Last night, at TNA's Turning Point 2012 pay-per-view, Eric Young teamed up with his onscreen wife ODB to cleanly defeat the "Hollywood" duo of Tara and former Big Brother contestant Jesse Godderz in a mixed tag team match. A somewhat surprising move, given that apparently, Young's TNA contract is coming up for renewal soon and he isn't expected to re-sign with the company, according to Dave Meltzer in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Moreover, Young and ODB still hold TNA's long forgotten Knockouts Tag Team Championship, but those titles will probably be quietly ditched should the former leave the promotion, as Bruce Prichard, TNA's Head of Creative, is of the philosophy that, "one women's match is more than enough for a wrestling show".
A week ago, Young confirmed that his days as a TNA performer may be shortly coming to a close on Twitter (where else?):
TNA Live shows in MI and Windsor Canada. Ill be there could be my last live shows with TNA come and get crazy with me!— Eric Young (@ShowtimeEY) November 5, 2012
The cause for the possible departure is the usual one; TNA is still trying to cut talent costs, while Young likely wants a small pay-raise, thus leading the two sides to be distanced by money.
However, Meltzer also believes Young is in the doghouse with company management, for the petty reason of his comedy fishing "reality" TV show becoming a much bigger hit than they had expected. This may have also played a part in them low-balling him on his contract re-negotiations:
"Those internally said that this had been expected and that there was incredible internal jealousy within the company regarding Young (Jeremy Fritz, 32), because of the success of his television show, "Off the Hook: Extreme Catches," a comedy fishing show on Animal Planet. The show, which debuted on 7/29, was something several in TNA were against, and the company promoted very little. After the first show was a ratings hit, the company contacted the station and wanted to get involved in cross-promotion and Animal Planet showed no interest. It was noted that this silly idea for a fishing show was far more successful than shows involving Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, and they did very little to promote his show and rarely used him on television from that point, except doing the Ray Stevens absentee husband angle."
Well, this wouldn't be the first time Hogan and Bischoff have cut someone off at the knees because they got over without their approval, so this could very well be true. (As hard as that may be to believe.)
Of course, such leaked newsletter stories also fit into their modus operandi of getting off on swerving TNA's most hardcore fans who read all the online gossip sites and follow the performers on social media. This is a well they've gone to twice in the last two months alone, with both Matt Morgan and Devon returning as disaffected outsiders, after publicly pretending they had left the TNA fold and weren't coming back.
So chances are greater than 50/50 that Young will be back soon in a new role. Hell, he wouldn't look out of place in the jabroni Aces and 8s stable.
It's worth noting, a similar scenario played out two years ago with Eric Young. In November 2010, Young was about to quit TNA when they offered him a much worse deal than his preexisting one. But eventually, he signed on the dotted line when given more freedom to pursue outside bookings. So, a compromise could perhaps be reached once again, if this is a legitimate management vs. talent stand off.
However, working against this is TNA's recent decision to bar their "independent contractors" from appearing on any outside shows which are taped for a DVD release (unless they are consigned to a dark match), making indy dates a lot harder to come by for their talent. It thus may be worth Young's while to finally seek pastures new, having been stuck in a low paid, comedy-jobber role for the majority of his nine-year tenure with TNA.
What would you advise him to do, Cagesiders?