WWE has a ton of bad ideas. It’s understandable. The company puts on a ridiculous weekly six hours of television between Raw, Smackdown, and Total Divas.
Add the Network-exclusive stuff like Superstars, Main Event, and NXT, you’re staring down a profound amount of content to fill. Mad Men takes an hour 13 weeks out of the year to pack in all its characters and dimensions. On Raw alone writers scratch their head and try to figure out how to make a 180-minute show meaningful with only three or four solid feuds at any one time.
This isn’t a recipe for success, which is why WWE generates lots of bad ideas. Instead of tightly wound storylines, you see stuff like Dean Ambrose beating up a mannequin, and Tyson Kidd hawking Chicken Fries. When they’re at wit’s end, they usually wheel in a musical guest. Remember a couple weeks ago when Wiz Khalifa played a shockingly long set in the middle of the show? That’s because they couldn’t figure out anything else to do with that space.
However, in its constant quest for crossover branding opportunities, WWE can stumble on some magic. Sometimes having wrestlers sing, or stand in the general proximity of other famous people singing, is awesome. Intentionally, unintentionally, whatever. Sometimes it just works. And with that we present our favorite music moments from the squared circle.
That Time John Morrison and Miz Rapped
The thing about wrestling is that it never ends. All-timers become once-a-year Battle Royale jobbers on the regular. Before Miz was doing the best work of his career with Damien Sandow, he was getting no-entrance chucked at WrestleMania XXX.
A few years before that he was literally main-eventing in an angle with John Cena and The Rock. Miz’s career is destined to have dozens more peaks and valleys until everything is a mushy unathletic blur, because that’s just how wrestling works. Unless you’re a guy like John Cena, you’re going to fluctuate a bit.
My favorite forgotten gem is probably this stupid rap song Miz made with The Human Rhinestone John Morrison when they were feuding with Cryme Tyme. “I’M THE MIZ, HE GOT HATS LIKE SLASH!” What? Say what you like about the incredibly troubling racial politics, at least Cryme Tyme gave us that immortal image of Miz blowing smoke into the camera.
That Time Fred Durst and Undertaker Hugged
Undertaker is a legend. Legitimately one of the greatest of all time. He’s a man who took ostensibly the dumbest gimmick ever (cowboy mortician zombie biker) and turned it into perhaps the best summation of what makes wrestling great.
But Undertaker also hugged Fred Durst at WrestleMania once.
Even our greatest heroes occasionally do things that look really silly in retrospect. Sure you’re an all-timer, but maybe you once pandered to the nu-metal generation. It makes sense that one of Undertaker’s worst WrestleMania matches, (the abysmal tag-team of him and Nathan Jones vs. Big Show and A-Train) will forever be marked by the Phenom hugging the guy who just yelled “ROLLIN’ ROLLIN’ ROLLIN’ ROLLIN’” 500 times. There are moments where I think I want Biker Taker back, but then I think of WrestleMania 19.
That Time Vince McMahon Sang a Show Tune
Of course, no post on the grand history of singing wrestling figureheads would be complete without this very famous gem from the 1987 Slammy Awards. I know what you’re thinking, “wait, they were still doing the Slammy’s back in the late ‘80s?” I know. I’m surprised too. Honestly that fact is more shocking than the idea that Vince McMahon once called Hogan into his office and asked “hey, can you play bass?”
There’s a lot to love about this fever dream, but my favorite might be Macho Man, who’s just crushing it in his trumpet lip-sync. Like everything else in Savage’s career, that dude absolutely believed he could play the trumpet when the camera was on him. And who knows? Maybe he did, but I’m guessing we didn’t really live in that world. It was the late ‘80s, so of course the camera lingered on Hulk, but as always, Macho Man was the real star.
Don’t sleep on Vince McMahon’s growly singing voice either. Maybe they should play this when the old man finally passes the torch.
That Time The Rock Ethered The Entire City of Sacramento
This isn’t nearly as embarrassing or misplaced as some of the other things on this list, because we’re talking about The Rock, and The Rock is still the most prenaturally comfortable dude WWE has ever had. His "Rock Concerts" are one of a kind, but my favorite will always, always be his moment in Sacramento in the midst of the Lakers/Kings rivalry.
Rock’s career in WWE was coming to an end. Hollywood was calling. So he could start to mix in some heelishness into his usual chucklehead routine. This was probably the best artifact from that era. How do you make the city of Sacramento hate you in 2003? Rock went with “Sacramento I won’t stay, but I’ll be sure to come back when the Lakers beat the Kings in May.”
Yeah that worked. Man, I kinda miss young, antagonistic Rock.
That Time When John Cena Was a Real Rapper
If you ask me how WWE should fix Cena, I’ll guffaw and remind you that a lot of pro wrestling is for kids. But if you press, I might say something like “well, they should give him back that stupid chain and let him rap again.”
That’s the true legacy of John Cena as far as I’m concerned. Fake white Boston rapper guy, who’s secretly way better at rapping than he has any right to be. I love Cena as 8 Mile chip-on-his-shoulder trailer-trash dude who says things like “I’M UNTOUCHABLE BUT I’M FORCING YOU TO FEEL ME.”
Seriously watch this video and tell me you don’t immediately get excited.
I’m still waiting for that second rap album John.