So after reading this first introduction about semiotics, and while watching WWE’s Monday Night Raw, it got me thinking about how the theme music they use is loaded with semiotic cues for us to gain insights about the lifeworlds of the wrestler we’re about to watch. I thought it was kinda cool, so I thought I would try some explainin’. This is an older video (from 2007), but the first 2:30 is what I’ll be talking about and worth looking at from a semiotic-ian standpoint.

The Music

I found a lot of different types of cues in here. First, the form of the music was very interesting. It’s a mashup of hard rock and rap-ish lyrics. This isn’t something seen too often, and is the type of music that helps to re-define what music and genre are, and this enhances the wrestlers, as they are not only the leaders in what they do, but their personas as being trailblazers are also enhanced. Also, some of the lyrics they use also enhance this (e.g. “bow to the masters”, “break it down”, “I’m tired of doin what you’re tellin me to do”, etc.) not only enhances the “degenerate” feel of the music and the wrestlers, but also helps to bring the audience into the spirit of the wrestlers, as these statements are aimed at getting at the innate sense of freedom and anti-authority we all love and hate at the same time.

The Visuals

The visuals used within the video also not only help to draw the audience into the essence of what these wrestlers are about, but these also help to create a conversation between them and the other wrestlers of the WWE. The many different visuals: the cops running (shot to make it seem like the cops are running after them), the ladies posing (appearing to be dancing for the wrestlers), the live video filters (suggesting they have the power to alter the actual live video stream of the events that follow), the barcodes (suggesting that these wrestlers and what they stand for is powerful enough to rearrange our economic system of pricing barcodes, and that you can’t barcode them), soundwave/ekg (which seems to suggest that when they come by, your heart rate will increase to that of green soundwaves), the buildings falling (suggesting that they’re so tough that when they come near by buildings fall due to their epicness), the fonts (very gritty, engaging, and “tough” fonts), which are only enhanced by the neon green and black colors (which I think mean life and toughness) – all of these suggest that these guys are tough dudes worthy of your respect and trepidation. These are also not paired up in a visual context, they are also brought together with the actual lyrics and music of the song (mentioned above), to come together and fuse into defiance and strength. Or at least this is how the song and video seems to address me, a member of the WWE audience.

The Context

I would be remiss in taking a look of the cues of this experience without taking a look at how the video fuses with the experience of being at a WWE event, or at least watching it on TV. This video has a long (what you have seen) and short version (starts at “break it down”), used in certain situations. The longer version is used when these wrestlers come to the squared circle to start the night (or even finish the night in the main event), and the shorter version is used when time is short or when they come running down to the ring to give support or beat up their enemies. What’s even more interesting is that the song also cues you when to cheer, as will the feeling of being a part of the audience. In the very beginning of the video, there is a very small snippet of what the song is going to be – and that’s when you’re supposed to get up on your feet and start cheering or booing, depending on if you like them or not. At that point, as well, is when you’re supposed to pick up your green glow sticks and cross them into an X. Then you can wait for the wrestlers to appear and start screaming yourself silly. During this time, you can also hold up any signs you have made, or just start applauding and cheering. As the wrestlers make their way to the ring, there is a light show, and then some fireworks when the wrestlers make it to the ring. During this time, the video feed to those at home is interrupted with shots of their logos and music video, which reinforces some of the ideas mentioned above. When the wrestlers get to the ring, they do their signature “crotch chops”, in the form of an X (which are then augmented by fireworks). Overall, these elements fuse together to not only speak to me as a member of the audience to participate in the experience, but it also prompts me to break from what I am doing to watch the match, which is great if I don’t have any work to do.

For me, these type of things constitute the aspects that I like about watching WWE. While there weren’t many of the new terms used here explicitly, I focused on the ones I thought might be most salient to this video. I probably didn’t do this justice, but I thought it was interesting enough to write about. So have fun watching what I watch on Monday nights.