Even with it apparently requiring some financial wizardry to pull off TNA’s Slammiversary pay-per-view (PPV) and subsequent television tapings this week in Orlando, Dixie Carter and company are reportedly interested in locking their biggest names up to long-term, more exclusive contracts, according to Wrestling Observer (subscription required but recommended).
Bobby Lashley has signed an extension, although their current World champ is a bit of a special case. He’s also contracted for shoot fights with mixed martial arts promotion Bellator, and works for Elite Lucha Libre in Mexico.
The other names targeted for long-term deals - Drew Galloway, Matt & Jeff Hardy - would probably want the same flexibility, but TNA reportedly wants to control their independent bookings. Galloway works a lot in between TNA tapings, most notably with WWE partner EVOLVE, and it’s said much of the Hardys income is from their outside work - especially for merchandise, photos and autographs at non-Impact gigs.
It seems unlikely they’d want to walk away from that, but Dave Meltzer does say Carter is still offering big numbers on deals. As an example, he said a recent free agent was offered six figures by TNA, and ended up taking a lower number from WWE (Meltzer doesn’t name names, but internet speculation has focused on this being Ring of Honor’s Moose).
With the rumors saying Billy Corgan’s (still unconfirmed) minority ownership stake was required to pull off this week’s shows, it’s worth wondering where the money for these offers is coming from.
Another item in the Observer report was TNA’s tour of India. Cancelled in 2015 due to funding issues after being cancelled by Destination America, the trip is currently scheduled for later this year, it’s believed their television partner, Sony Six, will cover some of the cost, but it will still require significant money from TNA to make it happen.
If they can’t afford the trip this year, it could result in a breach of their contract with Sony Six. If the plug was pulled on that contract, Carter would lose one of TNA’s biggest sources of income.
Meanwhile, Impact continues to seem snakebit. The technical difficulties which tanked their “live” broadcast this past Tuesday cratered their ratings, just when the Broken Matt Hardy angle and a relatively well-reviewed PPV were attracting renewed interest in the product.
TNA announced today another “live” episode for July 12 which will host their annual Destination X event, this year featuring Eddie Edwards vs. Lashley with both their World and X-Division titles on the line, and more tapings to follow that.
But will those require the same financial wrangling Chief Financial Officer Dean Broadhead pulled off to make Slammiversary happen? Will their eventually be an event - maybe the tour of India - for which they won’t be able to produce the necessary cash?
TNA’s behind the scenes workings are reported on as much as thier wrestling, so we’ll likely hear something esle soon.