Wednesday, December 11, 2013

UFC: The New King of Pro Wrestling? by Jon Cain

     Some could say comparing the UFC to the world of Pro Wrestling is like comparing apples to hand grenades. The UFC is real. There is nothing fake about two guys in that octagon beating one another to a bloody pulp - they are even sanctioned by the state athletic commission. There are very few people who would deny the UFC is a legitimate sport.

     On the opposite side of that coin you have the world of Professional Wrestling. Wrestling's not classified as a sport by the majority of people. Looked at as primarily a source of entertainment, not closely monitored by many state agencies, the ring, while hard, is still built to take some shock. The matches in some cases are deeply choreographed, and the finishes are almost always predetermined.

     So how can I justify UFC as the new King of Pro Wrestling? Simply put: it is all in the show. When you're watching a really good wrestling match, you can feel all the emotion from the two combatants. The highs, the lows, the desperation, all off it. The really good ones are the ones who feel like they're going to pop before the match even starts. You see it in their promos, the mind games, the physical preparation, during the weeks leading up to that match. Then it is here, the moment you have been waiting for: the match that begins with all this build up. Have you ever stopped and wondered why you were so anxious.? Why does the one match mean so much or feel so important? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, it is nothing more the clever story telling and amazing promoting. You can strip all the flashy characters down to base level, remove the story elements and it is just two people going to have a fight. When it is put that way, it sounds pointless and kind of boring. However, if you add a reason to the fight, well, then it gets a little more intriguing. Could be for a title, or perhaps to see who is the best. Or the young buck looking to dethrone the alpha.

     These ideas and reason for conflict sound very familiar. Mainly because most of these, in the modern day, could be causes for conflict. During the territory days of Pro Wrestling these story archetypes were widely used because of their believability. However over time they slowly went the way of the 8 track and disco. However these angles, if you will, have been making a comeback. Not in the playbook of an Indy promoter or even TNA or WWE. No, these have been making a comeback in the advertising and promoting offices of the UFC.

     The way a fight is built up and promoted in the UFC today is a mirror image of the way wrestling use to and still tries to promote today. From the interviews inside the training camp, to the way they air, and  the promos the fighters have cut on one another. To the way the posters and television spots are shot. Take the Chuck Liddell/Tito Ortiz feud: The UFC built up of this fight as ex friends, battling it out. Ortiz was the former champion who said they made a pact never to fight. Liddell, the ex-friend with a point to prove, claimed Ortiz was ducking him and no such pact was ever made. This angle has be used over and over again in the world of wrestling. Now some could argue that it isn't an angle because it really happened. Well not everything in wrestling is fake. Look at the real life love triangle between Adam Copeland “Edge,” Amy Dumas “Lita,” and Matthew Moore Hardy “Matt Hardy”. This was such a hot button topic that they had to work it into storyline. Very little of this heat and animosity was built because feelings were real. When a UFC fighter says he hates his opponent you believe him. You don't question the sincerity of the statement. However stop and think: a UFC fighter is his own hype man. He is the only one looking out for his brand. So why not cut some hellacious promo about your opponent? Get the fans talking, good or bad, and drive your want and demand up. Sounds to me like the UFC knows an awful lot about the wrestling practice of drawing heat.

    To me, the similarities are pretty clear. UFC is using old school wrestling tactics and decimating modern day wrestling. I am not saying that one is better or more legitimate then the other. Only saying that, for being such worlds apart, they share an awful lot. Could be why wrestlers tend to gravitate to MMA and MMA fighters tend to gravitate towards wrestling. I mean, truly, it is all about the show. I do find it funny that the world with concrete rules is clearly dominating the world were anything is possible. Makes you wonder what the future may hold for both of them. All we can do is watch with eager eyes and an open heart.

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