The Incredible Shrinking Wrestling Business

Mark Madden

ajstylesA.J. Styles won’t leave TNA.

Mostly because he’s got no place else to go.

Styles, a TNA original, was on a deal that paid him $350K annually. That agreement is expiring. His next contract with TNA will be lucky to yield half that. Which is about right. TNA’s revenue streams don’t justify paying anyone $350K.

Styles is a solid performer who has served TNA well through thick and thin. His contract situation likely disappoints him. Maybe even angers him.

Too bad. Styles need to sign whatever deal TNA puts in front of him before it gets yanked off the table. Styles is 36. WWE would pay Styles even less than TNA. That’s if WWE wants him at all. In WWE, he’d be glorified enhancement talent.

Styles might deserve better, and more. But this is reality. TNA is doing right by its bookkeeping. Styles is a victim of the incredible shrinking wrestling business. Every TNA performer will take a pay cut when his/her contract comes up.

If you’re over 30 and not somewhere in WWE’s system, the best you can hope for domestically is crumbs from TNA. The die has been cast.

The best TNA can achieve is survival, and TNA’s only hope for that is fiscal prudence. TNA is wrestling’s semi-pro league. Its performers should expect nothing beyond semi-pro salaries, and they should expect to never go to WWE.

TNA is for has-beens and never-wases, at least by WWE standards. REALITY.

It’s total separation of the products. One-way traffic only. You can go from WWE to TNA, and that’s it. If you can’t cut the mustard in the bigs – or kiss enough ass to win favor there – welcome to the Impact Zone. Permanently.

That’s not what’s best for (the) business. See what I did there?

The mixing of styles can make a promotion interesting, at least in-ring. For example, Chris Jericho’s excellence and versatility spawned from working (and being trained in) a myriad of styles.

But from here on out, it all flows from the WWE training center. Everybody already sounds the same thanks to the oppressive over-scripting of promos. Now, everyone will also work the same. Given WWE’s body-type preference, everyone will mostly look the same.

YAWN.

Downsizing the roster and giving performers less remuneration is smart. TNA should have started doing both a long time ago.

To make up for salary cuts, TNA should make it possible for its performers to make more money outside the promotion. It should let TNA performers appear on smaller promotions’ iPPVs and DVDs. Those performers should exercise good judgment re: Being embarrassed or devalued while working outside TNA. But really, who cares? Who the heck even sees those iPPVs, or buys those DVDs?

TNA personnel may also want to weigh if they can make more money working strictly as indie performers. You really need a name to do that, because indies don’t usually pay much. But Matt Hardy, for example, seems to do quite well working indies – better, he says, than he might do as a contracted performer.

TLC: AS IN…

Too Late for me to Care. HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW!

WWE’s horrific TV has sworn me off watching their PPVs. I have the money. I just don’t have the time, and I want to preserve the brain cells. Who cares about two devalued titles being united by two wrestlers who have done the same act and played the same character for a decade? I’m not interested. At all.

Randy Orton flat-out sucks. John Cena is an incredibly polished performer and has done some money promos lately. But I just don’t care. At all.

I would care if they let the most over guy in the promotion be the most over guy in the promotion. I’m emotionally invested in Daniel Bryan. But as long as WWE continues to defecate all over him, I don’t give a ****. At all.

Wait until Triple H winds up with that Unified title. Could happen Monday night. Could happen earlier.

Paul Levesque has really become a McMahon. Levesque really believes he and Chyna Jr. are the epicenter. A part-time B-plus wrestler and the ex-girlfriend’s hot clone. “The family” uber alles. WrestleMania will be built totally around “the family.” MASSIVE INDIFFERENCE.

Who the heck ever thought it would come to this?

Actually, I always kinda did.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX

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