Everyone loves an underdog story, and few dogs are as under as Scottish wrestler Grado. A charismatic and uniquely looking wrestler, Grado started as something of a cult phenomenon who has since captured the hearts of European wrestling fans, been the subject of a Vice documentary, and was poised to break into international exposure. Unfortunately, his American television debut has hit an unfortunate obstacle.
That obstacle is Madonna.
Strange as it may sound, a big part of the Grado phenomenon is his awe-inspiring entrance. For roughly the past three years, Grado's been coming to the ring to Madonna's "Like A Prayer." While the thought of someone making their grand entrance before a fight to the 1989 Madonna hit may seem silly, the way thousands of wrestling fans react has been no joke.
Here's one of Grado's recent entrances:
Your eyes and ears do not deceive you, Grado's managed to make an entire arena of European wrestling fans sing along at the top of their lungs to 80s Madonna. While no-one can ever really predict what catches on with crowds that size, Grado told Buzzfeed this week that he understands why it's such a stand-out element of wrestling shows. "Wrestling entrance music is normally rock music and it can be a wee bit boring, and it's a bit of a pain in the arse listening to the same old shite over and over. To get three or four thousand wrestling fans jumping about, going bush, buzzing to Madonna, is something quite spectacular."
Grado's American debut was set to air tonight on Destination America's Impact Wrestling. While the episode, taped two weeks prior during TNA Wrestling's European Tour's stop in Glasgow, had Grado's signature entrance performed in full, he was told this past Wednesday that despite the promotion's negotiations with the song's publishers, ultimately Madonna said no.
It's unclear why Madonna would want to put the kibosh on a broadcasting of her music to an enthusiastic new demographic which she would receive royalties for, and Grado personally doesn't think the decision came from Madonna herself. He told the BBC "Now I get the feeling there is no way, she was on the blower talking about some daft Scottish wrestler about using her choon on the TV." Thus, Grado did want any frustrated person would do: he took to social media.
Launching the #SayYesMadonna campaign, which Grado said he had reservations about, when he saw the number of retweets he received he knew he was on to something. The #SayYesMadonna campaign has already trended worldwide on Twitter and landed Grado coverage in Time Magazine, The Huffington Post and the overseas The View-equivalent, ITV's Loose Women.
Even Scottish Parliament motioned to support Grado's use of "Like A Prayer." We're not joking.
Grado sees "Like A Prayer" as being crucial for his match against Al Snow, the antagonist trainer from TNA's reality show British Boot Camp. Grado's hoping in the midnight hour, Madonna will give him power clearance. Otherwise, in his words, the entrance will be a "pain in the arse – it's going to look shit."
This isn't the first time "Like a Prayer" has been at the center of public controversy. The track's promotional tie-in with Pepsi upon its late-'80s release was cancelled once the music video, which depicted Madonna as the sole witness to a white supremacist group's murder that had been erroneously pegged on a gentleman of color, was the center of international protests including drumming up the ire of the Vatican itself.
It remains to be seen whether Grado's uncut entrance will be broadcast this evening. But with thousands of tweets calling #SayYesMadonna, it remains to be seen if the little prayers will get Madonna off her knees and taking us to professional wrestling glory.