Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Entrance

The wrestler’s entrance into the arena... It can mean a lot. A good entrance can help an audience get pumped up for a match. The New Age Outlaws and the Ultimate Warrior had entrances that definitely got everyone pumped up, psyched up, and ready to go. A bad entrance can suck the life out of the audience as fast as or faster than a four finger stinker of a match. Christian, who I liked more than Edge when they broke up, had one of those when they saddled him with his “tragic opera” entrance music. As much as I liked the guy, that entrance music made me want to change the channel ASAP.

There are many ways to put together a wrestler’s entrance in wrestling, and there’s no single right way to do it. Sometimes the entrance can be quick, over and done with before you blink. The Road Warriors did that for years, hitting the ring just as the first chords of Iron Man began playing, beating the daylights out of their opponents, and disappearing back into the backstage area by the time Ozzy had gotten no more than a few words out. Some entrances are designed to build anticipation. With Goldberg’s WCW entrance, you’d follow him on the large screen in the arena as he marched from the back to the curtain at the top of the ramp, waiting for him to finally step through into the main arena area and into the pyro and smoke. Sometimes it was all about the wrestler, a perfect fit of music and swagger, as with hearing the sound of breaking glass and instantly seeing Stone Cold step out to start storming down to the ring.

These are my five favorite regular entrances. I say “regular entrances” here for a reason. I’m not looking at special event entrances. Yeah, you could set up elaborate entrances for major PPV matches and have guys zipping in on hundreds of feet of line, pyro going off left and right, and rarely fail to make it look impressive. But I want to look at the entrances some wrestlers used from week to week that blew the fans away each and every time.

I should also point out that this isn’t really an attempt to rank them as a “Best Of” list. These are just my favorites, and not an attempt at a definitive ranking. If your favorite entrance isn’t here, well, mention it below in the comments.

However, I will throw out an Honorable Mention entrance here that was from a special event. Why? Because this was an entrance that just had me feeling like a fresh faced fan again, and they did it on the relatively lower budget of an NXT show. That was Finn Balor’s entrance at NXT R-Evolution.

Now, on with the list proper.

#5- The man may not have been the greatest wrestler under contract at the time, but he damned sure made an impression with his entrance. There are few wrestlers that I can think of that I liked pretty much almost exclusively due to their entrance, but the Boogeyman absolutely tops that short list. Well, that and the eating worms thing…

#4- I was thinking about using a modern imitator here, but I decided to go straight to the source. The pretty boy in wrestling- having perfume sprayed around the ring to cover the smell of the crowd and his opponent while giving a diva-like performance upon entering the ring -has been around for decades now. But few did it better than the man who first made the act truly famous, and that would be Gorgeous George.

#3- I was going to mention the Undertaker here- specifically the Ministry era with the heavy horror motifs –but I wanted more than one entrance from outside of the WWE/F on here. There were two guys in WCW who were given gimmicks that were doomed in the environment of WCW at the time, but they had a look and an entrance that just tickled my horror and video game funny bones in all the right ways. One half horror themed, one half Mortal Kombat, Wrath and Mortis with James Mitchell walked out to the ring accompanied by music that fit their look and the result was an entrance that had me wishing they were better and more successful than they ultimately were.

#2- If there’s a group you can point to in the modern era of wrestling who ended up with an entrance that nailed the vibe of the group perfectly, The Wyatt Family is that group. The lights go out, music that seems like the bastard hybrid of a slow Nirvana song and something off of the Dusk Till Dawn soundtrack starts playing, the “fireflies” come out all around the arena, and the family walks down to the ring with a single lantern giving you just enough light to see their demented grins and the crazed look in Bray’s eyes. There are few entrances that have the ability to give me goosebumps, but theirs did for a good long while.

#1- It was a group that failed spectacularly at what it was actually built to do. They were put together to be the launching pad for Gangrel, but it helped launched everyone in it but him to the next level. But the one thing that cannot be said about the Brood is that they didn’t have a memorable entrance. Obviously I’m a big horror guy, and even more so than with the Undertaker or my #3 pick, the Brood had a horror based entrance that gave me goosebumps the first time I saw it. They rose up in a circle of fire before strutting down to the ring, Gangrel holding a chalice in his hands before drinking from it and then spitting out the “blood” to form a cloud of red mist. From the music to the imagery, the Brood still has my personal favorite entrance of all time.

So, those are mine. What are yours? Add them in the comments below.

Jerry Chandler is a lifelong geek, dabbling in just about every genre but finding science fiction and horror to be his primary comfort zones. He has also had a lifelong devotion to that form of entertainment known as professional wrestling. When not worrying that his coworkers are going to inflict bodily harm onto him over his sense of humor, he enjoys hitting the convention scene or making indie films with his friends. He also finds talking about himself in third person to be very strange.

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