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    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

    #ThemeSongTuesday: The OHHH/WHOA Pattern

    We've covered all sorts of songs in this column over the years. We've covered songs by mainstream groups, WWE-produced songs that could actually pass for a non-wrestling song, and even instrumental goodies. But in recent weeks, I've been working on dissecting the patterns that CFO$ normally falls back on when they create new themes or remixes. I've talked about CFO$' habit of repeating verses and how it comes out in multiple songs they've produced.

    Today, let's take a look at another pattern that you may notice in CFO$ tracks: the OHHH/WHOA.

    Let's start with the theme of one Tony Nese:

    Seven seconds into the entrance theme, you already hear the "OHH OH OH OHH OH-OHHHH" which pretty much comprises the entire batch of lyrics you'll hear throughout this song. That's really it.

    When you hear the song on actual WWE programming, though, you might notice that it sounds like two different songs once guitar riffs kick in by the 20-second mark. That's always been my biggest gripe about this track and Drew Gulak's Pinoy beerhouse-sounding entrance theme—but Gulak's theme is a story for another day.

    Upon listening to Nese's track in a vacuum, you'll notice that it's actually one cohesive song after all. You just don't realize it because when you watch RAW or 205 Live, his song gets cut out before you realize that the hook (the OHHH OH OH bit) and the guitar solo (which basically counts as the verse) actually come together as one song.

    So that's one CFO$-produced track you hear a lot today that follows the "OHHH OH OH" pattern. Here's something you may be more familiar with:


    Yep, it's our favorite Lass Kicker, Becky Lynch, who admitted herself on Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast last year that those are pretty much the lyrics to her entrance theme. She's being modest, of course, because there are still the "HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!" chants in the middle that serve as some sort of pre-chorus or bridge for her theme.

    In essence, Becky's song is a loop. It starts with the WHOA-OH-OH bit, goes to the guitar solo, back to the WHOA-OH-OH hook, the HEY! HEY! HEY! chant, and then back to the hook. There's really not much to dissect here. It's a fun little rock ditty meant to show that this chick is ready to rock out and that she isn't one you should mess with.

    Before we move on, if you listen closely, you may notice that the WHOA-OH-OH vocals on this song and on Nese's track are pretty similar—you could totally mix-and-match both vocal tracks and I doubt it'll make a difference.

    Now here's one more track that uses the same vocal pattern in its hook:

    Ah, yes, we remember this incredibly fun party theme that Adam Rose used to come out to before he became a Social Outcast. What makes "Break Away" different from "Win It All" and "Celtic Invasion" is that "Break Away" is an actual song and not just a loop. Moreover, "Break Away" has real lyrics other than the WHOA-OH-OH-OH you hear in the hook. Prior to writing this, I forgot that the song had verses that were actual words leading into the catchy hook that we mostly remember from this track.


    The biggest takeaway from CFO$' use of the OHHH/WHOA pattern is obvious: it doesn't take a lot of work because you don't have to put in the time and thought to write actual lyrics down. But there's also the benefit of knowing that it's easy to sing along to. Think about it. The onomatopoeia OHHH/WHOA is pretty common, regardless of what language you speak, so it's a sound you can easily make, even if you can't necessarily speak English. It's easy to chant, so crowd engagement through the song is definitely easy.

    When a song is easy to at least hum along to, you can get arenas full of people around the world to instantly be part of that wrestler's entrance—something Becky Lynch can certainly attest to. Hell, just look at all the people who hum along to the themes of Fandango, Sami Zayn, and Shinsuke Nakamura. Those are proof that an epic entrance theme doesn't necessarily have to have lyrics to be awesome.

    But at the same time, the OHHH/WHOA pattern is also indicative of CFO$' tendencies to stick to something familiar. While I get the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" adage, it doesn't really help when your songs always have the same patterns that are easy to spot. Repeating verses and the common use of the OHHH/WHOA pattern could very well be a symptom of a lack of creativity on their part, especially since Jim Johnston set quite a high precedent when it came to conceiving original entrance themes that fit any character that was assigned to him.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that these themes are necessarily bad. But CFO$ has shown over the years that their themes are really hit-or-miss for the most part. The highs (Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Rich Swann, TJP) are really high, but at the same time, the duds are also, well, S-A-W-F-T.

    What do you think? What other patterns have you noticed in wrestling themes that you've heard over the years?

    Photo from WWE


    Stan Sy (@_StanSyis the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast and The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXT, Lucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. He dresses up in fancy suits from time to time to book matches as PWR's General Manager.
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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: The OHHH/WHOA Pattern Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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