Since its release as the title track from Joan Jett‘s 1980 solo debut, “Bad Reputation” has been one of the rock veteran’s signature hits — and for years, professional fighter Ronda Rousey has used the song as her walk-out music before delivering hits of her own.
Now that Rousey is making the jump from UFC fighter to WWE star — a transition she’s poised to make official with her in-ring debut at Wrestlemania in April — she’ll be walking out to “Bad Reputation” in front of an even broader audience, all while continuing a long association with Jett that, although it started out through necessity, has become a source of pride for both women.
“Lots of professional fighters want their walkout song to sound like the Rocky theme — you know, regal and inspiring,” Rousey told the Wall Street Journal regarding her walkout song aesthetic. “I’m more on the theatrical side, so I needed something gritty, with a lot of attitude.”
The song that originally fit the bill during Rousey’s earlier UFC appearances was “Sex and Violence” by the Exploited, but when she found herself forced to find a replacement in order to fit with broadcast standards, her godson recommended “Bad Reputation” — a choice that obviously stuck.
“The song was perfect,” she explained. “If you’re constantly stressing over trying to get everyone to like you, you’re giving them the power to control your well being. For me it’s better to embrace the role of the heel and chase after being disliked. It’s an element of control and leaves room for error.”
As for Jett, Rousey’s choice is nothing short of flattering. “I’m really amazed when people utilize our music to represent them and something they do,” she said in a 2014 interview. “I think it’s so great she walks out to it.”
“Bad Reputation” obviously hasn’t lost any of its appeal as a touchstone for Jett fans, either — as evidenced by its use as the title of the new documentary about her life and career that debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Since acquired by Magnolia Pictures, it’s due for a theatrical release later this year.