1) Are TNA's Recent Departures All One Big Work? (12/30/13)
AJ Styles. Jeff Jarrett. Jeff Hardy. (Possibly) Sting. Three of these names have "left" TNA, another has a contract expiring very soon. On top of that, all four of these men can lay claim to being a big part of TNA's success. Jarrett founded the company, Styles has been a rock solid member of the roster since day 1, and Sting and Hardy were both huge acquisitions that helped to bring TNA to the attention of more wrestling fans. So one has to wonder, is it not just a little bit weird that all four of these people are leaving the company at the same time?
AJ Styles has been in the news for quite a while now, mostly centring around his on-again off-again contract negotiations with TNA. As recently as 4 days ago,AJ Styles was rumored to be returning to TNA, only for another article to come out 3 days later saying that resigned from TNA. Following that, a handful of current and former TNA stars tweeted about it, including James Storm commenting that TNA needs Jeff Jarrett.
The cases for Hardy and Sting are, admittedly, not as strong as the previous two, but still deserve some attention. Hardy was recently written off TV after losing a handicap tag match with Sting, cutting a fairly emotional promo where he stated that he was done with TNA until the "sun shines on this dark kingdom". Sure, it could simply be a way to explain why he wouldn't be on TV during the company's UK tour (that whole criminal record thing can be a bit of a bitch), but there also exists a rumor that Hardy's current contract, which has him signed until February 2015, has an option that could see him walk away in January 2014.
And then there's Sting, the man of a thousand 1-year contracts. It's about that time that the rumors of Sting's departure from TNA start again. The most recent reports have said that Sting is expected to sign a new contract as the company has him written into plans for 2014, and to be honest I expect that he'll stay there this time as well.
Let's all keep in mind that TNA has pulled these kinds of shenanigans before. Not too long ago, a wrestler by the name of Devon was reportedly leaving the company and it was 100% treated as a legitimate departure, only for him to return as a member of Aces and Eights. Mr. Anderson "left the company" to apparently negotiate a new contract, only to return shortly afterwards to force Aces & Eights to disband after defeating Bully Ray.
Sure, it could simply be a coincidence that each of these four wrestlers could be leaving the company at the same time, but there's one more thing that needs to be taken into consideration: TNA loves to use stables to answer booking problems. Immortal, the Main Event Mafia, The Band, Fortune, The World Elite, The Angle Alliance, Aces & Eights…all of these groups were parts of major TNA storylines within the last 6 years. It's entirely believable that they would return to this strategy to combat the current Dixie problem plaguing TNA.
In terms of the current TNA storylines, Dixie Carter is sitting pretty. She owns the company, has a devoted "Chief of Staff" and nephew by her side, and controls the current World Champion of TNA. She's rid of some major thorns in her side as both Styles and Hardy have left the company and Sting is left with very few allies, and while it hasn't been acknowledged on-screen, the founder of the company is also gone. Sure, this could be a simple ego trip by Dixie Carter, or it could be a setup to TNA's next big storyline.
Dixie Carter plays the role of the oppressive dictator, EC3 and Rockstar Spud her loyal servants, and Magnus her devoted champion. AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy are the ousted former champions, tossed aside by the new regime. Sting and Jeff Jarrett are former "rulers of the realm", both also tossed aside when they were no longer needed by the ones in charge. The four of these former heroes band together to take down the current ruling class and reclaim what is theirs.
That got a bit dramatic, but the main idea makes perfect sense.
Sadly there's no PPV in January for this supergroup to make a return at (Genesis has been relegated to "weekly special" status) but it could very well work anyways. The thing about TNA is that right now, their audience isn't really changing. The people who are going to watch TNA are watching it, and until new fans are given a reason to tune in, it doesn't especially matter what show these big events occur on. It's different in WWE where big shows deserve big events. That's not to say that TNA should just throw away every big announcement on free TV, obviously certain events should be reserved for PPV out of pure principle. The Genesis special event is the first bigger show of the year for TNA, and a debut of this new face stable could be just the ticket to make it special.
These departures may very well be legit, but I don't think it's at all illogical to think they could just be part of a big work. The pieces line up just right, and TNA needs something to give their big storyline a working set of legs.
Plus, it would FINALLY get Jeff Jarrett back on TV, something I've wanted to see for a very long time now.
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