Two years ago, I was the biggest wrestling fan you could possibly find. I adored WWE and followed it religiously; however two months later I was beginning to become quite disinterested with it.
If I’m honest, I’d slowly started to become less and less interested in Wrestling ever since Brock Lesnar left, who in my opinion was the last great character WWE have come up with.
Years prior, when I was at the height of my wrestling craze, I’d come across a sport called MMA something which I knew nothing about. On that day I decided that I would never enjoy it, as it just seemed too extreme.
Wrestling was one thing as you knew it was all planned, but MMA was serious fighting and just involved general shit beating out of one another.
Fast forward to the modern day and I’m now a massive MMA fan with very little interest in the Pro wrestling business any more. How the hell did that happen???
It happened though and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only Wrestling fan who's made the transfer over to MMA.
The idea of MMA as a mainstream sport is a relatively new one. In fact the sport’s biggest promotion today, the UFC, was only founded in 1993, so the threat of an even more extreme sport than pro wrestling is a only a new threat and a threat that the wrestling world hasn’t been able to deal with yet.
By 1993, the then WWF had just set up it's first flagship show and first cable program, Monday Night Raw, so you can understand why the threat of MMA on Pro Wrestling's viewing numbers has only recently come to prominence.
It's true that Pro wrestling's viewing numbers have been declining in the past few years but that could be down to a number of reasons. In relation to the WWE, it could be that it's bad viewing numbers are partly down to the fact that a lot there most recent ideas have been pretty shit.
A midget Leprechaun named Hornswoggle springs to mind. However at the same time, the UFC's viewing numbers have gone dramatically up. Coincidence? Maybe. In fact the UFC's PPV buy rate's for the past three years have smashed the WWE's buy rate with the exception of Wrestlemania.
There is another reason why MMA could be killing the WWE, by stealing its viewers and that man's name is Brock Lesnar. Formally one of the most popular WWE stars, Brock is now arguably the biggest pulling power in MMA history.
In fact, his PPV headlining match against Randy Couture at UFC 91 got a lot more buys than WWE's Wrestlemania that year.
The problem for wrestling fans (as was the problem for me) is that they want to see how their favourite wrestler fairs fighting for real and only in the UFC can one actually do that!
The fact of the matter is, is that pro wrestling fans enjoy the sport, mainly because they enjoy people beating one another up, but now there’s an alternative and a more violent one at that. So it would be understandable for wrestling fans to make the switch over to the MMA.
Pro Wrestling viewing numbers are declining and I think that it’s safe to say that the people who’ve stopped watching it haven’t just given up on wrestling because they think it’s too violent and prefer watching something like Grey’s Anatomy.
Instead, they’ve probably given up on Pro Wrestling because it’s become dull to them and they’re getting an even more extreme fix elsewhere. E.g. MMA!
And when faced with the choice of paying to watch a PPV with GSP vs Hardy headlining in a real fight where anything could happen, or a wrestling PPV in which anything could happen but you know that it’s been staged, I think that fans who are fans of both sports would pick the MMA pay per view each time.
But that doesn’t mean that Wrestling is dead, or ever actually will be. (The UFC still has a long way to go in order to pass the WWE)
As wrestling's showmanship and often entertainment value is like nothing else, but we may see Pro wrestling promotions such as WWE and TNA step their game up if they wish to compete against the MMA world.
by patrick fleming