Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest Post - Making an Entrance

This guest post is written by friend of the site Bobfoc, who is taking a look at one of the most important part of a wrestling character, their entrance.


Whenever we sit down to watch one of the ever-increasing items of WWE programming these days, it’s easy for us to take some of the subtle nuances that help craft its often stunning production values for granted. In this day and age, we’re treated to pyrotechnic displays, state-of-the-art high definition picture quality and, arguably, some of the finest video packages seen in any field of popular entertainment.

Just as the aesthetic image of the product has evolved over the last couple of decades, so, too, have the wrestlers’ ring entrances. Once a privilege reserved for only those on the highest rungs of the professional wrestling ladder, entrance music is now an established staple of sports entertainment, with almost every wrestler walking down to the ring to a distinctively recognisable tune. What’s more, as the years have rolled on, we’ve seen a plethora of popular rock bands, including the likes of Motorhead, Killswitch Engage and Alter Bridge, provide licensed tracks that have become synonymous with some of the wrestlers themselves.

Naturally, the growth of new conventions in the wrestling world has bred a host of new debates over what makes a good or bad ring entrance. Diving head-first into such a topic of discussion would open up several potentially volatile cans of worms, so I that won’t be the road I’m planning to go down in this piece. Instead, I’ve decided to rank what I consider to be the five best superstar entrances in WWE today.

Just to be clear, I’ve only included the entrances of the current members of the WWE roster in my rankings. So, without further ado, here are what I consider to be the five greatest entrances in WWE at this moment in time.

5: ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes

After his runs with Hardcore Holly and Legacy had petered out to a stand-still, Cody was in desperate need of a gimmick overhaul. Thankfully, WWE’s creative team appears to have struck gold with Rhodes’ obsessively narcissistic character, and this entrance complements that character brilliantly. From the splendidly cringeworthy theme to the genuinely innovative titantron mirror, this is an example of a cheesy entrance done well enough to effectively put across a gimmick to both the television viewer and the live audience.

4: R-Truth

Regardless of what you might think of R-Truth as an in-ring performer or as a rap artist, there’s no denying that his entrance is one of the most crowd-pleasing spectacles in WWE today. To me, “What’s Up?” represents something that has been sadly missing in WWE entrances lately: crowd interaction. Many fans remember the enthusiasm with which live audiences would chant along with the entrance themes of such stars as Al Snow and The New Age Outlaws during the Attitude Era, and it seems to me that R-Truth’s self-performed track is one of the few reminders of why giving the fans the opportunity to participate in an entrance can really liven up the atmosphere in a WWE arena.

3: John Cena

Ah, John Cena. Undoubtedly the most divisive wrestler on the planet today, he can never enter an arena without drawing one of the biggest reactions of the night. And it all starts when the opening seconds of “My Time is Now” kick in. As soon as those first notes ring out, you know the roof’s going to be raised, whether he’s being cheered or booed. While I’ll readily admit that I’m not a great fan of the song itself, I know that my attention will be drawn by the resounding pop that only this entrance can evoke.

2: Alberto Del Rio

Smackdown’s fastest rising star is also the subject of the newest theme on this list. I know that many will agree with me when I say that my expectations for Del Rio weren’t exactly high after several weeks of soulless vignettes before his debut, but that all changed as soon as he entered the ring for his first bout against Rey Mysterio. Complete with a personal ring announcer and a range of vintage cars that will surely provide us with a hardcore spot or two in the future, Del Rio’s entrance is one of the most unique and effective examples of how a heel can draw serious heat on the way to the ring as well as inside it. And that’s without mentioning the role played by Del Rio himself, whose facial expression convey a sense of smugness, arrogance and self-obsession that no promo ever could.

1: The Undertaker

Yes, it’s a clich├ęd choice. Yes, it’s been used for nearly two decades now. Yes, we’ve all seen it a million times. But it doesn’t matter. This is still the finest entrance in wrestling today, and it holds serious weight as a contender for the greatest entrance of all time.

As The Undertaker walks slowly and methodically down the ramp with the divine presence that only he can generate, we could almost forget about the fantastic job that WWE’s production team plays in bringing it all together. With a harrowing blend of dry ice, lightning bolts and plain, simple darkness, all of the finest qualities of the WWE production machine come together seamlessly to create the most enduring, spine-chilling entrance seen in any wrestling promotion. Add that to the druids seemingly every year at Wrestlemania and you’ve got an almighty package of audio-visual greatness.

And then there’s the music. While Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock may have made for suitable accompaniments during his biker days, nothing epitomises The Undertaker’s classic Dead Man gimmick than The Graveyard Symphony, one of the simplest, yet most atmospheric pieces ever used in a wrestling setting.

Simply put, this is an entrance done right in every conceivable way. As anyone fortunate enough to have seen him wrestle live can attest, ‘Taker’s ring walk is almost worth the admission price alone.

And so concludes the list. Of course, everything stated in this article is purely my own personal opinion, and I welcome any disagreements or comments. There’s no doubt in my mind that anyone even remotely interested in wrestling will have their own opinions as to what separates the good from the bad in terms of ring entrances, so feel free to chime in with yours.


If you would like to write a Guest Post for Kick-Out!!, please e-mail razor@kickoutwrestling.com or contact me via Twitter or Facebook

6 comments:

  1. I will say it was the R. Truth entrance that helped me warm up to him... because it really is fun.

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  2. Nice read and I agree with the choices. Personally I feel HHH would be on my top list. His entrance always gets the crowd going and seems to set a mood.

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  3. MC - Yes, I think R-Truth's entrance really helped him establish a rapport with the fans straight away, even those who weren't familiar with either his TNA work or his earlier WWF/E run as K-Kwik. I certainly think that the aspect of crowd interaction during entrances is underused nowadays, but R-Truth's ring walk shows that it can be effective in building up a new face.

    Blake - Thanks for reading. Triple H was certainly on my shortlist, and he was unlucky to miss out. I suppose his recent absence has meant that his entrance wasn't quite as fresh in my mind as my other picks, but it's hard to deny how well it suits The Game's character, both as a heel or a face. Just thinking back to his return from injury at Madison Square Garden in 2002 gives me goosebumps. I don't think I've ever known such a sustained crowd pop since, and I can only imagine what it would have been like to witness live in the arena.

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  4. Very good guest post :)

    I was amazed to learn that R-Truth is 39 today ... he looks amazing for his age.

    Anyway ... great picks for this guest post!
    Tom

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  5. I must say that it took me by surprise too. It's one thing I really love about the wrestling business, though; as long as a wrestler can still entertain, it doesn't matter how old he or she is.

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  6. John Cena and R-Truth are the best!!I am going to watch the whole action of Royal Rumble 2011 on
    http://www.watchlivechannels.com/royal-rumble

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