John LaRocca talks the Spike signing of Rampage Jackson
When it was announced that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson signed with Bellator and TNA this week, it left a lot of people in the wrestling world and MMA world scratching their heads. The only positive I can see is Rampage fighting on Bellator for the first time will give Bellator their best rating in the companies history. If he wins and keeps winning, then this has been a positive signing for Bellator and Spike TV. My concern is I don't see Rampage winning. Rampage is 34 years old. That doesn't seem old, for MMA that is very old. Rampage has been fighting since 1999. His body has been through the wars in PRIDE and also in the UFC. He has lost his last three fights and in his final fight in the UFC against Glover Teixeira on January 26th of this year, he looked very slow and old.
Bellator is very weak in the Light Heavyweight division, but we also thought Bellator and TNA's other big cross promotion "star" in King Mo would have a easy time running through the competition. King Mo was knocked out by the very underrated Emanuel Newton in the semifinals in spectacular fashion this past Bellator season. I am surprised Rampage who has a lot of wear and tear from years of fighting, would want to enter a tournament formant. Bellator has done a smart move and reducing the tournament formats from eight fighters to four. For a younger and hungrier fighter, competing frequently is no problem, but Rampage is not young anymore. Bellator could feed him a can like they did with King Mo in his first round fight against Przemyslaw Mysiala on January 24th of this year. But, for Bellator to win respect as a top MMA promotion, booking cans like Mysiala is not the way to go.
I see no positive for TNA at all. Maybe if TNA can get creative, but I am sorry I have no faith in TNA and their creative team. I can see Rampage doing a lame enforcer gimmick possibly for Hulk Hogan against Aces & Eights, but that is about it. Well, I can see TNA doing that. The best thing TNA could do is book a match between Rampage and Bully Ray. Start off Rampage aligned with Hulk Hogan. Book the Ace's & Eights to give Hogan a vicious beating. Rampage challenges Bully Ray to a fight in revenge for his good friend Hulk Hogan. Bully Ray declines saying Rampage couldn't hang with a pro wrestler in a fight. This eventually leads to Rampage and Bully Ray being signed. I strongly believe the promo ability by both men would draw interest and even help with PPV buys. Again, if done correctly and with TNA, we know there a slight chance of them doing anything correctly.
Reality is that Rampage will give Bellator their highest rating ever once, but that will be it. TNA will have no clue on what to do with him. Rampage will be happy with his nice big check. What is this? WCW 1999
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