As far as pro wrestling goes, Brock Lesnar’s overwhelming success in MMA is a mixed bag.
Lesnar’s ascension, in some small way, legitimizes pro wrestling. The matches and results haven’t gained credibility, but Lesnar’s dominance of UFC reminds people that pro wrestlers are top-notch athletes that can kick some ass when called upon. The phony wrestler is king of the real fighters.
Lesnar’s athletic resume is more impressive than most, but most sports entertainers have some sort of “real” background.
On the negative side…
Did you watch Raw the Monday after UFC 100? Tough watch. How can you appreciate fake fights with tepid heat after seeing real fights with crazy-man psycho heat?
MMA has made pro wrestling and boxing passé, and Lesnar’s WWE connection has made that fact even more evident to wrestling fans.
So, how does pro wrestling close the gap?
TNA was onto something when Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe had a “real” match that was quite well received. Of course, TNA never did it again, reverting instead to a product designed to get high and laugh at. It’s a six-sided version of “Pineapple Express.”
Doing “real” matches probably wouldn’t work anyway because A) there aren’t enough wrestlers that could pull it off and B) in the long run, the “real” matches make the fake matches look that much more fake.
The reality is, the gap can’t be closed by anything short of a sustained burst of studied creativity that takes wrestling storylines beyond gang vs. gang, novelty GMs and coffeepot matches. A tighter style of work wouldn’t hurt, either. Wrestling can’t be as real as MMA, but it can be more real.
Has anyone thought about the eventual return of Lesnar to WWE?
Honestly, I don’t think Lesnar ever will go back to WWE. It will depend more on his post-MMA financial situation than anything. Aesthetically (ha), I don’t think sports entertainment has anything left to offer Lesnar. I think Lesnar is where he was born to be. After, I think he’ll be content to hunt, fish, drink Coors Light and get on top of his wife occasionally.
But if Lesnar ever does go back, he would have to win ALL THE TIME FOR A LONG TIME or people wouldn’t suspend disbelief, not that that seems to be a big concern of Vince McMahon’s at this point.
In fact, if Lesnar did return to WWE, Vince would probably beat him like crazy. McMahon might even beat Lesnar himself. Anything to prove that MMA is a passing fancy and WWE was the real deal all along. Why make money when there are agendas to be indulged?
Meantime, do what I do and watch MMA. Enjoy Lesnar’s unstoppable reign and his post-fight antics. The promo he cut after beating Frank Mir was better than anything done in WWE for years. Pro wrestling heat and real fights: It’s the perfect marriage.
UFC impresario Dana White lectured Lesnar after his post-fight antics, but the only thing that legitimately upset him was Lesnar cracking on Bud Light, a major sponsor. Taunting Mir, the double bird, hitting Mir over the head with the metaphorical horseshoe…it’s all part of being a great heel.
Great heels draw money. Lesnar got over 1.3 million people to order Saturday’s PPV. How mad could White be?
Note to White: While Dan Henderson’s gratuitous knockout-plus-one shot to a prone Michael Bisping looked awesome, it kills Bisping if it lands a few inches higher. Since MMA left no-holds-barred behind and adopted a modicum of rules, the US government is not warring against it to the same degree. But one death is all it would take to get MMA shut down. I don’t know how you prevent a punch like that. But you should.
LETTERS, WE GET LETTERS…
…but they all suck. Try harder. Ask probing questions. Heck, ask questions, period. The only actual question I’ve been asked so far: What was Ray Traylor like? He was a great guy, but what do I say beyond that?
I am the Internet’s premier source of inside wrestling knowledge. I was in the trenches with the grunts during the nWo invasion. I got pummeled by Tank Abbott. I saw Nitro Girl Chae fall out of her top backstage. “What was Ray Traylor like?” THAT’S THE BEST YOU CAN DO?
Send good questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, then watch this space.