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Logan Paul is trying to take down WWE the same way he took down YouTube


Logan Paul mounted a camel in Saudi Arabia to take on the Tribal Chief, who he’ll wrestle—yes, even try to frog through a table if necessary—and attempt to win the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in his third pro wrestling match.

If that seems like too much to swallow, welcome to the world of Logan Paul.

The YouTuber-turned-boxer-turned-pro-wrestler doesn’t do anything low-key, and that includes his high forays into the squared circle. The social media sensation, with more followers than Super Bowl viewers, is banking on the kind of cool kid audience advertisers crave for his fight with Roman Reigns on Saturday at WWE’s Crown Jewel event at Mrsool Park in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Paul, 28, saves his prime for WWE main events — winning matches already this year at WrestleMania and SummerSlam — such as this weekend’s lucrative, if not controversial, show that aired live on the Peacock from Saudi Arabia.

“I love stunts, I love kicking ass and I love putting on a show,” Paul told The Associated Press. “It’s the perfect trifecta for someone like me.”

Oh, and if any of Reing’s associates try to use nefarious means to interfere in the match, Paul has brought along support: Jake Paul, fresh off a victory over UFC legend Anderson Silva and going undefeated in his boxing career, will be in corner of his brother to put a blow down and even the odds.

Good luck, because there’s no way Paul is going to make it through the grind.

Yes, even WWE, which has built a sports entertainment empire based on celebrity involvement, with Mr. T, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and rapper Bad Bunny winning WrestleMania matches, had a hard time establishing Paul as a credible opponent to defeat Reigns. The catch is Paul has surgically implanted steel screws and pins in his right arm and is able to take one lucky punch to KO Reigns and return to America as WWE Champion.

“I heard everything you were going to say,” said Paul. “I, a YouTuber who decided to take up boxing, met Floyd Mayweather and he didn’t knock me out. The guy who guaranteed a knockout, the greatest boxer of all time, going up against a YouTuber, couldn’t knock me out. I’ve heard it all before. A new industry, a new sport, I get it. But you’re not going to tell me I’m not going to go there and put on a show.”

And the point is to put on a show.

Logan, of course, gets what in entertainment is what sells, not necessarily wins and losses.

His pinnacle came in July at SummerSlam, when Paul climbed the turnbuckle and soared into the sky for a frog splash — where the performer jumps and wraps his arms and legs to his body before landing chest to chest on his fallen opponent, The Miz.

“I am a pilot. I’ve done stunts all my life. My first YouTube video I ever posted was a stunt video of me and my brother jumping off the refrigerator in the basement,” Paul said.

Paul’s athleticism has undoubtedly endeared him to WWE and is one of the reasons why the company signed him in June and immediately placed him on the platform that most wrestlers have been waiting for for years. But actually the signature was about the product. Paul has 24.2 million followers on Instagram, 6.6 million on Twitter, 23.6 million on YouTube and another 769,000 on Twitch.

He is one of the first influencers before the term was even a thing.

And if there are critics, how he tries to fight, so what?

“I understand the sentiment that existed when outsiders came into the WWE,” Paul said. “Even though I’m an outsider, I’m good at what I do. Indisputably. I’m comfortable in this ring and I’m willing to sacrifice my body for entertainment and the betterment of this organization.”

Paul said fighting three to five times a year is the sweet spot for him to balance his boxing career, social media interests, podcast and other business opportunities. He ordered WWE to send the ring to a warehouse near his home in Puerto Rico so he could train. He relied on former WWE star Shane “The Hurricane” Helms and even WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels to take him from being a rookie to the main roster.

Michaels pointed out that the difference between Paul and other green wrestlers in WWE’s developmental system is that he is taught how to perform in a specific match, not necessarily the basics needed to become a true professional wrestler.

“Because of his popularity, they start with him after five years, but he’s still in the early days of training,” Michaels said.


More AP Sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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