EXCLUSIVE: Should Pro Wrestling Change for MMA Fans?

Should Pro Wrestling Change for MMA Fans and A Fan Verbally Assaults Mark Madden…

By Kevin Kelly

First, it was great seeing my man Nick Paglino at Final Battle! Exciting things on the horizon here at Wrestlezone.com!!!

I had the pleasure of calling two great wrestling events in successive weeks. First, in Albuquerque, NM, I announced for Lucha Libre USA’s Masked Warriors, coming up soon on MTV2 (more on that in a couple of weeks) and then I called Ring of Honor’s Final Battle 2010, in New York City on December 18th. While the in-ring styles of both companies are as different as the geography between New Mexico and New York, there were a few similarities.

First, the crowds… both were sold out events and the enthusiasm from the audiences helped make the events special. Both companies also know their audiences and delivered. Tons of kids in Lucha masks filled the seats of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Albuquerque with their moms and dads, rocking and rolling with the rudos and technicos all night long. ROH’s fan base is older but equally as passionate.

But is the meat and potatoes of a pro wrestling match in 2010 too formulaic for sports fans? Mainly I’m talking about MMA fans that used to like wrestling. Would sudden knockouts or quick tapouts bring old wrestling fans back to the arenas that now plunk down cold, hard cash on Octagon-based events?


I think the rise of “Crash TV” in the late 90’s was in response to some that grew tired of the traditional wrestling match. Others would say it was silly gimmicks and cartoony presentation. (Like who would ever forget “Captain” Mike Rotunda, dressed in a pea coat and corn cob pipe or the cloven-hoofed Mantaur) But great wrestling matches took place in that era too… classic championship battles with the Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H, Kurt Angle and many others.

Truth is pro wrestling and MMA need a good blend of action and drama to hook fans. It always has been about the blend. Debates between fans about who was the best wrestler, real champion, toughest fighter have raged since the beginning of time. Television helps sell larger-than-life characters to the masses but it has to be about the match, the title, the personal issue.

ROH’s Final Battle had a little bit of everything… a great World Championship match, a bloody, year-long personal issue, four fantastic women in tag action, scientific wrestling, a fast, physical tag team matchup and a six man tag featuring the 50-something year old father of the former tag team champs.

If pro wrestling creates issues between dynamic athletes that fans care about, then the fans will pay to see it. 

Pro wrestling is comfort food. Don’t ever forget that…

I got a tweet @rohkkelly from a nice young man named Sean. He’s angry at Mark Madden. Here’s what Sean sent me then I’ll comment…


“Mark Madden:  Riding the Coattails of Glory Days Never Live
by Sean 

It’s been years now since WCW closed its door after being bought out by the WWE and Vince McMahon.  There are a lot of things that a lot of people would love to forget about WCW’s dying days and one of them was poor choices in announcers in one Mark Madden. This was a guy who may share the same name as a certain other Madden in football; he doesn’t match the same intelligence as the other Madden. 

Mark Madden may have been an announcer for WCW at one point, but let’s not confuse for one second that he was any good at his job.  He went ballistic whenever Booker T did a spin-a-roonie, whoop dee do!  There’s a reason why neither WWE, TNA nor ROH have brought this guy in and it’s simply because he’s no damn good. Then there’s his radio show which one can only wonder what he ever did to earn that. 

So what is his strategy with what he says in both writing and audio? He tries to be the wrestling equivalent of Howard Stern and Don Imus, complete with him thinking of women in wrestling as “broads”.  He knows that nobody likes what he has to say and doesn’t care and even when he reaches a point or two and somebody gives him props for it, he tells them to go screw themselves.  He takes his level of negativity and cruelty to almost the borderline of bigotry.  It’s almost amazing that he hasn’t even hit that yet and dropped a couple of racial bombs at some point.  

The biggest question here is what did Madden ever do to be considered successful? He did commentary and badly I might add, for a dying wrestling product.  He knows that neither of the other three companies would ever hire him and not just because he’s not that good, but he’s burned and spit on so many bridges that any of the three would only wonder if there’s one good reason why he should be allowed near an announce table again.  

Mark Madden wasn’t even an announcer for a long time.  It was barely a year while you have others that have been doing play-by-play for wrestling for a long time and yet this guy thinks he can just crap and spit on everything and everyone in wrestling simply because he thinks he was the prestigious veteran of the announce table.  Memo to Mark Madden, you’re not Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Joey Styles, or Gordon Solie.  Frankly, he’d have to move up his game five levels in order to actually suck  The fact it that the reason that Mark Madden is seen as nothing more than an arrogant, bitter, fat tub of lard is the fact that in his short run in WCW and in whatever career he had in pro wrestling, he didn’t do enough to even be called a has-been.  If anything, Mark Madden is simply a never-was and at his rate, a never-will-be.”

Sean, I will say this… Mark Madden is an antagonist and he is antagonizing you. His job is to motivate you to write him, call him, yell at him, whatever. Push your buttons so you push the buttons on your phone and not push the buttons on your radio.

Sean, you are not alone in your opinions on Mark Madden. He is an incredible villain… a terrorist with an open mic. He urinates on “net neutrality”. I have never met him and am neither a friend nor foe. I just know that Madden knows his job and executes it.

I am smart enough to glom some of Madden’s heat and insert into my weekly opine. Merry Christmas to me!

And Merry Christmas to all of you. Seriously, this has been an interesting year but the passion and commitment shown by you fans is awe-inspiring. Thank you!