The Crow's Nest - Should TNA Attempt to Sign MVP?
Nov 19, 2013 - 10:20:59 PM
1) Should TNA Attempt to Sign MVP? (11/19/13)
If there's one thing that always seems to be in the TNA-related news, it's headlines along the lines of "FORMER WWE STAR GOING TO TNA?" More often than not, this "news" is a result of some kind of cryptic tweet from the wrestler in question, or speculation from the IWC that's become so talked about that "reporters" take it as gospel and assume it must be about to materialize as fact.
If TNA signed every single wrestler that's ever been rumoured to be headed that way, do you have any idea how big their roster would be? They'd need a full 7-day week of 3 hour shows every single day just to have them all appear for a bit.
Now I've been just as guilty as the "reporters" I jabbed at earlier when it comes to speculating about where a certain wrestler may end up. At the very least, it's a fun part of being a columnist, being allowed the creative medium to speculate and offer my thoughts. The difference is, I don't ever claim to have an inside source in Nashville, feeding me information about who may or may not be in negotiations with the company.
But this column isn't about cutting down wrestling news writers, because I do appreciate what they do. Imagine what our beloved LordsOfPain would be without news? The comment sections alone, however frustrating and ridiculous they can be, are entertaining, and it is cool to sometimes read that "insider tip". No, this column is about a specific piece of news that recently popped up online.
MVP is the latest wrestler to join the "will they join TNA?" club. The difference here is that it wasn't some cryptic tweet or stretched interpretation that's leading to the speculation this time around. This is the exchange that has led to this recent news:
It's not the first time that rumours about MVP headed to Nashville have surfaced, but I do believe this is the most directly they've ever been acknowledged by the man.
Let me preface the rest of this column by saying that I'm a big fan of MVP. I always enjoyed his work in WWE, and I think he could have developed into a big star had he stuck around. Not that his time in WWE was bad by any stretch, he did quite well for himself, but it could have been so much more.
The question I have, naturally, is should TNA sign MVP if they get the chance? Should they even give him a call and see how much money it would take to get him to sign on the line that is dotted?
As much as I'm a fan of MVP's work, I have to say that no, TNA should not be looking to sign him right now. As good as MVP is, he's no game-changer. The price tag I'm sure he could command would just not make financial sense for TNA right now, even with the shedding of some of their more expensive contracts (Hogan and Bischoff, specifically).
If we were talking about a guy like John Cena jumping ship, things might be different. It's not like he'd immediately boost TNA's ratings to beat WWE overnight, but that's a move that would get some people to tune in. Cena fans would check out TNA to see what their favourite wrestler was up to, and at the very least it would raise some more mainstream awareness that hey, WWE isn't the only game in town after all. MVP was a big enough deal in WWE that he's recognizable in the industry, and he seemed to have done well in Japan, so I'm sure he would attract some curiosity views for TNA for a few weeks, but I don't think he has the star power to make curiosity turn into loyalty.
TNA already has a reputation for being a dumping ground for ex-WWE guys, and signing MVP would do nothing to change that. He could come in and wrestle nothing but 5-star matches every night, but there would always be that "yeah but he was a WWE guy first…" stigma attached to him. If a guy like Kurt Angle can't manage to shake the "former WWE guy" label, I find it doubtful that MVP could do it. Again, that is not at all a knock at MVP, just a statement of fact. Kurt Angle is the bigger star, and as well as he's done in TNA, it's still a "yeah but when is he going HOME" discussion that seems to dominate the debates.
That actually leads me perfectly into the next point I want to make.
MVP is 40 years old now which, while not old by normal standards, is getting up there in the wrestling business, particularly for a guy that has never really made it BIG in mainstream wrestling. If MVP wants to make a comeback to mainstream North American wrestling, there's only one place for him to be, and that's with WWE. He easily has a few years left in him, and I would not be surprised if WWE would be interested in bringing him back for a bit, and WWE is the place to be to end your career. There's a lot of young talent that could benefit from his experience, and there's a huge amount of potentially great matches to be had. Sure, you could say the same about TNA in that they also have some great young talent that could benefit from MVP being there, but his influence would be felt in a greater way in the WWE product. MVP needs to be a bit selfish and realize that WWE is where he needs to be if he's making a comeback.
But the biggest reason that I think TNA should pass on signing MVP is simply that they don't need him right now. Yes, TNA needs star power, but signing a former WWE guy that's now 40 years old is little more than a bandaid. The best way to build future stars is to sign and develop young talents that people will associate with your brand. There is so much raw talent out there in the industry right now, just WAITING for a chance to show the world what they can do. I lived in Vancouver for a couple years and attended many shows by a local promotion called Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW), and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that there was at least 5 or 6 guys that wouldn't be out of place in WWE or TNA. Guys that could potentially be stars, given the opportunity. Take that and consider just how many independent promotions are out there across Canada and the United States, big and small.
It makes sense for WWE to sign guys that are already known to some extent, even if it's a guy they've had before like MVP. WWE has a well-established developmental system to test their young talent, and a massive global audience to showcase both existing stars and the up-and-comers. While TNA's considerably smaller audience is bad in a lot of ways, it also offers them the opportunity to take some risks. Their core fan base is loyal, as evidenced by their relatively stable ratings, and it's a much more affordable option than signing a bunch of older wrestlers who will command the big-money cheques. TNA can afford to take those risks with lesser-known wrestlers, and because they're the smaller game in town, they can invest a bit more time in these potentials. WWE is much more fast-paced and they have to be of a more "try it for a bit, ditch it if it fails" mentality. Granted they don't always pull the trigger as soon as they should, but as a general philosophy that is where they're at.
Selfishly, I would love to see MVP in TNA again, just because it would get him back on my TV. There's a lot of matches I'd like to see happen that would only be possible if he signed with TNA. But, to use a phrase that WWE fans should be familiar with, that's not what's best for business. TNA has all the veteran talents they need right now, and it's the wrong time for them to be investing that kind of money into a single contract.
Do I think there's any truth to these recent rumours and speculations? Honestly, I have no idea. The only thing fuelling the rumour this time around is a couple of tweets from MVP that he very well could have just tweeted as a response to a fan. To him, the tweet could be as unimportant as me tweeting about how tired I am and how I wouldn't be watching the end of RAW last night. Or maybe it's a sign that he'll soon be debuting on Spike TV, who knows.
I'm a big fan of MVP, and I'd love to see him back on my TV. Just not on Impact. It's not the right time for TNA to sign him, and he's just not needed there right now. MVP should be setting his sights on WWE if he wants to return to this market, not TNA. Sure, there's always a chance that he could work wonders with TNA and create some great TV, but the cost of that particular risk is just too much right now. I would rather have TNA sign 4 young indy talents that they could develop into homegrown stars than sign one 40-year-old that may provide a short-term boost but make no significant difference in the long-term. That's the kind of move that's going to benefit them down the road, and it's the kind of move they can afford to make right now.
I guess we'll see soon enough.
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