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    Tuesday, February 9, 2016

    #ThemeSongTuesday (2/9/16): Flight of the Valkyries

    As you should all know by now, WWE superstar Daniel Bryan announced his retirement on this morning's episode of Monday Night RAW.

    Several wrestlers and figures have expressed their feelings towards this sad news, and while we here at the Smark Henry offices mourn for the end of one of wrestling's great careers, we also look back with fondness at everything the American Dragon has given us.

    So, yes, get some power of positivity in your veins, because today we're taking a look at some of the many theme songs of Daniel Bryan.

    Europe - The Final Countdown

    Bryan (then known as Bryan Danielson) initially used songs from bands such as The Offspring and Animotion, but it is his use of 80's anthem "The Final Countdown" that fans most remember from his indie days.

    Europe's "The Final Countdown" is one of the greatest modern hype tunes, often being played at big sporting events to rally and pump up an audience (it's also the perfect New Year song, for obvious reasons). With a signature synth riff, a memorable intro and a tune that is easy to hum along to, it's the perfect song to get your adrenaline pumping and your body excited for what is about to come next. In this case, it was to get the crowd pumped up for the technical brilliance Bryan was about to deliver. This is a song that has that "big fight feel" to it, which is exactly what you got when seeing Danielson kick someone's head in.

    Looking back, the epic feel of "The Final Countdown" mixed with Danielson's in-ring intensity was a perfect match, and the fans recognized it as such. Look at the video below and just see how the crowd is into the whole thing. It's like an earlier version of what ICW star Grado does these days with Madonna's "Like a Prayer":

    Richard Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries

    This was not Daniel Bryan's first WWE theme. His first WWE theme was a Jim Johnston piece titled Rage, which is reminiscent of all those generic butt rock entrance themes that told the crowd you weren't exactly top star material (see: Dudley, Spike). Instead, we'll skip that and go right ahead to his first memorable theme in the big leagues: a piece from the legendary German composer Richard Wagner.

    Wagner was known for creating musical operas, and Bryan's theme is taken from his musical drama Die Walküre (which is part of the bigger epic Der Ring des Nibelungen). In the opera, "Ride of the Valkyries" plays just as the third act commences, which depicts the Norse legend of the Valkyrja transporting fallen heroes to be reborn in Valhalla.

    It's a song that heralds rebirth and new beginnings, which actually summed up Daniel Bryan's career at that point. Here was a warrior who fought his way to prestige and honor in feds such as Ring of Honor, who was finally "reborn" as Daniel Bryan in the big leagues. This also drew comparisons to how other wrestlers used classical themes for their entrances, such as Ric Flair's "Also Sprach Zarathustra," Randy Savage's "Pomp & Circumstance," and Yoshiaki Fujiwara, who also used the same Wagner theme here. That's very, very good company to be in.

    Bryan debuted this theme after his first major accomplishment in the WWE, defeating the Miz at Night of Champions to win the United States Championship:

    Yes, both men in this video are now retired after suffering life-threatening injuries. :(

    Jim Johnston - Flight of the Valkyries

    Again, Bryan had a quick transitional theme between the Wagner original and this one, which was Jim Johnston's Big Epic Thing. In many ways, "Flight of the Valkyries" is a marriage between his previous themes, as it is an epic rock take on the Wagner's classical tune.

    Using guitars and riffs gave this song the "big fight feel" that "The Final Countdown" did previously, which again came at an important moment in Bryan's career. This theme debuted around the time Bryan entered the World Heavyweight Championship scene on SmackDown. Now, he was moving on from midcard feuds and matches to the top of the mountain, where he would establish himself as one of the WWE's premier talents.

    In the years to come, Bryan went on to have multiple championship reigns and memorable matches, and all of those moments were preceded by "Flight of the Valkyries" blaring over the stadium's PA. Remember when Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30?

    Instead of crying because it's all over now, we can just smile and look back at all of these things that happened. Yes, Daniel Bryan's career could have been longer, but as he said on his last night, he's grateful that all of this happened in the first place. We are, too—not just for his theme songs, but for all the big moments he has had. Thank you, Daniel Bryan!

    What is you favorite Daniel Bryan theme song? Let us know in the comments!
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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday (2/9/16): Flight of the Valkyries Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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