Over the annals of time, there has been one genre of music in particular that meshes perfectly with the aggression and violence we all know and love in professional wrestling: metal (and, of course, all the other sub-genres that fall under that umbrella). Here are seven times heavy metal and wrestling came together and rocked over the years!
Wrestling’s Connection to Metal Music
From the Rock ‘n’ Roll Connection of the 1980s to the entrances and promo packages of today, music has always had a close relationship with professional wrestling. One of the key factors that helped WWE take over professional wrestling in the ’80s was its connection to music and the mainstream.
This association later played a significant role in WWE winning “The Monday Night Wars“—using a range of celebrities that were currently trending to music acts that are popular in the charts to participate in the show.
Here are seven examples of the “mostly functional” marriage between the two forms of arts!
1. Metal in WrestleMania
Professional wrestling has always had a strong bond with rock and metal culture, and “The Grandest Stage of Them All” WrestleMania has played home to metal and wrestling coming together many a time in the past.
At WrestleMania III (March 29th, 1987), the then-WWF broke North America’s indoor attendance record with “The Godfather of Shock Rock” Alice Cooper appearing in the corner of Jake “The Snake” Roberts. He would later claim that it was one of the most “terrifying” moments of his life!
Other notable metal artists that have played or had appearances at WrestleMania include Drowning Pool and Saliva at WrestleMania 18 (March 17th, 2002), Limp Bizkit at WrestleMania 19 (March 30th, 2003), P.O.D. at WrestleMania 22 (April 2nd, 2006), Kid Rock at WrestleMania 25 (April 5th, 2009), Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss at WrestleMania 34 (April 8, 2018), Joan Jett and The Blackhearts at WrestleMania 35 (April 7th, 2019), and the list goes on.
Not WrestleMania related, but WCW once brought in Megadeth and KISS and even featured a wrestler called “The KISS Demon!” You can learn more about that here.
But arguably, the most substantial connection of all when crossing these two worlds is that of Triple H and Lemmy from Motörhead.
2. The Relationship Between Triple H and Lemmy from Motörhead
Triple H, real name Paul Levesque, was very close with rockstar Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead. Not only have Motörhead played three of his theme songs (“The Game,” “Revolution,” and “King of Kings”), they also played live at WrestleMania twice, at WrestleMania 17 (April 1st, 2001) and WrestleMania 21 (April 3rd, 2005), where both times they played “The Game.”
Lemmy and Triple H did a lot to elevate each others’ careers. They regularly kept in touch, and Triple H would even appear at a few Motörhead concerts.
They have a lot of history together and shared some of their stories with the release of a 37-minute interview with Corey Graves on the WWE Network highlighting their friendship in the 2020 release, “Live to Win: A Conversation With Triple H and Lemmy.”
Sadly, a few months after the interview took place, Lemmy passed away.
The world seemed to come together in grief and mourning when his passing was announced in 2015, and at Lemmy’s funeral, long-time friend Triple H gave tribute to Lemmy with a touching speech.
You can watch Triple H’s poignant tribute at Lemmy’s memorial below:
Triple H got his name in metal’s Hall of Fame and was awarded Metal Hammer’s one-off “Spirit of Lemmy Award” at the Download Festival in 2016. If that’s not metal enough, it was even presented by Megadeth’s frontman Dave Mustain.
Triple H has since done his best to keep Lemmy’s legacy in the WWE alive through WWE’s NXT.
3. Metal Legacy in NXT
Over the years, NXT has brought a familiar sound that has been long forgotten in wrestling, as they put new hard-rockin’ artists on the map with the likes of Cane Hill, Poppy, and most notably Code Orange, who performed Alister Black’s theme “The Root of All Evil” live with Incendiary’s lead singer Brendan Garron as well as the remix version of Bray Wyatt’s theme, “The Fiend.”
Because of his passion for music, Triple H wanted to give musicians and artists a platform to play and perform, much like the wrestlers, creating the sub-brand NXT Loud.
In a 2020 interview with Loudwire, Triple H explained, “We had the idea of taking young up and coming bands just like young and upcoming wrestlers and giving them this platform that didn’t necessarily exist.”
This idea grew rapidly as they had big names like Bring Me The Horizon, Black Sabbath, and Corey Taylor recently.
4. Corey Taylor and Wrestling
Corey Taylor is one of the modern rock legends. The American singer is from Ohio and is known for wearing many hats: actor, author, and most notably for being lead vocalist and lyricist of the heavy metal band “Slipknot” and the hard rock band “Stone Sour.”
The singer is always working on different projects as he guest appeared on over thirty songs and has recently released a solo album entitled “CMFT.” One of the tracks from his album, “Culture Head,” debuted on NXT on September 23rd, 2020, and was the theme for NXT TakeOver 31.
If that wasn’t enough, WWE got him back to play a small gig exclusively for NXT Loud on September 28th, 2000, where he played several songs of the album as well as a cover of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades.”
That wasn’t the only tribute Corey made that night as the man brought his own unique championship belt to the show. He’s even gone as far as making it his album’s cover art, although he didn’t exactly get it made for that purpose.
“Full disclosure,” Corey Taylor explained in an October 2020 interview with Metro.co.uk, “I had that belt made before I even knew I was making the album. I made that myself – paid for it myself, designed it myself, and I was going to hang it above my TV in my f***ing media room like my Ted DiBiase Million Dollar belt!”
He continued, “When the time came and I was thinking about the artwork for the album, I was like, ‘Oh, this would be f***ing perfect!’ It really, really came off so well. It was so rad!”
As a kid, Corey was a big wrestling fan watching the likes of the NWA and WCCW. He would later follow wrestling throughout the Monday Night Wars and into the Attitude Era.
When Slipknot took off, he became more of a casual fan, and it wasn’t until the arrival of NXT that his love for the sport indeed was reignited.
His first appearance on anything wrestling-related was on Chris Jericho’s podcast “Talk is Jericho” on October 22nd, 2014.
During his talk with Jericho, it was revealed that Corey was at the previous night’s episode of Raw as Jericho gave him and his son Griffin VIP tickets to the show.
Corey would join Jericho on his podcast once again, but this time to talk about his passion and love for wrestling and NXT. A few months after this show aired, he would begin to get a taste of the action.
5. NXT at Music Festivals
While shooting an interview with Alternative Press, Corey Taylor stated some tension existed between Slipknot and NXT in 2015 at the Aftershock Festival on “who is headlining the festival.”
Overhearing the conversation, Baron Corbin interrupted and took over the interview stating that NXT is the headline, followed by offering Corey a front-row seat for his match later against Samoa Joe.
In the match itself, tensions rose high when Corbin left the ring and walked towards Corey to continue their beef. Corey had enough of Baron’s nonsense and slapped him across the ear!
Samoa Joe would soon capitalize on the moment by finishing his match against Corbin with the 1-2-3, followed by celebrating with the rockstar.
The Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, California isn’t the only music festival WWE has been a part of in recent years as WWE NXT UK has had a home at Download Festival in the UK since 2016.
You can watch the moment between Baron Corbin and Corey Taylor at the Aftershock Festival below:
6. “The Most Metal Athlete” Baron Corbin
Corey Taylor and Baron Corbin are good friends behind the scenes, and both are fans of each other’s work. The two wanted to work with one another and took advantage when the opportunity came up.
“I had no idea how much that was going to blow up,” Baron Corbin admitted in an interview with Metal Hammer in 2017.
“I grew up going to rock shows, and the lines of rock ‘n’ roll cross over with wrestling so much. Wrestling is an opportunity to go to a show, be a part of it and feel the emotions, from anger to frustration to sadness to pain – everything that music can make you feel. So the crossover between audiences is unbelievable.”
Corbin continued, “When the two industries collide, and you have one of their biggest guys in Corey, crashing into one of our biggest superstars, and he hits me in the teeth. It’s cool to see! And maybe it opens a few eyes for people that didn’t look at wrestling or didn’t look at that kind of music; it helps us both.”
It most certainly did as Baron Corbin won “The Most Metal Athlete Award” at the 2016 Revolver Music Awards, an award Triple H won back in 2013.
A few years later, on May 5th, 2017, Corey returned to “Talk is Jericho” and gave more insight into his bout with Corbin and some other proposals with the WWE.
According to Chris Jericho, Corey Taylor was supposed to perform with his band Stone Sour at WrestleMania 33. However, Vince shut down the idea due to time restrictions and costs.
In 2019, Slipknot released the single “All Out of Life.” In April of that year, the song was chosen as the theme for NXT, with Triple H stating that he felt a solid connection to the song. The tune itself even has superstars from NXT featured in its music video.
7. When Horror Films, Metal Music, and Wrestling Unite!
If you are a Slipknot fan, you’ll probably know that with a new album also comes new masks, and on February 28th, 2019, Corey released images of his latest work with Tom Savini.
Savini is a legend in the horror department and has done it all from acting, directing, stunt performing, and prosthetics. Still, he’s most renowned for his skill with special effects working on movies like the Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
He is also a big wrestling fan. Savini has helped the WWE on more than one occasion and has a track record with the company dating back to 2011 when he first created the “Skull King” and armor for Triple H’s WrestleMania 27 entrance.
Since then, he has worked on several projects alongside the company, such as Triple H’s melting skull, Kalisto’s WrestleMania 33 gear, and the Bludgeon Brother’s mallets and masks. He and his team likely made any cool prosthetic you’ve seen recently in the WWE.
Corey Taylor is a huge horror fanatic and has even starred in several films, so when the two finally worked together, he was ecstatic.
Speaking with Heavy Metal Hill in 2019, Taylor stated, “[Working with Tom Savini] was the coolest thing ever. He had us over to his house. It was the coolest sci-fi horror museum ever. My mask got molded at his school outside of Pittsburgh. I worked with his associate Jason Baker. The fan in me is still freaking out!”
Corey wasn’t the only one going to Tom for help to reinvent himself.
After taking a dip in Broken Matt Hardy’s “Lake of Reincarnation” in 2019, Bray Wyatt would take some time off to work on a new gimmick and wouldn’t be seen again until eight months later when WWE began teasing Wyatt’s return on the Raw after WrestleMania in 2020.
Two weeks later, Wyatt re-debuted, still using the Bray Wyatt name but this time portraying a deranged Mr. Rogers-esque character in the Firefly Funhouse.
It was clear from the beginning that there was something very dark behind the new character, which was eventually revealed to be The Fiend.
Great minds think alike as Bray Wyatt, real name Windham Rotunda also went to Savini for help on creating his mask for The Fiend as well as creating the designs and props that revolved around his characters such as the lantern, the puppets, the set for Firefly Funhouse, and even his custom championship.
Corey Taylor would later comment on his thoughts of The Fiend mask.
“That mask is f***ing dope, very cool!” he said. “One of these days, I’ll swap with him. He’ll wear one of mine to the ring, and I’ll wear The Fiend one on stage. It’d be f***ing dope!
Back in 2019, when Slipknot released their sixth album “We Are Not Your Kind,” Bray Wyatt messaged Corey on Twitter stating. “I’m trying to convince Corey Taylor to let me use this as the best entrance music of all time.”
Unfortunately, it was all but a dream as they didn’t manage to secure a deal in time.
Explaining what happened, Corey noted, “I’m such a massive Bray fan, and he’s a massive Slipknot fan, so we talked about doing something. At the time, we were so focused on working on the demos for ‘We Are Not Your Kind,’ we just couldn’t get it together in time.”
Their connection goes beyond hypotheticals as before Windham was The Fiend, even before he was “The Flycatcher,” there was a brief time where he was known as “Axl Mulligan.”
After taking some time off from Husky Harris, Windham would return to developmental at FCW and wore a familiar styled mask.
In the ’90s, we had “The KISS Demon,” and here we had the Slipknot Demon. Though Windham soon dropped the mask, the band was a massive part of his inspiration towards this nightmarish persona.
As for Corey Taylor, he has yet to have his “WrestleMania moment,” though he says he stays in contact with WWE and hopes to do something with the company sometime soon.
“Oh my God, dude, if I had a Mania moment, I would lose my s***, man,” Taylor once shared. “That would be rad! Even if it weren’t a Slipknot thing, I would write it myself. Just go in, and f***ing make something super gnarly!”
Here’s hoping for the future. We say let the guy fulfill his dream and have his ‘Mania moment!
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out author Conor McCorkindale share his thoughts on Corey Taylor and his influence on wrestling on his YouTube channel below:
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