The physicality, the extremity, the theatricality, the obsessive audience, the pyrotechnics, the emotional investment and violent expressionism; when you think about it, metal and pro-wrestling were made for each other. So it should come as no surprise that the worlds have long been entwined. From the local indie scene to the big leagues of the USA, Europe and Japan, the influence of metal on pro-wrestling can be seen, heard and felt at pretty much every wrestling show.
Thanks to the injection of an embarrassment of young talent worldwide and the arrival of some much-needed competition for the WWE in the form of AEW, the pro-wrestling industry has been experiencing a significant upswing of late, with promotions crushing it all over the globe.
With this in mind, we thought it would be a fun time to showcase metal's invaluable role as the soundtrack to the 'squared circle' with this list of 10 Best Metal Moments in Wrestling. So come with us below as we venture into parts unknown to celebrate the unique connection between these two rather similar and cultlike worlds.
Code Orange Soundtrack 'The Fiend' Bray Wyatt's Metal AF WWE SummerSlam 2019 debut
Everything about the 'The Fiend' Bray Wyatt's horror-inspired character screams metal. From the demonic costuming and mask made by the famed Tom Savini Studios (who also designed masks for Slipknot) to the stylised cryptic promos, moody light treatments and the deliberate in-ring style that came complete with its gnarly neck-snapping finish. Put simply this gimmick is, was and forever will be metal AF. Getting Code Orange to rework Wyatt's already iconic entrance theme for the 'The Fiends' debut at WWE SummerSlam 2019 was the icing on this very inspired metal wrestling cake. Check it out but beware you might get scared.
'The American Nightmare' Meets Malakai Black and Amenra
Although they've only been around for a couple of years, WWE's biggest competitor since the 2000s, AEW, will have a prominent place on this and any other similar list for years to come thanks to metal moments like Malakai Black's Amenra soundtracked arrival and destruction of 'The American Nightmare Cody Rhodes that followed. The combination of Malakai's presentation, demeanour, gritty kick heavy style and the punishing shrieks of the Belgian doom metal masters are a match made in hades and is the first of what we can only hope will be many contributions and nods to our world from 'The House of Black'. Seeing as though the man behind the character, Dutchman Tom Büdgen is a legit metal lifer, we can't wait to see what he conjures up next. Watch the full entrance below and if you dig the track it's called Ogentroost.
Limp Bizkit Play The Undertaker to The Ring at WrestleMania 19
The Undertaker is probably the most metal main event wrestler of all time. Across his legendary career arc, which saw his name become synonymous with the WrestleMania brand and rightfully positioned as an all-time legend, The Undertaker was presented in some very metal ways. From his initial run as an old-school mortician/zombie combo to his time as a satanic cult leader (complete with druids and a giant firey cross on which he 'crucified' 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin) through to his surprise transition to an ass-kicking bikie and then legendary late-career rejuvenation as 'The Deadman' (a sort of souped-up version of the zombie mortician role) he staged not only some of the most legendary matches and character work of all time but had a collection of metalhead approved entrances to warrant a list all of his own. One of the most iconic metal moments though came during his run as the 'American Badass' when none other than Limp Bizkit played him to the ring for his match against The Big Show and A-Train. See him 'rollin' to the ring here thanks to Fred Durst and co's fire rendition of Rollin.
Every Time I Die's Andy Williams is AEW's 'The Butcher'
A lot of wrestlers are metalheads and a lot of metalheads are wrestling fans but Every Time I Die guitarist Andy Williams is one of the very few who could say they are both a legitimate professional wrestler working in a major promotion AND a crucial member of one of the world's most beloved metalcore bands. When he is not shredding up a storm with the Buffalo legends, the Every Time I Die axeman can be found wrestling with his tag-team partner 'The Blade' as part of the roster for AEW. After aspiring to be in the wrestling business for years while he was tearing it up globally with ETID, Andy started training seriously towards that goal during the mid-2010s, making his debut in-ring in 2016 and working across several independent promotions. He even booked his own wrestling cards for the annual ETID Christmas show! His big break in wrestling came in 2019 when he signed on with AEW and started making appearances on Wednesday Night Dynamite. A metalcore maestro who is also a legitimate professional wrestler? What could be more metal than that? Check out Andy in action as 'The Butcher' below.
Triple H Marches Into WrestleMania 17 with Motorhead
When it comes to having metal bonafide in the wrestling industry it is hard to ignore Triple H's claims to the throne. The man has had not one, but two songs custom written for him by Motorhead. Couple that with his use of Metallica's For Whom The Bell Tolls at WrestleMania 27 and his role in curating the music used on the NXT brand (which has featured the likes of Coheed and Cambria, Poppy, Code Orange and Turnstile to name a few) and the man clearly knows a thing or two about this metal thing we all do. Given all of this, it was still hard to go past the first time that Motorhead accompanied him to the ring at WrestleMania 17, playing The Game to a sold-out crowd at Houston's monolithic AstroDome as HHH walked down to face The Undertaker for the first of what would be three different WrestleMania matches between the two icons.
CM Punk Walks Into Money In The Bank 2011 to Killswitch Engage's 'This Fire'
CM Punk has used some pretty killer entrance themes from our world during his career. From Miseria Cantare - The Beginning by AFI to Shitlist by L7 and his iconic run as 'The Best In The World' using Living Colour's Cult of Personality, the pipebomb dropping 'second city saint' and self-proclaimed 'straight edge saviour' has definitely proven himself as one of us and he has a collection of memorable metal moments to prove it. The most memorable metal moment came down to a battle for supremacy between his WrestleMania 29 entrance where Living Colour performed Cult of Personality live as he walked into the MetLife Stadium in New York to face The Undertaker, and his Killswitch Engage This Fire accompanied hometown hero greeting in Chicago at Money In The Bank 2011. Having been in the stadium for the Living Colour performance I can vouch that it would be a worthy winner, but I just couldn't go past the combination of the megapop, the storytelling and the gargantuan riffs of This Fire. Watch it, it'll give you the chills.
Edge and Rob Zombie Get Heated on RAW
The recently returned Rated R Superstar, Edge is another wrestler with a lengthy history within the metal realms. Having debuted as a mysterious loner who was recruited by a vampire named Gangrel to join a cult called The Brood who gave their opponents blood baths, his WWF/WWE origin story is pretty freakin' metal. So it is perhaps not so surprising that he has had a bunch of metal moments during his career. From jamming backstage with Altar Bridge who perform his monolithic entrance theme Metalingus to appearing on stage with Rob Zombie in his in-ring gear, carrying his Intercontinental Championship Belt and our pick of the bunch, his heated exchange with Rob Zombie himself on RAW when he notified Rob of his decision to dump his song as his entrance theme.
Corey Taylor Slaps Baron Corbin At NXT AfterShock Festival
Corey 'MF' Taylor is no stranger to the squared circle, with all three of Slipknot, Stone Sour and his solo project have contributed music to WWE programming throughout the years. Corey is one of a select smaller group of metalheads who have got physical with the wrestling talent as well, with his biggest involvement a slap heard around the metal world. Watch Corey let rip on the significantly bigger Baron Corbin, an IRL Slipknot fan who somehow managed to keep it together during this iconic NXT metal moment.
Poppy Pops the Portland Crowd to Open NXT TakeOver: Portland
Metal influenced singer, songwriter and performer Poppy is no stranger to us at Maniacs, nor are they a stranger to the crowd at NXT Takeover: Portland having put on a ripping three-song set to open the sold-out event. The powers that be must have been pleased with Poppy because the artist has appeared another three times on the NXT brand, even surprise dropping an EP of new material after a performance last year. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement for both and one that we hope to see continue for many years to come.
P.O.D Perform Rey Mysterio's Entrance Theme At WrestleMania 22
P.O.D are from San Diego, Rey Mysterio is from San Diego, so when the opportunity arose to combine two of San Diego's most recognisable names at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago in 2006, the WWE did exactly that. Rey was about to etch his name deeper into the WWE history books by defeating Kurt Angle and Randy Orton in a massive triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship and the energy that he hits the ring with here is an absolute rush to watch. Big pro-wrestling fans themselves, P.O.D look to be having a blast, with the crew responsible for megahits Alive, Boom and Youth of a Nation turning in one of the better live performances the WWE 'universe' has seen.
That official brings this list of 10 Metal Wrestling Moments to an end, but if this list has piqued your interest we encourage you to dig deeper because the wrestle metal connection goes far deeper than this succinct list and it is growing in power by the day. In the meantime, we'll leave you with a bonus moment from none other than the 'Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne. Because it does not get more metal than Black Sabbath.