Zelina Vega as Street Fighter 6's Juri Han at Royal Rumble: WWE Should Do More Tie-In Promotions | Smark Out Moment

This past Saturday at the 2023 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Zelina Vega came out dressed up as Street Fighter character Juri Han. It was also announced she will be providing her voice for the "real time commentary feature" for the Street Fighter 6 video game, set to come out June 2 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S as well as on Steam.

I was always more of Street Fighter guy than a Mortal Kombat one (even though you can find way more MK material on Fanboys, like this, this and this). However, I'm completely in the dark when it comes to this character and the release of the game itself.

I was a huge fan of Street Fighter II back in my youth, having watched the gloriously awful Jean-Claude Van Damme movie (which I still want to rewatch again for a Fanboys Anonymous FanTracks podcast) and played the game itself and some of its variations.

Side note: How many versions of this game are out there? Good lord. Street Fighter II Champion Edition. Street Fighter II Turbo. Super Street Fighter II. Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Hyper Street Fighter II. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. There's even a Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior game like this. Shout out to Xavier Woods naming his trombone Francesca II Turbo.

But while I'm out of the loop for this on a personal level, that doesn't mean everyone else is, and WWE should be trying to do these sort of promotional crossover tie-ins far more often to tap into markets that may want to transition to becoming fans of professional wrestling.

Obviously, a fighting game already has combat in it, so there's your synergy. But it doesn't have to be this or Ronda Rousey portraying Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11 (or Thea Trinidad dressing up even in that video as Jade—she's certainly no newcomer to killing it at cosplay) for there to be room for cross-promotion.

We just saw a lackluster Mountain Dew Pitch Black match at Royal Rumble between Bray Wyatt and LA Knight. While the segment itself went over like a lead balloon in many ways, there was potential for it to work.

Every business looks to maximize their revenue, and I'd imagine WWE makes quite a bit from these more in-depth deals compared to a quick on-air commercial plug where the commentary team tells everyone to pick up the latest KFC bucket of chicken or to watch the

Surely, having a more prominent spot on the show leads to a higher price tag, and I think WWE is in a rare position where they can get away with doing more of these—and well—going forward.

Keep in mind, I don't think we should have awful segments like Vince McMahon and the Cleopatra Egg from Red Notice at Survivor Series 2021. That led to something important with Austin Theory, but only in a roundabout way, and it was ridiculous.

I'm talking more of Kane carrying around a hook in WWE that he uses in his See No Evil film, and more things like how AEW had the Cracker Barrel Clash to showcase Darby Allin doing his coffin drop with the trademark barrel.

Pro wrestling is silly, gimmicky and ridiculous. Let the sports entertainment shine and turn into the skid sometimes, like how WWE can do a Miracle on 34th Street Fight around Christmas.

Instead of just having Kevin Patrick say multiple times for people to check out Batista's new film Knock at the Cabin film coming out this week (which I'll be seeing and might write a review of, so stay tuned), let's have a TRUE tie-in when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 comes out in a few months. Ideally, put Batista in the Hall of Fame this year, as he was supposed to be inducted in 2020 anyway and this is Hollywood. Then, have the GOTG cast appear on Raw and do something funny like The Miz tries to audition to be in the MCU as something like Wonder Man—a Marvel character that has already been cast, but the role is an actor and they can even say in the promo that they've already started filming. By the way, The Miz should've been Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat to circle back to that. Then, Batista can lay him out to pop the crowd.

Instead of Hardy just performing his theme for the Royal Rumble (thumbs down), put a musician in the mix that can play a wrestler's entrance theme, or get involved in an angle.

Dexter Lumis should absolutely be part of a gimmick match to tie into something in the horror/thriller genre. We've had Liv Morgan on Chucky and that character's helped promote Halloween Havoc, so it's not like WWE isn't interested in promoting things with a more violent edge.

Are there any America's Next Top Model shows that still air anymore? If so, Maximum Male Models needs to do something with that.

How did Sasha Banks appear on The Mandalorian and wasn't wearing her character's costume as ring gear?!

And for that matter, if Zelina Vega is going to be a Street Fighter character and eliminate Xia Li from the Royal Rumble, why not have Xia Li dress up as Chun-Li.

The point is, WWE has a near endless supply of creative ways they can do promotional tie-ins, make a ton of money, and not actually come off as obnoxious or annoying as they do when you're watching a match and they just have the commentary team say HEY EVERYONE, BUY A SNICKERS CANDY BAR!

AUTHOR OF THIS POST: ANTHONY MANGO

The founder, editor-in-chief, head writer, podcast host, and more for Smark Out Moment and all branches under A Mango Tree including Fanboys Anonymous. Tony Mango is not just a pundit/analyst, but also a creative director/consultant, media manager and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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