The MMA world provided the perfect example of the need for competition this Saturday night. As most of you know, much like the WWE is to wrestling, UFC is to MMA. Many upstart regional promotions have tried their hand at taking on the giant to various degrees of success. At end of the day though, the UFC has dwarfed the competition to this point. Enter Affliction. Originally a clothing line that catered to the fight community, Affliction recently decided to throw their hat into promoting fight cards and they spared no expense to make their mark. Affliction’s pay per view card featured some real fire power. They brought on legit MMA announcers, spared no expense on presentation, hell, even Megadeth played a live concert. There were 4 former UFC champions on the card. The card was filled with 14 former UFC competitors including MMA household names from Vitor Belfort to Andrei Arlovski to Tim Sylvia. They also were able to provide something that the UFC could not – a card featuring the world’s best Heavyweights from top to bottom (a division that has been notoriously weak for the UFC over the past few years). Amongst those HWs was Fedor Emeliananko – the undisputed world’s #1 at Heavyweight. Affliction didn’t mess around – they put together the best possible product available to them and threw it out there to try to take on the MMA moguls, the UFC. And overall, it was a pretty solid effort that offered some very encouraging results.
However, Affliction’s own performance is truly not the best thing that the show yielded. The most important result was that the UFC stood up and took notice. And instead of taking it lying down, it inspired a very healthy dose of competition. The UFC decided to counter program with a 3 hour special on free TV, featuring some pretty nifty stories and fights of their own. UFC’s card highlighted the return of Jesse Taylor (a finalist thrown off the last season of The Ultimate Fighter), undefeated HW phenom Cain Velazquez, lots of new blood, and most importantly, one of if not the best pound for pound fighter in the entire world, middleweight champion Anderson Silva, making his debut at light heavyweight. In turn, avid MMA fans were treated to a night of 17 televised fights that included 10 knockouts and 6 submissions between the two cards overall. It was a WOW of a night for the MMA world. Affliction and UFC battled it out and everyone, especially the fans, came away winners.
The wrestling world would greatly benefit from a return to this level of competition. As we all know, wrestling was never any hotter than during the famed Monday Night Wars. I feel that the WWE is quite comfortable being the only show in town…too comfortable. As a result, they are resting on their laurels and not putting forth the best product possible. During the Monday Night Wars, WCW was stealing away WWE’s biggest performers such as Hall, Nash, Hogan, Savage, and Hart. In turn, the WWE had no choice but to kick, claw, scream, and fight to elevate and make their own new stars…enter Triple H, DX, Stone Cold, and The Rock. Currently, there is no incentive for the WWE to dig deep like that when they can keep the status quo without consequences. Customarily, the WWE will do anything in their power to try to stifle the competition, when in actuality they should realize that they need stronger competition to thrive.
Some quickie thoughts on the Bash. Putting the titles onto Ryder & Hawkins = two big thumbs down. Putting the title on Shelton = two big thumbs up. The parking lot brawl offered something fresh and some innovative aspects, along with a surprise result. Double DQs on PPV are beyond lame. The continued Jericho push is a nice surprise and he’s holding up his end of the bargain big time. No real surprise in the main event. Now lets see where they go with all of this. Almost a month after the proceedings, nearly half of the talents who changed hands during the supplemental draft have yet to appear on their new programs – here’s hoping that they keep up the surprises and involve them into something new asap.
With the recent addition of Mark Madden to the site, it got me thinking. With such a who’s who of past wrestling announce talents on Wrestlezone (with Mark joining Kevin & Scott) – who may be next? Gary Michael Capetta? Sean Mooney? Pamela Paulshock? David Penzer? Todd Romero? Too Pettengill? Tony Schiavone? In fact, just to help me fit in a little bit better, I’m undergoing a gimmick change myself.
Until next week, my name is Hugo Saminovich and this has been your wrestling reality.