The latest guy to go is Chris Daniels. Which is a particular shame. As Bad Influence he and Frankie Kazarian were one of the best acts TNA had access to. They could have done some good stuff with The Wolves. And I don’t just mean matches. If anyone in TNA is (or was) going to get a decent verbal exchange out of Davey Richards it’s Christopher Daniels.
|Coming to a company not named TNA soon!|
The bright side is that he could return to Ring of Honor or go and work for EVOLVE Inc. The former would (maybe) help ROH with their imminent proper-pay-per-view venture. Both would give us some fresh matches, especially if Kazarian were in tow. Personally I’d quite like to see Bad Influence against reDRagon.
Kurt Angle is the next significant name TNA will be negotiating with. Going on years of service Angle is actually a TNA guy more than a WWE guy. His eight with TNA beats his seven with WWE. That’s not likely to play a factor in his re-signing or departure though. Basically TNA can only afford to pay peanuts (literally according to some fictitious reports I’ve just made up) and Angle, being in his forties and a legitimate draw for any wrestling company on the planet, is unlikely to accept that. In fairness he shouldn’t have to: despite being worn down physically he remains a talented wrestler willing to and capable of helping to create new stars.
Angle is almost certainly leaving. My assumption is that he’ll return to WWE, although if his physical condition is so bad that he can’t pass their strict medical tests to wrestle (and going solely on his current appearance that’s not impossible) and convince people he’s not as barmy as he seemed a few years back he may go elsewhere. Like ‘Double J’s’ Global Force Wrestling.
At this point it seems obvious that guys like Angle are out of TNA’s price range. To be honest I don’t think they should be that worried about losing him. If Kurt Angle was capable of attracting viewers to Impact Wrestling he’d have been doing so since 2006. He’s been away from WWE for so long that he has no cache left with which to attract non-TNA viewers.
The people TNA should be concentrating on securing for their roster are young talents capable of putting on great matches. The time for having a bundle of stars from another company hanging around are gone. TNA has built up enough of a core fan base (it doesn’t rival WWE’s and probably only barely rivals that of ROH, but it’s there and it’s loyal) that it can rely on a base rating without supposed big names. Frankly I’d be surprised if they’re not already at that base level: it’s hard to imagine a wrestling show with the support TNA has drawing figures that are much worse than Impact’s.
The trouble is that prospective signees can see the trouble TNA’s in. They’ve probably got friends in the company telling them about it too. There’s very little good will left for TNA, and that’s only going to get worse when GFW launches. It’s unrealistic for TNA to expect wrestlers to agree to exclusive deals with little money on offer (which we know is the case because of the cost cutting) and with house show tours being sporadic. Sign with TNA and you’ll work a few times a month and be forced to turn down other appearances from which you could be earning some cash.
Those other appearances are something that would actually help TNA. Their wrestlers would be getting seen (and they would be TNA’s wrestlers because they’re the ones with the national TV deal), spreading the TNA word. Just as importantly it would help every wrestler keep improving and honing their craft.
The answer to me, a non-corporate outsider with no contract negotiating experience, seems pretty simple. TNA should sign wrestlers to contracts that guarantee them the pittance they want to dole out but give them the freedom to accept non-televised work elsewhere. If this is actually the case for everyone now I’d be amazed, because the only TNA performers I can remember making an indy appearance in the last year (besides the AJ Styles storyline special case) were Daniels and Kazarian doing a dark match main event for Dragon Gate USA.
Add a stipulation that wrestlers must make themselves available for TNA shows before any others and plan schedules out in advance and TNA could have a workforce of not inconsiderable size at their disposal. If wrestlers with very little experience could be signed on minimalist retainers the roster could potentially even be expanded. Not that that’s a great direction to start in.
If TNA did this they could combat their ever present money worries. They could even drop house shows altogether (let’s be honest, it’s not an area they’ve ever excelled at, even during what could generously be called “the good years”) and work with indy promoters to promote TNA shows, offering the concession that a local guy or two get to beat low card TNA regulars in exchange for keeping costs low or not insisting half the card becomes an ad for the smaller league.
This is what I’d do if I were in charge of TNA. And right now I think I’ve got about as credible a track record of running a wrestling company as Dixie Carter does.