In early 1993, the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) was in a rebuilding phase. Many stars of the 1980s had left the promotion for various reasons, and the company had to start focusing on building up their new stars. WWF action figures from Hasbro had been coming out for a few years, but what about helping to develop the various World Wrestling Federation Superstars’ personalities outside of their television appearances?
Somebody decided to release this album. And somebody else decided to let Simon Cowell produce it, like a decade before he became everybody’s least-favorite judge on American Idol.
Fun fact: I actually mailed away for an audio cassette of this album back in either late 93 or early 94, using an order form from WWF Magazine. 4-6 weeks later, my mom received a letter from the WWF saying that they were completely out of stock and refunded my money. She was confused as to why the World Wildlife Fund would even have a tape called “Wrestlemania,” until I explained that WWF also stood for World Wrestling Federation.
That’s a true story.
My mom will probably say she doesn’t remember it, but that’s what she says about every conversation we had from that period of my life. Anyways, years later she saw this for like a dollar at a used CD store and got it for me as a goofy joke. I knew that she wouldn’t have put together that this was the same record I ended up not getting over half a decade earlier, which makes the entire situation much funnier to me. Your sense of humor may vary.
Personal acquisition story aside, I legitimately love that this album exists, because it’s from such a specific period of time. Unfortunately, that period is about 5 years before its release date.
I’ve included YouTube video embeds, mostly from WWE themselves, so hopefully these all work so that you can hear the magic of these songs as I give little snippets of commentary.
First up, a medley featuring all of the various Superstars on this album celebrating either Wrestlemania or the Survivor Series, which are two entirely different events and nobody can decide which one this song is actually about. Turns out we didn’t “get nasty stuffed down our throats all throughout 93,” as the Nasty Boyz left the WWF before the year was over. And thank god for that, because holy FUCK is that line inappropriate.
Starting the following year, though, the musical component of this track did end up becoming the official theme for the Wrestlemania Pay-Per-View event, from WMX untol WMXVI — I think it’s Wrestlemania XII in 1996 that even kept in the “Whoa, whoa, wres-tle-ma-ni-a!” hook in their post-show wrap-up video.
And then Linda McMahon used it as a theme song.
Wait, is that Skinner in the video? The wrestling Alligator farmer?
Most memorable line: “When ya get in the ring, I’ll show ya how to get beat up!”
The Summerslam Jam is next, and thankfully they know that this is about the Pay Per View event that happens in August. Again, the vocals feature the Superstars with solo tracks on this record, but also included is the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, who was released from his WWF contract in November 1992. “Everybody wants to pump with the British Bulldog,” but nobody was able to by the time this album came out. Sadface. 🙁 His inclusion did make sense, though, as he had just main evented Summerslam 1992 in front of what is still one of the largest WWF/E crowds in history.
The video also includes Max Moon, so that’s ridiculous.
Most Slammin’ Jammin’ Line: “The Undertaker…says, ‘slam’.”
All right, tough guy! This is a track “sung” by everybody’s favorite super-patriot, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. The announcer in this album calls him “A Powerful New Force,” but Hacksaw had been in the WWF for like a decade at this point. For as much as this album was intended to get new wrestlers over with the crowds, Duggan was one of the most recognizable people in wrestling at the time. Bizarre.
Most repetitive line: “BE-BE-BEAT PEOPLE UP-UP-UP!”
“The Nasty Boys are just plain nasty!” Leave it to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to point out the subtlety of a wrestler’s character.
Seven years earlier, Janet Jackson released her hit single “Nasty” in 1986, and that same year, Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs started using that name for their tag team. Somebody in the production crew of this album had definitely heard that song, made the connection, and made this… thing. I’m like 99.9% sure that all of the samples of Sags and Knobbs talking in this are taken from interviews in 1992.
Most nasty line: “LET ME TELL YA SOMETHING!“
I mean, it’s not a secret that Bret Hart is my favorite in-ring performer, in the world of professional wrestling. And maybe it’s fitting that the guy they got to perform the ballad about a dying relationship is the one named “Hart.” And after reading Bret’s autobiography, and the various tales about infidelity during this point in his life contained within, this song took on a whole new meaning for me. Strangely, the parts with the professional backup singers are the parts I like the least.
It’s (arguably) not a terrible song, but absolutely all the wrong people performed it.
Most appropriate line: “And then that look of shame inside my eyes…”
Like the Nasty Boys Stomp, “The Man in Black” utilizes various clips of The Undertaker’s voice from several interviews over the previous couple of years. They…almost tell a story?
I dunno. This song is worth its entire existence just for the wicked guitar solos.
Most memorable line: “The Undertaker… will EMBALM you.”
Yeah, the YouTube clip I’ve posted has “Macho Man” Randy Savage introducing his own music video, which is completely perfect for the personality he’d crafted for himself over the years. There’s so much to say about this song, but it’s probably just better to let it speak for itself. I’ll just note my favorite part is when “Mean” Gene Okerlund’s voice says, “MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE!” and Savage responds with an “Aah!” like Gene caught him off-guard.
Most Macho Line: “THE TOWER OF POWER, TOO SWEET TO BE SOUR, FUNKY LIKE A MONKEY, OOH YEAH!”
Tatanka, alias Chris Chavis, is a legitimate member of the Lumbee Native American tribe, but much like any non-white wrestler in the WWF in the 80s and 90s, he was playing amongst the most over-the-top, cartoony, stereotypical version of his nationality. And while the beat for this track is pretty rad, it’s almost painful to listen to in 2021. I can’t imagine that any of Tatanka’s dialogue here was recorded new for the album.
Did you know “tatanka” means “buffalo”? I bet you’ll never forget that fact after listening to this song.
Most memorable line: “The World Wrestling Federation.”
The late Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig sure was a humble guy, wasn’t he?
This one mostly actually uses Mr. Perfect’s theme song, but with more audio clips taken from interviews. I do really enjoy the way he says “worldWIDE,” though. Something about it just tickles me.
Most Perfect line: “I am what I say I am. I’m PERFECT!”
This track is bizarre in a way that none of the other tracks on the album are — It’s a mix of Big Boss Man interview clips, the lyrics to his theme song from his babyface (good guy) run, but with an entirely new music track. Also, I didn’t get this album until he’d come back in the late 90s as Mr. McMahon’s crooked prison guard henchman. This entire song feels way more sinister when you imagine that it’s being delivered by a crooked cop.
Most Law-Enforcing line: “My momma and daddy always told me, ‘treat people the way you’d want to be treated yourself!'”
So there you go. A completely insane album from the World Wrestling Federation in 1993.
What the hell even is this?