Over at his Tumblr blog Max Buck (real name, Matt Jackson) goes into detail about him and his brother's decision to quit the company last week. To an outsider it may look like a surprising decision: two small, high-flying wrestlers choosing to quit their spots on a televised, national wrestling promotion at at time when things are pretty dire on the indy scene and ROH face an uncertain future (the company may have snagged a deal with Sinclair Broadcasting, but their new timeslots in the fall aren't great, and the company will not be airing in many major markets like New York or Philadelphia.) At their sizes, they aren't likely to get spots in WWE either. However, anyone with any real knowledge of the working conditions, highly charged political atmosphere and abysmally low morale of TNA shouldn't be shocked at all. Max essentially confirms the stories about the duo not being booked on house shows this year, although he also indicates other problems. He starts:
"Simply put: If we weren’t wrestling, we weren’t making money…And a guys gotta eat. Obviously, if you’re a fan of the show, you probably hadn’t seen us for quite sometime. Aside from the television program, TNA also runs live events around the country. In 2011, we’d only been on a handful of those, as well. Now, don’t get me wrong. When you’re booked a bunch, you’re making pretty good money, which was the case for us in our first year with the company. Not so much, this year."
He also spoke about the team's frustration with creative after their break-up angle was suddenly dropped:
"Earlier this year, we were moved from the tag division, to the X-Division. This was obviously something we weren’t excited about. We felt we were hired as a team and worked best as a team. Why split us up, and put us in singles matches? "You are two of the best X-Division style wrestlers we have, and we are revamping the division," was what we were told. We had a feeling we would be lost in the shuffle, but agreed to do it. We just wanted to help as best as we could.
Soon after, we were told we were being split up. Again, we reached out to the creative team, telling them that this may not be the best idea. Being the ‘company-guy’s that we were, and being reassured that we’d soon be back together and be given the time to "tell the right story," we went along. Of course we were weary, but we were told to put trust into the company, which we tried to do.
After a couple of hot-shot-booked singles matches between my brother and I, both of us sat at home for awhile, not being booked, wondering why we split up in the first place?"
"A few months later, our main supporter, and man who hired us, Terry Taylor left the company. Right before his departure, we discussed the possibility of a more ‘fair,’ renegotiated contract.
Eventually we were thrown back together as a team, with very little explanation, and flip-flopped from face to heel on a show-to-show basis. I think, at this point, we became very concerned with where this was all headed.
July came. We were sitting at home again, watching, as non-contracted wrestlers filled the usual, single X-Division segment on the show. (That’s no shot at the guys who came in for this opportunity. They’re all friends of mine, and I was happy for them. Obviously, I’d of done the same).
Sometime after that, a 2 minute run in, featuring my brother, myself and a few other X-Division guys was edited off the show. Our frustration started to come through in many of our tweets. A mistake on our part, as we should of (but eventually did) talked directly to the people in charge about these issues."
Limited as their options on the indy scene are, both brothers obviously decided this was still better than remaining in TNA, which is, by all accounts, a pretty miserable place to work these days. F4Wonline's Dave Meltzer also talked about the low morale in the company in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, noting that many of the returning wrestlers to TNA's X division were stunned about the low morale in the company:
"Some of the wrestlers who came in at the last tapings who weren’t regulars noted they couldn’t believe how bad morale was. They said the consensus was that guys were just there to collect paychecks, and that across board people were complaining about Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan and Vince Russo. The wrestlers have lost all confidence in Russo, at least among the ones who had confidence in him to begin with. With Hogan and Bischoff, the reaction was that they complain about what Russo has them do as much as anyone, but the resentment is they have power, but they haven’t seemed to have come up with any good ideas of their own and most openly will say they wish the company hired Paul Heyman last summer and he cleaned house of the guys who aren’t contributing."
One person asked Nick Jackson (the artist formerly known as Jeremy Buck) on Twitter if the rumours of low morale was true, and he confirmed that it was. Earlier he echoed the sentiments that TNA should have brought in Heyman when they had the chance.
With all this in mind, it makes me wonder just how long recently signed Austin Aries and Kid Kash will last, once the buzz of being on television again wears off.