Ash Costello, Poppy and Nita Strauss among upcoming WWE performances
Anticipation continues to build with Wrestlemania 37’s two-night event just days away, but the WWE isn’t done with exciting lineup additions. New Years Day vocalist Ash Costello is finally hitting the stage to perform “Brutality” live for Rhea Ripley as she enters the ring to face Asuka for the RAW Women’s Championship on April 11.
Costello joins a stacked lineup that also features Bebe Rexha singing “America The Beautiful” at Wrestlemania on April 10. Additionally, Nita Strauss and Poppy will also play NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver in the days ahead of the main event this weekend.
Prior to Wrestlemania, the two-night event NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver will air on April 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. ET both nights. For the first evening, legendary guitarist Strauss will hit the stage to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Previously, Strauss joined Shinsuke Nakamura to play entrance theme “The Rising Sun” at Wrestlemania 34 in 2018. Later that year, she also joined Halestorm vocalist Lzzy Hale to kick off the first all-women pay-per-view event WWE Evolution.
Now, Alice Cooper—who Strauss performs with on tour—announced the news of her next appearance.
“I know what it takes to create a spectacle with WWE,” Cooper tweeted Monday night with some photos of his own past appearance. “I’m excited to have our very own @hurricanenita open #NXTTakeOver Stand & Deliver night one with our national anthem. Play it proud, play it #NXTLOUD!”
Strauss followed up the reveal, confirming, “IT’S TRUE!!! I am incredibly excited to get on stage to kick off Wrestlemania week this Wednesday with the national anthem at #NXTTakeover Stand & Deliver. Time to get #NXTLOUD!!!!”
As for Poppy, the genre-defying singer will be performing on the second night of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver on April 8.
Like Strauss, this isn’t the first time the vocalist has appeared at a WWE event. In October 2019, Poppy made her debut on NXT where she performed the title track off her latest full-length I Disagree and escorted Io Shirai to the ring with FEVER 333 collab “Scary Mask.” In 2020, the vocalist also performed “Fill The Crown” and “Anything Like Me” at NXT TakeOver: Portland in February and played Io Shira to the ring again with “Scary Mask” for NXT: Halloween Havoc in October.
Now on April 6, Poppy began teasing her next appearance by tweeting at Triple H about performing Thursday. “Hey @TripleH, should I come play a few songs @WWENXT #NXTTakeOver Thursday?” she writes.
Triple H asked the Grammy-nominated singer to play an unreleased song in his reply, writing, “Hell yes!!! I want you to ‘stand and deliver’ like only you can...and hit us with something we’ve never heard before. I want the WORLD to hear us!!!!”
Poppy finally confirmed with, “Sounds fun. Your wish has been granted, Mr. H.”
On Monday, WWE also confirmed Costello will be appearing at Wrestlemania 37. The News Years Day vocalist will perform Rhea Ripley’s entrance theme “Brutality,” which debuted in 2019. Costello exclusively shared with Alternative Press what it means to her to be able to perform alongside Ripley.
“I’m so honored to be a part of something as massive as Wrestlemania, especially because I’ve been a fan of WWE for a long time,” Costello says. “I view wrestling events the same as I view rock ‘n’ roll festivals, and I view wrestlers as rock stars. The two worlds are not very different. It feels so empowering to sing the entrance song for such a genuine and strong woman wrestler like Rhea Ripley. She represents wrestling and rock ‘n’ roll to me, so I feel right at home. I first met Rhea several years ago, and I’ve followed her journey to this moment, and I’m just humbled and thrilled to be a part of it with her!”
In mid-2019, Costello told Alternative Press in an APTV segment that she was previously set to perform at an NXT event that year. However, Ripley was unable to wrestle due to an injury, so they interviewed each other instead.
In the same 2019 APTV interview with Alternative Press, Costello discussed the similarities she sees in Ripley as well as how she could see her making it to Wrestlemania.
“She’s a badass, and I’m not saying that because I sing her theme song. She is incredible, and I think she’s going to go all the way. I think in a year or two, you’re going to see her main stage on Wrestlemania. She’s like a rockstar to me. What’s really cool about her is her favorite bands are Motionless In White, Suicide Silence, New Years Day, Falling In Reverse. I was like, “Oh my god, we’re the same. You’re just me in WWE, and I’m you in this world,” and she is really amazing. And her message is really cool. I love strong women. I love female empowerment. I love females supporting each other, so I was very honored.”
Now, with Costello’s inkling about Ripley coming true, she is finally making her WWE performance debut at Wrestlemania 37. The singer took to Instagram to reflect on the big announcement.
“By overwhelming demand, I am so excited to announce that I will be performing #Brutality live for the most badass [Rhea Ripley] at Wrestlemania 37!,” Costello writes on Instagram. “If you’re ready and will be watching, leave some ????⛓❤️? below!!!! I am honored to sing in support of such a genuine and strong woman! And as a wrestling fan, excited to a part of something I love. Your support made this dream a reality. Now, this is all of our moment together.”
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WWE’s Bayley joking replied to the news on Twitter, writing, “Me and @yelyahwilliams are very unhappy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Bayley, who is a huge fan of Paramore, previously opened up about trying to get Hayley Williams to perform at Wrestlemania 36 in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic shifted plans. The wrestler later got Williams’ seal of approval to use Petals For Armor track “Simmer” for her entrance at Wrestlemania 37. However, Bayley is not currently booked to appear at the event this weekend.
Wrestlemania 37 will be held April 10 and 11 in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium with a limited capacity of 25,000 fans. In addition to Ripley and Asuka’s match, Bobby Lashley, Sasha Banks, Bad Bunny, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Edge and The Fiend will appear across the two nights. Each evening kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and is available to watch on Peacock in the U.S. and the WWE Network elsewhere.
More on Ash Costello and Rhea Ripley
Back in 2019, in addition to praising Ripley and predicting this big Wrestlemania appearance, Costello also opened up to Alternative Press about how she ended up recording “Brutality” for the WWE.
In the APTV segment Regram, New Years Day revisited some moments from their Instagram account. While discussing a photo of Costello and Ripley from the band’s 2019 spring tour, the vocalist revealed how “Brutality” came together from a chance encounter during the recording sessions for their latest album Unbreakable where she ended up crossing paths with songwriters Gregg Wattenberg, John Alicastro and Michael Lauri.
“When we were writing songs for the record Unbreakable, I was being flown all over the country to write with different songwriters. I was flown to New York to write with this songwriter who is essentially just a pop guy. He had this beautiful studio, it’s right in Times Square. He was writing with me for a little bit, and he goes, ‘I don’t really get you.’ He was like, ‘I love your voice, but I don’t get the kind of music you need, and I don’t think I can help you.’ And he goes, ‘But there’s two metal dudes down the hallway, should we knock on their door?’ And I was like, ‘Well yeah, sure.’
“So we ended up writing a song that day called “Done With You” that’s on that album, and it turns out those two dudes write the theme songs for WWE. And they go, ‘We love your voice, if a theme song ever comes up, we would really like you to do it.’ And a year later, they go, ‘We have a theme song for you if you can record it.’ I was like, ‘Hell yeah, definitely. Lay it on me.’ And it was hers.”
You can see Costello talk more about the WWE below.