Wrestling is a fascinating art form in many ways. When you get down to the finite details, there’s so much that can go into the presentation of a product that makes it come off as such that two ring workers are painting on an empty canvas with their bodies. Each move, each sound, each mannerism tells a different story of who a performer really is on their simplest level. What if, however, you took all of that away, and you knew nothing about a competitor? Where would you even start? This is a question I’ve always wondered, especially where I myself am quite unfamiliar with most promotions that are not WWE, NXT, or NJPW. These days, my job keeps me busy to the point where I can take in weekly NXT and that’s about all I’m able to do. The benefit of that lately, of course, is the influx in new and exciting talent, but I digress.
Something that WWE and NXT, as well as New Japan do well is set an attitude, a demeanor, a preview, if you will, of their performers based on one single thing: entrance music. Being a music education major myself, I’ve studied a lot of things involving music. Everything from theory, to composition, to the emotions and feelings that certain chords can produce when played on a guitar, a piano, or any instrument really. Much like the art form of wrestling, music is an incredible art form with little things that hold everything together to paint a beautiful picture. Music, in this scenario, can be used to the advantage of a talent or a company. Follow with me, if you will, and I’ll explain my point. I’d like to take Shinsuke Nakamura, the recent signee for NXT, as my prime example.
What do we know about Shinsuke Nakamura? Well, we know the guy has a freaky amount of charisma. We also know that he’s a no-nonsense fighter in between the ropes and as mysterious and charismatic as he is, the guy can brutalize you in ways you never thought possible. Imagine if you didn’t know who Shinsuke Nakamura was, though? It’s quite possible, as there’s a host of people who tuned into TakeOver: Dallas who had absolutely no idea the storied career Nakamura had in Japan. For all the rights that WWE did with his debut, one of the biggest, I believe, boils down to his entrance music. If you haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, it’s an incredible piece, maybe one of the best compositions from CFO$. Let’s analyze his entrance theme though, and break it down just a bit. The introduction to the theme features what I would call akin to hard-rock guitar, breaking into a furious tempo of violins and drums. It establishes grandeur and mystique, all until it erupts with the screeching of a violin, indicating the dramatic entrance of a seasoned and incredible ring warrior. All of this fanfare leads into a section with an oriental theme to it, and it’s a rinse, wash, and repeat sequence from there.
Now, again, let’s pretend we know nothing at all about Shinsuke Nakamura, but we hear this incredible piece of music and see him envelope himself in it during his entrance. All the things that we covered previously still hold true about Nakamura just based off his entrance theme and his mannerisms: mystique, hard-hitting, from Japan, charismatic. All of these are things that define Shinsuke Nakamura as a performer, and are perfectly related to what you see from his body of in-ring work. All of this is clearly related to the public by his entrance theme alone, and sets the tone for the upcoming battle that Nakamura is about to engage in. That, my friends, is the incredible power of music, and more importantly, two art forms combining together into one.