“Self High Five”- A wrestling theme review
Yes it does sound like Smells like Teen Spirit doesn’t it. So much in fact that Dave Grohl reportedly had a fit upon hearing it but this was a WCW calling card of its late 90s heyday, take a recognizable song, change a few notes around and PRESTO! you’ve got yourself an entrance theme.That was the WCW sound, nondescript, generic, familiar sounding “rawk” tunes. Raven had “Come as you are”, Chris Jericho had “Evenflow” even Vince Russo had a knock off of “Iron Man”. Some themes did defy this stereotype however and this is one of them, an oasis in a sea of mediocrity.
“Composed” by Jimmy Hart and John J Maguire “Self High Five” is everything I look for in an entrance theme, even though it doesn’t contain the number one thing I look for in my favourite themes: the immediate audio cue.
The breaking glass, “If Ya Smell…”, “Sierra, Hotel, India, Echo, Lima, Delta”, “You think you know me”, hell, even the static at the start of Cult of Personality, all of these start with a strong audio sting that instantly lets you know who’s about to make their entrance, and that it’s time to start marking out. Self High Five doesn’t have this, instead it just starts, like, well like Smells Like Teen Spirit actually.
That’s not to say that Teen Spirit doesn’t have a great intro, those chords are instantly recognizable and the song is one of my all time favourites, it just isn’t the big, bombastic beginning that I personally like. We do get that big one note to kick things off, but it comes a full 10 seconds into the track, just as Page himself would usually give the sign of the Self High Five and ignite his signature pryo display. This intro actually builds up to the pyro, instead of that initial rush of hearing a theme begin, the longer intro actually gives you time to get ready for Page to make his appearance so you can ready to join in with the high sign, it’s a masterful piece of audience participation, and just one more endearing part of DDP as a whole, someone who could lay claim to being WCW’s “People’s Champ” such was his connection with the fans.
What about the rest of the track, Is that as good as the start? Well, no, sadly. As an instrumental there aren’t any lyrics to fall back on, save for Page himself uttering “Self High Five”, “Toooo Cooool” and “GOOD GAWD!” at various points and curiously the song just gives up sounding like Teen Spirit altogether, instead descending into just a near endless procession of guitar solos. This means that I find it hard to listen to beyond the first 30 seconds, so while I love the track it doesn’t currently reside within my music collection.
Self High Five stands as an unconventional but very enjoyable theme that draws you to it & instantly makes the listener recall who is about to appear. Much like Page himself, the track overcomes it’s own limitations & is better & more respectable for having done so. WCW may have gotten a lot of things wrong production wise during its lifespan, but this certainly wasn’t one of them.
Martin Dixon (@BunnySuicida)