John LaRocca on why Bellator/TNA should sign Lashley
This past Saturday at Gladiator Warrior Challenge in Kansas City, Bobby Lashley defeated Matthew Larson in 98 seconds with a rear naked choke. Lashley said after the fight that he wanted to remain active in MMA saying "If I'm going to fight, I need to fight. I need to stay active. I need to do something big now. If not, I need to hang it up and just do stuff with my gym. I'm fighting this fight, and I think I have two in August that were offered to me. Hopefully if I don't get hurt, I can stay active and just keep going." Lashley also has stated that he does not want to give up his pro wrestling career. With that, Bellator MMA, Spike TV and TNA Wrestling is the perfect place for the former Wrestlemania headliner to go. Spike TV has already signed King Mo and Rampage Jackson to do a cross promotion with both Bellator and TNA.
Benefit for Lashley: Bellator will keep Lashley active in MMA. Lashley stated after his fight on June 7th over Kevin Asplund at Titan Fighting Champion 25 that he wanted to drop from heavyweight to Light Heavyweight. If he could get to 205, then that division would be good for Lashley since that is Bellator's weakest division. With King Mo and Rampage in Bellator, Light Heavyweights are going to be featured. If they go to more four man tournaments, they have more tournaments on a regular basis. If Lashley is successful in Bellator, he would be in demand from the UFC and since he wants to continue to do pro wrestling, WWE could possibly be calling again. With TNA, Lashley could get his pro wrestling kick still and also still take big paydays at independent gigs.
Benefit for Bellator: Lashley is still a recognizable name from his time with the WWE. When he fights, it still draws interest from the pro wrestling and MMA community. With Lashley in the Bellator cage, it would help with the ratings. It will be nothing major like a huge increase , but he would give the ratings a boost.
Benefit for TNA: Lashley is still are recognizable name in pro wrestling. His first run in TNA wasn't memorable, but then again many things in TNA do to their poor planning and execution. Unlike Rampage and King Mo, Lashley can be put right in the ring and perform well. Lashley is still active on the independent wrestling scene and his capable of having solid matches. If Lashley is successful in Bellator, then it could possibly bring some MMA viewers to watch TNA.
Benefit for Spike: If Spike, Bellator and TNA all work together and play this smart, they could have a solid special event on their hands. The big angle in TNA right now is Sting's Main Event Mafia versus the Aces & Eights. I would add Lashley to Sting's stable. Already announced in Sting's stable is MMA star Rampage Jackson. Over a few months you could build up a confrontation with Lashley and Rampage. Maybe Lashley goes heel or Rampage goes heel. Or simply, these two guys just can't get along within the stable. This builds up to a big grudge match inside the Bellator cage. Spike TV could promote a special night of live TNA wrestling action and Bellator MMA. I would make it a two and half our joint show. Open up with an hour of TNA wrestling featuring a couple of big matches that have been built up too with TNA top talent. After the TNA hour, feature a half hour of hype for Rampage and Lashley. In Bellator's hour, feature a title match featuring the Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler, Bellators best fighter. Then the main event between Rampage and Lashley would be promoted as a big MMA grudge match.
This way everyone gets a rub. Spike puts on a special presentation on their network, and gives TNA and Bellator the cross over audience that it is seeking. To make the Rampage versus Lashley grudge match to work you need TNA to work with Bellator. Personally, TNA has never showed me they can put on a successful angle. When TNA is onto something good, they always find away to screw it up. Using pro wrestling to set up a MMA grudge match is a delicate situation, but could be successful if done right. This type of angle would not be something you quickly write up. It would take a lot of thought and planning from everyone involved.
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