Friday, December 27, 2013
Great Moments in Springsteen TV History: WWF Wrestling Superstars
This isn't the first time I've written about "Born In The USA" as an entrance theme. Nor is it the first time I've written about professional wrestling on this blog. But back in the early to mid to eighties, when pro wrestling was gaining incredible popularity nationwide, as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now World Wrestling Entertainment) continued to expand nationwide, it wasn't uncommon for wrestlers to enter the ring songs by popular rock stars of the day. But as cable TV became more and more prevalent, and musicians started to realize that they weren't getting any royalties, that was the ended of using copyrighted music without permission.
However before that time came, there was a popular tag team named the US Express, made up of Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo. Two brothers-in-law, represented as "All-American" athletes, but not NCAA "All-American" athletes. They represented hard work, dedication, and teamwork. What better entrance theme for them then Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA"? As with a lot of people in the 1980's, including President Ronald Reagan, the actual lyrics and meaning of the song were overlooked due to it's catchy chorus and anthem-like introduction. In the above match, watch how many fans are singing along with the music as they take to the ring. Even moreso, after the match, when the US Express is celebrating winning the coveted WWF Tag Team titles, the music fits the atmosphere perfectly. Unfortunately now, when WWE re-releases old US Express matches on DVD sets, "Born In The USA" is dubbed over with a generic knockoff to avoid paying for the rights to use it, as seen here. It just doesn't seem the same without Bruce.
Interesting trivia fact: When WWF stopped using copyrighted music they replaced "Born In The USA" with a song that was written by a songwriter they hired to create new entrance music for everyone. The song he wrote for The US Express was "I Am A Real American", but Barry Windham quit WWF a few weeks later and "I Am A Real American" was given to wrestling phenomenon Hulk Hogan. The song would become a major part in Hogan's identity and help propel him from beyond just pro wrestling fame and into a pop culture superstar. However if you are not a fan of wrestling or Bruce Springsteen, this is not interesting trivia at all. I apologize.