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10 Best WWE SmackDown Live Opening Themes Ever

Where does the theme we’ll hear during SmackDown 1000 rank?

The theme songs of the TV show WWE SmackDown Live seem to have the life expectancy of house flies, given how quickly they're swiped left for a new tune. This is in great contrast to Monday Night Raw, whose songs tend to get quite a few years of play on average, from the basic original song surviving for the better part of four years, to the various mixes of Thorn in Your Eye (actual lyrics: "Yep bebba dop bippa dob doopa dope da beed!") surviving for almost five.

Despite the frequency of changes on the SmackDown playlist, there have been some quality songs kicking off the Thursday/Friday/no, Thursday/okay, Tuesday/we're getting a s**tload of money to go to Friday wrestling show. Overall, in the span of 19-plus years, the SmackDown themes have ranged from "really catchy and hype-inducing" to "man, what *happened* to wrestling?"

This forthcoming list is a subjective one, as the only measuring stick is my personal taste in music. Rest assured, if any of SmackDown's themes were a selection from the catalogues of Metallica or Slayer, the curve would've been wrecked for the rest of the entries (the number two spot would have to be left blank to demonstrate the gap in greatness). But as far as the actual SmackDown songs go, this is how they shake out.

10. "If You Rock Like Me" By Jim Johnston


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It almost came down to a coin flip. There was one seat left in the cabin, and this cliched bit of country-rock edges out the falsetto bilge that was Born 2 Run. Generally, for a wrestling show, I want something that's going to put me in the mood to see some conflict. Neither of these sounds come anywhere close to creating that feeling, especially Born 2 Run, which was hard to reconcile with the images of a violent Shield run-in.

If You Rock Like Me wasn't the most rotten of songs, but it really did feel out of place, with a poor man's Diamond Dave singing about you better not count him out. Given the sounds that preceded it on the "blue brand", this was the opposite of whatever evolution is.

9. "Black And Blue" By CFO$


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We begin the run of three CFO$ songs that don't really make me feel one way or another, with their prefab composition. Musically, all three songs sound fine enough, but there are these sensitive undercurrents to them that, as mentioned in the prior entry, kinda bleed the tension out of a show that could always use some.

Black and Blue is the least of the three CFO$ entries, and demonstrates the contrast that I speak of - there's a tough, bold underscore packed with a chilly aura, but the singer sounds like an American Idol hopeful that's fumbling for his "bad boy" side. So it's a mixed bag.

8. "Take A Chance" By CFO$


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Sounds like somebody was jamming to Linkin Park's Bleed it Out on the way to the studio that day, because there are some uncanny similarities between the songs. And you could do a lot worse than cribbing from Mike Shinoda's notebook o'ideas, of course. That's not to say that there was any blatant theft here (the songs are still demonstrably different), mind you.

Take a Chance sounds a little more ambitious than Black and Blue, though it's not exceedingly better. It does what it's supposed to do, which is herald the home audience to another Tuesday night of "Rusev Day" chants, and Samoa Joe pretending he's Robert De Niro in Cape Fear. Though it's hard to imagine Linkin Park soundtracking a classic Scorsese thriller.

7. "This Life" By CFO$


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The triumvirate of CFO$ compositions ends with the bounciest and most energetic of the three, a rather pulsating rap/rock fuse that ran for nine months, from the time of Daniel Bryan's greatest triumph, up into the early days of the anti-Roman Reigns backlash. And isn't that a harrowing thought - that the two events are only separated by that paltry length of time?

But as far as the song goes, it's at least got a driving rhythm that indicates competition and conflict more than the preceding entries, so it's got that going for it. I wouldn't anoint it to the pantheon of timeless wrestling scores, but it doesn't make me weep for the aesthetic direction of the business either, so it's a nominal victory.

6. "Know Your Enemy" By Green Day


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As someone who's fed off of Green Day's output since elementary school, I'm more inclined to scoop from the Dookie/Insomniac era, with a little Nimrod on the side. I didn't get into 21st Century Breakdown like the generation after me, though it had some good selections on it. One of the better ones got to be the SmackDown theme for a couple years.

Know Your Enemy is a little too polished compared to Walking Contradiction and When I Come Around, but that's whatever. The wailing lead guitar in Enemy during the middle bridge made for a great segue from SmackDown's opening into the crowd shots and pyro display. The only downside was babyface Sheamus' lobotomized grin (there's a "Brain Stew" joke in there somewhere) during the opening sequence, because all babyfaces have friendly smiles. I hated that. Song was good, though.

5. "Rise Up" By Drowning Pool


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For quite a number of fans, this is the epitome of SmackDown themes, due in part to its longevity (four years from September 2004 to September 2008), and it's hard to not like to it, since the lyrics all but promise that a violent struggle is inevitable. From a slow, melancholy opening, the song gradually builds into an outburst of fury, and that's all I ask for - make me want to punch the wall through the power of suggestion.

My only wish is that the song had been composed during the Dave Williams era of Drowning Pool, as the band would have no better vocalist in their lifetime. Sinner was DP at their finest, with malevolent grooves that blow away the majority of their work that came after it. But Rise Up was an enjoyable anthem from the post-Williams run.

4. "Let It Roll" By Divide The Day


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Humanitarian aid dropped from an aeroplane after the misfire that was If You Rock Like Me. Had this one survived over the course of the nine years since, I don't know that I'd be sick of it by now. Given that Raw was on the dividing line of Papa Roach and Nickelback at that point in 2009, this is one area where the "B show" smacked Raw silly (not having inane guest hosts also helped).

The song doesn't even do anything otherworldly - it just thrashes and churns along while the singer challenges you to step up and try to take what he has. These are all essential elements for a show where angry wrestlers angrily wrestle inside a (possibly angry) wrestling ring. It's not a hard checklist to satisfy.

3. "The Beautiful People" By Marilyn Manson


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About the only complaint I could muster for this choice was timing. At the point when Beautiful People was made SmackDown's theme in 2001, the Antichrist Superstar album was almost five years old - two other Manson albums (Mechanical Animals and Holy Wood) were already wedged into the wired CD towers of antisocial teenagers like me. The song had already been used for three episodes of Raw - in March 1997. That's a lesson in perspective.

But again, that's the *only* complaint I can muster, because the song itself has endurance to spare. It's lyrically deep, touching on fascism and application of societal power, but what does it matter when you're getting amped up for broken tables, catfights, and the occasional gory bladejob? The rhythmic, distorted guitars of Beautiful People were a perfect call-to-action siren.

2. "Everybody On The Ground" By Jim Johnston


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Seriously, who needs words? Lyrics do not necessarily make a song, especially when a hearty instrumental could do the necessary job. The original SmackDown theme doesn't come equipped with a brake pedal, flying through traffic with no regard for any life around it, and that was how it should have been in the Attitude Era. You knew that on any given Tuesday-taped-for-Thursday, somebody might be getting f**ked up, and the music only amplified that notion.

It's hard not to get transported back to the turn of the millennium when listening to Ground once more, the time in which WWE was easily lapping a WCW that had four flats and a blown transmission. You know it's an effective song when you don't even know what genre to categorize it as, except under 'C' for 'cool'.

1. "I Want It All" By Jim Johnston


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John Cena's famous grunt of "RUUUUTHLESS AGGRESSSSSSSION" predates the song by many, many months, but maybe there aren't two words that better sum up one of the greatest rap/rock hybrids to ever grace WWE's music library. It's release as part of the WWE Uncaged collection last year only conjured up those Thursday nights in 2003, where Cena spit rhymes, Brock Lesnar smashed skulls, and Vince McMahon's unnerving midlife crisis made us smile.

Maybe I'm biased because the song was the main theme of the greatest WWE video game ever, SmackDown: Here Comes the Pain (fight me, No Mercy nerds), but there's just something about that bassline, the way it's both mellow and rough at once. And yeah, every other wrestler's theme song in 2003-04 was in the same key, spurring a lot of soundalikes, but no matter: it was the perfect theme song for a wrestling show. It never stops being brilliantly infectious.

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.