Following on from the recently published lists, discussing occasions where WWE has copied from popular songs to create entrance themes, we thought it was unfair the name and shame only the WWE for this practice.
Therefore, this list focuses on TNA who was perhaps even more prolific for it.
Much like the WWE, TNA employed their own in house music producer in the form of Dale Oliver. Oliver’s job was simple; create music that sounded familiar to the audience while minimizing any liability that TNA had to pay in the form of music royalties. Here are some of the results:
5. AJ Styles
After a brief stint in WCW, and a handful of dark matches and WWE tryouts, Styles would go on to make a name for himself by wrestling at Jeff and Jerry Jarrett’s newly formed promotion NWA: Total Nonstop Action.
Fast forward to 2013 TNA, Styles is now a six-time X-Division champion, a six-time World Tag Team champion, and a two-time Global champion, not to mention a World Heavyweight champion, and the first-ever Triple Crown and first-ever Grand Slam champion.
In a decision that still baffles many, TNA opted not to renew AJ Styles’ contract due to a pay dispute, which led to the Phenomenal One parting ways with the company.
Styles competed in the first televised match on the first of 110 weekly TNA PPVs, teaming with Low-Ki and Jerry Lynn in a losing effort to The Flying Elvis’, a team of high flying Elvis Presly impersonators (yeah, early TNA was wild). In this match and for months afterward, the entrance theme used by Styles was ‘Born & Raised’ by Dale Oliver.
If you have never seen early TNA, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this theme sounded familiar. The reason for this is that it is an almost carbon copy of Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 Rock Classic, ‘Born in the USA’.
“What is Spruce Bringsteen doing in the iMPACT Zone?!” I hear you ask.
While Born in the USA may sound like a patriotic song at first, you may be surprised to hear that it is actually an anti-American song, with many speculating that the cover of the album of the same name was actually depicting Springsteen urinating on the flag.
The song lyrics revolve heavily around the consequences of the Vietnam War on America and the treatment of Vietnam veterans upon their return home. A rather odd song to base an entrance theme on for your up and coming star, but as the saying goes, LOL TNA.
4. Christopher Daniels
You can’t talk about AJ Styles and the early days of TNA without bringing up Christopher Daniels, and this list is no exception.
The AEW star and member of SCU clashed several times while feuding with the Phenomenal one over the X-Division championship, and at the time Daniels held the record for the longest-reigning X Division champion before losing the title to Styles in a triple threat also involving Samoa Joe; a match many consider to be the best in the history of the promotion.
Under the ‘Fallen Angel’ persona, Daniels’ theme was a rock track featuring vocals reminiscent of angels. You may have thought that this theme sounded familiar, and if you did then you would be correct, as this theme was, in fact, a rip of Marilyn Manson’s 2000 hit, Disposable Teens.
Long-time wrestling fans will be familiar with the music of Manson, with ‘The Beautiful People’ having been used as the theme music for both RAW and SmackDown and ‘Fight Song’ being used as the theme for the 2001 PPV event, Invasion.
Introduced as Ethan Carter III, the wealth-driven sociopath who conveniently happened to be the nephew of TNA owner Dixie Carter. This nepotism, along with an impressive undefeated streak, would help EC3 swiftly reach the top of the card, defeating Kurt Angle on an episode of Impact in July 2015 to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Carter’s entrance theme described exactly the type of character he was, trouble. It is surprising that trouble was something that TNA managed to avoid with this theme, as upon closer inspection it is quite clearly based on Fall Out Boy’s 2013 hit single, My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up).
The song itself has had a fair share of plagiarism debates, with many speculating that a later song released by Fall Out Boy, ‘Centuries’, was exactly the same song as Light em up. We will leave it to you to decide.
2. Christian Cage
Many consider Christian to be the first major signing of TNA, signifying the first time an active WWE competitor purposefully allowed his contract to expire in order to join the promotion. At the Genesis PPV in 2005, the lights went out, a countdown commenced, and a new theme hit.
Due to copyright issues, Christian was forced to adopt the name Christian Cage, which he had previously wrestled under prior to joining WWE. No such regard to copyright was made in the selection of Cage’s entrance theme, however, as the eagle eared among you will have spotted that it is based heavily on Evanescence’s song, My Last Breath. It was such a blatant copy, that TNA would later go on to alter the theme, changing the key of certain notes and reordering certain riffs to make it sound less similar. You’re not fooling us TNA.
1. Kurt Angle
When Christian Cage jumped ship to TNA, it opened the door for many other disgruntled WWE stars to do just that. In what was no doubt the biggest acquisition in TNA history, Kurt Angle signed with the company in 2006 after his release from WWE due to his dangerous painkiller addiction.
TNA was the natural choice for Angle to transition to, as TNA’s reduced schedule (at the time two TV tapings a month and one PPV show), as well as being exclusively at the IMPACT Zone in Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, meant that Kurt could benefit from the reduced time in-ring and traveling, allowing him to focus on remedying his accumulated injuries and regaining health.
Many believe that Angle’s best work came from his time in TNA, feuding with the likes of AJ Styles, EC3, Christian Cage, Jeff Jarrett, Samoa Joe, Sting, and Scott Steiner (who Angle knows he’s not gonna beat so he’s not even gonna try). A somewhat surprising fact is that Angle’s tenure in TNA (2006-2016) was longer than his original run in WWE (1998-2006).
Angle had become synonymous with his unintentionally comedic theme in WWE, where fans would ‘You Suck’ at him during his entrance. As this song was owned by WWE, TNA was forced to find a new theme for Angle, featuring lyrics from Tha Trademarc who is John Cena’s legitimate cousin and appeared on every track of Cena’s 2005 album, You Can’t See Me.
Angle’s theme in TNA may have sounded familiar to you, but if you thought it was because of his time in WWE then you’d be very much mistaken. Angle’s TNA theme heavily samples Red Rider’s 1981 iconic hit, Lunatic Fringe.
So there we have it. It would seem that the practice of sampling, and occasionally copying popular songs for entrance themes are consistent throughout the wrestling industry. What other copied wrestling themes have you noticed?
Which promotion should we explore next? Tweet us at the usual place below.