Wrestling & MMA Collide

All to often, the worlds of professional wrestling and MMA collide in the most peculiar ways.  A couple of months ago, after a huge wrestling show in Fort Smith, Arkansas, some fellow workers and I were enjoying  some after show brews and wings at Hooters.  It just so happens that we had the WWE Hall of Famer, King Jerry Lawler with us.  Everyone was respectful for the most part.  Some came and asked for an autograph, of which he was happy to oblige.  Everything was going fine until a couple of muscleheaded jerkwads came over and asked if he was really the King.  When they found out that it was really him, one of the idiots responded with “I am not much into wrestling. I like MMA!”.  Now, those of us in the wrestling world get highly annoyed at stuff like this.  Mostly because we don’t care.  Yes, MMA is an awesome sport. We get it.  But to have someone come up to us in a restaurant and tell us they like MMA over Wrestling because what we do is “fake” just pisses me off.  And it’s not just me, either!  As those guys walked away, a couple of friends said they should show them how truly fake wrestling is.

Then, while promoting my own company down here in Dallas and trying to gain sponsors, I had the manager of a local restaurant tell me “Man, I really like MMA.”  Which is all good and fine, but I didn’t come to talk to him about MMA.  I came to talk to him about sponsoring and advertising with my wrestling organization.  Again, I was annoyed at the overall rudeness of his assumption that I would even care about his love of MMA.  I was strictly laying out the merits of supporting an organization that puts on quality wrestling shows in support of local charitable organizations.

So then I was actually watching the Brock Lesner v. Cain Velasquez fight last weekend.  I will be the first to say that I was rooting for Brock.  Not because I like him or think he is awesome or anything.  But because the “Fake Wrestler” was the legit champion in a “Real Fighter’s” sport.  It was a great tool to be able to throw back in the face of the die hard “I LOVE MMA! WRESTLING IS FAKE” jackasses.  So I was watching Cain Velasquez raise up his entire race to become the first ever Mexican Heavyweight Champion in any sport, and Lesner went down.  He went down and he went down hard!  And I enjoyed it.  But alas, it was over in the first round.  So all the pomp and circumstance, all the pagentry leading up to this epic showdown, was over in a matter of minutes.  I sat and I watched the replay like 100 times and the only thing I could think of was “How in the hell can UFC charge $50 for a PPV like this?”

Think about it.  WWE, while admittingly is a show, puts on a solid 3 hour pay per view with something for every viewer.  Action, drama, and a little soap opera tossed in there.  But for the most part, there is a match going 90% of the time.  UFC charges the same amount for pay per views, and yet, 20% of the total 3 hours is fighting.  The rest is build up, and drama, and a lot of interviews and talking.  I get the love of the violence in the ring, I really do, but what I don’t get is paying so much for so little.  It’s simple economics really.  With Professional Wrestling, you get more for your money. Plain and simple.

Anyway, back to my original thought.  Professional Wrestling and MMA cross paths in the oddest ways.  So after the fight, I heard there was an altercation between Brock Lesner and the Undertaker.  For those of you who DON’T know (And there probably isn’t anyone out there who doesn’t) The Undertaker is a legend in the wrestling business.


So I started trying to find out more about this altercation.  Some little MMA website caught the Undertaker at ringside and were asking him about the fight, etc.  He said he was shocked, but him and Brock have a bit of personal business behind them.  Brock said some very disparaging remarks about the WWE and the Undertaker when he left professional wrestling.  In my opinion, that wasn’t the greatest idea.  You never want to burn bridges in this business.  Even if you say you don’t want to work for a particular company or promoter, NEVER SAY NEVER!  In my humble opinion, I think that Brock, even as champion, was talked out of the professional wrestling ring by his wife.  Those of you who don’t know, his wife is Rena Mero, aka SABLE.  Former WWE Diva and the first ever WWE Diva to post in Playboy.  She had a vendetta against Vince McMahon and she couldn’t take her husband working for him.  Plain and simple.

If you don’t think Brock will ever step into a wrestling ring again, you might want to think that over.  A return to WWE would be an epic financial windfall for Brock Lesner.  He would have to squash his heat with the Undertaker, but I honestly think that would be done in the ring.  We in the wrestling business have a way of deciding things in the ring.

So, the moral of the story is, those of us in the professional wrestling business get what MMA fans like about MMA.  But don’t ever think what we do is fake or inferior to what you like.  Our careers last longer. We get paid better.  And when we are 50 years old, we will be able to remember what we had for breakfast at lunch time. Hopefully.


Wil Riggs

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