Sports

Pro Wrestling Smashes The UFC In The Mouth

Dana WhiteWhile most wrestling fans have been buzzing about the Monday Night Wars for weeks, there was actually a second war that took place this week. The UFC presented a UFC Fight Night on Monday which went head-to-head with WWE RAW. There has been a lot of talk over the last several years in regards to MMA and the UFC stealing pro wrestling fans. If Monday night’s ratings are any indication, the only ones that should be charged with theft should be the World Wrestling Entertainment.

The cable ratings are in and wow, this is quite a story here. The WWE smashed the UFC right in the mouth on Monday night. WWE RAW came in at a 3.7 rating for the night, with 5.45 million people tuning in to see pro wrestling. The UFC Fight Night produced a 1.1 rating with 1.7 million people watching. Even more shocking are the numbers of adults 18-49 that watched both shows. The WWE came in with a 2.1, while the UFC came in at 0.9. I guess some adults still prefer that “phony rasslin” to the smash-mouthed “real fighting” in MMA.

This has to be a big success for the WWE, while a very disappointing number to the UFC. Granted, the UFC didn’t have any real marquee matches but the brand itself should have been able to steal some audience in theory. The WWE countered the UFC attack by booking Mike Tyson as the Guest Host. Tyson also wrestled at the end of the show, which is still something of a big deal even in 2010. Unlike the TNA vs. WWE battle last week where viewers tuned in and out, it looks like the WWE was able to sustain its audience throughout the night even when Tyson wasn’t on camera. That means even in the most boring spots on WWE RAW (and there were plenty), nobody was checking out the UFC.

There are a few other stories that come out of these numbers that are also rather interesting. Last week’s TNA Wrestling had 2.02 million viewers in the 9-11 PM time slot. So not only did the WWE beat the UFC, but TNA Wrestling also grabbed more viewers than the UFC did in the same time slot. I think that Spike TV dropped a ball here and should have done a little cross promotion last week on Impact, similar to what the UFC did when they had Hulk Hogan on its show. It is one thing to lose out to the WWE, but a whole other story when TNA Wrestling beats out a UFC event in the same time slot a week earlier.

The WWE number is also real interesting in comparison to last week. The 3.7 is actually up from 3.6 the previous Monday night. The story here is that the WWE drew a better rating with Mike Tyson than they did with Bret Hart. Bret likely has his enemies working against him in the WWE locker room. This is not good news for him and his fans. The number is also an indication that last week’s TNA vs. WWE showdown was a great thing for the pro wrestling business overall. I would presume that the increased number this week is a bit of a carryover of the fans who watched TNA last week. It is obvious at least in the short term that the battle sparked some fan interest and may have even brought back some old fans that haven’t watched wrestling on Monday nights in years.

Ever since the UFC exploded in 2005, many pundits jumped on the bandwagon and predicted the demise of pro wrestling. Personally, I never quite understood the crossover and still don’t understand why some pro wrestling news websites carry MMA news. I think the audiences are entirely different. I think most of the crossover comes from old wrestling fans that stopped following wrestling years ago and found something new to latch onto. As successful as Brock Lesnar has been in the UFC, I don’t think it has as much to do with the pro wrestling crossover as people think. If that was the case, than Bobby Lashley’s fights would be doing huge numbers, and Lesnar’s Dynamite!! USA fight would have done record ratings on Showtime. At the end of the day I think these two audiences have as much in common as football and hockey fans.

Dana White has made big claims about where he expects the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s business to be over the next ten years. White proclaimed last month, “UFC will be the biggest sport in the world by 2020.” He specifically talked about the NFL and how the UFC would blow away the NFL and everything else globally.

If he can’t even beat out two pro wrestling events on a Monday night, the UFC’s chances against the NFL are laughable.

Order the WWE: History of the World Heavyweight Championship DVD set by clicking here

Order the UFC: Ultimate 100 Greatest Fights DVD set by clicking here.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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