What is the ultimate fake-out in wrestling history? Imagine Bash at the Beach of '96 when Hulk Hogan turns heel. Maybe it's the mad revelation that Vince is the guy behind Stephanie's abduction. What about Triple H faking the reunion of DeGeneration X? Could it be the revelation of how Bully Ray fooled TNA's brightest minds? What has never been done before? Hold your finger on this place in wrestling history and I have something just as good.....and the joke has every member of the IWC (internet wrestling community) as the punchline.
What does TNA going out of business look like? I've been asking this question for the past week after reading about the contract statuses of AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy. Styles and TNA "haven't" come to terms on a new contract. Hardy's contract is said to be up once January tapings have come to a close and end with a tag match with Sting and a heartfelt goodbye to the TNA fans. Another contract coming up with Sting.....where is this all going? What if the "Feast or Fired" case that creates the biggest loser happens to be James Storm? What if Daniels and Kazarian are next? Imagine Bobby Roode and Kurt Angle's impending feud leading to the "exit" of Kurt Angle.
So if it's true, you have Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, Sting, and James Storm gone. No one can dispute that THAT is a meaty chunk of TNA's merchandise-moving apparatus. How do you explain that? TNA is going out of business? TNA is the rigid board-like structure, unwilling to bend for AJ, but will bend over backwards for Hulk Hogan? TNA can't hold their heads above water so they've decided to fold? Really?! REALLY?! With all due respect to TNA's most vocal critics, you have GOT to be kidding me.
If I were writing this thing, TNA liquidating their holdings would just be the tip of the iceberg. Call it the ULTIMATE bait and switch.....and the IWC is eating it up like the hot wet mess it is and virtually no one is immune....even me as indicated by the last post here. Right now, there is a polarization I have NEVER seen before on forums the entire internet over. You've got members of Facebook fan sites calling Dixie Carter every horrible name in the book, comedians ripping the TNA brand to tatters, and it all boils down to one thing.....money.....or does it? One site claims that AJ Styles has been asking for a 15% increase in a new contract while TNA has been asking him to take a 20-25% pay CUT. Another point of contention is that AJ is asking for the return of Alex Shelley to the TNA roster. The same source claims that Jeff Hardy's contract was a two year OPTIONAL renewal that was allowed to lapse. Beyond that, Sting's contract is supposedly up in the coming months. I ask again....where is this all going? Do you REALLY believe TNA is going under?
In the circulating issue of Sports Illustrated, SI interviews Dixie Carter and she reveals that TNA has been turning a PROFIT for the past 5 years. She never mentions how BIG a profit, but that their move back to the Impact Zone is largely a cost saving method that has a part to play in their expansion. TNA and Dixie Carter KNOW that spoilers are going to be coming out, but because the reports out there are SO jumbled, it would take a MIRACLE to actually fit the pieces together to form anything truly tangible to work off of. Fact is, tapings have been set all the way out to the January 9th episode. All that really remains is editing and maybe a couple of vignettes and maybe another emergency taping to shore up last minute details overlooked or missed during the MASSIVE taping-fest over the course of the past week. With as many years as TNA has had this season as their busiest, I have NEVER seen episodes taped for dates out so far. As it is, the norm is for TNA tapings to run until the opening of the New Year, but that the second week of January runs LIVE. What makes THIS year so special? Think about what this could mean.
What I would like to know is how TNA hits the reset button on THIS story? How do you turn the clock back and make the return of a BUNCH of top stars in the company something to be sure to watch? How LONG does it take to DETHRONE the "Authority" as WWE is calling their heel army right now? Think back to who it took to turn the tides in each of the past large heel stable stories. Who was the hinge pin? Sting. Sting was the guy who never believed Hulk Hogan as Immortal was being created. Sting was the guy who brought back the Main Event Mafia to do battle with the Aces and Eights. Sting was the guy who turned FACE to bring the Main Event Mafia down the FIRST time. What if he WASN'T the pin this time because he's "gone"? Who takes over then? Why not Jeff Jarrett? Is TNA's founder out of the question? Think about it, guys. Is it POSSIBLE?
The nature of the IWC beast is to reveal the "news" of the day and make speculations on where it's going and this site is not all that different. I speculate and I predict, but the predictions are only as good as the final decision TNA makes in regards to story archs and signings. I've made predictions that have been spot on....like AJ Styles winning the World Title at Bound for Glory or Magnus becoming the face of TNA as he has been in recent weeks in his ascent towards a run with the World Title.....I have also fallen a bit short with regards to details concerning the Aces and Eights or the third faction possibility. This business is fluid and changing and I make no apologies for being wrong as that was never the purpose for this column in the first place. If you were entertained, you got what you wanted, even if the prediction was wrong. These are opinions and predictions based on facts I've been given that can stand up to some scrutiny. The player behind all of AJ Styles' opponents outside of TNA doing all the negotiating wasn't Dixie, per se. It was Jarrett. What does that mean? I'm not even going answer that question....just leave you with the thought to consider......where is TNA going with this?