There’s a great feature on Rolling Stone right now commemorating the 30th anniversary of The Wrestling Album, WWE’s first foray into producing their own music. Yes, 30 years have passed. I haven’t even been alive that long and I still feel old, just because I’ve been mainlining so much vintage content on the WWE Network lately. I would recommend checking the article out if you want some great behind-the-scenes moments from Jimmy Hart, Hillbilly Jim, and Rick Derringer. But I have to wonder: What are the high and low points on the album? So, much like I did for John Cena’s You Can’t See Me, I’ve decided to rank all 10 tracks on The Wrestling Album. Let’s make like Doc Brown and set those time machines for 1985.
10. “Cara Mia” by Nikolai Volkoff
This has to go last on the virtue that Volkoff doesn’t even finish the song. He ditches it halfway through and starts singing the Soviet National Anthem, which should tell you just how old this album is. But now that I think about it, tell me that he shouldn’t have at least made a cameo during Rusev’s awesome tank-riding WrestleMania entrance.
9. “Captain Lou’s History of Music” by Captain Lou Albano and George “The Animal” Steele
Captain Lou Albano invented music. That’s what you need to take away from this. Unfortunately, the song kind of nosedives after the hilariously unhinged intro. “NO, GEORGE. DON’T EAT THE MICROPHONE.”
8. “For Everybody” by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
This version has a steep hill to climb in trying to live up the weird charm of the “F*ck Everybody” version by Mike Angelo & The Idols, but Piper gives it his all. I think I have to take points off for the addition of a very abrasive brass section, though. How much do you want to bet that there were at least a few takes where Roddy actually let the f-bomb fly?
7. “Don’t Go Messin’ with a Country Boy” by Hillbilly Jim
While he’s not thanking God for being a country boy like John Denver, this is a solid little bluegrassy number. It sounds way too much like something you’d hear at the Country Bears Jamboree, though. Here’s something I recently learned: Hillbilly Jim has been running his own show on Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country channel for years now, and he still opens the show with this song.
6. “Hulk Hogan’s Theme” by the WWF All-Stars
It sounds like it should be opening a laser light show at a theme park somewhere, but this was actually a short-lived theme for the Hulkster, as well as the theme song for the Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling cartoon on CBS. I feel like this would have been perfect for Hulk’s first run in New Japan, but apparently he was using the Battlestar Galactica theme at the time. I’ll allow it.
5. “Eat Your Heart Out, Rick Springfield” by Jimmy Hart
Do you need three minutes of Jimmy Hart wishing he’d written “Jessie’s Girl” in your life? I didn’t think so. Not a bad guitar solo, though.
4. “Grab Them Cakes” by Junkyard Dog
Please, please tell me this was getting rotation in the clubs in late ’85. This is an unnecessarily catchy song that sounds like it got cut from a Sugarhill Gang album for being too short and making too much sense. Also, it makes me think of the “Fat Dog” dance from Community, so that scores some major bonus points.
3. “Land of a Thousand Dances” by The Wrestlers
Everything there is to say about Cannibal & The Headhunters’ “Land of a Thousand Dances” has already been said by Dave Barry.
“Another example is ‘Land of a Thousand Dances,’ whose composer evidently got called away to an urgent appointment after he had written only two words:
I said na na na na na
Na na na na na na na na na na
Na na na na”
At some point, this completely loses the plot and just becomes muscled-up dudes yelling at each other in between choruses. Yes, of course it’s still entertaining. My favorite part is Roddy Piper being a total party pooper at the end.
2. “Tutti Frutti” by “Mean” Gene Okerlund
F*CK YEAH MEAN GENE. I don’t know if he has any formal voice training under his belt, but WWF had enough faith to give him not only this Little Richard song, but also National Anthem duties at the inaugural WrestleMania. I hope he and Howard Finkel plan on sticking around forever, because I can’t imagine a world without them.
1. “Real American” by Rick Derringer
As Vince McMahon alludes to on the outro of “Grab Them Cakes,” this song was originally intended for Mike Rotunda and Barry Windham of the U.S. Express. But when they left for the NWA, the song was generously donated to a young, down-on-his-luck wrestler by the name of Hulk Hogan, and the rest was history. Falling somewhere between “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” on the scale of ridiculously high patriotism, Derringer’s gigantic guitar riff is now instantly recognizable. As one of the few themes that has managed to transcend pro wrestling, it’s hard to put anything else at the top of the list.