Hard to believe now, but there was a time not too long ago where Vince McMahon routinely had the word "genius" attached to his name. And in the world of wrestling there is a bit of truth to that term being used. Unfortunately, it has become painfully obvious over the years that McMahon wants to leave his legacy on something other than the world of oiled up, hairless men who pretend to hit each other. Vince tried to break into the world of professional bodybuilding that had a McMahon-like monopoly by the Weider family when he started the WBF. McMahon failed miserably. Vince tried
to enter the world of themed restaurants with WWF NY in Times Square. McMahon failed miserably. In perhaps his most grandiose plan of all, McMahon tried to start up his own football league in the XFL. The phrase "miserable failure" would be too good to describe that one. Usually, when McMahon gets his balls served to him on a platter he learns from his mistake. However there is one area of entertainment that McMahon has repeatedly tried to establish a foothold in for years, and that is the music industry.
The results can be described as mixed, and that is a generous term. His first two attempts; The Wrestling Album and Piledriver have an extremely high camp factor to wrestling marks like myself, but would most likely be called complete garbage by anyone else listening to them. Years later Vince did find some financial success in releasing CD's of the wildly popular theme music used by his wrestlers. Unfortunately, either by going to the well too often or just not having enough good themes, even that golden goose was cooked. A couple years ago McMahon started up his own record label, SmackDown records, and greatly hyped the band Neurotica. The results? One poorly sold album and one defunct record label. Now it is 2004, and what at first looked like a funny rib has become a reality. The WWE, through it's new subsidiary "Stephanie Records" released The Originals.
Track #1: “Where’s the Beer?”- Stone Cold Steve Austin - This was the first of five skits with Steve Austin and Jim Johnston, WWE Music Guru. I don’t know, maybe they would have been a better fit if the WWE did a comedy album because they really bring the CD to a dead halt every time. Austin is a pretty funny dude, and while there are bits here and there that work, for the most part it is a complete bomb and they all become unbearable after the third time through the CD. This segment had Steve showing up for his recording session and wondering where his beer was. “I shouldn’t be so hard on you, it’s pretty early in the morning.” ”It’s three in the afternoon Steve.” The segment ends with Austin destroying an acoustic guitar.
Track#2: “We’ve Had Enough” - The Dudley Boyz - This song actually got some pub
recently because the Dudley’s inexplicably close the song with a shot at pro wrestler New Jack. If you remember the movie Beyond the Mat, New Jack was the guy who has multiple ‘justifiable homicides’ to his name. You know what I think should be a justifiable homicide? Those
a--holes who push the “Walk” button at intersections and then just go ahead and walk across when they see a break in traffic. So the rest of us get stuck waiting at a red light while the “Walk” signal is flashing and no one crossing the street. Well, maybe it shouldn’t be justifiable homicide, but it shouldn’t be more than manslaughter 2 or something. Anyhoo, for some reason this song came across to me like an Anthrax tune and I can’t really explain why. Probably because to me it sounded a lot like the Anthrax/Public Enemy song “Bring the Noise” except nowhere near as good. Could have been worse I guess. And who knows, maybe we’ll get an album from New Jack now where he raps about all the “rats” he and D-Von were with on the road.
Track #3: “I Just Want You” - Trish Stratus - This was a love song by Trish that sounded like it would be buried near the end of a Britney Spears disc. Surprisingly well done. Not that it’s a great song, but it certainly doesn’t embarrass her.
Track #4: “Crossing Borders” - Rey Mysterio - For those of you old enough to remember, this song really comes across like a remake of Gerardo’s Rico Suave, which really makes you wonder if Jim Johnston has lost his mind. Half the song is in Spanish so I have no idea of what Rey is trying to “rap.”
Track #5: “Did You Feel It?” - Stone Cold Steve Austin - This might have be the worst of all the Austin skits, which is saying something. Stone Cold riffs on an electric guitar and tells Johnston that, “You don’t just hear a good musician, you feel him.”
Track #6: “Can You Dig It?” - Booker T - This is the song the WWE insanely replaced Booker T’s entrance theme with. Another total bomb with Booker trying to rap lines that actually refer to things like Vin Diesel in xXx. You just can’t make shit like that up. The WWE should bring back Ron Killings in his K-Kwick character so he can be outraged as Booker’s attempt at laying down a track. Maybe bring in Master P and the No Limit Soldiers to re-create the Gang Warz from the WWE Attitude Era. Hootie Hoooooo!
Track #7: “I Don’t Suck (Really)” - Kurt Angle - I can honestly say this is the worst song I have ever heard in my life. The Booker T and Rey Rey songs were Grammy Award winning caliber compared to this monstrosity. Basically Kurt raps over his theme music and is so bad that you have to wonder why they didn’t burn the reel that this song was on. I hope that next time that Kurt goes under the knife for an operation Dr. Jho does him a favor and cuts out his larynx. Angle is one of my favorite wrestlers ever and it is completely sickening that something like this was made using him. Try to imagine your Olympic hero delivering a line like, ”Anything you can do I can do better. Even when I rap, I rap more better.” And here I thought the rap lyrics from Randy Savage’s “Be A Man’ were embarrassing.
Track #8: “When I Get You Alone” - Lita - After the first couple times of listening to this I really started to like it. To me the song comes across very much like one you would get off an album by Pink. The only thing that drove me nuts is at the end of the song when Lita sings a line, and then follows it up by basically reading the line. The reading is so monotone that comes across like something you hear in a hostage video. But again, that’s a small complaint as the song is pretty decent and is a miracle considering the voice they are working with.
Track #9: “You Changed The Lyrics” - Stone Cold Steve Austin- In this skit Steve is pissed that Johnston changed the song he wrong but Jim assures him that he, “kept the integrity of Steve Austin.” Sorry Jim, that went out the window during Track 1. I do have to admit that Stone Cold can play a great dink as anytime Johnston says something Steve takes it as an insult.
Track #10: “You Just Don’t Know Me At All” - Lilian Garcia - Another nice surprise as Garcia sings something that really reminds me of Lita Ford. This is a pretty serious song too as the lyrics seem to suggest that Garcia is going to kill an ex-boyfriend or something. Meeeeeow! And I might totally be imagining this, but I’m almost positive that the opening moments of this song were used for Chyna’s old music.
Track #11: “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” - Eddie and Chavo Guererro - I kid you not when I say the short entrance video the Guererro’s have is 10 times better than this. Although that does have the extra bonus of Super Deformed cartoon versions of Latino Heat and Chavito. Can you picture these lyrics being sung?
”I’m the C to the H to the A-V-O,
I’m the E doubled-I-E you know,
We ear all you wimps like a sandwich
Bilingual? You can’t even speak Spanish.”
I will admit there was a funny bit with Eddie and Chavo saying the girls should always ride in the back. ”They want to sit up front, but forget. They’re hot, but it’s not worth it.” I don’t know why but I really laughed at that line.
Track #12: “Don’t You Wish You Were Me” - Chris Jericho - Not great, but certainly not a horrible song and the best one done by a male outside of John Cena. Sounds like a rock song that you would have heard in the Quiet Riot Mental Health era.
Track #13: “Drink Your Beer” - Stone Cold Steve Austin - In this skit Stone Cold was trying to get Johnston to drink a beer and had perhaps the lamest thing on the album when Jim started saying, “I don’t want a beer. I don’t want a beer.” Like a 5 year old year kid. Classic heel Austin here with lines such as, “You’re the dumbest smart-ass I’ve ever met” and my personal favorite, “Look at me. Don’t eyeball me. Look at me! Don’t eyeball me!” This would have made a great RAW skit.
Track #14: “Put A Little Ass On It” - Rikishi - I think this was Jim Johnston trying to get a little rub from how hot Ruben Studdard was on America Idol last year, but the current Rikishi looks like he ate Ruben. It’s a song done in the slow R&B style you would associate with Barry White or Luther Vandross but what kind of woman is going to want to listen to a song that is titled PUT A LITTLE ASS ON IT?! Seriously, who is this song for? Guys who fantasize about having their head up Rikishi’s ass? Happy Valentine’s Day Pat Patterson~!
Track #15: “Why Can’t We Just Dance?” - Stacy Keibler - Just maybe the worst club mix track ever produced. Ever. I would have had Stacy just cover the song, “I
Touch Myself” from the Vinyls and this baby probably would have gone Platinum.
Track #16: “Basic Thuganomics” - John Cena - Cena was using this song as his entrance well before Originals was released and it’s pretty damn good. It has a good beat and Cena slinging out some rhymes in a way slightly different from how he does it on SmackDown.
Track #17: “Don’t That Taste Good?” - Stone Cold Steve Austin - The closing track has Steve going solo as he knocked out Johnston to close their last skit. He pours a beer on the unconscious Johnston and proceeds to hit the “record” button to sing his song as the CD ends.
DVD Bonus - This is a 30 minute DVD that basically covers the making of the album. They showed a lot of clips from this on WWE TV when they were trying sell the album
hard way a little while back. It is hosted by Jonathon Coachman, who is as white as ever, and is a mostly talking to the wrestlers about the making of this CD. After seeing the WWE Steel Cage Bloodbath DVD and this I began to wonder why the WWE uses Coach of all people to do most of their work on things outside of WWE television. I mean he’s supposed to be playing an asshole on TV, so the “mark” fans don’t want to see him and he’s really not that good at getting over wrestling stuff, so the “smart” fans don’t take him seriously either. But then I thought some more and realized the only real alternative is Mark Lloyd, so I guess Coach is the lesser of two evils.
Overall - I actually liked this CD more than I thought I would. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I felt the songs by Lita and Lilian were pretty damn good. I pretty much went into this expecting it to be a collection of
un-listen able songs, and while there is certainly a good amount complete crap here, the two songs above along with Trish, Jericho and Cena’s tracks make it a worthwhile purchase for a rasslin’ fan. I see no logical reason for why the Stone Cold “comedy” bits made it all the way through post-production and onto the final disc though. There is a serious issue with Quality Control at WWE headquarters that should be dealt with posthaste. And maybe Jim Johnston could use an assistant who is just a little more in touch with what is going on in today’s music world.
Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.