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Josh Barnett Channels Dusty Rhodes’ Hard Times Wrestling Promo

Josh Barnett used his Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix open workout to put on a pro wrestling exhibition. Now what good would a pro wrestling clinic be without a promo to close out the show? Barnett closed his exhibition with a fantastic promo, inspired by one of the all time pro wrestling greats.

I have never been a big fan of Josh Barnett. I always found him overrated as a fighter and felt he was a lot more bark than bite. Even worse was Barnett’s handling of his CSAC license suspension after failing a drug test. However, I must say that yesterday’s exhibition has got me on the Barnett bandwagon. I still think he is an overrated fighter, but as an entertainer he is one of the best in MMA.

Josh Barnett was given time on Thursday as part of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix media day to conduct a public workout. Barnett took that opportunity to show off his wrestling skills…pro wrestling skills. Barnett showed off his best hammer locks, sells, and lock ups with pro wrestler Erik Hammer to the MMA media. Barnett even finished off his exhibition with an old school pro wrestling promo. An old school pro wrestling that was inspired or stolen from the American Dream Dusty Rhodes.

Josh Barnett cut a promo about hard times. Yes the same hard times that Dusty Rhodes yelled about in 1985 days before Starrcade which happens to be one of my all-time favorite pro wrestling promos. Barnett changed the wording around to apply to him and his situation as a Strikeforce fighter after the UFC takeover. Barnett’s promo was so good that some in the MMA media even offered Barnett a round of applause when he finished. Regardless, he certainly has good taste.

“I’ve been sitting on the sidelines, sitting there watching everybody go out and fight. Hard times have been on Josh Barnett. Dealing with athletic commissions. Everybody saying, ‘You did this, and you did that. You’re the problem for this.’ That’s hard times. Hard times for my family. Hard times for my friends. Hard times by me. Hard times not being able to get a fight. Hard times is the company, waking up one day, is saying they’ve been sold out to your competitor! Not knowing what the hell you’re going to do. Where’s my contract at? Where’s my money? Where’s my security? Who says I’m going to get that shot now? Having that on your mind? That’s hard times.”

“And then you get this big old Brett Rogers in front of you. He thinks he knows what’s tough. He thinks he’s going to make a name off of my head. So I’ve got to get up every morning, break of dawn. I’ve got to get those running shoes on. I’ve got to hit that concrete; I’ve got to get those miles under my feet. My knees are aching, my body is sore. I’ve got guys like ‘Hammer’ beating on me every single day. I’ve got body breaking down, my mind getting pushed, feeling the effects of 14 years of fighting – feeling the effects of trying to put yourself in the best condition you can be in. Waking up every day having to deal with that? That’s what hard times is about.”

“I’m going to tell you what Brett Rogers. Come Saturday, American Airlines Arena? I’m going to give you a lesson in hard times. I’m going to take all that anguish, all that pain, everything that I have been through, everything all my family has been through, everything all my coaches have been through – I’m going to put that on you, Brett Rogers. I’m going to show you exactly what hard times is about. Who wants to see that? Not you, Brett Rogers. You do not want to see that.” – translation courtesy of MMAJunkie.com

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For those of you that don’t know, Barnett does have a fairly accomplished career as a pro wrestler in Japan. Barnett joined New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2003. Barnett and former “Radical” Perry Saturn went undefeated one tour as a tag team. As a matter of a fact Barnett just wrestled as recently as February 5 as part of Antonio Inoki’s IGF heavyweight title tournament.

My hunch is that this kind of video is going to motivate a guy like Brett Rogers. On the other hand, Dana White has spoken very highly of the former UFC heavyweight champion for quite a while now. White said that he would bring Barnett back if he beat Fedor Emelianenko in their proposed fight a few years ago. White even picked Barnett to win the Grand Prix tournament. Win or lose if Barnett can create some kind of buzz, the chances are good that he would wind up back in the UFC at some point. Maybe at the end of the day a future in the UFC means more to him than the Grand Prix?

Is Josh Barnett taking Brett Rogers too lightly or just having a little fun? We will find out soon enough.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric’s work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

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