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    Tuesday, July 25, 2017

    The Smark Henry 2017 Midyear Report: #ThemeSongTuesday

    The Smark Henry Midyear Report is a new series where we take a look at the wrestling we watch around the world and assess each show/brand/company's performance in the first six months of 2017.

    Welcome to Theme Song Tuesday! I won't be reviewing a specific entrance theme this week, but what I will be doing is something in line with the Midyear Report series we've got. Instead of highlighting Superstars who deserve certain awards based on their performance for the year, I'll be using this week's column to present several frontrunners for this year's coveted Song of the Year Award on The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. In years past, that award has gone to songs like "The Rising Sun" and "#MMMGorgeous," with the latter being a real anomaly thanks to the fan vote we stupidly arranged in 2015. Welp.

    So whose entrance theme will succeed Shinsuke Nakamura and Tyler Breeze's as a potential pick for Song of the Year? Let's look at your leading candidates in no particular order!

    "Hero's Welcome" (Kassius Ohno)


    From the moment I heard this song in full, I knew Kassius Ohno's theme immediately stood out next to the relatively formulaic themes CFO$ produces. Sure, this doesn't have a second verse either, but the catchy hook and the way the beat and raps come together make "Hero's Welcome" one of the better themes of 2017.

    "Velveteen" (Velveteen Dream)

    We haven't featured this one yet, but "Velveteen" is a song we've been growing on pretty quickly here at the Smark Henry Offices. It's got the same idea as "#MMMGorgeous," an infectious loop, peppered in with vocals provided by the wrestler who uses the theme. The difference here is that while Tyler Breeze actually tries to sing/recite his lyrics, all Velveteen Dream does is say his name in a seductive way. And it works.

    Yes, we get the '70s softcore porn vibe, and it honestly just adds color to one of the more flamboyant gimmicks in WWE right now. It isn't necessarily sleazy, but you get the feel they were trying to go for. This is as close as you'll get to WWE actually acknowledging the Prince connection in Velveteen Dream's overall gimmick, so as a music geek, I'll totally take it.

    "Root of All Evil" (Aleister Black)

    This song is by no means a generic rock wrestling theme, and that is one of the best things WWE could have done to establish Aleister Black as a superstar to watch out for.

    It's dark, gnarly, and tough, while also giving off the vibe that the guy who this song is written for is shrouded in mystery. That's exactly how Black is being portrayed right now—an enigmatic motherfucker who can knock the living hell out of you. 

    The only thing that's prevented "Root of All Evil" from cracking the pantheon of greatest entrance themes of all time is the same formula that CFO$ normally employs: hook-verse-repeat. But on its own, the song works. As soon as I hear it, I end up screaming along to the hook while eagerly awaiting the Black Mass.

    "Ravishing" (Lana)

    CFO$ has been on a roll lately with creating themes that the Superstars can actually dance along to, following the success Jim Johnston had with Fandango's theme, "ChaChaLaLa." Naomi's remixed theme was the first one they themselves knocked out of the park, though. And then WWE repackaged Lana and they came out with this gem.

    I know Lana's supposed to be a heel, but I've always had a soft spot for her. So now that she has a theme song that legitimately makes me want to awkwardly dance whenever I hear it, I can't hate her at all! This theme song accomplishes what it sets out to do: hype you up for the Ravishing Russian, greet her with applause when she comes out, and adore her when she starts dancing and shaking what her momma gave her.

    Hell, it's so good that Lana can make an improvised dance routine to her own theme song!

    "True Love" (Mike & Maria Kanellis)

    You didn't think we could finish this column without this ditty, did you?

    If I had to put my money on a theme to run away with Song of the Year by the time 2017 is all said and done, "True Love" would be my top draft pick. It's got the cheesy 80's power ballad vibe that just makes you want to take your significant other in your arms and slowdance wherever you are. Whenever this song plays and I see Mike and Maria Kanellis act all lovey-dovey towards one another, I actually feel very jealous of Mr. Bennett. 

    What really makes this stand out is the fact that it's an unlikely song for a wrestling entrance theme. You can just as easily assume that this is a song you'd hear blaring from a jeepney in a crowded thoroughfare in the city. And yet, when you think about the Kanellis' gimmick as a couple and how they actually act in shoot interviews, you realize that this theme is perfect. It makes you want to burn up inside their love!

    Did we miss out on any potential picks for Song of the Year? Which of these five do you think has the best shot at the crown? Fire away down below!

    Header Photo from WWE's behind-the-scenes video on how Bobby Roode's theme was put together


    Stan Sy (@_StanSyis the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio broadcaster, events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXT, Lucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can also catch him every month attempting to keep order in a fancy suit as PWR's General Manager.

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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry 2017 Midyear Report: #ThemeSongTuesday Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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