Say his name: How Joe Hendry became the biggest viral star in wrestling

Wrestler Joe Hendry has become a viral TikTok sensation thanks to his catchy entrance song proclaiming his greatness.
Wrestler Joe Hendry has become a viral TikTok sensation thanks to his catchy entrance song proclaiming his greatness.

If you’re one of the millions who mindlessly scroll on TikTok, there’s a solid chance you’ve stumbled across a video of a dapper Scottish man with his slick silver hair quickly turns toward you while a Gospel-like song utters this sensational proclamation: “Say his name and he appears. I believe in Joe Hendry.”

In a profession where entrance music can be the launching pad of a stellar career, Joe Hendry has catapulted himself to stardom. It has a simple message informing the world of how prestigious Hendry is and how the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling star is loved everywhere from America, Scotland, Canada and Mexico. But the melodic tune has caught on not only with those who follow wrestling, but with people who have no interest in the business.

Safe to say they do, in fact, believe in Joe Hendry. And yes, they’re waving their hands from side to side.

“I'm just very grateful for the way that wrestling fans have embraced the fun of what I'm doing,” Hendry told USA TODAY Sports. “I've always tried to make stuff that would appeal to non-wrestling fans as well. So it was really cool to hear about people who are not necessarily into wrestling, seeing it and wondering what it's all about. That was always the goal.”

The making of Joe Hendry, viral wrestling star

How Hendry got to this point isn’t your typical wrestling journey. Most stars today had their wrestling starts early in life and it was the only thing they cared about.

For Hendry, his passion was music. It started when he was 15 years old and his dad got an Apple computer. With it, Hendry played around with GarageBand and spend hours making songs. He eventually figured out how to record his own bass and guitar on the software. Not long after that, he was making his own melodies. Mix that in with his songwriting, and Hendry became an artist.

“I spent 10 years focused on pretty much nothing but music,” he said.

Wrestling didn’t come into the picture until Hendry was around 25, and while that may sound late to some, it actually was a blessing for him. Instead of jumping right into it, Hendry observed wrestling as a fan, and one thing stood out to him: entrance music was key.

That's evident still today. Roman Reigns has entrance music that encapsulates his title as "Tribal Chief." At WrestleMania 40, fans went ballistic when the music of John Cena and The Rock hit, along with the bell of The Undertaker played throughout the stadium. Fans sing Cody Rhodes’ theme song and scream “WOAH” at the top of their lungs. Jey Uso gets arenas jumping the moment “Uso” blares through the speakers. What do they all have in common? Massive support.

“If you think about the wrestlers that are most over, they often have the best wrestling theme songs because ultimately professional wrestling – and in my view – all forms of live entertainment, is about audience interaction,” Hendry said. “This person has a really cool entrance song, and that appears to be half the battle of getting over.”

Hendry understood the potential when he was with Insane Championship Wrestling in his home country of Scotland. People could watch matches on-demand, but he realized they could also be found on YouTube, which could reach a worldwide audience. He made sure clips that involved his music were published, and they began to go viral.

People weren’t seeing whether he won or lost matches, and that was fine with Hendry. With his popularity rising, he managed to present himself as a top talent. The lessons he learned were that wrestling is all about moments, create magic, promote yourself and “make yourself undeniable.”

The making of 'I believe in Joe Hendry'

Hendry made several themes that parodied popular songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You” early in his career, but when he was with Ring of Honor in 2019, he made the song “I Believe in Joe Hendry.”

He knew it was a great tune. Whenever it was played during rehearsals, other stars and the backstage crew would jam out to it. When the song was introduced to an audience, it became an instant success.

When he joined wrestling promotion TNA, the popularity of the song continued to grow. The crowd began doing the double clap after the first lyrics. Hendry continued to make tweaks to the entrance video, adding to the epic spread of its popularity. He added him smiling at the beginning, the inspirational poses in the wilderness and the guitar solo performance.

Then in April, the entrance went viral on TikTok. Millions of views on social media, one million views on YouTube and memes everywhere. Knowing his stardom was through the roof, Hendry released the song as a single. He campaigned, and it eventually broke the top 10 for the United Kingdom official singles sales and downloads in May.

All the eyes on Hendry translated to more people watching TNA and elevating him to a top talent. He even did his own concert, similar to his idol The Rock, where he dissed rival TNA group First Class with a parody of “Higher” by Creed. Just like his idol, it was an accomplishment that gave him another boost.

Joe Hendry performs an in-ring concert during an episode of TNA iMPACT!
Joe Hendry performs an in-ring concert during an episode of TNA iMPACT!

The memes are all over wrestling social media now, but Hendry has a secret: he and his team have made most of the memes that have gone viral. He said his brother recently quit his job, and since he needed work, Hendry told his brother “just make memes" for him.

Thanks to the success of his entrance song, Hendry said he can’t leave the house or hotel now without people recognizing him and basking in his glory. He says “it has been a little bit surprising." Turns out, those 10 years of just music are paying off.

“I kind of was worried that was wasted time in a way. But really, it's been absolutely critical to what's going on now,” Hendry said. “It's very cool that both of my passions are coming together. I'm a very lucky individual.”

Joe Hendry in WWE?

While the transfer portal has been all the rage in college sports, the “prohibited portal” has taken the WWE world by storm. The company made a partnership with TNA that allows TNA stars to appear on WWE in a rare deal for the massive wrestling company. The latest example was TNA Knockouts World Champion Jordynne Grace appearing in the 2024 Royal Rumble and challenging Roxanne Perez for the NXT Women’s Championship this past weekend.

Hendry said Grace did an “unbelievable job” in her WWE appearance and she helped elevate the TNA brand. Grace also is just one of many possibilities with the partnership between the two brands.

“Having that unpredictable element of excitement on the shows, and amongst the fan base is what this business is about. This business is about fun,” Hendry said.

But with this possibility, WWE fans are now craving only one thing. They want to see Hendry in WWE.

He hasn’t been shy about the opportunity either, practically teasing fans on social media everyday. He’s mentioned he wrote a song for The New Day, and when Raw commentator Pat McAfee said “say his name and he appears” during a recent broadcast, Hendry responded with a photo of himself.

Also adding to the speculation, WWE hosts Clash at the Castle on Saturday in Hendry’s home country. The hype surrounding a possible Hendry appearance is at an all-time high.

“Professional wrestling is all about giving the fans what they want, and fortunately for me, I think what the fans want is for me to achieve more,” he said.

There is no official word whether Hendry will appear at Clash at the Castle. TNA will be in Chicago for the Against All Odds event on Friday, a show he said he “give(s) you my word” he will there. TNA has a show Saturday in Chicago as well, but Hendry’s appearance for that hasn’t been confirmed. There's also the chance of him showing up during an upcoming episode of NXT.

So will Joe Hendry be in WWE? Say his name and find out.

“This is what I'll say," Hendry said when asked directly about the possibility. "If people do say my name, I tend to appear. And ways to say my name are chanting, ‘We believe.' Saying, 'I believe in Joe Hendry'"

“Wrestling is at its best when absolutely anything can happen.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How Joe Hendry became a viral wrestling star. Could he join WWE?