World Wrestling Entertainment supercouple Paul “HHH” Levesque and wife Stephanie McMahon shared some of their interesting thoughts about the Ultimate Fighting Championship during the Needham Interconnect Conference last week in New York.
When the audience asked about how the UFC had impacted the WWE’s revenue flow, the pair critiqued Dana White and company for their inability to ‘guarantee’ good PPVs and, according to MMAFighting.com, the lack of interest in rewatching big money one-time match-ups.
The discussion started when someone in the audience asked how the UFC had impacted the WWE’s business. The WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events & Creative said that it was the WWE’s ability to create characters that allowed it to be watched again… something that the UFC can’t really feature.
“They aren’t really a competitor to us and I explain this to our talent in this way in the Performance Center and every time I say it people will say to me, oh, that made it very clear to me. People like UFC. They like boxing. But it’s completely different from what we are. We are like the movie Rocky. We’re a story. We’re a great story that just happens to take place sometimes in the wrestling ring,” Levesque said.
“So if you think about us less as Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match, which you’ll watch one time and on pay-per-view, and then once that fight is over, it’s kind of done, you know. And you’re really not going to go back and watch it a bunch of times unless you’re a connoisseur of boxing science. You’re gonna watch it one time. But Rocky the movie you will watch over and over and over and over again. It’s the story. It’s the characters. Boxing is irrelevant to the movie, really. It’s a triumph story. It’s a love story. It’s all those things and that’s what we do. We create characters that you gravitate towards, thus you connect with, that you passionately engage with, you believe in on a visceral level, whether you hate them or love them,” he continued.
The former WWE champion compared MMA to NFL football in the sense that it only offers a one-time thrill for its audience.
“Who is gonna go back to watch the Super Bowl from ’84? Yeah right, unless you’re a massive technical football fan. Or who’s gonna go back and watch boxing form five years ago. You’re not. Or UFC. It’s the same thing. It’s the same component.”
After spending a decade in the WWE’s creative department, under her father, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon focused on the UFC’s inability to guarantee a solid match as one of its primary detractions.
“In addition to that, with UFC, you can pay money to watch a pay-per-view and it can be a terrible fight, right? The guy you were really rooting for that UFC has been building as a star gets knocked right off and suddenly that person doesn’t really matter anymore. And all that investment is lost. You never had that with WWE,” she said. “We strategically build all of our superstars and characters, and we know when they are going to win and we know when they are going to lose. Uh, we do. And we build characters and make these megastars. It’s all very intentional. And you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth. It might not necessarily be the outcome you want, but you’re guaranteed to have a great match, to have a great pay-per-view, and you’re guaranteed to be entertained.”
Tags: Mixed Martial Arts, Stephanie McMahon