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    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    #ThemeSongTuesday (10/20/15): WWE Originals (Part 1)

    It's been twelve years since WWE Originals came out, and we at the Smark Henry offices thought it would be a great idea to look back at the only album in pro wrestling history to feature songs sung by wrestlers. What made this album unique was that every wrestler sang a song that was true to his/her musical tastes. 

    Our resident DJ and music connoisseur Stan Sy listened to every track on the album and listed his thoughts on one of the most quirky records Jim Johnston has ever come out with. Each song will be rated using the OG Cena scale, with one Cena being the lowest, and 10 Cenas being the highest. Let's do this! 

    Where's the Beer? (Segment 1) - Stone Cold Steve Austin & Jim Johnston

    This segment sets the tone for the entire album, with Stone Cold Steve Austin being the central character of the record.

    Austin and Jim Johnston banter back and forth about the song Austin's supposed to record. Austin wants something "hard and heavy", and Johnston fumbles around and gives him a blues loop that pisses the Texas Rattlesnake off within 10 seconds of the loop playing.

    It's actually funny imagining an irate Austin just laying into a flustered Jim Johnston, culminating in Johnston asking Austin to try something out on the acoustic guitar. Austin, who already insisted that an acoustic guitar won't satisfy "hard and heavy", ends up driving his foot through the guitar, giving Stone Cold a good laugh and just putting poor Jim Johnston in his place.

    We've Had Enough - Dudley Boyz

    When you first hear this track, don't be surprised if you start thinking about their current entrance theme. There's actually a strong resemblance between both tracks, particularly with the guitar riffs.

    There's something inherently awkward in hearing a guy with a native New York accent rapping like a G from the hood. Imagine Paul Heyman trying to break it down. That's 2003 Bubba Ray Dudley.

    D-Von Dudley, on the other hand, tried to sound like Ice Cube: an angry black dude from the ghetto who wanted to tell you about his reality. The problem is, when you're spitting lines like, "A God given package, asked all women // hard like steel, tougher than denim," you just end up sounding silly.

    It didn't help that both guys had a set cadence in their rapping that didn't showcase a smooth ebb and flow to their rhymes. It was like they were following some internal metronome and ran with that tempo all the way through.

    There was a New Jack reference in the fourth verse, though it seemed like they were burying the guy and making him look like a jabroni by calling him "flabby and sick". I just don't get it.

    Rating: 3 out of 10 Cenas

    I Just Want You - Trish Stratus



    Damn. I can actually imagine Trish serenading her man with this song while she's all alone in the apartment, swaying her hips for him.

    Look, this isn't the type of shit Keira Knightley churned out in Begin Again, but this isn't a bad pop effort from Trish Stratus. She and Johnston make the most out of her vocal range, and complement it with a decent melody, which makes you want to listen to this song on a cold, gloomy nights in October when you'd rather be with bae.

    And those phone conversation segments at the start and end... Man, now I remember why every man between 12 and 45 had a hard-on for Ms. Stratus.

    Rating: 8 out of 10 Cenas

    Crossing Borders - Rey Mysterio

    The song starts out awkwardly with some guitar strumming that makes you think of some scene in a Western set in Mexico. And then Mysterio warms the beat up and it drops and you're like, "alright, let's see what Rey-Rey can do." When he stars rapping, though, you're reminded why it's better off that he let his boys from P.O.D. do Booyaka.

    Crossing Borders is like a cheap ripoff of The APL Song, and that's not saying a lot because apl.de.ap divided people with that song. While I loved The APL Song, there's something annoying about a bilingual song, especially if you don't understand one of the languages that the singer flip-flops between.

    The song also ends awkwardly with the beat going on as Rey-Rey yells out random provinces in Mexico. You can imagine a 5'5 masked luchador in a recording studio yelling, "GUADALAJARA!!!" as loudly as he can. And it's just sad. I'm glad Rey Mysterio stuck to wrestling.

    Rating: 3 out of 10 Cenas

    Did You Feel It (Segment 2) - Stone Cold Steve Austin & Jim Johnston

    Stone Cold and Jim Johnston continue their dialogue as Austin tries to let Johnston know what he wants in his song.

    Then a badass guitar solo plays, which is reminiscent of Mark Tremonti's solo in Alter Bridge's tracks, and you're like, "THAT is hard and heavy!"

    Now, Austin asks Johnston if he felt it. Oh, we definitely felt it, Stone Cold. Johnston clearly doesn't because he just came up with another blues riff. Welp.

    The second riff, though, that wasn't bad at all. As Austin said, Johnston's starting to get it. LOL I love this interplay.

    Can You Dig It - Booker T

    Booker T is living proof that just because you're black, it is no guarantee that you will succeed at rap.

    His raspy vocals and delivery made him sound like a Ja Rule apprentice, but with lyrics that actually made Booker sound white, plus his elementary spitting, he made Ja Rule look like the rap god.

    We all know that Booker's a guy who's been through hard times, what with being an ex-con and all, but with a third verse like this:

    Don't be fooled because he bruised
    Booker T the type to come speak at cha school
    Wherever you at, I talk it like I walk it
    I walk it like I live it
    If you know the words, hit it

    HIT WHAT, BOOKER?! HIT WHAT?! And why are you coming to speak at my school?!

    I don't get it. Are you trying to show us that you're a reformed guy? 'Cause we get it. But why are you also telling us that you'll throw down right the fuck now. I can't dig it, Booker. I can't dig it. Make up your damn mind.

    Rating: 3 out of 10 Cenas

    I Don't Suck (Really) - Kurt Angle

    There is an inordinate amount of pleasure to be had in listening to autotuned Kurt Angle singing "I Don't Suck" to the tune of his remixed entrance theme.

    If John Cena makes rapping sound naturally, Kurt Angle is the complete inverse, with his poetic delivery of his verses making him sound as white as he has ever been in his life.

    What's great about this song, though, is that the rock remix of Medal stands on its own as a legitimate entrance theme. Don't get me wrong, Medal is one of the best entrance themes ever, but rarely does an instrumental theme's rock remix turn out well. I Don't Suck (Really) sans vocals is the exception.

    The hiphop loop that comes in at 1:47 just makes Angle sound like the whitest jabroni around. I could totally imagine him wearing an ill-fitting du rag, some chains, and the loosest football jersey you can find. This all just fits so well, especially when he describes himself as "mastered the ring and the mic alike // eloquent with words, and I move catlike". Priceless.

    I wonder how any of this is true to Kurt Angle's musical tastes, though.

    Rating: 7 out of 10 Cenas

    When I Get You Alone - Lita

    We know that Lita's actually got her own band, but after listening to this song, she should have just stuck to playing the bass. It's not she sings all that horribly, oh wait, after hearing the bridge, yeah, she doesn't sing all that well at all.

    When you hear the intro, you'd think she tried to pull off a Courtney Love with a Hole-like track. Instead, she ends up sounding like a cheap imitation of Veruca Salt with a bit of Chito Miranda's uninspiring vocals from Parokya Ni Edgar's earlier days.

    The one saving grace of this song is that it actually sounds like something I'd expect to hear from Lita.

    Rating: 4 out of 10 Cenas

    You Changed the Lyrics (Segment 3) - Stone Cold Steve Austin & Jim Johnston

    Now Stone Cold's giving Jim Johnston the "putting words in his mouth" treatment as they argue about the lyrics Austin wrote for his song.

    As funny as Austin is, I actually feel bad for Johnston's character at this point. Poor guy's getting bullied when he's just trying to do his job. 

    Don't You Wish You Were Me? - Chris Jericho

    Even the most diehard Jerichoholics would tell you that his earlier music was mostly unrefined because he was still trying to discover who he was musically. Even if Y2J was already the Ayatollah of Rock N' Rollah, this track proved that raw was Jericho.

    While WWE Originals prided itself on being an album where the Superstars recorded songs that were true to their musical tastes, there was something awkward about this song and the way Jericho sang it. From the way he tried to be a gothic nu metal vocalist during the bridge with that unintelligible whispering interlude to how you couldn't tell whether he wanted to sing or scream the hook, something about this song didn't seem right.

    The lyrics were pretty interesting, though, because they would end up being a foreshadowing of 2008 Jericho's Anton Chigurh gimmick. So if there's anything worth paying attention to twelve years later, it would be the lyrics.

    Rating: 4 out of 10 Cenas

    Drink Your Beer (Segment 4) - Stone Cold Steve Austin

    The fourth spoken interlude with Jim Johnston, it's actually interesting to see how Austin makes him sound like such a loser.

    You could tell that this shit's scripted, though, because this isn't how he is anymore, which you'd know if you're a regular listener of Stone Cold's podcast.

    Basic Thuganomics - John Cena

    Ahh, this classic. I was supposed to save this one for Part 2, but Spotify played the album in Shuffle Mode, so I figured I'd write about this right now.

    While My Time Is Now will forever be associated with Cena, Basic Thuganomics will always have a soft spot in the hearts of longtime members of the WWE Universe.

    This song was also the mainstream debut of John Cena's cousin, Tha TradeMarc, who rapped on the second verse.

    What's great about this song was that it had a great hook at the beginning, that just signaled to every motherfucker in the arena that the Doctor of Thuganomics was in the building. And by the time the beat drops and Cena's spitting bars, you actually forgot that he was a white boy who looked like a juiced up Mark Wahlberg.

    It's not that Cena's a great rapper, but Basic Thuganomics is easily his best song and the best song on this album. With lines like, "we dominate your conference with offense that's no nonsense // my theme song hits, get your reinforcements," you know shit's about to go down. My personal favorite line was, "New Deadman, Inc. and we about to make you famous // takin' over earth and still kickin' in Uranus". I was 13. It is still my favorite line from that song.

    Rating: 10 out of 10 Cenas

    Stay tuned for Part 2 of our WWE Originals review, which comes out on next week's Theme Song Tuesday column!

    What did you think of Part 1? Which song on WWE Originals did you like best? Do you agree or disagree with our ratings? Hit us up in the comments section below!


    Stan Sy is a radio DJ, an events host, a freelance writer, one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, and Smark Henry's official PPV reviewer. He enjoys watching WWE, NXT, Lucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. Every now and then, he dresses up in fancy suits to book matches as PWR's longest-tenured General Manager to date. Follow him on Twitter: @_stansy
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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday (10/20/15): WWE Originals (Part 1) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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