8 Great is our new, extremely original listicle series where we take a break from snark and negativity to focus on the positive and list eight of our favorite examples of something great from pro wrestling. Matches, performers, shows – whatever is helping us enjoy wrestling in a particular week, that’s what this feature is all about.
In previous editions of 8 Great we’ve covered a lot of things you can’t watch on WWE Network, from the best New Japan Pro Wrestling matches of the year so far and the top active joshi stars you should love all the way down to WCW Family Feud clips and the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
This week, I thought we’d look at some moments you should be able to watch on WWE Network, but can’t, because they’ve been scrubbed. We’re talking great musical moments from WWE (and WCW, and technically ECW) history that were either altered, cropped, or completely removed from the active historical archive. These are moments that you’ll probably never see in their original forms again unless you watched them live, or these third party streaming options we’re linking to don’t get hit with a bunch of takedown notices.
So here are 8 Great musical moments either banned from WWE Network, or changed to the point that they might as well have been.
Stone Cold Is The Champion, My Friend
As a heads up, a lot of this list is moments from that weird early 2000s period between WrestleMania X-7 and … let’s say WrestleMania 19, where everyone in WWE got super into singing. Chief among them was a newly heel Stone Cold Steve Austin, who seemed to have an inability to express his love and affection for Vince McMahon in any way other than song.
While most of Austin’s guitar love concerts for Vince remain thanks to songs like ‘Jimmy Crack Corn,’ ‘Camptown Races,’ and ‘Kumbaya’ being in the public domain, the original versions — including Austin singing ‘We Are The Champions’ about himself while aggressively tapping Vince on the leg to pay attention, or Vince’s rewritten version of the theme to Welcome Back Kotter — are missing completely. Thankfully you can still watch Austin cover Queen in clip form thanks to a video on WWE.com.
The Wind Beneath Our Ring
The “Austin can’t sing but won’t stop singing” joke more or less ended during Raw’s “Austin Appreciation Night” on August 20, 2001. The WCW/ECW Alliance — don’t ask — gave Austin a series of gifts, including Shane Helms’ treasured Green Lantern t-shirt (because Austin is his hero now) to Kanyon announcing that Steve is the only person “betta” than Kanyon, also via t-shirt. Lots of t-shirt gifting here.
The most important gift of the night was a video package of Austin’s triumphs and a group performance of Bette Milder’s ‘Wind Beneath My Wings,’ with the lyrics altered to be about Stone Cold Steve Austin. It’s the closest we’ll ever come to Midler vs. Austin on WWE TV, and it’s sadly cut from the Network due to copyright issues. Please enjoy this version, recorded on a toaster:
The Rock Concert
Unbelievably, The Rock Concert isn’t available on WWE Network. The Rock shows up, sits down, rips on Sacramento for a minute, and then Stone Cold Steve Austin barges in to fight him about it. It’s a shame, too, because the concert — featuring Rock parody version of ‘My Way’ (by Frank Sinatra, not Limp Bizkit), ‘On The Road Again,’ and ‘Hound Dog’ — is one of the character’s finest and most defining moments. You’d think ‘Leaving Sacramento’ would’ve at least made the cut, but here we are.
If you ever need to reference an absolute master class in completely working a crowd to be on your side and then pissing them off until they want to see you dead, go back and watch the original Rock Concert. Evil Hollywood heel Rock in the sunglasses, leather vest, and leather pants with his Willie Nelson guitar is probably the best single character in WWE history. Only conspiracy victim Chris Jericho in WCW comes close to match him for me.
The Rock Concert 2 (and 3)
Yep, these are edited, too.
While the second Rock Concert for Bill Goldberg and third for John Cena don’t reach the highs of the original, they’re still iconic Rock moments, especially if you enjoy seeing Duane Gill dressed as Goldberg doing hoe-down dancing while a guy reads Charlie Daniels Band parody lyrics.
If you’re wondering why THESE got cut, you can thank ‘Georgia On My Mind’ and ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ for the second concert, and a prolonged parody of ‘Jailhouse Rock’ for the third.
Wasted Away Again
Let’s combine singing Stone Cold Steve Austin and singing The Rock for one of the greatest, dorkiest moments in Raw history: a 2001 sing-off featuring ‘Delta Dawn’ by Tanya Tucker, ‘The Gambler’ by Kenny Rogers, and, as the main event duet, ‘Margaritaville’ by Jimmy Buffet. Yes, there is an episode of Raw where Stone Cold Steve Austin sings Tanya Tucker karaoke.
This segment would be a disaster in the hands of anyone except the two greatest crowd-working microphone wizards of their era (and probably of all time). As it stands, it’s an adorable time capsule of 2001 WWF, and a reminder that sometimes even the toughest SOBs in the World Wrestling Federation should chill out and sing a little Jimmy Buffet.
Let’s Hear It For New Day
If you’re a modern fan, this is probably the moment that sprang to mind when I told you about the list. It’s New Day singing Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ ‘Empire State of Mind’ and changing the lyrics to be about how all the other tag teams in their division are booty. I miss the heel New Day something fierce, if we’re being honest, and I yearn for the simpler days when calling someone “booty” was an insult.
Please to enjoy, as it’ll never show up again on HD WWE TV, lest Jay Z ascend from the bowels of the Barclays Center and drop a chandelier on somebody.
Lonely Road Of Faith
You might have a soft spot for the other WWF “Desire” videos of the time, the Limp Bizkit ‘My Way’ video ahead of WrestleMania X-7, or even that dope Shawn Michaels/Undertaker Placebo package, but for my money, the best video package WWE’s ever done is the ‘Lonely Road of Faith’ retrospective from Raw a few weeks before 2002’s No Way Out. It was (kayfabe) created by Ric Flair to show Vince McMahon why his company was worth saving, and accidentally kinda sorta convinces us that the World Wrestling Federation’s something worth watching and preserving.
The video still exists on the January 28, 2002, edition of Raw on the Network, but with some of the worst placeholder muzak you’ve ever heard. I’m far from a fan of *cough* WWE Hall of Famer *cough* Kid Rock, but there isn’t a song in the world that could’ve fit the final vision of the World Wrestling Federation before it became “WWE” better. This was a goodbye to a handful of eras, as expressed through the occasionally brilliant emotive rock of a dude who might as well be WWE The Person. Still a perfect video, and it’s a shame they haven’t done enough since 2002 to really add to it.
One Night Stand
There’s a lot of important music missing from WWE Network — I almost put Triple H and the Undertaker losing Metallica and Johnny Cash, respectively, before their WrestleMania match in favor of their normal entrance themes on this list, and definitely will if I do a part two — but nothing hurts the moment quite as much as The Sandman losing his Metallica entrance theme at One Night Stand 2005.
It could be argued that about 85% of what made Sandman work as a character was that song and entrance, and watching him do it in full one last, glorious time felt like Extreme Championship Wrestling had truly risen from the dead and entered the building. You can watch it below.
The WWE version with a soundalike is just such a bummer. That’s really the only way I can describe it. You watch the whole thing with a flat look on your face, and dude’s out there smoking and drinking and bashing a kendo stick into his own forehead for nothing. Such a shame.
That’s our list. Did we miss any important moments? Let us know down below. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be singing ‘Delta Dawn’ for the rest of the afternoon.