Hey, everyone! Jordan here, for another article for The Salt Mine on Rasslin Rehash.
So, this week I thought I would talk to you all about the idea of first impressions and what they mean for a wrestler – not just from the moment they first step out onto the stage, but from the very moment their music hits, right to their first movements in the ring.
So, the first place I would like to start with this is with a man who wrestles for ICW, based out of Edinburgh, Scotland. His name is the Local Hero Joe Hendry. Hendry is a man who I myself only became aware of thanks to the power of YouTube this very week, and is unique in that he has taken the idea of the first impression further than almost anyone in wrestling ever has done before.
Hendry goes to the trouble to make himself noticed before he even steps out from behind the ICW curtain, because he creates custom entrance songs to both pump the crowd and mock his opponents by changing songs to make them about himself and the other wrestlers. In so doing, he pumps the crowd long before his music hits just to see what he will be doing this month. Along with this, it makes the crowd and anyone who happens to have the ability to watch these entrances learn everything about Hendry. He’s a smart mouth, he hates swearing and excessive violence, he believes himself superior to his opponents and, as his name would suggest, he is a hero to the fans of ICW — and all of this before he even steps into the ring. For myself, I have spent over an hour studying his entrances and have become a fan of Hendry all just from this first impression of him. I would like to point out that on YouTube all that I have found are these entrances, so I have become a fan of Jo Hendry as an entertainer without ever actually seeing him apply a simple elbow and collar tie up.
Moving on to the more viewed entrances and impressions we are given by organizations such as WWE. Firstly, with WWE they have on each of their shows a giant budget and a giant screen (known as a Titantron), and it is interesting to note that for some wrestlers this platform allows them to emote more and show us more of what and who they are. A perfect example of this is the entrance of one Tyler Breeze. From the fanfare of his music, which tells us exactly what he thinks of himself, the camera pan from behind him to in front, to the fact that his entrance video, rather than showing us clips of his brutality or his ability, we are treated to one image and one only — Tyler himself. A close-up of him, shown from his own selfie stick and imposed onto the Titantron. Breeze uses his entrances to perfection to show us everything about himself in one instance, and that is and always will be just one thing. Breeze.
From here, though, there are others whose music and entrance actually shows us almost nothing about who they are and what they are about. The first name in WWE that comes to my mind for this is actually one of their upper card wrestlers in one Dean Ambrose. Now, yes, Ambrose is a pull, and the fans love him. However, this is due to his hard work in the ring and his skills in interviews, with nothing at all from the first impression. If a first time fan were to watch Dean’s entrance, we get music that is pumped up and the same bass beat repeated over and over. We also see Ambrose walk to the ring in a hurried fashion, looking like he has just gotten himself out of the shower. Now, if his gimmick was that of a man who was hurried in his work and had a history of running late for everything this works perfectly, but Ambrose’s gimmick is that of a slightly mad man who is methodical in the ring and never gives up. It is only in watching the man for an extended period that this is learned, though, as our first impression of him shows nothing of this style or personality.
Finally, I would like to talk about what I believe to be the greatest entrance and impression that wrestling has put forward in the last twenty years, and that is the entrance of the one and only The Undertaker. Undertaker is a man who, from the very moment the first gong of his music hits, not only tells us about the man but creates its own atmosphere. The camera goes for a wide shot from the hit of his music to show us a fog rolling in, and slow methodical music, and then the man himself appears from behind and we are treated to this large imposing figure of a man. Even watching from the TV screen, everything about him from his pose, to his walk, to the very look in his eyes brings not only excitement, but a sense of danger, of imminent and inevitable destruction, and of hopelessness for his chosen victim – because someone about to fight The Undertaker, that is what our first impressions of the man make you appear. You are a victim, about to be served to this servant of the dark and the cold. And this is for me the absolute perfection of presence of a first impression and of an entrance.
So what are your thoughts on entrances and first impressions of wrestlers? For Rasslin Rehash I have been Jordan bringing you the Salt Mine. Until next week, wrestling fans.