Facts About WWE Music Group Only Hardcore Wrestling Fans Know

WWE, like any other massive global company, has its fair share of subsidiaries. Some of them have been very successful, like the WWE Performance Center and the WWE Network. Other subsidiaries, though, have been far from successful, like the XFL or the World Bodybuilding Federation.

One of WWE's subsidiaries that has sort of flown under the radar is WWE Music Group, the record label that's main responsibility has been creating and releasing all of the entrance themes for the many WWE Superstars over the years. While it's not a focal point of WWE at large, the impact of WWE Music Group on the company is far greater than most fans would expect. Established in name in 2006, the concept of WWE Music Group has existed for over two decades prior producing a number of compilation albums and, of course, countless memorable entrance themes. The earliest beginnings date back to the then WWF's "boom period" in the '80s. With that history in mind, WWE Music Group is truly an unsung hero of the sports entertainment giant.

Want proof? Here are 12 facts about WWE Music Group that only hardcore wrestling fans know.

WWE Music Group has released a surprising amount of albums and EPs

When factoring in all of its titles dating back to the mid-'80s before being founded in name in 2006, the actual release output from WWE Music Group is rather surprising. In total, WWE Music Group has, so far, released 53 albums and 6 EPs.

Most releases from the record label have been compilation albums of various entrance themes, beginning with 1985's "The Wrestling Album." That album featured Rick Derringer's "Real American," which was initially meant for the Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo tag team U.S. Express before being given to Hulk Hogan. Interestingly, that album also featured Hogan's original entrance theme -– aptly titled "Hulk Hogan's Theme" -– which was used in the short-lived CBS Saturday morning cartoon series "Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling."

Some WWE Music Group compilation albums were released honoring different wrestlers. Both "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Undertaker have releases featuring all the different versions of their entrance themes. In honor of the E! reality series "Total Divas," a compilation featuring the entrance themes of The Bella Twins, Paige, Natalya and other cast members was released in March 2015.

WWE Music Group dates back to the mid-'80s and has ties with a variety of record labels

The first release from what is now known as WWE Music Group came in 1985 with "The Wrestling Album." While WWE Music Group is a subsidiary under the greater WWE umbrella, the label's distribution in the United States has been handled by Sony Music Entertainment since the beginning.

Under the Sony Music Entertainment umbrella, there are a variety of labels that have been attached to WWE Music Group releases. "The Wrestling Album" and its follow-up, 1987's "Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II," were distributed via Epic Records. WWE Music Group's third release, 1993's "WrestleMania: The Album," was distributed by Arista/RCA Records. From 1995-2001, WWE Music Group releases were distributed by Koch Records, which is now known as MNRK Music Group. Since 2002, the vast majority of releases from WWE Music Group have been distributed by Columbia Records.

1985's The Wrestling Album has some unusual guests and credits

Several WWE talent sang on "The Wrestling Album" -– including Junkyard Dog, Jimmy Hart and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper –- but one notable singer-songwriter also appeared on the LP: Cyndi Lauper.

Lauper, who was an integral presence during WWE's "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection" and at the first WrestleMania, was credited on the album under the pen name Mona Flambé. She provided backing vocals on Rick Derringer's "Real American" and Piper's song "For Everybody." Also providing backing vocals on the album was "Turn the Beat Around" singer Vicki Sue Robinson, who appeared on Junkyard Dog's "Grab Them Cakes."

Five people received producer credits on "The Wrestling Album": Derringer, Lauper (as Flambé), Dave Wolff (Lauper's then manager/boyfriend), Joel Dorn, and Jim Steinman, the last of whom is best known as the creative force behind Meat Loaf's 1977 iconic album "Bat Out of Hell." Steinman produced "Hulk Hogan's Theme."

Wolff wrote the album's liner notes, which read, in part, "This album is the product of a lot of people who had the insight and courage to believe, especially Vince McMahon, Mona Flambé, Don Dempsey and Lennie Petze. The wrestlers who performed on the record gave it their all, as did producers Rick Derringer, Mona Flambé, Joel Dorn and Jim Steinman. I salute all of these people for a job well done. This is one great album that's a lot of fun –- I hope you enjoy it."

Only one non-wrestling-related album has been released by WWE Music Group

Every album released by WWE Music Group is either a compilation of entrance themes, a soundtrack to a WWE video game or a film featuring a WWE Superstar or some sort of album sung by a WWE talent. However, there is one lone exception.

In June 2002, WWE Music Group, with distribution by Koch Records, released the self-titled album of the Florida-based metal band Neurotica. Per AllMusic.com, the band was fronted and founded by Kelly Schaefer who previously fronted the metal band Atheist. Before signing with WWE Music Group, Neurotica released two albums: 1998's "Seed" and 1999's "Living in Dog Years." Neurotica's self-titled LP consisted of some new tracks but was comprised mostly of reworked versions of songs from "Living in Dog Years."

Hardcore WWE fans will likely recognize the band's track "Ride of Your Life," which served as the theme to 2002's King of the Ring. The track was featured on both "Neurotica" and the 2002 compilation "WWF Forceable Entry."

Neurotica, as a band, was not long for this world. The band broke up following being dropped from WWE Music Group only a year after being signed. Schaefer would then rejoin and reform Atheist in 2006 and has remained their singer ever since.

WWE Music Group is responsible for there being a Jillian EP (and two Elias EPs)

The output from WWE Music Group also includes a handful of "kayfabe" releases. The most successful of those was 2005's "You Can't See Me" from John Cena and Tha Trademarc. Significantly less successful was 2007's "A Jingle with Jillian," a holiday EP from WWE Diva Jillian, who famously had a gimmick of being a terrible singer despite thinking she had a talent for singing.

The EP was released exclusively on iTunes and featured Jillian's tone-deaf takes on holiday classics like "I'll Be Home for Christmas, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and more. WWE touted the album on its website saying, "Barbara Streisand and Mariah Carey have released Christmas albums, but never were they anything quite like this." The EP is no longer available on iTunes/Apple Music, but fans can find all the tracks on YouTube in all their cringy glory.

Significantly less cringe are the two EPs released by Elias. The first, "Walk with Elias," came in 2018 and was accompanied by a mockumentary of sorts titled "Walk with Elias: The Documentary" that aired on the WWE Network. Elias's follow-up EP, "Universal Truth," came in 2020.

A number of albums released by WWE Music Group have had success on the Billboard Charts

The Billboard 200 is the chart in the United States that tracks the highest selling/most streamed/downloaded albums in the country. WWE Music Group's first major Billboard 200 success came with the release of 1998's "WWF The Music, Volume 3," which peaked at Number 10 on the chart the week of March 6, 1999. The album featured the entrance themes of The Rock, Kane, Dude Love, and the Oddities, that last of which was performed by Insane Clown Posse. That album's follow-up, "WWF The Music, Volume 4," debuted on the Billboard 200 at number four the week of November 20, 1999. "WWF The Music, Volume 4" notably featured the entrance themes for Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Mankind, and Billy Gunn.

"WWF Aggression" featured some of the biggest names in hip hop putting their own spin on a number of popular WWF themes. That album debuted on the Billboard 200 at Number 8 the week of April 8, 2000. "WWF The Music, Vol. 5" debuted a Number 2 on the Billboard 200 the week of March 10, 2001. The album features the Triple H theme "The Game" performed by Motörhead. "WWF Forceable Entry," the hard rock/metal counterpart to "WWF Aggression," debuted on the Billboard 200 at Number 3 the week of April 13, 2002. Lastly, John Cena and Tha Trademarc's "You Can't See Me" debuted at Number 15 on the Billboard 200 the week of May 28, 2005.

Six albums released by WWE Music Group have received gold/platinum certifications from the RIAA

In addition to chart success, six titles from WWE Music Group have been recognized by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) with gold and platinum certifications for selling over 500,000 units (gold) and 1 million units (platinum) in the United States.

In 1999, "WWF The Music, Vol. 2" was certified gold and "WWF The Music, Vol. 4" was certified platinum. "WWF Aggression" was the third album recognized by the RIAA and was certified gold in 2000. In 2001, "WWF The Music, Vol. 5" was certified gold. The final two RIAA certification came in 2002 with "WWF Forceable Entry" earning gold status, while "WWE: The Anthology" went platinum.

One album noticeably absent from that list is John Cena and Tha Trademarc's "You Can't See Me." While the LP was a commercial success and internet searches claim the RIAA have certified the LP platinum, a search for the album's certification status on the RIAA website yields no results. Then again, maybe we just can't see them.

The story behind getting Motörhead to perform Triple H's The Game is rather funny

Triple H had three different entrance themes by Motörhead, but the first one came in 2001 with "The Game." The Cerebral Assassin himself recalled how Motörhead developed a relationship with the WWE when he spoke at Lemmy Kilmister's memorial service in January 2016.

Triple H explained that when his star really began to rise, he finally got some input into his entrance music. Being a fan of Motörhead, he wanted his theme to channel the band's power and intensity. However, attempts at getting the Motörhead sound without the actual Motörhead just wasn't cutting it. "At a certain point in time, they just couldn't get the sound right," said Triple H. "Our people came to me and they said, 'What do you want?' And I said, 'I want Motörhead.' They said, 'Well, why don't we just ask Motörhead?' And I said, 'Because I didn't know that was an option!'"

Triple H added, "Lemmy, Mikkey [Dee] and Phil [Campbell] gave me the greatest gift of all time, which was their sound."

WWF Aggression was a unique first with a subtle nod to the past

"WWF Aggression" was released in 2000. It was the first release in the history of WWE Music Group that was a broad collaboration of mainstream artists instead of just in-house musicians. The album featured various entrance themes covered by some of the biggest names in rap and hip-hop. Among the artists featured on the LP are Snoop Dogg, Kool Keith, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Mystikal, Mack 10 and more.

Also featured on the album was Run-D.M.C. who covered D-Generation X/the McMahon-Helmsley Faction's "The Kings." The rap legends were the only artists on the album with a previous collaboration with WWE. At WrestleMania V, Run-D.M.C. performed "WrestleMania Rap." That moment came to be thanks to the wrestling fandom of Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels. He told Sportskeeda that the then-WWF found out he was going to attend WrestleMania V just as a fan, but they approached the whole group to see if they could perform. "A lot of the off the grid things that happened with Run-D.M.C. happened because I'm a comic book geek and nerd and I like wrestling," McDaniels said, with a laugh.

2004's ThemeAddict LP featured an early appearance from a future rap superstar

"ThemeAddict" served as the sixth volume in the "WWE The Music" series. As with previous albums in the series, it was made up of a variety of entrance themes including Evolution's "Line in the Sand" and Shelton Benjamin's "Ain't No Stoppin' Me." Also featured on the album was Victoria's theme "Don't Mess With" by the rap group The Hood$tars, who, at the time, had a young Nicki Minaj as part of their lineup. Minaj would drop her first mixtape, "Playtime Is Over," nearly three years later.

In a December 2020 interview with Chris Van Vliet, Victoria said of Minaj doing her entrance theme, "Years later on Twitter, I found out that it was Nicki Minaj that did my entrance music. I thought it was just a New Yorker. I didn't know that side of it. We didn't get to go meet the artists."

There have been three distinct composer eras in the history of WWE Music Group

With a company like WWE and its vast history, it's reasonable to assume there's been a laundry list of people who've acted as the main composer of its epic entrance themes. However, that's not the case.

For over 30 years, the main composer of WWE's entrance themes was Jim Johnston. Johnston is well-known among the hardcore fans of WWE and is responsible for creating some of the company's most iconic themes for the likes of The Undertaker, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Kane, D-Generation X, Goldust, Razor Ramon and countless others. Johnston was fired from WWE in 2017.

In 2014, John Paul Alicastro and Michael Lauri -– the songwriting/producing duo known as CFO$ -– joined the company. CFO$ wrote some of the most popular entrance themes of the past decade for WWE's biggest names including AJ Styles, Sasha Banks, Shinsuke Nakamura, Paige, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and more. They exited WWE in 2020 due to issues with their publisher, according to Fightful.

Since the exit of the CFO$, the current main composers at WWE Music Group was a bit of a mystery until ArenaTaping reported Douglas J Davis and Ali Dee Theodore are listed as the composers of most of the new entrance themes since 2020 via BMI Publishing.

WWE Music Group has been helmed by the same GM since its official founding

The GM of WWE Music Group is Neil Lawi, and he's been in that role since its official founding in its current form in 2006. Before being named GM of WWE Music Group, Lawi served as WWE's Vice President of Publicity.

According to the press release announcing WWE Music Group, one of the first big accomplishments Lawi had as GM was securing the rights to use Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" to be the theme song for WrestleMania 22. In the press release, Lawi said in a statement, "Bands today need new opportunities for awareness, and WWE has proven to be a perfect platform to reach a key music purchasing demographic. My focus will be to expand the talent pool from which the WWE draws to include the widest possible range of music while providing artists maximum opportunity and exposure to music purchasing audience segments via the WWE brand."

Before joining WWE, Lawi had an impressive career in the music industry pre-WWE. Lawi was the Vice President of Columbia Records from 1993-2003. (As previously noted, WWE Music Group releases have been distributed by Columbia Records since 2002.) Per Lawi's LinkedIn profile, he worked with many of Columbia's biggest artists including Aerosmith, James Taylor, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, T Bone Burnett and more.

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