have to dig the stream of constant wrestling references here.
Make The Crowd Roar
Performed by Big Punisher and Fat Joe (I think I saw them on an independent show), this rap is perfectly and yet again, has nothing do with any of the characters in WCW. And unlike "Pay Per View", there don't appear to be any direct references to actual competitors; they're just talking about generic wrestling. This song was okay, but not amazing.
Overall rating: I really hope that Big Punisher and Fat Joe enter this year's Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament.
I used to love this track back in the day; still do, in fact. It's a catchy hip hop tune that was used back when the nWo split into two factions (why isn't the original nWo song included on here; I just thought of that!). The only complaint I have here is that the track is too damn short - literally it's one minute and two seconds! You're telling me they couldn't have eliminated the "counting to ten" track instead and given this song a bit more breathing room?
Overall rating: Really cool track. It's such a shame that the nWo Wolfpac was broken up as quickly as it was; this could have become a more popular theme.
Yet another decent hip hop song that was a bunch of references to wrestling. This was performed by Cypress Hill, yet another big name featured on this CD. But.... I don't know. I'm not sure how many times I can say that these should have actually been theme songs instead of just existing on this CD. It's a shame.
Overall rating: Nope.
Count That Man Out
Remember how an earlier track just featured random counting and nothing in the way of actual music? This is exactly the same only, instead of counting to ten, the fans (and Tony Schiavone) count to three and the bell rings. That's it! Including the preamble and bell ringing, it's even seconds of my life I'll never get back again.
Overall rating: Is this a wrestling soundtrack or friggin' Sesame Street??? I half expect The Count to be a guest vocalist on this track so he can say "He's down for The Count; and I am The Count! Vun - two - three! Three! Ah ah ah!". But perhaps I'm overthinking this.
Give It Up
Yet another aggressive hip hop tune by artist Screwball that (say it along with me, kids) has nothing to do with professional wrestling. I mean, the lyrics are about "Imma show you how to bounce someone", but I believe the artist means "bounce" in a violent, murderous way - not in a pro wrestling kind of way. And even so.... who really cares?
Overall rating: This CD needs to "Give It Up" already! I mean, we're already on our 23rd track here!
Bow Wow Wow
No.... this track isn't for former WCW competitor The Dog, but rather a rap performed by Konnan. K-Dawg kicks things off by telling his opponent "Hey, Lex - I know you can hear me. So peep (?) this; there's Russian, there's Italian; there's French and there's creamy. Those are dressings. So tonight, get ready to bow down, toss my salad and peel my potatoes." Lovely. But other than that, it's actually a really solid track that's definitely worth a listen.
Overall rating: As much as I enjoy this song, Konnan's "Dawgz" from TNA is far superior.
Rap Is Crap
Remember how I said earlier that Sting's theme was one of my two favorite tracks on this CD? Well, this is the other one. Despite a cartoonish "The Wrestling Album" style introduction by Mean Gene Okerlund, Curt Hennig and his West Texas Rednecks put together a tune that is not only catchy, but funny as well. I can't say enough good things about this tune -- and the fact that WCW tried to ignore its immediate success (country music stations were actually playing it!) tells you everything you need to know.
Overall rating: If half the band hadn't passed on so quickly, there would be legitimate money in a West Texas Rednecks reunion tour. And that's a shoot!
From "Rap Is Crap" to.... actual crap. This is apparently the theme for WCW's Nitro Girls (Tony Schiavone even says so at the outset), but it's essentially your stereotypical early 90's hip hop theme. I can't stand the tune, and it legitimately gets annoying after about 15 seconds. Perfect for a dance troupe, I guess, but what a lousy way to finish off an album about professional wrestling.
Overall rating: This track makes me miss the one where Schiavone counts to three.