PARKS'S TAKE PARKS'S TAKE: C.M. Punk & Dana White find the right mix at the right time, plus Thoughts on Seth Green, Jimmy Del Ray, more!
Dec 10, 2014 - 12:03:43 PM
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By Greg Parks, PWTorch columnist
Apparently, C.M. Punk wasn’t content to just make waves inside the professional wrestling industry. This past weekend, he shook up mainstream sports with the announcement that he would be joining UFC, fighting for them some time in 2015.
Punk has stated his desire to try mixed martial-arts before, but most people brushed off the idea due to his lack of experience, his age, and the number of injuries he has amassed in wrestling. What’s surprising isn’t so much that Punk is delving into MMA, but that he’s doing it at the highest level of the sport, UFC.
You would imagine Punk would have to “earn his stripes” fighting at a lower level and gaining experience before getting a contract with UFC. But, Punk has name value, especially at this time of his career, which can make UFC and Dana White a lot of money. White is a lot like Vince McMahon in many ways, and this move really cements that connection.
Some MMA fans are upset that Punk is getting a free ride into UFC while other fighters with quality records go untouched. This is where Punk’s name value comes in, and his ability to create headlines. Heck, the tactic has already worked.
UFC is coming off a year that was less-than-stellar. The buyrate for Punk’s first PPV fight will likely be quite high. White was able to make a lot of money with another former WWE star, Brock Lesnar, so perhaps he feels he can bring some non-MMA wrestling fans over to his organization by signing Punk.
This also causes you to look at Punk’s interview with Colt Cabana, and the timing of its release, interesting. You’d have to imagine Punk was pretty much signed by that point, or at least in deep conversations with White. The fact that Punk’s interview made so much news among pro wrestling fans (despite his somewhat naive claim that he didn’t think the interview would stir as much interest as it did) put him in the spotlight at the time of the UFC announcement.
All of that noise will have died down by the time Punk actually fights. And, what Dana White and C.M. Punk can’t control is how things go inside the octagon. But, even if his yet-to-be-named opponent wipes the floor with him, Punk and Dana White will still get a big payday out of it, and UFC will continue its attempt to gain consistent traction in the mainstream sports world.
Other Thoughts: Seth Green’s authentic enthusiasm being involved with WWE was a nice change-of-pace as Raw guest host. WWE claims they like to put smiles on people’s faces, but even the fun Vince McMahon claims they have on their shows each week just feels so forced. Seeing Green enjoying himself was a breath of fresh air…I was saddened to hear of the death of former Heavenly Bodies wrestler Jimmy Del Ray. The “Gigolo” had the look of a sleazeball that belied his nickname. The Bodies were a fun mid-card gimmick for the mid-'90s WWF. One of my favorite Del Ray memories was him doing his gyrating during a match and Vince McMahon on commentary reacting with disgust...
I recently finished Chris Jericho’s book, another entertaining tome chronicling his days in WWE and as the front-man of Fozzy. It was also interesting to compare Jericho’s experiences in WWE with the claims made by C.M. Punk in Colt Cabana’s podcast. I review the book and make those comparisons in my column in this week's edition of the PWTorch Newsletter…Once again, WWE’s quarterly NXT special is more anticipated in some circles than the company’s main PPV, in this case, TLC. The stipulations for the PPV just feel so tacked-on and it’s one of the glaring issues with the gimmick events of its sort…Ring of Honor’s PPV this past Sunday was good, but if I wasn’t an ROH fan to begin with, I’m not sure they sold me on anything. None of the matches were stinkers or anything, but none of the matches were at the level we’ve come to expect from ROH PPVs, either. And some of the characters are really not connecting with the crowds.
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