Who is the big TNA Wrestling free agent signing? That question has probably been answered today. Former UFC champion Rampage Jackson has signed a dual contract with TNA and Bellator MMA for what is being called a “landmark partnership.”
“Rampage is a true superstar both inside and outside the MMA cage” Bellator CEO & Chairman Bjorn Rebney said. “The partnership that we’ve created with Quinton is unlike anything that’s ever been done in the sports & entertainment arena and Rampage is the perfect athlete/entertainer to carry it off.”
“Rampage is one of the best known MMA fighters competing today,” said Carter. “He is a true cross-over star and his talent, big personality and popularity among a wide range of fans make him an extraordinary fit for our company,”
“We are thrilled to create this opportunity for one of the greatest athletes and personalities in MMA,” said Kevin Kay, Spike TV President. “Rampage is a proven ratings driver who brings incredible star power to both Bellator and TNA.”
I would be more excited about this signing if TNA and Bellator’s other “landmark signing” didn’t turn out to be a complete flop. King Mo signed a dual contract over a year ago with a lot of hype. Mo has not done a much of anything in TNA at this point and was last seen being knocked out in Bellator. Some people never learn.
TNA president Dixie Carter has been hyping a big free agent signing since last week. The big reveal was supposed to come this Thursday on Impact. Needless to say we’re a little early here. I don’t think Rampage will do anything more than waste television time for TNA. Anyone that has watched Rampage in recent years has seen a guy who has appeared unmotivated and at the end of his career. All Rampage did in recent years in the UFC was complain. I can’t imagine how happy and motivated he’ll be to learn how to wrestle while training to fight in the twilight of his career.
TNA are in the midst of one of their worst ratings periods in recent years. Fans are not interested in the product whether it’s Aces & 8s, Hulk Hogan, or just general disinterest across the board. I can’t imagine any of those fans getting excited about this. Putting any resources into this guy at such a critical time in the company just seems ridiculous to me.
It’s funny because the most obvious choice for a hybrid pro wrestling/MMA free agent was Josh Barnett and it appeared nobody was interested. Barnett already knows wrestling, is a fantastic talker, and has a decent chance of beating some guys in Bellator. Why start from scratch teaching Rampage and Mo wrestling when they could have immediately pushed Barnett with confidence?
That said, I am inclined to think that this may be a swerve and Rampage may not be the big signing Dixie has teased. Why would Dixie tease this thing for a week only to be scooped by a press release from her own network? Either they were on different pages, word was about to leak out, or Dixie has another signee she’ll be revealing on Impact. At least I hope so because Rampage is not going to be much of a difference maker.
Check back Wednesday for an update after the Rampage Jackson press conference. It ought to be good!
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