Jimmy Smith has discussed the underwhelming crowd reaction to Daniel Cormier’s promo on WWE Raw.
On the October 3 edition of Monday Night Raw, UFC legend Daniel Cormier made an appearance on the show where he laid down the rules for the scheduled “Fight Pit” match between Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle at Extreme Rules, which he is set to officiate.
Speaking to “MMA on SiriusXM”, Jimmy Smith, the now former lead commentator of WWE Raw, gave his thoughts on Daniel Cormier’s promo and discussed how the former UFC Champion formally introducing himself was not the right approach to take:
“Number one, “For all of you who don’t know who I am” is a bad start. Number two, when he said, “I’m Daniel Cormier,” did you hear anything [from the crowd]? If that had been The Rock, number one, I would have popped like crazy. “I’m The Rock.” Pop like crazy again. When he went, “I’m Daniel Cormier,” I kind of turned around and crickets. Am I alone in this? When he first popped on the screen I expected something.
The crowd just really didn’t react. Right here, when he goes, “I’m Daniel Cormier,” and this crowd shot, by the way, we’re seeing it on YouTube, look at this crowd, they really didn’t react very much. Remember, I’m in the bubble of MMA and I’m in the bubble of professional wrestling. I’m in kind of two bubbles so I don’t know how often the two bubbles intersect. That was a great indication of WWE fans, at least the ones that were there, really didn’t seem to react much”
Smith then went into more depth on why Cormier’s appearance received a mild crowd reaction, stating that the MMA Megastar is not as a big of mainstream draw as Mike Tyson, who was brought in as the ring enforcer for Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania 14.
“But the whole point of this is over-the-top eyeballs. Mike Tyson being a guest referee is just a stunt to get eyeballs. So the idea that you’re a nice guy or you’re popular in MMA means something, but this isn’t about real authentic credentials so it is about the pop, and he didn’t get that,”
Jimmy Smith would eventually shed light on the biggest question, which was the cross-over between the WWE and MMA fanbases, and referred to his time as the lead announcer for Bellator to draw the comparison:
“Another thing that kind of gives an indication of where this might go, is I remember working for Bellator and Bellator used to follow TNA Wrestling on Spike. Our lead in was TNA all the time. What they did was intro, like try and back up Bellator’s fights. To where, like, you watch TNA, TNA’s credits rolled, and you were right into Bellator. They always lost. They used to get 1.2 million in viewership and then they’d come to Bellator and it’d be like 600,000. You’d lose about half.
We need to let them know, we need to run commercials during TNA … Look, they’re wrestling fans. Just not everybody watches the shit. People act like all those 1.2 million, if they just knew Bellator was coming they’d stick around. They know, guys! They just don’t care. I think there’s an overestimation of the crossover between WWE and UFC. There just is,”
Speaking of Smith, he took to Twitter to announce his departure from WWE, following a report by Variety stating that moving forward Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves will the commentary team for the Raw brand.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.