Music has always had a place in professional wrestling. Country Music was well represented by Wrestling’s singing cowboys: The Honky Tonk Man, “Double J” Jeff Jarrett, Rockabilly and The Roadie Jesse James. Rapping Wrestlers (call them Wrappers … or don’t) have a roll call that includes the Dr. of Thuganomics John Cena, JC Ice and Wolfie D of PG-13, R-Truth and … The “Road Dogg” Jesse James. And the loud guitars of Rock and Roll have been heard from Wrestlers ranging from the Fabulous Freebirds to FOZZY. Pop Music, however, has not had as easy of a time being represented in the world of Wrestling. That has not stopped Zack Ryder, however, who may be the latest (and greatest) Superstar to pick up the Pop and Wrestling bandwagon.
Zack Ryder is already something of a crossover artist having been a lifelong wrestling fan who actually became a WWE Superstar. The Woo Woo Woo Kid represents not just for current wrestlers but also for the era that he grew up watching: the New Generation Era. Hall of Fame bound wrestlers like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker shared the squared circle with the likes of Doink the Clown, Duke “the Dumpster” Droese and T.L. Hopper. The New Generation had the kind of all-welcoming but contrasting attitude that allowed for the likes of Wrestlemania: The Album. The WWF ventured to take over people’s car stereos as well as their televisions with a collection of songs that combined Wrestlers cutting promos with music. The success of the album is on a song-by-song basis. For every “Speaking From the Heart,” there’s “Tatanka Native America.” At least we all learned that “Tatanka” means “Buffalo.” Amazingly, this album reached the Top 10 on the UK charts, certainly not a small feat by Simon Cowell, who executive produced this album before gaining international fame through American Idol and X-Factor. How this is not brought up EVERY TIME Cowell is on television is a mystery.
Zack Ryder not only managed to make a song that sounds like a lost track from Wrestlemania: The Album, but a good one. Plus, “Hoeski” cracked the iTunes Top 100 Pop Charts:
Which is impressive, considering Ryder did not have the talents of Simon Cowell (acknowledge your roots, Sir!) guiding him. Let’s breakdown the elements of “Hoeski.”
Because Zack Ryder knows 2 things – Wrestling and Pop Music – he represents both of them in “Hoeski.” The intro, where Ryder talks lamentably about his spurned love has the same crestfallen tone that Bret Hart uses in “Never Been a Right Time to Say Goodbye.” But then, “Hoeski” transitions into an incredibly catchy tune coupled with Ryder’s best attempt at boy band style singing. The best way to describe the Long Island Iced Z’s vocal stylings is to compare it to someone reading Shakespeare aloud for the first time. You can hear the classic elements in it but it is also awkward hearing someone else discover iambic pentameter.
Like Wrestlemania: The Album or WWE Originals, Ryder works in all his catchphrases, gimmicks and other known Ryder-isms into “Hoeski:”
- Bud Light Lime
- Woo Woo Woo
- Hoeski (naturally)
- Long Island Iced Z
- Rough Ryder
- Like Me on Facebook, Follow Me On Twitter
- Are You Serious, Bro?
- You Know it
The only one not included is “Take Care, Spike Your Hair” but telling your ex-girlfriend to “take care” does not belong in a breakup song. It’s not in the pop music handbook. Most interesting, though, is the repeated use of “Woo Woo Woo.” In 3 different places, “Woo Woo Woo” has a different meaning. The first use – “You May Have Left Me / But I Still Woo Woo Woo” – comes from a Zack Ryder still pining for the girl who spurned him. This Ryder was holding onto the possibility of getting back together with her. The second use – “Fool Me Once, Shame on Me / Fool Me Twice, Woo Woo Woo” – comes from a Zack Ryder, hurt from the Hoeski’s actions, wounded but mending from the mistake of a twice failed relationship. Still, this Ryder is better off, having learned from this experience. By the time Ryder uses “Woo Woo Woo” in a third instance – “Will I Get Over You? / Woo Woo Woo, You Know It” – Ryder is filled with confidence. A Hoeski-less future awaits him and, with it, comes the inevitable success.
Either “Woo Woo Woo” chronicles the emotional growth of Ryder in the song or he’s using “Woo Woo Woo” in place of every line that would otherwise include “You,” the same way Usher replaces “You” for “U” in all of his songs.
Regardless, Zack Ryder feels better about himself at the end of the song; so should you. The nature of a great pop song is to be both catchy and cathartic. Plus, writing a song about your ex? That’s a total Taylor Swift move, whose relationship with wrestling has been pointed out. Zack Ryder channels T. Swizzle’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” at the end of “Hoeski.”
Or at least the Official Music Video version of “Hoeski.” The version available for purchase on iTunes, the SSSIIICCCKKK Remix version, is a different Hoeski.
The lyrics are the same but instead of singing them, Ryder shouts them, letting his emotions break through in full without filter. Musically, Hoeski is given more of rock edge, with heavier drums and louder guitars. If the Official Music Video Version is Ryder’s boy band version (complete with a rap break in the middle), the remix is his solo breakout, his “Cry me a River,” if you will.
Zack Ryder is the flag waver for Pop Music in the WWE and in Wrestling in general. His success is possibly because his love of pop music is genuine and not a gimmick that was given to him, like Billy Gunn was fitted with Rockabilly. Instead it’s like when John Cena was a Rapper: it’s a part of his personality that he’s allowed to explore. Maybe Ryder will be furthered inspired by his Pop Music heroes New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees who are going out on a “Package” Tour. Ryder can team with 3 Count and Jillian Hall and travel the country as Pop and Circumstance.