King Mo vs Rampage Jackson – A Worked Shoot
In a recent fanpost, I explained that I used to be a big pro wrestling fan many years ago, and it served as a gateway into MMA for me. And because I have that kind of conditioning, that everything is fake, what took place last night after the main event of Bellator 120 screamed "worked shoot".
You probably already know what that term means, but if not I'll explain it. In pro wrestling, a "work" is something that was written and planned out. It covers everything from how and when a match is going to end to what a guy might say while talking on the microphone. A "shoot" is when something is happening for real that wasn't scripted or anticipated. That could be one wrestler refusing to follow the planned finish or touching on an off limits topic like another persons drug abuse or their ex-wife, that sort of thing.
Shoots almost never ever happen, things are always under very tight control and wrestlers are normally professional enough to do their job and not throw a wrench into things. But because the people who write the show love the reaction it can get, you end up getting what are known as worked shoots.
A worked shoot is more or less a wrestler breaking the 4th wall so to speak. They will say things that would be said in a shoot, like "So and so is only the champ because he's married to the boss' daughter", but in reality it was all planned out ahead of time. You can always tell when this happens because they don't suddenly cut to commercial, they stay focused on the action.
Now I'm hardly the first or only person who saw one of the numerous promos Bellator put together for this fight and said "That looks so scripted and so fake", but last night was kind of the icing on the cake for me. They spent months having Muhammed Lawal and Quinton Jackson say to each other "I hate you, you're a punk ass bitch, and I'm going to knock your ass out".
In addition to the approximately 338 "different" video packages they put together, they also did the typical get in each others faces and then someone starts a shoving match while yelling. If you've ever watched any pro wrestling feud, it couldn't be more paint by the numbers if they tried. Bellator was trying really really hard to convince us that these two hated each other and when these two titans stepped into the cage, it was going to produce no end of fireworks and action.
What we actually got looked like anything but the "grudge match of the century" it was promoted as. Quinton fought exactly as he's done since before I even started following MMA, slowly plod forward and look for that big one punch KO. Mo looked even worse than he did in his last fight with Newton, he was completely gassed out after the first round, and after that his wrestling became almost completely ineffective. He also resorted to just winging every motion he made, be it a punch, kick, or takedown attempt he would just flail around and often completely miss his target.
I'm not going to get into who I thought won, because I honestly do not care, this fight was like getting your desert first with Chandler/Brooks and then being told you have to eat a bowl of rotten brussel sprouts.
Anyway, by now you've seen or heard what Mo said after the winner was announced. He called both Bjorn and Quinton "dick riders" and told his boss to fire him if he didn't like it. Meanwhile Quinton proposed the idea of a rematch. And then there was more yelling, more name calling, and more being held apart so they don't REALLY kick each others asses. Blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda.
Now this is where I truly believe Bellator thought they were being really cool, slick, and edgy. It's my belief that both men were basically told "Whoever wins, you say you want a rematch. Whoever loses, you insult him and the boss, say whatever you think will get the biggest reaction".
Now don't take this to mean I think the fight itself was a work, not at all, it was ugly as hell but it didn't scream "setup" to me. No, I'm only talking about the post fight remarks made by both parties. It was a worked shoot, designed to setup and drum up interest in a very much unwanted second and probably third fight between Mo and Jackson.
It's bullshit. Nothing more, nothing less.