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    Tuesday, May 15, 2018

    #ThemeSongTuesday: The Power of the Hook

    If you're one of my regular readers, you'd know that the hook is a part of the song that I always pay particular attention to. In pop music, the hook is what gets people to sing along again and again. It's the most memorable part of the song, to the point that you can go on not knowing all the other parts, but once that hook comes on, you damn well know what's on. When Justin Bieber slows down and sings, "Des... pa... cito," you know you're about to sing along to some Spanish words you don't even understand, let alone pronounce correctly.

    In wrestling, the hook of an entrance theme plays an important role because it immediately tells you who's going to walk down that ramp. Once you hear the shards of broken glass, you know you can expect Stone Cold Steve Austin to appear. Or when you hear the iconic catchphrase, "IF YOU SMELLLLLL WHAT THE ROCK! IS COOKIN'," The Rock's going to lay the smack down.

    Aside from knowing who's coming out once you hear the hook one or two seconds into the song, there's also the fun part: audience participation, which is half the fun out of attending a live wrestling event. Sure, you can start a chant anytime you want, but not all chants actually spread like wildfire. But singing/chanting along to the hook of an entrance theme? That shit's automatic and under the right circumstances, it can also give you goosebumps.

    With that said, here are five current themes whose hooks will make you drop everything and sing/chant along stat.

    1. "The Second Coming (Burn It Down)" — Seth Rollins

    About damn time WWE Music released this on YouTube and Spotify.

    Before CFO$ decided to add "BURN IT DOOOOOOOOOWN!" as a hook to Rollins' theme, it was just your generic, run-of-the-mill, rock drivel. There really wasn't anything special to the song, especially since it was just an endless loop. To make matters worse, whenever I hear his theme today, I still think "DICK PIC, DICK PIC, D-D-D-DICK PIC," which were the lyrics to the Rollins theme parody that came out after his nudes got leaked.

    Now that we've got a hook to the theme, Rollins' theme became way more fun, if only for that brief moment when the entire arena would shut up and yell out a guttural, "BURN IT DOOOOOOOOWN!" Man, if only Rollins' entrance also included complimentary Kamillosan throat sprays.

    2. "Medal" — Kurt Angle

    Admit it: hearing this theme outside a wrestling arena feels pretty bland... like there's something missing.

    Ahh, theeeere. That's better.

    Kurt Angle's theme is one of the most iconic wrestling themes from the last two decades, not just because it's great, but because it's so fun to chant "YOU SUCK!" It was hilarious to do it at an Olympic gold medalist in the early 2000s, and now it's an ironic show of respect for a Hall of Famer with two decades of experience under his belt. 

    The only thing that makes me sad about this is that kids these days probably won't know why we all chant "YOU SUCK!" at the good boss on RAW. Thanks, Edge.

    3. "Worlds Apart" — Sami Zayn

    True story: when Sami Zayn entered the Mall of Asia Arena as part of the main event of the RAW live event in Manila two years ago, I felt the whole arena go nuts as soon as his theme song played. Everyone was singing along, just building up to the loud, "LET'S GO!" right before the drop. While all that was happening, my dad was sitting beside me, wondering what the hell the fuss was all about. He didn't really watch NXT and was an on-again, off-again WWE viewer at the time.

    Suffice it to say, he never forgot that experience because that's pretty much all he identifies Sami Zayn with. And that's okay because it means the song did its job. Whether he's a beloved babyface, or a grating and annoying heel, "Worlds Apart" is always going to be a fun song to hear on TV. And a huge part of that is because of the fans continuing to sing along and yell, "LET'S GO!" That's a successful hook if I've ever heard one.

    4. "Lucha Lucha" — Kalisto

    This theme is kid-friendly for so many reasons. For starters, it paints a very basic and succinct picture of who's going to come out next. He's a luchador. He flies around and he's really quick. Lucha! Lucha! Lucha! Lucha! 

    Now, don't get me wrong. The song is actually pretty good, endless loop notwithstanding. I love the use of Mexican instrumentation and how its upbeat vibe paints an effective portrait of Kalisto as a wrestler. But what makes this song memorable is how "Lucha! Lucha!" is so easy to chant. Plus, no matter how old (or young) you are, doing the "Lucha! Lucha!" hand gesture is fun.

    5. Kaze Ni Nare — Minoru Suzuki

    With apologies to everyone expecting to see Shinsuke Nakamura's themes on this list, I spent over a thousand words over those songs just a few weeks ago.

    Now, this theme that Minoru Suzuki uses... This has its own little cult following.

    Let's start with the fact that it's a power ballad, which fits with how Minoru Suzuki is a Japanese tito (uncle). Except he's not the type of tito you'd want to fuck with.

    It's actually a full song, unlike the loops that CFO$ produces. And it all leads up to the hook, which fans all over the world look forward to hearing. Hell, you have to wait almost two minutes just to hear it. But when it comes on, it's another one of those hooks that you drop everything and scream for. KAZE NI NARE!

    That brings us to the end of my quick list! What are your favorite hooks from wrestling themes past and present?

    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 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, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: The Power of the Hook Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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