7 Ways Pro Wrestling Shaped Modern MMA
6. Building Storylines For Big Fights
MMA has never quite done a build-up like Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon at the 1999 Royal Rumble, despite Conor McGregor's best dolly-hurling efforts. That said, promotions have increasingly allowed fighters to create complex narratives around their fights.
In MMA's infancy, promotions pitted fighters against each other with no real context. Fighters were matched according to their records and eventually contenders would fight title holders. It was as simple and as dull as that.
With time, this would change. While promoters are rightfully quick to point out that this is real life, there is also the not so small matter of money at stake. In the fight game, egos will, and do clash. These clashes make for more dramatic and interesting fights, which generates far greater profits for all involved. Think of how different some bouts would have been if promoters didn't build up the animosity between fighters? A respectful Tito Ortiz vs. a cheery Ken Shamrock, anyone?
Promotions have become well aware of how to build fights, rather than just promote them. This pro wrestling inspired tactic has kept fans captivated and coming back for more.