The scary thing about DREAM 9 and it’s Super Hulk tournament was that it was a do or die event for the promotion. Ratings were slumping hardcore and if DREAM didn’t get shit away from the edge of single digit ratings (DREAM 6 pulled a 9% rating, the worst yet) there was a good chance it’s TV deal (and probably future) was in serious danger of getting axed.
But while we like to imagine Japanese fight executives as bumbling idiots who have no idea what they’re doing, they proved themselves adept enough to pump ratings up for DREAM 9. They saw that the biggest ratings draw they’ve been able to pull over the past few years was Bob Sapp vs a cartoon character, and booked up a retarded Super Hulk tournament in response. So the show had a 16% average with a 19.1% peak during the Kid Yamamoto fight. The goal was 15%, and with TBS’s ratings slumping across the board, DREAM 9 effectively saved stadium MMA in Japan … for now.
So now I’m interested in seeing what happens next. Will DREAM continue to use a motley collection of freakshow fights to draw the Japanese public’s eye to their events? And will they do it to showcase legitimate MMA or will the insanity become the main attraction soon?