TNA News: TNA Officials Trying To Sign Top Talent To Exclusive Contracts
TNA has been in what seems to be a constant state of transition. Under the leadership of Jeff Jarrett and now Dixie Carter, the company has fought to be a legitimate alternative to the WWE, but the gap seems to widen at every turn. Sting, Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan couldn’t help knock Vince McMahon off the top of the mountain. TNA has tried to change nights and change channels, but they haven’t quite figured out a way to move the needle. They’ve even reduced their official website to just two pages.
All that being said, you could make an argument that the most talked-about star in all of sports entertainment/professional wrestling right now is Matt Hardy. His new “Broken” character is extremely polarizing and easily the most spotlight-deserving angle in TNA at the moment. However, it’ll take a lot more than one bizarrely entertaining character to change the lay of the land. Generating buzz is one thing, but generating ratings is altogether different.
I'm probably late but why does Matt Hardy look like Sweeney Todd?!?! pic.twitter.com/9jLIuvbLNQ
— The Hoe Hashira ? ? (@InParadiseLock) June 1, 2016
As noted, TNA is repeatedly in flux with more news coming out in regards to ownership. According to WrestleZone, the TNA name was bought out by Aroluxe Media LLC last month. However, the company still owns the naming rights associated with Impact Wrestling, TNA Wrestling, etc. No word on what this means for the future of the TNA brand as a whole, but there’s certainly been a concerted effort to push Impact rather than TNA recently.
The other major news out of the report is that TNA is now trying to secure exclusive contract agreements with several of their top stars. Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Bobby Lashley, and Drew Galloway have all been offered deals that would prevent them from taking any independent bookings outside of TNA. The financial guarantees would be a lot more significant than they’re all currently making with the company, but none of them have signed anything as of yet.
The feeling, from the wrestlers perspective, is that they can still obtain high levels of success booking themselves outside of TNA. That was the allure of signing with TNA for many of the top-level talent. They could work for TNA but also take bookings outside the company as long as that particular product wasn’t televised. WWE made some similar concessions to recent deals they signed with NXT signees.
Matt Hardy has been rewarded handsomely by independent promotions looking to employ his services for main event matches, as his name brings a lot of weight. His new persona will certainly draw a lot more interest. Drew Galloway is the TNA World Champion and he has a lot of success taking bookings in the United Kingdom, where he may be an even bigger draw than in the states. TNA would have to offer substantial raises to these stars in order to get them to accept exclusivity deals.
There are a couple interesting takeaways in light of this report, one being that EC3 was omitted, but that is not totally confirmed. He is one of the young, talented faces of TNA, and his recent shoot promo with Galloway at an Evolve show last month had the entire wrestling community buzzing. The other is that if TNA is now willing to pony up for their current top talent, why were they reluctant with the likes of Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Eric Young, and, especially, AJ Styles?
By the end of the summer, the top of the NXT card will resemble TNA’s from 2014-15, and Styles is arguably the hottest thing going in WWE. It was a bold move on TNA’s part to part ways with their expensive stars while trying to develop new ones instead. But if their new plan forces them to back up the truck in order to exclusively retain their current main-eventers, what does it say about their long-term business model?
[Image via TNA Wrestling]