I sat thru a show called Impact Wrestling, a Pro Wrestling show because I heard Bellator Fighting Championship titleholder Eddie Alvarez was making an appearance. Look it up on youtube, it is the September 8th show, but here is what happened.
This show is a complete pro wrestling show, complete with all the bells and whistles of that type of entertainment. Kudos must go to Bellator for the cross promotion, as Alvarez was there to promote his October 15th title defense in Atlantic City against Michael Chandler.
First Eddie made a brief cameo appearance where he greeted Kurt Angle, yet another hint of the fact that Angle wants deeply to be associated with MMA.
Then Eddie did commentary on one of the matches, and there were several promos of Bellator played. The announcers, led by Taz, promoted Eddie and the event in a positive way. Eddie sounded good, though clearly he was a little out of his element announcing a match where the story line was that the titleholder had gotten his belt out of a trashcan.
Bellator airs on MTV2, which is owned by the same network that owns SPIKE and airs the Impact Wrestling show. So the co promotion makes sense.
I have to admit I’m a bit torn up here by this promotional angle. On the one hand, Eddie’s appearance was tasteful, as he did not become involved in the gimmicks and angles of the pro wrestling story lines. Kurt Angle, whom he greeted, was involved in a heated bout and I half expected Eddie to become involved in some way. Instead 6 guys wound up beating two guys up, and Alvarez had already made his last appearance on the show.
Good for Eddie, especially if he cashed a check. He displayed himself to be the classy champion he is, well spoken, and of course he put MMA in front of a different audience without cheapening the sport.
But I’m not convinced that the pro wrestling audience is the same that watches MMA. Certainly there is some crossover, but the show itself seems like a male oriented fight soap opera, with long term story lines and build up, and really has only a superficial competitive aspect. The bottom line is the competition is scripted, it is entertainment, not sport.
So Alvarez and Bellator get credit for the effort at cross promotion, but I’m not sure this had any real value to help MMA and Bellator crossover.