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    Tuesday, May 4, 2021

    Theme Song Tuesday: We Acknowledge The Tribal Chief's New Theme Music


    Tokyo Sports has long called Joshi legend Meiko Satomura the final boss of Japanese wrestling—the wrestler that every up-and-comer aims to defeat. Since returning to WWE television at last year's SummerSlam, Roman Reigns has assumed that role on SmackDown, and our lives have all been better for it. We acknowledge him as our Tribal Chief and the Head of our Table.

    What's always bothered me since Reigns's return is his continued use of "The Truth Reigns," the remixed version of The Shield's theme song. In many ways, it's like Roman held on to The Shield as a crutch the longest since the trio's initial breakup in 2014. WWE Creative saddled Reigns with that stupid vest for damn near a decade and kept their old theme on him, which I honestly believe were two of the biggest things that held Reigns back.

    Now that he's been emancipated as the Tribal Chief, it was only a matter of time until he finally got a theme song he could truly call its own. And we witnessed it at one of the biggest episodes of SmackDown in recent memory when he defended his Universal Championship against Daniel Bryan and ultimately banished the latter from the Island of Relevancy.

    What we got was a song that actually sounds like the final boss of a video game is about to come out.

    Make no mistake, that episode of SmackDown had a big fight feel from start to finish. But hearing Roman come out to this new music? I felt like Daniel Bryan turned into Daniel from the Bible, who was stuck in the lion's den. Except, in this case, nothing was going to save this Daniel. He was fuuuuuuuuucked.

    The intro alone sends chills down my spine. The bass drums bring so much gravitas, while the creepy chorus brings visuals of a prisoner doomed to his fate of being shoved into battle just to satisfy a crowd's bloodlust. Hearing these choir-like vocals throughout the track adds an ominous feel because it's as if they're preemptively mourning the soul of whoever has to face the Head of the Table. But it also sounds like they themselves are the druids who will collect this poor sap's soul and bring it to the afterlife once the Tribal Chief spits their carcass out. This is one of those sonic elements that's able to conjure up these images that shouldn't even be there but are through the power of your imagination.

    One of the things that work against "Head Of The Table"—which is the song's title, by the way—is how it takes 23 seconds for the beat to drop. I get how that could make viewers impatient. But remember that Roman Reigns has been taking his sweet time while getting to the ring since turning heel. Having an intro that long and a song whose cadence is that slow adds to Roman's authority. 

    Like The Undertaker, you don't rush him. He fucking makes you wait in there. He makes you soak in his aura before he pummels you and squeezes the life out of you. I actually like that about the song because you get it immediately in the presentation when you add how smugly and slowly Roman Reigns walks to the ring.

    The main chords feature an arpeggio being played by synth keys, which could sound like a classic piece if you were to listen to it without the contemporary beat and the choral elements in the other tracks. I love how the composer squeezed in some really high keys, which you can barely hear, in there. It adds some tension to the piece, especially when those high notes are played quickly and repeatedly—think of a stereotypical horror score. 

    When the interlude comes in, you then start to hear what appears to be a harpsichord and a violin as the interlude brings the song to a valley before rising once again into the song's full form in the second chorus. And holy shit, the second chorus is the song at its peak! The chorus swells and builds up into a wave, and when it crashes, BOOM! Beat! Keys! Harpsichord! Violins! Creepy chorus! It's the musical equivalent of being hit with all of Roman's signature moves in succession, culminating in a Con-Chair-To as he knocks your fucking lights out.

    We don't get a lot of these particular instruments in contemporary wrestling themes, with Shinsuke Nakamura's theme being a notable exception because of its string-heavy elements. On their own, these elements shouldn't sound badass. But together, they've masterfully painted an image of a final boss announcing his presence to an arena filled with bloodlust. He slowly walks towards his prey, and we all know what happens next. Smash 'em. Stack 'em. Pin 'em. That's not even a prediction. That's a spoiler.

    We acknowledge the Tribal Chief, the Head of our Table, Roman Reigns.

    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: Theme Song Tuesday: We Acknowledge The Tribal Chief's New Theme Music Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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