Sunday 13 May 2012

Mo Bang For Your Buck

Before Friday morning I had never heard of Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal or Bellator Fighting Championships. Then I saw a press release from Spike TV proudly mentioning both in relation to TNA Wrestling.
Mo, it turns out, is an MMA star with an impressive record of ten wins in twelve fights (also having one draw and one loss). From what I can gather he has little to no training as a pro wrestler but he has an amateur background and is a fan of the business. He certainly appears charismatic enough to stand out in the elaborate world of professional wrestling: sporting a crown before his matches and giving interviews clearly inspired by the Attitude Era Mo is one of a growing number of MMA combatants taking influence from wrestling. He's also one of the better ones at doing so.
A promising start then?
My initial reaction to this story was that Dixie and co. were once again aping WWE, specifically the recent signing of Brock Lesnar. I think this assumption is understandable considering the Orlando outfit's obsession with their main competitor and the very obvious parallels between the King Mo signing and Lesnar’s WWE return. But in fairness it looks like there's more to it than that. Bellator currently airs on MTV2 in the States and will be moving to Spike TV in 2013. The plan is to have Mo regularly appear in TNA (as a wrestler) throughout 2012 in order to encourage MMA fans to check out the wrestling company and expose the fighter to a new audience to aid Bellator next year.

King Mo: a man clearly inspired by professional wrestling
Another potential reason TNA may have agreed to this deal with Bellator is one Dave Bautista’s recent negotiations with the MMA outfit. Best known (obviously) under the name Batista in WWE, Bautista has been plugging away at his mixed martial arts career for a few years now. He's not made anywhere near the impact he was hoping for. A working agreement between Bellator and TNA may be the best thing that could happen to him right now as it would allow him to return to the world of wrestling while still continuing his attempts at fashioning a shoot fighting career for himself.
It goes without saying that TNA would be interested in 'The Animals's' services. TNA is always interested in former WWE talent and Bautista is one of the biggest name free agents currently available to a wrestling organisation. Any appearances at the IMPACT Zone would create a genuine buzz. The question is more would Bautista be interested in appearing for Total Nonstop Action?
It's possible he would be. He has been very outspoken against WWE's current PG direction and has stated he prefers working with as much freedom as possible. TNA may have some pretty insane storylines but it also features blood and swearing, which 'Big Dave' seems to equate to the perfect wrestling formula.
I think it would take a bit of work but TNA could bring him on board. Doing so would give them a new drawing card untainted by their Reverse Midas Touch who could have enjoyable bouts with every single one of their current headline roster and wouldn’t mind putting people over if the loss were handled right. TNA should definitely be trying to bring Bautista on board: if handled correctly he could be a big help to the group.
The Bellator agreement is a big chance for TNA. It remains to be seen whether Mo is any good as a wrestler or if he'll entice some MMA fans to check out TNA but there's certainly a lot of potential in the cross promotion. If Mo turns out to be as good in the ring as he is on the microphone it could do him and TNA a lot of good. If Bautista is brought on board too all the better.

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