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    Tuesday, April 20, 2021

    #ThemeSongTuesday: RVD's Theme Is One of a Kind



    It's April 20th. You know what that means.

    Why, it's time for another edition of #ThemeSongTuesday! And to commemmorate the occasion, it's only right that we feature the theme song of a legitimate Hall of Famer. This legend blazed a trail on the way to a career as one of the greatest to fly high in the wrestling industry. As a teenager, my eyes lit up whenever he made an entrance, and every part of my being was loaded with excitement when Mr. Monday Night was on TV.

    Let's talk about... (are you doing the thumb-and-shoulders thing with me?) Rob! Van! Dam!

    Rob Van Dam's entrance theme is a classic at this point, especially for fans like me, who grew up during the Ruthless Aggression Era. If you never bothered to Google its title over the years, the song's called "One of a Kind" and it was recorded by Breaking Point, a now-defunct band who primarily resided within the post-grunge and hard rock genres.

    I call this theme a classic because it checks the boxes of everything I'm looking for in a good entrance theme:

    • Does it have a memorable hook?
    • Does it give me a big fight feel?
    • Does it paint a picture of the character of the wrestler coming out to this song?

    The answer to all those questions is a resounding YES.

    Let's break down the WWE edit of "One of a Kind," which shouldn't be confused with the actual full-length version that Breaking Point recorded.

    RVD's theme starts off with a seven-second guitar strum through a bunch of effects, including a whammy pedal and a phaser. I've always taken a liking to that part because you already get the visual of RVD's mug on the Titantron. But the main hook hasn't played and RVD hasn't appeared. As a fan, those seven seconds were enough to get my ass hyped so that when the chorus drops and the fireworks go off, I'd be ready to see the Whole Dam Show.

    After that intro, it goes straight into the hook, which features vocalist Brett Erickson and the rest of the band yelling, "ONE OF A KIND!" in between chants of "HEY! HEY! HEY!" That shit's pretty catchy, and hearing that, along with the beat, makes you feel like you're in a giant moshpit rocking out to a really fun song. 

    And then the main hook comes in, with Erickson angrily singing these immortal lyrics.

    The fear I see when I look in your eyes
    Makes you believe I'm one of a kind (one of a kind)
    The fear I leave in the back of your mind
    Makes you believe I'm
    One of a kind!


    What makes the song's chorus work so well is that it's tonally inclusive, meaning, just about anyone can sing that, regardless of what your vocal range is. You can rock out to it, you can sing it, or hell, you can scream it, especially when you're with thousands and thousands of other screaming fans. I remember 16-year-old Stan passionately screaming to this song when RVD made his entrance at the Araneta Coliseum at the RAW live event in February of 2006. 

    I had upper box tickets then, but I felt like I was ringside when RVD's music hit. I vividly remember that entire arena chanting "ONE OF A KIND! HEY! HEY! HEY! ONE OF A KIND! HEY! HEY! HEY!" and it felt like we were all rooting for Mr. Monday Night because he was going to kick Carlito's ass. That was the moment it sunk in that I was actually watching WWE live.

    Lyrically, the chorus tells you everything you need to know about Rob Van Dam. This dude is an innovative fighter who can take you out in so many different ways. He'll go up high and come crashing down on you, he'll take risks, or he'll bring out a steel chair, toss it at you, and then kick it right in your face. There's nobody like this dude, which means you can't prepare for him. And that's why he leaves fear in the back of your mind.



    What you hear in the WWE edit is actually just a snippet of the actual song. The seven-second intro isn't in the song, but everything you used to hear on WWE television was basically clipped from the song's chorus, particularly the song's final chorus as it crescendoes. You can check out the song in its entirety in the music video above, which Rob Van Dam himself starred in! He looks great in it, even though he has to put Brett Erickson over in the climactic drag race scene.

    Like many other entrance themes from the Ruthless Aggression Era that were performed by musicians outside WWE, "One of a Kind" started out as a Jim Johnston instrumental called "Van Daminator." That's where the familiar seven-second intro comes from. You'll also hear the whammy pedal and distortions throughout the song. But what stands out is the main chords from the chorus in "One of a Kind," which actually originate from RVD's first theme. He only used this for about a year after arriving in WWE, until WWE Music commissioned Breaking Point to come in and put "One of a Kind" together with Jim Johnston, which explains why Johnston is credited as a songwriter on that track.

    When WWE released the Wreckless Intent album in 2006, I found it odd that there was a song attributed to RVD called "Fury of the Storm" by Shadows Fall. A bit of internet sleuthing reveals that WWE must have run into some licensing issues with Breaking Point at this time, which was about a year after the band had broken up. This song isn't very remarkable, other than the fact that it goes way harder than "One of a Kind" does. Its hook sort of resembles the chorus in "One of a Kind" with the drum beat and the basic chords, but that's about it. It doesn't really feel like RVD, unlike the Breaking Point track, which makes it the superior entrance theme.

    Before I end this tribute to the wrestling community's favorite cannabis culture advocate, let me share my brief personal interaction with Mr. Monday Night.

    Sometime in 2019, he held a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) on r/SquaredCircle. It happened during my morning radio show, and in between songs, I figured I'd ask RVD a question for shits and giggles. There wasn't anything in particular I wanted to ask him about, until I remembered his tag team with Rey Mysterio from 2004-05. I marked the hell out when my Reddit app pinged me minutes later. It was a response from RVD himself.


    What a fucking legend. Happy 4/20, RVD!

    Header image from WWE


    *****

    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and the host of On Deck, as well as one of the hosts of The Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, AEW, and the occasional New Japan match.
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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: RVD's Theme Is One of a Kind Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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