Shane Wanted to Buy UFC; HHH on John Cena's Return; Chris Jericho-Jim Cornette

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2021

Shane McMahon watches from the sideline during an XFL football game between the Tampa Bay Vipers and the New York Guardians, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. The New York Guardians won 23-3. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Steve Luciano/Associated Press

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

     

Shane McMahon Wanted to Buy UFC in 2004

On a recent episode of Something to Wrestle With, WWE executive Bruce Prichard revealed that Shane McMahon, son of chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, pushed for WWE to purchase UFC in 2004.

Prichard explained how the negotiations went and why WWE ultimately didn't purchase the promotion (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News):

"Bob Meyrowitz was putting UFC out there in wanting to sell and also looking at ways to change, and, what have you. So, I know that Shane was definitely interested in buying the UFC and during that time, we had meetings with Meyrowitz and Campbell McLaren. I think that, first of all, originally they weren't asking for a whole lot. They weren't asking for a lot, but it was more than Vince was willing to pay at the time, and the overhaul on the UFC that the Fertittas were able to pull off, and Dana White with the overhaul with the rules and the presentation and everything else, was the best thing that could have happened to them. I don't know that we as a company, could have overcome the stigma of WWE owning UFC and been able to make all the changes that UFC needed to make."

UFC ended up exploding in popularity with White at the helm as president, and it is now among the most successful sports leagues in the world.

When UFC was up for sale in 2004, it was struggling to reach the mainstream. At the time, linking up with WWE could have potentially gone a long way in terms of generating interest and getting eyes on the product.

As Prichard mentioned, however, UFC ended up making all the right decisions, and it has exceeded WWE in popularity and mainstream success over the past 17 years.

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Shane McMahon is a longtime MMA fan, which is why he was the weekly host of Raw Underground last year until the concept was scrapped.

Raw Underground was very much inspired by MMA, but the concept didn't necessarily work within the realm of professional wrestling.

Had WWE bought UFC, it is possible that they couldn't have both succeeded in the same universe, so perhaps it was for the best that the sale never happened.

      

Triple H Talks Cena at WrestleMania 37

John Cena has not competed inside a WWE ring since last year's WrestleMania 36, but an appearance at WrestleMania 37 in April could potentially be in the cards.

In an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, WWE legend and executive Triple H discussed the possibility of Cena partaking in the upcoming show in Tampa, Florida: "I won't put words in John's mouth, but I can speak to his passion, and it's WWE and WrestleMania. Once you do this at a high level, and John does it at the highest, it's very hard to put down. If there is a way for him to be there, he will be there."

Cena wasn't a part of WWE programming leading up to WrestleMania 36, but he still showed up in the weeks before the event to set the stage for a match against "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt.

When Cena vs. Wyatt was announced, the plan was for WrestleMania to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in front of thousands of fans. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic forced WWE to move WrestleMania to the WWE Performance Center with no fans in attendance.

That allowed WWE to get creative with Cena and Wyatt by making it a Firefly Funhouse Match, which was more of an experience than an actual match.

It would have been difficult to pull that off with fans in attendance, but WWE made the most of the situation and produced a "match" or segment that was widely praised.

This year, plans are in place for fans to be live at Raymond James Stadium, meaning WWE will undoubtedly want as much star power on the card as possible.

Cena is among the most polarizing performers in WWE history, but he is also one of the most popular, and he would add a ton of value to WrestleMania 37.

There is no shortage of potential opponents for him to face, and if he becomes available, WWE will certainly find a spot for Cena on the card.

      

Jericho Responds to Cornette's Criticism

All Elite Wrestling star Chris Jericho took to Twitter on Monday to respond to Jim Cornette's recent criticism of him personally and in the context of professional wrestling.

Jericho took the "killing him with kindness" approach by opting to put a positive spin on the situation:

Cornette has worn many hats in the wrestling business over the past few decades, including manager, announcer and booker. He even owned a wrestling promotion in the 1990s called Smoky Mountain Wrestling, which is where Jericho got his first big break in the United States.

In recent years, Cornette has primarily been in the news due to his Jim Cornette Experience podcast. On the podcast, Cornette displays his unmatched knowledge of wrestling history and also gives his opinions on the current state of wrestling, and many of those opinions are quite controversial.

Cornette is a known detractor of AEW and he has spoken out against Jericho's involvement in the company because of his belief that it cheapens his legacy.

Cornette has also criticized Jericho for making sizable campaign donations to former President Donald Trump. Per Sai Mohan of WrestlingInc, Cornette said: "You [Jericho] are a filthy human being for supporting a filthy disgusting pig. And that's why you get my f--k you. We are no longer friends and will never be friends again."

Jericho hasn't just caught flak from Cornette for some of his recent decisions, including having Donald Trump Jr. on his podcast and performing a concert at the Sturgis motorcycle rally at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some of Jericho's fans are able to put his personal decisions aside in favor of enjoying his work as a pro wrestler, Cornette is clearly in the opposite camp.

    

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