"RADICAN: A lesson WWE could learn from UFC 62
Aug 31, 2006, 16:05
Watching Raw the other night, I was disturbed by the lack of focus put on the undercard of "Unforigven." Granted, WWE creative is paying more attention to this undercard than any other I can remember from the past year of brand exclusive PPV's, but it isn't enough.
UFC is schooling the WWE when it comes to creating personalities and matching up fighters that MMA fans in the US want to see. The Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz fight from June did more domestic buys than WrestleMania this year by a wide margin.
The December UFC PPV, which is expected to feature Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz is expect by UFC management to do 1.25 million buys, which would blow WWE's highest buyrate out of the water by a fairly big margin.
So, why is UFC having so much success? The formula is simple. UFC is creating stars with personalities and matching them up on PPV, usually with something important on the line.
Prior to most PPV's, UFC has aired "All-Access" specials, which do a fantastic job of highlighting the personalities on the card and giving MMA fans a variety of compelling prior to each of their PPV's this year on Spike.
Chuck Liddell was matched up against an opponent that many would consider to be a secondary name in Renato Sobral at UFC 62, but Sobral's "All-Access" special was so compelling it likely convinced many to buy UFC 62. I won't be shocked if the buyrate for UFC 62 surpasses SummerSlam in terms of domestic buys.
WWE could fix their woes easily by taking a few easy steps towards improving the product presented to it's (much larger than UFC's) television audience. The best example of a feud gone wrong is the Carlito vs. Randy Orton feud on Raw. Carlito was punked out verbally by Orton, who told him he looked stupid and mocked him for not wrestling on SummerSlam, on Raw a couple of weeks ago. Carlito responded by saving Ric Flair from an Orton beating after their match ended, but failed to respond verbally to Orton and ended up looking like a weak babyface.
Fast-forward a week and Carlito was once again made to look bad with Orton without a verbal response to Orton's charges against him that he wasn't worthy of being on SummerSlam when Orton pushed him into Trish Stratus as they made out backstage.
Imagine for a second that Carlito had gathered himself after Orton's attack last week and responded verbally last Monday on Raw. Cameras show Carlito sitting down backstage and challenging Orton to a fight at SummerSlam. Carlito then proceeds to run Orton down by calling him a coward for beating on Flair after his match at SummerSlam and also takes a dig at Orton for losing to an old man at SummerSlam.
Having Carlito cut a promo against Orton is a small change to make, but perhaps it's a change worthy of making in light of another match on TV featuring Jim Duggan and Eugene in tag action that has people changing the channel in droves.
So far Orton has made Carlito look like a fool twice with no response. Carlito was more interested in his WWE Mobile Alert going off on his phone than getting even with Orton. Chuck Liddell and Renato Sobral weren't talking about mobile alerts and girls they kind of or sort of liked going into their match on PPV. Chuck Liddell wasn't mugging for the camera and plugging a "best of" Sobral DVD prior to UFC 62, which is one reason why UFC is making their audience shell out their dollars to watch them fight on PPV, while the majority of WWE's audience is keeping their wallets closed.
1.25 million??!!? I don't see how they can top Ortiz vs. Shamrock in buys let alone by 500,000 buys. I guess time will tell, but if the UFC honestly expects that number then I think they will be highly dissapointed.