I've been looking at this entire TNA situation and digging and hitting up every contact I know who can shed some light on who could POSSIBLY sit down at the table and be a good fit for TNA. As of yet, no one's talking, even though the shadows have been meeting behind closed doors. Whoever the players are, the powers that be HAVE to be able to cooperate together, which leads me to believe that the buyers have a working history with Jeff Jarrett, who owns 30% of TNA's assets to date. To that end, I've been kicking around a few names for a while and it may be possible that one of these names could be in the driver's seat by the end of the year. In no particular order.......
1. Dusty Rhodes.......
His history beginning with Jim Crockett Promotions and Georgia Championship Wrestling is well documented and his relationship with Jeff Jarrett and his father is also well documented. He served as lead booker for TNA for a couple of years and even an on camera "minister of authority" for a time so he is no stranger to the company. Could HE be on the list of candidates to serve as a real life owner? As far as I'M concerned, his name is on my short list of hopefuls, but as of late, his loyalties have been with Vince and considering his most recent involvement in a prominent angle featuring his sons Dustin and Cody as well as a Legends contract to boot, his likelihood is suspect at best.
2. Jim Ross.......
Probability: Moderate to high
Surprised? You shouldn't be. For decades, Vince has used "Good 'ol J.R." as fodder to garner cheap heat for his heel characters, firing Ross many times over the last 10 years alone. The fact that his treatment in the past 5 years, being edged out of a broadcasting role and virtually forced into retirement speaks volumes. Even so, Jim Ross is one of the top 5 brightest minds in the entirety of the professional wrestling industry. His negotiations with nearly every top WWE talent for the past 20+ years is a shining resume and putting him back on television under a different banner would be the icing on the cake for EVERY TNA fan.
So what brings me to the conclusion that he may be having meetings with Jarrett and the Carters? In years past, he has never acknowledged the TNA brand, partially due to the loyalty to his WWE contract, but, I believe, also due to a genuine lack of time to pursue even a passing interest. Now that he has had some time, however, in his semi-retirement, he's given some high praise to the TNA brand and specifically to Tazz and Mike Tenay's commentary work of late. As a student and master of the craft behind the scenes, Jim Ross' comments make me convinced that he has faith in the Nashville based promotion and has many times stated that competition is good for the prosperity of the business. With his track record of bringing in top draws and his obvious time on his hands, I place him nearly at the top of the list of possible buyers for the Carter family's share of TNA's assets.
3. Chris Jericho.....
When WCW fell, Jericho had already made the jump to Vince's lifeboat and has enjoyed a very successful run of fame indeed. I did, however, run into a piece of footage that caught my eye. On the Monday Night War DVD, when it was mentioned what WCW sold for, he stated on camera that he would have bought it for the price that was offered because he could have afforded it BACK THEN. If that's true, his own assets have multiplied many times over since then, meaning that he could very easily couple his finances with a partner and sustain a successful promotion and assuming his mind isn't consumed with outside pursuits, TNA WOULD GROW on his name value attached to it.
Why HIS name and not Hulk Hogan's? Chris Jericho brings a fanbase that covers far more than just wrestling. His musical success and reputation behind the scenes even in WWE would be invaluable, but even if he wasn't the sole proprietor, a partnership between him and another musician and professional wrestling enthusiast is very possible. Who could fit the bill?
4. Billy Corgan......
I'm sure you noticed that I placed his name HIGH on the list, which is a first for the list. Why? What possible connection could he have with TNA? One name bridges the gap and one piece of news makes me believe him to be the highest probability. The name? Jay Bradley. Jay Bradley was scouted and recruited away from Corgan's independent promotion, Resistance Pro Wrestling to compete in Gut Check and, when he was signed to the TNA roster, a valuable networking resource was gained for TNA.
Corgan founded Resistance Pro in 2011 and made some pretty big waves by bringing in some pretty big names both as talents AND as members of the staff. Colt Cabana, D.H. Smith, El Generico, even Kevin Steen of current ROH fame have performed for the promotion. Former TNA, WWF, ECW, and WCW talent Raven serves as an agent there. Some of the top indy women's talents have passed through and their roster would be a MAJOR acquisition for the TNA brand.......WAIT! I'm getting ahead of myself. The piece of news.....right.
Earlier this year, Billy Corgan made an overture towards Stephanie McMahon and Triple H to pitch his organization as a developmental league to partner with WWE. Long story short, he was unceremoniously shot down. In the months that followed, he has been quietly been meeting with TNA officials to some end. Could he be the potential buyer? He's my best guess. His connections with venues worldwide with the Smashing Pumpkins opens doors that otherwise would be impossible unless your last name is McMahon. If his promotion partnered with TNA and was joined by a performer the caliber of a Chris Jericho, we could be looking at the best partnership professional wrestling could ask for.....period.