Over my few years in the Professional Wrestling circuit, I was witness to many odd things performers did to entertain themselves. In many cases, it would be manifested in harmful or harmless practical jokes played on those in or around the business. In other cases, it may have been in a more destructive form unto themselves such as drugs, deviant behavior, or violence towards those in or around the business. While I have seen many harmful and or destructive acts, I tended to be more drawn to the harmless joking aspects of entertainment. Looking back, I realize that many of these moments were at my expense entertaining others. The “music contest” would be an example of one of my more prominent entertaining acts that was well-known throughout the independent wrestling world.
The first time I ever heard an intentionally ridiculous, out of character ring song was when Billy “Highlight” Reil used the theme from the movie Titanic as his entrance music at a New Jersey based hardcore promotion called Jersey All-Pro Wrestling. Billy Reil was a Philadelphia born independent wrestler with a good deal of talent but an attitude that tended to get him in trouble. His ring character was not a far stretch from his true personality making it hard to judge the level of coherency when making his song choice. While his song choice was intentional, I couldn’t speak to whether he would pass a urine test when he made the decision to use that song. I say this because, to my knowledge, he never used such a ridiculous song again anywhere. Regardless of that point, he garnered the much needed reaction from the crowd because of his song choice at that moment.
While the other wrestlers gathered around me poking fun at him laughing at the song choice, I realized that these guys put far too much stock in their choice of ring music. Over the years, I had often seen wrestlers flip out on the guy in charge of the music or refuse to go out before the crowd if the wrong song was played. I saw many wrestlers invest a wasteful amount of time trying to find the perfect entrance music to accent their character. In my early wrestling years, I was guilty of doing the same thing. At the point I was standing around these guys one night in Bayonne, I realized that nothing would be more entertaining to the workers and fans than if I started coming out to intentionally ridiculous ring music.
When I began discussing it with my regular traveling partner at the time Don Montoya, he responded with how he knew a number of ridiculous ring entrance themes to use. In the course of the conversation, we agreed that we would have a contest to see who could come out to the most outrageous ring entrance song. This is how the music contest was born that rippled throughout the independent wrestling world mainly due to our lengthy travel to various areas of the country. I can’t say that many joined the contest but many offered songs as well as judgment on who may have won on a particular night. It was not long before fans became aware and would be more interested in our competing song choices on a given night rather than who we might be working or any storyline.
The song contest did last more than a year and spanned across promotions throughout the eastern half of the United States. Ultimately, I won the contest in a little town in central Pennsylvania coming out to “Copacabana” sung by Barry Manilow. I understand in later years that independent standout, Colt Cabana, used this song as well but I think he was more inspired through his ring name although he once admitted to being entertained by the rumored music contest. To solidify my win, I actually began to sing the words while in the ring before requesting the music stopped to continue with a promo. About five seconds into the music, prior to my entrance, you could actually hear Montoya screaming in disbelief over my song choice basically locking my win. In his defense, he almost had the title using “I’ll tumble 4 Ya” by Culture Club on that same night but the edge was given to me and agreed upon by both of us.
I’m sure there might be those of you reading this might think that “I’ll tumble 4 Ya” was more outrageous and you may probably be right. At the end of the day, it provided a great deal of entertainment to the fans and wrestlers for a good period of time at the expense of me and Don Montoya. I doubt the contest or the idea behind it has endured at all but from time to time I do hear wrestlers use a ridiculous ring song and wonder what inspired them to do so. Unfortunately, you’ll always still find those that are completely consumed about their song and I still get a good chuckle out of that to this day.