According to recent reports, AJ Styles is having contract talks with TNA, and there’s about a month left before his current deal expires. Supposedly the hold up is the same issue that TNA has been having since going on the road: money. Styles has been offered, and turned down, contracts from the WWE before out of loyalty to TNA no doubt. AJ is also friends with Sting, another loyal franchise player to not only TNA but WCW. Of course the only difference there was that WCW was backed by a billionaire, so maintaining a more-than-fair paycheck was never a problem for Sting. TNA has been cutting corners lately with both hated and applauded moves like releasing Matt Morgan, Joey Ryan, Crimson, pretty much everyone from Gut Check, D’Lo Brown, Tara and Brooke Hogan. Many of those that remained have had restructured contracts. Great, do what you have to.
However one thing you should never let come down to the wire or let fall through the cracks are the contract renewals of your top stars. TNA got extremely lucky when both Bobby Roode and Samoa Joe had contract issues due to neglect on the part of ex-Head of Talent Relations Bruce Pritchard. TNA was lucky that Roode and Joe did not get their tights in a bunch and go knocking on WWE’s door like RVD. So here we are and if the reports are to be believed, both AJ Styles and Ken Anderson are in need of contract renewals. I’m in the minority here when I say I’m a fan of Mr. Anderson, so I hope they can keep him around. But I doubt the door is open for him to return to WWE, so I’m confident he will re-sign. AJ is the one I’m worried about.
Loyalty only gets you so far, especially when you have a family to take care of and your career is half over. Gail Kim left TNA years ago and made it very clear that she did not want to go to WWE, but the money they offered was something she couldn’t refuse. But can AJ really turn down WWE’s offer this time? Some would love to see him succeed on a grander scale, however I think he’d be lost in the shuffle there. TNA needs him more, so personally I hope he stays. I hope he stays and gets a TNA Title run similar to the WWE Title run CM Punk had for a year. You get what you pay for and trust me Dixie, AJ is worth every penny. The future of your company is in the quality of talent you showcase. And of course advertising but I’ll save that for another article. You can cut corners on everything from pyro to what coffee creamer you use in catering, but don’t skimp on what it takes to retain your biggest stars.
I’d like to try a new feature, something that will be at the end of my columns and may or may not even be related to the subject matter of said column. In this single paragraph feature, I’ll name who I think is deserving of being called out in the wrestling world. Let me know in the comments if it’s a feature that should stay or go.
Worst Wrestler in the World…This Week: Rob Van Dam.
RVD has no doubt reignited his career on his latest WWE run, and one can’t really blame him for being upset at TNA management for dropping the ball with poor communications on re-signing him. But during a recent vlog, he felt the need to bash to TNA roster without actually naming names. You’d think if anyone knew what it was like to be a part of a smaller, struggling company trying to make it, it would be RVD. If you have issues with TNA management over your contract, by all means air your grievances but why put down the wrestlers in TNA who bust their asses each week, who work just as hard no matter what company their in, many of whom are icons who deserve more respect than you showed them. But maybe I’m judging Rob wrong. After all, people often say idiotic things when they’re high.