UFC/TNA Rumors: UFC's Josh Barnett expected to debut tonight on Impact Wrestling
What’s the Story?
Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online reports that UFC fighter and professional wrestler Josh Barnett is expected to make his appearance on the TNA television tapings that are set to air tonight.
The belief is that he will have some confrontation with TNA superstar Bobby Lashley on tonight’s episode. This will mark the debut of Barnett in a US wrestling promotion.
In case you didn’t know...
Barnett began his pro wrestling career in New Japan Pro Wrestling from 2003 to 2004 fighting for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. He also wrestled for Antonio Inoki’s promotion Inoki Genome Federation, where he fought Lashley in a tournament to crown a new IGF Heavyweight Champion.
He is currently a color commentator for NJPW’s weekly program alongside Jim Ross on AXS TV.
Barnett began fighting in UFC back in 2000 and eventually went on to defeat UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and became one of the youngest UFC Heavyweight Champions in history at the age of 24.
Barnett is currently on suspension by the USADA after testing positive for banned substances. This marks his fourth suspension by the UFC.
The heart of the matter
Barnett has a clear history of involvement both in and out of wrestling, so this will likely be received a lot better when compared to previous MMA fighters making appearances on Impact like Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson.
Assuming that the reports of Lashley and Barnett feuding are true, this feud’s development over the next few weeks will determine its success in TNA. The wrestlers have history, but the fans aren’t very aware of it, so seeing it play out in TNA could go either way for the promotion.
While bringing in an MMA fighter could help to bring in more viewers for the show, TNA must walk a fine line with this feud. Though Barnett has a lot more experience than Jackson and Ortiz ever did in wrestling, the fact that those storylines failed with MMA fighters in the mix could make fans less interested in the feud overall.
The best bet for TNA would be for them to play up the fact that Barnett has had prior wrestling experience, build him up as a dominant fighter, and hope the fans don’t turn on the feud based on prior experiences.
Assuming the fans don’t turn on it, then this could help invigorate TNA and add something different from the storylines and feuds going on currently.
Barnett’s commentary partner, Jim Ross, took to twitter to congratulate him on what he hinted at as a possible TNA debut.
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