Monday, February 24, 2014

UFC Is Beating The WWE At Their Own Game

UFC and WWE both had PPV’s on this past weekend. I don’t think I will be talking a lot of MMA/UFC he in the Condo on the Moon. However there is a lesson to be learned from comparing these two shows. Also the worlds are starting to crossover in many ways. The WWE Network depending on when you’re reading as launched in the USA while the UFC already has Fight Pass up and running. Also CM Punk was at one of the PPV’s and it wasn’t the WWE one. Brock Lesnar was not at either because no one was paying him to be.

Punk is known to be connected with many people in the MMA world just like Brock despite not stepping into octagon. One of those people is Rowdy Ronda Rousey the Women’s Champion of the UFC. Rousey as many might be aware, actually asked Roddy Piper if she could use his nickname back when she was unknown to most of the world despite being the only medalist from the U.S in Judo winning a Bronze Medal. Piper who meet Rousey through one of her mentors and a friend of Piper “Judo” Gene LeBell gave his blessing. 

Rousey since has become the face of Women’s MMA and the star of the UFC and perhaps their brightest. Her connection to wrestling comes from her time on the UFC show the Ultimate Fighter. Rousey on that show entered it as a fan favourite and after the reality show was hated by a great many based on how she was portrayed on the show. Where this leads to wrestling is despite some people hating Ronda she actually bonded with the team she was coaching and especially a few of girls under her guidance on the show.

Shayna Baszler complete with her own wrestling like gimmick the Queen of Spades came to train with Rousey along with one of the other girls from the show. Baszler’s love of wrestling was passed on to Rousey and the rest of the house full of 4 girls. This led to them declaring themselves the Four Horsewomen and becoming the UFC’s top heel faction.  They took a picture that was a complete rip off of the original four horseman group of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Ollie Anderson. The gimmick has stuck and Rousey has become the HEEL Champion of the UFC.

The outcome of her fight against another Olympic Medalist in wrestling (the real kind) Sara McMann would end in controversy.  The fight was right out of the WWE when the Champion Rousey landed a knee dropping McMann causing the Ref Herb Dean to jump in right away declaring Rousey the winner. McMann quickly bounced back to her feet looking fine and upset with the early stoppage. Rousey would take to the mic after her fight and cut a fantastic heel promo that I am confident 75% of the WWE Roster could not manage.

Randy Orton could take lessons on how to be a heel from the UFC Female Champion. The WWE in contrast instead of sticking to a simple story like the one of the Rousey fight instead has a ending in a match that is specifically made to avoid outside interference filled with run in’s and nonsense. In the end the Heel still won but he didn’t look strong at all.

WWE can make a good feud though as they proved on the same show with the Wyatt’s vs. The Shield. It had just as much buzz as any UFC big fight chanting “This is Awesome” before anyone ever touched. The match was a wrestling masterpiece showing the growing divide with in the Shield while continuing the strong build of Roman Reigns. At the same time the Wyatt’s get the win and as has been rumoured and later in the night teased that we are heading to a Bray Wyatt vs. Cena mania match.

Boxers and fighters have always looked to pro wrestling as ways to promote fights. Ali the greatest boxer of all time for many credits Gorgeous George (Not Randy Savage’s Valet in the 90’s) as the motivation for many of his famous rants at opponents. Mike Tyson is in the Boxing and WWE Hall of Fames and he is a huge fan of wrestling dating back to the Bruno Sammartino days.

UFC seems perfectly fine with promoting WWE Stars that often show up at their shows while Punk never was shown on PPV he has been in the past and Stone Cold Austin was there and shown on the PPV. WWE while in the past was willing to work with UFC with their relationship with Ken Shamrock. In modern times they have been less likely to do so other than to put over Brock Lesnar.

WWE should be happy to open its doors to UFC stars and Ronda Rousey perhaps most of all. Rousey could easily be worked in to the show and might make a ton of sense to be at Wrestlemania in some capacity. Not booked in a match but at least in the crowd or even as guest refs in a Divas match would be a draw.

Dana White has become better at being Vince McMahon than Vince McMahon. In a sense the UFC is taking the reality of their sport and bringing in the salesmanship of the WWE. While the WWE is not doing what they do best enough to satisfy the audience to the level they demand.   WWE has the luxury of being able to control their outcomes where the UFC does not. Ronda Rousey while unlikely is one punch away from being knocked out and having the UFC’s biggest draw losing her title. It happened with Brock Lesnar and him losing his Title belt in UFC. In WWE they have a star waiting to happen in Daniel Bryan but have consistently held him back.

As much as people on the far ends of the spectrum hate it, Wrestling and MMA is basically a lot of like minded people that want to see big fights and be entertained. Yes one is a work and the other is real but everything else is the same. Ronda Rousey is the best heel champion in the game today.  She gets it and unlike a John Cena handles a divided fan base in the way she should.