A home video presentation that focuses on the music of WWE, Signature Sounds explores the world of wrestler’s themes.
Signature Sounds is a department from the recent glut of WWE Home Video documentary releases which have focused, primarily, on documenting the history of WWE, the wrestlers and the business at large. This is akin to the countdown specials that Channel 4 broadcast, except without the annoying comedians who gurn at the camera as they deliver their banal judgement.
With Jim Johnston as the man behind many of the themes, this documentary showcases his work in the form of twenty five of the best themes, covering how the themes were developed and composed, with brief comments from the wrestlers (in the form of archive footage for those no longer on the roster).
Listening to Johnston pull apart some of the themes reveals so much depth to his work that is often missed. His worth across decades is covered, with Ultimate Warrior, Sunny, The Rock, Primetime Players and Fandango all featuring in the countdown. Watching him perform the leitmotif of some of his work, on a variety of instruments, shows the musical versatility of a man whose work we all know, without really knowing who he is.
There’s some interesting trivia thrown in - how Johnston constructs the lyrics, the techniques he uses and how he occasionally eschews them, as well as the artists that were involved. It’s also fun to hear some of the talent, including Vince McMahon, talk about their themes, though some are in character, whilst others don’t appear to be.
It is, however, a short affair, running at 52 minutes and lacks real depth, leaving the viewer with a fluffy, unchallenging affair. Some exploration of unused themes (he talks about The Rock and what didn’t work), complete Titantron videos, more behind the scenes interviews from others involved in character development or how the entrances were choreographed - all this could have helped flesh out the story and given the work the treatment it deserves.
The Extras feature further tracks that weren’t covered in the Top 25 - a Top 25, it seems, that was chosen by the WWE. With six tracks in this section, it does beg the question of why not just include them in the main feature? Johnston talking about Shawn Michaels’ departure theme and its original purpose and William Regal talking about his Real Man’s Man theme are the highlights of these extras.
Also featured on the DVD is the “making of Gold-lust”, giving the type of behind-the-scenes coverage that all the tracks should have had, and “The Music of WWE Studios” which also features Johnston talking about the films and the added stress that these presented - it’s not so much a feature as a chapter of something bigger.
Oddly, the DVD is available for around the £5 mark from most online retailers, which sets it as an ideal stocking filler, except it’s being released on 31 August 2015.