The 25 Best '80s Pro Wrestling Themes Ever

Categories: Lists

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I gotta be a man; I can't let it slide.
If you've never watched a pro wrestling match before--which is to say, if you've never been an 11-year-old boy--it might be hard to understand why people are still watching it now. It's been almost 20 years since the WWE (then the WWF) began calling itself "sports entertainment," and winking at its own fixed matches. It's been something like 14 years since I watched it, so I'm of no help, but I can tell you one thing that kept me enthralled through the summer I spent, as a 12-year-old, renting every old WWF tape at the video store: The theme music.

By the late '80s pro wrestling, once mostly the domain of people who looked like actual wrestlers, had filled with comic book characters, and each of them made his entrance to theme songs that were just as outlandish. It wasn't just Hulk Hogan and "Real American"--if you had a gimmick, you probably had a weirdly specific, synth-filled '80s theme song explaining it. What follows are, to the best of my knowledge, the 25 greatest '80s pro wrestling themes that came from the WWF's golden age of disbelief-suspension.

If you disagree--well, you'll just have to challenge me to a steel cage match at the Survivor Series.


25. The Fabulous Rougeaus


At some point in the late '80s the Rougeaus went from perennial heel tag-team contenders to mincing joke-heels who waved tiny American flags around and hugged each other while eight-year-olds threw garbage at them.

Bad news for their careers, probably. But it got them this remarkable theme song, in which they establish their American bona fides by loving "Barry Manilow" and "the preppy look." Like the Rougeaus themselves, this theme probably deserves to be ranked a little higher, but here they are, booked for the first match of the night again.


24. Akeem The African Dream and Slick


Slick was a jive-talking con artist who managed a number of heel wrestlers in an illustrious WWF career. Akeem The African Dream was--I'm going to leave this one to Wikipedia.

In September 1988, One Man Gang's manager, Slick, announced that Gang was actually African and planned to re-embrace his roots. An episode of WWF Superstars, which aired on September 24, 1988, featured a vignette with Gene Okerlund on-location in an American ghetto that was dubbed "The Deepest Darkest Parts Of Africa," where dancers dressed as tribal Africans danced and chanted around a fire; Slick then announced that Gang would be known by his new name, "Akeem, the African Dream." ... The Caucasian "Akeem" delivered a promo in which he spoke with an extremely stereotypical black accent and mockingly danced while an African ritual took place in the background.

This gimmick might well have happened in your lifetime. This is why there are people who honestly believe this is what a Post-Racial America looks like.


23. "The Model" Rick Martel


I might be wrong here, but I think Rick Martel is the only guy who's going to appear on this list twice. This isn't quite as Skinemax-goes-to-Sandals as Rick Rude's theme; it's unique on this list in that it could also be used to sell timeshares where people aren't having coke-fueled key parties.

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3 comments
stevefunk27
stevefunk27

Awsome man ....been 11 , 12 was the perfect age for wwf circa 1990... Rick Martells theme is hilairious , cocktail elevator jazz

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