Jim Cornette is never at a loss for words, which is just fine seeing as he's got a great mind for the pro wrestling business he's spent an entire career within as a manager, a promoter, a booker, a commentator, a talent, and everything in between. During a recent appearance on The Steve Austin Show, the subject of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) came up and how similar it is to pro wrestling.
Cornette had a very interesting take on that:
"Right now, the most successful pro wrestling company in the world is the UFC. They hype the fights the same. The whole concept, it's so simple: we're going to make you think that this guy, who you're probably predisposed to dislike, and this guy who you're hopefully predisposed to like, are the two baddest motherfuckers in this weight classification or this division on the planet and we're going to put them in a trajectory to meet each other and we're going to sell tickets to see the fight and what's going to happen. Then they trash talk each other, not over the top but enough to be believable. There's a grudge, there's an issue, they hype their fight, and they have their fight. The fact that it happens to be real is the only difference between that and old time pro wrestling. You know, you saw it in the reactions of the crowds in the arenas. That Mark Hunt vs. Bigfoot Silva fight was a double juice Memphis main event brawl and the people were throwing the babies in the air just like it was Jery Lawler and Terry Funk."
The timing of this particular quote couldn't be better, what with UFC 168 taking place tonight (Sat., Dec. 28, 2013) in Las Vegas, Nevada. That event features a bout pitting Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey against Miesha Tate in a grudge match with an outstanding build that has almost nothing to do with athletic achievement.
The two fought once before, back in March 2012, in a bout that came together simply because Rousey was just good enough to justify giving a title shot to the then Strikeforce champion after she talked enough trash to build interest. This struck a nerve with Tate, who played right into what was essentially a manufactured issue.
The outcome of that fight was clear and decisive. Rousey won by armbar in the first round, just like she's done every time she's fought professionally.
Seeing this, the UFC found an opportunity to capitalize on it by having the two act as opposing coaches on season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter. This made for weeks of compelling television leading into the big money rematch.
This despite Tate having lost her last fight and nearly quitting the sport.
Rousey has also outright admitted that she has no problem "playing the bad guy", though she did get upset over her portrayal on TUF through clever editing that saw her positioned to look competitive to the point of being emotionally unstable.
The UFC released a promo hyping the fight and once Cornette watched it he immediately dubbed it the "best concept video for hyping a match ever done":
What say you, Cagesiders? Do you agree with Cornette's take that the UFC is pro wrestling in every way other than the shoot nature of the fights? Or is he reaching a bit here?