It's a terrible time for your contract to come up for renewal if you are a TNA wrestler. Still losing money, TNA is looking to cut costs by restructuring talent contracts (i.e. through offering lower per appearance fees or downside guarantees) when they come due. Moreover, WWE is not looking at signing any TNA performers until TNA's lawsuit against them for contract tampering, specifically regarding Ric Flair, has been settled. Despite this, Matt Morgan and Velvet Sky have already left the promotion, probably hoping to be picked up by WWE once the lawsuit is over. Bully Ray and Devon may be next as their contract renegotiations look set to go to the wire.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported a few days ago that their contracts will expire at the end of the month and that they weren't happy with how Bruce Prichard, TNA's Head of Talent Relations, is dealing with the situation:
TNA sources are indicating that the contracts for Bully Ray and TNA TV champion Devon are set to expire in about three weeks. There have been negotiations between the two sides but the word making the rounds at house shows over the weekend was that the former 3D, specifically Ray, were angry over the way things were being handled, specifically the last minute nature of the re-negotiations.
Soon after, Dave Meltzer on his subscriber only message board commented that negotiations had been going well, so something must have happened to upset Ray and possibly sour him on re-signing with the company:
It's down to the wire. Bubba was happy at TV six days ago with how the talks were going, but they had not reached a deal. You have to remember TNA has its money issues right now and I'm guessing both guys would be among the higher paid guys because the guys who were WWE stars get paid a lot more than the other guys.
So at the moment it looks likes heads they stay and tails they leave.
Those fifty-fifty odds seem to be backed up by what Bully Ray has been saying on Twitter over the last few days, who has been asking his fans about what to do:
New WWE DVD. Top 50 finishers. Only 2 tag teams made list. Road Warriors and Dudleys. I'll take it. Honor to be recognized. #RESPECT
Shakespeare time kids. "To stay or not to stay, that is the question". Lets hear YOUR opinion. #BULLYNATION
WOW! Helluva response. Looks 50/50. Let the "boss lady" know how ya feel. Light up her #TwittahMachine like a flamin table. #BULLYNATION
Crazy amount of response from the #BULLYNATION regarding my future. Decisions, decisions. Hmm...gonna go listen to The Clash.
I must say it's smart strategy by Ray to use social media to get a groundswell of support on his side, telling Dixie Carter how much they want him to stay in her company, which could possibly lead to an improved contract offer being made at the last minute. Whether that tactic is ultimately successful remains to be seen.
Hey Cagesiders, what do you think? Should he keep his role as an upper mid-card singles heel in TNA or return to the independent scene and resurrect his Dudley Boyz team with Devon, while they wait to make a WWE comeback together, whose tag team scene could certainly do with an injection of fresh blood, or maybe Ray could retire and become one of WWE's behind the scenes agents?