2018 UFC vs WWE Perceptual study. We exposed a non-fan to the world of combat sports.

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The world of combat sports since the 1990’s has been a world that appeals more to men than women. Sure you would have a few odd female fans watch wrestling & MMA. However, it was mostly a boys club. That was until the mainstream change of gender roles & perception in society. Fast forward to 2018 and the world has changed drastically. UFC a company that said would never have women fighters now has 3 weight classes. WWE also has some of the most well recognized modern female performers ever, including award winning and recognized women athletes.

Still there is always this division despite the similarities of the people attracted to the WWE brand & to the UFC brand. If you did a venn diagram some would in fact interlap. For the purpose of this study, the interlap will be ignored for the sake of choosing a winner. In this study, Diana Skye a non-wrestling or UFC fan is going to be exposed to entirely new world for which she has very little reference to create a non-biased winner.

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 Ashton Deroy, Face of a movement.

Using YouTube channels, their shops & their characters. Diana is going to lock the two companies in a 3 round battle. Each evaluation for the round amounts to one point. Only she will determine what product is more appealing to her. I, Ashton Deroy, will include my initial prediction in this study after Diana has separately made her own conclusions. At that time I will post my predictions at the head of the published PDF file to the WordPress CMS system.

Summary

To say that I didn’t know much about wrestling would be a massive understatement. The only time I recall seeing famous wrestlers on TV is briefly in the news, commercials featuring the legendary John Cena, and an episode of The Weakest Link featuring WWE members.  The idea of a sport that involved aggressive physical fighting just did not seem entertaining to me. When Ashton asked me to do this project, I decided it was about time to see what the wrestling hype was about.

I kept an open mind while doing my research. While I still wouldn’t call myself a wrestling fan, I definitely have a better understanding of this very interesting world. There is more to it than just people beating each other up. Both WWE and UFC have very profitable merch shops and YouTube channels with millions of subscribers. The wrestlers also have distinctive personalities and characters, with creative storylines. I gave both wrestling groups rankings in all of these categories. I can see why they both have many fans, but one has an edge in my opinion.

Shops

WWE Shop

Ratings out of 5

4 for design

5 for character portrayal

5 for attractive items

UFC Store

Ratings out of 5

3 for design

4 for character portrayal

3 for attractive items

Merch has become an important part of branding, whether it’s for sports teams, small businesses, or YouTube entertainers. Even from just seeing the home pages, I immediately preferred the WWE Merch site. They had a large selection of items, including Funko Pops. Those were advertised right on the home page along with a variety of clothing items. Many of the designs were eye catching and represented the characters well.

The UFC Merch site did have some interesting items, however it was harder to navigate. They also seemed to have less variety. I immediately noticed a category called “blanket, beds, and bath.” I clicked expecting interesting items like bath products and several sleepwear options. Instead there was only one simple nightgown. While WWE didn’t have any sleepwear, there were many casual items like hoodies, t-shirts, and sweatpants. Variety in merch items is always a win for me, so I’m giving this round to WWE.

Winner: WWE

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YouTube

UFC YouTube

Ratings out of 5 (advertising)

Shop products: 4

Pay-Per-View: 5

Entertainment and additional services: 5

WWE YouTube

Ratings out of 5 (advertising)

Advertising shop products: 4

Advertising Pay-Per-View: 3

Entertainment and additional services: 4

Both the WWE and UFC YouTube channels have a large following. (28 and 4.6 million respectively) While WWE has a much larger YouTube following, I much prefer UFC’s channel. WWE tends to post many short videos every day. Personally, I don’t like to have my subscription feed cluttered by one channel. Some of these shorter videos don’t provide much content since they are less than two minutes long. In spite of their fantastic merch shop, there wasn’t much mention of it.

By contrast, UFC does not post every day. However most of their videos are longer. (A length of at least 5 minutes) Even the shorter ones are more entertaining. You learn a lot about their wrestlers and upcoming fights. They also do a good job of advertising other services without shoving it down your throat. Even as a non-wrestling fan, I feel like I got a lot from their channel. Therefore, UFC is definitely the clear winner for this round.

Winner: UFC

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Characters

UFC

Ratings out of 5

Memorability 5

Shock value 4

Plot 4

WWE

Ratings out of 5

Memorability 3

Shock value 4

Plot 3

Despite my lack of wrestling knowledge, I recognized many names while doing my research. For example, UFC wrestler Conor McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather in a famous boxing match last year. There were also many interesting characters I was unaware of. Paul Felder is an Irish American who started martial arts training at age twelve. Alexis Davis and Sarah Kaufman are two badass Canadian women who have had huge success in recent years. It taught me that big personalities are just as important (if not more) as skill in wrestling.

WWE also has strong women like Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella. However, the WWE characters and plots just didn’t intrigue me as much. The fights were intense, but not very memorable. I did enjoy the John Cena tribute, but many other Raw and Smackdown episodes were either not very exciting or downright outlandish. If I wanted to watch a wrestling event, I would much rather check out a UFC Championship. Therefore, they win this final round and the overall battle.

Winner: UFC

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UFC

UFC has many fascinating characters and interesting storylines. They also post excellent videos on their YouTube channel. One thing they need to work on is the variety and items in the merch shop. They have many exciting characters so there is potential for awesome shirts, mugs, posters etc. Other than that, I preferred them in all categories. I would like to learn more about some of their personalities, such as the Canadian females I mentioned earlier.

WWE

WWE has their merch shop going for it, with a variety of attractive items. However, they need to work on the entertaining aspect. More interesting characters and plots would make them even more successful. They should also tweak a few things when it comes to their YouTube presence, like video length and amount of posts. Even though they didn’t win my battle, I think they have a lot of potential.

Ashton Deroy’s prediction

I thought and texted Tracy that I thought Diana would conclude in favor of WWE. I thought the appeal of antagonists & protagonists as well as the presentation of the product would appeal to Diana more. I didn’t account for the poor content structure of WWE’s YouTube channel including small content, and the lacking memorability in character portrayal in a company that solely relies on big personalities. As Diana will conclude though, WWE is in an era of potential. The creative team has changed, the product has gone back in time a little in the storyline structures. Who knows what the future will hold in this study?

Conclusion

This was a very different experience for me since I usually write about makeup, social activism, or YouTube. I was skeptical when Ashton gave me this assignment, but I am glad he did. While I will never be a massive wrestling fangirl, I plan on continuing to learn more about it. I may check out a match the next time it’s on Sportsnet or TSN. The world of wrestling has a lot going for it and I can see why it has many fans.