Monday, August 11, 2014

Triple H Says UFC is not Competition of the WWE

For the WWE and Triple H to draw the conclusion that UFC is not their competition is somewhere between a flat out lie and ignorance.Triple H tried to make several points to back up this ridiculous claim. The things he stated more explain the differences between the two than it explains why they are not competition. If you would like to see his full comments in context head over to Between the Ropes article on this a few days ago.

At the end of the day, WWE and UFC are competing for that all-important 18-35 male demographic. While WWE looks to other demos beyond that one, like children, they also try to attract women but so does UFC and have a stronger draw to do it. Ronda Rousey is taken more serious by the UFC than any woman is in the WWE. The one place I believe WWE has an advantage is with older demos as they have been less inclined to embrace the UFC over traditional boxing.

I keep hearing who the WWE thinks it’s competition isn’t, the same Triple H was tied to a quote a while back that not only was TNA not competition for WWE that they had zero interest in anyone in that company. Just who is the WWE’s competition by their standards? It has to be someone does it not.  There is a reason people are not giving you their $9.99 a month you would have to figure. There is a reason people with the option of the network are still paying 40 to 50 dollars more to watch some UFC pay-per-views.

The two companies currently are promoting the same type of fight. John Cena against Brock Lesnar this Sunday is very similar to the match-up of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. The build up for that UFC fight that has looked much like pro wrestling with the two fighters getting into a brawl at the presser. Neither of them suffered an injury so the fight is still on. A security member for UFC did end up with damaged ribs. In reality, you believe these guys want to kill each other. That may not be true and this might be, as much theatre as the WWE, but it is perceived as real hatred by most.

Triple H will make the argument that Cena against Lesnar war is more compelling because they can make it as such. We all know this is in the end, is a booked fight that is designed to be entertaining. In the UFC, you never know what you are going to get. You could have a situation like you had in which Ronda Rousey destroyed Canadian Alexis Davis in less than 30 seconds or a five round war like we saw in Toronto with Jones and his originally scheduled opposition Alexander Gustafsson. Some felt Jones lost that fight and he was set to have the much anticipated and hyped re-match with Gustafsson who had to pull out of the fight due to injury.

While John Cena and Brock in all likelihood go for 20-30 minutes in a designed to be compelling match with false finishes and moments that we as an audience are, suppose to question the outcome along the ride we are taken on. The winner of the match is known long before it ever happens by the competitors and the powers than be in the WWE. This is not breaking news or anything wrestling has been out of the closet for many years on it being any kind of a legitimate sporting contest. It is, as they like to say sports entertainment.

Isn’t the UFC in a sense in that same type of business with the lone difference being they do not manipulate their results. While you will not have ridiculous skits and some of the high jinx of the WWE, the goal of the UFC is to be both a sport and compelling entertainment. Even on a larger scale, haven’t all sports kind of sold out and become entertainment to some degree. I mean why is it when they have a big sporting event I have to sit through a pre-game or halftime rock concert that I did not ask to attend. That is they trying to add entertainment to go along side their sport. Just as I had no need for "Flo Rida" on Raw it is the same for whoever the band will be the plays before the opening game of the NFL season or at halftime at the NBA All-Star Game.

While the WWE tries to claim everyone is not their competition the simple fact is they likely are there competition and to state publicly otherwise is just foolish.  Paul Lévesque I do not consider a foolish man at the end of the day. Just look at the way he has over hauled the developmental system for this company as proof of his intelligence. I think he knows that the UFC is indeed a competitor for the WWE. Some would even be as bold as to claim a direct competitor as these two companies are really fighting for the same hearts and minds in terms of an audience.

Here is something to consider in closing which speaks to what a horrible job the WWE has done with their network roll out. More people will purchase a pay-per-view for the UFC headlined by the Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fight. That is my prediction for what it will draw which means over 700,000 pay-per-view buys for the UFC and roughly 40 to 50 dollars more a pop. Floyd Mayweather did sell 2.2 Million on pay-per view, which I believe an even slightly higher price tag. While WWE claims that pay per view is dead, it really is not for the right events. It just might be dead in terms of who is willing to spend a high price for wrestling content on a monthly basis.

WWE can make all the claims they like about whom they are in competition with and who they are not. The reality is they do not decide that as much as the marketplace decides that for them. What are potential WWE fans spending their money on now?  Here would be a survey that would interest me greatly. The high point of wrestling was the Monday Night Wars and the “Attitude Era” for the WWE. I would love to know what all those fans who left the product are spending their money on these days. Would it shock anyone if many of them were now contributing their dollars to the UFC?

For the WWE to say they are not in direct competition with the UFC is about as crazy as McDonald is saying they are not in competition with Burger King because the Big-Mac is different from the Whooper. WWE is in competition with the UFC more than anyone else has a claim to be. TNA or Ring of Honor is not a serious threat to the WWE. It would be quite insane at this point to think they likely would be in the future.

Is Ronda Rousey a bigger star than John Cena, or will she be after this summer? You think someone in WWE is not thinking about that. You think the WWE would not welcome the UFC Woman Bantamweight Champion into the fold with open arms to be a part of an event like Summerslam or Wrestlemania.  They would in a heartbeat, but Dana White is not going to allow it. Does this sound like two businesses’ that are not in direct competition to you?

Dana knows this as well as Paul Lévesque knows this they in many cases are looking to earn the same dollars from the same people’s pockets more and more. Something for both to consider is the amount of people that class themselves, as fans of both is growing larger and larger by the day. Not unlike in the “Attitude Era” when many just simply were fans of both WWE and WCW and wanted to watch whoever gave them the best show.

The UFC lost the early battle when they launched UFC Fight Pass at the same time as the WWE Network. People were saying look at how much better the WWE Network was in comparison. Looking back now it seems the UFC had the right idea with a relatively low risk product which attracted the craziest loyal portion of its fan base and have little risk to the overall product. WWE has put almost its entire company’s future tied to this network and has suffered for doing so.

It is not to say the WWE cannot turn it around, but it has been a much rocky road for them. At the end of the day should they survive it, the UFC can say that looks like a hell of an idea why do not we do that too. Difference being they have not taken the hits the WWE has in being the first to do something so revolutionary but can easily be the second and made a nice profit while doing so. UFC also being a private company never has to answer to shareholders or reveal keep numbers about its successes or failures.

If Triple H honestly believes, he is not in competition with the UFC he is about as ignorant as TNA thinking that they are in competition with him. He knows they are, but tried in my view unsuccessfully, to make what in the end is a bogus argument to make in the first place. What does the WWE gain from it really? Not a heck of a lot if you ask anyone if they really care about this the answer would be no. 

Lesnar vs. Cena and Jon Jones vs. Cormier are about as similar in nature of main attractions as the companies have had. WWE bills Lesnar against Cena as the biggest fight of the summer. Many will say that it is going to be Jones and Cormier with that biggest fight that takes place on September 27th a little after summer is over, so WWE is not technically lying. How these two events do will be interesting to watch.

Game on, even if “The Game “says it isn’t a game at all.