The Story Behind Hulk Hogan's Real American Theme

"I am a real American. Fight for the rights of every man. I am a real American. Fight for what's right! Fight for your life!" These are the lyrics of one of the most famous wrestling themes ever — "Real American" by Rick Derringer. With the incorporation of music into professional wrestling, songs such as "Real American" have helped make wrestling entrance themes a major part of a wrestler's presentation.


The song first appeared on a 1985 WWF compilation album called "The Wrestling Album," but wasn't written specifically for it. Derringer wrote the song a year prior with his writing partner Bernard Kenny as a way to express their pride in their country. The song became a WWF staple after owner Vince McMahon heard the song while finalizing the album. He then chose to add it as an extra track, giving him ownership of the song. When "Real American" was finally used as an entrance theme, it was originally used for the tag team of Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham — The U.S. Express. It would soon be transitioned to the man who it would come to define — Hulk Hogan.

Hogan Becomes A Real American

At the time of the release of "The Wrestling Album," Hulk Hogan had his own entrance theme performed by the WWF All Stars. It wasn't until The U.S. Express left the company and Hogan was in a feud with the Iranian star The Iron Sheik that Hogan would debut the song as his own theme. Hogan would become synonymous with the song for the rest of his career.


Despite its popularity, Rick Derringer has since shown disappointment in how the song has ended up. The song was never released as an official single, and Derringer has since spoken about his feelings in a retrospective of the song with Mel Magazine. He explained, "We had wanted to write this fabulous patriotic song for all Americans. We saw it somehow on a different level than a wrestler's theme song, so in some ways, I was a little letdown."

Then, there is also the question of if Derringer is even the singer of the song. The drummer in the recording session, Jimmy Bralower, has gone on record in that same retrospective stating that Derringer's writing partner, Bernard Kenny, was the voice behind the powerful track. Nonetheless, given its association with the rise of Hulkamania, "Real American" has cemented itself as a classic theme known both in wrestling but also pop culture as a whole.