It looks like Dixie Carter is going all in when it comes to melding the worlds of MMA and pro wrestling together. At press time we now have 3 MMA stars in Impact Wrestling in King Mo, Rampage Jackson, and now Tito Ortiz. To be honest, I’ve never really been a huge fan of MMA fighting. I don’t oppose it, and I’ll watch it if I’m at a friends house and they have it on, but it’s nothing I really seek out. And like most of you, I always take an athlete from an outside sport entering our beloved squared circle with a healthy dose of skepticism. We’ve seen actor David Arquette become WCW World Champion, controversial NFL star Pacman Jones become a TNA Tag Team Champion, short stints in WCW by Shaq, Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, Kevin Greene, and even Jay Leno. Snooki & Floyd Mayweather even got matches at WrestleMania. And all of those personalities got their respective companies some considerable press, which was the goal.
Bobby Lashley didn’t pan out for TNA like they would have hoped. Jeff Jarrett had a pretty successful MMA career though in TNA, once even taking on a dojo of 5 years olds in a brutal exhibition that was utterly legendary. But TNA has not given up on having cross-sports superstars apparently. I’m not sure how much of it is Dixie Carter, SpikeTV or Bellator’s idea but having 3 big MMA names in your wrestling company could be big. My only issue is how fair is it for TNA? How much of a share of their time will TNA get as opposed to Bellator? King Mo has yet to wrestle in TNA and Rampage Jackson has yet to even don a suit like the rest of his Main Event Mafia brothers.
At a time when TNA is cutting costs everywhere they can by releasing wrestlers who no doubt would tour more with the company and work for far less money than a household name like Ortiz or Jackson, is it smart financially for TNA to sign them? Are there any conflicting politics over match outcomes with these guys? Can you really have Rampage Jackson win a brutal bout in Bellator while still having him lose cleanly to, say, Bobby Roode? Will they even be on TNA TV on a regular basis to make an impact (no pun intended) or do they have Brock Lesnar deals where we rarely see them? As I mentioned earlier about not really being an MMA guy, the possibilities of them being involved in the sport that I do follow, and more importantly in the company that I follow, intrigues me. Hopefully the outcomes are more positive than negative. When it was announced on Impact recently that there will be a 5-on-5 match at Hardcore Justice with the Main Event Mafia vs. Aces & 8’s, I think I got more excited that I’ll finally get to see Rampage Jackson in the ring than I did at the stipulation that whoever gets pinned has to leave TNA. Really hope Jackson isn’t the one pinned. Dude just got there.
When Bobby Lashley was in TNA, Dixie Carter made it well known that she wanted a duel champion. Someone who was holding both the TNA World title as well as MMA gold. It would be quite a publicity getter too as long as said champion actually displayed both belts at all times and promoted both companies in interviews. It still bugs me that when Hogan first joined TNA, he rarely even mentioned the company during his various media rounds on TV and radio. Hopefully that is something TNA has rectified contract-wise with these high profile stars. In the end though, I’m still skeptical at just how much of their time TNA will get as opposed to Bellator, and how they’ll be used for the wrestling side of things. Definitely another reason to keep watch Impact on Thursdays though. And in the end, that’s the idea.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank this website and the people involved in running it to allow me to resume my column, picking up where I left off nearly 2 years ago. It has been, and continues to be, an honor.