If that headline wasn't enough to make you shake your head, and I can't imagine it wouldn't be, here's the quote Triple H gave to Moviefone recently:
I don't think we have to evolve. It's two totally different things. I think now especially there's this thing like, 'oh it's very similar.'
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.
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 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.
Oh boy, where to start. First let me say that Triple H has some legitimate critiques here. Whether folks want to admit it or not, it's a lot easier to get interested in a fight between two people that have an issue than two people that do not, even if it's manufactured. There's a reason Rashad Evans vs. Quinton Jackson did over one million pay-per-view buys and it had nothing to do with the actual fight, which most fans agreed was dreadful.
That being said, I find it utterly incredible that the reason he gives for their needing to evolve is that WWE consistently provides entertainment and will "always give you a good show." If he actually believes this, and there's no way he does, he's more delusional and overexposed to his product than we could ever realize.
Are there boring fights in MMA? Of course. Just like every single Great Khali match in the history of time was boring. But that's not an indicator that they should cultivate more of an entertainment viewpoint to what they do. If anything, WWE provides constant proof that manufactured drama typically has absolutely no bearing on whether or not the actual in-ring performances are up to snuff and if that helps the product as a whole. The angle with Hulk Hogan and Sting in 1997 springs to mind. That was one of the hottest programs in the history of pro wrestling and popped a gigantic buyrate on pay-per-view for Starrcade '97. But the match was a pathetic 14-minute piece of garbage that actually made legions of fans, myself included, turned off to the product. Most of them found their way to WWF, which was clearly the superior product but many of them tuned out altogether.
It's actually my belief that UFC mostly manages to strike a perfect balance between sport and entertainment. They push fighters to provide nice quotes heading into their fights but the emphasis is always on the fights themselves. With WWE it's the complete opposite and what makes Triple H's quote so rich is that his company is the one that could learn a thing or two from UFC, not the other way around.
In essence, WWE needs to devolve. Meaning, they badly need to put less emphasis on promos and angles and matters that don't involve actual wrestling and go back to the beginning. Make the product more about actual wrestling matches. The belts in WWE mean nothing now. And that's because they've been devalued through constant booking decisions that have absolutely nothing to do with the act of working hard to win said titles.
Imagine if they actually gave a guy a gimmick that centered solely around his being obsessed with winning a championship. It doesn't even matter which one, just so long as it's their one and only goal. Wouldn't that be something? Wouldn't that add so much weight to the actual matches we see inside the ring week after week? Wouldn't that give us a reason to purchase the pay-per-views month after month?
The answer is yes. And someone please tell Triple H that his pay-per-view business is failing miserably while UFC continues to crush them, despite a lull in business.