Pro Wrestling in Danger? Is The Rise Of MMA a Reason For Concern?

Cec Van GaliniAnalyst IIIOctober 24, 2010

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  Brock Lesnar reacts after knocking out Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Around a decade or so ago, boxing used to have truly special big-time events—usually, though not exclusively, heavyweight encounters that got the world talking. The front row was a who's who of superstars. However, the lack of talent coming through has seen these nights disappear.

Boxing has lost a lot of its glamour.

Some might even say the same about pro wrestling today. I wouldn't necessarily agree, as I think both the WWE and TNA still have the power to amaze with matches even this year being regarded as some of the best in history.

Wrestling, however, has a predator on the horizon. One that threatens to take its place. The world of Mixed Martial Arts.

It might not seem like it just yet, but MMA seems to be gaining ground on the WWE and TNA. Granted, they are completely different in terms of their style, but given that many of the fans and superstars are the same, can it be long before wrestling loses out to this "real art."

Even the most successful wrestler will feel that their accomplishments are not quite as real as those in other professions. Is a WWE Champion the same as being a WBO Heavyweight Champion or the winner of the Tour De France? Can Ric Flair legitimately stand with Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth and Michael Schumacher?

Arguably, no.

What makes this article fresh, given that this is a topic that has been discussed before, is the statement made last night by WWE's own Mark Calloway, or The Undertaker, of course, to you and me. Asked if MMA had have been successful 20 years ago, would he have been interested? He answered, "Safe bet, real safe bet."

Imagine it, if you can, the WWE without the phenom. All the storylines, all the magic, all those moments of history—that match with Shawn at XXV. All might not have happened.

The Undertaker is, of course, too old for MMA, and he will freely admit this himself, but it raises the question that if MMA is gaining support in North America and Europe, whether would-be wrestlers might abandon the ring for the Octogon.

If we examine the federations today, wrestling whilst possessing many qualities has a number of flaws; TNA is rehashing old ground and the WWE has been producing poor quality programming for some time. Originality is running low in pro wrestling. With Attitude, fans crying out for a change, could they instead find it in MMA?

The Undertaker confrontation with Brock at last night's UFC 121, however, may be an attempt by the WWE to remove this threat before it has properly materialised. The Undertaker vs. Brock at Wrestlemania 27 is a perfect way of maintaining the excitement of the streak whilst also giving the WWE some international coverage.

Whether WWE sees MMA as a threat might be one reason why Brock is being rumoured for a return, even for one spring night in Atlanta.