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15 Superstars that rocked
For some Superstars, the thrill of in-ring competition isn’t enough. Some want to feel the rush of thousands of people singing along with a musical creation they composed. Whether they performed their own entrance music or took up the guitar on the side, the grapplers made it clear that they were here to rock. But who rocked hardest? Bang your head to our countdown of face-melting Superstar solos and find out! ( PHOTOS | VIDEO PLAYLIST)
Though we can’t vouch for the rest of his “band,” we can definitely assure you of Heath Slater’s alleged musical talents. The self-proclaimed “One-Man Band” has been touting his rock ‘n’ roll acumen since bursting onto the scene during the inaugural season of WWE NXT.
Originally satisfied with playing a little air guitar on his way to the ring, Slater let it be known that in 2012, he’d be branching out into the music world. He unsuccessfully tried to strike up a partnership with acclaimed rapper Flo Rida at WrestleMania XXVIII, which grew into a war of words over social media. ( WATCH)
Then, he tried interrupting Raw guest star Cyndi Lauper to debut his new single, which led to him getting a gold record cracked over his head by the songstress. ( WATCH) Maybe Lauper knocked a little sense into Slater, as with the addition of Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal to his band, there’s no telling what kind of hits they’ll produce.
Man Mountain Rock
This monstrous Superstar proved that big men can rock, too. Man Mountain Rock liked to give the WWE Universe a little blues-rock concert before his bouts. The tie-dye clad Superstar could often be found jamming on a guitar shaped like the WWE logo in the squared circle. ( WATCH)
Once the bell rang, Man Mountain Rock was no one-hit wonder. Prior to his arrival in WWE, the humongous headbanger had been a collegiate wrestler at Iowa State University. His mat wrestling ability made him a tough task for any Superstar.
When he was finished making his guitar gently weep, he made his opponents cry in a not-so-gentle manner. Man Mountain Rock quickly dispatched of his opponents with his Whammy Bar submission, an armbar variation that forced many to tap out.
"Heavy Metal" Van Hammer
Yes, some Superstars on this list have sang their own entrance music, and some have played an instrument on the way to the ring, but few had the rock ‘n’ roll ingenuity of “Heavy Metal” Van Hammer. WCW’s resident metalhead shredded his way down to the ring, swinging his flying-V guitar around his neck like a musclebound Steve Vai. ( WATCH)
In case you weren’t paying attention to the 300-pounder headbanging while busting out a rad solo, Hammer was ready to get you behind him. With a single power chord strum, “Heavy Metal” summoned a blast of fireworks from his mighty axe.
And in the event his opposition attempted to rush him like a crazed groupie, Hammer was prepared. During a Clash of the Champions bout in January 1992, Cactus Jack tried to get an early advantage in a bout with “Heavy Metal,” but Hammer had his axe at the ready, launching a flurry of guitar picks into the face of his rival and leaving us wondering if that feature comes stock from Fender.
Though we here at WWE.com are huge fans of Van Hammer’s pyro-shooting guitar, the WCW star had his detractors, namely, JT Southern. The native of Asbury Park, N.J., was more Bret Michaels than Bruce Springsteen and was unimpressed by Hammer’s chops. He sought to bring his own brand of hair metal to the Atlanta-based promotion and show that “Heavy Metal” was nothing more than a poser.
While Southern’s axe didn’t shoot fireworks or guitar picks, the blond grappler was more than happy to bang out a few riffs on his way to the ring to show that he didn’t need any gimmicks to rock. ( WATCH)
In the ring, however, Southern’s skills weren’t in tune with his shredding. Though he ragged on Hammer for being a poor guitar player, “Heavy Metal” had the upper hand on Southern in the ring. A few beatings later and JT Southern was headed back down Thunder Road into the swamps of Jersey.
Ain’t he great? “Double J” Jeff Jarrett insisted he was as he embarked on his quest to parlay the stardom he gained in WWE into a successful career in country music. Jarrett certainly had the glitz and glamour necessary to succeed in Nashville, Tenn., (remember that light-up cowboy hat?) but couldn’t get his foot in the door in Music City. After winning the Intercontinental Championship, Jarrett decided it was time to beat the door down.
Throughout spring 1995, Jarrett touted the release of “With My Baby Tonight,” the lead single from his album “Ain’t I Great?” Most of the WWE Universe refused to believe in the song’s existence, despite “Double J’s” haranguing.
Jarrett produced a music video for the song, but still, few believed that the Intercontinental Champion was truly as good a crooner as the song let on. He would seemingly prove his critics wrong in the shadow of legendary Music City venues, like Ryman Auditorium and The Grand Ole Opry, when he performed “With My Baby Tonight” live at In Your House 2 from Nashville in July 1995. ( WATCH) Despite a mini-concert that went off without a hitch, Jarrett still had naysayers that refused to believe he was a singer. It would take more than a year before those critics would get the truth behind “Double J.”
"The Real Double J" Jesse James
Jeff Jarrett left WWE in 1995, shortly after “With My Baby Tonight’s” release. The circumstances behind his departure were mysterious, leaving many to wonder why someone at the top of his game in the studio and the squared circle would leave. We would later get answers from the most unlikely of sources: “Double J’s” sidekick, The Roadie.
The Roadie returned to WWE on his own in 1996 with a shocking revelation: He was the true singer of “With My Baby Tonight”! Jarrett had been using his lackey’s superior vocals and taking all the credit. ( WATCH)
Calling himself “The Real Double J” Jesse James, the former Roadie performed the song before every one of his matches, rubbing a little more sand in Jarrett’s wounds, wherever he may have been. Though he wouldn’t find success until he ditched the country music, Jesse James showed that he was his own man and wasn’t going to let anyone boss him around.
Michael “P.S.” Hayes was a pro-wrestling pioneer in the musical sense. He and his Fabulous Freebirds cohorts were one of the first groups to use rock ‘n’ roll music to signal their arrival in an arena. But when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic “Free Bird” had worn out its welcome as Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts’ theme song, there was only one artist tough enough to pen a tune worthy of The Freebirds: Hayes himself.
“P.S.” hit the studio and emerged with rock ‘n’ roll gold. They often said that “Hot-lanta” was The Freebirds’ town, and Hayes came out with a hard-hitting song detailing their neighborhood, the meanest, toughest stretch in Atlanta: Badstreet, USA.
Hayes’ rocking hit let the world know that the further you went down Badstreet, the badder it got, until you reached the last house on the right, where The Freebirds took residence. He made it clear that no one in Atlanta could stand up to his crew and that anyone else who dared would likely end up beaten to a pulp.
Many of the Superstars on this list have lived out their rock star dreams in the squared circle. Chris Jericho wasn’t content with that. Y2J, a lifelong heavy metal fan, put together one of the hardest-rocking bands music and sports-entertainment had ever seen. Fozzy put out their first, self-titled album in 2000, featuring covers of the songs that inspired them.
In 2005, Fozzy released their first album featuring all original songs, “All That Remains.” Since then, Jericho and company have been touring the world, melting the faces of metalheads at music festivals across the United States and Europe.
Their latest headbanging single “Sandpaper” is the theme song for the 2012 edition of WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. ( SEE THE MUSIC VIDEO)
If Eddie Van Halen put on about 200 pounds and stopped showering, you’d get Maxx Payne. Before he joined WWE as Man Mountain Rock, the competitor from “The State of Euphoria,” rocked his way into WCW in 1993 with his guitar, Norma Jean, in hand. Decked out in a long leather trenchcoat adorned with images of the Grim Reaper, Payne turned the volume up to 11, playing an extra-heavy, psychedelic guitar solo on his way to the ring. His guitar chops were noticed by WCW brass, who invited Payne to put his own Hendrix-esque twist on “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to SuperBrawl III. ( WATCH)
In the ring, Maxx Payne seemed to enjoy dishing out punishment in all forms. He may be best remembered for stealing Johnny B. Badd’s confetti gun and shooting the Little Richard lookalike in the face with it, forcing Badd to wear a mask while his face healed.
After his rivalry with Badd ended, Payne joined forces with another competitor who loved pain: Cactus Jack. The devilish duo ran roughshod over WCW’s tag team division, setting up a series of wild brawls with then-champions The Nasty Boys.
Our ears are still ringing from Jillian Hall. An accomplished in-ring competitor, we’re not quite sure what led the former Divas Champion to believe she could belt out a tune like the best of them. Nonetheless, the Britney Spears wannabe decided to subject countless members of the WWE Universe to her screeching, off-tune “singing.”
Things got even worse for her opponents, fans and sound systems around the world when she decided to record her own entrance music. Refusing to take a hint from the WWE Universe, the tone-deaf Diva hit the studio once again, laying down several tracks for the holiday album “A Jingle with Jillian.” Though we here at WWE.com value our hearing, we almost wish stores would put this EP in their holiday rotation just so the aisles would be a little clearer when we do our gift shopping.
Koko B. Ware
Koko B. Ware, dubbed “The Birdman” because of his high-flying offense and his pet macaw, Frankie, was one of the most beloved Superstars of his day. With a happy-go-lucky attitude and a picture-perfect dropkick, Koko wowed the WWE Universe. However, when it was revealed that Koko would be singing the title track on “Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2,” fans weren’t sure what to expect.
“The Birdman” surprised the world, showing them he could sing just as well as he could wrestle. Koko belted out the love ballad, using his experience as a gospel singer in his hometown of Union City, Tenn., to his advantage. ( WATCH THE "PILEDRIVER" MUSIC VIDEO)
But he wasn’t a one-hit wonder. For his next single, bird was the word. Koko urged the WWE Universe to flap their wings and “Do the Bird” with him. We’re still shaking our tail feathers.
OK, so The Maestro wasn’t a rocker at all. In fact, he’d probably beat us up if he heard we included him with some of these other artists/Superstars. What the classically trained pianist lacked in power chords and solos, though, he made up for in pure rock ‘n’ roll theatrics.
The Maestro, wanting to make a grand entrance, was lowered from the arena ceiling on a platform as he serenaded the audience with a tune from his ivory white grand piano. Bubbles that would make Lawrence Welk jealous floated about his concert hall in the sky as his valet, the beautiful Symphony, watched on, enamored with the music. ( WATCH)
Once the concerto was over, The Maestro began his quest to rid WCW of musical impurity. He tried to dry up the purple rain brought on by The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea and deny WCW the soul Ernest “The Cat” Miller sought to provide. On all accounts, he failed miserably, especially when the legendary James Brown showed up to help “The Cat” break up The Maestro’s orchestra.
The Rock has shown that he can do it all: wrestle, act and even sing. He proved that he was the most electrifying man in sports-entertainment by becoming a two-time Intercontinental Champion and seven-time WWE Champion. He built upon that by taking over Hollywood with a successful role in “The Scorpion King” that led to starring turns in movies like “The Tooth Fairy” and “Fast Five.” But the WWE Universe learned in 2003 that The Rock could croon with the best of them.
Prior to his WrestleMania XIX showdown with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The People’s Champion hit the ring on Monday Night Raw with his acoustic guitar in hand, ready to serenade the WWE Universe with some parody songs he’d written to ridicule them and his WrestleMania opponent. ( WATCH) Surprisingly, The Rock could carry a tune, so much so that fans clamored for more “Rock Concerts.”
They got their wish a month later, when Goldberg was the target of The Great One’s musical mockery ( WATCH), and in 2012, when The Rock busted his guitar out to diss John Cena ahead of their “Once in a Lifetime” WrestleMania XXVIII bout.
The Honky Tonk Man
Sports-entertainment is probably the only industry where an Elvis impersonator could make the claim that he’s the greatest anything of all time. The Honky Tonk Man’s 13-month reign as Intercontinental Champion gave him the fuel to declare himself the greatest Superstar ever to hold the prestigious title. But that claim is just scratching the surface of Honky’s self-obsession.
After singing his own entrance music on “Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2,” ( WATCH) The Honky Tonk Man was convinced that members of the WWE Universe were flocking to arenas worldwide just to see him sing and dance. So, the sideburned Superstar, not following his advice of “don’t be cruel,” would subject crowds to his crooning.
He even recorded a follow-up single with his new tag team partner and bandmate, the tone-deaf Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. They performed “Hunka Hunka Honky Love” live at WrestleMania VI in Toronto. Thankfully, The Bushwhackers crashed the gig, smashing their instruments and saving the eardrums of the WWE Universe. ( WATCH)
West Texas Rednecks
“Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig loved to let the world know how athletically talented he was. He showed he was perfect in the ring, on the baseball diamond, at the bowling alley, everywhere. But who knew that perfection carried over to music, too?
Hennig was sickened by WCW bringing in rap impresario Master P and his No Limit Soldiers during 1999. He didn’t think anyone should be subjected to what he felt was awful music. So, the future WWE Hall of Famer sought to fight music with music. He gathered up several other competitors, gave them instruments and took them to the recording studio. The West Texas Rednecks were born.
With Bobby Duncum Jr. on the guitar, Kendall Windham slapping the bass and Barry Windham on the drums, Hennig got to live out his rhinestone cowboy fantasies. In their debut song, “Rap is Crap,” he extolled the virtues of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, NASCAR and other staples of Southern life. Even though Hennig was the least redneck out of the band (he was from Minnesota), we’ll give him a pass here because “Rap is Crap” was way catchier than it had any right to be. ( WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO)