There seems to be a bigger hunger than ever for the fighting and wrestling worlds to integrate, with stars from both sides of the divide looking for a switch.
Of course, this isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s been happening for decades. Ken Shamrock was one of the most famous hybrids; going from UFC and Pancrase championship success, to
huge popularity in the WWF.
Brock Lesnar was the most famous export from the sports entertainment world and broke records in the Octagon, and more recently CM Punk quit the squared circle for the cage, albeit with much less success. There is constant talk of a return for wrestler, and it looked likely until Jon Jones' latest drugs test failure, but it never appears that his MMA career is off the table.
It seems we’re reaching a new high for the will of stars to cross over either way, and this is great for integrating fans of a similar demographic, and helping to build lucrative matchups for the companies.
If you like sports, then it’s easy to see the exciting potential of these athletes hopping from one to the other. The physical prowess of Lesnar was just as intriguing in the UFC as the WWE, and the unrivaled trash talk of Conor McGregor would be received just as highly by the wrestling crowd as it is by the MMA fans.
The latest call-out has been from Charlotte Flair, daughter of legend Ric Flair, who has challenged former UFC champion Ronda Rousey. “I’m all in,” said Flair, when discussing a potential meeting with Rousey, whose MMA popularity would bring lots of new eyeballs to the contest.
Rousey has been flirting with the idea since appearing at Wrestlemania 31 in 2015, though her career MMA career was flying high at that point in time. She was still undefeated and with a tight grasp on her title, but she has since been knocked out twice in a row, which has led her to question her fight career.
The immigration of Rousey and her crew is now almost inevitable, after long time friend and training partner Shayna Baszler debuted in September and set up this meeting between the two worlds.
Obviously there is some work to be done to bolster the on-camera work of Rousey and her crew, which includes Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke. They've been working on their antics for several years already, and now it seems it's the right time to turn the fun into serious business.
The WWE’s Four Horsewomen – Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley – have a moniker and a reputation to defend on their turf. The scripts write themselves, and if the MMA visitors can play their roles well enough, it would no doubt be a success.