This is so awesome!
I always loved Bret Hart because while understand that fans knew pro wrestling was "fake," he also understood that he had a responsibility to make it look as real as possible so we, as fans, didn't have really stretch our imagination. Bret Hart was, by far, my favorite wrestler and I am one of those fans that Hart talks about "graduating" from WWE to UFC.
It also made me wonder about some of those old pro wrestlers and what could have been for them had mixed martial arts been around back in the day. The first guy I thought of was Hart's father, Stu Hart, who apparently was the badass of badasses in Canada way back in the day. But guys like Bob Backlund, Stan Lane, Taz, Rick Steiner, Kurt Angle, Haku, and all of these other legends you hear wild stories about all the time.
I think MMA fans have a harder time with pro wrestling fans than vice versa. Since at least 2006, there have been a lot of pro wrestlers who have worked MMA into their workrate. The first real example of this that I can think of was a 2006 match between The Undertaker and Kurt Angle where UT debuted the triangle choke in pro wrestling. Of course, Samoa Joe in TNA started using MMA striking on television (he trains BJJ in California and is tight with the Team Punishment guys). Joe and Kurt Angle tried to have an MMA pro wrestling match a few years ago (to the point where Angle traded in his spandex singlet for a pair of Hayabusa shorts). CM Punk was using Muay Thai early in his career before they told him to tone it down. But if you watched his series with Daniel Bryan this year you would see two guys doing their damndest to get as much MMA into a pro wrestling match as possible. Japanese MMA came directly out of strong-style Japanese pro wrestling.
MMA originals, fans who have been there since the beginning, have a curious hostility to pro wrestling. On the surface I get it, but many of the people that cry "Pride never dies," also hated Brock Lesnar becoming a superstar (even though much of Pride's success derived from Sakuraba, a pro wrestler). I think MMA as at its best with some of the showmanship and shit-talking that comes from pro wrestling, just as the best pro-wrestling matches come with guys who "fight" as realistic as possible.
The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.