Once upon a time, wrestlers in the World Wrestling Federation got together and decided to put out an album. And it was… forgettable but kitschy.
On November 9, 1985, The Wrestling Album was gifted unto the world, commemorated by a review in Billboard magazine ruling that, “As singers, they’re pretty good wrestlers.”
Many years have passed and the WWF is now WWE, wrestlers are known more for mouthing off during intricately staged spectacles and the one-time face of the organization, Hulk Hogan, has been shoved to the sidelines. But there was a time when “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was in the same recording studio with Rick Derringer. Really.
“By almost any critical measure, The Wrestling Album is bad, though that’s largely beside the point– it’s a collection of songs being sung by professional wrestlers, after all,” James Montgomery writes for Rolling Stone. It topped no charts, but it was hilarious and entertaining, which is all it should have been or could aspire to be.
It also marked the start of a new era for professional wrestling, as Vince McMahon took over the family business from his father, launched pay-per-view events like Wrestlemania and Summer Slam into the cultural lexicon and brought together Cyndi Lauper with Captain Lou Albano, for which we should all be grateful.
One of the people tasked with the album’s production include manager Jimmy Hart, who’d worked on albums with The Gentrys, and Hillbilly Jim, a wrestler who turned out to have a decent voice, to the astonishment of many.
Among the gems on this album, Piper, who passed away earlier this year, singing “For Everybody,” a slightly modified cover of Mike Angelo & The Idol’s 1984 song “The World May Not Like Me,” better known as “F*!k Everybody.” (Thanks to G&B fan Scott Simpson for that little tidbit.)
Adds Hillbilly Jim, “Everybody still knows my song, Don’t Go Messin’ With a Country Boy. I start my SiriusXM Outlaw Country radio show with it every week!”