After a year of speculation it was announced that Kimbo Slice is taking his talents (or lack thereof) to pro wrestling. Kimbo Slice vs. Shinichi Suzukawa is signed for IGF in Japan on February 5. The match will mark Kimbo’s wrestling debut and possible road to WrestleMania.
Kimbo Slice’s career has been in limbo since being released by the UFC last year. Slice’s UFC run was not very successful inside the octagon, yet he was a ratings hit on television drawing five million viewers to watch The Ultimate Fighter ever with his fight vs. Roy Nelson. Slice went 1-1 in the UFC (1-2 if you count TUF) and was about as unimpressive as it gets in all three of his fights.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Kimbo Slice was cut by the UFC after yet another lackluster effort against fellow The Ultimate Fighter alum Matt Mitrione at UFC 113. The cut did surprise some in the MMA media world since Slice was an unequivocal ratings success anytime he fought on Spike TV. Prior to joining the UFC, Slice was also a big ratings draw for Elite XC on CBS. Even with his poor efforts inside the octagon, some speculated that the UFC would keep him under contract simply for ratings. That did not happen.
Rumors immediately started to swirl about Slice joining Strikeforce following his release from the UFC. CBS already had ratings success with Slice in Elite XC so the signing seemed obvious. Whether it was unrealistic contract demands or bad blood left over with Scott Coker the deal did not happen. There was also speculation that Slice could go into boxing but that never happened either. The pro wrestling deal makes sense as it is quite likely that Slice could cash in big time in Japan as there have been reports for months that Slice was being heavily recruited for pro wrestling in Japan for big money.
Slice became an instant hit in MMA due to his viral You Tube videos which featured Slice knocking out a series of challengers in backyards and parking lots for $1,500. The public intrigue resulted in big Elite XC CBS ratings and interest when he fought live on television. Dana White surprised the MMA world when he signed Slice to the UFC and put him on The Ultimate Fighter. The intrigue was huge as I can tell you as a website owner, the hits I received for Slice and UFC related articles when he signed were huge. Unfortunately Slice’s charisma and intimidating look never paid off inside of the octagon and at the end of the day if you can’t fight you don’t belong in the UFC.
Personally I think Slice may have gotten a bit of a raw deal in the UFC if not downright dirty. On an episode of TUF, Slice went to a doctor who told him he had arthritis in his knee. The second that aired on television his MMA career was over. Not that he was hard to figure out, but the blue print on beating Slice was laid out on national television. If this were any other fighter I am not sure that the UFC would have aired it. Dana White can cut out or put in whatever he wants. The second that clip aired on TV I knew his career was over and whether it was a dirty move or not on the UFC’s part, ethically it should have never aired.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]As a pro wrestler Slice definitely has immediate potential. I could easily see him wrestling once or twice for the WWE. Maybe his match in February is a tune up or audition for a WrestleMania spot? I don’t think Slice would ever work as a full time wrestler but for one or two shots he would absolutely draw interest. TNA Wrestling would be another option as well and with the Spike TV connection, maybe both work out a deal together to split his salary?
Slice’s opponent will be Shinichi Suzukawa otherwise known as the former sumo wrestler who got kicked out of the sport for possessing cannabis. I don’t expect an exciting or action packed match, but the atmosphere in Japan seeing Kimbo wrestling will probably override the negatives of the match. At the end of the day as long as the match does a monster rating on television that is all that matters and I could almost bet that it will be a smashing success in that country.
Update – Sadly all of this hype was all for nothing. On February 2, Kimbo Slice pulled out of the match citing “injury.” For a guy that was marketed to be a total bad a**, I find it almost ironic that he got hurt training for a fake wrestling match.
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