You said yourself you don't study the likes of jujitsu. That's what I meant by not understanding all aspects. Personally I've watched a Russian samba team face Brazilian jujitsu team in competition (non-mma) and loved it. I agree with the rest of what you said on Pride. The first few were nothing compared to the last few in terms of entertainment.
Heath was just one example I pulled off the top of my head. Fedor was relatively unknown, Heath I believe was coming off a title shot loss. Heath was a force back then and Fedor destroyed him with ease.
It may not bring back nostalgia for you, but it does for a lot of people. I've watched every single Pride FC fight there was. Seeing two of its biggest stars fighting again isn't a surprising nostalgia trip.
I got really into BJJ when I was enlisted. The Army's current hand-to-hand combat program was a remodeled some years back in a collaborative effort of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the Gracie Family. There's four levels of Instructor certification, to which I completed three. You don't really stand up until the 3rd portion of the 2nd phase. BJJ definitely changes your perspective on being in a fight and if you take anything away from it....you learn to control your breathing and not panic if you end up on your back.
As a spectator though....meh, I have to be the typical Schmo and root for fists to fly.
And for the record, I cannot stand the Gracie's. A big reason I'm such a Saku homer.