Alas, TNA's obsession with bringing in C-list celebrities to fan indifference continues.TMZ are reporting that Jersey Shore star Angelina Pivarnick has signed a short term with the company, and may even make her debut in a tag-match match with Cookie. TNA President Dixie Carter confirmed the news on her twitter.
The signing of Angelina (who I freely admit to never having heard of till now) is the latest in a long trend of TNA celebrity signings. And while no price tag has come out for her, it seems likely, maybe almost certain, she's not coming in cheap. None of the other celebrities did either. Survivor star Jonny Fairplay has admitted in interviews that he was ultimately paid $350,000, with health insurance to boot, for his "services" in 2004 and 2005 to TNA. Fairplay hilariously recalled that while negotiating a deal over the phone with management he overheard Dixie, a long time Survivor fan yell in the background, "Give him what he wants!". Then came Jenna Morasca, also a star of Miss Carter's favourite show, who got paid an insane amount of money to have the worst match of all time with Sharmell. A final figure was never confirmed, but her contract was heavily rumoured to be worth an astonishing $500,000 (although she may have left before getting the full amount.) Dave Meltzer reported at the time that controversial sports star Pacman Jones was paid $25,000 per appearance to...well, not wrestle for TNA. Jersey Shore star Jwoww got $15,000 was her appearance (what most of the supporting Jersey Shore stars get paid for outside appearances; TNA management would insist to furious wrestlers that figure was false and she did the appearance for free for the publicity, and TMZ were lying about the money to "help her profile", an explanation which made no sense whatsoever.) Angelina's price tag may very well be in a similar ballpark.
On a sadder note, the loyal and hard working wrestlers that work for Carter cannot afford even basic health care for injuries they get wrestling for her; mainly because TNA refuse to foot the bill and with their meagre earnings are often unable to pay for it themselves. TNA have no money, you see. So they can't pay for that stuff. TNA have also famously driven away most of their women's division, due to low ball contract offers, because...well, they didn't have the money to offer anything more. Many wrestlers in TNA are paid late, and some have even been known to struggle to even afford the travel expenses to go house show events. Furthermore, several TNA wrestlers (50% of the roster, according to some sources) are forced to have sidejobs because they cannot make a full-time living from wrestling and TNA are seemingly not in a position to offer livable wages to major TV stars. Budget issues, we're once again told.
Do these stars even make a significant difference or justify the cash? Well, no. Not at all. Jwoww got them some write-ups in the mainstream press, but her segment, which TNA put directly against an episode of Jersey Shore for some reason, was the lowest rated part of the entire show. Jenna Morasca and Pacman Jones also got a bit of early publicity for TNA, but ultimately never meant anything either. As for Jonny Fairplay...does anyone remember anything he did for TNA? I have followed the product for a decent length of time and even I was struggling to remember anything of significance he had done.
Interestingly, TNA founder Jeff Jarrett (showing either a stunning lack of self-awareness or a great sense of humour ) may have summed up the situation when he retweeted a very famous quote earlier this week: "The true definition of madness is repeating the same action, over and over, hoping for a different result." Indeed.