Tonight was a transformative night for wrestling. Not going to lie, I was originally skeptical of tonight’s inaugural Wrestling Underground Card put on by the great Chael Sonnen and UFC Fight pass, but quickly learned that I was down for the cause.
First and most important, the wrestling. The cage brought on most of my skepticism for this event but it ended up providing us more action than expected. The fence prevented a lot of action on the mat, or should I say canvas, which caused more action on the feet. Most of the gut wrenches and leg laces were prevented due to lack of real estate so if you’re a fan of that part of wrestling then you might not be into this event. However, the action on the feet was pretty constant. The fence itself provided some challenges such as sprawling and shot defense in general, so the wrestlers had to get creative when wrestling on the outside. Specifically the Sammy Brooks and Shakur Rasheed match.
Next, the production. I feel like more of an expert in this section of my first article on StaleMates; not because I have ever put on a wrestling event but because of the wrestling consumer that I am. Tonight was transformative for the sport of wrestling not because of the wrestling in the octagon, but because of the deal with UFC fight pass. Tonight wrestling fans experienced a smooth operation with no hiccups, or errors. The UFC has put on hundreds of MMA cards so tonight was just another night for the UFC and Co. I thought Chael Sonnen on the mic was worth the price of the event alone. At first I thought the event could use more than one commentator, but as the night went on Chael proved why some combat sports fans put him ahead of the great Conor McGregor when it comes to talking. Chael also proved that he still deeply pays attention to the sport of wrestling despite all of his success in other ventures in life such as MMA and his media career.
What I would like to see for future WUG cards? I would love to hear the coaches and corners during these matchups. Chael explained that due to COVID-19, the athletes were not allowed to have coaches present in the room of the Octagon so I feel like we missed out on hearing some insight from the coaches and some potential viral sound bites from the Brands brothers and others. Lastly, I think post fight interviews would have been nice to hear. Outside of the Big 10 network and the Division 1 Nationals we don’t get a lot of post match interviews which can provide the best content because the athletes emotions are the highest at that point of time. No time to go back to the locker room and think of a professional way to say what they really want to say.
All in all I am a fan. If this continues I will not need to cancel my UFC Fight Pass subscription. According to wrestling twitter, I am not alone. I can’t wait to see what Chael and Dana White come up with next.