Here’s a guy who’s quite notorious for “talking his way into title fights” and is still one of the most popular fighters. Saturday night just saw him return to form in a dominant manhandling of Maurico”Shogun” Rua, submitting the former Light Heavyweight Champion in one round.
It didn’t take long for Sonnen to get back on top of the trash talk; right after his victory, Sonnen went on air to diss Wanderlei Silva. Not long after, both Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida took to twitter to express their enthusiasm in fighting the loudmouth American. That’s instantly THREE guys wanting a piece of Sonnen. His popularity never fades, not even for one night.
Sonnen is going to be fighting soon again some time in 3-4 months most likely either Belfort or Silva. He may end up fighting all three by the end of next year. He’s got his work cut out for him.
Not too long ago though, before Chael signed his new five-fight deal with the UFC, he mentioned wanting to purchase the WWE after he was finished fighting. Fat chance this would happen. But why not join the WWE after Sonnen goes through his five fights?
I love guys like Sonnen. The UFC and sports in general need more athletes like him. Athletes who aren’t only great in the ring but also away from it. Sonnen is the best promo guy the UFC has and the only pitfall to all his yapping is his behaviour outside the octagon has overshadowed his ability in it. Fans and fighters alike either appreciate Sonnen or just wish for him to keep quiet. A lot of fight fans just want their mixed martial arts quiet and plain jane I guess.
That is why I can’t help but speculate that Sonnen’s colourful outspoken character would fit better with the WWE. I’m looking forward into the future (or an alternate reality) where we have the American Gangster in the land of pro wrestling…
From MMA to Pro Wrestling: Been There, Done That
It’s nothing new for a professional mixed martial artist to venture into the world of pro wrestling. Ken Shamrock, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawel and the equally colourful and controversial Quinton “Rampage” Jackson have tried their hands in pro wrestling to name a few.
Shamrock made a brief but memorable WWE run back in the late 90s Attitude Era and even won the Intercontinental title and played a big role with Vince McMahon’s notorious Corporation stable. He would also go on to win the NWA World Title with the fledgling TNA in 2002. Both King Mo and Rampage are a part of TNA’s roster as of this year.
And of course, there is the special case of Brock Lesnar. Pro wrestler turned MMA fighter turned pro wrestler again. Brock’s second run with the WWE on a part-time basis had him emphasize on his MMA training moreso than his wrestling background and it has worked very well in his favour having him do shoot fights that go as far as bloodying John Cena in his first match.
Shamrock and Lesnar’s stars are more likely bigger than Sonnen’s. Shamrock was a legend and one of the pioneers of MMA as a sport and Brock Lesnar was just a big superstar having already gained his following in his early WWE days where was a three-time WWE Champion.
Nonetheless, Sonnen is a celebrity in his own right and has a large enough following (n amount of twitter followers) to make an impact in the WWE. His strong promotional skills can only help him. In fact, I liken Sonnen’s clear voice, emphatic deliveries and clever subject matter to a certain WWE superstar we’ll get to later.
Gimmicks and Alignment
Gimmick?! What gimmick. Chael Sonnen is most interesting as himself. Sure, his ability to sell himself based on his outlandish comments and promos paint him as a colourful character and the prospect of diving into a totally new character seem interesting but it shouldn’t be applied. If anything, his gimmick should be temporary as a surprise gimmick for him to make a strong debut similar to Chris Jericho way back in 2000 when he had the countdown or most recently, Alberto Del Rio pushing the Mexican aristocrat gimmick.
The American Gangster moniker can thus be Sonnen’s gimmick if he were to adapt one. Sonnen’s “gangster” can come across as anti-mainstream and antisocial and pick apart everything that is “fake” with pro wrestling, its wrestlers and its fans. Sonnen is a natural heel and he’s certainly sold himself as one. He has an arrogant character, an aggressive grappling style and a seemingly infinite resource of insults and narcissistic speak.
But all this falls way too close in the territory of the aforementioned superstar who we are getting close to revealing…
Potential Fights and Feuds
CM Punk! He may be worlds different from Sonnen but the way he cuts promos and speaks strikes familiarly. His versatile background that includes Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujutsu and wrestling and propensity for pulling off death-defying stunts arguably makes him the best in-ring worker the WWE has had since Kurt Angle. A feud between him and Sonnen would be a promotional clinic and it’s intriguing to see who can outperform who. I can’t see a feud like this failing.
Brock Lesnar is the next most obvious choice. No way this fight would’ve happened in the UFC but thanks to the WWE we get to see this. This would have to be a semi-shoot and I’m sure there won’t be a shortage in trash talk…
Other notables would include Daniel Bryan who may be legitimately around Sonnen’s size and is an intense in-ring competitor and top 5 fan favourite. Chris Jericho when he’s around for the sheer entertainment value. Jericho’s an all-around showman. A potential four star match easily. And Alberto Del Rio would be a good for Sonnen’s American Gangster gimmick. No actually I’m just excited to see Sonnen talk about Del Rio’s stint at MMA and his epic match with Cro Cop
Can’t forget, John Cena. Just to see what kind of outrageous ideas Sonnen has in plan to make fun of everyone’s not-so-beloved superstar.
Sonnen can double in joining the announce team. He’d definitely bring some relevance and credibility to the group. He’d make a fantastic play-by-play commentator and relieve Michael Cole of having to add “vintage” or “modified” before a third of the wrestling moves he sees. His voice quality is also crisper and easier to understand and that’s the same reason I had him feuding with Punk.
More than likely Sonnen will settle in as a 3rd colour commentator. He could very well act as a foil to Jerry “The King” Lawler’s whimsical devil’s advocate personality by being the no-nonsense logical heel commentator, a role not many from the broadcast team have done well since Paul Heyman in 2001. Hell, it might even be better if Sonnen breaks the 4th wall once in a while to add that dimension to the announce team.
It’s definitely an interesting idea but just an idea for now. It may come to fruition in a few years and I don’t doubt a person of Sonnen’s interest would consider some spotlight in the WWE. It is after all, an experience like no other. Much like much of Chael Sonnen’s segments.