Arena Anthem Death Match: The Final Four

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The Final Four in our Deadspin Arena Anthem Death Match will, indeed, be a battle of the titans. Every single one-seed advanced — not terribly surprising given how iconic and thumping each of these monsters of rock is in its own right. I threw the kitchen sink at them — contenders old and new; rock, rap, dance, amalgams of them all; all-time greats, one-hit wonders, hair bands, and freaking punksters. — I threw them all against the wall in the hopes that something might unseat any of the Big Four.

Y’all said, “Hard pass. Gimme the goods. We know what we like, thank you and please go away.”

And friends, imma go away now and let these big boys battle it out for the title:

Fuckin’ Queen

The Fuckin’ White Stripes.


Guns N’ Fuckin’ Roses.

Are you not entertained?!

Let’s break it down ...

East / West

#1 Seven Nation Army 56% ✅

#3 Lose Yourself 44%

#1 Welcome to the Jungle 68% ✅

#6 Crazy Train 32%

Eminem realllllly brought his A-game to this tournament, taking out some strong competitors and actually giving the teensy-tiniest little scare to the previously-seemingly unstoppable Nation. This is a valiant effort and should be recognized as such. No other song came anywhere near thisclose to The Stripes. Which leads us to ...


An easy-peasy W for Axl, Slash and the gang. Ozzy just didn’t have enough in the tank. I think he’ll rest easy after his performance in this thing. If he, you know, like, sleeps at all. Like ever. Like I’m not gonna easily be convinced he is not already the walking undead. Anyhooooo, whaddya got?

We got the kick-assiest band of the 80s going up against the song most commonly heard in arenas and stadiums across the land. We got the fire-everyone-up song for the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the fire-everyone-up song for the other 122 teams in American pro sports (don’t you roll your eyes at me, I seen it!). And we got the best bass line in the Death Match vs. the best use of “tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la” in any song, ever.

My vote goes to GNR.

Who. Ya. Got?

I’m picking the upset, dammit.

GNR: 51%, TWS: 49%

South / Midwest

#1 Thunderstruck 77% ✅

#6 Black Betty 23%

#1 We Will Rock You 70%

#2 Kickstart My Heart 30%

Regrets, I’ve had a few. Seeding Black Betty at a No. 6 despite it being a No. 1 in my heart and watching it soar into the Elite 8 is not one of them. It was a banner run for the lick that licks ’em all, but it got buzz sawed by a cold-blooded assassin.


Speaking of my personal favorites, I’ve been going to the whip to get The Crüe across the finish line first, but I knew it was folly. Freddy Mercury and company know they are the champions, my friend. And they really didn’t even need to fight till the end in this one. Over early. And now we get the king daddy of them all, the song that made people say, “Oh, this doth make me very delighted, impassioned and anticipatory all at once, whilst also rather participatory in this contest of athletic skill.” Or something like that … vs. a song that is equal parts demonic, warlike, hysterics, and glass-eating. It’s really all you could want in a battle of rock icons. So ...

 My vote goes to AC/DC.

Who. Ya. Got?

Is there even such a thing as an upset in this one? I suppose you have to give Queen the edge. It’s their crown to lose, after all.


Queen: 59%, AC/DC: 41%

See you back here and on the Tweeties for the championship!