WWE News WWE/MMA News: Triple H compares UFC to WWE (and Punk responds), addresses Lesnar's WWE departure
Sep 15, 2011 - 11:41:15 AM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
WWE wrestler/executive Triple H, who has a reputation for limited knowledge of MMA, said in a recent interview that he believes UFC needs to adapt its style to become more entertaining, like WWE.
"I don't see us needing to evolve to what UFC does because quite frankly sometimes the fights are long and boring, guys lying around and sometimes the fights are fast and over in five seconds. I've always thought one of the things about us, if you look at us solely from a sports standpoint, is that we always give you a good show. We're never going to give you a crap game," Triple H told AOL Moviefone in an interview promoting last week's WWE Studios release of "Inside Out."
"I think if anybody needs to evolve, it's them. Give more of an entertainment standpoint. Give more form; they just have fighters who walk in in t-shirts and shorts and just stand there and then they fight and then they win and then they go 'thanks, I'd like to thank my sponsors' and then they leave. The whole world was up in arms when Brock (Lesnar) was flipping people off and was cussing at the beer company because they didn't give him any money and everyone thought, 'Oh my god, he's disrespectful,' - the whole world was talking about it. They couldn't wait to see him get beat up. And then he did well, and he beat some guys and then people jump on his bandwagon going 'Brock's the greatest.' I'm good friends with Floyd Mayweather and Floyd would be the first to tell ya, 'I make the most money in boxing and I have the biggest buyers because I have the biggest mouth.' He'd be the first guy to tell you that. That's what it's about. Sports is entertainment."
C.M. Punk, who is in the middle of a worked-shoot feud with Triple H on TV, responded to Hunter's comments on Twitter Thursday: "RIDICULOUS!!!!! Laugh out loud ignorance."
Following up on Brock Lesnar, who left WWE in 2004 after becoming frustrated with the lifestyle, constant travel, and backstage politics, Triple H commented that WWE wasn't the right fit for WWE.
"Brock just wants to be on his farm and he doesn't like being famous. He doesn't want to be bothered. Before he left, he was talking about buying a prop plane, and hiring a guy to fly him so he wouldn't have to go to airports ever," Hunter said. "That's the one thing about what we do for a living: you go to the ring twenty minutes every night, it's the highlight of your day. But, you're on the road a couple 100 days of the year, that 20 minutes a night, that is the juice. The rest of the time is the pain-in-the-butt stuff that you have to do to get you to the 20 minutes a night... And Brock just couldn't deal with the other 23 hours and 40 minutes of the day outside of his 20 minutes in the ring. He loved that 20 minutes in the ring. The rest of it? Not so much."
Caldwell's Analysis: About Hunter's MMA comments, the issue is WWE has, in general, lost its way promoting matches (or fights) that people want to pay money to see. UFC, in general, promotes fights people want to pay money to see, which builds upon itself to make the overall product hot, along with other variables. The promotional aspect of wrestling is not different from MMA - it's promoting match-ups and manipulating circumstances to set up the most-engaging encounters between strong personalities. Sports is indeed entertainment and WWE losing its way on how to simulate sports in a worked environment has hurt business beyond measure. Yet, WWE's top management continues to have a mentality they cannot learn from UFC when it's evident how to protect fighters (wrestlers) and match-ups that make people want to spend money on the product.
On a side note, Hunter saying MMA fighters aren't capable of the verbal aspect of showmanship seems to indicate he's not familiar with a Chael Sonnen promo and wasn't paying attention during Tough Enough, as Sonnen and Jeremiah Riggs could talk circles around the majority of WWE wrestlers. And, the "sports is entertainment" aspect can come from a great fight or a great comeback or a great story that requires no talking. The bottom line is the genre works when wrestlers/fighters have their strengths accentuated and match-ups are protected to engage the audience in what makes competition great, whether it's real (MMA) or simulated (wrestling).
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