First of all, I would like to take care of some business by thanking my good friend Tactix for supporting me over the past few weeks and months. He knows what has been going on in my life and not once has he hounded me about writing. For your friendship and your support Tactix, I will always be grateful.
Now, on to my thoughts about last night’s big August 1st reveal. It was announced last night that the August 1st Warning was in fact, Tito Ortiz. The moment I saw who it was one word popped into my head “brilliant.” Now, as Tactix spoke of before, this is definitely not the first time an MMA fighter has stepped into the ring. Tank Abbot, Ken Shamrock, Brock Lesnar and Dan “The Beast” Severn have all stepped into the pro wrestling “arena,” if you will. There is another professional wrestler that I would be remiss for not mentioning. This man is the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the only man to fight an MMA match with a luchador mask: Alberto Del Rio. Of course, he fought under the name Dos Caras Jr. Del Rio, real name Alberto Rodriguez, had a professional MMA record of 9 wins and 5 losses.
I will admit when I first found out about MMA fighters stepping into the world of professional wrestling, I was cautiously optimistic. Long before Tank Abbot or Ken Shamrock stepped foot into the ring I had seen footage of the blood sport called MMA. To be honest, I was hooked from the beginning. I don’t know if it is my fascination with violence, or just a sick need to see some cocky guy get his butt kicked every once in a while, but I knew as soon as I saw UFC 1 that this was going to be a sport that with a little modification that was going to blow up into something spectacular. Love him or hate him, Dana White along with the Fertitta brothers have definitely been the saviors of the sport.
The interesting thing about this whole melding of MMA and professional wrestling is, though it may be a fairly new concept in America; the Japanese have also been doing it successfully for quite some time. Antonio Inoki, used to own New Japan Pro Wrestling, was a wrestler himself, and then went on to promote shows like NJPW: Ultimate Crush that featured both professional wrestling matches and MMA matches on the same card. Manowaman is something of a legend in Japan. He first started his rise to fame in organizations like PRIDE and DREAM, two huge Japanese MMA organizations. Then he set his sights on the world of professional wrestling by defeating Necro Butcher in 2010 and it is believed that the fifth generation of Tiger Mask, a long time and very well loved professional wrestling character in Japan, is Manowaman. There are plenty more examples of MMA and professional wrestling bleeding over into each other in Japan, but those are the most well known.
But what does this mean for TNA? Why has TNA decided to bring King Mo, Rampage Jackson, and Tito Ortiz into the fringe all of the sudden? It’s clear they have some sort of partnership with Bellator MMA. At first, I thought maybe it was just a fluke when King Mo was first hired on to TNA. But then, Rampage Jackson was hired on and it was announced that at the next Bellator PPV his opponent was going to be none other than “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz.
Frankly, I love the idea that these two companies have come to some kind of agreement. I wouldn’t even mind if Ortiz and Rampage never stepped foot in an actual match, but it would make since for Ortiz to align himself with the Aces & Eights since the Main Event Mafia has Rampage on their side. I don’t know if King Mo, Tito Ortiz or Rampage Jackson will make that big of a splash in the world of professional wrestling, but I am certainly not against it at all and frankly the fact that Rampage and Ortiz have decided to start this journey, makes me like them a little more.
Whether it helps the storyline move along, or just a ploy to advertise Bellator's biggest matches, frankly, I feel it's genius and I can't wait to see more.