It's been said often that wrestling and music are intrinsically connected. It's not hard to see why: Both musical artists and wrestlers have to cut their teeth traveling from town to town, performing for small crowds in tiny venues, dreaming of stardom, arenas and lots of crazy pyro behind them.
But of all music styles, metal has had the biggest, most consistent crossover with wrestling, defining a host of different gimmicks throughout the years as well as soundtracking some of its most important moments and performers.
We asked you to pick the "most metal" wrestler of all time, be it due to their in-ring work, what they've done for music, or just the attitude with which they present themselves. Here's who got the most votes, in ranked order.
Simply put, Stone Cold never gave a fuck about anyone, which is why he was so loved. At the height of WWE's Attitude Era, whenever the initial glass shatter of his theme song would hit, it was a signal to the entire crowd that all hell was going to break loose. His biggest concerns were talking lots of trash and beating the crap out of people in the ring, and he was great at both, skills that made him the most popular performer in the Nineties.
The Road Warriors, a.k.a. the Legion of Doom, straight-up looked like the closest approximation of a heavy-metal album cover turned flesh to ever hit pro wrestling. Hawk and Animal were both huge dudes covered in spikes and face-paint — imagine if KISS were from hell and also moonlighted as football players — to say nothing of their thrilling in-ring performances and the fact that they used to come out to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," pulling a young Killer Mike "deeper down the dark rock wormhole" in the process.
In many ways, that the Undertaker was a credible threat throughout his 20-plus-year career is one of the WWE's greatest achievements. How did an undead, horror-themed part-demon manage to not come off as one of the many corny gimmicks of Nineties wrestling? It's a credit to the wrestler's intensity and commitment in the ring. Even when he dipped out of the "deadman" gimmick and into a new biker look, he maintained credibility — maybe more impressive, even when using a Limp Bizkit song as his theme.
Even taking Triple H's in-ring performances out of the equation — where he embodied a particularly hard-hitting, savage and very "metal" style — Hunter Hearst Helmsley has done more than his fair share to progress the symbiosis of metal and wrestling. He's enlisted the legendary (and his personal heroes) Motörhead to write two of his entrance songs, as well as developed entrances set to iconic cuts like Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls." As the head honcho for WWE's NXT, he's been instrumental in getting young heavy-music artists, such as Code Orange, Power Trip, Cane Hill and Halestorm, exposure on the show. Basically, he's a lifer, and does what he can with his position as COO to help spread the headbanging gospel.
It's one thing to love metal, as a lot of wrestlers do; it's another to make it. Chris Jericho, "Y2J," has worked his ass off to be both one of wrestling's most consistently exciting performers, and the singer of his own successful metal band, Fozzy. Last year, Fozzy became a legitimate radio sensation with "Judas," which camped out on the Active Rock charts. This comes at the same time when Jericho is arguably having some of the best matches of his career, both during his time in WWE and his current free-agency status. Not much is more metal than fronting a band and getting in the ring.