I am a huge professional wrestling nerd, and the other day I was thinking about how country music and pro-wrestling have been entwined over the years.
This was sort of sparked by AEW’s “Hangman” Adam Page’s Spotify playlist title “anxious millennial cowboy,” which features songs by Orville Peck, Waylon Jennings, and Charley Crockett. It really is a sad boi country dream of a playlist.
Other random connections are Mickie James actually singing country music (check out her singing “Grown Ass Woman” with Chapel Hart) and Brock Lesnar being a huge Colter Wall fan.
All of this random overthinking on my part led me to remember a wonderful time when The Undertaker, one the greatest pro-wrestlers (or sports entertainers, I don’t have the time or energy to decide which is correct), used Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave” as his entrance theme.
A wrestler’s entrance theme is arguably one of the most important elements to their gimmick (or character). It gives fans something to sing along to and instantly recognize.
I mean, we all sing Chris Jericho’s theme “Judas” and scream “burn it down” when Seth Rollins comes out.
The Undertaker has always had some of the best entrance themes.
Now, I knew that I remembered The Undertaker having a Johnny Cash song as his entrance theme for some period of time because I remember thinking how badass that was.
I originally thought that it was during his “American Badass” phase during the early 2000’s in which he dropped the “Deadman” persona and became a biker.
After some research and double-checking, I was extremely wrong.
He actually used a couple different theme’s during this era, including Kid Rock’s “American Badass.”
The Undertaker didn’t use Cash’s song until 2011 and the lead-up to his No Holds Barred match against Triple H at Wrestlemania 27.
The whole story behind this match is that The Undertaker retired Triple H’s best friend Shawn Michaels at the previous Wrestlemania, so Triple H was out for revenge (classic pro-wrestling storytelling).
The rivalry and storyline felt like an old Western movie, which fits because Taker was in his Last Outlaw gimmick. The whole thing felt like an old-fashioned shoot-out.
The Undertaker had old man Wolverine or older Clint Eastwood vibes. It was great.
Johnny Cash’s voice was just perfectly suited for all of this, especially this song.
The Undertaker for a majority of his career was a supernatural, undead entity, and this song is the embodiment of that gimmick with Cash crooning about how no grave can keep him down.
The Undertaker has been literally buried alive more than once in his career, so the song is also just kinda true.
Has there ever been a better entrance in the history of professional wrestling? No way in hell…
Originally written by Claude Ely in 1934, Johnny Cash covered “Ain’t No Grave” shortly before his death in September 2003, however it was released posthumously in 2010, as part of his American VI: Ain’t No Grave album.