WWE executives and performers Triple H and Stephanie McMahon took part in a “Fireside Chat” with Senior Business Analyst Laura Martin at the Needham Interconnect Conference for investors in New York City this week and during the discussion, the topic of UFC as a competitor to WWE came up.
Triple H noted that he doesn’t feel the two are in competition, explaining why he feels they are completely different entities.
“They aren’t really a competitor to us and I explain this to our talent this way in the Performance Center and every time I say it people will say to me oh, that made it very clear for me: people like UFC, they like boxing, but it’s completely different from what we are. We are like the movie Rocky. We’re a story. We’re a great story that just happens to take place sometimes in the wrestling ring, so if you think about us less of Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match which you’ll watch one time and on pay-per-view and then once that fight’s over it’s kind of done, you know, and you’re really not going to go back and watch it a bunch of times unless you’re a connoisseur of boxing science, you’re gonna watch it one time. But Rocky the movie you will watch over and over and over again. It’s the story, it’s the characters. Boxing is irrelevant to the movie really. It’s a triumph story, it’s a love story, it’s all those things and that’s what we do. We create characters that you gravitate towards, that you connect with, that you passionately engage with, you believe in on a visceral level, whether you hate them or love them. We put them in unique storylines with creative passions and good guys and bad guys and the drama and sometimes love throws. We were married and divorced once on TV long before we did it for real, you know? It was a dry run, that’s why it works so well, we got it out of our system. You know, you have all those components, but that’s what makes us so successful and at the end of the day that’s what makes the Network successful because while a sport, who is gonna go back to watch the Superbowl from ’84? Yeah, right, unless you’re a massive technical football fan! Or who’s gonna go back and watch boxing from five years ago, you’re not, or UFC, it’s the same thing, it’s the same component. But our product is evergreen, because its the characters and the stories that you engage in, that’s what makes a passionate fan of the WWE and it’s lifelong, because even if you move away from it, even if you become a lapsed fan, you get out of college, you don’t have a lot of free time anymore, you get a job, you have kids, you do all those things, and now all of a sudden your kids start to watch, and you get on the Network and you start to watch the Attitude Era or the ’80s, that Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior that you watched when you were a kid and all that emotion comes flooding back to you and it’s something that you don’t put down, that you don’t walk away from, it’s always there and it’s very easy to get hooked back into it to watch it again.”
Stephanie McMahon also shared her two cents on the subject.
“In addition to that with UFC you can pay money to watch a pay-per-view and it can be a terrible fight. Right? The guy you were really rooting for that UFC has been building as a star gets knocked right off and suddenly that person doesn’t really matter anymore and all that investment is lost. You never have that with WWE. We strategically build all of our Superstars and characters and we know when they are going to win and we know when they are going to lose. Uh, we do! [audience laughs] And we build characters and make them these megastars, it’s all very intentional and you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth. It might not necessarily be the outcome you want, but you’re guaranteed to have a great match, to have a great pay-per-view and you’re guaranteed to be entertained.”