What do they (and Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather before them, to name a couple) have in common?Genuine question, I'm not commenting or debating their skill and ability.
WWE, and wrestling in general has a long-standing history of celebrity crossover. You've got Rodman, Leno, Tyson, Mayweather, Jackman, Trump, etc.
All major stars that I'd bet majority of wrestling fans have heard of. I'm not debating how good or bad their appearances were, or whether or not they should have been brought, just simply the fact you knew who they were.
Until their WWE apperance, I had never heard of Fury or Velasquez. I knew who Ronda Rousey was, I'm familiar with McGregor, Pacquiao etc. I'm not entirely oblivious to the MMA/Boxing world.
Anyways, my point being if I don't recognize these two guys, while I'm sure they're major in their sport, can't be that major in the mainstream.
So it perplexes why these guys are brought in to do main event things. Wrestling fans, unless you prove me wrong are not generally familiar with these guys. That lead to me tuning out of the Saudi PPV because I didn't give two fucks about seeing them compete, no interest at all.
So what's the point? Is it actually gaining much attention outside WWE and drawing boxing and MMA fans in?
They all have (or in the case of the latter two had) a proven track record of getting people to pay to see them perform. That’s something an actor like Mr. T or NBA star or Dennis Rodman (crossovers to wrestling past — or Trump or Jackman, etc.) did not have. These are people who might be able to get U.S. customers to subscribe to the Network or, in some countries, buy the big PPV.
Same appeal as Brock that way. And Rousey.
So it’s not that my mom knows who Cain is or the average Joe at Starbucks. It’s the demo of ‘people who have probably paid to see this guy before and might do so again.’
The idea isn’t ‘wrestling fans who already follow us and pay for our product will love having these ‘celebrities’ from other sports join the mix,’ it’s ‘these are people who could expand our paying customer base.
Seriously, who could you add to, say, WrestleMania that would move the needle with current WWE fans? Edge? Possibly he sparks a bit of interest but isn’t a game-changer. Batista again? Well that didn’t work. The Rock? Almost certainly, because he has nostalgia fans and crossover appeal. Cena at this point in the right match might actually garner new interest. But apart from The Rock, it’s all narrow and doesn’t actually stand to expose the product to new customers — a Fury could get some Brits who haven’t been fans to watch and they might like it. Cain could expand your Latino demo and draw some MMA crossover fans.