Bruce Lee is arguably the greatest martial arts actor who ever existed. The combination of his absurd skills, groundbreaking movies, surging popularity and untimely death have made him a mythical pop culture figure, on par with legends like Marilyn Manson, Elvis Presley and James Dean — as well as being the guy pretty much every martial arts star after him will forever be compared to.
However, there is one particular avenue of pop culture that the jeet kune do master is yet to conquer: the WWE. Why would a legendary martial artist like Lee have anything to do with Vince McMahon’s pro wrestling juggernaut? It’s an excellent question, but it turns out there is a connection. As of late, it seems that the sports entertainment federation may have been looking into Lee’s filmography for inspiration, with his final movie, Game of Death, as a particular point of interest. Let’s take a look at how Bruce Lee’s Game of Death is changing the WWE.
The age-old story of a tall building and several angry men
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The WWE have been leaning pretty heavily on pre-recorded matches as of late, and as Matthew Ross of CBR tells us, this has given them the opportunity to make thing more cinematic than usual. Such matches have included the Undertaker’s “Boneyard Match,” as well as Bray Wyatt’s “Firefly Fun House Match,” and evidently, the results have been good enough to keep on keeping on. This is where Bruce Lee’s Game of Death comes in. The movie centers on a martial arts master who has to fight his way to the top of a building, facing a series of opponents along the way. WWE’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match 2020 had the exact same concept, as the contestants had to climb the “corporate ladder” instead of regular ladders … by wrestling their way to the roof of the WWE headquarters.
As Ross notes, the similarities between Game of Death and this fresh, new cinematic take on one of the WWE’s most popular events seem to indicate that the WWE creative team has been looking into the movie for inspiration, as well as, possibly, other action movies. If that’s what they’re doing, it’s a pretty cool direction, and there’s certainly a huge pool of inspiration to draw from. Hey, maybe they’ll base the next one on Bloodsport, and have fighters face each other in the ring in a series of matches for the championship … oh, right.
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