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    Tuesday, April 13, 2021

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Who Is Ash Costello and Why Was She at WrestleMania?

    It's Tuesday. You know what that means.

    This one's for all the Rhea Ripley simps. If you're feeling that Big Apak Energy after The Nightmare historic WrestleMania moment, then this #ThemeSongTuesday entry is going to make you wish you were the stage that she stomped on during her entrance yesterday.

    Let's start with Ash Costello of goth rock band New Years Day performing Rhea's entrance theme, "Brutality," live at WrestleMania 37. I've always been a fan of wrestlers getting their song performed live at 'Mania, so even though Rhea was technically the heel in her feud against Asuka, I dug it nonetheless. It also really helped that Ash Costello was the only person who didn't pull a Taichi and lip-sync on stage at WrestleMania. I understood why The Miz and John Morrison would lip-sync "Hey Hey Hop Hop" because it was a joke of a song anyway. But Wale lip-syncing Big E's theme??? Shame!

    Anyway, Ash Costello is a founding member and the lead vocalist of New Years Day, a California-based goth rock band whose career highlights include headlining the Vans Warped Tour in the mid-2010s. When they first came up a decade prior, they drew comparisons to Paramore because of their similar pop-punk sound and the fact that both bands have a female vocalist whose vocal ranges are within one another. 

    Costello said in a 2019 interview for Alternative Press that upon getting to know Rhea Ripley, she found out that the latter considered New Years Day one of her favorite bands, prompting the rocker to say, "Oh my God! We're the same! You're just me in WWE! And I'm you in this world!" In the time since meeting Ripley, she'd become a fan of the Nightmare, saying, "She is incredible, and I think she's gonna go all the way."

    Ash Costello added that while the band was writing songs for their 2019 album Unbreakable, she'd been flying all around the U.S. to collaborate with different songwriters. She'd met a pop songwriter in New York, who realized that their styles probably wouldn't blend well together. Instead, he introduced her to "two metal dudes" down the hallway, who Costello shared wrote the song "Done With You," which appears on the album. She later found out that those same songwriters wrote songs for WWE. Given the timeline, it's highly likely that those "two metal dudes" were CFO$.

    From there, they kept in touch until they found a song that would match her voice, and that would end up being "Brutality." Costello added that she was supposed to perform "Brutality" during Rhea's run on NXT in the U.S., but Ripley had injured her foot, which meant that the Nightmare wouldn't be wrestling, so there wasn't a need for a live performance. Despite that, Costello shared that Triple H apologized over it and even promoted Unbreakable on WWE's platforms. And eventually, the universe compensated by having the stars align for this live performance of Rhea Ripley's theme at the biggest stage possible.

    What's amazing about that 2019 interview was that Costello pretty much manifested Rhea's star-making WrestleMania moment. She boldly predicted, "I think in a year or two, you're gonna see her [on] the main stage of WrestleMania."


    We've heard "Brutality" as Rhea Ripley's theme song throughout her entire run on the WWE roster, regardless of her alignment. It makes sense that she wouldn't change her entrance theme just because she'd turned face or heel. The song evokes a feral edge that you'd associate with this powerful woman who you wouldn't want to cross at all. From the moment you hear Ash Costello screaming, "THIS IS MY BRUTALITY!!!" you know that the woman about to make her entrance is someone you shan't fuck with.

    If you've watched or listened to Rhea Ripley's interviews or documentary features, you'll know that the woman behind the wrestler is a big believer in being comfortable in your own skin. It shows in her character and how she presents herself on-screen and in the ring. She's someone who doesn't feel like she has to fit anybody's mold. Instead, she's going to unapologetically be herself, kick down those doors, and blaze her own trail. Whether she's a babyface or a heel, you know this woman is going to impose her will on you just to get what she wants. And she'll get what she wants.

    You can get all that from "Brutality," which makes it one of the few modern themes that just really get the essence of a wrestler and her character. That makes it a grade-A wrestling theme in my book. Plus, it got the WrestleMania live performance rub. And it happened on the very night that Rhea ran the gamut and became the first Superstar to hold the NXT UK, NXT, and RAW Women's Championships.

    Prepare the way of the Nightmare. Make straight her path.

    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: Who Is Ash Costello and Why Was She at WrestleMania? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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