15 November 2013

It's Time for TNA to Pounce on Free Agents/Indie Talent

I wrote a column, a couple of months ago, on why TNA should avoid Ring of Honor talent and although I still stand by my piece in theory, there's been a couple of recent developments that have forced me to reconsider my stance a bit.  Firstly, with the restructuring of TNA's payroll, their move to the new Impact Zone, and the departure of Hulk Hogan, the company will have no issues balancing their budget and stabilizing their economic status.  This means that TNA will be able to pursue free agents much more aggressively than they had been for the last several months.

But the primary reason for my latest stance is the WWE.  It's been no secret that the company has soured a bit on Daniel Bryan and have, in fact, demoted him.  I'm sure his fans will disagree with me but they've also claimed for months, and were absolutely convinced, that Bryan winning the WWE championship was the endgame of the Authority angle.  We all know how that turned out.  In any case, Bryan's demotion to the mid-card is a terrible signal to send to talent in the indies and their fans.  Additionally, Chris Hero's release is another troubling sign for the indie community.  For whatever reason, Hero never seemed to be able to adapt to the WWE style and it ultimately led to his departure.  

After several months of the internet marks gloating over the WWE's hoarding of top indie talent, I have a feeling they're in for a rude awakening, courtesy of Mr. Levesque and the McMahons.  The perception among the internet fans (and the WWE fanboys) is that the WWE has somehow changed their philosophy with the emergence of NXT and the Performance Center in Orlando, and its abundance of popular indie wrestlers.  But this is not the case at all.  In fact, it's a misconception.  And I'll tell you why.  Although the Performance Center has expanded in order to sign several indie talents, the main WWE roster has not. Furthermore, the WWE are reportedly putting their focus back on larger "sports entertainers" who they can mold from scratch.  I imagine that's a discouraging sign for any established indie wrestler in his prime who's interested in signing with the company.

If you're a TNA fan, however, this is good news for you simply because they can capitalize on the WWE's lack of foresight by signing free agents and indie talent which previously had not been available.  They've already begun this process with the signing of Michael Hutter (aka Ethan Carter III) and hopefully they will agree to a deal with Chris Hero as soon as his no-compete clause expires, if indeed he has one.  TNA can also sign Ryan Nemeth, whom the WWE dismissed several months ago.  These are not wrestlers devoid of any talent, folks.  The fact that the WWE released them is not indicative at all of their overall talent or ability to succeed on a national level.  Need I remind you that the WWE failed to see the potential in a Samoa Joe, a Bobby Roode, and many more who are now legit superstars for the #2 wrestling promotion in the US.

And finally, a rumor has been circulating the last week or so that TNA are interested in signing Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Roderick Strong.  I believe there is some truth to this and quite frankly, I believe that at least one of these wrestlers will sign with TNA at some point, if not all.  I can't imagine that Richards or Strong are monitoring the situation in the WWE and are too eager to join that circus.  Because this is the simple truth: TNA has become, once again, an attractive company to work for if you're an established indie wrestler in his late 20's to mid 30's.  I just hope TNA realize it.

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