The worlds of pro wrestling and mixed martial arts are increasingly colliding. However, Evolve Champion Matt Riddle has competed in both arenas, and he says there’s a marked difference between wrestling fans and MMA fans.
Riddle explained during an interview with MMA Junkie’s Ben Fowlkes that while wrestling fans are invested in stories and characters, MMA fans just want to see blood. Via Fightful:
“Wrestling fans are like people going to see Shakespeare. They come, they have a favorite character, they’re invested in the story and they know it’s a story. They’re all about how well you play your part, whatever that part is. MMA fans are more like people going to the Coliseum. They don’t care whether you kill the tiger or the tiger kills you. All they know is somebody’s going to die today. That’s how it feels when you’re in the UFC,” said Riddle. “Nobody gives a (expletive) about you. You could be fighting in your hometown, and if you get knocked out the crowd’s still going to roar,” he added.
As someone who regularly watches pro wrestling and used to regularly watch UFC, I couldn’t agree more with Riddle. It also explains why UFC fans critical of wrestling are always so quick to point out that it’s “fake” – they’re not interested in a story, they just want to see a physical fight. Wrestling fans, on the other hand, are much more emotionally invested – often to a fault.
Are Wrestling Fans Too Smart?
There’s an argument to be made that wrestling fans have become too wise to the behind-the-scenes workings of promotions like WWE. This has never been more evident than now, given the overwhelming fan dissatisfaction with Backlash. After the pay-per-view, a list of who booked each match made its rounds on social media as fans tried to find people to blame. The wave of negativity prompted Frankie Kazarian to lament that he misses the days when fans were just fans.
I liked it when people were fans. When nobody knew who the booker was. Or cared. Nobody asked “who wrote this segment?” Who was on the creative team was not even remotely a thought. Yes, everything evolves, which is positive. Along the way however, we’ve forgotten to just be fans
— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) May 8, 2018
While Kazarian has a point, many criticized his tweet and argued that people have come to be so critical of wrestling because they no longer view it as a sport, but as entertainment – which is precisely what Riddle stated in his interview.
But no matter which side you’re on, sometimes it’s best to just sit back and be a fan. Otherwise, you’ll likely never be satisfied.
Do you agree with Matt Riddle’s comparison of wrestling and MMA fans? Share your thoughts below!