Let’s face it. MMA’s current success, particularly the UFC, can be greatly attributable to Pro-wrestling. Yes, that’s right folks. I know many MMA fans accept this type of thinking. They give credit where credit is due. But there is still a number of MMA fans that don’t accept this argument. They would bash pro-wrestling as "gay", "fake", "kid’s show", stuff like that. I wouldn’t argue about them saying that the current product of WWE, the biggest pro-wrestling promotion today, has declined because it has. But to downright curse pro-wrestling and its contribution to the success of MMA is not doing justice to both fields. Fact is, in the 90s, WWF and WCW were selling pay-per-views like hotcakes and they do it 12 times more or less every year, whereas MMA or UFC in particular cannot boast such numbers. Fast forward to 2010 and here we are, the UFC is raking in several hundred thousands of PPV buys with the occasional 1 million buy point and the WWE (WCW is history a long time ago) has been on a decline in PPV buys since the Attitude era (with the exception of Wrestlemania, of course). The UFC has successfully filled the void that Pro-wrestling was once very successful. The UFC have adapted its business model and is almost perfecting it. From pre-fight interviews, sports show guestings, brand sponsors, TV productions, emphasis on storylines, walkout music, fighter t-shirts and even reality shows. Not only that, but fighters seem to be fully aware of the influence of pro-wrestling to the audience. The face/heel conversations? Yeah, definitely from pro-wrestling.
MMA personalities are also comparable with pro-wrestling personalities. From their in-ring skills to their out-of-the-cage/ring personas. Let’s take a look at some comparable personalities from MMA and WWE.
Forrest Griffin - John Cena
Forrest Griffin has been very instrumental in the success of the UFC. Who knows if the UFC would achieve much success had his match with Stephan Bonnar at TUF 1 wasn’t able to capture interest among audiences? John Cena on the other hand is also a major factor in the WWE today. While the WWE’s product may have declined after the Attitude Era, Cena’s presence have been quite helpful to the company and it’s new and profitable target market: women and children. That’s right, John Cena is probably the biggest money-making machine in the WWE since its glory days. Merchandise, shirts, customized title belts, armbands, wristbands and posters? John Cena sells them. Although Forrest was never that big of a product endorser, his name value and overall likeability proved to be a huge asset for the UFC. They are both poster boys for their respective organizations. But the similarities don’t stop there. Forrest and Cena, no matter how much they play as the babyface, they do not seem to get the respect of the older and more "seasoned" fans of their respective products, while women and kids seem to really like their good guy personas.
More after the jump:
Jon Jones - Kofi Kingston
Both are extremely talented, athletic, explosive (I don’t keed) and both have almost guaranteed success written all over them. Both are young guns and are being groomed for the main event scene in a year or a couple. Both are very flashy with their moves in the cage/ring. Although they aren’t really that big with the casual audience, we’ll be expecting bigger things to come their ways in the not so distant future.
Scott Coker - Vince Russo
Bad decisions-making, bad match-making, acquiring "expensive" talents, booking freak shows (acquiring 40-something Batista and booking David Arquette to be World Champ??). ‘Nuf said. Let's just wait of Strikefore will end up the same as WCW.
Fedor Emelianenko - Undertaker
If there is a more adored "god" in MMA, then he is Fedor. If there is a more feared "devil" in pro-wrestling, then he is the Undertaker. They are two men with the highest "mystique" in their fields and both are conceived to be invincible. Although we know that Fedor just lost to Werdum (previously had an "undefeated" record) and Undertaker has lost in matches as well (but the WWE audience sure eats up his Wrestlemania undefeated streak real good), we cannot argue that the two still has that mystique in them that makes them very special entities. Undertaker has been in the ring with the best wrestlers for a long time, much like Fedor was competing in PRIDE when competition was the stiffest. In the present, however, both men have been out of the cage/ring for several times with Undertaker having long vacations and working on a lighter schedule due to lingering injuries while Fedor gets long layoffs not because of injuries but because of the labyrinth-like negotiating powers of his partners, M-1 Global.
Chuck Liddell - Ric Flair
Both were the "men" in their primes. Ric Flair was a 16-time world champion while Chuck had multiple title defenses and spectacular knockouts. However, father time has caught up with them and as of the moment, although they are actively competing, they are not just merely shells of their old selves but they are CRACKED shells of their old selves (more appropriate for Flair than Liddell). They just don’t know when to hang ‘em up. To quote Ric Flair, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man". Sorry Ric and Chuck, Father time has beat you. It's time.
Dana White - Vince McMahon
Both men are seasoned promoters who will do every sly move, every big acquisition, everything in their power to take over every competitor in their field. Not to mention the love-hate relationships between them and their fighters/wrestlers. The similarities are endless.
Have I missed anything? Do you have other MMA figures that have Pro-wrestling counterparts? The floor is yours.