"Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality." - Freddie Mercury
After bearing witness to the professional "waltz" that was Mayweather v. Pacquiao, I think I will probably prefer Batman v. Superman. Then after watching the TV Hype for Kimbo Slice v. Ken Shamrock, I waited 3 hours to watch a 3 minute bout. Which brings me to a crossroads. Do I want to watch a fight? Or do I want to watch a show?
While the lines between news and entertainment continue to blur, the same is often true for professional sports, sports entertainment and movies. The hype machines for all of these events constantly bombard us on every front. While each peaks my interest in a specific way, I find myself being more disappointed with "professional" sporting events because of the expectations I have unfairly placed upon them. But growing up with Rocky Balboa and the attitude era of WWE will do that to a guy right?
But should these guys be held more accountable for their efforts? Mayweather's strategy of avoidance, ducking and dodging, while landing jabs for points was not very thrilling, but it got him the win. Shamrock's trip takedowns and sleeper choke were no match for Slice's blow to the head made for a less than epic finale. Yet in another universe, Iron Man and Hulk destroyed a city trying to take each other down, then WWE Champ Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose hit it out of the park in a ladder match during the recent Money in the Bank PPV. The difference is, Pacquiao has a separated shoulder and Ken Shamrock has a gaping slice (pun intended I guess) above his eye. In the meantime, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo attend after parties, and Rollins and Ambrose lick their wounds while planning the next match that will hopefully out perform their last.
So what needs to change? The simple answer would be me and my views. Knowing what to expect out of your entertainment provides a certain level of comfort right? But what role do these event promoters, networks, and athletes themselves play in all of this I wonder. We usually give movies, sequels, and wrestlers numerous opportunities to entertain us. Should sporting events be given the same latitude? Either way the hype machine will never power down. But at what cost? Will we eventually walk away from boxing, MMA, and other real time athletic events due to an unsatisfactory product?
Celebreties paid more money to attend the "fight of the century" in Las Vegas then I might make in a decade. Mayweather and Pacquaio were paid more money to "fight" than most of us will see in a lifetime. Yet we are the real losers, shelling out $100 or less to stream or gather to watch the event. Hell, I didn't pay anything beyond basic cable for the Slice v. Shamrock affair and I was quite pissed. I may only be one guy, but after both of these events I am less inclined to take on another pay per view boxing match or give MMA another shot. To be fair, I'm VERY new to MMA and I'm not sure how past fights measure up to what wasn't a very good main event.
At least with the latest summer blockbuster I can expect over the top stunts, fights, and consequences (or lack there of - I'm talking to you Furious 7) While offerings from the WWE network offer up the classic male soap opera diatribes combined with good old fashioned power bombs. So what do we really want people? Are we willing to let professional sports continue to blur the lines between real and imitation, then flock like sheep, money in hand, to their events? Or do we pick and choose among our movies and mat grapplers placing our faith in what we know?