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    Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Bad Reputation

    It's been a while since a WWE Superstar last used an existing song not composed internally as their entrance theme. Living Colour's "Cult of Personality" comes to mind as one of the most recent examples. CM Punk arguably gave that song a new air of relevance to a younger generation when he used it as his entrance theme in WWE from mid-2011 to his departure in 2014.

    Thanks to Ronda Rousey, you can say the same about Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation," which was a punk rock anthem for American women in the early 80's following its release in 1981. It's one of Joan Jett's signature songs—being in the same league as "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." Coincidentally, both songs would go on to be covered by Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne, respectively, in the 2000s.

    "Bad Reputation" was released right as music videos were making their way into the mainstream, following the launch of MTV—back when it actually stood for "Music Television" in the same year. But it didn't get its own music video until 1982, after the commercial success of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." You can view it in all its 80's punk glory below. Take that, Blink 182 and Sum 41.

    Ronda Rousey herself as her own history with this song from before her WWE debut. She'd been using it as her walk-out song as early as 2011, after Showtime told her that her old entrance theme—"Sex and Violence" by Scottish punk band the Exploited—wasn't broadcast-friendly. At the time, the network had been trying to air her fights in Strikeforce, ultimately leading to her big break in the UFC. She realized "Bad Reputation" fit her like a glove and as she says in a 2015 interview with The Wall Street Journal, "The song was perfect. 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."

    Joan Jett herself showed The Baddest Woman on the Planet some love in a 2014 interview on AXS TV, when she said, "I’m really amazed when people utilize our music to represent them and something they do. I think it’s so great she walks out to it."

    We can argue on and on about whether or not the song fits well with Rousey's babyface character—something that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon reportedly insists on maintaining—but what's the point? Whether or not The Rowdy One is a heel in today's WWE, her use of "Bad Reputation" carries with it another subtext.

    Over the last few years, Ronda Rousey has been one of the faces behind this revolution for women in sports, that ultimately inspired the Women's Evolution in WWE. Joan Jett's anthem, while not your stereotypical wrestling entrance theme in terms of bombast, carries with it a brash, devil-may-care attitude that someone like Ronda can truly espouse as she appears on RAW or on WWE PPVs. Yes, deep down inside, Ronda Rousey is a hardcore wrestling fan like you and me, and she truly cares about whether or not she succeeds in this industry.

    But when the lights are on and it's go time in the ring, she's the Baddest Woman on the Planet, and she doesn't give a damn about her bad reputation—or any reputation, for that matter. All she cares about is dominating in this new world and carving a new path of destruction.

    Images from WWE


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: Bad Reputation Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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