For years, WWE has hired music producers such as CFO$ and Jim Johnson to create in-house music that WWE would own the rights to, removing their need to pay any kind of royalty fee and reduce their costs.
Last week, we brought you the first in a series of articles uncovering 5 WWE entrance themes you did not know were copied from other popular songs, we covered a brief history of entrance music and the cost considerations of licensing a popular song against creating a new theme in-house.
This week, we bring you another 5 songs used by WWE superstars that you may not have known where copied from popular songs.
1. Finn Balor
Finn Balor rose to superstardom in New Japan Pro Wrestling under the ring name Prince Devitt. In New Japan, Devitt was a three-time IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion, a six-time Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team champion, and a two-time Best of the Super Juniors tournament winner.
Famed for his matches against and teaming with fellow Apollo 55 tag team partner Ryusuke Taguchi, Devitt went on to become a founding member and leader of the villainous Bullet Club stable with fellow members Bad Luck Fale, Karl Anderson, and Tama Tonga.
Balor signed for WWE in mid-2014 and joined the NXT roster. Balor would go on to become the NXT Champion, defeating Kevin Owens at WWE’s 2015 live network special in Tokyo, Beast in the East. He then went on to win the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, teaming with Samoa Joe, before being drafted to RAW as part of the 2016 WWE Draft.
Balor immediately rose to the main event scene on RAW, defeating Rusev, Cesaro, and Kevin Owens in a Fatal Four Way Match in his in-ring debut before defeating Roman Reigns that same night. Balor would defeat Seth Rollins at Summerslam 2016 to become the inaugural WWE Universal Champion, vacating the title on RAW the very next night due to a shoulder injury sustained in the match.
Charting at number one in the UK Rock chart in 2013, ‘Out of The Black’ by Royal Blood was the theme for WWE’s Roadblock Pay Per View in 2016. You may notice how remarkably similar this song sounds when compared to elements of Balor’s theme, so Balor’s theme was likely based on this song.
2. Ruby Riott/The Riott Squad
Ruby Riott was introduced to NXT TV in the lead up to NXT Takeover: Orlando, where she aligned with Roderick Strong, Tye Dillinger, and No Way Jose in a feud against SAnitY. The two teams faced off at Takeover in a match that SAnitY won. Riott continued feuding with SAnitY member Nikki Cross and challenged for the NXT Women’s Championship facing off against Cross in a Fatal 4 Way match that also featured Ember Moon and undefeated, defending Women’s Champion, Asuka at NXT Takeover: Chicago.
Riott made Main Roster on RAW as the leader of the Riott Squad faction which also featured fellow NXT call-ups, Liv Morgan and Sonya Deville. After impressing WWE higher-ups with her work she was briefly elevated to the women’s main event scene, challenging Ronda Rousey for RAW Women’s title at Elimination Chamber 2019.
A non-single album track from Rancid’s 1995 masterpiece ‘And Out Come the Wolves’, the similarities between 11th hour and CFO$ produced ‘We Riot’ is clear to hear. Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, also known as a vocalist for punk rock/hip hop supergroup Transplants, will be no stranger to hearing his songs elsewhere. Armstrong wrote and produced 8 songs for Pink’s 2003 album Try This, including the hit single ‘Trouble’ which was originally written as a song for Rancid. He may, however, need to have a second take when hearing the suspiciously similar Riott Squad theme.
Certain WWE fans may already be familiar with this song, as it was included on the soundtrack for the WWE 2K19 video game. This song was included at the request of Sami Zayn, and the word is that Sami wanted to include this song to troll his coworker. Speaking of Sami Zayn…
3. Sami Zayn
Prior to joining WWE, Zayn wrestled under a mask by the name El Generico, wrestling in US promotions such as Ring of Honor and Chikara and Japanese based promotions Dragon Gate and DDT Pro. Generico entered the PWG Battle of Los Angeles for eight consecutive years, winning the tournament once in 2011.
Signing to WWE in 2013 saw an unmasking and a name change for Generico, who would go on to be known as Sami Zayn in NXT. Zayn won the NXT Championship at Takeover: R Evolution, where long-time friend Kevin Owens turned on Zayn, power bombing him onto the ring apron. Zayn would go on to lose the NXT Championship to Owens at Takeover: Rival. Zayn and Owens’ feud spilled over onto the main roster, culminating in Zayn finally defeating Owens in their match at Battleground 2016. Zayn has since realigned with Owens and has feuded with the likes of Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon.
Zayn’s entrance theme is a fast-paced ska-punk song with brass, as was popular with bands such as Reel Big Fish. Sami Zayn’s CFO$ produced theme bears remarkable similarities to Goldfinger’s 1997 song ‘Superman’.
A cult classic, Superman also appeared in the 1996 movie Kingpin, as well as on the first instalment of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game franchise.
4. Oney Lorcan
Wrestling on the independent circuit under the name Biff Busick where he was a former CZW World Heavyweight Champion and an entrant in PWG’s 2014 Battle of Los Angeles tournament, Lorcan signed to WWE in 2015 and reported to WWE’s Performance Centre in Florida.
Performing predominantly on the NXT brand, Oney feuded briefly with Danny Burch which saw the two forming a tag team. The peak for this tag team saw Burch and Lorcan challenge Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Titles at 2018’s NXT Takeover: Chicago, with the duo unable to prevail on that occasion.
These days, Oney Lorcan’s catchy entrance music can be heard on WWE’s cruiserweight brand, 205 Live. If you are a fan of Punk Rock, you may be forgiven for thinking you have already heard this theme many times before, as it is actually based on Pennywise’s ‘Bro Hymn’.
Bro Hymn was the song that Lorcan used on the independent circuit prior to joining WWE, so it should come as no surprise that this is the song that Oney’s WWE theme is based heavily on.
5. Mickie James
This one is perhaps a little more obvious.
Mickie James debuted for WWE in 2005 as Trish Stratus’ number 1 fan, a storyline that slowly saw James descending into an obsessed stalker. The 8-month angle culminated at WrestleMania 22, where Mickie’s mind games prevailed as she defeated Stratus to win her first of six WWE Women’s Championships.
While the storyline that saw James introduced into WWE was unique and certainly pushed boundaries for its time, the same cannot be said about her entrance theme. James’ entrance theme is, in fact, a copy of the aptly named 1981 hit single ‘Hey Mickey’ by Toni Basil.
So there you have it, another 5 WWE entrance themes you would be forgiven for thinking they are originals but are in fact based on other popular songs. Stay tuned (get it?) if you have enjoyed this list, as further lists will be released weekly in a series of pieces covering wrestling music that has been inspired, influenced, and sometimes flat out copied from other popular music.