“It shall be an INTRIGUING week for the professional wrestling industry.” Everyone who read this tweet from Broken Matt Hardy on Monday would have never imagined his “prediction” would be true. And more than true.
This week, the Sports Entertainement Business said goodbye to TNA Wrestling and welcomed another birth of Impact Wrestling in a week full of coming’s and going’s fully unexpected.
It all started with a wave of goodbyes from TNA wrestlers. The first to leave the boat was Drew Galloway. As he was supposed to become the new top star of the company, TNA didn’t finalise his deal.
The next day, rumours circled Broken Matt Hardy, Brother Nero and Reby Sky leaving too. A rumour quickly confirmed by Matt Hardy himself in two bittersweet tweets.
Changes in Management and Creative teams are supposed to be the reasons of their departure, mostly about the wrestlers’ Creative Control of their characters.
Next was this, even if they at first accepted to sign a new deal with the company, Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis chose also to turn their back on TNA Wrestling. Former TNA Knockout Champion Jade followed, her contract having expired and not being renewed.
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, more departures may come because only a few wrestlers are committed to the company. Bobby Lashley, Moose, EC3, Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards and Eli Drake are among the ones that will stay due to contractual issues. For talents like Abyss, Aron Rex, James Storm, Braxton Sutter, Robbie E, Trevor Lee, DJZ, Sienna, Allie or Brooke Adams, nothing is clear.
Two major reasons are quoted to explain these departures. The first being the new status of talents contracts. Wrestlers are going to be paid by day of work, and not by episode taped anymore. So if one taping day counted multiple episodes, wrestlers would be paid for only one day. Also, talents will now have to ask for approval for their independent dates and will have to pay the company 10% of their earnings outside of the company. Royalty payments may change too.
The other reason perhaps is the new Creative Team. Jeff Jarrett is now the Chief Creative Officer, overseeing the whole creative process. Dutch Mantell is now at the head of Creative going forward. Scott D’Amore made his backstage comeback earlier this month, to take care of international relations and creative. Bruce Prichard is also returning as an adviser on and off-screen.
The only member of the former Creative team remaining is John Gaburick who decided to stay as a consultant, running the Gorilla during TV tapings. But he will not be involved going forward in the new Creative team.
Tapings of the first Impact Wrestling episodes have been recorded since Thursday to Sunday, and many wrestlers are backstage or announced to be present.
Karen Jarrett, wife of Jeff Jarrett is anticipated to have an on-screen role and is present backstage. Former TNA World Champion Magnus is also backstage, along with independent wrestlers Kongo Kong and Mario Bokara.
Anthem’s Executive Vice President Ed Nordholm revealed on Twitter that Rachael Ellering, daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Paul Ellering, current manager of NXT Champions The Authors of Pain, will be working this week’s tapings.
Luchadors Garza Jr. and The Laredo Kid are also present, as was tweeted yesterday. Former TNA Knockout Champion ODB and Chris Masters are said to be backstage also.
But the surprise is coming from Alberto El Patron, who was said to be in talks with the company.
The banner below alludes that his future in the company may be more than bright. At least for him right now as the company is building itself a new life, a new identity, and a new roster.
Which road is it going to take ? Will the TV audience follow its new path ? The upcoming weeks will probably give us the answers we need. And let us expect the company to keep on going on its new Anthem flagship.