Big news from Spike TV, as the company revealed on Tuesday that it had come to terms with former UFC star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
According to MMA Weekly (via Yahoo! Sports):
The agreement was jointly announced Tuesday by Bjorn Rebney, Bellator CEO; Kevin Kay, Spike TV President; and Dixie Carter, TNA Wrestling President.
“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 and entertainment arena and Rampage is the perfect athlete/entertainer to carry it off.”
“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.”
This announcement comes on the heels of TNA’s honcho Dixie Carter announcing via Twitter that she nabbed a “BIG free agent.”
This deal allows Jackson to be a hybrid mixed martial artist/pro-wrestler, as he will also fight for Bellator MMA. It should also be noted that this marks TNA’s third attempt at such a venture. Unfortunately, the company has not had much luck in these types of deals, as both Bobby Lashley and King Mo provided little to nothing for the company’s product or following.
Personally, I hope that Rampage still has enough left in the tank to pull this off. Let’s face it—at 34 years old, his body has been through more than most men of his age. Fortunately, TNA’s schedule should easily allow him to train for future MMA bouts.
Overall, Jackson is definitely the biggest active mainstream name that the company has landed in quite some time. Ultimately, I have a feeling that this signing will probably benefit Bellator more than TNA, as Rampage is a mega-star in the MMA world and a virtual nobody in terms of pro wrestling.
Don’t get me wrong, he is very talented and has enjoyed an amazing career inside the Octagon, but we all know pro wrestling is a different animal and requires its stars to have just as much personality as they have mat skills. That said, Jackson's unique personality could potentially translate to entertaining work on the mic.
In the end, this is just the beginning of a multi-year journey that should give TNA the boost it needs to be taken seriously.