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The 10 best entrance pyro displays
Just as the denizens of Metropolis and Star City have a tendency to look up, in the sky, to maybe catch a glimpse of their superheroes, people all over the United States will be doing much the same on the Fourth of July. Of course, they’ll be doing so to get a gander at any number of the thousands of spectacular fireworks displays that will light up the skies to celebrate our country’s independence.
But Independence Day isn’t the only time of year when fireworks take center stage. In WWE, fireworks — well, technically, they’re pyrotechnics — are par for the course, and have become as recognizable as the Superstars themselves.
Over the years, pyro has become an indelible part of sports-entertainment; an expected and much-loved spectacle as entwined with the squared circle as headlocks and drop toe-holds.
Countless performers have been heralded into the ring by pyro displays, but the following are the 10 best pyro entrances in WWE history.
Majestic, regal, confident. Those are the words that best describe a young Randy Orton, in the prime of his “Legend Killer” days, taking WWE by storm and leaving a trail of opponents fallen on the canvas after suffering The Viper’s bite of an RKO.
In those days, Orton’s entrance was every bit as brash as the up-and-coming third-generation Superstar. Cascading embers of firelight encompassed the once-and-future Apex Predator as he hit his signature pose on the ramp, perfectly capturing the attitude of a performer who would eventually graduate from Legend Killer to bona fide legend in his own right.
OK, let’s not mince words here: The Brood were some straight-up scary dudes.
Gangrel, Christian and Edge were certainly products of 1990s Goth culture, taken to the extreme as only WWE can do. And even though they weren’t a faction for very long (as Edge & Christian would soon go on to become, arguably, the greatest tag team in WWE history), The Brood’s entrance — with its red-hued lighting and licking flames to match Gangrel’s seemingly forked tongue — left an indelible mark on the WWE Universe.
Think about it: these guys managed to stand out during a time when everyone was trying to stand out. Their classically creepy entrance and its pitch-perfect pyro certainly played a huge role in that. For their efforts, The Brood clocks in at No. 9 on our list.
Speaking of Edge …
The WWE Hall of Famer has more memorable moments and accolades to his name than we can recount in the amount of space allotted here, but you can add dramatic entrance pyro to the list of everything else that was cool about The Rated-R Superstar.
Quick bursts of explosions marked Edge’s arrival, and, combined with some of the best entrance themes ever, got the WWE Universe ready for all the spear-induced excitement that was bound to follow. Black-clad in his flowing leather coat and long hair, Edge looked like a rock star, and the pyrotechnic display he set off every night in arenas around the world only served to play directly into one of the coolest personas in the history of WWE.
Rob Van Dam
This one’s a no-brainer.
One of the most exciting and unpredictable Superstars to ever grace a WWE ring, the extreme grappler has made a career by wowing fans the world over with his awe-inspiring aerial displays inside (and above) the squared circle. And, like a coast-to-coast Van Terminator off the top rope, RVD’s entrance pyro is a head-turning spectacle on par with some of the best of all time. Quick, loud flashes of silver explode as RVD’s music reaches its crescendo and the high-flying Superstar hurries down the ramp.
Like the man himself, that pyro was (and still is) one of a kind, earning Rob Van Dam — and his flash-bang pyro display — a spot on our list.
Break the walls down … with, um, fireworks, apparently.
“Jericho” has always been synonymous with “flashy,” and just as the legendary lion has evolved through the years, so, too, has his entrance pyro. What began as huge explosions from the ramp itself morphed into an intricate series of smaller POPs on the TitanTron, literally breaking down the walls to herald the coming of Jericho.
Few wrestlers have been so closely associated with their entrances as Y2J, and for good reason: Jericho’s arrival into arenas are just as memorable as the matches he partakes in once he gets inside the ropes.
Some entrances just get the blood pumping. Take Batista’s high-octane, loud and powerful arrival into arenas, for example. With the POP POP POP of faux-machine gun fire matched up perfectly with bright, loud pyro explosions, The Animal showed up on the ramp, ready to destroy anyone in his path and with the intention of getting the WWE Universe to its feet.
Batista made a career out of being a physical spectacle, intimidating opponents with his mind-boggling mass and superhuman strength, but thanks to the iconic pyro used in his entrance, The Animal even intimidated from afar, and built upon the momentum of his amped-up entrance as he made his way inside the ropes.
Lots of Superstars had cool pyro, and in most instances, the cool pyro meshed well with their personas. But no Superstar ever quite meshed with his pyro like the one and only Goldberg. You know what we’re talking about.
Literally walking into the sideways-spraying sparks that proclaimed his arrival, the monstrous former football player only added to his aura of seeming indestructibility, a notion that was only furthered once the scary-strong WCW legend stepped into the squared circle and plowed through the opposition at a historic clip.
Also, did he actually breathe in, then exhale, the flames and the smoke from that pyro? Yeah. Yeah, he did. Talk about an intimidation factor …
You know a performer exists on an entirely different plane of existence when the simple act of entering an arena is a yearly highlight at The Shows of Shows, WrestleMania.
But The Undertaker is, of course, on a completely different level from everyone else.
You can’t have a best-of list without The Phenom, and as expected, The Undertaker’s iconic — and spine-tingling — entrance, and its unforgettable pyro, place the legend himself on our list. Drenched in deep purple to cloak the black-clad Deadman as funeral bells signal his arrival, The Demon from Death Valley kicks things up a notch with full-on fireballs continuously bursting behind him as he makes his long, slow walk to the ring.
Anyone who’s ever seen The Undertaker arrive on any stage can never forget it, but to witness The Deadman enter a WrestleMania? Take it from us — it’s a truly chill-inducing moment, warmed only by the spectacular blazes left in The Phenom’s wake as he walks forever on.
There are Superstars, there are Legends, and then there’s HBK.
A performer so gifted that his in-ring feats of athleticism seemed almost effortless at times, Shawn Michaels successfully stopped shows for two decades in WWE, leaving behind a legacy of greatness and a trail of classic matches en route to his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Just as iconic as Sweet Chin Music to the mouth of an unfortunate foe, though, was HBK’s trademark pyro display on the ramp, and then inside the ring, as Michaels prepared to go to battle in another unforgettable showdown.
With pyro shooting into the heavens as HBK dropped to his knees in a show of devotion on the ramp, and then another set of explosions as he struck his most iconic pose inside the ring, it became clear that the show could be stopped even before HBK locked up against an opponent.
A monster whose entrance pyro is as much a part of his persona as his red-and-black ring gear and iconic mask, Kane takes the top spot due to consistency and iconography. Raising his hands up over his head and bringing them down to a literal explosion of hellfire inside the squared circle, Kane’s pyro has gone essentially unchanged for years and years.
If you’ve ever been in an arena when the demon makes his red-hued arrival, then you know — you can actually feel the heat of the flames as Kane invokes whatever dark entity it is that gives him the ability to light up the ring, an instantly recognizably (and terrifying) act that garners him top honors on our list.
Do you agree with our choices? Think we’re (pyro)maniacs? Let us know in the comments, and have a happy (and safe) Fourth of July!