Sports

The WWE Has A UFC-Sized Problem

While the WWE is preparing for another John Cena world title run now that the “Winner Take All” stipulation has been tossed out in a challenge by the current champion Seth Rollins, will the big “16” keep fans interested in the product on television?

Frankly, I do not know the answer to that question. The WWE has a serious issue right now as it is being “punked” (no pun intended) by poor booking and no leader to take over the band other than the man who had his nose smashed two weeks ago on Raw. The fact John Cena is still on top of the wrestling scene right now with talent on the roster that is not being properly used speaks volumes about where the WWE is. Also, the fact it does not have the dominant character right now like the UFC has in Ronda Rousey.

I’m sure the McMahon Family would give anything to have wrestling fans talk about its performers the way we are all buzzing about how Rousey is the most dominant athlete in any sport at the present moment. And that kind of momentum isn’t going away anytime soon. Like the McMahon’s, UFC President Dana White might have issues putting enough top-level talent on a fight card, but when you have the one person everyone is talking about both in fighting and entertainment circles, it masks a lot of problems that might exist. The card from last weekend was not the most stellar White has put together.

But this is a blog about the WWE and how it has gotten away from the big bang of a wrestler who is so dominant that everyone talks about them – regardless of whether they are a casual fan or a hardened old-school relic.

This is something not even John Cena can fix. Seth Rollins is good, but he is not good enough. Brock Lesnar is great, but he cannot carry the WWE on his back the way Rousey is carrying White’s baby. And if you want to talk about other roster talent, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Cesaro and others aren’t even close.

Where is the dominant squash match when you need it? I thought that was what Lesnar was supposed to do – to come in and beat the hell out of opponents like Cena, The Undertaker and Rollins and leave them all in his wake.

With Rousey, the match is the story as much the fighter. I liken it to Floyd Mayweather in his prime. How fast can Rousey or Mayweather win a fight? How quickly will there be a submission or a knockout? Let’s plunk down $59.99 to see a 34-second match.

Now that the company uses the WWE Network for pay-per-view shows and exclusive network viewing, this would be a good time to find a wrestler who can dominate much like Rousey is beating the competition today. At $9.99 (yes, I know I sound like a commercial and probably should get paid by the company for this cheap form of advertising), wouldn’t it make more sense to get fans to purchase the product at a lower buy rate for the sure enjoyment of seeing pure mayhem?

I’ll give the WWE credit for changing its guard a bit and creating longer, more intense matches. Old school wrestling meets new school talent. The creation of a dominant Divas division thanks to Charlotte, Paige, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks has as much to do with the Rousey buzz and the fact WWE fans saw the dominant beauty in a WWE ring at WrestleMania. Fans can only hope at some point she makes the jump to the older product and helps it thrive.

When wrestlers like Big Show (The Giant) and Goldberg and Lesnar arrived in the WWE, they were as dominant as Big John Studd, King King Bundy and even a heel Hulk Hogan was at the beginning of his career. And fans ate it up. Somehow, wrestling got away from that, and in the process another product came along that showed it could be more dominant – even if it is only one athlete leading the charge.

The WWE is at an advantage when it comes to personalities because they are scripted and expected to be over-the-top performers. With Rousey, Conor McGregor and others, they are in-the-moment types of stars. The attitude is real, the everyday appeal isn’t rehearsed.

Rousey and McGregor are said to be part of a mega show at UFC 194 at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium set for Dec. 5. The WWE is still working on building its SummerSlam card that is now going to be four hours long. With Rousey’s win this past weekend and given the fact there may not be four hours of solid entertainment to keep fans interested, doesn’t it look like Rousey’s appeal to wrestling fans will again turn the tide even more and take away viewership from the McMahon stable? It’s just a thought, but if I were in Stamford right now, I’d be more than a little concerned.

Brock Lesnar and Undertaker is a great concept with the “big brawl” feel. But unless the Divas are taking ratings away from every other wrestler on the WWE roster and something unheard of happens in the match between Rollins and Cena, the WWE will still be playing the underlying role between the two companies.

That certainly isn’t good for the WWE, mainly because they don’t have the mega-star right now they can hitch their wagon to and build as a dominant force. Certainly not the way White and the UFC has done making Rousey the biggest and best athlete in sports today.

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