by Amish Patel - June 14, 2013
A few weeks ago, TNA president, Dixie Carter, tweeted that the company signed a free agent, which caused a lot of discussion among fans as to just who was the latest signing for the promotion. Former World Heavyweight champion, Dave Batista responded to the rumor on twitter, saying he was a “WWE guy” and he also mentioned he was filming a movie. There was also speculation that former WCW world champion, Bill Goldberg might have signed with TNA, but he said that he would not sign with the company, while taking a cheap shot at the promotion. Most fans thought the announcement would take place at the most recent pay-per-view, but it was actually last week that it was announced that mixed martial arts fighter and former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson signed by the company.
Along with the TNA deal, Jackson also signed a deal to fight for the Bellator promotion, which is similar to the deal Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal signed last year. Rampage made his TNA debut last week and according to online reports, made another appearance that was taped to air this week, but there’s a few things to consider about the Rampage deal. Most importantly, is Rampage still relevant? Don’t get me wrong, Rampage has notoriety from his time in the UFC, but his profile has declined in recent years, including some bizarre incidents outside of the octagon and a rather disappointing conclusion to his UFC career so will people still pay to see Rampage? In 2008, Rampage was involved in a hit and run incident and was arrested, but later the charges were dropped after he completed community service. The following year, Jackson posted on his website that he would “retire” after the conclusion of his UFC contract and he was scheduled to fight Rashad Evans in his hometown of Memphis, TN at UFC 107, but Rampage declined the fight to film a role in “The A-Team” movie. It was announced in 2010 that Jackson resigned a contact with the UFC, but he went 2-4 during his most recent run in the organization and he had some public disagreements with UFC president, Dana White in the media the past few years. The bottom line is, with any major signing by TNA, is will it generate revenue for the company?
The other major piece of the puzzle here, is will the 35 year old Jackson be able to successfully transition to pro wrestling? One of the major criticisms of Rampage during his MMA career is his lack of training for major fights so it seems doubtful that he will be motivated to train for both MMA and pro wrestling. Also, King Mo has reportedly only wrestled a match in Ohio Valley Wrestling and despite signing a TNA deal last year, hasn’t actually wrestled in TNA so if Rampage trains to wrestle, will he actually have a match? Again, I will say that Rampage Jackson has a name and it’s quite possible that he could draw for TNA, but considering his lack of training for MMA fights and his lackluster fight record recently, I don’t think people will pay to see Rampage on TNA PPV and he probably won’t have a major pro wrestling career. It will be interesting to see if Rampage actually wrestling a match and this will probably be another case of TNA paying a lot of money for a former star that won’t draw for the company.
Until next week
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