TNA Wrestling has had it’s share of controversy over the years, but it seems that today’s TNA is more heated than ever. The reason has been the loss of their TV deal, and inability to know what the future holds. This has led to talent leaving due to low-ball contract offers or simply out of concern that they may no longer have a job in a year. TNA President Dixie Carter tried to put issues to rest recently when she met with TNA talent at the recent Impact Wrestling tapings in Pennsylvania.
She told the talent that TNA was assured a TV contract in 2015, so they need not worry. TNA is rumored to be going to one of two networks, WGN or VELOCITY. WGN would be the place they’d end up should the company offered TNA a good enough deal. If Discovery’s VELOCITY was able to give TNA more money, obviously TNA would be there in 2015. Right now, TNA obviously is looking at growth opportunity on a network, but the money is the most important factor.
Spike TV offered TNA a good TV deal. When Spike pulled away from TNA, it hurt the company in several ways. Sure, they lost a TV deal. However, the blow was more financial, as TNA used the money Spike gave them to help in paying top name talent like Kurt Angle or Jeff Hardy. Many top names have expiring contracts from this month all the way into early 2015. TNA could risk losing those big names.
TNA could always have talent sign on with parent company Panda Energy to avoid any major problems. However, most feel it is not the fact that TNA could pay them. There is never really a worry on them coming through for payment most of the time, due to Panda backing them. It is the fact that TNA is offering such low deals. TNA had the good idea recently to offer “per date” deals, where a talent is not restricted by a contract but still gets paid for the date they are used.
This has been both good and bad for talent. Good in the fact that they are getting paid fairly per date. It is bad in the fact that they do not know where they will be going in the next year. There is no guarantee with that. TNA has not been able to offer big deals. Lower seed talent like mid-carders and below are not given any guaranteed money. Those who do get something guaranteed do not see a lot. This has led to TNA allowing their talent to take bookings outside the company at independent organizations. They kind of have to at the end of the day, because many cannot make a living off of their TNA deal. If you are not used on TV or at a live event, you’re pretty much making nothing.
TNA talent is still unsure where the company will be, despite a TV deal being confirmed. The reasons are very much understandable. The talent is not being offered the same deals they were before. It also does not help that TNA has not scheduled even as much as a live event after Bound for Glory at the end of October. While TNA will be in Japan, and could always do a small tour there, they still have the Spike TV deal through 2014.
Many think that come 2015, TNA will operate like a top-level independent company, similar to a Ring of Honor. Bigger talent realize that they could make more in WWE or on the Indy scene, which is why we have seen so many departures, with more expected. Most feel that even when TNA signs a new TV deal, talent will still have issues, mainly because the budget TNA once had will disappear. While Panda Energy will not just allow the company to go down, they are not going to continue to let it go into debt. They will not allow TNA to stretch beyond it’s earnings. That means TNA’s TV deal will help them in signing or keeping top name talent.
If they do not have the money to sign or keep people, those people will leave. They have every right. AJ Styles has proven already that you can make a good living even at an older age on the Indy scene just this year. If he can do it, a person like Austin Aries or Samoa Joe can. Then top guys like Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle could always potentially go back to WWE. Right now, the future of TNA is not looking wonderful. The company may not go down in 2015, but it won’t be as successful as it has been. If we can call it a success to begin with.
[IMG Credits: technologytell.com, impactwrestling.com]