Daniel Bryan breaks free from The Wyatt Family and ends Raw on a high note.01/13/2014 - 23:45
The 10 greatest crowd chants in WWE history
Contrary to popular belief, there are three participants in the average WWE contest: Superstar A, Superstar B and the crowd. The first two obviously do the heavy lifting; executing moves, carrying out game plans and clawing and scraping their way to glory. The crowd, for the most part, is content to be just that: They cheer their heroes and boo their villains. They ooh and ah when something amazing happens. They get riled up when insulted and cheer in elation when complimented, and they generally save their final outburst of emotion for the final pinfall of the contest.
Every so often, however, that ceases to be the case, and the WWE Universe whips itself into such a fervor that they become more than spectators. Instead, they become active participants in the bout itself, swinging the mindset of Superstars and (in some cases) WWE executives alike. This past Monday’s Raw, when Daniel Bryan defected from The Wyatt Family to a deafening eruption of "YES!" chants, was only the most recent example. Truth of the matter is, there have always been a few select occurrences that will throw the WWE Universe into overdrive, and when that happens, you’ll get some truly inventive responses. So while you do your best "YES," take a look at the 10 greatest crowd chants in WWE history.
They say WrestleMania is The Showcase of the Immortals, but there’s no better way to tell who the WWE Universe has pegged as their heroes than the next night’s Raw. With an especially rowdy, international crowd, the atmosphere generally takes on a feel reserved for ale-besotted football stadiums in the U.K., and in 2013, the WWE Universe notched perhaps its biggest achievement yet in terms of crowd chants. During a bout between Kofi Kingston and Fandango, the crowd abandoned all pretense of typical interaction and began to sing the latter’s theme music, an infectious rumba called “ChaChaLaLa.” The sing-along would continue throughout the evening, accompanied by a “Caddyshack” gopher-esque hip shake that came to be known as “Fandangoing.”
The trend immediately went worldwide, shooting Fandango’s theme song to the top of the U.K. iTunes charts and spreading from N.J. Transit trains to a galaxy far, far away and even to the bowels of WWE Headquarters. It truly is the dancing sensation that swept the nation.
"ONE MORE MATCH!"
The WWE Universe members are as possessive as they are fickle, and we hate to see our heroes leave us even if a Superstar’s body finally demands it. When departure is a foregone conclusion, though, the crowd has no problem voicing its appreciation (and hesitation to let said Superstar walk) with this paean to strap on the boots one final time. (Although, in Christian’s case, the cheer veered headlong into the realm of irony.)
One of most recent recipients of this chant? That would be Mick Foley, who lamented his goose egg record against Chris Jericho in the midst of his epic Hall of Fame induction speech. The fans demanded one more match for The Hardcore Legend and, bafflingly, Foley actually gave it to them, dropping an impromptu elbow on The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla and scoring his first career win over Y2J while CM Punk counted the pinfall on the stage.
An arena full of passionate sports-entertainment fans isn’t about to sit on their hands if they’re being insulted or bored, so if a Superstar strikes any particular nerve among the WWE Universe, you can bet they’ll hear this chant soon enough. There’s no telling exactly what will provoke the audience to erupt in this bilious standard (the appearance of John Laurinaitis was the best recent bet), but by far the most inventive use was the version reserved for Kurt Angle. During the height of his unpopularity, the WWE Universe would actually sing the words in tune with the strands of Angle’s theme music, showering The Olympic Hero in melodious malediction that drove him up the wall every time.
Or Zeb Colter’s favorite chant. Few things are more synonymous with the United States than sports-entertainment, and there’s no better way to celebrate ’Murica than by bellowing out those three simple letters until Honest Abe himself is left fist-pumping in his grave.
This chant is, to be fair, a bit specific — as much as the WWE Universe cheers him, Rey Mysterio will never get a U-S-A mantra. But its longevity is unparalleled, largely in part to WWE Hall of Famers Sgt. Slaughter and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.
ECW itself has long since closed its doors, but the spirit of Extreme rages on in the fervor of the WWE Universe, who break out in this ceremonial whoop every time something, well, extreme, occurs in a WWE ring. If a steel chair, sledgehammer or any other implement of destruction appears between the ropes and finds itself connecting with a Superstar, you can bet your bottom dollar the WWE Universe will respond with this reliable standard.
Despite the fact ECW’s been defunct for some time now, the chants still live on in popular culture today. During the infamous brawl between R&B singers Drake and Chris Brown at a New York nightclub, a handful of onlookers erupted in an “E-C-DUB!” chant before the chaos died down. This certainly won’t be the case, but if Paul Heyman’s sole, lasting legacy is the existence of this chant … well, you could do worse for yourself.
"YOU STILL GOT IT!"
Whenever a Superstar returns to the ring, after an absence of either weeks, months or, in rare cases, years, there’s always an initial moment of hesitation as to whether they can still get the job done, both on the part of the crowd and (one can assume) with said Superstar himself. More often than not, the old pros are on point and the WWE Universe is right there to compliment them with this go-to heart-warmer. The best part about this particular chant? The WWE Universe can literally see the grin spreading across a Superstar’s face when he gets the seal of approval from the crowd for his efforts. WWE fans can be an ironic bunch when they want to be, but this chant is as genuine as it gets.
Nothing like a little affirmation to know that what you’re doing is, in fact, tearing the house down. This chant is typically reserved for the most transcendently epic moments in a WWE contest, so it doesn’t get heard too often (although, given the high quality of the matches themselves in 2013, it was pretty prevalent). But when it does, the enthusiasm is earth-shaking, the joy is infectious and the Superstars, feeding off the frenzied energy of the WWE Universe, tend to leave it all on the line.
Sometimes the WWE Universe can get a little — what’s the word we’re looking for — smart, and when that happens, they might decide to abandon all pretense and just try to irritate whomever happens to be standing in the ring. If that’s the case, they go ahead and take their cues from one of the ring’s greatest rabble-rousers: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Mimicking the arrogant bravado of The Texas Rattlesnake, the WWE Universe will erupt in Austin’s signature interjection — “WHAT?!” — every time there’s a break in a Superstar’s address on the microphone. Heroes, villains, suits, cameramen … much like when Austin originated it, there is truly no one safe from the snark of the WWE Universe once they get this one going. Oh, hell yeah.
"YES! YES! YES!"
At WrestleMania XXVIII, Daniel Bryan lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus in 18 seconds, knocking the submission expert from the top of the WWE mountain to the chasm of uncertainty that typically follows a high-profile and utterly humiliating loss. Well, for about 24 hours, that is.
The next night at Raw, something bizarre happened: The WWE Universe suddenly embraced Bryan as their underdog hero, bellowing his signature, rapid-fire chant of “YES! YES! YES!” throughout the course of the entire night ( Alberto Del Rio got a “SI! SI! SI!” variation) and transforming him from goat to G.O.A.T. (“goat face” came later) in the course of two hours. In a post-show address to the WWE Universe that spread across YouTube like wildfire, Bryan briefly shelved his staggering egotism to thank the WWE Universe for helping him recover from the worst night of his career. He joked in the video that, at the very least, he’d probably get a T-shirt from the higher powers of WWE out of their support. He got all that and then some; even when Bryan abandoned “YES!” for “ NO!” the fans still roared his original rallying cry.
The WWE Universe even brought Bryan full circle with his first WrestleMania victory this past April, giving him the celebratory “YES!”es that eluded him the year before. Even Michigan State University submitted to the craze. But the chant truly reached its peak after Bryan turned against the villainous Wyatt Family in January 2014, dispatching his foes one by one all to the tune of that magic, three-letter word.
Let’s face it: Most of us will never be jet-flyin’, limousine-ridin’, kiss-stealin’, wheelin’-dealin’ sons of a gun like Ric Flair. But if we can’t be the man, we can sure “WOOOOO!!!” like the man. “The Nature Boy’s” war cry has not only long been a staple of the ring — it accompanies every chop to the chest and every Figure-Four Leglock, from Cody Rhodes to The Miz to “ Naitch” himself — but has also maintained a foothold in popular culture.
Bolstered by Flair’s all-encompassing influence, it’s just one of those chants that always get recognized. There’s a solid chance that if you “WOOOO!” like a maniac and throw up four fingers at the local watering hole, it’s practically a given that at least one other person will join in. Because let’s face it: We could always use a little more Flair in our lives.