Mike Tyson will reportedly return to WWE RAW almost eleven years to the day of his first RAW appearance. Iron Mike will Guest Host RAW and attempt to give the WWE the punching power it will need in a head to head battle for ratings with the Ultimate Fighting Championship on January 11.
The UFC will be taking their shot at the WWE on January 11 as it will broadcast its first live television special of the year on Spike TV. The UFC Fight Night isn’t very star-heavy, yet will assuredly cut into the WWE audience.While most pro wrestling fans have been raving about the Monday Night War on January 04 between the WWE and TNA Wrestling, it is the UFC that will pose the biggest challenge to the WWE in January. The WWE will answer their challenge with one of the most historical figures of the original Monday Night Wars, Iron Mike Tyson.
More importantly on that famous night, the WWE had big success in the ratings. WWE RAW generated a 4.0 rating as opposed to WCW Nitro’s 4.5. While the WWE did lose the battle that night, the event is credited as helping turn around the war. It was the first rating above a 3.6 in close to six months. It was less than three months later that the WWE finally beat WCW on a Monday night in the ratings. This moment was also critical to elevating Steve Austin and garnering mainstream interest for the WWE. All in all this one of a handful of moments that helped turn the corner and the fortunes of World Wrestling Entertainment and Vince McMahon around.
The move also signifies how seriously the WWE is taking UFC’s threat on January 11. Let’s be honest. Bringing back a former WWE star including The Rock will bring back wrestling fans, but probably wouldn’t chip into the UFC’s audience that night. However, Mike Tyson is someone that a non-WWE fan who watches the UFC may still have some interest in. Sports fans are still generally fascinated about what Iron Mike could do on live television. Hell, Mike Tyson attended UFC 98 and the place went nuts when he was put on camera. I give the WWE a lot of credit. This was a very astute strategic move from the Vince McMahon playbook.
I don’t know if Tyson would impact the WWE in 2010 the same way he did in 1998. After all Tyson was still boxing, just a few years out of jail, and more importantly less than a year removed from the Evander Holyfield fight where Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ear. I highly doubt that Tyson has that same mainstream intrigue in 2010, but he could be the perfect cross-over star that the WWE needs to counter the UFC and Dana White’s Monday night effort. The last time Tyson was on WWE RAW, it resulted in him participating in WrestleMania as a special guest referee. I wouldn’t be surprised if this appearance is the beginning of Tyson’s involvement in WrestleMania 26.
Overall, professional athletes have generally been the best non-pro wrestling WWE Guest Hosts. There have been some misses like Johnny Damon this past week. However, most fans seem to agree that the WWE RAW episode hosted by Shaquille O’Neal was the most exciting WWE RAW of 2009. Tyson is a huge pro wrestling fan and reportedly had a lot of fun the last time he worked with the WWE. I have talked to several ex-WWE stars who worked with him during that time that have raved about how nice of a guy he was and how easy he was to work with back then. Tyson follows Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Ricky Hatton as the third pro boxer to Guest Host WWE RAW since the concept began over the summer.
Then again, Jon Heder and Don Johnson will be Guest Hosts on January 18. Enjoy the fun while it lasts WWE fans.
Update: WWE.com has updated their website and currently lists Mike Tyson as the Guest Host on January 11, 2010. Click here to see it for yourself!
Mike Tyson on WWE Raw 1998
Check out a collection of great Tyson knockouts
Thanks to Prowrestling.net for the tip!
Order Ringside – The Best of Mike Tyson on DVD by clicking here.
Order ESPN Inside Access: Tyson by clicking here.
See the documentary Tyson on DVD by clicking here.
To purchase the boxing video game Fight Night: Round 4, click here.